Life Membership of Herne Hill Harriers was awarded to James McDonald on 30 January 2016
Presented by Keith Newton
The great Bill Shankly said:
‘I want to build a team that’s invincible, so that they have to send a team from bloody Mars to beat us’
Since 2003 James McDonald has set about building such a squad. This was not a quick fix but a long term project, involving a massive commitment of time and effort, including many evenings lurking in the shadows of Streatham Common (for the right reasons).
When James took on the role of middle distance coach for our young athletes, they were more known to the St John’s Ambulance Crew than the officials who presented medals to those on the podium.
How things have changed.
Having nurtured some outstanding individuals, and it was great to see some honoured earlier including Lewis Lloyd and Katie Snowden, plus Hannah Edwards to name a few, HHH young athletes’ teams are now feared throughout the country.
To illustrate this, and I ask for your forgiveness in focussing on regional and national team awards, if I included county and league I would be here all night, James’ teams, during the period 2011-15, have won: Southern championships; Gold 8, Silver 7, Bronze 6: National Gold 10, Silver 2, Bronze 2, a staggering 35 podium finishes in total. This excludes today’s haul.
Out of James’ squad have come English schools’ champions, medalists and finalists, England internationals, county and regional champions.
To recognise James’ outstanding contribution, which I am sure you will agree surpasses the criteria ‘exceptional and meritorious club service’, the Club bestows on James the honour of Life Membership.
The award was presented by one of the Club’s most successful athletes and our highest finisher today, Alex Brown.