Hillcrest villagers where world class athletes are born

2015-12-22 06:00
Some of the Villagers participating in the race. Photo: supplied

Some of the Villagers participating in the race. Photo: supplied

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HILLCREST Villagers is an athletic club with a rich heritage situated in the heart of Hillcrest at the William Gillitts sports ground, where the club has its own clubhouse.

Hillcrest Villagers Athletics Club was officially opened as an affiliate club of Natal Amateur Athletics Association on 13 July 1977. The club kit was loosely designed from Westville’s red hoops (stripes and hoops were popular soccer designs at the time), but Hillcrest Villagers decided to be radically different by going with vertical stripes of brown and white.

The brown shorts were commercially available from Adidas with three white stripes on either side, so designer shorts were not needed until Adidas stopped manufacture of this particular colour.

First newsletter was published in August 1977 and the club membership was twenty people (not necessarily all runners).

To celebrate the club’s “birth” a club run and braai was held on 10 September 1977. The route went from the Standard bank in Hillcrest and into Everton Forest (Inanda Road) eventually sugarcane and now “secure estates” have taken over.

The first (inaugural) club race of 24kms was held on the 5 February 1978 from the rugby fields down Inanda Road through Forest Hills and back. Approximately 500 runners took part with John Cafetero from DAC winning in a time of 1:24:32.

By 1980 Hillcrest Villagers Athletics Club were becoming well known and difficult to beat in club races locally and major races held in other provinces.

In 1980 the club was an athletic force to be reckoned with.

In the Comrades Marathon of 1980 they finished third in the Gunga Din Team Trophy winners.

Then went on to win the Gunga Din Trophy for the next three consecutive years (1981,1982 and 1983) a feat that has yet to be repeated.

With top runners Derek Tivers, Graeme Fraser, Tony Abbot, Roly Wood, Errol Ackerman and Ian Edwards all being part of the teams for those three years.

With the best comrades time out of the three years going to Graeme Fraser of 5:41:55.

There are club runs almost every morning from various venues in and around the Hillcrest area.

The time trials are held every Thursday at 6pm, the distances being 2, 4 or 8 kilometres open to everyone.

For more information or to join visit www.hillcrestvillagers.co.za.

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