Tom chats with his brother Brian Davies, one of the founding members of Croft Ambrey Running Club and an early talisman, often leading by example and featuring the Club in the local and running press.
How did you first into get running?
I went to Kingsland school where sports weren’t particularly encouraged, the only runs being an occasional run around the village greens. We lived 1 ½ miles from the village and as there was no transport had to walk to and from school. Coming from a family of 6 children this would sometimes end in a race home across the fields. Strangely I don’t remember a race to school! I started running when I was 38 after brother Tom and I went to watch the 1980 Offa’s Dyke race. The short race over Hergest was won by Peter Faulkner who we knew from the village, it looked good fun so we entered the 1981 race. When presented with a veteran’s award, I was told that I would not get another unless I joined an affiliated club. We chatted to Peter who was already thinking of starting a local running club and Croft Ambrey Running Club was formed for the 1982 race. At first we called ourselves Croft Ambrey Road Running and Cross Country Club but this was a bit of a mouthful and soon became Croft Ambrey Running Club. Our first choice of club colours was green after the grass on the Ambrey but this clashed with the colours of Hereford and County AC so we changed to sky- blue to match the sky over the Ambrey on a fine day.
What was your most memorable run?
It’s hard to decide on any one run, I’ve always liked races I consider to be a challenge and raced the Snowdonia marathon 19 consecutive times with a pb of 2.47.33 in 1987. The 20 th time was cancelled due to floods and high winds and I never got back for the 20 th . Tom and I both talk about going back one more time but every year it becomes less likely! Other challenges I tried several times were the Isle of Wight Marathon, one of the oldest British marathons having started in 1957, where the target was 2 hours 47 minutes for a first-class medal, it was a hilly course and not very easy to achieve but I got one eventually! Race the Train at Towyn was another regular challenge with the aim being to beat the train over 14 miles, you had to be on top form to achieve this one. I liked to run the London, Hereford and Gloucester marathons achieving a pb in London of 2.38.24 in 1984. Man V Horse, the Snowdon International and of course Offa’s Dyke were all regular favourites and run many times. I also enjoyed the County cross country league races, the Croft fixtures always being special, well organised and a real test. Being asked to plant the ‘Running Club’ oak near the start line of the traditional cross- country course to mark 30 consecutive runs was a memorable moment.
What was a typical week’s training?
I didn’t train but did a lot of physical work on the farm which kept me fairly fit. Before an important race I
would try and get in some races to tune up.
What are you doing now?
I’m still farming just outside Newent and that takes up most of my time. I had a stroke about 3 years ago
and that curtailed my running but I was pleased to complete this year’s Offa’s Dyke and I’m hoping to run
the Worcestershire Beacon in October as it’s a race I’ve run some 36 times in the past.
What are your thoughts about Croft Ambrey Running Club?
It’s great to see the Club doing so well. At times in the past we’ve been down to a hardcore of maybe half a dozen runners and at one time even considered joining with Presteigne Pacers or Ludlow Runners but we’ve come through and are now a force to be reckoned with, long may it continue!