Brian Sacks bows out after 11 years as JC Athletics' correspondent

A chapter of my life ends today. Eleven-and-a-half years ago I approached Danny Caro with a suggestion of becoming the Jewish Chronicle’s athletics correspondent. I had never been the correspondent of anything before; my full-time career had revolved around computing and mathematics. But I knew something of the Jewish athletics scene because I occasionally trained at Copthall Stadium, Hendon (now Allianz Park).


I felt that the young athletes in the community deserved more consistent coverage and encouragement in the pages of the JC. I was able to show Danny a feature I had written on the London Marathon for the JC the previous year. It demonstrated that I had an enthusiast’s knowledge of athletics. Thankfully, possessing a modicum of knowledge of any other sport was not a requirement of the role. Danny took me on, and he has supported me throughout.

Since that time, I have written more than 400 articles on athletics for the JC, beginning with my Marathon Man series on how to prepare for the challenge of that distance. I have burned the midnight oil on most Monday evenings, to provide copy in time for the weekly deadline.

But this is my last day in the role. In a few days’ time I depart these shores for at least a year or two, to join my family, including my two grandchildren, in Israel. The title of JC athletics correspondent passes jointly to Rosalind Zeffertt and Murray Ayrton, who are both deeply involved in and passionate about the sport.

The role has brought me deep satisfaction. Through it, I have been privileged to come to know giants of the sport, who otherwise I might only admire from afar. For example, more than 50 years ago, I knew Roger Bruck as a name on the notice-board at Copthall Stadium, the holder of the Shaftesbury Harriers record for 100 yards.

Mel Watman was the athletics writer whose Encyclopaedia of Athletics I had chosen as a school prize. Now, well thumbed but still cherished, the book could be enhanced with a personal message from the author. Danielle Sanderson and James Espir were the fine international athletes whose medal-winning performances I would read about in the national press. Through my involvement in writing in the JC, these and others have become friends and have shown me many kindnesses. But the biggest joy has been to promote the exploits of the young athletes of the community. 

My own life experience showed me how athletics can transform a young person’s confidence and self-image. I left primary school without having shown any sporting ability. But that changed within days of starting secondary school when I ran my first cross-country race. Athletics can be like that, with an event for everyone, whatever their body shape. Throughout these 11 years, there have been many committed and talented young athletes within the community. It has been a joy to follow their progress, interview them, write about them and in this way encourage participation in a sport that can set a young person on a path towards lifelong fitness.

I would like to thank Danny for his support throughout my time writing in the JC. He gave me every encouragement in setting up the Daniel Sacks Awards, to recognise the successes of young athletes and keep alive the memory of my late son.

Going forward, Murray and Rosalind are determined to keep readers well informed about the achievements of the athletes in our community. I know they’ll do a great job. I wish them well and hope that they will have as much fun in the role as I have had.



Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive