I can't really say that I was into the difference between slow and fast twitch fibres when I was 11. All I knew was that when I playing for the under 11 school football team, at the end of the game I was still running around like Carlos Tevez on speed whilst most of the rest of the team were looking to the ref. to blow for the end of the game. I think today they would have called me "Duracell Boy"
I also recall that morning classes finished at 11.55 and even getting home for lunch was turned into a race even though I ran by myself.
Each day I would dash out of the classroom, down the stairs, across the playing fields and through the neighbouring valley, aiming to be through our back door before the "buzzer" sounded at noon at the local fabric mill.
As I ran I would pretend to in a mile track where the lead would change throughout my 5 minute effort.
Ibbotson, Landy, Elliott,Bannister would all figure but everyday my hero Ireland's RONNIE DELANY would win with a last lap sprint as he had in the MELBOURNE Olympic 1500 metres. My affinity to Ireland largely down to my grandmother's reminders that we were of Irish descent.
We went sent to school on St.Patrick's day with shamrock pinned to the lapel of our blazer, after all!
I was 7 years old in 1956, when Ronnie Delaney became the seventh runner to join the sub 4 mins mile club. In the 1956 Summer Olympics held in Melbourne he qualified for the Olympic 1500 m final but I remember the Australian JOHN LANDY being the hot favourite. Delany shadowed Landy until the final lap, when he unleashed his final sprint, winning the race in a new Olympic Record. I would pretend to replicate this finishing sprint each lunchtime as I ran home from school, leaving my imaginary rivals in my wake. Delany had become the first Irishman to win an Olympic title in athletics since 1932.
But whilst Delany's Olympic gold medal for Ireland was inspiring it would be another 5 years before I test myself
over that kind of distance. For the time being football was king.
Unfortunately, there were no cross country leagues for primary schools as there are now, so any natural ability to run hard and long was never really discovered. But when it came to sprinting I was up against it.
I was only a reserve for the school under 11 4 x 110 yards relay team which was selected to compete in the Manchester Primary Schools. I recall it was held on the speedway track at Belle Vue funnily enough. This was the only competitive running we did at St.Clare's Primary School, North Manchester.
My sprinting ability had not improved by the time I went to St. Bede's College across town after passing the 11+ exam.
Memories of those times are naturally a bit hazy I recently received from my older brother the results of his perusal of old school magazines of the 1960s.
It appears I was entered for the 100 yards and 440 yards, the longest event, in the school sports but as far as I can remember I failed to make the final of the 100 yards, certainly didn't win a medal.
The 440 yards , however, was a different story and saw me coming through after a cautious start to see me grab the win. The record shows the time as 69.2. But there was no real future in it ; 440 yards was too short, however, I wish I could run that now!
The following year I repeated that 440 win but felt far more comfortable running 2 laps. A half mile (880 yards ) win in 2:28 on the school grass track.
This opened up selection for what would be my first real open competition this time 50 years ago; the MANCHESTER SCHOOLS TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS 1962. A satisfying 3rd place but no time recorded and the distinct feeling that 2 laps around the grass track was not enough.
But the opportunity to tackle RONNIE DELANY'S distance would have to wait for another year; my twitch fibres were calling out for more, but they would just have to be patient!!