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cardiff aac club of the year

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James Thie

27 November 2013

Cardiff AAC’s James Thie has expressed his delight after the club were crowned Club of the Year, winning a vote by fans of British Athletics.

The Welsh club saw off competition from Bristol & West AC, City of Derry Spartans AC and Edinburgh AC to win the Facebook vote taking 32% of the overall votes and Thie, a 1500m World Indoor finalist from 2004, believes the club will go from strength-to-strength.

“I think it’s a great testament to how far the club has come on in the last few years. It’s a great honour because there are so many good clubs in the UK vying for Club of the Year. It’s a testament to the volunteers, because any club is only as good as the volunteers and the people behind the scene.

“I think the future is hugely exciting – with the depth in the junior ranks,  a number of great coaches and a volunteer network forming the backbone of the club. There are so many people that give up so much time. Being voted club of the year isn’t down to just one person, everyone plays their part from the people in the club canteen, to the coaches and athlete. With this strength, I think Cardiff will continue to be a strong club for many years to come.”  

The 35 year old, who has been a member of the club since 1998 cites the men’s podium finish at this year’s ERRA National 12 Stage Road Relays as one of the standout moments for 2013 – their first medal at the relays since 1996.

“My personal highlight was when we got a 12 stage bronze medal. There’s nothing more special in the athletics calendar than the 12 stage relay because of the complexity of getting 12 people out on the day. For us we’ve always had the aim of winning the title, but we’re edging that bit closer. There was a nice blend of homegrown talent, youngsters coming through with the likes of Mike Ward who made the World Cross team all the way up to Nat Lane and myself, who have been at the club for many years. Although we didn’t win on the day, having that achievement on a national podium.

“Our British men’s team getting promoted to the premiership was also a big highlight for the club – we went up and straight down a few years ago, so next year will be an exciting one.” 

Thie, who balances a running and coaching career with positions Welsh Athletics and Cardiff Metropolitan University believes that the strong performances this season from both junior and senior athletes and the welcoming nature of the club is what helps Cardiff AAC stand out from the rest.

“If you look at this year alone, we’ve been strong across all disciplines from cross country, track, road but not just through one age group, but from the young age groups right through to the senior teams and beyond. There’s a nice blend and inclusion for all abilities and levels and I think success builds success. I think having that inclusion to all is that pyramid you want because you want a vibrant club and an enjoyable experience when you go there as youngster.

“But if you’re looking at the performance end, you just have to look at the athletes we’ve had through the years with the likes of Rhys Williams and Christian Malcolm. They’re Cardiff through and through and they could have gone through the years with different clubs, but they’ve stuck and supported the club throughout their careers.”