Athletics legend insists: I’m not finished yet!

Gerry North receives his south east region award for services to athletics by England Athletics National Council chairman Graham Jessop
Gerry North receives his south east region award for services to athletics by England Athletics National Council chairman Graham Jessop
Pompey fans enjoyed a 2-1 win on their last visit to the Memorial Stadium. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Gerry North collected his latest athletics honour and insisted: There’s still more in the tank.

North’s services to the sport have again been recognised after he was given a special award by governing body England Athletics at a ceremony in Crawley.

The City of Portsmouth coach picked up the south east region award as his commitment to athletics was highlighted again.

The former News Sports Awards winner has enjoyed a distinguished career, with a lifetime of coaching and organising races.

And, at 74, North is showing little sign of slowing down as he continues to go about the business he loves.

North said: ‘It was nice to win the award and a good night.

‘People think I’m mad for doing the things I do. It’s what I enjoy, though. I think I’ll probably die on the running track!

‘It’s nice to be appreciated because it’s voluntary work.

‘You don’t do it to get paid – you do it because you enjoy it.

‘Most days I’m out coaching someone and I’m not about to stop doing that.

‘There were some nice things said about me at the awards.

‘It seems that I might also be put forward for a national award now, too. But I do it because it’s something that I like doing. That won’t stop.’ North had a stand-out athletics career where he was regarded as the best cross-country runner in England on his day.

That saw him take in spells for Blackpool, Lancashire, Belgrave Harries and City, as well as his country.

North is a key figure in City’s races which prove so crucial in keeping the club afloat.

They include the Promenade 5K series, D-Day 10K and Victory 5 – all events with huge regard on the athletics calendar.

North’s quality has seen him manage teams from club to international level in his time in the sport. That has included stints as England boss as well as a managing the south of England road team for a decade.

Then there is his status as a level five endurance official and the first-ever race scrutineer for the British Association of Road Races.

He continues to harness the talent of athletes and has recently overseen the Karrie Blake success story.

North is now hoping to bring through another potential star in the shape of Cassie Thorp.

Thorp, who used to play for Pompey Ladies, is focusing her attentions on running after she was spotted by North and City.

North said: ‘Cassie came to our attention at the end of last year and she has decided to come down to the track. We think there is some definite potential there.

‘We’ll be looking to get her into some races to build up her confidence.’