Graham Dugdale

We are sad to report the death of Graham Dugdale, who died at home on the weekend of the 5th/6th May. TVH members Paul Oppe and John Offley share their memories of Graham.

Graham joined TVH in September 1973 and played a prominent part in the TVH Road and Cross Country success of the 1970s. Graham was a well-liked and respected member who provided leadership and inspiration to many TVH members. I first met Graham when I came down to join TVH in September 1976. I had recently joined a local company as an Operational Research Analyst, a fairly obscure profession and was amazed to find myself jogging round Linford Christie stadium with a fellow Operational Research practitioner. Graham recovering from a recent marathon quickly got me involved in the TVH Middle Distance Group under Les Pulman. Graham was the leader, inspiring a group of athletes who provided the nucleus of the winning 1978 Southern Cross Country and 12 stage Relay teams. It was Graham who suggested the 12 stage prize of a gallon bottle of whisky be donated to the Clubhouse fundraising raffle. Without a doubt the success of TVH Road running from 1974-1980 was hugely influenced by Graham.

Graham helped set up memorable training camps on the sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr in South Wales and was a fellow member of the TVH Sunday Night Drinking Club which met at various pubs on the Piccadilly Line. Graham’s best achievement was 3rd place in the 1977 AAA marathon in 2hr 17m 16 sec. Graham took an interest in all disciplines in the club, supporting the British Athletics League team and up and coming youngsters. Graham moved away from London in 1980 and I would suggest that between 1973 and 1980 he was known by all members active, coaching or committee. He continued to support the club with several significant donations as well as popping up as a spectator at events all over the Country, the last such occasion being the National Road Relays in Birmingham in April 2018. –  Paul Oppe

Soon after Graham joined TVH he won the Club 10 mile cross country Championship from Dai Davies, and followed it up with success in the tough Isle of Wight Marathon. Chris Brasher persuaded us to be part of the back-up crew for Joss Naylor’s Pennine Way record attempt, with Graham accompanying him on the first leg over the Cheviot Hills and Joss finally set a new best time.  In 1976 Graham won the Belgrave 20 in 1:47:14;  in 1977 his marathon personal best in the AAA’s race at Rugby  was followed up with a win in the Etienne Gailly Marathon in Belgium. This prefaced quite a few races abroad, including a second place in a half marathon in Switzerland with a PB of 67:57. His last marathon of note was 4th place in the 1979 Milton Keynes race, just over 20 seconds slower than his best. Outside the marathons, Graham was a valuable member of the Club’s teams on the road and over the country and contributed much to their successes. In the 80s work took him to the Midlands, where he moved to Ashby-de- la Zouch and joined Notts AC. He became interested in hill walking, culminating in LEJOG (i.e. Lands End to John-O’-Groats!), which he achieved successfully in 2002.  I suspected he regarded this as his greatest achievement. He moved to Devon soon after, and we visited him in Chudleigh in 2005 on our way to the British Orienteering Championship, and we have wondered if this encouraged him to try the sport. Graham joined the Devon Orienteering Club and in recent years took on the roles of membership secretary and organising events. –  John Offley

2 thoughts on “Graham Dugdale”

  1. I remember Graham quite well: short and stocky, with a rather rolling sort of gait, he didn’t really look like your average distance runner. He is they guy I always think of first, though, trundling around the track at what was then West London Stadium, whenever I remember that excellent crop of distance athletes that were around, and who we then youngsters all looked up to, when I joined the club in 1976: Puddifoot, Patterson, Standen et al. Oh, and there was that newcomer Oppe, who was quite useful at Steeplechase, I believe.

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