Mike Strange retiring, it’s hard to believe - he has been with the club for over 50 years.
A Level 3 coach, Mike has decided now is the right time to step aside from regular coaching sessions at Bristol and West, with Monday 29th as Mike's last training session for the club.
Younger club members may not know, but Mike was a very good 400m Hurdler. In his time, he raced against top athletes, including David Hemery who won gold at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
He was coached at West London Stadium by Ron Roddan, from whom he learned many of his coaching skills (Ron coached Linford Christie to Olympic 100m gold at the Barcelona Games in 1992).
Mike moved to Bristol in 1968 and competed for Bristol AC for many years. He took over coaching in 1972 following the sudden death of then hurdles coach, Laurence Hurley. There were brief spells of absence when his career took him around the world. In 1986 he became sprint coach and hurdles coach when the club were based at Whitchurch track, and he worked with several groups of athletes, including some of those who are now coaching at Whitehall.
He was instrumental in the setting up and participation in the Midland League, and was involved in the management of the club as it became Bristol and West.
In recent years he has concentrated only on hurdles coaching and had some notable successes -Jodie Hallett who was fourth in the English Schools Champs on two occasions at 300mH and 400mH, and Yannick Budd who went on to compete in the Diamond League after finishing fourth in the UK Champs. Of sprinters, Derek Morgan and Luke Grinnell spring to mind as great Bristol club athletes.
He has continued to provide training and support to all grades of hurdlers, and new coaches, at Packers Field, but has now decided to step back from regular training sessions. He will continue to support the club on an ad hoc basis and with timekeeping duties at club matches.
A massive thank you from everyone at Bristol and West for all you have done and helped with over the years Mike.
Our thanks to Jim Kyle for his inputs to the above