(Pictured left to right: Fred Bell, Mick Woods, Clive Thomas)
Welsh athletics is deeply shocked by the sudden death of the former Welsh 1,500m champion Clive Thomas at 67 years of age on 21st September.
As well as being an outstanding all-round middle distance runner, he was a well-respected coach at his club Wells City Harriers, where he coached a large group of runners, including international athletes Frank and Ben Tickner. He was the club’s vice-chairman.
Originally from the Ogmore Valley, he was a member of Thames Valley Harriers, and was a leading member of their British League and middle distance teams on the country and road during the 1970’s.
His best times included 1:51.2 (800m), 4:01.7 (mile), 13:42.73 (5000) and 8:37.8 (3,000mst). He was the Welsh 1,500m champion in 1973 clocking 3:52.6. Athletics Weekly described his 5000m title win in the Southern Championships in 13:42.73 as “an exceptional performance, striding around the last lap in 59 secs to emerge as a real threat at the distance”.
Clive’s only British vest came in 1975 when he ran a personal best of 8:37.8 when finishing third in the 3,000m steeplechase in Britain’s A team match against France in Dieppe. This time set almost 40 years ago would have made him the fastest Welshman in 2014.
His close friend, another Welsh 1,500 champion, Fred Bell, who had spent a day with him on the Thursday before he died said that he was totally devastated and Clive’s death had come as a total shock.
Fred first met him when Clive was a student at Trinity College Carmarthen in the mid 1960’s, and they continued to be close friends.
Clive spent many years as a teacher at Millfield School and continued to live in Street after retirement and until his death.
Everyone in Welsh athletics extends their sympathy to his partner Sue and his sons Alan and Neil.
Funeral arrangements will be announced when they are known.
By Clive Williams