Founded in 1869

Mike Peel

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Last updated 1 November 2020

Mike Peel, President for 2001/2

Now in his sixtieth year, Mike joined Blackheath Harriers in January 1973. He came from a background of cycling and, in fact, has just finished a five-year stint as President of the De Laune Cycling Club - the club he joined in 1957. On joining us he immediately got involved with the Social scene and administration – he was better at that than running! When Jack Sims died unexpectedly in 1974 he took over the club membership list and computerised it - way before IBM had even invented the humble PC! - producing name and address labels and various statistics. The job of Assistant Treasurer (Membership) was eventually taken over by Denis Laurie who continues to this day. The two of them have now been doing this job for 28 years.

In January 1977, Mike along with Peter Hannell, revived the sport of Paper Chasing which, following the anti-litter act, had been dropped from the Club’s calendar. It was a great success and the next year it was switched permanently to Boxing Day. The event continues to this day as a Fancy Dress family happening, and in case you are wondering, the course is marked by a mixture of flour and biodegradable confetti! And, no, the Hares have never been caught, apart from the time they were so far ahead they overlapped the Hounds on their way out.

When Ted Pepper died in April 1978 Mike joined the sub-committee that organised the first road race in his name. In those far off days the Club Committee insisted that the event be in miles (seven) and not k’s… “.you only run 10k on the track.” As you now know the event is effectively run over the same 3-lap course as the original, but has now been shortened to 10k. Mike took over the organisation for the next seven years and built the event up to become on of the most popular events in the area; always self-financing it had a budget of Ł1,000, an eight-page programme and an entry of over 400 at its height.

In 1978 and for his various efforts, Terry Sullivan, the then President, nominated Mike to the ranks of the Vice Presidents. Mike promptly took on the job of organising the VP’s annual supper, a job he only relinquished a few years ago.

During this period Mike’s athletic performance improved and he represented the Club in the Kent League over 400 and 800 metres as well as running over the country during the winter. Back in 1978, Steve Cluney, in a moment of jest, suggested that they both run a marathon… the rest, as they say, is now history. Mike ran 2h 44m 44s in his first Marathon, the Unigate Harlow. He followed that with 2:46:44 in the Isle of Wight, which he still considers his best ever performance. As you know, the London Marathon started in 1981 and Mike was one of a large band of ‘heathens who joined the other 7,000 competitors. Who would have thought that 21 years later he would still be toeing the line; he is now one of only 39 who have completed all of the London’s, a feat also obtained by VP Pete Shepheard.

As well as completing about 50 marathons (half of which were sub three hours) he has also joined that long list of Blackheath members who have completed the London to Brighton (1984 in 7h 3m).

Three years ago he took on the role of Cross-Country Handicapper, computerising it of course! His aim is to get everyone’s net time down to a spread of no more three minutes – a task he is still working at…

In February 1999 Mike took over as Club Steward. He has spent a lot of time and effort to bring the Clubhouse and grounds up to scratch – a task that has not gone unnoticed, especially by older and less frequent visitors.

During the last year Mike has got more involved with the Club’s Website, which now contains half a million words covering over 150 pages. Thanks to the likes of VP Pat Calnan. Mike receives a regular supply of results and general information, which enable him to update the site on an almost daily basis. The Blackheath site is considered to be one of the leading Club sites in the country.

Updated Bio, November 2020:

Mike Peel is a Past President of Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC, and has been keenly involved with the organisation and running of the club since he became a member in January 1974.

He has competed at all distances from 100m to the London to Brighton (54 miles), and has run 60 marathons including 24 inside 3 hours. He is also a member of that select group called the ‘The Ever Presents’ (formed in 1995). All 45 EP’s had run every London Marathon (first run in 1981) up to that date. He has a best credited time of 2hours 40mins. Mike ran his final marathon in the thirty-second London in 2012, the same year that he carried the Olympic torch though Crystal Place Park.

Born (11 January 1942) and educated in Beckenham, Mike has two sons and one grandson.  He started work as a draughtsman before joining the computer industry in 1963/4 – at that time there were only four computers in the whole of London! He is still involved with computer work and is currently webmaster of more than a dozen websites.

Amongst his many jobs at Blackheath & Bromley, he has been:

·       Track handicapper.

·       Cross-Country handicapper.

·       Organiser of the Ted Pepper Memorial race for the first 7 years – the final event had over 400 finishers, all club athletes with no unattached runners.  At its time, it was one of the biggest events in the south-east area’s athletic calendar.

·       In 1974, following the death of Jack Simms, he computerised and ran the club’s membership list for many years. He then oversaw others running it prior to Steve Hollingdale taking over. It is the basis of the current CAMS system.

·       Produced the menus and table plans for over 20 years of Club Dinners.

·       Produced the summer and winter fixture cards for 16 seasons, all at no cost to the club.

·       For 30 years he made the Punch for every Punch Bowl Night.

·       Produced Club T-shirts & Sweat-shirts with Garry Botley 80’s & 90’s.

·       Started Track Suit fund for youngsters/officials along with Polo-shirts, Sweatshirts & Caps in 2001.

·       Resurrected the annual Paperchase in 1977, organising and leading it for 30 years.

·       Since 2001 has decorated every Marathon Supper with own memorabilia and also MC’d the event.

·       Also arranged and installed the Clubhouse Christmas decorations for over 20 years.

·       Running their website since its inception in 1999. The site has more than 1400 pages and is one of the biggest in the athletic world.

·       Designed and produced promotional literature (flyers, business cards, Feather Flags).

·       Elevated to the VP’s in 1978 and organised their supper for 9 years.

·       Elected President in 2001/02.

·       In 1999 he became Steward of the club, only finishing in May 2018 (albeit with a three year sabbatical), due to the proposed re-development of the Club property.

His ghost can still be seen at the bar on Wednesday evenings…

November 2020


Other: Designed and produced promotional literature (flyers, business cards, Feather Flags)

Made the Punch for Punch Bowl Night for 30 years

Club T-shirts & Sweat-shirts with Garry Botley 80’s & 90’s

Started Track Suit fund for youngsters/officials along with Polo-shirts, Sweatshirts & Caps in 2001

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