Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Dic Evans A Runner for Wales for 45 years interviewed in 2009

DIC EVANS  may not be well known outside of Welsh athletics but there must be extremely few, if any, in the United Kingdom who could claim that they have represented their country in races for 45 years consecutively but in Dic Evans case, he has for Wales. However his biggest and most welcome surprise was this year on the 10th of October, the day before his 63rd birthday, when he was first 'M60' in the sixth World Distance Mountain Running Challenge in Soll, Austria in 4:21.36.(123rd of 379 finishers overall). Evans explains "The first part of the course was very nice, very pleasant and flat but by half way you hit the first of the two long climbs which was 2500 feet in five or six kilometres'
He recalled ' Till I was called up on the podium, after the finish, I thought I was second in my category. It was the best surprise I ever had and birthday present I will not forget as, I virtually finished on my birthday'
   Although Evans had got individual silver and bronze medals in World Masters events the gold had eluded him except for team prizes.
Looking back now one realises it is very rare for any team to beat England in the International Veterans cross country match but back in  1989-1990 Dic was part of an impressive team, that had all run at a very high level as younger men. In 1988 all the four scoring athletes were from Wales at Moss Valley, Wrexham Tony Simmons (31:52); 2 Alun Roper (32:24); 3 Taff Davies, M50) 32:56 and 4 Dic Evans (33:06) The first from England in fifth place was Shel Cowles in 33:12.
Then in 1989 at Ampthill Park the result was  1 Tony Simmons (33:45); 4 Alun Roper (34:03); 6 Dic Evans (34:50); 9 Clive Thomas (35:10).
   As an M45 runner Dic Evans did claim the M45 World Best for 35 miles and 50k but, just before he turned 40, he ran 2:17:57 for the marathon in Glasgow.
He was Captain of the Welsh  team in the 'World' IAAF cross country in Chepstow in 1976 when Carlos Lopez won from Tony Simmons and Bernie Ford but the year before Dic Evans had his highest place in the event of 43rd ahead of notable cross-country specialists Trevor Wright, Alan Blinston and Mike Beevor. The first four that year in Morocco were Ian Stewart, Mariano Haro, marathon man Bill Rodgers and miler John Walker. Evans was the ninth UK runner to finish which,  theoretically, would have put him in a possible GB team so, what is his take on not having home countries represented in the event any longer, only a full British team?
   . "It was a shame that the powers that be have now stopped the four countries competing separately. In Wales people really aimed for that. It was a target and something they would specially train for. Look at some of these countries now like Yugoslavia they can have several teams in the event as their country is now broken up but of course we can't.'
   Regarding his years as a veteran runner he explains " I am now Semi-retired as a Head teacher so with my job, I had found it very difficult to go to all the World Masters Championships so I went to very few of them.'
He added ' I started to run for Wales in 1965 when I was young and ran sometime for them every year since then. I gained a vest as a schoolboy to start things off'
   He was one of six children in Aberystwyth, which was the club he ran for till he joined Cardiff, which he is a life member for services to the club and, he can remember his days with Aberystwyth before that and the team winning at Nos Galan and also beating more well known clubs in the Bracknell Relays. He also remembers the good advice he has had from so many people like Ron Cullum at the start and Tony Pretty, the TVH runner who ran for Wales.
   Dic Evans is one of six children and his Mother, who is 90 still opens her shop from time to time to sell odds and ends.She has been a great inspiration and help to him.
   Evans coaches many athletes including recently Joshua and Lauren Harris and when Liz Hughes started running at 29, he coached her and she went on to win the W35 in the World Masters 10k race in Birmingham.
" I have coached many athletes who have achieved Welsh vests and even some for GB.  I have a special way of coaching that seems to work out well but says " It gives me a great thrill to see youngsters coming through. I don't mind at what level they are at when they come to me I will help them. In athletics without the back markers you  would not have a race. The back marker is just as important and I don't like people just talking about the front runners, that really annoys me."
 Dic Evans concludes
   " I have had some wonderful moments. Athletics has helped me fulfil my life"

Alastair Aitken

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