Commonwealth Games 2014 - Queen's baton relay

Club History

Townsville Road Runners Inc was started in 1972 by a dedicated group of runners who got together regularly to race. Initially they called themselves the Townsville Marathon Club but later changed to the Townsville Road Runners, better reflecting the true nature of the club and perhaps less daunting for potential new members. Some of the inaugural members of the club are still active members today.

Moments in History 

Some defining moments of the club as remembered by Joe Scott for the 30th anniversary of the club in 2002
  • Club Formation : The Townsville Marathon Club was formed in 1972 by about a dozen runners to promote distance running in Townsville.
  • Withdrawal from Queensland Amateur Athletic Organization : Initially all club members had to be registered with QAAA. After a couple of disagreements between QAAA and the Townsville Marathon Club, the committee decided that the club could function quiet well without QAAA and so withdrew in about 1975.
  • Club Name Change to Townsville Road Runners: At the inception of the club, there were not a lot of distance runners in Townsville and so the "marathon" word was seen as a challenge. However, the running boom was just starting and the word marathon in the club name frightened a lot of potential members from joining the Townsville Marathon Club. In the early 1980's the name of the club was changed to the Townsville Road Runners.
  • The Tea Urn : The club was always a friendly group, but often the front runners had departed before some of the slower runners had finished. One of the runners volunteered to bring a billy to make tea and coffee after the run and so then the front runners tended to stay on for refreshments after the run. Soon 1 billy was not big enough and then 2 was not enough either and so the first urn was aquired around 1984. The tea and coffee after the run adds to the social side of running. The club name change and the tea urn doubled the membership of the club at the time.
  • The Change to Saturday Morning Runs : In the early years of the club, the Saturday events were always in the afternoons, starting at around 4pm. This was often inconvenient and or hot for runners. About 1985, it was decided to start the club runs on Saturday mornings at 7am. Immediately club membership increased again and was another leap foreward for the club.
  • Printing a Programme Early and Sticking to It : There was generally a programme mapped out in the early years, but often for one reason or another, an event would be changed. This caused disenchantment for those who did not hear of the change and so turned up in the wrong place, or for new starters who could not find where the club members were meeting. A decision was made in the late 80's to print and distribute a calendar and stick to the programme no matter what happened (even once when a cyclone was imminent) so anyone with access to the calendar would be able to turn up at the correct venue.
  • The Club Will Cater for Runners of All Speeds : There was a period in the early 80's when an elitist attitude seemed to prevail, and some of the slower members seemed to miss out on some of the club activities. eg. packing up before they had finished their run. In the mid 80's there was an attitude change in the club that gave all levels of runners equal importance. This philosophy has been successfully maintained over the years and is one of the cornerstones of what the Townsville club is about.
  • The Purchase of the Van : With the growth of the club in the 90's, the amount of equipment that was needed every Saturday increased.  A trailer was purchased for the equipment, but could only be pulled by members with towbars, so when the van was offered at a bargain price, it was snapped up. The customised racks by Wayne allowed the van to be packed like a sardine can. This first van was eventually deliverd to the wreckers and the club in 2013 is now on to it's third Van. 
  • The Townsville Running Festival : This was initiated in 1999 by then club president Mark McKeon. Prior to the running festival the club always held a marathon and a half marathon in August, but in 1999 a 10k race was added to the programme and the event was renamed the Townsville Running Festival. In 1998 there were 61 finishers in the half marathon and 15 finishers in the marathon. The first Townsville Running Festival had 58 finishers for the half marathon, 26 finishers for the marathon and 31 finished the 10 Km. In 2001 a new marathon course consisting of two 10.5 km loops and a 21 km loop was measured and accredited by Dave Cundy. The 10km race was changed to a quarter marathon but in 2010 was again changed back to 10 Km. This course is still the same in 2012 with small changes to mainly cater for the increase in competitors. A 5 km race was added in 2005 mainly so that juniors could also participate in the Running Festival. In 2012 there were close to 2000 competitors in the McDonalds Townsville Running Festival.


Townsville Road Runners Club Presidents

Mike Phillips 1972 - 1975 Peter Lahiff 1976 - 1977
Brad Cooper 1978 - 1979 John Heppel 1980 - 1982
Bill Maitland 1983 - 1989 Jaap DeJong 1990
Joe Scott 1991 - 1995 Russell Gustavson 1996 - 1998
Mark McKeon 1999 - 2000 Brian Armit 2001 - 2005
Ian Frazer 2006 Tony Hockings 2007 - 2008
Sonia Chalk 2009 Tony Hockings 2010 - 2013
Tony Gordon 2014 -2019 Colleen Newnham 2020

Townsville Road Runners Life Members

Peter Lahiff Dr. Bill Maitland
Richard Harris Shirley Harris
Joe Scott Alan Stanbrook
Bob Down Rowan Carr
Dave Wharton Rod Parker
Bert Part Brian Armit
Col Taylor Mary Donoghue
Mike Donoghue George Colbran
Judy Davies Pete Neimanis
Tony Hockings Antony Daamen
Michael Fitzsimmons