It is with great sadness that we report the death of South Shields oldest Harrier, Ralph Sheraton, at the age of 87.
Even in his early eighties he was marshalling for the Yachts races, at the bottom of Beach road. Ralph joined the Harriers in 1950 and his running career mirrored the changes in athletics over the past 70 years, from handicap races at summer fetes to the growth of road racing and veterans competitions.
Ralph won his first race, a youth handicap, at Seaham CW in 1950. Between 1951 and 1955 he won or was placed in another 12 races, between 440 yards and a mile on grass. He won the Prinsky in 1953 and set a record for the Yachts. In 1955/57 he won 2 cross countries, at Sunderland and Lobley Hill. He continued running through the sixties and took on some club administration and athletic reporting for the Gazette.
The 1970s brought on new challenges, with the rise of veterans athletics and the coaching of his son, Stephen, and others of the Youth section. Ralph also sacrificed himself to help the seniors win the cross country league. He was traumatised for the next 2 years, having to run from the fast pack! From the seventies onward, Ralph continued to be a more than respectable competitor and at the age of 56 ran the Great North Run in 1hour 20 minutes.
As well as being a coach, Ralph was club chairman, treasurer and the manager of the successful winning cross-country team in 1998. More importantly, Ralph was a gentleman and a good friend.
Our condolences go to his wife, Pauline, his son Stephen and his daughters, Elizabeth and Gillian. Pauline has asked that his funeral be kept a private family affair.