Jim saw the light in 1981 when he transferred to Collingwood from Ivanhoe Harriers with his good friend Robin Young.
Thus began a long and very profitable association between Jim and our Club.
It is fair to say that during the lean years of the Club through the mid eighties and into the nineties when our membership was decreasing and our winter numbers particularly fell away, it was Jim Hopkins who was one of the mainstays of the Collingwood Harriers.
For a number of seasons it was Jim, along with Jack Dibbs, until the latter’s untimely passing and then Jim by himself that kept the winter team going.
Jim was winter Captain for a number of seasons and filled the roles of winter selector and winter manager as well. Granted the number of competitors was a lot less then than it is now at the time of writing, but Jim was always well organised. This skill was especially evident with the selection of relay teams. Runners were informed well in advance what leg they were running and the likely time that their leg would start to allow them to plan travel to the venue.
Jim has tended to prefer the longer events although he has dabbled in the track seasons and usually makes enough appearances to qualify for the finals just in case he’s needed.
He has held many of our over age records in distances ranging from 3000 metres up to and including the marathon. When the Club first started collecting performances for our senior records Jim often sneaked his name onto the listings in a 200 metre sprint or something similar by having a look through the performances and finding an event marked “Vacant”.
Not for long!! Next Saturday the name J. Hopkins would appear in the 50-54 200 metres category. Although many of these marks have since been bettered, as Jim moves through the age groups he keeps a keen eye on just what’s up for grabs!
As at October 2014 Jim has completed 41 marathons, including 35 Melbourne Marathons.
He was a placegetter and handicap winner in many Club events during the eighties and nineties and even now, occasionally gets under the handicapper’s guard in one of our winter events.
Down in Hobart in 2010 Jim finished second in the Australian Masters’ Half Marathon Championship in the 60-64 year category. Jim regards this as his best result!
Jim is very involved in the Masters competition and is a regular attendee at the Collingwood track on Tuesday nights for their activities.
Apart from competing, Jim has been instrumental behind the scenes when the Club has been called upon to plan courses for cross-country events in Yarra Bend. At one stage it was suggested that Jim was on first name terms with all the trees in the park, such was his proficiency at the task. In 2000 when Collingwood Harriers was given the task of plotting the course for the Australian Cross-Country Championship Jim got to work and produced a work of art. Those of you in the athletics caper will know that cross-country courses are not always accurate, in fact sometimes they are quite inaccurate!
But not with our Jim!
When the official course measurer took his trundle wheel around the 2000 course he was astounded when he found it to be less than one metre out! When informed that it was right on 5000 metres, Jim simply said, “That’s what it’s meant to be isn’t it?”
Apart from the positions that Jim has held during the Club’s winter activities, he also acted as the treasurer for a period and was a most deserving recipient of Life Membership of Collingwood Harriers some years back. He still has input when the Club is putting the winter program together and is still a passionate participant in the fixture rarely missing an event.
Jim lists his best times, albeit from a few years back as:
25k 93:11 (equivalent to 78:38 half marathon)
At the 2017 AGM Jim was elected to the Presidency of Collingwood Harriers. Returned for a second year in 2018, Jim was at the helm during the disruptive period of the major works on the refurbishment of the Collingwood track. His negotiations with the City of Yarra were frequent, but fruitful and the result was certainly a great benefit to the athletes of our Club.