Welcome to Westville Athletic Club
Have you ever wondered how the distinctive red and white stripes on the vests of members of Westville Athletic Club came about? Well, blame it on a bottle of ‘Lion Ale’ beer! While downing a bottle of Lion Ale, a group of ten enthusiastic runners made the suggestion that the red stripes on their new club vests be the same red as those on the Lion Ale label. Today, Westville Athletic Club in KwaZulu-Natal has grown into one of the most successful, respected and recognisable clubs in the country. – BY MICHELLE PIETERS
THE START OF SOMETHING SPECIAL
The club was formed by the following ten runners, all elite athletes, who trained together and all belonged to different clubs in the Durban area:
- Steve Atkins – Comrades gold medallist and member of the Gunga Din Trophy team. Steve’s mother made the first Westville running kit.
- Dave Green – Top ten Comrades finisher.
- Chris Hoogsteden – Top ten Comrades finisher.
- Norman Hosken – President of the Natal Amateur Athletics Association.
- Derek Kay – The world 100-mile track record holder.
- Richard Logan – A great all round sportsman.
- Derek Preiss – First in the 1974 and 1975 Comrades Marathon and member of the Gunga Din Trophy team.
- Dave Rogers – Comrades gold medallist and member of the Gunga Din Trophy team.
- Bruce Scott – A specialist in track and cross-country.
- Norman Wessels – Member of the Gunga Din Trophy team.
These young men formed a strong bond while running and by early 1974, decided to form their own club. Norman Hosken suggested that the new club adopt the same horizontal stripes – but in a different colour – as Celtic Harriers in Cape Town. They decided Westville would be a good place for a new club, as there were no running clubs between Durban and Pinetown. The newly-formed club stretched its running legs for the first time at the Savages Marathon in 1974. They made an impressive debut, walking off with both the individual and team honours!
Starting out, the members of the club were known to use garages, phones, letterboxes and even car boots as their clubhouse. It was a proud day in March 1985 when Westville Athletic Club moved into its own building. It needed a lot of work, and at that stage, both fundraising and member sponsorships were vital. Over the years many alterations were made to the clubhouse, and today Westville club members are proud of their 123 Maryvale Road address.