As is the norm during the local athletics season, this Saturday will be busy. Two of the season's most important meets will be held. One is the Youngster Goldsmith National Classic, which will be held for the first time in the absence of Mr Goldsmith, the venerable weightlifting guru. Sadly, 'Mr G' was laid to rest just weeks ago.
The other meet is the PUMA Jamalco Development meet at Halse Hall in Clarendon. This meet celebrates its 30th anniversary this Saturday and those who have been there on a repeated basis will have memories by the score. Like its companion meet in Kirkvine, the Jamalco meet is run on a grass 400-metre oval. It is close enough to G.C. Foster College, host of the Youngster Goldsmith meet, that athletes, fans and some officials might even do double duty.
In the last few seasons, the organisers have taken to honouring stars of the past. Among those who have had a well-deserved moment in the spotlight are Rupert Hoillete, Pablo McNeil and Lindy Headley.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
This year, organisers Dennis May and Neville Myton are turning the light on to three men who once wore Jamaica's black-green-and-gold with pride. Trevor Campbell, Mike Fray and Seymour Newman all brought us joy during their running careers and share centre stage this Saturday.
Those names prompt a trip down memory lane. Campbell, known to a generation of Boys Champs fans simply as 'TC', was a KC hero. Never defeated in an individual Champs race, he ran brilliantly in events ranging from 200 to 800. He was a schoolboy Olympian in 1972 when Jamaica entrusted him with a leg on the senior 4x400. Some still swear that he is the finest schoolboy athlete they have ever seen.
They offer his records in the Class One and Two 400m and the Class One 800m and his irresistible relay running as evidence.
Newman challenged 'TC' over 400 metres when they were both in Class One, and when the one-time pace bowler left Wolmer's he blossomed into one of the world's best at 800 metres. In a senior career where he imperilled his own welfare through his love of representing Jamaica, he set national records at 400 and 800 metres.
Bundled over in his 1976 Olympic semi-final, he nevertheless surged to a 43.8 second relay leg in the 4x400 final, the fastest in those Games. In a fine 1977 season, he did a CAC 400/800 double and lowered the national 800 record to one minute, 45.21 seconds. That record still stands today.
Fray was the original tall man of Jamaican sprinting and one of an elite group of our speedsters to have been in Olympic finals over BOTH 100 and 200 metres. The only others to have this distinction are Herb McKenley, Don Quarrie, Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
But for the close confines on lane one, he might have placed better than seventh in the 1968 200m final. In those 1968 Games, Errol Stewart, Fray, Clifton Forbes and 100-metre silver medallist, Lennox Miller, set a world record in the 4x100.
That time, 38.39 seconds, lasted as a Jamaican record until 2000.
In 1972, he was in the Olympic 100 medal race. He held the national record for 200 metres and 220 yards.
He grew from a schoolboy rival of Miller for STATHS in 1965 to world-class sprinter in a few short years and opened doors for Jamaicans, including future Bert Cameron at the University of Texas, El Paso.
Together, 'TC', Seymour and Fray represent an early age of Jamaica's athletics. They probably understand that they helped to lay the foundations for today's golden era, even if most current memories are more recent. Thankfully, the Jamalco organisers haven't forgotten.
Hubert Lawrence has covered athletics since 1987.