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On your marks! Harriers reach 125; Olympian heroes attend birthday dinner.

Byline: By JEANETTE SCOTT

COVENTRY'S most recent sporting hero is helping to celebrate 125 years of Godiva Harriers running club.

Coventry-kid Marlon Devonish will be flashing the gold medal he picked up in Athens earlier this year when he attends the glittering anniversary bash tomorrow.

The 28-year-old sprinter, a former Caludon Castle school and Henley College student, scooped a last minute triumph at the Olympic Games with his 4x100m team-mates.

He became the toast of the city, especially at the Devonish family home in Bridgeacre Gardens, Binley, and at his former club.

Marlon will be in the company of the Lord Mayor, Cllr John Gazey, when he attends the celebration dinner at St Mary's Hall as a special guest.

Other ex-Godiva Harrier legends will also be in attendance to compare stories of their winning Olympic moments.

Club secretary Bill Adcocks, 62, of Allesley Park, Coventry, is a former Olympian himself after competing in the marathon in Mexico in 1968.

He said: "It has been 125 years since the formation of the club, which is a fair length of time in these times when things are changing by the day.

"This club has produced so many marvellous athletes over the years and continues to do so today. We are delighted to be getting so many former members together to help us celebrate this anniversary."

Marathon runner Brian Kilby, who brought home medals from the 1960 games in Rome and the 1964 games in Tokyo, will be present, as will three-time medallist Dave Moorcroft.

The current chief executive of UK Athletics, Moorcroft picked up medals for the 1500m and 5000m in 1976, 1980 and 1984.

Lorraine Baker, who won medals in Los Angeles and Seoul for the 800m and now runs an athletics store in Nuneaton, will also be at the dinner.

The club formed in 1879 with its first race from the Bull Fields to the Butts on October 5 that year.

Just two years later the Butts' track in Spon End was opened, catering for both runners and cyclists.

In 1882 the image of Lady Godiva was chosen as the club emblem and some of the last century's greatest athletes rose through the ranks of the Harriers to make it one of the best known and successful clubs in the UK.

CAPTION(S):

DELIGHTED: Harriers' secretary Bill Adcocks; CLUB WINNERS: Successful Olympians Marlon Devonish (above), Lorraine Baker (far right) and Dave Moorcroft (right)
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2004
Words:403
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