Eddie Maddison is a Sunderland Harrier that club members look up to - filling many voluntary roles that ensures that the Harriers are an efficiently run organisation.
His quiet disposition is perfect for this role which was recognised in 2017 with an England Athletics Regional Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I knew nothing of this until I received an email to say I had been shortlisted and was invited with my wife to the awards ceremony at Lumley Castle. I was delighted to be announced as runner up, it’s an award that your club members have to put you forward for and I am pleased they thought I deserved it."
“Sunderland Harriers has given me so much over the years, I enjoy every aspect of the sport so when my racing days were winding-down I decided to keep involved by helping out in any way I could. The club is run by volunteers and without them we couldn’t do what we do, especially with the younger age groups.’’
“This does give me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction and if I can help I will. I am a committee member, welfare officer and vice president and until recently women’s team manager, a post I really enjoyed. The girls are fantastic, reliable, funny and motivated, with the help of club captain Colleen Compson we created a strong team with exceptional team spirit."
Maddison is a qualified England Athletics Coach in Running Fitness and a Run Leader. He prepares sessions and routes for groups, running on a Tuesday and Thursday club nights. The sessions are inclusive for everyone and everyone is welcome. They use the roads and pathways with occasional track nights. With the help of the other Run Leaders they provide an opportunity for people to run in a safe environment and within a group setting.
The 73-year-old is one of the few ever presents that has competed in every Great North Run and asked how long he intends to keep going he said: “I will keep going as long as I am capable of finishing in one piece. I just take it year by year but the lockdown and cancellation of the 2020 event was a bitter disappointment. Especially as it was to be the 40th anniversary of the run. I think a few of those that have completed every run would have reached that milestone and called it a day."
“My best race time is 1:13:21 achieved in 1987 on a hot June day before the GNR changed its date to September, my last GNR in 2019 I managed 2:01 and I feel I am capable of getting under two hours again before I give up. Things may be on the up as I have just entered and been accepted for the 2021 run.’’
He first took part in athletics was when he attended Thorney Close Secondary Modern School in the early sixties. They had a cinder track, a cross country route on the Sandhills at Grindon and a motivated PE teacher. They won the Town cross country championships and Maddison went on to represent Sunderland Schools and the County Schools at various regional events.
“After leaving school I still went out for a run to keep fit and at the age 33 in 1981 I completed the first Great North Run and in 1982 my son joined the Harriers with his friend Stewart Mathieson. I used to take them along and I was persuaded to run with the seniors on the roads while they were on the track and that was my introduction to club athletics.''
“I was a competitive club runner who liked to try different events from track to marathon. I did enjoy running half marathons and in my early days of competition the Harriers was and still is a fantastic place to develop and improve over any distance, regardless of ability. I have a PB of 1:13:21 in the GNR from 1987, a 2:47:10 from the London Marathon, 55 minutes for 10 mile, 16:20 for 5k and 33:15 for 10k."
“I have been lucky enough to be part of some very successful club teams competing all over the country and gaining three silver and two bronze National Masters team medals."
“Team events bring the club together and create a unique atmosphere of encouragement and working in partnership to try and achieve success. It’s not about winning but more of being part of a team representing your club and enjoying a competition where everyone encourages each other. This is Ideal for new runners and fantastic from a spectator viewpoint as they are usually over a shorter distance around a loop, they provide a perfect introduction to club athletics’’
The South Hylton athlete's favourite events are the Royal Signals Road Relays a long-established road race, and the Farringdon Cross Country relays.
He has won a few age-related events from as far afield as Roundhay Park, Leeds, 5-mile, first over 40 in 27:15, a 10k in Blackpool again first over 40 and first over 45 in a 10-mile race in Bradford. As a 65-year-old he was first in the Bridges of Tyne 5-miles, averaging 7:45 per mile pace.
“I have cut back on my training from six days a week and running twice a day to running three or four times a week averaging around six miles per day. I live beside what used to be the original coast to coast cycle route so much of my training is off road on the tracks around Hylton Riverside, Cox Green and Penshaw. It doesn’t get any easier and with the situation as it is motivation can be an issue but once you get started everything is fine."