Hamish Robertson – Runner and Official

Hamish Robertson, future ESH Club Secretary and, between 1972-75 and 1984-86, ESH President, in athletics kit, standing on the far right of the photo.   

Hamish Robertson (Edinburgh Southern Harriers)

Father of Alex Robertson. Hamish ran Edinburgh to Glasgow Relays after the War, with a total of seven (May 1949, November 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955.) He raced stages 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 – and was a member of the team that won bronze in 1953, when he tackled the long 6th Stage.

In the 1954 Senior National XC, he secured another team bronze. Hamish ran the National in 1950, 1951, 1952 (29th and ESH second counter), 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956.

The career of his near namesake WA Robertson overlapped with Hamish’s and they ran in several teams together.  In 1952, Hamish finished 14th in the Eastern District CC Championship at Kirkcaldy and ESH secured team silver medals, narrowly behind Edinburgh University. Then, in 1953, Hamish was 16th and sixth counter in the ESH team that won the title comfortably!  

In the Eastern District Cross-Country League, Hamish was 5th in an ESH team that finished second at Kirkcaldy in November 1950. ESH won the league in 1950-1951

He was 9th and counted in a winning ESH team in January 1952 at Liberton, over six miles of snow-covered country and icy roads. ESH won the league overall that 1951-1952 season.

ESH won the title again in 1952-3.

Hamish counted in an ESH team that finished second to EU in an Eastern CC League race at Falkirk in January 1956.

Leaders at the five mile mark of in the 1957 Scottish marathon championship: left to right, George King (22), John Kerr, Andy Fleming (16), Hugo Fox, Hamish Robertson (4), not known, Harry Fenion (17), not known, Ronnie Kane (24).

As a marathon runner, Hamish finished seventh in the 1953 Scottish Marathon Championship (named as J Robertson), fifth in 1955 and sixth in 1957 (in his fastest time of 2.46.07, well below the Scottish Marathon Club First Class Standard).   However, I don’t think he ever joined the Glasgow-based Scottish Marathon Club.

In 1953, Hamish also ran: Shotts Highland Games 15 miles where he finished sixth.  In this annual event, he was sixth again in 1954 (14 miles); and fifth in 1955 (only six seconds behind George King of Greenock Wellpark).

 In 1955, on 25th June, Hamish was fifth in the Scottish Marathon, 2.46.58; on 13th August 1955, second in Atholl and Breadalbane (Aberfeldy) 13 mile road race, winning the handicap, prize (value £2); on 20th August 1955, fifth in the City of Edinburgh Highland Games marathon.

In 1956, Hamish was not as fit but, on 5th May, finished one place ahead of Jackie Foster in the West Calder AAA 10 miles.

In 1957, on 22nd June,he was sixth in the Falkirk to Edinburgh Scottish Marathon Championship in 2.46.07.   Twenty three runners started. 14 finished below the standard of 2.55, another three were too slow and six dropped out, including such able and well known runners as AH Fleming, Ronnie Kane and Gordon Porteous.  Hamish was in front of Emmet Farrell, JM Kerr and Tom Scott .   On the 20th July that year, he ran the Anster Fair 12.

In 1958, he dropped out of Edinburgh to North Berwick 22 miles and also failed to finish the 1958 Scottish Marathon on 21st June. However, he ran better on 26th July, finishing sixth in the Gourock Highland Games 14. Was this his competitive swansong? His son Alex remembers Hamish, who was born in 1928,  running as a veteran at several races, including one in Glasgow and the Kingsway Road Relays in Dundee.


Edinburgh Southern Harriers was blessed at this time with many able and willing administrators, officials and back room boys.   From the above photograph Ian McKenzie, an excellent team manager, was ESH President from 1975-77.  Ian Clifton, a very popular Scottish official, was ESH President from 1978-80, SCCU President from 1977-78 and SAAA President in 1986. Martin Craven, a GB and Scottish International runner, and a great team man, was ESH President from 1980-82. George Brown, another fine runner and invaluable team man, was ESH President from 1982-84. From 1975-1984, Hamish Robertson was a well-respected, very encouraging Secretary for ESH. He was  Club President from 1984-1986.

Jackie Foster was an ESH team mate. His very first marathon was the 1955 Scottish event, when Joe McGhee (the 1954 Vancouver Empire Games Marathon Champion) broke the Scottish Championship record with 2.25.50. Jackie recalls that Hamish Robertson advised him about preparation and tactics for this long-distance challenge. That morning, before the race, they went to Woolworth’s, where Hamish purchased a pair of black gym shoes – “the type worn by Brownies at the time, with a brown gristle rubber sole, costing five shillings a pair.” Hamish was almost running barefoot – years before Abebe Bikila!

Ian McKenzie wrote: “I first met Hamish in 1952, when he was an active athlete, and received his help with training along with Jackie Foster. Although he remained a club member he took a break from being actively involved when Alex and his sister were young.

When Alex took up running, Hamish became more involved as a committee member and progressed to Secretary.

I am not aware that he ever represented us on any governing bodies, but he certainly officiated at cross country and track and field meetings for many years. He was always prepared to take on many roles at the marathons and half marathons the club organized. He remained active until he was a good age. 

At all the races, such as the Edinburgh Marathon etc. he would record finishers, hand out medals and keep finishers moving through the funnels – each job was vital to the event. On the track he was often the starter’s marksman or raking the sand at the jumps.

As you will have gathered, he would undertake any duty he was asked to perform. 

An unsung, but important helper.” 

Alex Robertson said that his father Hamish was a hurdles steward during the 1970 Commonwealth Games at Meadowbank, Edinburgh.   Aged 15, Alex himself was a baggage steward. In 1972, Hamish was also a baggage steward at the Europa Cup. He was a great help to emerging athletes like Allister Hutton, Ken Harkness, John Gladwin and many more – on Sundays they often set off for a long run from his house.  He was a guest on the television programme ‘This Is Your Life – Allan Wells”. Hamish helped Stewart Miller to set out cross-country courses in the South of Edinburgh. In 1997, he arranged a sponsor to publish the ESH Centenary History book.  

The East District XC Relays were at Fernieside: in 1969, 1971, 1973. Hamish would have officiated.

The last time that  Fernieside was used as a cross-country venue was on 18th January 1975, when ESH won the East District XC Championship team title (1st Allister Hutton, 4th Colin Youngson, Nigel Bailey, Craig Douglas, Martin Craven, Alistair Blamire).

Brian McAusland wrote: Hamish was first voted as a member of the SAAA East District  and General Committee of the SAAA in 1990 having been elected for the first time in 1989.   Note that this was an elected position, members being voted for at the Annual General Meeting.   The clubs voted him onto the Committee.  Once on the General Committee, he was given the additional remit of being a member of the Thistle Award Scheme committee with Frank Dick, Barry Craighead and George Parrott. 

Alex Jackson wrote: “Hamish worked in the same building as I did at Edinburgh University, Kings Buildings.

I do remember he retired in 1988 as it coincided with me becoming East Secretary of SCCU.

He  didn’t officiate at any cross county after that I can see.

But as you know he was an ESH man and would go to great lengths to help with anything the club organised.

For the first Edinburgh Marathon of 1982, the Race Director was Dave Farrar, who was an ESH member and he brought in experienced hands, including Hamish, from the club to run the event. (He also helped with the second Edinburgh Marathon). 

The James Clerk Maxwell Building at Kings Building where Hamish worked had huge lecture rooms with literally hundreds of desks.

In the less busy summer university months, when undergraduate students were on holiday, before the first Edinburgh Marathon in 1982, Hamish used the lecture theatre desks to do the race registration administration work  for the race.

If you looked in the room you would see desks covered with registration paperwork. No computers (or very few) were around in 1982 to do all the admin registration work.”

Sports Meetings

Form Sports Partick

There is an assumption that athletes are better catered for in the 21st century than they were in the 19th or even most of the 20th.    I would say that the assumption could at least be queried.   Even a quick look through the newspapers of the first half of the 20th century reveals that the quantity of track and field meetings was very high.   Tracks were very busy –

  • Ibrox hosted the Rangers Sports, the Glasgow Constabulary Sports, until 1922 the Clydesdale Harriers Sports, Bellahouston Harriers meetings and many more;
  • Celtic Park – up to the War in 1945 – held the Celtic Sports,  the Inter Club Championship organised by St Peter’s AC, some Clydesdale Harriers sports, Maryhill Harriers, West of Scotland Harriers  and others,
  • Hampden held the SAAA Championships regularly, international meetings and even the Maryhill Harriers club championships at which world records were set.   
  • Meetings were held by  (1) Athletic Clubs,  (2) local councils, (3) a variety of associations (eg the Deaf Blind Association held regular meetings),
  • there were the Championships:- University Championships, Inter University Championships and County Championships.   The Ayrshire Championships had championship events held at West Kilbride and Darvel and other venues around the county.  
  • Works organised Sports Meetings – Singers in Clydebank, Babcock and Wilcox’s in Paisley, Dirrans in Kilwinning are only three examples and even Junior Football clubs emulated their big brothers in having athletic sports meetings (Dalmuir FC was one such).
  • The private schools such as Loretto, Glasgow Academy, Dollar Academy all had their own sports days and almost every one of them had open events from the amateur athletics circuit as well as those confined to former pupils.

They were all amateur events with few exceptions – Rangers FC, Celtic FC, Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Falkirk FC and others were in this category – with, I think, only Clyde FC Sports being professional, and for many years the Glasgow Police Sports were also professional.     The Games circuit was biased the other way – almost all were professional with few being amateur.    However you look at it though, there were more than enough events for an athlete to compete in in his preparation for any particular event.

Form Sports Celtic

Competition was always keen.   The major sports meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh always worked hard to attract the top talent to their meetings.   Sometimes the athletes were specially invited, sometimes the athletes were here for an international meeting, sometimes they were on their way home from a major championships and at times there were even touring parties of Americans or British Universities stars from Oxford and Cambridge.    These athletes would take part in special scratch events arranged to showcase their talent or would have the field handicapped in such a fashion as to bring out the best in them in their quest for a fast time.   eg when Nurmi raced at Ibrox, Tom Blakely of Maryhill Harriers received a handicap mark of 400 yards – almost a lap.   Often enough the ‘star’ failed to win but set a record or a fast time.   The thrill for the spectators was seeing a quality athlete race through what might have been a top-class Scottish field.

Of course, these international athletes did not automatically decide to race at Ibrox one week, Celtic Park the next and Murrayfield later on by chance: the promoters were just that – they promoted their meetings as well as they could.   The top men at the football clubs were promoters in chief.   Men like Willie Maley, William Wilton and Bill Struth all went to the AAA’s championships, the Olympics and on occasion further afield to persuade the ‘stars’ to come to their meetings.    There is little doubt that expenses were paid, fairly  generous ones too and at one point both Rangers and Celtic were suspended from membership by the SAAA.   But the athletes came – if there were not enough good Scots to make a competition, then there would be exhibition events in such as pole vault or shot putt to entertain and educate the crowds.   There were even demonstration boxing matches and at one time Celtic Park had a concrete track as well as a cinder track and they held motor cycle trials on it.   

The meetings were well advertised in the local and national Press, there were sporting publications with the “Scottish Referee” circulating right up to the First World War.   

Compare that with the current athletics situation.

Inter-Scholastic Championship: 1926 – 1929

The championships of 1925 had been a success with 36 schools taking part.   The standard was high and two new records were set.   The 1926 version of the meeting started off with a hiccup.   Due to take place on Saturday, 17th May they had to be put off: 

Why had they been cancelled?   This notice from the ‘Glasgow Herald’ maybe gives the game away.

They did go ahead on the new date and the following lengthy but comprehensive  report is from the ‘Scotsman’.

The number of schools taking part is not noted but the prize winning establishments included 

Alloa Academy, Ayr Academy, Allan Glen’s, Boroughmuir, Coatbridge, Dalkeith HS, Daniel Stewart’s, Dollar Academy, Dumbarton Academy,  Dunfermline HS, Govan High School, Greenock Academy,  Heriot’s, Hillhead HS, Kilmarnock Academy, Kintyre Technical School, Leith Academy, Queen’s Park, Royal HS, Stewart’s College, St Mungo’s, Trinity Academy, Vale of Leven Academy, Watson’s College.   That is 24 schools from all over Scotland, almost all of which are state schools as opposed to fee-paying private schools.   If the intention of the SAAA is setting up the Championships in 1900 was to broaden the appeal of the sport and the standard across the country generally, it seems as though they were succeeding.   Incidentally, Harold Abrahams, was in Edinburgh the night before the Games giving a talk in which some of the ideas seem strange and his comments on Eric Liddell a bit off.  This is it:

Quite the diatribe but a former public school pupil and Oxbridge graduate should realise the bad form shown in criticising a fellow athlete.   A remarkable sentence.   I can’t help feeling that had the boot been on the other foot, Liddell would not have commented thus on Abrahams.


Into 1927 and there were 36 schools taking part which the reporter felt had helped the high standard of the previous year being maintained.   The following complete report and list of results from the ‘Scotsman’ shows this.

Allan Glen’s, Alloa Academy, Ayr Academy, Bellahouston Academy, Boroughmuir, Coatbridge HS, Dalziel, Dollar Academy, Dunfermline HS, Heriot’s, Keil School, Kilmarnock Academy, Leith Academy, Queen’sPark, Robert Gordon’s College, Rothesay Academy, Royal High School, Stewart’s College,St Aloysius,  Trinity Academy, Waid Academy,    Medals distributed to 20 schools of the 36 entered is not at all a bad distribution.   Note too that a B McGettrick of St Aloysius was among the prize winners – the name of McGettrick has been associated with the school for most of the 20th century.


In 1928  the  meeting  was  again held  in  Edinburgh,  and the school making the headlines in both ‘Scotsman’ and ‘Glasgow Herald ‘was Keil School from Dumbarton.  East  and  West  sides  of  the country were featured above the coverage in the ‘Scotsman’ with Keil representing the West.  


The name to note in this set of results must surely be JR Blamire who won the Under 14’s 100 yards, had a second place in the 300 yards and a second in the Broad Jump.   He would go on to win in the 1929 and 1930 inter-scholastics as an Under 16 and the family has been represented in athletics right into the late 20th century and possibly further.   Note too the number of Dunbartonshire schools participating – from a relatively small area there were Dumbarton Academy, Vale of Leven and Keil School.


In 1929, the event was held at Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Keil School excelled again with even more material success.   The ‘Scotsman’ describes it as one of the most eventful meetings ever staged by the SAAA – no small claim that.

Note that the number of schools who competed over the years was still being added to: McLaren HS from Callander, Viewforth School, Gourock High School and Rutherglen ere all among the prize winners this time round.

Pamela McCrossan


Pamela winning the road race at Cartha

Pamela McCrossan came late to the sport and has done so much, and so well, that we wonder what she might have achieved had she begun running earlier.  She concentrated on road and country although she did take part in some veteran’s  track races, and also turned out for the club in the league. She finished first W55 in the 2018 Scottish Cross-Country championships; and has run for Scottish Masters eight times in the British and Irish Masters Cross-Country Championships.     

Pamela has completed the questionnaire for us as a start to an in-depth look at her running career.

NAME Pamela McCrossan
CLUBs Clydesdale Harriers and SVHC
DATE OF BIRTH 10/6/1961
OCCUPATION Theatre Charge Nurse (now retired)

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?   Cliff Brown is a neighbour of mine.  He was a runner and a member of Clydesdale. He encouraged me to do a Ladies 10k race one year (about 24 years ago) and he helped me train for it. He then persuaded me to join Clydesdale Harriers and I have been running and racing ever since.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?  Clydesdale Harriers have had a huge influence on my running and helped me improve over the years.   I have received so much help, support and encouragement from everyone there and I have made many good friends. Now I am very proud to be an Honorary Member of the club and to have in the past been Ladies’ Captain.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?   So many things! It keeps me fit and healthy and I get to enjoy the pre and post-race banter and chat with other runners. I often get to meet new people when I race or do parkruns and I get a great sense of achievement after a good race or a hard training session. I also get to spend time with like-minded people and fellow runners who are always so friendly.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?   That’s a difficult question as I have done so many races over the years. However I was totally surprised and delighted to finish as first lady in the Aberfeldy Marathon in 2012 at my first attempt at the distance. I have also been lucky enough to be part of a medal winning team on the eight occasions I have represented Scotland at the Masters International British and Irish Cross-Country events.

AND YOUR WORST?  A Dunbartonshire cross country race many years ago when I went over on my ankle and had to be carried off the course by John Hanratty! I then had to go to the Western Infirmary as a fractured ankle was suspected (it was actually ligament damage) and I had to take time off work. The only race yet where I have been a DNF.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?   None really. At my age I consider myself very fortunate just to be able to run and still compete in races.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?   I go to classes in the gym, go to the theatre and cinema and I like to go on holiday as often as possible! First thing I pack is the running gear! I also do a lot of walking.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?   Running has brought me the opportunity to represent Scotland and the chance to spend many wonderful running holidays in the Canary Islands with friends from Clydesdale and other clubs. I have also enjoyed many weekends travelling away for races and special social occasions with friends I have met through running. These are just a few things I would not have wanted to miss.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?   I try to run 4 or 5 times a week and do different types of sessions. There may be a speed session, a steady run, a hill session, a long run and maybe a parkrun too. I also like to do some classes in the gym for cross training.

Pamela Running in the West District Championship

The replies above are very interesting so we asked her to elaborate on them.  She tells us that her very first race was one of the annual charity 5k Races for Life in Glasgow with work colleagues before she was ever an actual runner.   She says, “I hadn’t trained at all.  I ran and walked where I had to and really enjoyed it , maybe that’s where my love of running really started!  However, I was always fairly fit with dog walking and aerobic classes, step classes etc.” 

As for her family background and sports before taking that first step into competitive running she says: “I have no family history whatsoever of running and I never ran competitively at school at all. I did play in the hockey and netball teams without any great success.“     She adds: “My first race after getting to know Cliff was the Ladies 10k in Glasgow. He set up a small group for women to train specifically for this. This must have been around late 1990s.”

I then joined Clydesdale and my times gradually improved until I was fast enough to pick up some prizes.  Some races I did win as first lady I can remember are Stranraer 10k 2 years in a row, Erskine Bridge 10k, Bearsden and Milngavie 10k, East Kilbride 10k  , Monklands half marathon, (  twice  I think ) ,  Bute Highland games 10k,  Aberfeldy marathon 2012,  Kirkintilloch 12.5k . I have also won Vets races  over the years too eg Bathgate Hill race. In many other races where I did not finish first overall I was top 3 or first in age group eg 2nd in Mull half (2014 ) and 3rd Lochaber marathon. (2014)”

Pamela came to the sport relatively late and it is impossible not to wonder how well she would have run had she started running earlier.   That she is a very good runner is in no doubt at all and it only takes a look at some of her racing statistics to see that.    She is a prolific racer – in the 19 years since 2004 she has run at least 445 races; ie: these are only the ones that Power of 10 know about!   Although she is known as a road and cross country runner she is a prolific racer and has some very good track races to her credit.   Some statistical information, not all of it because it would be overwhelming, about her career is illuminating.  We can start with a look at her personal best times in the table below table below for evidence the quality of her running.

Event Date Venue Time Age Group
800m 4 Aug 2013 Kilmarnock 2:56.5 V50
3000m 24 June 2012 Dunfermline 11:49.71 V50
5000m 28 July 2017 Glasgow 20:12.87 V55
10000m 17 Oct 2010 Coatbridge 40:39.7 V45
5K 27 June 2012 Glasgow 19:19 V50
Parkrun 29 Aug 2015 Victoria Pk 19:37 V50
7K 15 Aug 2007 Bishopbriggs 28:26 V45
8K 3 Aug 2015 Lochwinnoch 32:53 V50
5 Miles 8 Nov 2008 Garscube 31:48 V45
10K 29 Nov 2008 East Kilbride 38:55 V45
10 Miles 15 Nov 2008 Brampton 64:37a V45
Half Marathon 7 Sept 2008 Glasgow 87:16 V45
Marathon 6 April 2014 Fort William 3:23:47 V50

These are quite excellent times at 13 different events on three different surfaces.   As a V45, 2008 was when she set most pb’s with 5 miles in Glasgow on 8th November, 10 miles on 15th November at Brampton, 10K on 29th November at East Kilbride having set her Half Marathon pb on 7th September in Glasgow.   The week before the purple patch of three pb’s in November she had run 40:07 for the 10K in Stranraer where she had been first Lady.

How about frequency of racing?   Have a look here:

Year Category Road Track Cross-country Other Total
2019 V55 33 8 1 42


V55 29 1 7


2017 V55 29 1 5 35
2016 V50 37 1 6 44
2015 V50 26 8 34
2014 V50 30 2


2013 V50 15 2 8



V50 20 2 7 29
2011 V45 20 2 22
2010 V45 20 1 2 23
2009 V45 8 2 10
2008 V45 29 2 31
2007 V45 18 18
2006 V40 8 8
2005 V40 12 12
2004 V40 6 6

Remember that these are only the races that appear on the Power of 10 website and she undoubtedly ran more than that in total.   Of course, many athletes run lots of races, but low key races, or only races near home that don’t require a lot of travel, or races that pose no challenge or even turn out in races but don’t race them, merely run round the course enjoying the company and the scenery.   That does not seem to be Pamela.  

Her first run in the National Cross Country Championship was in 2007 when she finished 73rd but given that there were no age categories in that event we get a better picture when we look at her appearances in the National Masters Championships between 2010 and 2019.

Year O/all Category Place   Year O/all Category Place
2009 15th W45 5th   2015 20th W50 4th
2010 18th W45 5th   2016 20th W50 6th
2011 DNR       2017 DNR    
2012 DNR       2018 23rd W55 1st
2013 13th W50 2nd   2019 23rd W55 3rd
2014 29th W50 8th   No Race Held  

Not at all a bad record with the lowest age group placing 8th.   Note too that it is normal for a runner to drop a place or two as they go through the years – they get older and new ‘young’ ones come into the category.

Pamela has run in many of the classics such as the Tom Scott 10 Miles in Motherwell (best time (66:24), the Brampton to Carlisle 10 Miles in the north of England (best time 64:37), Balloch to Clydebank (half marathon), Nigel Barge Road Race (5 Miles), Glasgow University Road Race, Springburn Cup Road Race (10K) as well as marathons from Lochaber in the north of Scotland to London in the south of England.   Not averse to travelling nor to facing a challenge then.   Pamela has also been highly ranked in the RunBritain Rankings which is open to thousands of runners from all over the country.   Her best rankings, ie top ten in the UK, have been the following.

Event Age Group Year Rank
5000m V55 2017 3
10000m V45 2010 5
10000m V50 2012 4
10000m V50 2013 4
10000m V55 2016 2
10000m V55 2018 3
5K V50 2012 5
5K V55 2016 6
5K V55 2017 6
5 Miles V55 2019 4
10K V55 2018 9
10 Miles V45 2008 9
10 Miles V55 2019 3
Half Marathon V50 2011 9
Half Marathon V50 2012 9
Half Marathon V55 2016 9

Her best marathon ranking in Britain was 22nd in 2012 as a V50.

Pamela’s progress in individual races at the start of the century has been steady.   She ran regularly in the Balloch to Clydebank Half marathon between 2004 (W 40) to 2019 (W 55):

*2004 – 95:38; 2007 – 92:14;  2008 – 89:24; 2009: 89:10; 2010 – 88:11; 2011 – 90:41 (W50).   There was a gap in her appearances at that point and her next race was as a W55 in 2019 when she recorded 91:57. 


While the Balloch (like the Dunky Wright, all the races in the Polaroid 10K series, etc) was a home race, she also showed the willingness to travel to races – that has also been a feature of her running.  

*The Brampton to Carlisle 10 miles race was run in 2004 (65:49, 11th Lady); 2005 (66:31, 3rd V); 2006 (67:13, 16th Lady); 2008 (64:37, 1st V45)

*2011 The Blackpool Hilton Half Marathon (89:48 3rd Lady )

*2014 The Isle of Mull Half Marathon (90:31, 2nd Lady, 1st Vet)

*The Isle of Man Half Marathon 2019 (97:55, 3rd Lady, 1st V45)

* 2016 Islay Half Marathon (5th lady, 1:38:12)


She even travelled for marathon races:-

*2012  Aberfeldy  (3 hours 24 min – first marathon and first lady)

*2013 London Marathon (3:28:55)

*2014 Lochaber Marathon (3:23:47, 3rd Lady, 1st V50, 1st SVHC)

*2015 The Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon (March 3:31:41)

*2015  The Greater Manchester Marathon (April 3:27:15) NB: Short

And there are other examples of this trait.  

The willingness to travel to races that she felt she needed reminds us of Ian Stewart’s comments to some of his rivals – “I’ll travel 200 miles to get into a good race, you’ll travel 200 miles to get out of one.”   Pamela is definitely in the former camp.

Then there are the parkruns.   The parkrun is a wonderful development for the sport.   They are all over 5K, they are free to run in, they are well staffed by volunteers and the times given out are accurate.   All attractive features for any runner, for the really ambitious trying to better their time, and for the new runners just wanting to get round They all have their different challenges eg Drumchapel, Tollcross and Pollok are hilly and times are approximately two minutes slower, even for the faster runners than on some other courses..   Held all over Britain they are popular events.   Needless to say, Pamela has done her share of runs in parkruns all over the country and also needless to say has been first across the line in some, set records in some, run personal bests, set course records and had a lot of pleasure in just being part of the scene.  

She has run in these events, since 2014 according to Power of 10, in Victoria Park, Greenock, Springburn, Pollok, Tollcross, Drumchapel, Linwood, Eglinton, Ruchill, Levengrove, Jersey, Nobles Parkrun in Isle of Man, Blackpool, Bolton and Erskine Waterfront.   What immediately jumps out is the wide geographical spread of the event despite the obvious preponderance in the West of Scotland.   Jersey in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, in the south of England, Blackpool in the north of England, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire.   And she has done well competitively in them.   It would be almost impossible to reproduce all her Press cuttings, but some of them are noted below.   She did run a lot of these runs which is of interest for several reasons eg.  Being relatively short compared to her usual racing distances, they were useful speed training sessions as well as runs in their own right.    How many did she run?   So far she has run 142 and holds V60 records for Drumchapel, Tollcross and Erskine as well as some age group records for other such runs. Here, for example is the list from 2017 as listed in Power of 10:

22 races at six venues spread between Glasgow and the Channel Islands and look also at the consistency of the times run.  

A few comments on her running in them on reports chosen at random from many more:

“Drumchapel, Event Number 59, 29/07/2017:


Linwood: The female course record is held by Jennifer Wetton who ran a time of 16:55 on 29th October 2016.   The Male Record is held by Jack Arnold who ran a time of 16:16 on 20th August 2016.   The age grade course record is held by Pamela McCrossan who recorded 20:23 on 13th August 2016.

And finally at Bolton:

“The first lady to finish was Pamela McCrossan of Clydesdale Harriers who was running for the first time at Bolton in her 45th Parkrun.   One of our regulars Olivia Kearney of Bolton United Harriers chased her all the way to the finish and was 22 seconds behind her at the end.   This gave Olivia a Personal Best time of 22:30 which was 7 seconds quicker than she ran a fortnight ago, and this was her 195th time running at Bolton.   

Pamela in Bolton


Have a look at her best annual parkruns as a measure of consistency.

The Scottish women that Pamela has been racing with and against during this period have been of a high standard.   Note that in her category alone there have been such as Fiona Matheson of Falkirk Victoria, Rhona Anderson of Dunbar, Sonia Armitage of Aberdeen, and Hazel Dean of Central.

Speaking in early October 2023, Pamela says: “I only started back at the track 9 weeks ago. Hadn’t paid to enter a  race since  end of 2019 due to Covid in 2020 and a variety of injuries in 2021 plus part of 2022. Started back doing some parkruns in August 2022 and have kept them up. Tried the selection race for Masters International a few weeks ago and was very surprised to finish second in my age group so was automatically selected for Scotland team in November. Was delighted to say the least.  That has given me an incentive to do some proper training. “   She did run in the Vets International on 11th November in Glasgow where she finished twelfth and part of the bronze medal winning team, the others being Fiona Matheson who won the race and Hilary Ritchie in ninth.  


What training did she do when she was running well?   In 2008 when she had her wonderful 3 personal best times in the one month,  she was doing five runs a week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.   Sunday, as for all distance runners, was the long run of usually 13 – 15 miles, Monday and Wednesday were steady runs, Tuesday reps in the Business Park (ie flat, good surface), Thursday either long reps on grass or another steady run.   Fairly typical week for most endurance runners – two ‘effort sessions’, one long run and steady running the rest of the time.   It certainly worked for Pamela.   There were gym sessions, exercise bikes, cross-training and other endurance related activities but the running was the main thing and followed a pattern.  

One of the hardest weeks was the week ending 9th October:-

Monday: 9.12 miles

Tuesday: 8 x 800 in 2:56, 2:55, 2:54, 2:52, 2:56, 2:56, 2:55, 2:53 8.5 m in total

Wednesday: 4 miles

Thursday: 5.2 miles in 38 minutes

Friday : Rest

Saturday: Glasgow University Road Race: 31:48  pb   Total distance 7 mls

Sunday: 13.3 miles 1:40:24

How had the training developed ten years later, in 2018?   If we take the October/November period, we see that in the week ending 11th November she had done six days training.   Not all running.   She summarised the week as 5 runs, 2 races and 2 gym classes.   The gym sessions were a Spin Class and Body Pump on Monday; the training sessions were a hill session on the Tuesday, 6.3 miles in 48:44 minutes on Wednesday, a varied session on the golf course on Thursday, a short course championship at Lanark with warm up/cool down on Saturday, the Jimmy Irvine 10K on the Sunday.   A varied week with a total of over 30 miles – but given the variety the total mileage is almost irrelevant.      There were harder weeks in the course of the year.   Eg, week ending 8th July:-

Monday :Spin Class 45 minutes    +     Body Pump 1 hour

Tuesday: 6 laps of the Business Park – 3 medium, 3 small, 3 medium  6.1 miles

Wednesday: 6 miles in 45.01 minutes

Thursday: Body Pump 1 hour  +  Kettlebells 30 minutes  + running reps of 10  x  2 minutes to a total of 6.57 miles

Friday:  Rest

Saturday: Drumchapel Parkrun – Total Distance 4.57 miles

Sunday:  Long Run 15.0 miles in 2:04.45

The difference is very noticeable.   More miles, harder runs and more varied gym work for cross-training + variety and all endurance based.   The results are clear to see: continuing to train hard, more success and genuine enthusiasm for the sport as she advances through the age groups.

We do not know what the future holds for Pamela but her enthusiasm burns as brightly.

There are more pictures at  Pamela’s Gallery –   go  here 


Inter-Scholastic Championships: 1930 – 1934

The picture below is of Santini from West Calder High winning the 100 yards at the Inter-Scholastics in Edinburgh on 17th May, 1930.   Interestingly the caption describes him as winning at the the SAAA.   The ‘Scotsman’ report follows.


Note some of the schools participating in the open events (ie Over 16) whose names we might not have noticed before – eg Lenzie Academy, Broxburn and North Kelvinside

Following his career – in the Under 16’s the name of JRG Blamire which was first noted as winning the Under 14 100 yards in 1928 in 11.6 seconds and the 300 yards in the same year in in 41.2 seconds.  He is seen in these results winning the Under 16’s 300 yards in 41.6 seconds, finishing second in the 100 yards, second in the broad jump and leading off for the winning Relay team.   .    

The meeting in 1931 was held on May 16th, again  at Inverleith.   Two of the winners are pictured above and with one from Edinburgh and one from Glasgow the Edinburgh-Glasgow balance was struck.   We note also that the standard programme of 20 events was adhered to and that there were 30 schools taking part.   And JR Blamire is now in the Open (ie over 16) events and a member of the second placed relay team.  Report and results from the ‘Scotsman’ below.   


The event was next held on 21st May, 1932 and was previewed as below in the ‘Edinburgh Evening News’.   Note the venue – not any of the more usual venues but the relatively little known Helenvale Park.   Helenvale had a very good track on which many excellent times were set at their annual sports meetings.   These were over all distances not just for sprints or for distance runners  and the Irish John Joe Barry set a world best for the 1000 yards there.   The track was also surrounded by a good stepped terracing which helped spectators view proceedings.   Last year’s entry of 30 schools had come up to 46.   

The report from the Herald: 

The range of schools was wider still with such as McLaren High from Callander, Dunfermline High School Ardrossan Academy, Waid Academy as well as the many from Glasgow and Edinburgh and their environs.

The photograph comes from the local Hawick News on 21st May in 1933  when there were 37 schools involved. There was a lot of coverage in local papers up and down the land.   Local schools were mentioned in the Kirkintilloch Herald (Lenzie Academy and St Ninians were to enter teams), The Wishaw Press (Dalziel High School: pupil won the 100 yards), St Andrews citizen (Madras boy was second in the shot putt) and many more areas had selected results published.   The only national to cover the event in its entirety was the ‘Glasgow Herald’ whose report and results are here.


The above photograph appeared in the ‘Aberdeen Press and Journal’ on 19th May in 1934 above the following article celebrating the local Grammar School’s first time entry to the Inter-Scholastics which were to be held in Glasgow, again at Helenvale Park.  

Coverage of the event was for some reason difficult to find.   A hint of a possible reason is in this snippet from the ‘Wishaw Press’.

Bad weather cancelled the field events.   And probably affected the crowd and maybe even lost some runners from the meeting too.   The ‘Glasgow Herald’ had some little coverage, and the only online version is a bit blurred and smudged although most of it is easily readable.

Note the name of the winner of the Mile – JN (Ian) Lapraik who would go on to be a very good runner at Glasgow University and in Scottish athletics generally before serving in the Army in the 1939-45 War.

Inter-Scholastic Championships 1935 – 1940

Aberdeen schoolboy competing in 1938

The 1935 Sports was still operating on a rota of Edinburgh and Glasgow venue, year about and took place in Edinburgh.   Note that Prince Philip of Greece, later the Duke of Edinburgh, took part in the Under 14 High Jump.   The report and results from the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read as follows.

New schools to the list include Boroughmuir Secondary, Dunfermline High, Hawick High, Lasswade Secondary , Musselburgh Grammar, Viewforth (Kirkcaldy).

A year later, on 15th June, 1936,  the Inter Scholastic Sports took place at Scotstoun in Glasgow.   With many of the competing schools coming from Glasgow and Edinburgh, the competitors were from all over the country – Perth, Ardrossan, Falkirk, Dundee were all represented.   The ‘Glasgow Herald report with results is below.


In 1937, from June 21st’s ‘Scotsman’ came this illustrated report on the 37th Sports:

The sheer number of Glasgow schools represented on the say was amazing when we look back a mere 10 or 12 years – Albert Secondary, Allan Glen’s, Glasgow High, Hillhead HS, Hyndland HS, ,Jordanhill College. Pollokshields, Queen’s Park Secondary, St Aloysius – 9 of them winning medals and almost certainly others which did not appear in the results.   Note too the absence of Glasgow Academy which determinedly held their own school sports on the same day as the Inter-Scholastics. 

Numbers were big and growing: in 1938 there were 48 schools competing – a number described as ‘by no means a record’.  They were held on 18th June at Goldenacre, ‘Scotsman’ report follows:



In 1939, on  12th June, the Aberdeen  Press & Journal printed the following article-the North East had started its own Inter-Scholastics  and  the  standard  was  high  as  the  results  show.   It  was  one  week  before  the  national  event.   

Did  it  pay  off  for the   city?   Yes,  it  would  seem  so.  At  the Scottish  Schools  Athletic Association  Inter-Scholastics on 19th June,  1939, The ‘Scotsman’ tells us that there were 56 schools competing.   The paper’s report is below.

With 56 schools represented it would be expected that some new names would be seen among the honours.   With most of the names were familiar there were indeed some unfamiliar names – Beith Secondary, Albert Road School, West Calder High are the ones who stand out.   These Sports were the last before the War started: in 1914 the Inter-Scholastics continued throughout, would it be the same this time around?

The war was under way before the 1940 version of the schools championships took place on 22nd June and reported on in the following Monday’s papers.   The surprise was probably that the event was held in Stirling – the first time outside the Edinburgh/Glasgow double act.

It had been a successful period for the event: more schools taking part, standards continuing to rise and the venue had been spread to include Stirling.

Scottish Schools Championships: 1946 – 1950.

The Schools Championship began again quickly after the war with a meeting at Westerlands in Glasgow, on Saturday, 12th June starting at 11:00 in the forenoon and, after a break for lunch, at 2:15 in the afternoon.   The report with results was published in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ on the following Monday.

There was a broad range of schools represented in the results.   Alva Academy, Ardrossan Academy, Ayr Academy, Buckhaven Academy,  Daniel Stewart’s, Falkirk High School, George Heriot’s, George Watson’s, Glasgow High School, Gordonstoun,  Hillhead High School, Jordanhill College, Kelso Academy, Paisley Grammar School, Shawlands Academy, St Aloysius, Strathallan were all there and winning medals.   If there was any doubt after the first world war about the top fee paying schools not taking part, Stewart’s, Heriot’s, Watson’s, Glasgow High and Gordonstoun removed any doubt this time round.

The championships moved to Edinburgh, to Inverleith, for the meeting on 14th June 1947.   The ‘Scotsman’ report has counted the competing schools and tells us that there were 70 taking part.   The report and results were published in the 16th June issue.

More new names on the medallists roster after last year – Bellahouston Secondary, Broughton Secondary, Govan Secondary,  Hawick High, Hamilton Academy, Kelvinside Academy, Lanark Grammar, Morgan Academy, North Berwick High,  Stirling High, Trinity Academy, Peebles High, Preston Lodge and Queen’s Park Secondary.    Note too the reference to the Scottish Schools Athletic Association – a different association to the original ruling clique from the fee-paying schools in Edinburgh.

They were back in Glasgow at Westerlands on 26th June in 1948.   Unfortunately there was no report to be found in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ or in ‘The Scotsman’.   There was however an interesting letter in ‘The Midlothian  Advertiser –

As a definition of amateurism it is faultless (!) but the perennial argument about whether they should apply to school children in the local sports gala day is highlighted.   No national coverage, but there was local reporting such as the following from the ‘Press & Journal’ in Aberdeen on 28th June which pointed up the local interest.   

There are other short local reports for Madras College or from Motherwell but no complete report was found.

In 1949 the ‘Glasgow Herald’ reported on 20th June on the championships, held at Inverleith again.

There were new schools on the prize list this year, names such as Irvine Royal Academy, Kirkcudbright Academy and Stevenston Junior Secondary, the latter being the first time after the War that a Junior Secondary, whose name proclaimed it, was on the awards list.   Govan Secondary might well have been another state junior secondary and although the high schools were never slow to give their full designation – which could cover the fee-paying as well as the state and granted some ambiguity  to the interpretation – the same was not quite true of the junior secondary.

Back at Westerlands on 17th June in 1950, the ‘Sunday Post’ had this short report with minimal results printed on the following day.

There was a bigger report with results for all three age groups in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of 19th June and it is reported below.



John Blane’s Trophies

John Blane was a wonderful athlete who won many trophies as a football player, as a long distance cyclist and then as a miler of considerable ability.   Blane came from Irvine and had three very good seasons between 1887 and 1890.   He only ran in two Scottish Championships: in 1888 he was second in the 880 and first in the One Mile in 4:35.6; he missed the Championships in 1889 but in 1890 he was second in both 880 yards and One Mile.   1888 was his best season when he was one of three men trying to be the first Scot under 4:30 for the Mile.   DS Duncan (Edinburgh) started the rush with 4:32.2 early in the season; Blane chopped this to 4:30.2 seconds and the Duncan finally reached the target with 4:28.0 in September 1888.   The record stood for several years.

Championships apart he raced a lot and won a lot.   In his first season (1887/88) as a comparative novice he had two firsts, four seconds and two thirds but he learned quickly and by 1888 he was as good as anyone in the country.   He won the Shield for the Mile at Abercorn Sports in Paisley three times in succession and was given the shield; he won the Empire Exhibition One Mile winning a superb trophy and medal, he won the Mile at St Mirren Sports winning a magnificent silver trophy, he won races all over Ayrshire and his collection of trophies is unique in my experience and testament to a superb career.

The list of items is as follows and is almost complete as far as championships are concerned:

Abercorn Mile Challenge Shield: 16” in diameter, inscribed Abercorn FC Sports 1885   Abercorn Mile Challenge Shield.   The former winners named on the shield are J Logan 1885, RC McWalter 1886, WM Thomson 1887, J Blane 1888, J Blane 1889.   Although he won it again in 1890 he did not have it engraved.   All winners were members of Clydesdale Harriers and the shield is a magnificent object set with several silver medallions illustrating parts of a race..

Abercorn FC Sports 1887: pewter tankard approx 16” tall, inscribed 880 Yards Flat Race H/cap Prize.   No winner’s name engraved.

Glasgow International Exhibition Trophy: approximately 15” tall inscribed One Mile Race H’cap, First Prize, John Blane, 1888

Scottish Amateur Athletic Association Medal: inscribed Championship Meeting 1888, 1 Mile Flat Race won by John Blane, time 4 minutes and 35 and 2/5th seconds.


Scottish Amateur Athletics Association Medal: inscribed Championship Meeting 1890, 1 Mile Flat Race.

Clydesdale Harriers Medal: inscribed 1 Mile Record, 4 minutes 30 and 1/5th s, won by John Blane, Maybole Sports, 14th July 1888.

St Mirren FC AA Sports 1887: Teapot inscribed Second Prize 1 mile race, handicap, open.   Unfortunately no photograph is available.


All his cycling trophies, one below, and medals, gold and silver are also in the collection. Note the sponsor’s name at the top of this one for a road championship race.


Inter Scholastics: 1871 – 1876

The inter scholastics were held in the first week in April in 1871 at Raeburn Place as usual with a handful of Edinburgh private schools taking part.   What follows is the ‘Scotsman’ report.

It will be noted that the heading on the report is of the Edinburgh Inter-Scholastic Games – there was no notion of of a national or even county Inter Scholastic competition and only four establishments were involved.  

Unfortunately for 1872 there was no ‘Scotsman’ available for April but we can go on to 1873 when we were more fortunate.   The report that year was in the  ‘Scotsman’ of 21st April and is a much longer account than the 1871 Games was in evidence.   It tells us that five schools took part and that Trinity College, Glenalmond was competing for the first time.   Note too that the reporter refers to the participants as ‘public schools’ which is now thought of as a reference to the English private school system. 


For 1874, there was a dearth of ‘Scotsman’s to consult online, similarly in 1875 but 1876 was a different matter.   There is a whole correspondence, maybe verging on the acrimonious, on the event which is on the next post which can be reached at   this link .