History of Fleet & Crookham AC – when did it all start?
1960 – Fleet & Crookham AC was founded so we have been around for a long time. Back then a group of enthusiastic individuals, including our current President, Malcolm Steggles (a Major in the Parachute Regiment). We have maintained strong links with the armed forces, notably the Army over the years – as shown in the organisation of the Fleet Half-Marathon (Inter-Services Championships).
The success of the Club developed further under the inspiration of the Honorary Club Secretary, Peter Driver. In the momentous year for running of 1954 – the year of Bannister’s 4 minute mile – Peter Driver played his part in England’s golden haul at the Empire Games in Vancouver by winning a gold medal in the six miles event. Peter Driver (1932-1971) took up running when with South London Harriers. He ran his first international for England in 1952 and then had considerable success both on the track and at cross-country. In 1953 he became National Junior Cross Country Champion and in the Games of 1954 also won the AAA six miles track championship.
Peter moved to Fleet in 1961 and joined F&C AC, then a very small new club. He became Secretary and helped to improve and enlarge the club, giving it the base from which it has flourished. The Peter Driver Memorial Road Races were inaugurated in 1972, soon after his untimely death. The main event, a 6 miles road race (now a 10k), was to commemorate his Empire Games victory and as a tribute to his contribution to athletics in the area. The race continues today and is still organised by the club but is now known as the Fleet 10km and also now includes an official 5km event.
The Peter Driver Sports Ground, where our Club meets, was named in tribute to him. These days the running track is no longer marked out on it because football has taken over but we are proud that Peter’s name is still associated to the site.
1982 – The first Fleet “pre-London” Half Marathon took place. The club was able to call it the “pre-London” with permission from Chris Braisher – the founder of the London Marathon and personal friend of Colin Gostelow one of the founders of the Fleet Half Marathon. The race still continues today.
Across the years, the club kit has changed on 3 occasions but still remains predominantly red and white.
We are the small town club which kicks a big punch in all we do – training, racing and event management. But behind everything we do is an amazing team of volunteers and enthusiastic club members.