Rapid increases in the membership of Wallasey Athletic Club means that local athletes will take their place alongside top-class internationals in the Northern Counties Road Relay Championship at Middlesbrough tomorrow.
This is the first time for some years that Wallasey officials have considered that the strength of distance running In the club warrants nomination of a team for the prestigious regional championships. But recent performances in local events have put the club back in a respectable position in local athletics. In the Sefton Park Relay, Wallasey finished 12th, thanks to an outstanding run by Kevin McGee and strong support from Jimmy Ennis, Dave Baker and 16-year-old Dave Pendleton, one of the club's most promising young runners.
Then the club fielded no fewer than four teams in last weekend's Burtonwood Relay which attracted 150 quartets from clubs throughout the North. Again Kevin McGee was the fastest performer just one minute slower than Stretford's international, Karl Harrison and again Ennis, Baker, Pendleton and Bob Brimage gave valuable back-up.
McGee, who is moving South to continue his studies, will unfortunately be lost to the club. But with the promise also being shown by newcomers like Paul Freeman, Andy Skinner and Alan Muir, Wallasey's prospects for this winter's road and cross-country campaigns are brighter than they have been for many years.
Thanks to generous support from local sponsors the club is also making major strides in other directions. Three businesses - Black's, the outfitters; Player's, the sportswear retailers; and Windsors Garage - have provided financial backing which is enabling the club to invest in a larger single-decker bus to provide transportation for members to training nights and to competitions.
The help provided by these benefactors, and close contacts being forged with local schools, means that Wallasey Athletic Club is able to fulfil its hopes of identifying closely with the local community.
Anyone interested in athletics, whatever their age from 10 upwards, and whatever their ability will be welcomed to club train-ing sessions at Wallasey Rugby Club, in Cross Lane, on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.