THE HISTORY OF QUEENSBURY RUNNING CLUB
Queensbury Sports Club has been in existence for many years, being the parent organisation for both the amateur Rugby League club and the Bradford League Cricket club that were originally based at Granby Fields, Queensbury. Unfortunately the original base and playing fields are now buried under a recent housing development.
In 1982, Frank Cawkwell and Willis Mitchell, two rugby players who were entering the twilight of their rugby-playing careers decided to enter the first Bradford marathon. They placed an article in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus seeking sponsorship, and duly completed the marathon.
During 1983/84 adverts were displayed throughout Queensbury in a bid to attract new members from outside of the Sports Club.
Ken Smith, who was ex-Bingley Harriers and also a teacher at Queensbury School, joined. He made a big contribution to training and also arranged changing facilities at Queensbury School.
Other members who joined during the early eighties included: Steve Palmer, John Millington, Richard Benn, Jim Cassitt (Whiskey!), Peter Crabtree, Donald Hunt, Brian Hull, Mick Howarth (jnr), Martin Bruce, Steven Fearnley, Chris Davis, John Rankin, Adrian Goodison, Geoff Dixon, Mark Baker, Peter Cumberworth, Mick Greenwood, Graeme King, Maurice Heneghan, plus others. They were also joined from time to time by some lady runners.
Not all of these were members simultaneously, but generally there was a membership of about twelve runners at any one time. Many of the early members were primarily running to keep fit, but the club was also starting to attract some more competitive runners.
During 1984 the club took part in a relay race from Morecambe to Keighley and were placed as first non-athletic club.
Also, during 1984 the club did a charity run from Queensbury to Fulham, carrying a rugby ball, which was not dropped once! This raised approximately £2600 which was split equally between the Sue Ryder Hospice, Stoke Mandeville and Queensbury Sports Club. This was a major logistical undertaking but big help was received from Keith English (sadly now passed away) and Steve Palmer who arranged all the transport and rations.
The club also started its annual Christmas handicap run from the clubhouse at Granby Fields, to the Raggalds Inn via the Brighouse and Denholme Gate Road, up Perseverence Road and down Soil Hill, through Bradshaw, along Roper Lane to the Royal Oak pub and back to the clubhouse via Ford Hill and West End.
The club participated in all forms of races: road, cross country and fell. Chris Edmondson has medals from all 5 Bradford Marathons and Frank Cawkwell completed 2 marathons in Saudi Arabia whilst working over there.
A bone of contention at this time was that an original application to affiliate to the AAAs was rejected. Their response was that Queensbury should join ASVAC (as was, Bradford Airedale now)! Queensbury’s response was unprintable. However, a subsequent application was approved and Queensbury became affiliated.
At this time training nights were on Mondays (from the Queensbury School) and Thursdays (from the cricket pavilion during the warmer months or the rugby club when the cricket pavilion was frozen up). The running track at Horsfall playing fields was also used for track work.
Around the mid-80s, the following joined separately but remain stalwarts of the club: John Fish, Peter Hughes, Peter May and Steve Wilby.
The club started participating in a Winter League grand prix of races that consisted of about half a dozen local clubs each hosting an event. Queensbury’s route was the same one as used for the Christmas handicap. The club also entered a team into the first three Leeds Country Way relay races.
During 1993 the running section broke away from Queensbury Sports Club and became the independent entity of Queensbury Running Club that it remains today. Arrangements were made with Queensbury Celtic Football Club to use their clubhouse as a base.
For several years Queensbury Running Club had been trying to expand in size without any real success. That is until 15th May 2014. This was the club’s first “beginners session”. With assistance for Run England and the local athletics network, as well as promotion through Facebook, the club was able to attract many people who were novice runners. Through this the popularity of the club grew and in return attracted more runners of various abilities.