Both visitors and residents of Halesowen today honoured the late Jack Price, founder of the Halesowen Athletics & Cycling Club, by unveiling a plaque in his name. The permanent memorial was revealed in Somers Square to celebrate the life of a legendary Halesowen runner who dominated the country’s early 20th century long distance running.
His family and supporters have long campaigned to get a memorial for Jack who died in 1965 (aged 81). During his early career he won Britain’s first ever marathon, which was a 25-mile run from Coventry to West Bromwich in 1908.
Unfortunately Jack athletics career had to be put on hold following the outbreak of World War One. He fought for his country during the entire conflict. After safely returning home he made his comeback in 1919 as he stormed to sixth place in the famous Polytechnic Marathon.
Jack then made the decision to turn professional and it was then he began to dominate. Later competing for the huge prize of £75 to the winner of the Powderhall Marathon. It proved a masterstroke and he bought a horse and cart with his winnings so he could set up his own haulier company to enable him to train even harder.
His grandson Mick, who unveiled the plaque commented: “Granddad Jack was a fantastic role model. My parents used to tell me that Granddad would train both in the morning and in the afternoon, covering countless miles every week. So much so he often used to eat 4 meals a day!”
In 1922, Jack setup the Halesowen Athletics & Cycling Club, two clubs which have produced such stars as Olympic stars Jess Varnish and Helen Scott alongside 2014 BC elite mountain bike series winner Beth Crumpton.
Below are some pictures of the unveiling ceremony: