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Steve Leach

My journey in the world of athletics started in May 1996 when our sons Alex and Jason were 10 and 9 respectively and came home from Malpas Church in Wales Primary School with everyone buzzing about Newport Harriers A.C.

I took the boys down in the June and started to give a helping hand, I was asked in September 1996 to take a Level 1 Assistant Coaching Course which I did and it started me off Coaching.

In the Summer of 1997, Sharon, my wife, Alex and Jason and I headed to Cwmbran Stadium for a S.E.W.L. match. We hardly got to the end of the Long Jump pitch when up came Mary Jones, I was known to Mary and Joyce Tomala by then, and Mary asked if I could help. Sharon was happy to look after our children so I asked what was required only to be told we need a Timekeeper there is only John Brown at the moment. My question what is a Timekeeper and who is John Brown? Thankfully it was agreed between all clubs the times taken that day would not count for anything, I think at one stage I had a U11 boy in 2nd place in 10.01 (no not turbo charged).

I was persuaded to take a Level 4 Course and did so with Mac and John both from Cwmbran, the tutor was Arthur Davies from Brecon. All three of us passed and my journey had begun. I attained Level 3 (unlike today the progression in the 1990's was 4*,4,3,2,1,0) and that year Jason Clifton was Officials Secretary for East Wales, Jason offered me the opportunity to Chief the Regional Championships at Newport. This was a match the late Brian Alvey would always comment on given the Timekeepers involved. I had set my duty sheet up for the 5 Timekeepers I knew I had and had appointed Richard Cordy as Deputy Chief, just as well as the advice given was invaluable. I arrived 2.5 hours before the start and slowly got very bewildered as as time marched on I ended up with just about every senior Timekeeper from South Wales. Don't ask me to name them all but G Jones of Swansea, Arthur Davies, Cen Stokes, H Tawton etc for the first time we had 3 Timekeepers on each position.

Since that day and with the new grading system I have managed to progress to Level 3. My sons left the sport when 17 and 16 although Jason has come back and competes as a Senior and also coaches. I don't Timekeep indoors firstly I don't like the lighting and secondly it competes with my Faith and thats a no no.

I look forward to keep timing so long as I can maintain my average against electronics and would certainly recomend the discipline to any parent or volunteer who wishes to get involved in the sport.