|Graham Tattersall, Race Director inspecting the Vosseler Shield course on Mt Victoria in 2012|
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Wellington Harriers have reported that Graham Tattersall (Tatt's) passed away overnight at the Wellington Mary Potter Hospice after a short illness. His death will be a huge loss to WHAC and to the wider Wellington/New Zealand running community.
Graham is best known as a coach (he was part of the athletics coaching team at the Athens and Beijing Olympics), but, he was also a handy runner in his own right. He led the WHAC Senior Men's A team in the 70's, 80's and 90's to numerous local victories plus a National Road Relay title. In recent years he coached the Men's Junior squad team to individual and team successes which included national championship wins
Graham was also a significant contributor to the management of WHAC and to Athletics Wellington for which he was a long time selector. RIP Graham, you will be sorely missed.
Athletics mentor 'Tatts' succumbs to cancer
Influential distance running coach Graham Tattersall has died in Wellington, his race ended by aggressive melanomia diagnosed just two months ago.
But while his pinnacle of his career was as distance coach at the 2008 Olympic Games, he was said to be just as proud of his young athletes at Wellington Harrier Athletic Club and at Scots College, where he for 17 years coached the distance squad.
He had intended to be the first to tell them he was ill, but the cancer came on so fast he never had the chance.
Two weekends back, 10 days after radiation treatment ended, he saw them run for the last time, as they won silver at the national road relay championships over the winding and hilly roads to Akaroa.
He made the trip with the help of a wheelchair pushed by Dallas McCallum, whom he had coached from a junior in the 1980s all the way into a New Zealand singlet.
Emotions were running high, with the Wellington athletes writing "For Tatts" on their arms, and team vans sporting "Running 4 Tatts" and "Team Tatts" posters.
"I don't know how on earth he made it down there, he was so strong and determined to do it," said top runner Gabby O'Rourke, who worked with him at Scots College.
On Wednesday, a bed-ridden Tattersall was able to smile when told he had won an New Zealand Secondary Schools Sport Council service to sport award. It was to have been presented next week.
He also received a letter of thanks from Athletics New Zealand for his contribution to the sport at the top level, holding key roles in athletics as team manager and coach at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, world champs and Ekiden relays.
He had only one regret, O'Rourke said. "He said he's had a good life, a happy life, he's done everything he wanted to do - except pat a big cat."
A private man, Tatts will have a private cremation, with a celebration of his life at Scots College on Labour Weekend Sunday.
Source: The above article was written by Kevin Norquay a Dom Post journalist and former member of Wellington Harriers