The foundation photo of the NANCI running crew. They are back row: Al Mival, Tracey Biddell, Paul Shard, Peter Reeves, Jan Brown, Thomas Anderson and Andrea Baker; front row: Rebecca Ungermann, Clay Dawson, Alex Davies, Peter Bracken and Jenny Shard.
THE best person to explain how Ipswich’s character-rich NANCI crew runners came together is master mentor Peter Reeves.
At 64 and still fighting fit, Reeves said the NANCI story had its genesis with up and coming athlete Peter Bracken, who Reeves coached in Brisbane.
“He’s not far behind Clay (Dawson) in the marathon (with a two hour, 33 minute personal best in Melbourne this year),” Reeves said.
“He’s got a big squad in Brisbane who follow a program I’ve set him. He’s called them the BERT squad.
“They are a quality group with some elite names joining in for sessions.”
BERT stands for Brisbane Endurance Running Training.
“But as he’s an expat Pom, I labelled them ― tongue in cheek ― the ‘British Expatriates Ruling Triumphantly’,” Reeves said.
“For friendly rivalry I formed our Ipswich runners into the NANCI squad.”
BERT and NANCI engage in regular racing rivalries.
“Because they had a club uniform designed by Pete Bracken, we had Clay design the NANCI’s a uniform as well,” Reeves said.
“Besides being a great runner, Clay is a brilliant artist and art teacher.
“Both the BERTs and NANCIs subscribe to the training ethos and training model of Pat Clohessy ― former Australian champion Robert de Castella’s coach ― who’s been my friend, mentor and coach for many years.”
Reeves is proud of how well the NANCI squad has performed this year.
Other runners to have excelled include Chris Bell, who won three silver medals at the recent Aussie masters athletic titles.
“Pat Clohessy taught me that the best way to raise running standards was to get a good training squad together who, while being very competitive against each other, are also mutually supportive of each other and encourage one another,” Reeves said.
“This is what Pat put down as the main reason Australia was so dominant in the marathon in the 1980/90s with Deek (de Castella), Steve Moneghetti and Lee Troop leading the way.
“They were great mates as well as great rivals.
“This philosophy has worked well with both the BERTs and NANCIs.”
Look out for the NANCI crew running at Limestone Park and around Ipswich streets next year.
Cheer them on to make sure that NANCI is better than BERT.