Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but I have to tell you that the club's oldest member, Vince Plank, died last Friday at the age of 97. Whilst of course we are sad to learn of Vince's passing, it is perhaps more appropriate to talk of celebrating his incredibly long and active life.
To the best of my knowledge, Vince joined the club in 1982 when he was already 68. And he was no ordinary 68 year old. In one of his earliest competitions for the club, the Gwent League at Beachley in December 1982, Vince broke a bone in his foot. Most athletes would have retired gracefully. Vince was neither graceful nor willing to retire. He finished - a long way behind the penultimate runner, and being December, it was dark! We were all worried about him, but that cut no ice with Vince.
Alan Bladen visited Vince's daughter yesterday, so I am eternally grateful to him for this information. Vince received a cup for winning the Over 75 section of the British 10 mile champs in Llandudno in November 1989 in 83-39. The following year the British 10 mile champs were in Oswestry and Vince set a course record for the Over 75 section of 88-14. There is also a plaque from the Great North Run in 1992 and inscribed is First Over 75. Vince also won the Welsh Vets M70 10 km in 1985. I'm sure there are many more examples of Vince's outstanding endurance.
At this stage I have no details of funeral arrangements but invite you all to share memories of this remarkable character. I believe the last time he made a public appearance with us was at the Annual Dinner Dance of 2007 when he and his wife May were guests of honour. They had been married over 70 years - an amazing achievement. Sadly, May died later that year at the age of 89.
My abiding memory of Vince was his passion, particularly about running. If he wanted to tell you something, you dare not interrupt or try to escape. You listened! What a character!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:23PM