Welsh Masters Stalwart, John Collins, sadly passed away on the 4th of June.

June 5, 2017

John had been so involved in every aspect of athletics, from competing to officiating and organising. His involvement has spanned an amazing sixty two years. It is therefore very difficult to write a concise precis about John’s contribution to athletics, it would rapidly develop into a book.   

As an athlete he was tough and tenacious, representing Wales as a senior on the Cross Country many times after winning his Welsh title in 1963. He continued his career as a veteran and he obtained many medals, notably within the World Mountain Running championships, BMAF medals at all disciplines and of course Welsh veteran / masters medals, whilst still continuing to compete in his Welsh international vest at the cross country internationals. Recently, he even continued to represent his beloved club, Swansea Harriers (plus the WMAA) at race walking, when told that he couldn’t compete as a runner due to his ill health

As an official, John was heavily involved with Welsh athletics, also serving the BMAF and the WMAA. He was always very courteous and fair in his decision making and seemed to be present, (due to his volunteering) at nearly every event on the planet.

As a representative, John gave even more time to athletics. In 1963, he founded the Gwent Cross Country league, from its humble beginnings this small league is now one of the UK’s largest, covering Wales and the West Country. John has also served as President of the Welsh Athletics Association and up until his death was its current Vice- President.  The Welsh Athletics Association has honoured John with many awards, the highest being the Lifetime Achievement award. In its beginnings in 1984, John helped to found the Welsh Veteran’s Association (now the WMAA) and has served on its committee in many roles, up to the present day.

What more can I portray about a gentleman totally committed to the world of athletics, his involvement and inspiration has affected everybody that had the fortune to cross John’s path.

Mel James.

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