Last Saturday’s (June 15) Forest of Dean Parkrun was dedicated to the memory of the man who founded it some 15 years ago.

Dave Lucas was a stalwart of the local running community and a highly-qualified athletics coach who devoted himself to passing on his expertise and enthusiasm to athletes of all ages and abilities.   

Dave Lucas.
Dave Lucas. (© Forest of Dean Athletic Club)

A tribute issued by the Forest of Dean Athletics Club said: “As a keen athlete, having run several marathons and numerous other races, Dave had that rare ability to demonstrate excellence without arrogance.  

“Dave brought the Forest of Dean Athletic Club back from the brink of closure in the 1980s and maintained his involvement with the club. 

“Dave’s hard work helped athletes of all ages and levels of ability.  

“It also helped turn absolute beginners into county, regional and even national champions.  

“As well as coaching, Dave regularly officiated at track and field events, cross country meetings and multi-terrain distance events.

Dave also worked in primary schools, some in Gloucestershire’s most deprived areas, with children who exhibited ‘challenging’ behaviour. 

“In 2014 Arthur Daley, the Gloucestershire Amateur Athletics Association Cross Country Secretary and former headteacher said that ‘through his calm, fair and focused approach Dave Lucas was able to help – within 6 weeks – many children develop movement and agility skills thereby raising self-esteem and self-confidence.’ 

“No one worked harder to promote athletics in the Forest of Dean than Dave and in 2011, England Athletics recognised him with the England Athletics’ Service to Coaching award.  

“In 2013 he also received Active Gloucestershire's Shine a Light award from Lord Sebastian Coe at the Anniversary Games in London.  

“Although pleased to receive such recognitions, Dave was not one to look for personal benefit.  

“Had he sought a higher profile there surely would have been greater official recognition of his achievements.

“Some 15 years ago, Dave decided that the Forest should have its own parkrun.  

“This was only five years after the first event and they remained very thin on the ground. 

“It was a daunting task that many would have shied away from.  

“Not Dave, with a lot of effort, commitment and determination, he, along with a small team of people inspired by his dream, got it off the  with the first run taking place in April 2010 “Less than a year later he helped set up the second ever Junior parkrun in the world, which continues to take place every Sunday morning at Five Acres.  

“He was also instrumental in setting up parkruns at Newent and Lydney.

“For many of the following years he would be there most Saturdays in all weathers, towing his trailer full of equipment across to the start of the run, checking out the course and making sure all the volunteer roles had been filled.

“On Saturday, members of Forest of Dean Athletic Club and the Forest of Dean parkrun community paid tribute to Dave by running and walking the parkrun with some of Dave’s close family members. 

“Many were wearing the purple parkrun volunteer t-shirts or the green colours of the Athletic Club.

Dave had a burning passion for participation in all levels of physical activity, whether it was setting up a gymnasium in his garage for neighbours to use or helping to create a summer ‘Ole-limp-hics’ (with a winter variation) as part of an annual village fete.  

“His legacy will live on throughout the Forest and beyond but most of all within the Forest of Dean Athletics Club and the Forest of Dean parkrun. 

“It’s very probable that, without Dave Lucas, neither of these would be there.”