Commonwealth medallist joins Chichester Runners as patron

Chichester Runners have named their first club patron.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:00 pm
Tim Hutchings in his track heyday in the 1980s - seen here leading Steve Ovett / Picture: Getty

The club’s committee wanted an experienced athlete to act as a figurehead over the coming years and say they are excited to announce that Tim Hutchings has agreed to become club patron.

Hutchings has lived most of his life in Sussex, competed for Crawley AC and was the founder of the Brighton Marathon, now the second biggest marathon in the UK.

He competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and secured bronze in the 5,000m in the 1986 Commonwealth Games and European Championships. He is still ranked ninth in the UK over 5,000m.

Hutchings was one of Britain’s finest cross-country runners, becoming national champion in 1983 and 1986 over a gruelling nine-mile course, and finishing second in the IAAF world cross country championships in 1984 and 1989.

Chi Runners were founded in 1984 and now boast more than 500 members, from a thriving junior section through to seniors and veterans.

They compete in a variety of competitions including track and field, cross country and road-racing.

Covid-19 has restricted groups of runners from training but club members have continued to develop plans for the future. The club are preparing to start work on a running track within the grounds of Chichester College, a unique 300m track with banked curves.

Hutchings said: “I am delighted and honoured to accept an invitation to become patron of Chichester Runners & AC. The club was formed in the year I made the GB & NI Olympic Team, so there’s a nice synergy there.

“It seems like there is a lot of energy in the club and the building of the track at Chichester College will really cement it in the community for many years to come.

“That is quite some achievement in this day and age when funding and land are so hard to come by.

“It is very satisfying knowing generations of youngsters and other club members will benefit from all the work that’s gone in to making the track-building possible.

“When it’s possible, I’m looking forward to getting involved in club activities but sooner than that I hope to get a chance to meet members on a Zoom call.”

Club chairman Jon McElhill said: “We are very excited and honoured to have someone of the status of Tim Hutchings join as patron. He has huge experience in competition and his knowledge of athletics is enormous through his commentating and managing Brighton Marathon events. We look forward to welcoming Tim to club events and perhaps his presence will help us welcome new members.”