A Tribute to Colin Hunt

Former member Steve Bartley has sent us this, in tribute to Colin Hunt who passed away last weekend.

Although I am not a current member of Tipton Harriers I hope you will be so kind as to publish the following on your website.

I started running in the running boom that followed the staging of the first London Marathon. Basically I did not have a clue about effective training I just ran a few more miles each week and eventually ran the first Wolverhampton Marathon.

I can’t remember how it came about but shortly after the marathon someone told me about a group of runners that met outside the church at Himley every Sunday morning and went for a training run.

One Sunday morning I turned up and mingled with the crowd of runners feeling a bit out of place. One of the group started to chat with me asking about what I had done in relation to running and where I was from etc. When the run started it was clear that this person was the ‘leader’, he chose the route and everyone else was happy to follow. This person was Colin.

Anyone who knows me will have heard me say on many occasions that there were two people who encouraged, educated and inspired me in my humble running career, one is Allan Rushmer and the other is Colin Hunt.

Colin encouraged me to join a club and when Ron Bentley found out I wasn’t a member of a club it was pretty well decided by Ron that I wasn’t joining any other club other than Tipton!

Colin was a joy to run with on long runs. His humour and anecdotes always helped the long slogs to seem less arduous. I can remember one Saturday when Colin, Billy Carr and myself were doing a particularly long training run, 30 odd miles or so as I remember, and after about 3 hours Colin took two pieces of fruit out of the pocket in the inside of his shorts and offered me one, not surprisingly I declined the offer!

The Sunday long run from Himley was always a joy with not only members of Tipton Harriers such as Ron and Gordon Bentley, Geoff Taylor and Bob Young, to name a few, but runners from many local clubs in attendance. Sometimes the group seemed to have more runners than some races but Colin was always the general and everyone was happy to follow.

On these runs and when we would sometimes share transport to races I would pick up training and racing tips from Colin. When Colin spoke you listened because he had run the race, got the medals and the T shirts!

On one occasion Colin was talking to me about having the confidence to pace yourself at the start of a race so on one DK 10k I started right at the back of the field with Colin and actually set my best 10k time at that point.

As Colin was quite a few years older than me I progressed to the stage where in one race I actually passed Colin for the first time and I can honestly say I hesitated before going past him. I’m sure Colin was actually delighted to see me have a good run but it didn’t feel right at the time.

I remember running the evening race in Albrighton on one occasion when a particular lady race official well known for her stickler approach spotted that I had cut my race number down. I was trying to placate the lady and was telling her that the numbers were quite big and me being a bit of shorty it was taking up the whole of my vest while at the same time Colin was shouting “throw him out, bloody cheat, typical Tipton Harrier!!”.

I haven’t seen Colin over the last few years but I have many happy memories of being in the company of a great runner and a great bloke.

My thoughts are with Colin’s family and his many friends.

Steve Bartley

Colin's funeral is taking place on Friday 29 July at 3:30pm, Gornal Crematorium, Chase Road, Gornal Wood, Dudley, West Midlands, DY3 2RL. Afterwards everyone is welcome to join us at Tipton Sports Academy.