Midhurst Milers About Us
The club was started in 1991 by Howard Bidmead and Richard Smith (Smithy). These two had been running for many years and had been turning up for races regularly and decided that on seeing various club vests it would be nice to put Midhurst on the map. Within a few weeks our numbers had grown to three with Jackie Tunks joining us as our first female member. We had three Midhurst Miler vests with stick on lettering which had a habit of coming off when placed in the washing machine. The manufacturers wouldn’t do just three. Mind you these early vests are much sought after, and worn by Smithy and Howard at the 1991 New York Marathon.
In 1992 the club affiliated to the Sussex County Athletic Association and to the SEAA ( South of England Athletic Association ).
In 1993 saw the first ever Midhurst 10K with just over 400 runners taking part. this has since grown to over 500 runners.
1994 saw our first invitation into the South Downs Relay. A mixed team of various individuals. With a 5am start at Beachy head we finished at Winchester about 10.30pm that evening with Lesley Hopkins getting seriously lost on the last leg. Fortunately things have improved since then with the relay and the infamous Grizzly in Devon becoming an enjoyable part of the club’s racing calander.
September 1996 a sad time for the club when Smithy died whilst out running on the sawdust run circuit. He was training for the Athens Marathon which he had longed to do. Howard subsequently did it for him and gave the medal to Smithy’s wife, Marilyn. Thus was born the Sawdust Run which we have every Autumn in memory of Smithy which incudes a small trophy for the winners. Club vests must be worn. Club vests with the Cowdray Castle logo as drawn by Smithy’s step son Diego.
1997 was our entry into the today’s runner x/c league and to achieve a runners up position this year was amazing. this show’s how far the club has come.
The milers has had it’s characters over the years. The likes of Hilly and Ralphy still turn up occasionally as does Lesley Hopkins and Judy Garrett now living and working in Switzerland. Their Midhurst Milers vests now have the Swiss flag embroided on them.
Annual club runs were started and we have been to the Great North Run three times. Nottingham half twice and the Exmoor stagger. Individuals have also entered many weird and wonderful events and the club has a wealth of talent and experience.
It was the intention of Smithy and Howard to build the club to a point where if it came to it if both of them were no longer around the club would function. That point has been passed and long may the club continue.