Monday, 2 January 2012

Frank J. Horwill M.B.E 19 June 1927 - 1 January 2012

We lost a very special person yesterday. Frank brought happiness to every life he touched with his generosity and passion for our sport. I've got so many memories from the last 20 years, not least the day in Lanzarote in 1999 he made me believe utterly and completely that I could take down the marathon world record holder at the time, crazy I know but that was his special gift - making you feel a champion to the bottom of your spikes. We will miss you Frank.

Everyone's got a Frank Horwill story (or ten) so here are a couple of mine. One tuesday evening over the xmas period (I think) in the late nineties a group of athletes had pitched up at Battersea Park for a session to find the track closed. We were busy debating the merits of grass or road when Frank arrived. A couple of brief curses later from Frank and his well worn black kit bag disappeared over the perimeter fence. He them uttered something like "bloody hell, how did that happen ? I'm going to have to get it back". Then quick as a flash he was pulling himself up on top of the fence and and down the other side. We quickly followed and made damn sure we ran our legs off on the track that night !

Climbing over the fence became a bit of routine at the refurbished Battersea Park track after that. A few years ago Frank broke his leg (falling over the curb coming out of a pub if I remember correctly) and I remember seeing him limping towards the track in his rehab phase and climbing over as pre-injury. On challenging him about the risks of jumping down onto a recently broken leg he replied that a bit of impact stress would help promote new bone growth whereas walking the long way round just made him tired !

1 comment:

walt chadwick said...

Thank you for posting. We lose a library when a person dies.