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The British Airways Athletics Club History


Amongst all the coffee mugs in the cupboard is one that says ‘BAAC 20th Anniversary 1981-2001’. Those early days seem long long ago but they set the spirit and style of today’s BAAC. The vibrancy and the variety of club activity continue each passing year.

With perhaps 20,000 employees in and around Heathrow there were many that in 1980 slipped out for a run at lunchtime or after work. Individuals and groups bumped into each other on the roads and in the local parks. Subsequent chats over a beer at the old BOAC Speedbird Club or the BEA Trident Club grew into the idea of forming the British Airways Running Club resulting in the 1981 milestone.

These were the days of ‘the running boom’ and the club rapidly grew in numbers. Enthusiasm was high. The club kit quickly appeared in local running events – on the road and cross country. The London Marathon became an annual highlight as did the World Airline Road Race. The London Marathon marshalling teams also came into being at the same time.

In-house club events quickly blossomed – the Waterspalsh 10K, the Parkway Mile, the Concorde 10K became some of the Club standards as were winter cross-country in the Surrey League.

All these events continue today. An exiled member from 1981 would feel comfortable in familiar surroundings were they to return today. The spirit continues.


John Williams, founder member and club president.