Olympic Torch Relay Bearers

There are several members of the club that have given decades of service to Swansea Harriers and the sport of athletics who would be more than worthy bearers of the Olympic Torch as it makes its way around the UK. After a long nomination and selection procedure we are aware of 3 current club members that have been chosen as one of the 8000 torchbearers and we offer our congratulations to them.

John Collins:

John has been a volunteer and athlete since 1955 in his original club Vale of Aylesbury. John has been a volunteer and official for Swansea Harriers undertaking numerous roles since 1970.  He was instrumental in the formation of the Pontypool and district cross country league the forerunner of the Gwent Cross Country League.

In 1963 he won the Welsh 6 mile cross country championships and has competed for Wales 6 times.

In the 1970s he was one of the founders and secretary of the Welsh Men's Athletics League.

At various times he has served as secretary of the Welsh Cross Country Association and Cross Country Committees of Athletics Association of Wales/Welsh Athletics. He has been a representative on the ICCU and later on the British Athletics Federation cross country committees. He was president of Welsh Athletics from 2004 to 2006.

He was awarded a meritorious plaque for his services to the Athletics Association of Wales in 1970 and their award of Honor in 1996 and a lifetime achievement award in 2009.

Ken Bennett:

During the 1960's Birchgrove's middle distance runners swept all before them at Welsh and indeed UK level. Ken was one of this group. He was one of the original drivers of the merger between Birchgrove Harriers and Roath Harriers to form Cardiff AAC in November 1968.

Ken along with Clive Williams compiled the first deep Welsh ranking lists back in 1963 and has been a statistician and records officer for Welsh Athletics for many years.

He was a good class half miler with a best time of 1:53.3 set in 1966.

He was part of Birchgrove's 4 x 1 mile team in 1965 which won the AAA (UK) title. Others team members were Bill Stitfall, John Godding and Bernie Plain.

He took over from Clive Williams as the statistician/records officer for Athletics Association of Wales/Welsh Athletics back in the 1980's.

Ken and Clive were the first home bred members of the NUTS (National Union of Track Statisticians) back in the early 1960's.

Ken has been involved as an official for around 30 years and is still active as a track judge today. Until last year was the officials secretary for Swansea Harriers and West Wales Regional Athletics Council where he has been instrumental in many areas of officiating at club, regional and national levels.

Ken received the Welsh Athletics Meritorious award in 2002.

Simon Merrick:

One of our longest serving athletes is Simon Merrick who has competed for the Club for 33 years and continues to represent the Club in 2012. Both Simons children now compete for the club too, and he is soon to be persuaded into becoming a volunteer coach and or team manager! This is Simons story of how he started his athletics career and of course,“The Steve Ovett Incident!! Click here for Simons story.

The Relay:

The Olympic Flame travels through Neath on Saturday 26th May and very conveniently is scheduled to arrive just just outside the track at Neath at 5.10pm some 40 minutes after the final race of the Welsh Athletics U11, U13 & U15 Junior League (Louise Arthur Division)!!