IT WAS started by a church minister 125 years ago.
And, appropriately, it was a church minister to the fore when Longwood Harriers this week marked their anniversary.
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The Rev Harry Gwinnett, who is vicar at St Mark’s Church in Longwood, led off 40 of the club’s runners on a "Back To The Future" run.
The group assembled at the church which was where the original club was founded in 1888. They ran down the Colne Valley to Aspley, where they met up with a group of runners from the Harriers’ current headquarters at Leeds Road playing fields and then united for a run back to the fields.
It was the first in a series of events planned by the athletics club to mark the anniversary.
In September, they plan to hold a 125-mile relay around the Leeds Road track.
And in November, there will be an anniversary dinner at Greenhead Masonic hall.
The club are also trying to piece together a potted history and have appealed for photographs and memorabilia.
Club spokesman Jim McCormack said: "The original club was set up at the church and comprised a group of young men mainly in their 20s, who were encouraged to start running by the vicar.
"The club continued to grow and develop and women were soon among the members.
"Over the years we have had peaks and troughs. We now have a very strong junior section but could always do with more senior runners. We hope the anniversary year will continue to help us grow".
Club officials have been looking at past achievements including those by Kaye Brook – the first Longwood Harrier to win a Yorkshire Cross Country Association medal, when he finished third in a junior race in 1902.
He was club captain from 1916 to 1922 and secretary from 1924 to 1928. He continued running well in to the 1930s, making him between 40-50 years old at this time.
Other notables include miler Derek Ibbotson, who was the first man to run a mile in exactly four minutes, and top middle-distance runner Martin Steele.