A Fairwater Cwmbran Runner’s homage to Tom Richards

19th August 2012

 

In a summer where we have celebrated the success of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, it is almost impossible to imagine that their glories will be so easily forgotten, especially if they are from someone’s local area. Unfortunately, this has been fate of one of Cwmbran's greatest athletes…….

 

Thomas John Henry "Tom" Richards (15 March 1910 – 19 January 1985) was a Welsh athlete, born in Cwmbran, who competed mainly in the Marathon. Tom competed for Great Britain in the 1948 Summer Olympics held in London where he finished 2nd and won the Olympic Silver medal (Wikipedia.org) in a time of 2:35.07, finishing just 13 seconds behind the winner (Delfro Cabrera of Argentina) and 26 seconds in fronts of 3rd place (Etienne Gailly) of Belgium.

 

Tom Richards was born at a 40 acre farm called Garn Wen in Upper Cwmbran, on the upper slopes of the Mynydd Maen. Tom attended the Upper Cwmbran School and was said “he could run from home and reach school before the bell stopped ringing.”

 

Tom’s athletic prowess led him to become a member of Pontnewydd Harriers, whose HQ was at Price’s Bakery on Commercial Street, he was coached in these early years by a gentleman named Arthur Jenkins who became the clubs trainer between 1928-1938. Pontnewydd Harrier's became the first in Wales to have a ‘women’s harrier’ section. Tom invited Arthur to watch him run in the Olympic Marathon and even offered to pay his train fare to London, but Arthur turned it down saying that ‘the excitement might be too much for him.’ Tom almost didn’t make it to the start line.  Just three weeks before the olympic marathon Tom was unable to walk due to a calf problem but with the help of a specialist from the Harley Street Hospital in London he was able to toe the start line. (www.Cwmbran.info)

 

Tom….Fairwater Cwmbran Runners remember you, we thank you and we salute you.  We hope our Crows can fly like you!