Hillcrest Villagers Athletics Club was officially opened as an affiliate club of Natal Amateur Athletics Association on the 13th July 1977. The club kit was loosely designed from Westville’s red hoops (stripes and hoops were popular soccer designs at the time), but Hillcrest Villagers decided to be radically different by going with vertical stripes of brown and white. The brown shorts were commercially available from Adidas with three white stripes on either side,so designer shorts were not needed until Adidas stopped manufacture of this particular colour. First newsletter was published in August 1977 and the club membership was twenty people (not necessarily all runners).
To celebrate the clubs “birth” a club run and braai was held on the 10th September 1977. The route went from the Standard bank in Hillcrest and into Everton Forest (Inanda Road) eventually sugarcane and now “secure estates” have taken over. The braai afterwards was held at Dr Solans house at 25 Mill Road for 5pm. Sole Club Kit stockist was Alf Burgess of Burgess Sports in the Village Mall, although Richdens were also given the opportunity to stock our kit, hence Robin Friedman from Richdens being on the committee. Our first (inaugral) club race of 24kms was held on the 5th Feb 1978 from the rugby fields down Inanda Road through Forest Hills and back. Approximately 500 runners took part with John Cafetero from DAC winning in a time of 1:24:32.
By 1980 we were becoming well known and difficult to beat in club races locally and major races held in other provinces. Our running gear was distinctive and TV coverage at comrades added to the impetus and glamour of the club being seen in the public eye. Although competition was fierce due to the running boom and burgeoning sponsorship, road running was in general at its peak in the early 80’s. The fitness craze was spreading and road running and the huge ultra distance augre of Comrades was the ultimate fulfilment of this goal. In 1980 we were an athletic force to be reckoned with. In the comrades of 1980 we finished 3rd in the Gunga Din Team Trophy winners. Then went on to win the Gunga Din Trophy for the next three consecutive years (1981,1982 and 1983) a feat that has yet to be repeated. With our top runners Derek Tivers, Graeme Fraser, Tony Abbot, Roly Wood, Errol Ackerman and Ian Edwards all being part of the teams for those three years.
With the best comrades time out of the three years going to Graeme Fraser of 5:41:55.