Athletics: Come and join the Harriers. It is never too late to start

TWO of Thurrock Harriers members are good examples of its never too late to start. Mick Bumstead first joined the club 25 years ago at the age of 35. Whilst never matching the career of his brother John, who played over 400 games for Chelsea, Mick has had a good career in local football. His strong competitive instincts, sheer talent and dedicated training took him to wins in several county championships at road race distances, including the Marathon.

All this came in the space of the first six years of his running career. Since then he has won national veterans championship at steeplechase and has continued to win county medals on the road and country. Now in his 60th year Mick is a likely contender for the county cross country championship next month.

Victoria Peacock joined the club a year ago at the same age as Mick, 35. Like him she has shown determination and a real competitive spirit. In the recent Billericay 10K she finished 10th in the ladies section with a time of 45m 34s. Her coach Dave Staines thinks she can improve still further and at road race distances contend for races. Unlike Michael she had not participated in competitive sport since leaving school which makes her achievement all the more remarkable.

There are many examples of late starting athletes who have made it to a good level. The Harriers are seeing more and more athletes in their 30s and 40s taking up this sport successfully. Many of them come through the club’s beginners session held on Thursday nights at 6.45.

If any reader feels like a challenge this could be their way to start.

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