Cornish Volunteer recognised in the Queens 2015 New Year's Honours list!
England Athletics are delighted to have seen some of our athletics volunteers recognised in the Queen's 2015 New Year's Honours list. One such stalwart of the sport is Alan Rowling, an endurance coach with Cornwall AC, endurance official, administrator, team manager and Club secretary and Chairman.
When he heard of the honour he said, ""I have been totally overwhelmed by the number of well wishers who have contacted me, not only from within my own club but from those involved in other clubs throughout the county. It makes me very proud to be involved in the sport in Cornwall and I really appreciate the kind comments from so many people, including some runners from early school teams, as well as those currently involved at the club, who it has been and still is and pleasure to work with. I still cannot really get my head around the generous comments I have had."
Below, Alan tells us of his journey through athletics.
My interest in athletics began in 1963 when I represented my school and county at cross country and then continued running for my college team. In 1967 I began my teaching career at Banbury in Oxfordshire and for five years ran for Leamington AC.
In 1972 I returned to Cornwall and spent the next 30 years teaching at Redruth School. This is when I first became involved in athletics outside of my own running, by setting up a school cross country team and also becoming involved as Secretary and Team Manager for Cornwall Schools' Cross Country. During my involvement, runners from Redruth School often formed the basis of the Cornwall teams and perhaps the two most notable in the early days were Jon Richards and Dave Buzza. Jon won the 1983 European Junior 5000m title and is still the holder of the UK Junior 3000m record, also set in 1983. Dave's career blossomed when he became one of Britain's leading Marathon International runners in the early 90's. Both are still great friends of mine and I have worked closely with Dave at Cornwall AC for the past 25 years.
In 1974, along with a colleague, Ben Penberthy, who still coaches with me at Cornwall AC, we formed the Duchy of Cornwall AC, which amalgamated with West Cornwall AC in 1982, when Cornwall AC was established. I have continued to coach at Cornwall AC since it was formed, initially working with the younger athletes and more recently being involved with Senior endurance runners and am still heavily involved in this capacity, working (and I would like to stress) with runners of all abilities. Perhaps the most noteworthy at present is Emma Stepto (pictured), who ranked No. 3 in the 2014 UK Ladies' Marathon List. It was Emma who nominated me for the Award in the Honours List and over the years Emma and her husband Brett have become good friends with myself and my wife Gill.
At both the Duchy of Cornwall and Cornwall AC I have not only been involved in coaching but also in club management having acted as Secretary, Vice Chairman and for the past 10 years as Chairman. I have also spent a lot of time helping to organise events for cross country, road running and track and field. Perhaps the best known event has been the Duchy Marathon, being involved in the first race in 1977 and the 37th and final marathon in 2013.
I would like to add a special thanks to Emma and Gill, who, possibly as part of their training for MI5, 'connived' to obtain the information needed for my nomination over three years ago.