50 Years at LP&S
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dave McCombs membership of Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers AC; OK so the period from 1973 - 1995 he was with the "Pembroke" bit, but you get the idea. This makes him possibly the longest serving member of the club (although Robbie Wood might have something to say about that and George Jones and John Bradshaw are also Life Members, but it's a close run thing).
It is a little-known Hollywood fact but this sallow youth, in the colours of his school, auditioned as a teenage version of Conan the Barbarian, but was rejected for being too muscle-bound (the hair was perfect though). As well as being a multiple Lancashire Champion over hurdles and long jump he also set the record for the U15 80m hurdles in 1974; a period when the County was far larger than it is today and included Merseyside and Manchester.
As well as his talents for sprint hurdles and long jumping his dad (forever known as Dave Mac Senior) had coached a 6 ft+.high jumper still at the tender age of 15. It was obvious to all that the junior version was going to try his hand at combined events.
Back in the 1970's the only venue in the whole of Britain you could host indoor meeting was an old RAF hangar at Cosford, near Birmingham; but it was beloved by athletes of the time. It was here that Dave set his first combined events record for the club in an indoor sextathlon in 1979. It was also the setting for his best ever long jump of 7.06m, only the third long jumper to better 7m in the clubs history.
John Hartles, Dave Mc & Mark Line, from a time when we had more decathletes than just about anything else (apologies for the damaged photograph).
It was to be a natural progression for the sprinter/jumper to move on to pole vaulting again under the watchful eye of pappa Mac (who would go on to become the clubs pole vaulting coach through a golden period for the event at Pembroke). His 4.20m P.B. in this event remains on our 5 deep list to this day.
Taken at Costello Stadium, Hull when it was still a building site !
It is remarkable that a man of, shall I say "modest" height, should be our third best all round jumper of all time, topped only by a AAA's decathlon champion and a double-Olympian.
From Dave (anti-clockwise) Frank Moran, Alex Kruger, John Hartles and Kenny Gates (sadly, no longer with us).
The story inevitably leads to his current role as our high jump (and recently long jump) coach. With his own unique style of building unshakable self-belief in his athletes he has continually rolled English Schools' competitors and medallists off his assembly line, including an under 15 champion in 2010 who would've won silver in the senior age group that day ! He has, to my knowledge, coached five two-metre high jumpers, something most coaches would be happy to do just once in their lifetime.
The future; Dave's current high jump academy (ladies section).
Here's to a splendid half-century not-out Dave, and many more great memories to come.