Arch Jelley


13 August 1922




Mornington Harrier Club, Olympic Club Wellington, Owairaka Harriers

In terms of longevity and consistent success few New Zealand running coaches hold quite the same standing as the ageless Arch Jelley.

Sharp of mind and strong in body, the 97-year-old in his quiet, understated way has developed dozens of New Zealand’s leading athletes during a coaching career that spanned more than five-and-a-half decades.

Born the second eldest of five children in Dunedin, he grew up in a fanatical cricket household and his father, Albie Jelley, featured as a first-class cricket umpire.

Arch dabbled in gymnastics and boxing in his youth but found his short and light frame best suited to running and he joined the Mornington Harrier Club at the age of 18.

He went on to enjoy “some success” on the track before his athletics ambitions were put on hold because of the Second World War.

Serving in New Zealand for the Scottish Regiment he was later posted in England for Navy training. On board the HMS Bermuda on Russian Convoy duty ...