R.I.P. Doug Hopkins

I am sad that I have to inform you all of the passing of our former Race Walking Coach, Doug Hopkins who passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday 7th July.

Popular Chatham-based Doug Hopkins was Centurion No.347, qualifying when aged 23 in the colours of London Vidarians at the 1963 Brighton-to-London-and-Back clocking 22:24.10.  Yes you read it correctly – there were many races over a return journey (London & Brighton) but 1963 was the only year where this journey was reversed – starting and finishing in Brighton. Doug was one of 6 London Vidarians to qualify that day – 6 from one Club was then a record (since beaten). Those worthy 6 were, in finishing order : R.W. Hyland, D.B. Hopkins, A.J. Clarke, D.J. Hill, C.T. Mason & A.Parsons.  Doug raced for London Vidarians and then Medway AC, which in 2001 was part of a merger which saw Medway & Maidstone AC appear on our scene.  Doug put much back into our sport after he’d hung up his racing shoes, by qualifying as a Judge and accepting many appointments.  He’d only recently stepped down from judging.  He was a loyal supporter of Kent County AA fixtures for decades.

He became a Centurion at a relatively young age, Gibraltar champion and several  times Kent Champion.  At Medway Athletics Club, formally Rochester and laterally Medway and Maidstone AC he served as a initial coach to the most eclectic bunch of walkers as Cameron Corbishley, Ben Parsons, Gordon Beatie, Di Pegg (Bullard), Steve Holliday, Chris Hobbs, Tim Hayes, Rod Parkins and many others.