Nowadays few sports people excel at more than one sport, dour specialisation pursing one objective rules the day. Before the1980’s there were many Gloucester citizens who excelled mixing rugby with other sports.
Clive Wootton(83) still active walking the hills and fells was of Gloucester’s finest. Top level at rugby and athletics between 1953 and 1983, he was offered a trial with Gloucester City Football Club at 17-18 but declined.
Asked to reflect on this Clive said, ” Sport was a way of life in Gloucester. Obviously injuries in different sports hampered, especially at championship time, with hindsight I think my running did suffer”.
Described by fellow Cryptian school mate Howard Allen ” A speedy and beguiling winger ” and by the former Gloucester chair Terry Haines as, ” A stylish and graceful runner, best at quarter and half mile, able to sprint and run at top level in cross-country. When I watch Olympic 2012 and 2016 800 metre champion David Rudisha Clive comes to mind”.
At Crypt he dominated sports days, setting his first school Under 15 880 yard record in 1953. In 1954, a fifth former, he beat all the older boys winning the 440 yards, 880 yards and the 1 Mile. The fact file gives details of him representing the county at South West and National level.
He ran for Cheltenham and County after a brief spell with Gloucester between 1955 and the mid sixties. The majority of fixtures held all over the county on bumpy grass tracks in handicap events. He won many prizes recording national ranking times.
A typical training session at 20 on the bumpy Crypt school field was five repetitions of 440 yards with 3 minutes rest each running between 52.3 and 53.7 seconds. 10 minutes rest then 440 yards in 55 seconds.
Continuing to combine athletics with rugby did prejudice a challenge for a 1960 Olympic 800 metres trial.
Joining Gloucester Athletic Club as it developed to national level in the early 1960’s, he was the major winner of events and points in the sprints and middle distances. In winter a regular scorer in the cross-country teams ranked among the nations top twenty five. Terry Haines commended Clive’s contribution, ” Along with his impressive competitive record, he was a quiet influence as many young athletes rose to national honours. The “go to” person for guidance on training and racing.”
When he left Crypt in 1954 Clive played rugby for Old Cryptians and Widden Old Boys, graduating as did many city youngsters then to Gloucester first team in 1959. His speed earned many tries and he set a still standing United try scoring record of seven tries in one game. He returned to Widden Old Boys before several appearances for Cheltenham. In his last game for them he scored the winning try against Gloucester.
Injury stopped rugby at 38. A two year abductor strain threatened his sporting career.
Clive patiently rehabilitated, returning to competition in the fast developing veterans calendar.
After winning area and national veterans(40-44) titles in sprint and middle distance races along with several years heading the veteran 400 metres and 800 metres national rankings, he won a coveted Great Britain vest at Hanover in 1979.
In his record: (V40) 400 Metre: Heat. 1st (51.8). Semi Final. 1st (51.8). Final. 8th (52.4). 800 Metre: Heat 1st. Semi Final. 1st. Final 7th(2 minutes 1.9 seconds). 4×400 metres Relay: Silver Medal with a 49.9 second split time.
After his final national veterans 400 Metres title in 54.2 seconds in 1983 Clive took up fell walking and remains with target walks to achieve.
Clive Wootton, an excellent representative of Gloucester’s sporting heritage.
Fact File: Born 1937. Educated Crypt School. Career. Radiologist at Dowty Rotol.
Personal Bests: 100 yards 9.8 seconds, 220 yards 22.2, 440 yards 48.2, 880 yards 1 minute 51 seconds & 1 Mile 4 minutes 20 seconds.
Significant achievements and honours: Veteran indoor and outdoor British Champion. Also represented the Midland Counties indoor and outdoor at Senior level. County Schools and Gloucestershire County(prior to 1974 including Bristol). Gloucester AC Senior Cross-Country Champion.
Fell Walking: 3 Peaks(Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis) 23 Hours aged 66. Cotswold Way 102 Miles. Severn Way 215 Miles. Wye Valley Way 137 Miles. West Highland Way 95 Miles(twice). All done backpacking, wild camping and skinny dipping for washing.
Clive is father to Simon who was a member of Severn AC before he emigrated to Australia.