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Nov 6 2019 - Ellis-MacMackin Track Unveiled
Monday evening, the track at the Irving Oil Field House unveiled its name as the Ellis-MacMackin Track, a phenomenal tribute to two amazing builders, Walter Ellis and Bill MacMackin who have helped shape the New Brunswick Track & Field scene.
The late Walter Ellis was the founder of the Saint John Track & Field Club. He arrived in Saint John from Widnes, England in 1958. Despite an ongoing battle with kidney disease, he dedicated his life to the sport of track and field at his schools and in his adopted city and province. Walter coached all track and field events helping many NB athletes to provincial records and national medals. He officiated at the Winnipeg Pan-American Games, coached the 1985 Canada Games team and served the NBIAA and the NB Track and Field Association with distinction. In 1989, he was the middle-distance coach of Canada’s national junior team and was the recipient of the 1994 Athletics Canada award, as Club Coach of the Year. Walter and his late wife Judy, were institutions at the track and were jointly inducted into the Saint John Sport Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1998 Walter was subsequently inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.
Walter’s legacy continues through the extensive involvement of his daughter, Sue Ellis Loparco, also an inductee of the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame, as well as her family, who still contribute to the Saint John sports scene and the track & field club.
Bill MacMackin became a member of the Saint John Track & Field Club at the age of 12 as a middle-distance runner. Coached by Walter Ellis in his youth, Bill was proud to compete as a member of several provincial teams and later for the UNB Varsity team.
As president and a coach of the Saint John Track & Field Club, Bill played a leading role in growing the club to be one of the most successful and largest in the Atlantic region. He was also instrumental in bringing track and field back as a varsity sport at UNB/UNBSJ. Bill has acted as meet director, official, school coach and personal coach of numerous provincial and national medalists in track and cross country. He has served in leadership roles as president of Athletics New Brunswick and nationally as president of Athletics Canada.
Bill’s role as a builder in the sport has been most evident as a member of the volunteer team that secured the 2010 redevelopment of the Canada Games Stadium Track and as the lead volunteer in charge of the planning, fundraising, and development of the Greater Saint John Field House Project, which opened in 2019.
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