Eileen, an inspiration!
AN INSPIRATION is how fellow runners have been describing Radcliffe AC’s head coach Eileen Royle who died in hospital on Sunday aged 69 after losing her fight against cancer.
Eileen, who lived in Little Lever, had been a member of the club for almost 30 years. Radcliffe AC was formed in 1984 and she joined four years later. She became a member of the committee and later took on the secretary’s post for many years. She had also been secretary of the Cams Lane Community Sports Centre, dealing with facilities at the town’s Nellie Halstead Track area.
She gave up the secretary’s position when she became head coach wanting to spend more time setting up a structured coaching system for the club. This included encouraging other members to take qualifications and Radcliffe now has a team of coaches. Her love was always track running and hiring Bury Track on a regular basis was a suggestion which was part of her sessions and still continues. Many members have said how inspired they were by her enthusiasm and encouragement in training sessions, remembering star jumps with affection, and the encouragement she gave in racing.
In her own running career, she had competed in several marathons and ran under four hours in the London Marathon. She enjoyed road running and on the track, she won the club championship in the 40, 45 and 50 age groups. She dabbled on the fells and in 2010 ran the Lakeland Trails Series winning her age group.
She became a regular figure at the 5k Bolton Parkrun at Leverhulme Park doing exceptional times for her age and was active right up until her illness. Even then she continued to jog and after she had treatment decided to go round the 5k course. Radcliffe club members supported her.
On Saturday morning many former and present Radcliffe members are planning to turn out, many in club vests, at the Bolton 5k as a mark of respect. She will be sadly missed by all her clubmates.
She leaves her partner Stuart and daughter Pip, also a keen runner. Funeral details to follow.