Mike Peel

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Last updated 23 March 2002

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 (over 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.

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