BARROW RUNNERS 1985 - 2005
I am sure many of you may have seen
them, either running around the village
just before Christmas all dressed in
weird fancy dress outfits or maybe on a
Tuesday and Thursday evening running in
large groups down the High Street, well
they are Barrow Runners - but how did
it all evolve just over 20 years ago?
I suppose for many folk seeing and
witnessing the atmosphere of the 1981
London Marathon was probably the
biggest influence on how our village
running club came into being.
A local man John Arrowsmith ran the London that year and from there I am sure
many others had a dream of completing this historic distance.The
eighties was certainly a boom year for people wanting to run.
Consequently during 1981-82 a group of village enthusiasts
got together to run on a Tuesday evening, and very soon Sunday
mornings became part of the groups' activities giving them
time to run a longer distance.Amongst that group would be
Dr John Earl. John was always a great believer in exercise,
and his enthusiasm was shared by his beloved boxer dog, Sheba,
who was always close to his side. John went on to be the club's
president for 16 years.
Gradually more and more local events caught the imagination
of would-be runners. 1982 saw the very first Loughborough
half marathon with up to 1000 runners passing through Barrow,
as it was part of the course in those days. Our Boxing Day
Handicap was also started and is now in its 24th year. Barrow
Methodist Church organised a 9.3 mile race in 1984 to raise
funds and then a year later the Barrow Festival of Running
was created by race director and teacher, Mike Morley.The
Barrow Festival event was warmly received by everyone as the
10 mile, 4 mile and 1 mile runs gave everyone, irrespective
of ability, a chance to run.
By 1985 the village group had been meeting on a casual basis
for 3 years but the group of four, namely Mick Ballard, John
Earl, Dave Rose and Roger Latham, really wanted to develop
into a more organised club. So following the various applications
to the appropriate bodies the club became an affiliated 3
A's running club and Barrow Runners was born.
the club grew to a membership of around 60 and this remained
so for many years, although by the mid 90's the running boom
was now over.The club continued to develop with its involvement
with Leicester Road Running League and their most notable
success has always been the Barrow 6 mile race which passes
through the village centre, usually in January.
Boxing Day Handicap Race, which originated in 1982 with 24
runners, now hosts a field of over 200 runners. Club Chairman
Mick Ballard commented that the move to bring the race into
the heart of Barrow and start in the Three Crowns car park
played a massive part in boosting the race's popularity.
remarked on the sad losses of both David Rose and John Earl,
both who were involved in the club's early history, as a great
loss to the club.
Well, the years have passed by and many
of those early runners have now hung up their running shoes,
but without doubt and thanks to a brilliant committee and
enthusiastic members Barrow Runners is now one of the largest
running clubs in the county with 150 members. Every year since
the club was formed they have donated thousands of pounds
from their respective races to national and local charities.This
year the club are again heading towards a substantial figure
which will be donated to local projects and schools.
The club's success is very appropriate in this their 20th year with the club's senior and
veteran men winning the Leics Winter League in the face of fierce competition from other
county squads.The club also has a very strong ladies section with over 50 lady members.
From something that started out as very low key, Barrow Runners must be one of the village's
most successful sporting groups, and it looks like it will continue to grow.
What more can we say, but if you would like to know more about the club, visit
its website on www.barrow-runners.fsnet, co.uk or contact:
Mick Ballard :
Club Secretary -
Peter Osbourne :
Publicity Officer -
Ian Paramore :