A SOUTH Tyneside athletics club has acted as a starting block for young athletes for 75 years.
Jarrow and Hebburn Athletic Club was launched in 1937 and has seen members such as Jarrow Arrow Steve Cram set world records and win medals at the Olympics.
Now the club, based at Monkton Stadium in Dene Terrace, Jarrow, has been nominated for the Sporting Excellence award in this year’s Pride of South Tyneside.
It was nominated by Kevin Henderson, the stadium’s manager, who said: “Jarrow and Hebburn Athletic Club and the volunteers who help run the club, week after week, have contributed to the sport.
“It feeds young athletes into the club and coaches and develops them to achieve excellence, holding competitions in South Tyneside and bringing other clubs to the borough, and bringing athletes through the clubs to compete at national level.
“It has also helped youngsters in the community to have a focus on sport and commitment, providing a club with hard-working volunteers who give up a great deal of free time to help others.”
The club’s most famous member, Steve Cram, from Jarrow, set world records in the 1500m, 2000m and the mile during a 19-day period in the summer of 1985, and was the first man to run 1500m in under three minutes and 30 seconds.
He won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in 1500m.
In 2008, he was appointed chancellor of the University of Sunderland and in 2009 he was elected as president of Jarrow and Hebburn Athletic Club. Further accolades for the runner include being voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1983 and being awarded an MBE in 1986.
The club was also once home to middle distance runner David Sharpe, also from Jarrow, who won a silver medal at the 1990 European Championships for 800m.
He also came first in the 800m race at the World Cup in Havana in 1992, and won the World Junior Championships in 1986.
Andrea Fyall, a coach at the club, said: “I’m shocked, but pleasantly surprised that the club has been nominated.
“It’s really nice to have that acknowledgment for the work we do and it’s great for the kids.
“They really deserve it.
“They’ve done really well and they work very hard.”