Welcome to Spartan Harriers
The Spartan Harriers was formed on the 26th April 1901. On
that date a general meeting took place at the Cumberland hotel
St Georges St. for the purpose of forming a club whose object
would be "To foster cross-country running and promote
athletics in general".
The Town Headquarters were the Altona Hotel in Woodstock,
and its Country Headquarters in the Welcome Hotel in Maitland.
These two establishments still exist although not in quite
the same state. The club soon started road and cross-country
running events, with the first recorded club walk taking place
on the 27th August 1901 starting at the Cumberland hotel and
proceeded "round Kloof".
The year 1903 saw the commencement of the Big Walk run over
a distance of 50miles and took place on the 13th August, The
race attracted 61 competitors, started at Greenmarket Square,
proceeded along what is now Voortrekker Road to the 25th milestone
and back. Mr. WA Millar won the event in a time of 9hrs 23mins
and 29secs. It is reported that at Salt River after taking
champagne he then got away from the second placed man.
1907 saw Spartan's introduce the Marathon to South Africa.
There was great interest in the race with both the Argus and
Cape Times carrying articles and picking favorites. The race
was well supported with crowds up to twelve deep in places
along the route.
1926 was another historic year with the club forming a Ladies
Section. Ladies were also for the first time allowed to compete
in the Big Walk. During this period
Spartans became a force in Cape athletics, for example the
Spartans Cross Country team won the Western Province team
championship 27 times between 1906 and 1940.
Life for the club did not always run smoothly. The years
1934-35 saw Spartans embroiled in disputes with other clubs
and Western Province Amateur Association, culminating in the
club being kicked out of the WPAA. This apparently led to
the Ladies Section resigning en mass and joining the rival
club, Celtic Harriers. However it seems that sanity prevailed
and by March 1936, Spartans were back in the fold, except
that the ladies did not return to the club and for many years
Spartans did not have a thriving Ladies Section.
In the past few years the club has faced many ups and downs.
However with the search for a permanent headquarters finally
solved in1993 by the building its own Clubhouse in Meadowridge.
In 2001 the club celebrated its Centenary, also the year 2003
will see the centenary
of its oldest event, the Big Walk.