1945-2000

The Second 50 Years: 1945-2000

Post WWII, fortunes switched to HH’s great local rivals, Sheffield United Harriers, who enjoyed success through athletes such as Roland Hardy,  the double Olympian who was part of SUH’s great road walking successes in the 1950s, and Ken Wood, who finished 9th in the 1500m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. SUH also took on the mantle of bringing the National Team XC Championships back to Sheffield, in 1956 and 1959. This was to be the last Team victory at National XC level for a Sheffield club, although the balance was redressed a little for HH when Trevor Wright won the individual Championship in 1970.

Nevertheless, Olympic success continued for the City, albeit not through HH, with the prolific husband and wife teamJohn and Sheila Sherwood. Sheila performed in the Long Jump at three Olympics: 1964 Tokyo, 1968 Mexico, 1972 Munich; winning a silver medal in Mexico.  John competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics in the 400m hurdles, winning bronze in Mexico. He was also a member of the 4x400m Relay team.

The Olympic dream then reverted back to HH with arguably the most successful Olympic record by any GB track athlete, when Sebastian Coe achieved Gold (1500m) and Silver (800m) in consecutive Olympics at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles (1984). Seb cannot be rivalled as Hallamshire’s most outstanding athlete, famously breaking world records for 800m, 1 mile and 1500m in a phenomal spell of just 41 days in 1979.  When he added the 1000m world record the following year, he held 4 world records simultaneously.  In all, Seb broke EIGHT world records to add to his four Olympic medals. His 800m world record time of 1:41.73 back in 1981 stood for 16 years, and has still only been bettered by one man, Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11).

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Yvonne Hanson-Nortey gave us our last 20th Century Olympian, performing at the Seoul Olympics 1988 in the Shot Putt.

Despite missing out on the Olympics, Trevor Wright was an outstanding distance runner for the club in the early 1970s.  He won Bronze (1970) and Silver (1971) International Cross Country Competitions and Marathon Silver in the 1971 European Championships at Helsinki.Trevor’s mantle was taken up some 20 years later by another exceptional distance runner, Carl Thackery. Carl still holds the British records for 15k and 20k, plus the 1 hour record of 20,855m.  These were all achieved in a single race at La Fleche in 1990.  He also won individual Bronze, together with Team Silver, at the World Half Marathon Championships I n1993.

The second 50 years also brought about change in club location.  By 1954, the club was operating out of a Scout HQ at Benty Lane, Crosspool, but the big change came about in 1956 when a running track was built in Hillsborough Park.  HHS and SUH shared the facility, but it was to become the spiritual home of HHS following the building of a new clubhouse in 1970.  Much of the building work was done by a small nucleus of members, who used their skills and – more importantly – their time and enthusiasm, to create a Club House with changing rooms and showers, which is still in use today. Sadly, the cinder running track had become dilapidated by the end of  1980s and the creation of new stadia at Woodbourn Road and then Don Valley meant Hillsborough Track was no longer viable.The club found itself split between venues: Woodbourn Road and Don Valley for Track and Field; Hillsborough for trail and road work.

In 1974/5, Hallamshire Harriers’ old rivals Sheffield United Harriers and Sheffield City A.C. formed the new club Sheffield A.C. which later went on to reincarnate as City of Sheffield A.C.  A number of efforts to merge HH into a single Sheffield club were not successful and today HH still remains the same independent club as was formed in 1896.