Athletes of Kingston: Clive Morgan

By Abbey McCauley

On June 8th, 2023, Clive Morgan won Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Sport Tourism Canada PRESTIGE Awards.  

In the world of athletics, there are individuals whose tireless dedication contributes to creating memorable experiences for athletes, spectators, and volunteers.

One such individual in the Kingston sports community is Clive Morgan, whose work has been recognized nationally by Sport Tourism Canada PRESTIGE Awards. We sat down with Clive to delve into his journey as a triathlon and cross-country race organizer and his impact on sport events in Kingston.

Clive Morgan smiling at Athletics Canada Cross Country Nationals at Fort Henry on November 24, 2016, after shovelling snow off the racecourse / Photo Credit: Emily Setlack

Motivated athlete and competitor

Growing up as a competitive swimmer and runner, Clive was always passionate about competing in athletics. In 1984, he signed up for his first triathlon in Kingston and 40 years later, he still competes. His participation in sport combined with his children’s involvement in swimming, running, and triathlons translated into volunteering as a race director and organizer for many sporting events in the Kingston community.

“At some point, my kid’s swim club needed someone to organize swim meets,” he says. “I enjoyed it, and there was a certain satisfaction about putting together an event, seeing it all come together, working the way you want it to, and that everyone is happy with.”

After his wife’s encouragement to volunteer at the Loyalist Kids of Steel Triathlon in Kingston, Clive became the Organizer and Race Director in 2000. He ran that event for 10 years.

Clive then worked with Steve Boyd, his running coach at Physi-Kult, to bring university-level cross-country races for Queen’s University to Fort Henry. That effort resulted in years of hosting Athletics Canada and Athletics Ontario events in Kingston, bringing in thousands of visitors to Kingston.

Creating exceptional sporting experiences

With over 30 years of leadership in organizing sporting events, Clive Morgan has left an indelible mark on triathlons and cross-country in Kingston. Throughout his tenure as an organizer, his focus has been ensuring every athlete has a safe and positive experience. Clive’s attention to detail was evident in his final race organized in the fall of 2022.

Clive attended the racecourse’s preparation and went above and beyond the call of duty. He meticulously cut the grass to ensure a safe race surface and lead a team of volunteers in stringing five kilometres of rope to clearly mark the course.

“The bottom line is I am not going to be happy with doing something that’s not as good as it possibly can be,” he says. “If you put on good-quality events, people will get involved and try out different sports.”

When discussing his event planning process, he says, “I have this vision in my head of how I want the event to run. I have been around enough events to know what needs to be done at every single stage.”

Clive credits his success in organizing quality events to his dedicated volunteers. “I would have a lot of event volunteers that come back year after year. All the volunteers get trained and come back over the years, making it easier on me to run the events.”

He instilled the values of lifelong participation in sport in his volunteers. After every Loyalist Kids of Steel race, the organizing committee received a deluge of enthusiastic letters and comments from parents thanking Clive for creating a positive experience for their child.

Clive Morgan waiting to hand out medals to finishers at the Athletics Canada Cross Country Nationals at Fort Henry on November 25, 2017, wearing his recognizable Santa hat as Race Director / Photo Credit: Peter Stokes

Elevating Kingston as a cross-country destination

Clive’s collaborations with Athletics Canada and Athletics Ontario resulted in Kingston hosting prestigious events such as the Athletics Canada Cross Country Nationals (2015 – 2018) and the Athletics Ontario Provincials in 2021 and 2022. These events attracted athletes from all corners of Canada, including Olympians, National and USports athletes, and masters athletes ranging in age from 40 to 80.

Because of these events, Kingston has emerged as a premier competitive cross-country destination. Clive explains that the course is highly coveted. “Our selling point for the Fort Henry course, first off, was the quality of the course,” he says. “The course is a big open field. It is a true cross-country event entirely run on grass. There are many events where you must cross roads or go on gravel trails. And this course is rolling, with some hills. You are looking out over the fort to see the lake, Royal Military College and downtown Kingston.”

“The second selling point of the course is that it is a five-minute walk from downtown Kingston. It is easy to stay in hotels downtown and then walk or drive across to the course,” he explains. “Because of these factors, people were so excited that Nationals [and other races] were coming here. Its location has done a lot for exposure for cross country in Kingston.”

Supporting athlete development in Kingston

By directing sporting event revenue to Physi-Kult running club funds, Clive has prioritized developing Kingston’s athletic talent.

Physi-Kult is a local running group in Kingston, where Steve Boyd offers coaching to runners aged 13 to 50 years old. The club hopes to instill a passion for lifelong competitive running in its members.

The proceeds generated from Clive’s races have supported both junior and senior athletes at Physi-Kult, aiding their training, equipment, and participation in competitive events.

Physi-Kult members include high performance runners Dylan Wykes, Emily Tallen, Brogan MacDougall, and Julie-Anne Staehli. Notably, Dylan and Julie-Anne went on to compete at the Olympics for Team Canada.

Clive Morgan announcing for the Loyalist Kids of Steel Triathlon as the Organizer and Race Director on July 14, 2007 / Credit: Terence Dickinson

Commitment to volunteerism

As the Organizer and Race Director for the Loyalist Kids of Steel Triathlon for ten years, Clive was recognized with a plaque from Loyalist Township in 2010 for his significant contribution to the community and years of dedicated service to the Loyalist Kids of Steel Triathlon. He also received the Bev Snider Award for Volunteer of the Year from Odessa Public School in 2009.

Clive is now being recognized as a finalist for 2023 Sport Tourism Canada PRESTIGE Awards’ Volunteer of the Year. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of an individual’s volunteer efforts during the hosting of one or more sport events in Canada occurring between 2020 and 2022.

“I’m humbled, and it is an honour,” he says. “I can say it reflects my name, but there are a lot of volunteers standing behind me that helped me. I would call them up and say I’m holding another event, and they would come and support me. So, a lot of thanks to them for their efforts over the years.”

Sport volunteers needed in Kingston

Kingston sporting community, from cross country to hockey, depend on volunteers to plan and executive successful events. Learn how you can be a part of Kingston’s dynamic sporting community.