Wells City Harriers


Harriers of a certain vintage, especially those who ran with the Club on a Wednesday evening back in the 1990’s, or who liked running off-road, on the hills, will remember Ian Teesdale. Sadly, Ian has died in the last few weeks and we recall here his enthusiasm and joy when running with the Harriers. Our condolences to his son, John, who always made the effort to come across and run the Babcary Road race, and to all his friends who knew him.

Ian, in white hat (centre) with left to right Gary, Rory, Nick, Alasdair and Simon before a Saunders Mountain Marathon


Gary Tubridy writes:

“Nothing quite like a Teesdale run, always involved mud and muck and often blood as well. It was Ian who got me started with the Grizzly and WCH and I doubt I would have entered half the races if Ian hadn’t been so enthusiastic. Always keen to work out a new route he would spend hours going over his OS maps and came up with some crackers. Ian organised and ran the first Babcary Road Race in 1985, long before I was on the scene. It ran three times and then stopped. In 1998 he talked Brian Hartnell and myself to help him resurrect it and it has just had its 21st birthday. Well done Ian.”

Tim Wray writes:

“I remember driving over from Yeovilton to Wells Rugby Club for the usual Wednesday night training in the early 1990s. I'd arrived earlier than usual for some reason and discovered a 'new' person already there waiting to run. This person was Ian Teesdale.

It wasn't long before we realised we had a Royal Navy connection and a lot in common with running. We would often discuss the excellent Navy runners we knew. It became apparent to me that during his time as a Navy officer that Ian associated with some of the best Navy runners of his era. Ian knew Bob Pape, who in turn was friendly with Jim Peters (who so nearly won the Vancouver Commonwealth Marathon in world record time and so nearly killed himself in the attempt.) Bob and Jim were both world class athletes, although Ian told me that the inherent difficulty of training on board ship was probably the main reason why Bob Pape was nowhere near as well known as Jim Peters.

Philip Hampson was another Navy ultra-distance runner who Ian often mentioned to me. He was the same age as Ian, and set English and UK records at distance beyond the marathon. In 1971 Philip set a world record for 50 miles in 5:01:01, 11 minutes better than the previous best. Being somewhat younger than Ian I never got to see him in his youth, but knowing a little bit about Navy running I do not think it would be at all possible for Ian to have associated with the likes of Bob Pape and Philip Hampson, if he were a complete slouch. Ian must have been a very good standard runner.

Ian travelled from Campbeltown to Somerset to attend our wedding in 2001. It is a very long journey for anyone of any age to contemplate, but this was the kind of person Ian was. We were delighted he was there on the day.”

Rachel Wray writes:

“Ian was the epitome of an "English gentleman" and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. His Wednesday night runs from the Rugby Club were infamous with his "harem" of ladies whom he not only escorted and navigated around the Mendips but also educated us on the flora, fauna and bird life en route - an absolute font of knowledge. An average evening run could quite easily have an extra 15 minutes added on due to a Teesdale lecture!

Ian was always keen to help members of the Harriers recce their allocated leg or legs of the Cotswold Way Relay and he was very generous with his time and helpful hints - it was always an enjoyable day out and he was wonderful company. Once he had moved away to Campbletown with Jean he was always delighted to hear news of Harrier members and how they were fairing. His letters were a delight to receive - written in immaculate script and full of thoughtful and well-meaning sentiments.”

Paul adds:

"Ian, in discussion with Colin Turner, came up with the idea of an off-road relay race across the Mendips, the Mendip Duo, and with various Harriers spent many Saturdays working out the best route for the race which took place over a few years in the 1990’s. Even well into his 60’s, Ian was also game to come and run tough fell races like the Cader Idris race at a drop of a hat, and enjoyed his runs in one of the Harrier Cotswold way teams. He was great company to run with - pointing out all sorts of things as you went along."