The History of Dorchester Athletic Club 

The History of Dorchester Athletic Club 

The present-day athletic club was formed during 1975, when some six interested people, led by 76-year-old Ralph Thompson, gathered together to form a club to be called Dorchester Athletic Club. Athletic activity had, of course, been taking place in the community long before this. In the nineteenth century the Eldridge Pope Brewery had a Horticultural and Athletic Club and there is a record of Dorchester Harriers competing against Weymouth Harriers in 1910. 
Dorchester AC has had a number of "homes" including the recreation grounds at King's Road and Weymouth Avenue, at the former Thomas Hardye School at Barnes Way and at the adjacent St Osmund’s School. 
The fledgling club soon started competing in the two main south-west T&F leagues, the Westward and the Avalon together with the more widely distributed Southern Women’s Leagues. Over winter it also started to compete Avalon Cross-country League. 
 
The Club's strongest period was in the mid-eighties when it was at the old Hardye's School. It became one of the dominant clubs in the region at both track and field and cross country. It was the Westward League champions in 1983, briefly breaking Yeovil’s long-term stranglehold on the league It also won two successive promotions in the Southern Women’s League from taking it from Division 4 in 1986 to Division 2 in 1987. Parallel with this league success, Dorchester athletes were also beginning to make their mark in national competition (see archives). 
Over this time the club developed its tradition of serving the wider community of west and central Dorset with members joining from places such as Wareham, Lyme Regis and Swanage. 
With the amalgamation of the boys’ and girls’ upper schools in Dorchester, the athletics club moved to its current home, The Thomas Hardye School, where a flat 400m grass track and a fine new Sportshall were available. 
 
The Westward and Avalon leagues merged in 1991 to form the South West Athletics League. DAC was a founder member of the league and has continued to compete in it ever since. 
A new step forward occurred in 2008 when Dorchester AC, Wimborne AC and Poole AC agree to come together to form a joint (composite) team to be called “Team Dorset”. Weymouth St Paul’s Harriers AC soon came on board. In 2011 the team became an official part of the new Team Dorset Athletic Network sponsored by England Athletics. Composite teams allowed athletes to compete at higher levels than possible for their individual clubs. 
 
Instead of just donning their green and yellow vests for competing alone as Dorchester Athletic Club, its members now also had the opportunity to wear the pale blue kit of Team Dorset for regional league competition across the whole of southern England. 
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