Tony Fern - My Ethos
Ethos, Honest Endeavour. Always believe and think for yourself.
Being a proud Tipton Harrier gave me this ethos.
Honesty Of Effort. If you did your best you could hold your
head up high. If somebody was good enough to beat you, be a man,
shake his hand. He was better than you that day. So train harder
for the next time you raced him.
Honesty In Selection. No one was ever put into a team on
a hunch, time trials were used to solve contentious issues.
We had dedicated officials like Jim Bedford, Len Myersgouth, Joe
Gripton, Captain Ken Rickcuss and vice captain Bert Harbache. All
these people did not know how to tell a lie. They all gave honest
answers to any question, and sometimes the truth really hurt, but
it was still best to hear it.
Tony 1500m winner, Greaves Sports day 1970
Think And Question What You Are Doing.
Alan Rushmere was a common-wealth bronze medallist behind Kip Keino
and the great Ron Clarke, a bright lad who realised you need to
do much more than pound the roads to be a success.
Alan would often ask senior athletes for advice, but I found I learned
more from him than I think he ever did from me because Alan thought
about why, although we were a great road and cross country club
we only had one track star, Bert Harbache. He questioned and found
The person I admire most in athletics is my old team mate Ron Bentley.
What a man, loud and strong, average by the standards of Tipton
Harriers, but this did not stop him breaking the world 24 hour endurance
record, because he believed in himself. Before a race he listened
to all the great runners of the day, each hoping they could do it.
Ron told me "I knew I would win because I knew, I could do
One day a young lad who had been turned away by two other clubs,
came up to me. He said very confidently and brazenly. "You
coach me and I'll make you a famous". He reminded me of a brash
young Ron. That lad was James Starling. Within a year he was a junior
Glen Grant. Former chairman of the BRITISH MILERS CLUB used the
group late in his career. Glen was an enormous help to me with his
profound knowledge of the sport.
Not knowing too much can be an advantage. One of my funniest moments
was when Chris Bunyan, a local lad whom I was helping, rang me from
America saying he had just run a marathon and quite fancied taking
it up seriously. He asked would I send him a schedule. Discussing
it further he told me he had run the Boston marathon the previous
day and finished second. I enquired what time did he do. He replied
" 2hours 10mins". After a stunned silence I gathered my
thoughts. "Would you send me a schedule" I asked .