Sean Baldock has led the tributes to Reg Wild, the much-loved Hastings Athletic Club president who died on Saturday aged 72.
Baldock, a two-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, said that he probably wouldn’t have achieved what he did without Reg’s help during his early years in the sport.
He said: “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have got to where I was. He was my first coach really up the athletics track and at the time I didn’t really love athletics as much as I loved football.
“But he always said I had a natural talent and he would phone me up when there was a cross-country or a league match. He was a massive influence. He would give his right arm for somebody, he would do anything he possibly could do. I don’t think you would find someone who would have a bad word about him.”
Reg, who lived in Upper Park Road, will be known to many as a stalwart supporter of athletics in all forms. In a life full of achievement, his vet 60 time at the London Marathon in 2006 will stay long in the record books.
He joined Hastings AC in 1971 and quickly became a respected coach. At that time, he also worked as a coach at Hastings Seagull Swimming Club. Reg represented Hastings AC at many events, including the World Veterans Championships in Brisbane six years ago.
His contribution to the sport was often unsung as he wasn’t keen on being in the limelight, but he was awarded the Erica Hillier Shield by Hastings Borough Council in 1996 and a certificate of achievement from the mayor last year.
A keen Charlton Athletic supporter, Reg also sponsored the Hastings Half Marathon Mini-Run - a shorter race along the seafront for children aged 11-16 which takes place during the main event - for 15 years.
The full article will appear in tomorrow’s Hastings Observer.