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Member Focus: Derek Craig, Hurdles Coach

Updated: May 6

Throughout his years as a young lad at Hookergate Grammar School, Derek was involved in football and athletics. This is where he learnt the art of hurdling and was to become Durham County Champion in the 80yd hurdles.

Derek also played football for Clara Vale. Whilst studying, he was invited to a trial by Newcastle United and was signed as an apprentice at the age of 16. One part of being an apprentice was to clean the boots of professional players such as Bob Moncur.

Whilst an apprentice on the junior team, Derek took part in many tournaments, winning lots of trophies; before being signed as a professional at 17 by the late manager, Joe Harvey.

Derek played professional football for almost 15 years for teams including Newcastle United, Darlington, York and San Jose Earthquakes (USA), playing alongside the great Pele. Derek hung up his boots in 1982 at the age of 30 years.

Derek became involved in coaching and set up the hurdles group at Blaydon Harrier & AC, when his son Louis joined the club approximately 20 years ago. Initially he started with two Juniors and only five hurdles.

Hurdling is a very technical and demanding discipline. Over the years, Derek has coached many Junior hurdlers and he has been rewarded with their improvement, hard work and enthusiasm.

Some of his hurdlers have had great success in National and County Championships, winning many medals and bringing recognition to the Club.

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