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About us

Founded in 1884 by Harry Hardwick, Salford Harriers and Athletics Club is one of the oldest clubs in the country, and is in fact probably the most famous Northern Club.

Over the past 133 years, the club has had many successful members, from Olympic Champions, to the current crop of medal winners. 


Since reforming in 2014, our Junior section has gone from strength to strength. Led by Duncan Mason and his team of coaches, our Juniors have put in some notable performances and have seen individual and team medal winners on the road and the country. 

On the front page of the Athletic News, March 5th 1884, the following paragraph appeared.

  "The Salford Harriers is the title of a new cross-country club about to be formed tonight at the Grapes Hotel, Cross Lane. Athletes     and other desirous of supporting the new organisation are requested to meet at 1930. The chief promoter is Mr. J.H Hardwick, and   of those who have promised to join may be mentioned, E. Kane, R. Barlow, J.W Brown, J. Wilson, J.W Roberts, C. Silcock. 


Past Members

In the early years of our sport we were very successful with 6 National X-Country titles and 4 individual victories before the turn of the century. Alfred Tysoe won the 800m in 1900 Olympic Games. We had Harry Hardwick, the founder, who was a driving force behind the club, and also a man who did so much for the sport in its formative years.
Tom Evenson was 2nd in the Olympic Games Steeplechase in 1932, with George Bailey 5th. Evenson also won the International X-Country title on 2 occasions. Bailey won the first Commonwealth Games Steeplechase in 1930, and Billie Eaton won the International X-Country in 1936.
Dorothy Shirley won silver in the High Jump at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

The Senior Men’s team has considerable successes at National and Regional level. Based in North Manchester the club is at the grass roots level providing a local athletics opportunity and encouraging all ages to take part with vigorous junior, women’s and veterans sections.

Salford Harriers stage three road races, a 10K around the City of Salford which has been in the top 100 UK listings, a 5K in Heaton Park and the third a 10K around Boggart Hole Clough attracting around 900 competitors and also organise a Manchester Cross Country League race and a South East Lancs Cross Country race.


Alf Tysoe was Salford Harriers' first Olympic champion when he won the 800 metres at the Paris Games in 1900 and only the second Briton to win a gold medal in athletics. The honour of being the first fell to Charles Bennett (Finchley Harriers) who won the 1500 metres title 24 hours earlier.

Tysoe, born in Padiham, moved at an early age to Lancaster and subsequently to Blackpool. He started serious running in 1892 when he joined the Lancaster club, Skerton Harriers. He joined Salford Harriers in 1896. He quickly gained a reputation among his rivals for gameness and class and from 1895 to 1900 proved virtually unbeatable over the short middle distances. He won 12 Northern titles in these years over 880 yards, 1000 yards and 1 mile and 4 national AAA championships. He showed great versatility in 1897 when he won both the 1 mile and 10 miles AAA championships. Thereafter he concentrated on the shorter distances and won the AAA 880 yards title in 1899 and 1900. From 1896, he was never beaten in Northern or AAA championships. He also ran cross country and, although not reaching the same standard, was a competent performer and was a member of the Salford team which won the 1898 National - the club's last victory in this event prior to that great day in Birmingham in 2005.

He beat the leading Americans whilst winning the 1900 AAA title and went to the Paris Games as one of the favourites. He duly delivered, winning the 800 metres in 2m 01.2s with estimated "negative split" lap times of 65.0 and 56.2 secs.

The last athletics event of the Games was a 5000 metres team race, 5 to run, 5 to count. As only France and Britain turned out, it proved to be a soft event for getting medals - everybody guaranteed a gold or silver as long as the whole team finished. Britain had only 4 distance runners at the Games so co-opted an Australian sprinter, Stanley Rowley, to make up the numbers. Rowley had already represented his country in the sprints, winning 3 bronze medals at 60m, 100m and 200m. The individual winner of the race was Charles Bennett, the 1500 metres champion. Tysoe finished in 7th place, one place behind Sid Robinson who was soon to join Salford and win the Northern Cross Country Championship in 1902. Meanwhile Rowley, who was finding the going difficult when he went beyond his usual sprint distances, stopped running at the end of the first lap and walked the rest of the way. When the 9th man finished, Rowley had completed 7 laps so the officials allowed to stop here and awarded him 10 points for "finishing"10th. Britain won by 26 to 29 points so Tysoe won his second gold and Rowley had a gold to go with his bronzes.

After the Games there was quite a clamour for a match between Tysoe and Bennett to establish who was the world's best middle distance runner. This was duly arranged in September of that year at Belle Vue, Manchester over ¾ mile, midway between their Olympic winning distances, before a crowd of 5000. As might be expected, Bennett, the stamina man, went out hard to try to blunt Tysoe's fast finish. He went through 440 yards in 62.5s and 880 yards in 2m 9s but Tysoe was still there. Tysoe moved up a gear with 200 yards to go, sprinting clear and winning comfortably by 20 yards in 3m 12.8s. He could thus be regarded as the unofficial middle distance champion of the world.

This was Alf's last significant race. In December of that year, he became very seriously ill with pleurisy. He rallied somewhat, but he caught a chill the following August which turned into bronchial pneumonia and brought on consumption (T.B.). Despite great efforts by the medical people, he died on 26th October, 1901, aged just 27.

His death shocked the athletics world and it is reported that, among the large crowds at his funeral, were fans and admirers from all over the world. He was buried at Layton Cemetery, Blackpool and a striking tombstone on his grave had the following inscription on its base: "This stone was erected by the many admirers of this great athlete by whom he was held in the highest esteem."

In the 2004 Olympic Games, the British cyclist Bradley Wiggins won the full set of 3 medals, a gold, silver and bronze. This was the second best ever haul by a British cyclist at the Olympics, only bettered by Ben Jones who won 2 gold and 1 silver in the 1908 Games held at London’s White City. Ben Jones was a Salford Harrier.In those days, one of the main areas of competition was the local sports meeting which catered for both athletes and cyclists. Consequently, Salford Harriers and other athletic clubs had a cycling section. This situation started to break down around 1910 when the governing bodies of the two sports, the AAA and NCU failed to agree on a number of things and went their separate ways. Salford Harriers continued to have cyclists in their ranks for some years after this and programmes for 1920’s sports meetings show club members among the entries for cycling events.

Ben Jones was born in 1882 and was a collier from the Wigan area. He was a member of Salford Harriers from 1905 to 1912. There is little on Ben’s performances in the club’s surviving records but it is known that he was an outstanding performer with many fine results at National and International level. Naturally, his Olympic performances in 1908 stand out. He competed in 5 events which involved 11 races. His first event was the 20 km. in which he finished runner-up to Charles Kingsbury of Portsmouth. He then won his first gold in the 4000 metres team pursuit in which Great Britain beat Germany by 10 seconds.

Included in the British team was Ernest Payne of Worcester who was also a fine footballer, playing for non-league Worcester City. In 1908, Manchester United won their first football league championship. Billy Meredith, their legendary Welsh winger, was unable to play in 2 matches because of international commitments so United borrowed Payne to replace him. He scored a goal in one of his appearances. I do not suppose that he got a championship medal for his efforts but the experience would have been a useful addition to his C.V.

Jones won his second gold in the 5000 metres. Two Frenchmen were favourites, but Ben narrowly won the sprint at the finish. Ben was unfortunate not to win a fourth medal in the 1000 metres sprint. He was just outsprinted at the end but the race was declared void because the riders exceeded the pre-arranged time limit. There was no chance of a re-run. His fifth event was the 500 metres sprint but he did not survive the semi-finals in this.

He subsequently moved to London and rode for Southwark CC and Putney CC. It looks as though he was also based in South Africa, at least temporarily, as he had 4 wins in their championships from 1911 to 1914.
We have no information on the rest of his life.

A profile of our leading individual & team success in the past 5 years written by Geoff Doggett


Commonwealth Games 1998

Sarah Young finished 5th in the 5,000m

Billy Burns ran in the men’s marathon


World Mountain Running Championships


We have had members competing in these championships for a number of years, but the last two years have been outstanding. This year we finished the first three in the English champs and actually had four members in the English team, along with Neil Wilkinson running for Scotland, and Tricia Sloan competing for Northern Ireland. It was similar in the previous year. {In 2000, Billy Burns & Martin Cox were top ten and 2001 Billy won bronze medal}


 Tomas Abyu won the Manchester Marathon in 2002 and the Sheffield Marathon and Leeds Marathons in 2003 Neil Wilkinson and Lisa Heyes both represented England in the Ekiden Road Relay Championships in Japan in 2002 {Beth Allott gained the Commonwealth Qualifying time for the Marathon running 2:34 in Lisbon (2002)} Neil Wilkinson won the International Snowdon fell race in 1999 & 2000 – an outstanding run. Rachael Jones recently won the World Biathlon Championship in South Africa. Bev Jenkins is the reigning 10,000m champion, and Sarah Young finished 2nd in the 5,000m. (1999) Anne Buckley won the Millennium Marathon in Hamilton New Zealand 1st January 2000 


On the team front we have consistently won National & Area Championship medals. National 12-Stage Road Relay Champions in 1997 and 2000, 2nd in 1998 & 1999 We have won 5 of the past 7 Northern 12-Stage Road Relays, 2nd on the other 2 occasions. We have also won the Northern 6-Stage Road Relay Championships in the past 2 years, and have won medals in the National 6-Stage Road Relays on a regular basis. The National X-Country Relay has always been a good race for us with wins in 1985, and 1990, and place medals for the past 2 years, bronze 1998, silver 1999 and gold in 2001. We won the Northern x-country team title in 1999. In 2002 the senior men made the long journey to Bristol and secured a bronze medal in the National X-Country Championships with Martin Cox, Andrew Morgan-Lee, Phil Leybourne, John Brown, James Jackson and Duncan Mason. In 2003 they were selected to represent Great Britain in the ECCC Half Marathon Championship in St Junien, France. One of our proudest records is the fact that we have won more Northern titles than any other club. 20 Northern X-Country titles 8 12-Stage Relays 8 6-Stage Relays 



The ladies section also has a very impressive record : -


Silver medal in the Northern 6-stage in 2003 and silver medal in the Masters Relays in 2003. 2nd Team place in the National X-Country Relays in 2001. 2nd Team place in the 10K Road Running Championships 2000. 2nd Team in the English National X-Country Championships 1999. Ladies Champions in the AAA’s English Half Marathon Championships in 1998. Ladies Champions in the AAA’s 10K Road Running Championships in 1997. They won the Northern Championships in 1998 and the Northern Road Relay Champs on two occasions earning them a trip to the European Clubs Cup Championship in Moscow in 2000.

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