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Member Profile Norm Duff

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Norm DUFF

One of the Club’s best ever distance runners, Norm was most prominent through the late fifties into the sixties and beyond. A dual winner of our own Club 5 Mile, Norm was a multiple Club Champion over many distances.

Norm was a very popular member of our Club and was made a Life Member in 1974. It is great that he still gets back to ‘The 5’ each year for our Parade of Champions.

A summary of his placings at Victorian and National level are listed below.

1957    3rd.       Vic. 15 Mile Championship

1958    3rd.       Vic 6 Mile Track Championship

2nd.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 48m 00s

1959    1st.       Vic 15 mile Championship

2nd.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 52m 33s

1960    2nd.       Vic 15 Mile Championship

3rd.       Vic Marathon Championship

5th.       Aust Marathon Championship            2h 31m 13s

1961    2nd.       Vic 15 Mile Championship

2nd.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 29m 35s

1962    3rd.       3rd. Vic 10 Mile C.C.Championship

1st.       Vic 15 Mile Championship

5th.       Aust Marathon Championship            2h 31m 25s

1963    1st.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 34m 25s

2nd.       N.S.W. Marathon Championship        2h 28m 00s

1964    3rd.       Aust Marathon Championship            2h 26m 56s

1966    2nd.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 29m 06s

5th.       Aust Marathon Championship            2h 26m 56s

 

In August 1968 Norm was hit by a van near Fenwick St. whilst running along Heidelberg Rd., towards the old Clubrooms near the railway line. Taken by ambulance to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Norm’s prognosis was anything but good. The story goes that he was left in casualty for some six hours because he was not expected to survive and there was less paperwork involved if the patient was not admitted. Finally, suffering multiple injuries, including a broken skull and leg, Norm was put into intensive care where he remained for many days.

The news that Norm was starting to improve was received with great relief by all those at the Club. Norm’s high level of fitness was mentioned by doctors as the main reason he survived and eventually recovered so quickly.

On the last day of Interclub (now Shield) competition before the Christmas break of 1968, just on four months after the accident, Norm made his comeback to athletics when he ran in a D Grade 440 yard race at Olympic Park. Although Norm ran last, well behind the field, the standing ovation given to him by those present from all Clubs was an unbelievable experience, never to be forgotten by those present.

1970    3rd.       Vic Marathon Championship              2h 26m 08s

1972    5th.       World Veterans Championship           2h 29m 30s

 

Norm provided a report of his run in the first Veteran’s Championships in Cologne.

Tale of a Marathon.

January 1st 1972                     Started training for Cologne

September – Race day!

We went by tram to the start of the race, however it was further that we had realised and we only arrived five minutes before the gun.

At 2:00pm 420 runners lined up.

The gun went   – TWICE!   False start!

Soon after the field finally got away, I realised that the markers were in kilometres, not miles! I had no idea how many kilometres there were in a marathon!

After about half an hour’s running we came to a fork in the road where there was no indication of which path to take. It went through my head that if I take the wrong branch all my training will be wasted.

Someone shouted “LEFT”, at the last minute and all turned out well!

At the finish I was handed two medals.

When the results were posted I was listed as having finished in 200th. spot with Ron Young (St. Stephen’s Harriers) in 5th. place.

This was rectified when the amended results were released with our names reversed.

My last training run before the race was 20 x 400m at 70 secs each – 50 second rest.

June 2013