Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Guest article by John Walshe...EAGLE ATHLETE WINS BRITISH MASTERS TITLE
Last Sunday week Richard Piotrowski, who now lives near Macroom and runs with the Eagle club in Cork, won the M70 title at the British Masters 10km road championships which took place at Gravesend in Kent.
A regular winner in the M65 (and M60) category on the Cork running scene over the past few years, Richard recently moved up to the M70 grade and his 43:08 over a difficult course and in warm conditions in Gravesend gave him the gold medal.
The report in last week’s edition of Athletics Weekly stated: “Back in the early 1970s Dick Piotrowski was one of the Reading AC senior team taking major team medals on road and country and here was an M70 victor in 43:08, half a minute clear of Peter Giles.”
That report was written by regular AW contributor Martin Duff, a team-mate of Richard on those Reading teams. Piotrowski also ran with the famous Belgrave Harriers and as well was an accomplished performer on the track, especially in the 3000m steeplechase.
As the accompanying result sheet shows (see below), the late 1960s/early 1970s was a golden age in distance running. The race in question – the Bracknell ‘5’ – was just an ordinary club event held in August each year. Although only 108 runners took part, as can be seen the first 12 broke 25 minutes with 82 of the 108 under the half-hour.
Richard finished sixth on that occasion in 24:27 and three seconds behind him was John Bryant, a newspaper editor who would go on many years later to write the story of the London Marathon titled ‘The History of the Greatest Race On Earth’.
In 12th position, and the last under 25 minutes, came Mick Woods of Aldershot, Farnham & District. A former Irish international marathoner, Woods is better known today as the coach to a host of British internationals such as Olympian Steph Twell, European cross-country champion Emelia Górecka, and Jonny Hay, one of the top British hopes in next Sunday’s London Marathon.
The Athletics Weekly edition of April 3rd, 1971, has a report and picture of the Reading AC team after winning the Crawley eight-stage 36 miles road relay. Running the anchor leg of just short of three miles that day was Richard (Dick) Piotrowski who brought his team home to victory with the fastest stage time of 14:51.
To make the pages of that historic and august publication exactly 46 years later with another winning performance is quite an achievement – and there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing the name of Richard Piotrowski appear with frequency on both Irish and British results over the coming months.