Western Districts Joggers & Harriers, better known as Westies Joggers, has been established for over 50 years and continues to grow.
The following article summarises the story of its inception, and appeared in the Cabramatta Chronicle on Tuesday, 5th November,1974
JOGGERS CLUB FORMED BY A BOXER
The Western District Joggers and Harriers Club, originally based in Cabramatta, began as an idea in 1967 when former boxing champion Billy Todd looked at his stomach and saw it was fat.
He told another former boxer and long time friend Laurie Metcalfe, about his overweight problem.
Metcalfe who was once the main sparring partner to Freddie Dawson didn’t laugh - he had the same overweight problem. Todd suggested jogging as a form of loosing those extra tyres around the stomach. In the early mornings residents would wake up to see two heavy men sweating and panting as they jogged along.
By the end of two years, the two men had become 12 joggers, rising to 17 twelve months later. In 1972, 30 joggers belonged to the club. One member who couldn’t run a kilometre when he joined the club, now can do 28km a week quite easily.
Todd’s idea caught on and members began to come from all over the western districts. Officially, the club was inaugurated in July, 1969 and today is recognised as one of the leading jogging clubs in the Sydney metropolitan area with its own annual club race. Members meet every Saturday morning at 7am during the summer at the Cabramatta swimming centre car park.
After their jogging, run members usually finish off the mornings exercise with a swim. Saturday is the clubs day for completing training sessions and once a month it has a handicap race. Members meet in small groups within their own suburbs for nightly training sessions. Jogging runs usually last from 1.6kms to 10kms.
Once every two months there is a family picnic with clubs coming from all over Sydney. Jogging is not a mans domain, the club has a junior and female division too. An official said last week, people who jogged wanted to get fit or improve their sports performances.
"There’s no need to fear you may be left behind in jogging and strain yourself to keep up with the leaders. Beginners are broken in gently. In the first week an experienced jogger will be placed in charge of beginners. About 1.6km is done on the first day, and most of the distance can be walked. The ability to jog will be built up over the coming weeks" he said. Usual attire for joggers is sand shoes or running shoes, shorts and a loose shirt or t-shirt.