Arena Club History – Part 2
The golden years and changes
During the mid-80’s Arena had an incredible spell as a running club. For a couple of years Arena was invincible. During those two years Arena won virtually every trophy there was going including the Sussex Grand Prix for two years in a row. Trophies were won by all the senior men, the men’s vet team, the senior women and the women’s vet team. It was a golden era for the club.
In December 1997 Ron Grover relinquished his role as secretary and chairman of the club however he was unanimously voted to stay on and become the club’s President due to his years of dedication that he had given to the club.
The club was now looking for a new leader to help push Arena 80 forwards. This came in the form of Bill Mulholland, who was a very good Arena athlete at the time. Bill stepped in to take over the coaching, secretary and chairman role and he completely revolutionised the Monday night training sessions as it needed a boost and refreshing. It was fresh and exciting and had the members engaged in their training once again which gave the club a new lease of life. Bill was a definite breath of fresh air to the club and was exactly what the club was looking for at the time.
It should not be underestimated what Bill did for the club during his few years of coaching and holding chairmanship. Arena was up and running and heading in the right direction once more.
Bill Mullholland was himself a very good road runner with a 2:41 marathon to his name when he was in his 40’s and, to this day, he still holds 4th place in the Arena men’s half marathon club records with his time of 1.15.00 set at Barns Green way back in 1986.
Ron Grover stepped down as President in October 2001 at which point John Mason was unanimously voted in as president. John epitomised everything that the club stood for. If John had been a stick of rock, he would have Arena 80 running all the way through the middle of his body. He gave so much to the club and it was an easy choice to put John in this club role.
The answer to yesterdays photo which was to name the two on the bottom row far left were Graham Shorter and Chris Naylor.
Did you know that Phoenix once had an emergency AGM to consider merging with Arena 80. The move was lost by just one vote! (Admin says: Can you imagine trying to double barrel the name – Arena Phoenix 80, Phoenix 80 Arena, Arenix or Phoarenanix etc etc).