Our spotlight focus on Ashford this time shines on Ashford Athletic Club, based at the Julie Rose Stadium
Ashford Athletic Club is one of Kent’s best known and most active athletics clubs. Offering coaching and competition for a range of events for all abilities and ages from 11 years. This year the club is now in its 54th year.
Ashford Athletic Club was formed on 24th March 1965. Two Ashford public schools’ P.E. teachers realised that they had a number of talented youngsters who required extra athletics training that the schools could not provide.
The club’s first training night on 13th April 1965 was attended by more than 23 people at the South Secondary Girls’ School. In the first year the club won county medals in discus and 4 man relay. As well as winning three inter-club Kent meetings.
By the end of 1970 the club membership consisted of 103 boys and 43 girls. And by 1980 the club was regularly winning county and national medals.
At this time, training was held in the grounds of the Stour Center, but it was realised that proper track facilities were desperately needed. There were no facilities in Kent, the nearest with competition type surfaces being at Crystal Palace, which was already overused.
In September 1979 talks began with the council to see how more athletics facilities in the Ashford area could be provided.
Julie Rose Road Race:
The first Julie Rose 10k Memorial Road Race took place in 1986 and the race was started by Steve Cram. The race attracted more than 2000 entries and has taken place yearly ever since.
Funding for the Julie Rose Stadium came from the proceeds of the 10k races, Ashford Borough Council and the National Lottery.
The Julie Rose Stadium:
Named in memory of local middle-distance runner, Julie Rose, who was killed in an air crash in November 1985. Sadly, Cliff Temple (Julie Rose’s coach and Chairman of the Julie Rose Memorial Fund) suddenly died in 1994, just as the location and construction plans for the stadium were finalised.
Stadium construction began in 1995 and the club eventually moved to their new facilities in March 1997. In the first year, after moving to the stadium, membership rose to over 300 flourishing ever since.
The club has enjoyed success at all levels from sports hall athletics through to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Some of the original members and coaches of the club are still involved: Ted Hawkins (Ted is the only remaining active founder member), Muriel Seamon who is President; Dave Fox who won medals at the age of 16 for the club and athletes, Jenny Brown, Jennie Matthews and Jacqi Snare.
The club is one of only three Kent clubs to have achieved Sport England Clubmark accreditation. This is given as a reward to clubs for providing a high standard of care for its members.
The original Club colours consisted of a gold vest with twin diagonal black stripes. The vest colour has not changed, but there is now a single vertical stripe from front left shoulder to waist with black shorts.
The Julie Rose Stadium offers an international standard 400m all weather running track. There are also long jump, high jump, pole vault, hurdles, hammer, discus and shot put.
There is also an indoor training area comprising of a 60m sprint track, long jump and an indoor netted throws cage.
The site has a gym and Pod+ (an injury clinic and sports shop). The stadium is 2 miles from Ashford International station on the outskirts of Ashford.
Take part in Ashford’s annual road race…
The Ashford -Givaudan 10k 2019 on Sunday 6th OctoberTime to get your entry in…
This years Julie Rose 10k race – the “Ashford Givaudan 10k” takes place Sunday 6th October. Open to everyone and stating and finishing at the stadium.
If you feel motivated or looking for a reason to get yourself fitter and healthier, what better incentive than a race on your doorstep.
There’s plenty of time to get into shape ready for the challenge.
If you’ve never run for more than a bus, then to help you why not download the ‘Couch to 5k in 9 weeks’ NHS One You App.
– you can get the google play app here.
– you can get the apple app here.
Obviously you’ll have to work your way through it twice so you can complete the race. That’s a minor little detail you can achieve easily if you get to 5k.