Rochdale Harriers and A.C.


Happy Birthday Mr President!

21st April 2020

Our President, Colin Robinson is 80. Colin joined Rochdale Harriers as a teenager in 1956 and became Cross Country Secretary whilst still a teenager in 1959, a job that he still has 61 years later.

Ian Stainthorpe (who will be taking part in the 2019 race) with Colin Robinson at the SELEX presentation evening - March 2019

Colin (right) at the 2019 SEL XC Presentation Evening

Colin is rightly recognized as the greatest athlete to run for Rochdale Harriers, winning many races and also helping the Harriers win multiple championships. Amongst his many victories a few stand out.

In 1961, he won the Junior (U23) title at the National Cross Country Championships, held at London’s Parliament Hill, his next big race was not in the black, red and gold of Rochdale, but the white of England, where he won the Junior International title (a pre-curser to the World Cross Country Championship) at Nantes in France. In addition to his solo win, he led England to the team victory.

Colin winning the U23 International XC Championship 1961

Colin winning the U23 International XC Championship 1961

1969 was a big year for Colin and Brenda, with the birth of son Kristian, but also another highlight of Colin’s running career. In April, he won the most prestigious race of the fell calendar, the Three Peaks Fell Race, in 2 hours 44 minutes and 44 seconds, with Rochdale Harriers also taking the team prize. At the 2019 race, to mark the 50th anniversary of his victory, Colin and Brenda (who was 4th in the first ladies race in 1979) were invited to present the prizes.

Colin on his way to winning the Three Peaks Fell Race 1969

Colin on his way to winning the Three Peaks Fell Race 1969

Many new members to Rochdale Harriers take a while to learn that the friendly, helpful and encouraging man that collects the weekly subs from the seniors and can be found timekeeping at track meets, cross country, road and fell races is such a legendary figure in the sport. They are unlikely to learn this from him either, as his athletic prowess is nearly matched by his modesty.

Colin at the Three Peaks Fell Race with fellow Harriers in 2019

Colin at the Three Peaks Fell Race with fellow Harriers in 2019

Many, many athletes, of all abilities have benefited from Colin’s wisdom over the years and he has encouraged everyone from beginners aiming to complete a 5k to international athletes. I am sure that what those athletes appreciate most is not the advice, but the friendship of a fantastic man.

In these difficult times we cannot say happy birthday to Colin in person, and the race organised to celebrate his birthday has had to be postponed. A few Harriers wanted to send a birthday message.

NB. Apologies to Phil Roberts, technical difficulties meant that most of his message has been lost from the video.

Some people have reported that they have had problems accessing the video, if this is the case please check it out on Youtube via this link.

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Danny Bennett says:

Happy birthday week Colin , your achievements in running are inspirational and your continued hard work along with Brenda a great benefit to the sport , keep going !