This Friday 5th August marks the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics;
however it also marks the 50th Anniversary of one of the biggest moments
in the life of Morpeth Harriers legend Jim Alder.
Clocking what was then one of the fastest times in the World for the Men’s Marathon, 2hrs22mins08secs,
he was enjoying his finest hour winning the Commonwealth Games title in a hot, humid and very sweaty
Kingston Jamaica, and writing a whole new chapter into both his and the regions athletics history.
Running in the blue vest of Scotland, he very nearly lost the title after being misdirected into the finish,
because of Stadium Staff being diverted to look after the arrival of the Royal party
just beforehand, and only a more alert Scottish Official helped get him back on track,
only to discover that English rival Bill Adcocks was yards in front of him and hurtling towards the finish line.
Alder sensing defeat accidentally, summoned on all his interior strength,
and eventually swept past Adcocks to take his rightful victory by all of five seconds, and the rest is history.
Even now Alder and Adcocks meet up occasionally on more friendly occasions,
such as the yearly invitation to attend the London Marathon,
and the question is often asked of Adcocks as to whether he let Alder win.
The Coventry man always firmly replies, not likely, with one or two expletives removed.
Hopefully over the next few weeks, although watching from afar,
Alder may be able to cheer on some fine performances during the forthcoming
Olympics including those by Morpeth athletes Laura Weightman and Serod Batochir,
who are competing respectively in the Women’s 1500m, and Men’s Marathon,
and perhaps take one or two moments to smile, and reflect on his own fine
achievement 50 years previous, and maybe utter his own immortal words “Geronimo.”