Rod Smith, a founding member of the City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club and race director of the highly successful Salisbury 10 mile road race, is to have the event named after him in recognition of his great service to the event and to the sport across the region.
Rod was race director from 2009-16, doubling the number of entrants and introducing the event to the Hampshire Road Race League from the beginning, since when it has become one of the season’s top events every year.
We are sorry to report that two years ago, Rod was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which has progressively affected his memory as well as his ability to run. Running was a central part of his life for many years and he misses it a great deal. He attends the club’s summer pub runs when he can and he enjoys continuing to meet with runners there. However, his illness has meant that he has reluctantly had to give up his involvement in the race organisation too.
Rod was part of the new club formed when Salisbury Athletics Club and Sarum Striders joined forces during the 90’s. He became an ‘ever-present’ competitor in HRRL events from then on, and even when well into his sixties he competed regularly and to a good standard. Instrumental in the club’s road running side for many years he was dedicated to his role as road racing manager, encouraging many new people into the sport and developing excellent performance by the club overall in that time: highlights include the club’s men’s A team winning the league championship title two years consecutively in 2013 and 2014.
In the early 2000’s when the Salisbury 10 had been on the brink of cancellation by its previous organisers, Rod successfully led the bid to save it and by 2009 it had grown sufficiently in size and reputation to become part of the HRRL fixture list, from where it has gone on to reach its present high standing. The race and the large number of volunteers who help make it happen receive many, many plaudits from competitors and spectators alike.
Today, on behalf of the wider road running community, the club has decided to mark Rod’s huge impact on the event over the years by not only adding his name to the title, but also creating perpetual Rod Smith trophies for future CoSARC member winners of the men’s and women’s races.
The Salisbury 10 mile race on 14th April 2019 will raise funds for a charity to be chosen by Rod and his family and it is hoped that they will be able to be present on the day as the club’s very special guests.