The English Cross Country Association is sad to report that Alan Brent has passed away aged 98. Alan was President of the English Cross Country Union in 1989 and worked hard for the ECCU as an Official and Course planner.
He was also President of the South of Thames Cross Country Association in 1966 and President of the Southern Counties Cross Country Association, Kent County Athletics in 1979. He was presented with the Queens Jubilee Medal in 1977 and more recently he won a prestigious London Sports award for his outstanding contribution to Athletics over so many years. Alan joined Blackheath Harriers on 4th March 1946 at the age of 27 and died after 71 years of extremely distinguished service to his Club and to Athletics. His wife, Brenda, had died at age 96 less than 4 months previously.
Alan was a consistent performer and ran in the Blackheath team in 20 consecutive Southern Cross Country Championships and in 20 consecutive National Cross Country Championships between 1946/7 through to 1965/6. He was in the scoring 6 on 18 occasions in the National and 16 times in the Southern. Just 3 team medals though, bronze in the 1948 National (the race being won by Sydney Wooderson) and silver and bronze in the 1948 and 1950 Southerns. His best National saw him finish in 32nd place and he managed 15th in the Southern. He reckoned he had been to 50 consecutive Nationals and it was ironic that the first two he missed were in 1994 and 1995 when the Blackheath won the team title. He also missed seeing the under 17s win the team title in Havant in 1997. He attended every day of Athletics at the 1948 London Olympics and could point out on photos exactly where he and Brenda his wife sat.
Club committee meetings with Alan in attendance were quite a lesson. He was never rattled and never lost his rag. His contributions were always measured, thoughtful and intelligent. A great man with great knowledge and great judgement. Both Alan and his wife gave great encouragement to Youth and the Blackheath Club History records that “many can testify to their encouragement of youth, not only officially or on coaching courses, but morally and always cheerfully”. He was a very special man, they were a very special couple. Not sure we will ever see the likes of them again.
Thanks to Mike Martineau for the information, above a full obituary can be found on the Blackheath and Bromley Harriers website.
The funeral will be at 11:15 on Tuesday 4 July at Beckenham Crematorium BR3 4TD.