In the summer of 1975 a sponsored run was organised by Winchester Rotary Club to raise money to start an athletics club. Captain Jim Fox, who was the National Modern Pentathlon Champion at the time, was official starter of the fun run to which only 2 people turned up, John Miller and his daughter, Lynda! Inspired by Captain Fox's achievements in the 1976 Olympics (an individual and team gold), John Miller approached Councillor John Broadway (Chairman of Winchester Sports Council) and towards the end of 1976 Winchester and District Athletics Club was formed. The first event for WADAC (which at the time had only a handful of members) was a cross country race in Havant in November 1976.
From those humble beginnings the club expanded and by the mid-1980s membership had reached 100. Notable achievements at that time included a surprise win in the National Indoor Championships in 1984 by the 4 X 400m relay squad (Sarah Dean, Simone Gandy, Dawn Gandy and Jacqui Parker).
During the 1980's efforts were initiated to construct a running track in Winchester. This campaign ran for 25 years until 2005 when the opportunity arose for WADAC to work in partnership with Winchester City Council and the University of Winchester. The momentum gathered pace over 2 years and together with the impetus of London being chosen as host for the 2012 Olympics, the dream of a track finally become a reality. The University of Winchester Sports Stadium opened in July 2008.
WADAC now has over 600 members made up of competing athletes, recreational runners, coaches, team managers and volunteers. The club competes in all disciplines across the whole spectrum of track and field athletics, cross-country and road running. It caters as much for the fun runner / recreational athlete as well as top senior internationals and through its Sportshall and Development Group seeks to introduce a healthy and active lifestyle to our youngsters.
Did You Know?
Simone Gandy became WADAC's first ever U.K. age best record holder when in 1980 as a 14 year old she ran 64.2 seconds for 400m hurdles. She then went onto break every age best record up to the age of 18. Many years later her record of 58.3 seconds at the age of 18 still stands. Simone is ranked 2nd all time over 300m hurdles with a time of 41.74 seconds. In 1988 Simone competed for Great Britain in the Seoul Olympics.
Dawn Gandy is ranked 34th in the Junior all time list with a time of 54.22 seconds over 400m.
Rankings in the all time 400m hurdles are Jacqui Parker 9th, 56.15 seconds (1991), Simone Gandy 19th, 57.0 seconds (1988) and Sarah Dean 21st, 57.38 seconds (1991). All were Winchester athletes before moving onto National League Clubs in their 20's.
The photo on the left is at Tidworth Oval at an Invitation Open Meeting organised by Andover A.C. in March 1977. and was the 1st ever medal won for WADAC.
Photo from left to right: Jane Lewis, Lynda Miller, Yvonne Cameron, Sally Ingelson.
These are exciting times for WADAC as we look towards the future, towards continued development of the club and the prospect of some of our athletes competing for their country and in the next Olympics.