Empire Exhibition Marathon, 1938

The Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938 was an international exposition held at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow from May to December, 1938, culminating in a Sports Meeting incorporated into the Rangers Sports in August that year.

Postcard in 1938 of the public logo of the Empire Exhibition held in Glasgow

The Exhibition offered a chance to showcase and boost the economy of Scotland and celebrate Empire trade and developments, recovering from the depression of the 1930s. It also marked fifty years since Glasgow’s first great exhibition, theInternational Exhibition (1888) held at Kelvingrove Park. It was the second British Empire Exhibition, the first having been held at Wembley, London in 1924 and 1925.  The 1920’s were a time of serious depression, photographs of athletic clubs were totally different from photos taken after the second war (1939-45) in that those emigrating were going – almost in desperation – seeking a better life, hoping for a better life than was possible in post-war Britain.   James Reston of Clydesdale Harriers, a Scottish international runner and winner of many races and medals, left for America, settled in Dayton, Ohio, and his son, born in Clydebank, became one of America’s greatest ever journalists; known as Scotty Reston he interviewed and wrote about every American president from Eisenhower until he died, including Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and the rest.   After the second war, many athletes left Britain, mainly for New Zealand, Canada and the United States but in a better frame of mind: the war had been won, the atmosphere was happier than in the 1920’s and they were emigrating in a can-do optimistic fashion.

So the Exhibition was a celebration of the end of the miseries of the 20’s and a return to the Scotland that the people knew, and there was also an element of showing the increasingly threatening Germany of the strength of Britain and the commonwealth.    It was declared open by King George VI and Queen Mary on 3 May 1938 at the Opening Ceremony in Ibrox Stadium, attended by 146,000 people.   In addition to the Royal Patrons and the Honorary Presidents representing governments and institutions here and in the Dominions, the Exhibition President was the Earl of Elgin who was also President of the Scottish Development Council, initiators of the exposition.   There were many attractions to educate people about what the Empire could do and how far the power of Britain still spread.  The following is from the Kirkintilloch Herald of 4th May, 1938.

 

There were all sorts of special events and established events had a kind of celebratory twist to the proceedings.    For the sportsman, athletics and other events were held in August with exhibitions of various sports such as shinty.  The Sports at Ibrox Park  in August that year were quite special.   The international flavour associated with the Rangers Sports at the start of August was, if anything, enhanced for the occasion with a big team of Americans competing.  70,000 spectators went along to the meeting where the highlight was  Sydney Wooderson’s attempt on the world 1500m record.   He only failed by 1.2 seconds to break Lovelock’s record when, in a handicap race he just failed to overhaul the entire field , he was timed at 3:49. 

There were however four Scottish all-comers records broken –

*the quarter mile was won by W Fritz of Canada in 48 seconds running from scratch in the handicap race with JW Loring of Canada second off 6 yards and CF Campbell of Springburn third;

*the half mile was won by FR Handley of Salford in 1:52.4 off 6 yards but the third placed AH Colyer of Watford,running from scratch, ran 1:52.8 which was a new all-comers record’

*the 120 yards hurdles was won by Don Finlay of the RAF in 14.7 from J Patterson and A Tolmich, both USA;

*and pole vault where DM Hastie of Hill HS with a handicap of three feet nine inches won the competition but C Warmerdan cleared 14′ 3″ to create new Scottish and British all-comers records.   

The open events too had many top class fields, two examples from many –

Allan Watt of Shettleston (2 yards) won the 100 yards from A Maitland (7 yards), Victoria Park, and WTO Waddell, (3 yards) unattached in 10.7; 

the first three in the 8 laps steeplechase were JC Ross of Shettleston, Gordon Porteous of Maryhill and Adam McLean of Greenock Glenpark.

There were also exhibitions by American athletes in the shot and discus where the distances would have been Scottish records too had they been done in bona fide competitions.   Then there was the Marathon.

 

There was a genuine 26 miles 385 yards marathon race.   There had always been a ‘marathon’ race at the Rangers Sports but it had usually been over 17 miles.   On this occasion it was the full distance.   At this time, point to point races were in vogue with events like Drymen to Firhill being run: the organisation and mild chaos of the start being conducted away from the arena but the sports promoters would put up the prizes and have the finish of the race in their arena as part of the sports.   The race started at the Pierhead in Gourock and terminated in Ibrox.    Road races usually went off perfectly but this time there was a wee hitch.   There were so many runners entered for the mile that two well populated races were held – the first won by Andy Coogan of Maryhill (110 yards) in 4:12.8, the second by J Kerr, Hillington, (160 yards) in 4:14,6.   So far so good but the winner of the marathon – TF Lalande of South Africa, and a member of Herne Hill Harriers in London, – entered the arenawhile the mile was in full swing and the track crowded with bodies.   He had to make his way through as best he could after 26+ miles of running, to make it to the finish through what the Herald called ‘a maze of runners’.   Fortunately he was approximately a mile ahead of the next runner, T Strachan of Glasgow YMCA.    The race result:

  1.   TF Lalande,  South Africa   2:46:58
  2.    TA Strachan, Glasgow YMCA   2:54:12
  3.    LH Griffiths, Herne Hill Harriers   2:57:27
  4.    VB Sellars   Finchley Harriers   3:10:57
  5.    E Browne,  Lancaster Primrose   3:13:20
  6.    J O’Brien,  Port Talbot AC   3:14:30

There was only one Scot in the top six.   Lalande was born in Durban, Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa on 31st December 1904.   He ran in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin where he finished down the field in 27th place of the 42 finishers from 60 entries, in 2 hours 57 minutes 20 seconds – the Scottish temperature seemed to suit him better if the time is anything to go by.   His personal best was 2:36:18 which was run in 1936, but the Berlin Games can’t have been much fun for a black South African.   He moved to London and ran for Herne Hill Harriers where he finished second in the second ever Finchley 20.

 

International Coaching Conference: 2005

Scottish Athletics International Coaching Conference – Nov 05
Long Term Athletics Development

I have been asked to share with you an overview of my experience in the LTAD of Scottish World Class Athletes, Tom McKean, Yvonne Murray-Mooney and Susan Scott. The timescales involved were: –

Tommy Boyle Coaching Career – Club – World Class Athletics
1968-Present
Tom McKean
Phases I – IV Coached through all stages of development – recruitment – training to win at World Level
1974 – 1993
(age 10) (age 29)
Yvonne Murray-Mooney
Phases III – IV Coached last part of competition development – training to win at World Level
1987 – 1998
(age 23) (age 34)
Susan Scott
Phases III – IV Coached through competition development – Currently being coached – training to win at World Level
2001-Present
(age 28)

The results achieved in the development of these athletes were only possible due to combining the vast experience which I have gained over many years working with young athletes in the club situation and equipping myself with a balanced mix of coaching theory and practical experience much of which was gleaned from attending coach education courses in Scotland, learning from the experience of many top Scottish coaches and researching literature from the rest of the world.

Ultimately, however, to be successful in coaching athletics, the coach must have the inner desire to be the very best.

I will use the experience gained with Tommy McKean to outline a successful example of LTAD from recruitment to World Class.

Clearly, I cannot go into great detail in the time allocated for today’s lecture. However, I shall try to give you an overview of the key elements in the development process and include a more detailed summary in your hand out lecture:-

Fundamental Coaching Principles

Each coach gradually develops their own ideas on what is important. Thankfully, athletes are still individuals and, as such, require varying approaches to achieve their optimum level of performance. There is no one way in coaching but some things are more essential than others in the development of the athlete.

The important thing for the coach is that you take a sound knowledge of current training theory, mix it together with practical work in the field and gradually improve the blend as you gain in experience and are able to adopt a more critical assessment as to the effectiveness of your training programmes. A few of the key points which I feel are important in the overall development process are:-

• Training must be enjoyable – first measure of a successful coach – do the kids come back to training?
• The variety of training is restricted only by the limits of one’s imagination;
• Ensure a sound base of general conditioning is established and that it is progressive – absolutely fundamental in today’s society;
• Do not specialise too soon – let the young athletes sample the full spectrum of athletics events – multi-sided approach;
• Gradually install the discipline of training;
• Excessive loads for prolonged periods have a negative effect on the future development of the young athlete;
• High mileage/one-paced running must be avoided;
• Basic running technique must be taught early and improved in parallel with the physical development of the athlete;
• Life must be kept as simple as possible until the athlete has emerged through the myriad of problems which surround the pubertal growth spurs and adolescent revolutions;
• Prepare to meet the enormous challenges when the athlete stops progressing through natural growth and becomes totally dependent on the stimulus of training for improved performance;
• Know why you are doing each session what effect you are going to get and be ruthless in the evaluation of the effect;
• Scrutinise the requirements of the events and the projected progressions – what time must an athlete do for 200/800?
• Be objective in the assessment of the athlete’s potential to meet those requirements;
• Do not compromise on your principles – no matter how good the athlete;
• Pursuit of excellence is not only for the athlete – it is every bit as important that the coach has the desire to improve and is not afraid to venture into the upper echelons of the sport. I want to be World Class!
• There are no magic solutions, however, through the application of sound principles, combined with a common sense approach, an abundance of patience, enthusiasm and a lot of hard work, one can ensure that both coach and athlete produce their very best.
• If the coach has ambition and provided the athlete has 100% confidence in the coach then the athlete gradually gains 100% confidence in their training (the key to success at World Class);
• Finally, my experience working with World Class athletes in Scotland is that you must leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence – you must be prepared to take risks – be totally aware that you will be a big fish in a small pond and when the inevitable poor performances occur you will be criticised totally out of context of the performance – you and your athlete will be given a wide berth by your athletics colleagues and officials. You must have faith – support your athlete 100% – go where the critics fear to tread – rebuild the athlete’s confidence – both live your dream – it can be done by Scottish Athletes and coaches !
Tom McKean – Phases of Development Process

Phase I – Introduction to Athletics (11-16) – (Base of the Pyramid)

Tommy was like many youngsters attracted to athletics by establishing a role model via media coverage of major championships – being encouraged to participate in school cross country – by an enthusiastic head teacher and actually enjoying the amazing feeling of being good at the sport of athletics – he was recruited to the local club, Bellshill YMCA – where the foundation for LTAD was laid – the basic principles being:-

• Multi-sided approach – fun and games training;
• Solid aerobic foundation through team games, cross-country;
• Basic disciplines instilled in the individuals/teams;
• Coaching pass through system utilised U11, 11-13, 11-15, 15-16;
• Group session games – aerobic running – running round the streets;
• School – competition given priority;
• Competition emphasis – Teams – Inter-Club – County – Inter-County– National Schools – British Schools and Age Group Internationals;
• Tommy was good at cross country and showed his first real spark when in 6 inches of snow at the National Cross Country he came up from 60th to 3rd in the last 800 metres – he had that desire to win!
• He was just one of many good young athletes who formed the recruitment base of Club Athletics. He was not the best in that age group, but most importantly he enjoyed the variety of training and was given a very broad base of the conditioning foundation for future development!!

Phase II – 17

Cross country was still used as conditioning but circuit training was now of increasing importance as the emphasis was swinging more emphatically towards sprinting. Stricter disciplines were learned through training with older age groups and working towards targets was encouraged, motivation ensured via team competitions but now in sprint relays and 400 metres whilst still competing at all distances through to 1500 metres.

Phase II – Junior Man – 17-19

Cross country is now seen only as conditioning with races as fitness tests or fun with the boys. Weights were introduced in the circuit format with the major training objective being the development of sprinting ability and refinement of technique – aiming to significantly improve 200/400 metre times which would be the limiting factor in subsequent specialisation at 800 metres if we recognise where the event was going with Sebastian Coe’s world record 1m41.73.

Success as a second year junior indicated that Tommy was now responding very well to the stimuli of specific training for sprinting whilst still retaining through conditioning work the ability to race at 800 metres. Fundamental to future development!!

Phase II – First Year Senior 19-20

The plan was to reduce his 200/400 metre times but with a shift in emphasis via the introduction of structured track training for 800 metres. However, disaster struck when we increased intensity too quickly during the transition in track training: result – shin problems which, combined with a typical cavalier approach by a 19 year old, we had a bad injury which almost finished his athletics career through the sheer frustration of having trained hard all winter only to miss the full track season. Fortunately, Tom Craig (his physio at that time) did an excellent job – gave Tommy one race where he finished second in the Scottish 800m Championship. This kept him in the sport, but only just. The increased free time, meeting girls, loss of the training discipline, resulted in the gradual realisation that he was not going to fulfil the promise which the previous year’s performances were suggesting he was capable. I had a head on collision with Tommy where the hard facts were laid on the table: either 100% or nothing, and for some three months, he messed about before eventually recognising that he was throwing away the very thing he was good at. As a coach, I learned much from the situation: you can be the best in the world with the most talented athlete but unless he wants success more than anything else – forgot it – you’re wasting your time! The other harsh fact which emerged was the reality of our sport in Scotland: here we had another talented athlete out for a year and no-one asked a single question why. It was a case of facing up to the facts and organising myself accordingly to ensure that I was suitably equipped to breach the chasms which existed in the athletics system.

Phase II – Second Year Senior 20

The first objective was to consolidate the pre-injury performance and then to begin the next phase of development which was to specialise in the 800 metres event. Tommy was gradually introduce to increased workloads, training plans, short and long term objectives and gradually the process of transferring greater responsibility to the athlete was underway. Major and minor objectives were established and achieved – confidence in the coaching and training increased through realisation of mutual goals – discussions were now common with valuable feedback flowing in both directions. The year was concluded by introducing Tommy to a four year plan, aimed at Edinburgh/Stuttgart and, as we were now half way through having successfully achieved all objectives, it served the dual purpose of establishing confidence and presenting even greater challenges.

Phase III – Third Year Senior 21

This was the crucial year where we planned meticulously for the break-through and transition to full UK international. The key steps were:

a. Breakthrough – win UK closed – easier in a low year
b. Get Time for Selection – Rather difficult if you cannot get races, therefore, we used an agent as this was the only way to get a race abroad unless you had a time!
c. Consolidate Selection – It was crucial to either win or be second.
d. Gain Experience at Back/Back – This was important for next year’s games. “Training on the track became more specific to the requirements of the event with many sessions involving competition specific and race simulation situations faster than race pace.

In parallel with the planning for on-track activities, it was essential that we maximise on the publicity and organise the off-track activities to ensure that Tommy could concentrate 100% on producing his best performances in the correct competitions. I ensured that the correct level of exposure was obtained from each success, a fine balance was maintained, sponsorship was negotiated and a job secured that would allow the correct mix of training – leisure – work – for progression in the next year.

The competition season went as planned with one exception – with Europa Cup selection and win was a bonus which unfortunately upset our plans to use Zurich – Berlin – Cologne as back-to-back situations.

The big question which I was now being asked was – “Is he a one-season wonder or do you really know what you are doing?” – We shall see!

Phase III – Fourth Year Senior 22

Careful analysis of the previous year’s situation clearly indicated that we had several flaws in our armoury. To reinforce these weak spots necessitated strengthening the support team. Fortunately, Tommy’s major sponsor, Glen Henderson, in addition to being a very successful motor dealer, was also a very knowledgeable sports enthusiast who specialised in speed skating and was able to advise which direction we should move if we were to continue to progress in the cut and thrust arena of World Class athletics. This was gradually achieved by the recruitment of the best help which we could find: every aspect was improved.

Training workloads were increased in line with the requirements of three-round championships. Physiological testing was commenced to monitor the effect of present and past training and to provide a more accurate guidance of future training. Physiotherapy was made more readily available and this, as Glen Henderson had predicted, proved to be a crucial factor when Tommy was injured in three separate occasions but was still able to complete “safely” and “successfully”.

The objectives were established – competition plans compiled in such a manner that the minimum of exposure would obtain the desired effect – recognising the degree of expectancy which would inevitably exist and gather momentum leading up to the Commonwealth Games. Experiments were conducted in minor races, previous personal bests achieved but, importantly not surpassed, offers to run in major races were politely refused, the opposition and their ploys totally ignored as we became engrossed in the seemingly impossible task of getting Tommy through the injuries in the correct mental attitude. This was done and the final preparation for Edinburgh checked and re-checked by Stuart Hogg, long time friend and senior sprints coach. Nothing was left to chance in our quest for competitive advantage for the athlete – result: 2nd position – 1m44.80, new Scottish National/Native Record.

The next task was to overcome the vacuum created by the post Games anti-climax. This proved to be an ever bigger problem than I had thought it would be and this is where the team approach really “proved its weight in silver”. Our solution to the problem was a total change in environment – training partners – coach – and probably most important to escape family pressures – a very high risk some might say but we prefer to think that the final week’s preparation in Glenrothes was a sensible response to a very difficult situation – result: Coe 1st, McLean 2nd, Cram 3rd – new Scottish Record – new PB.

Phase III

The final year of the fourth year plan was focused totally on preparation for the Olympic Games; the training year was carefully planned with the emphasis on ensuring Tommy had enough high level competitions to give him the confidence which would help him overcome the mental scar of 1987. Unfortunately, a training overload error, coupled with a frosty morning on the grass at Strathclyde Park, resulted in an achilles tendon injury – 6 weeks out of running.

Thankfully, by this time we had a World Class back-up team and collectively Dave McLean, Prof. Myra Nimmo and myself combined every last grain of experience we had to develop a training program which would ensure Tommy was physically conditioned to the highest possible level utilising circuits/weights/aqua area/jogging. We developed our own regime of training and experimented with effort/recovery until we simulated as near as possible what was required – ultimately succeeding in that vital minefield where most athletes fail the transition to running load intensity increase.

By the end of June Tommy was competing at World Class level and arguably had one of his most successful seasons at GB level tipping the world rankings and winning the GP final.

This was not translated into Olympic results primarily due to an off track issue which resulted in a front page exposure in the Sun Newspaper on the day the team left for the Olympics.

Consequences – mind blown – lost his focus in the 2nd round – pushed an athlete – qualified for the semi but was subsequently disqualified when I believe he was in the condition of his life and would have won a medal for Britain.

– Disaster recovery programme implemented – !

Phase IV
The next five years were dedicated to the task of developing Tommy’s ability to win at World Level. During this five year period, he ran 10 of his best times:-

1989
• Increase in exposure to Grand Prix Competition
• Taking on the best in the world week after week
• Front running the Scottish Championships and new Native Record 1:44.79
• Chasing and beating Paul Erang (Olympic Champion) unbeaten over 20 races in one of the best races of his career (1:43.9 – Scottish National Record at Crystal Palace)
• Winning Grand Prix Final
• Finishing Top world rank at 800m

1990
• Commonwealth Games in Auckland – insufficient comps
• AAA Indoor gold
• European Indoor Gold
• Increasing number of major wins
• Climax in superb win front running the European champs in split

1991
• Fourth European Cup Win
• Major wins in Europe
• Minor mistake – major impact eliminated in heat of World Champs finishing 2nd to Mark Everett, a World Class 400m runner

1992
• Re-established confidence and regaining winning ways
• Major wins in Grand Prix
• Qualified for Olympics – ran bad race

1993
• Won AAA Indoor
• Won World Indoor Gold
• End of coach/athlete partnership

Age
Year / Date PB Event Psn Time
200 800
Phase IV 29 ‘93 World Indoor Gold 1st 1:47.29
28 ‘92 GP Final (Bronze) 3rd 1:46.06
1:44.39 Cologne GP 3rd 1:44.39
27 ‘91 1:44.20 Malmo GP 2nd 1:44.20
Stockholm GP 1st 1:44.41
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:45.60
26 ‘90 1:44.76 European Champs (Gold) 1st 1:44.76
Example of a Competition Year 14/9/90 Sheffield 1st 1:46.50
9/9/90 Rietie 2nd
29/8/90 Peak Split 1st 1:44.70
17/8/05 Gateshead 1st 1:45.50
7/8/05 Malmo 1st 1:45.30
4/8/90 1:44.44 AAAs – Trials 2nd 1:44.44
20/7/90 Crystal Palace 4th 1:45.15
12/7/90 Lausanne 1st 1:45.67
6/7/90 Edinburgh 1st 1:44.96
2/7/90 Stockholm 2nd 1:45.75
29/6/90 GB v GDR v Canada 1st 1:46.98
1/90 C Games Auckland
2/90 UK
2/90 AAAs Birmingham 1st 1:46.90
3/90 European Indoor Champ (Gold) 1st 1:46.22
25 ‘89 World Cup (Kiproketch) (Gold) 1st 1:44.95
Zurich Champs 5th 1:44.20
Scottish Native Crown Point (Gold) 1st 1:44.79
Scot. Nat. Record 1:43.88 London GP – “Erang” 1st 1:43.88
European Cup (Gold) 1st 1:46.94
Phase III 24 ‘88 Olympic Games H2 Disq. Personal Issues
GP Final 1st 1:47.60
1st 800 IAAF Ranking
23 ‘87 1:44.45 World Champ Final 8th Media Expectation
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:45.96
Luagana GP – “Konchela” 1st 1:44.45
22 ‘86 1:44.61 European Champ (Silver) 2nd 1:44.61
1:44.80 Commonwealth (Silver) 2nd 1:44.80
21 ‘85 21.60 1:46.05 Budapest GP 2nd 1:46.05
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:49.11
UK Champs (Gold) 1st 1:49.12
Phase II 20 ‘84 22.38 1:48.04 Scot Cat. 1st Scottish International
19 ‘83 22.40 1:49.80 Scottish Champs 2nd 1:49.18
Injured – shins
18 ‘82 22.80 1:49.30 Scottish Champs 400 1st 1:49.30
8 Nations 1st Exposure
17 ‘81 22.90 1:52.60 W. Dist. 800 1st
Scottish Junior 400 1st
Phase I 16 ‘80 23.50 1:54.10 British School 800 1st
W. Dist. 200 1st
15 ‘79 24.00 1:59.70 British School Cross Country 16th
14 ‘78 24.50 2:08.00 Scottish School Cross Country 4th
13 ‘77 25.70 – School and Club Competition

Yvonne Murray-Mooney – Phase III – 1987/1988

I started coaching Yvonne in late 1987. She had by that time been successful in reaching international level with many age groups and best times to her credit – she now wanted to win at World Class Level.

The challenge was to take the vast reservoir of coaching knowledge, the support of the back up team already in place and to quickly conduct a total assessment.

• The requirement of the event at World Class Level;
• The training required to meet those requirements;
• The current status of the athlete relative to the requirement.

This was completed over the first few months and a clear set of objectives put in place to ensure that Yvonne was both physically and mentally prepared for the Olympics in Seoul, a gigantic task given the added challenge of location and climate. The main elements of the change process included:-

• Implementation of the professional support developed for T McKean;
• Total review of lifestyle balance;
• Establishment of supporting sponsorship – job/car/finance;
• Total review of training load/intensity;
• Commence the learning process coach/athlete/support team.

What emerged was a much stronger athlete both physically and mentally prepared and more confident entering the competition season – result Bronze Medal in Seoul. A fantastic team effort in the process of developing world competitive performance – and peaking at the correct time.

1989 – The final Year in Learning to Compete

This year consisted of consolidation of the training regime which we had implemented.

• Increasing load – reducing recovery/increasing intensity
• Improving every aspect of technique – circuits/weights/running
• Construction of a competition programme which allowed experimentation in the manner Yvonne would win her races
• Lifestyle balance was again improved with every aspect scrutinised and corrective actions implemented
• Learning to change pace – kick from various distances

During the complete season I spent three weeks on the European circuit with Tom and Yvonne learning how they coped with the situations and each other this was to prove a very valuable experience in preparing for the Europeans in 1990 – result was an extremely successful competition season with many fine performers – experimenting in every race – and finishing in winning the Grand Prix final in Barcelona.

Grand Prix Final Kick 200 (Gold) – 9:02.59 3k
World Cup Final Kick 800 (Gold) – 8:44.34 3k
First British Winner of Women’s Track Event at World Cup Final.

1990 – Phase IV – Winning at World Class Level

The objective was to develop a double periodised competition plan aimed at preparing an athlete to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand in January with a second competition phase aimed at winning the European 3k in split Yugoslavia in August.

The challenge was immense, and included:-

• Further refinement of all training loads;
• Meticulous planning of double periodised year;
• Travel – accommodation – medical – physio – communication;
• Pre-Games Australia  Games Auckland
• Coach support in Auckland – T Boyle/S Hogg;
• Competition opportunity – 1 Comp – Result Silver 3000;
• Transition back into volume training in Scotland.

The main objective that year was to prepare for European Champs split. This consisted of:-

• Meticulous planning of load intensity;
• Thorough evaluation of competition;
• Competition season designed to create picture in opposition mind;
• Final preparation – in warm up area – knowing Tom McKean had just won Gold !

Result – Gold Medal 3k Kick from 550

1991

Yvonne was very keen to give altitude a try. This was World Champs. Year and we decided that it would be best to use this year – we planned carefully with time spent in Johannesburg then Capetown and back to Johannesburg before returning to Scotland – it was not a success the variables were too many and we certainly learned the greatest issue was Yvonne training on her own. I was shocked when I arrived in Capetown to see how much she had lost v. plan and was obviously aware that this was not right so yet again coaching recovery plan – rebuild, reassure, realign – we got things back on track but the experiment did not work.

The main competition season:-

• Major mistake in Europa Cup, Frankfurt when we decided to experiment with Yvonne going after one lap. She went too fast on that first two laps and really suffered. As a consequence, an experiment which backfired
• Quickly back on course with good victory at Meadowbank in 8:36.05;
• The Worlds went reasonably well but it was clear that the opposition were ready to pounce when Yvonne kicked – we knew that would be the case – result 4th.

Phase IV – 1992 – Objective – Olympics

• The year was focused at preparation for the Olympics
• Main competition season went well – most objectives achieved
• Major issue was trying to overcome the acclimatisation to heat
• Result Olympics – did not perform to capability in the conditions.

1993 – Objective World Indoor – Grand Prix – Success

• Warm weather/altitude in Arizona – M Ritchie
• World Indoor – Gold Montreal
• Excellent performance in GP throughout the year
• 2nd in Grand Prix Final

1994 – Objective – Commonwealth – 10k

• Transition to 10k training
• Scottish National Record in Oslo Mile 4:22.64
• Scottish/Uk Record in Edinburgh 2k 5:26.93
• Silver in European Champs 3k 8:36.48
• Gold in World Cup 3k 8:56.81
• Gold in Commonwealth Games 10k 31:56.7

Arguably, Yvonne’s highest level of performance in her career 5 1st places and 7 2nd places at World level. A fantastic year in what was effectively her final serious track season.

1995-1998 – Transition to Road

The next few years were spent in transition to road racing with varying degrees of success and failure, but never really consolidating a successful recipe.

End of coach/athlete partnership!

Summary of Achievements

Bronze Medal 1985 European Indoor Championships
Silver Medal 1986 European Indoor Championships
Bronze Medal 1986 Commonwealth Games at Edinburgh
Gold Medal 1987 European Indoor Championships
Bronze Medal 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul
Gold Medal 1989 World Cup at Barcelona
Silver Medal 1990 Commonwealth Games at Auckland
Gold Medal 1990 European Championships at Split
Gold Medal 1993 World Indoor Championships at Toronto
Silver Medal 1994 European Championships at Helsinki
Gold Medal 1994 Commonwealth Games at Victoria
Gold Medal 1994 World Cup at Crystal Palace

– Ranked Number Two in the World in 1994 for the Mile, 2000m and 3000m
– First British Female to win a Gold Medal in the World Indoor Championships
– First British Female to win an individual track Gold Medal in the World Cup
– First British Female athlete in 21 years to win a European Championship Gold Medal in a track event
– The Honour of MBE was bestowed upon Yvonne at Buckingham Palace on 12th March (New Year Honours List 1991)

Appendix III
Y Murray-Mooney –
Progression and Significant Achievements (including ex 1994 Comp Year)

Age Year / Date
1500m
3000m Other Major Event Psn
Training to Road 33 1998
32 1997
31 1996 1:12.25 Half Marathon
30 1995 53:3.50 10 Miles – Portsmouth
14:56.44 5 Miles – Crystal Palace (Scot. Nat. Record)

Phase IV 29 1994
Example of a Competition Year 11/9/04 8:56.81 Crystal Palace World Cup 3000m (Gold) 1st
4/9/04 5:38.0 Sheffield GP 2000m 2nd
24/8/04 31:56.97 Victoria Commonwealth 10k (Gold) 1st
10/8/04 8:36.48 Helsinki 3000m – Euro. Champs (Silver) 2nd
22/7/04 4:22.64 Oslo – Bislett 1 mile 2nd
20/7/04 4:04.18 Gateshead 1500m (Front Run) 1st
15/7/04 8:29.6 Crystal Palace 3000m (0.5 off PB) 2nd
8/7/04 5:26.93 Meadowbank Inv. 2000m (Scottish Nat Record) 2nd
12/6/04 4:01.44 AAA 1500m (Silver) 2nd
22/5/04 15:23 Aberdeen S/CD R/Race 2nd

28 1993 8:41.59 GP Final 2nd
5:36.03 Sheffield GP 1st
8:32.43
Brussels GP 2nd
8:33.62 London GP 1st
8:30.70 Oslo GP 2nd
4:17.5 Europa Cup (Bronze) 3rd
15:20.01 SK Road Aberdeen 2nd
8:50.55 World Indoor Toronto (Gold) 1st
27 1992 Olympic Final Barcelona
5:35.38 London GP 1st

26 1991 World Champs, Tokyo 4th
8:36.05 Edinburgh GP 1st
25 1990 8:43.06 European Champs (Gold) 1st
16/9/90 5:35.53 Sheffield GP 1st
19/9/90 8:39.46 Commonwealth Games, Auckland (Silver) 2nd

Phase III 24 1989 9:02.58 GP Final (3rd World) 1st
8:44.34 World Cup Barcelona (Gold) 1st
31/8/89 4:03.13 Brussels GP 3rd
7/8/89 4:03.58 Edinburgh GP 3rd
European Cup (Silver) 2nd
23 1988 8:29.02 Olympic/Scot. Nat. Record (Bronze) 3rd
10/7/88 8:37.22 Nice GP 1st
22 1987 4:01.20 8:48.15 Europa Cup (Silver) 2nd
21 1986 4:11.20 8:55.32 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh (Bronze) 3rd
20 1985 9:00.94

Appendix IV

Susan Scott

I started coaching Susan at the end of 2001, at which time she had progressed through Phases I-II with her previous coaches and had achieved a good level of success at Scottish age group level with a clear bias towards 1500 and cross-country.

Phase III – Competition Development

The first objective was to conduct a total review of both her training and lifestyle and identify a more professional approach which would ensure she was being equipped to meet the requirements of the event and to give her the foundation from which she could over subsequent years achieve performance to the optimum of her capability. The areas included:-

• Use of pulse monitor to control effort in OBLA;
• Aerobic running at correct sub-OBLA pace;
• Structured circuit training – intensive/extensive;
• Performance of basic weight technique and structured programme;
• Inclusion of technique running/sprinting sessions;
• Introduction to pyramid concept for all training;
• Education on lifestyle balancing – recovery – nutrition;
• Total review of athlete’s ability v. event requirements.

The changes were significant. However, the training was successful and resulted in an improvement in every aspect of training performance which was subsequently translated into a major breakthrough winning Scottish, AAAs and finishing 4th in the Commonwealth Games with a time of 1:59.30. The first Scot to break 2 mins !

2003

This year was totally focused on teaching Susan how to race at World Class level in 800m and refining the training regime ensuring consolidation of the multi-sided approach. The major points of focus were:-

• Training loads increased – recover cut – intensity increase;
• Lifestyle balance improved – more recovery;
• Financial support – reviewed – major issues identified not resolved!!
• Race programme – learning to peak;
• Competition exposure – International/Europa Cup/Grand Prix;
• Susan did exceptionally well but had much to learn about the art of running 800m at World Class Level!

2004

The objective was simple – gain Olympic qualification

• Training refined, loads increased to meet requirement of event;
• Year plan developed – training – all objectives met;
• Competition Plan – MAJOR PROBLEM AREA;
• Funding reviewed – Inadequate to allow full-time training (3 day week)

In summary, the result was that Susan (despite being in tremendous physical condition) spent most of her competition season trying to consolidate a competition programme which would ensure the correct level of exposure at the appropriate time to provide the requisite number of opportunities to obtain qualification – she narrowly failed to do so.

Indeed, athletics failed Susan Scott.

2005 – Phase IV – Learning to Win at World Level

The first part of the winter was spent conducting a total review of the support and competition requirements with Aileen McGillivary, High Performance Athletics Manager, SIS. Major issues and improvements identified were:-

• Improvement in communication loops/timeframe SIS/coach/athlete/support team;
• Refinement of Sports Science –support including
o Field testing of OBLA/track reps/blood test/nutrition/physio
• Securing a Race Agent to provide the requisite level of competitions;
• Review of funding – still a major issue;
• Competition objective simple qualification/CG/800/1500 win AAA
• Training – Emphasis changed to include 1500m.

In summary, 2005 was a successful year for Susan, the key highlights being:-

• Recovering from tremendous disappointment of failing to qualify for OG;
• Successful adaptation to increase workload for 1500m;
• Improved competition plan – agent support;
• Qualification times for 1500m and 800m achieved;
• Winner of AAAs in tactical race;
• Bonus – qualification for Worlds;
• Experience gained in Heats/S Final
• Raw sessions best in World Championships.

In conclusion, the remainder of Phase IV will be invested in refinement of the total preparation of Susan to provide her with the maximum opportunity to achieve her dream in athletics.

My advice to Scottish Coaches is:-

• Decide what you want to do in your coaching career;
• How much time can you give up and still maintain a quality balance to your life?
• The time taken to travel the full athletics development pathway is fairly significant and will probably require in the pass through system being fundamental to future success;
• For me, every coach in the conveyor of success must be part of the team. If a pass through system is to be ultimately successful in long term athletics development;
• Enjoy your coaching !!

Appendix V
S Scott –
Progression and Significant Achievements (including ex 2003-2005 Comp Years)

Age Year / Date PB 800 Major Event Psn Time
Phase IV 32 2010 C Comm. Games/European Champs
31 2009 World Champs
30 2008 Olympic Games
29 2007 World Champs
28 2006 Comm. Games/European Champs
27 2005
Example of a Competition Year 21/8/05 Norwich Union Super GP 2nd 2:03.77
14/8/05 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 2:02.85
7/8/05 2:01.17 IAAF World Champs (Season Best) 8th 2:01.17
22/7/05 Norwich Union Super GP 3rd 2:02.06
10/7/05 AAA Champs & Trials (World & Comm)
(Gold) 1st 2:02.97
27/6/05 Josef Odlozil Memorial GPII (1500m) 2nd 4:14.84
12/6/05 Lille GP (1500m) 6th 4:09.10
Phase III 26 2004
Example of a Competition Year 15/8/04 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 2:02.85
14/8/04 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 4:17.0
30/7/04 2:00.71 Crystal Palace GP 4th 2:00.71
24/7/04 GB Match 6th 2:03.00
17/7/04 BMC 1st 2:01.70
14/7/04 Lahiti Games 1st 2:01.46
11/7/04 AAAs (Bronze) 3rd 2:02.13
27/6/04 Gateshead GP 6th 2:01.40
19/6/04 Euro. Cup (Bronze) 3rd 2:01.35
12/6/04 BMC 1st 2:00.77
2/6/04 Open Graded 2:01.87 mx
22/5/04 BMC 2nd 4:10.56
25 2003
Example of a Competition Year 1/8/03 North Down Games (Silver) 2nd 2:03.9
26/7/03 AAAs (Silver) 2nd 2:04.13
29/6/03 GB v. USA v. Russia 6th 2:03.16
21/6/03 Euro. Cup 6th 2:04.28
12/6/03 Ostrava GP 5th 2:01.85
1/6/03 2:01.08 Hengelo GP 2nd 2:01.08
GB Int. 5th 2:03
Scottish (Gold) 1st 2:02
24 2002 1:59.30 Commonwealth Games Scot. Nat. Record 4th 1:59.30
AAAs (Gold) 1st 2:03.84
23 2001 Scottish (Gold) 1st 2:06
European U23 Champs (1500m) (heat)
Phase II 22 1999 AAAs U23 (1500m) (Gold) 1st
20 1998 Scottish Champs 800m (Gold) 1st
19 1996 Scottish Champs (1500m) 3rd John Montgomery
Scottish Schools CC 2nd
Scottish CC Champs (Gold) 1st
British Schools Indoors (Gold) 1st
Phase I 15 1992 Scottish 800m Champ U15 (Gold) 1st Graham Greenham
14 1991 British Schools CC West District Champ
13 1990 Scottish CC Champ (Gold) 1st Glen Harrow
11 1988 Scottish CC Champ (Gold) 1st

Appendix VI

• End of coach/athlete partnership

Age
Year / Date PB Event Psn Time
200 800
Phase IV 29 ‘93 World Indoor Gold 1st 1:47.29
28 ‘92 GP Final (Bronze) 3rd 1:46.06
1:44.39 Cologne GP 3rd 1:44.39
27 ‘91 1:44.20 Malmo GP 2nd 1:44.20
Stockholm GP 1st 1:44.41
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:45.60
26 ‘90 1:44.76 European Champs (Gold) 1st 1:44.76
Example of a Competition Year 14/9/90 Sheffield 1st 1:46.50
9/9/90 Rietie 2nd
29/8/90 Peak Split 1st 1:44.70
17/8/05 Gateshead 1st 1:45.50
7/8/05 Malmo 1st 1:45.30
4/8/90 1:44.44 AAAs – Trials 2nd 1:44.44
20/7/90 Crystal Palace 4th 1:45.15
12/7/90 Lausanne 1st 1:45.67
6/7/90 Edinburgh 1st 1:44.96
2/7/90 Stockholm 2nd 1:45.75
29/6/90 GB v GDR v Canada 1st 1:46.98
1/90 C Games Auckland
2/90 UK
2/90 AAAs Birmingham 1st 1:46.90
3/90 European Indoor Champ (Gold) 1st 1:46.22
25 ‘89 World Cup (Kiproketch) (Gold) 1st 1:44.95
Zurich Champs 5th 1:44.20
Scottish Native Crown Point (Gold) 1st 1:44.79
Scot. Nat. Record 1:43.88 London GP – “Erang” 1st 1:43.88
European Cup (Gold) 1st 1:46.94
Phase III 24 ‘88 Olympic Games H2 Disq. Personal Issues
GP Final 1st 1:47.60
1st 800 IAAF Ranking
23 ‘87 1:44.45 World Champ Final 8th Media Expectation
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:45.96
Luagana GP – “Konchela” 1st 1:44.45
22 ‘86 1:44.61 European Champ (Silver) 2nd 1:44.61
1:44.80 Commonwealth (Silver) 2nd 1:44.80
21 ‘85 21.60 1:46.05 Budapest GP 2nd 1:46.05
Europa Cup (Gold) 1st 1:49.11
UK Champs (Gold) 1st 1:49.12
Phase II 20 ‘84 22.38 1:48.04 Scot Cat. 1st Scottish International
19 ‘83 22.40 1:49.80 Scottish Champs 2nd 1:49.18
Injured – shins
18 ‘82 22.80 1:49.30 Scottish Champs 400 1st 1:49.30
8 Nations 1st Exposure
17 ‘81 22.90 1:52.60 W. Dist. 800 1st
Scottish Junior 400 1st
Phase I 16 ‘80 23.50 1:54.10 British School 800 1st
W. Dist. 200 1st
15 ‘79 24.00 1:59.70 British School Cross Country 16th
14 ‘78 24.50 2:08.00 Scottish School Cross Country 4th
13 ‘77 25.70 – School and Club Competition

Yvonne Murray-Mooney – Phase III – 1987/1988

I started coaching Yvonne in late 1987. She had by that time been successful in reaching international level with many age groups and best times to her credit – she now wanted to win at World Class Level.

The challenge was to take the vast reservoir of coaching knowledge, the support of the back up team already in place and to quickly conduct a total assessment.

• The requirement of the event at World Class Level;
• The training required to meet those requirements;
• The current status of the athlete relative to the requirement.

This was completed over the first few months and a clear set of objectives put in place to ensure that Yvonne was both physically and mentally prepared for the Olympics in Seoul, a gigantic task given the added challenge of location and climate. The main elements of the change process included:-

• Implementation of the professional support developed for T McKean;
• Total review of lifestyle balance;
• Establishment of supporting sponsorship – job/car/finance;
• Total review of training load/intensity;
• Commence the learning process coach/athlete/support team.

What emerged was a much stronger athlete both physically and mentally prepared and more confident entering the competition season – result Bronze Medal in Seoul. A fantastic team effort in the process of developing world competitive performance – and peaking at the correct time.

1989 – The final Year in Learning to Compete

This year consisted of consolidation of the training regime which we had implemented.

• Increasing load – reducing recovery/increasing intensity
• Improving every aspect of technique – circuits/weights/running
• Construction of a competition programme which allowed experimentation in the manner Yvonne would win her races
• Lifestyle balance was again improved with every aspect scrutinised and corrective actions implemented
• Learning to change pace – kick from various distances

During the complete season I spent three weeks on the European circuit with Tom and Yvonne learning how they coped with the situations and each other this was to prove a very valuable experience in preparing for the Europeans in 1990 – result was an extremely successful competition season with many fine performers – experimenting in every race – and finishing in winning the Grand Prix final in Barcelona.

Grand Prix Final Kick 200 (Gold) – 9:02.59 3k
World Cup Final Kick 800 (Gold) – 8:44.34 3k
First British Winner of Women’s Track Event at World Cup Final.

1990 – Phase IV – Winning at World Class Level

The objective was to develop a double periodised competition plan aimed at preparing an athlete to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand in January with a second competition phase aimed at winning the European 3k in split Yugoslavia in August.

The challenge was immense, and included:-

• Further refinement of all training loads;
• Meticulous planning of double periodised year;
• Travel – accommodation – medical – physio – communication;
• Pre-Games Australia  Games Auckland
• Coach support in Auckland – T Boyle/S Hogg;
• Competition opportunity – 1 Comp – Result Silver 3000;
• Transition back into volume training in Scotland.

The main objective that year was to prepare for European Champs split. This consisted of:-

• Meticulous planning of load intensity;
• Thorough evaluation of competition;
• Competition season designed to create picture in opposition mind;
• Final preparation – in warm up area – knowing Tom McKean had just won Gold !

Result – Gold Medal 3k Kick from 550

1991

Yvonne was very keen to give altitude a try. This was World Champs. Year and we decided that it would be best to use this year – we planned carefully with time spent in Johannesburg then Capetown and back to Johannesburg before returning to Scotland – it was not a success the variables were too many and we certainly learned the greatest issue was Yvonne training on her own. I was shocked when I arrived in Capetown to see how much she had lost v. plan and was obviously aware that this was not right so yet again coaching recovery plan – rebuild, reassure, realign – we got things back on track but the experiment did not work.

The main competition season:-

• Major mistake in Europa Cup, Frankfurt when we decided to experiment with Yvonne going after one lap. She went too fast on that first two laps and really suffered. As a consequence, an experiment which backfired
• Quickly back on course with good victory at Meadowbank in 8:36.05;
• The Worlds went reasonably well but it was clear that the opposition were ready to pounce when Yvonne kicked – we knew that would be the case – result 4th.

Phase IV – 1992 – Objective – Olympics

• The year was focused at preparation for the Olympics
• Main competition season went well – most objectives achieved
• Major issue was trying to overcome the acclimatisation to heat
• Result Olympics – did not perform to capability in the conditions.

1993 – Objective World Indoor – Grand Prix – Success

• Warm weather/altitude in Arizona – M Ritchie
• World Indoor – Gold Montreal
• Excellent performance in GP throughout the year
• 2nd in Grand Prix Final

1994 – Objective – Commonwealth – 10k

• Transition to 10k training
• Scottish National Record in Oslo Mile 4:22.64
• Scottish/Uk Record in Edinburgh 2k 5:26.93
• Silver in European Champs 3k 8:36.48
• Gold in World Cup 3k 8:56.81
• Gold in Commonwealth Games 10k 31:56.7

Arguably, Yvonne’s highest level of performance in her career 5 1st places and 7 2nd places at World level. A fantastic year in what was effectively her final serious track season.

1995-1998 – Transition to Road

The next few years were spent in transition to road racing with varying degrees of success and failure, but never really consolidating a successful recipe.

End of coach/athlete partnership!

Summary of Achievements

Bronze Medal 1985 European Indoor Championships
Silver Medal 1986 European Indoor Championships
Bronze Medal 1986 Commonwealth Games at Edinburgh
Gold Medal 1987 European Indoor Championships
Bronze Medal 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul
Gold Medal 1989 World Cup at Barcelona
Silver Medal 1990 Commonwealth Games at Auckland
Gold Medal 1990 European Championships at Split
Gold Medal 1993 World Indoor Championships at Toronto
Silver Medal 1994 European Championships at Helsinki
Gold Medal 1994 Commonwealth Games at Victoria
Gold Medal 1994 World Cup at Crystal Palace

– Ranked Number Two in the World in 1994 for the Mile, 2000m and 3000m
– First British Female to win a Gold Medal in the World Indoor Championships
– First British Female to win an individual track Gold Medal in the World Cup
– First British Female athlete in 21 years to win a European Championship Gold Medal in a track event
– The Honour of MBE was bestowed upon Yvonne at Buckingham Palace on 12th March (New Year Honours List 1991)

Appendix III
Y Murray-Mooney –
Progression and Significant Achievements (including ex 1994 Comp Year)

Age Year / Date
1500m
3000m Other Major Event Psn
Training to Road 33 1998
32 1997
31 1996 1:12.25 Half Marathon
30 1995 53:3.50 10 Miles – Portsmouth
14:56.44 5 Miles – Crystal Palace (Scot. Nat. Record)

Phase IV 29 1994
Example of a Competition Year 11/9/04 8:56.81 Crystal Palace World Cup 3000m (Gold) 1st
4/9/04 5:38.0 Sheffield GP 2000m 2nd
24/8/04 31:56.97 Victoria Commonwealth 10k (Gold) 1st
10/8/04 8:36.48 Helsinki 3000m – Euro. Champs (Silver) 2nd
22/7/04 4:22.64 Oslo – Bislett 1 mile 2nd
20/7/04 4:04.18 Gateshead 1500m (Front Run) 1st
15/7/04 8:29.6 Crystal Palace 3000m (0.5 off PB) 2nd
8/7/04 5:26.93 Meadowbank Inv. 2000m (Scottish Nat Record) 2nd
12/6/04 4:01.44 AAA 1500m (Silver) 2nd
22/5/04 15:23 Aberdeen S/CD R/Race 2nd

28 1993 8:41.59 GP Final 2nd
5:36.03 Sheffield GP 1st
8:32.43
Brussels GP 2nd
8:33.62 London GP 1st
8:30.70 Oslo GP 2nd
4:17.5 Europa Cup (Bronze) 3rd
15:20.01 SK Road Aberdeen 2nd
8:50.55 World Indoor Toronto (Gold) 1st
27 1992 Olympic Final Barcelona
5:35.38 London GP 1st

26 1991 World Champs, Tokyo 4th
8:36.05 Edinburgh GP 1st
25 1990 8:43.06 European Champs (Gold) 1st
16/9/90 5:35.53 Sheffield GP 1st
19/9/90 8:39.46 Commonwealth Games, Auckland (Silver) 2nd

Phase III 24 1989 9:02.58 GP Final (3rd World) 1st
8:44.34 World Cup Barcelona (Gold) 1st
31/8/89 4:03.13 Brussels GP 3rd
7/8/89 4:03.58 Edinburgh GP 3rd
European Cup (Silver) 2nd
23 1988 8:29.02 Olympic/Scot. Nat. Record (Bronze) 3rd
10/7/88 8:37.22 Nice GP 1st
22 1987 4:01.20 8:48.15 Europa Cup (Silver) 2nd
21 1986 4:11.20 8:55.32 Commonwealth Games Edinburgh (Bronze) 3rd
20 1985 9:00.94

Appendix IV

Susan Scott

I started coaching Susan at the end of 2001, at which time she had progressed through Phases I-II with her previous coaches and had achieved a good level of success at Scottish age group level with a clear bias towards 1500 and cross-country.

Phase III – Competition Development

The first objective was to conduct a total review of both her training and lifestyle and identify a more professional approach which would ensure she was being equipped to meet the requirements of the event and to give her the foundation from which she could over subsequent years achieve performance to the optimum of her capability. The areas included:-

• Use of pulse monitor to control effort in OBLA;
• Aerobic running at correct sub-OBLA pace;
• Structured circuit training – intensive/extensive;
• Performance of basic weight technique and structured programme;
• Inclusion of technique running/sprinting sessions;
• Introduction to pyramid concept for all training;
• Education on lifestyle balancing – recovery – nutrition;
• Total review of athlete’s ability v. event requirements.

The changes were significant. However, the training was successful and resulted in an improvement in every aspect of training performance which was subsequently translated into a major breakthrough winning Scottish, AAAs and finishing 4th in the Commonwealth Games with a time of 1:59.30. The first Scot to break 2 mins !

2003

This year was totally focused on teaching Susan how to race at World Class level in 800m and refining the training regime ensuring consolidation of the multi-sided approach. The major points of focus were:-

• Training loads increased – recover cut – intensity increase;
• Lifestyle balance improved – more recovery;
• Financial support – reviewed – major issues identified not resolved!!
• Race programme – learning to peak;
• Competition exposure – International/Europa Cup/Grand Prix;
• Susan did exceptionally well but had much to learn about the art of running 800m at World Class Level!

2004

The objective was simple – gain Olympic qualification

• Training refined, loads increased to meet requirement of event;
• Year plan developed – training – all objectives met;
• Competition Plan – MAJOR PROBLEM AREA;
• Funding reviewed – Inadequate to allow full-time training (3 day week)

In summary, the result was that Susan (despite being in tremendous physical condition) spent most of her competition season trying to consolidate a competition programme which would ensure the correct level of exposure at the appropriate time to provide the requisite number of opportunities to obtain qualification – she narrowly failed to do so.

Indeed, athletics failed Susan Scott.

2005 – Phase IV – Learning to Win at World Level

The first part of the winter was spent conducting a total review of the support and competition requirements with Aileen McGillivary, High Performance Athletics Manager, SIS. Major issues and improvements identified were:-

• Improvement in communication loops/timeframe SIS/coach/athlete/support team;
• Refinement of Sports Science –support including
o Field testing of OBLA/track reps/blood test/nutrition/physio
• Securing a Race Agent to provide the requisite level of competitions;
• Review of funding – still a major issue;
• Competition objective simple qualification/CG/800/1500 win AAA
• Training – Emphasis changed to include 1500m.

In summary, 2005 was a successful year for Susan, the key highlights being:-

• Recovering from tremendous disappointment of failing to qualify for OG;
• Successful adaptation to increase workload for 1500m;
• Improved competition plan – agent support;
• Qualification times for 1500m and 800m achieved;
• Winner of AAAs in tactical race;
• Bonus – qualification for Worlds;
• Experience gained in Heats/S Final
• Raw sessions best in World Championships.

In conclusion, the remainder of Phase IV will be invested in refinement of the total preparation of Susan to provide her with the maximum opportunity to achieve her dream in athletics.

My advice to Scottish Coaches is:-

• Decide what you want to do in your coaching career;
• How much time can you give up and still maintain a quality balance to your life?
• The time taken to travel the full athletics development pathway is fairly significant and will probably require in the pass through system being fundamental to future success;
• For me, every coach in the conveyor of success must be part of the team. If a pass through system is to be ultimately successful in long term athletics development;
• Enjoy your coaching !!

Appendix V
S Scott –
Progression and Significant Achievements (including ex 2003-2005 Comp Years)

Age Year / Date PB 800 Major Event Psn Time
Phase IV 32 2010 C Comm. Games/European Champs
31 2009 World Champs
30 2008 Olympic Games
29 2007 World Champs
28 2006 Comm. Games/European Champs
27 2005
Example of a Competition Year 21/8/05 Norwich Union Super GP 2nd 2:03.77
14/8/05 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 2:02.85
7/8/05 2:01.17 IAAF World Champs (Season Best) 8th 2:01.17
22/7/05 Norwich Union Super GP 3rd 2:02.06
10/7/05 AAA Champs & Trials (World & Comm)
(Gold) 1st 2:02.97
27/6/05 Josef Odlozil Memorial GPII (1500m) 2nd 4:14.84
12/6/05 Lille GP (1500m) 6th 4:09.10
Phase III 26 2004
Example of a Competition Year 15/8/04 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 2:02.85
14/8/04 Scottish Champs (Gold) 1st 4:17.0
30/7/04 2:00.71 Crystal Palace GP 4th 2:00.71
24/7/04 GB Match 6th 2:03.00
17/7/04 BMC 1st 2:01.70
14/7/04 Lahiti Games 1st 2:01.46
11/7/04 AAAs (Bronze) 3rd 2:02.13
27/6/04 Gateshead GP 6th 2:01.40
19/6/04 Euro. Cup (Bronze) 3rd 2:01.35
12/6/04 BMC 1st 2:00.77
2/6/04 Open Graded 2:01.87 mx
22/5/04 BMC 2nd 4:10.56
25 2003
Example of a Competition Year 1/8/03 North Down Games (Silver) 2nd 2:03.9
26/7/03 AAAs (Silver) 2nd 2:04.13
29/6/03 GB v. USA v. Russia 6th 2:03.16
21/6/03 Euro. Cup 6th 2:04.28
12/6/03 Ostrava GP 5th 2:01.85
1/6/03 2:01.08 Hengelo GP 2nd 2:01.08
GB Int. 5th 2:03
Scottish (Gold) 1st 2:02
24 2002 1:59.30 Commonwealth Games Scot. Nat. Record 4th 1:59.30
AAAs (Gold) 1st 2:03.84
23 2001 Scottish (Gold) 1st 2:06
European U23 Champs (1500m) (heat)
Phase II 22 1999 AAAs U23 (1500m) (Gold) 1st
20 1998 Scottish Champs 800m (Gold) 1st
19 1996 Scottish Champs (1500m) 3rd John Montgomery
Scottish Schools CC 2nd
Scottish CC Champs (Gold) 1st
British Schools Indoors (Gold) 1st
Phase I 15 1992 Scottish 800m Champ U15 (Gold) 1st Graham Greenham
14 1991 British Schools CC West District Champ
13 1990 Scottish CC Champ (Gold) 1st Glen Harrow
11 1988 Scottish CC Champ (Gold) 1st

Appendix VI

Lanark Police Sports, 1960, Programme

The Lanarkshire Constabulary Sports was a very popular meeting and another which, like the Rangers Sports. was held at a football stadium – in this case Shawfield, the home of Clyde FC, which was also used by the greyhound racing fraternity.   The result was a track marked out on the grass of the football pitch surrounded by the dog track with its floodlights.   This programme from the 1960 sports was passed to us by Chris Holloway and apart from the races and competitors is a useful piece of social history – have a look at the adverts for a start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Years Ago: A Look Back At 1922

Scottish distance running 100 years ago: Flashback to the year that was 1922

Alex Wilson

Today, in 2022, Scottish distance running has arguably never been stronger at the elite level, with Laura Muir and Josh Kerr winning silver and bronze respectively in the 1500 metres at last year’s Tokyo Olympics. We presently have what you might call an embarrassment of riches, with the likes of Josh Kerr, Neil Gourley, Jake Wightman, Andy Butchart and Callum Hawkins leading the way on the men’s side, and Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie and Eilish McColgan on the women’s side. Not only that, we have a number of very good athletes “waiting in the wings”, as it were. This year we can look forward to a World Championships, a European Championships and a Commonwealth Games. It remains to be seen how our athletes will fare, but the prospects are looking good.
How was the situation 100 years ago in 1922? Things were very different then. There were no major international track and field championships. 1922 was right in the middle of the quadrennial Olympic cycle. The first Commonwealth (British Empire) Games were eight years away. The first European Championships were 12 years in the offing. The first World Student Games were however just around the corner and would be held in Paris in May of 1923.
The war had been over for just over three years. The athletics scene had quickly returned to some semblance of normality after the cessation of hostilities. Fortunately for athletics, it was a cheap sport. Money was tight, owing to a stagnating British economy, sky-high unemployment and drastic austerity measures. In the period after the war, the clubs again saw their membership increase. However, many clubs still lacked the financial resources to promote a meeting. However, the situation improved from 1922 onwards, as reflected in the performances of UK athletes and increased strength in depth.
In 1922 the presidency of the S.A.A.A. passed into the safe hands of William Struthers, the energetic driving force behind the success of the Greenock Glenpark Harriers. This was the man they needed at the helm of Scottish Athletics, a man who knew how to generate revenue from his experience as a meeting promoter.
The S.A.A.A. championships were held in Edinburgh at Powderhall Grounds, where local student Eric Liddell wowed the home crowd by winning both short sprints and leading the E.U.A.C. relay team to victory in the one-mile relay race. Duncan McPhee of the West of Scotland Harriers wasn’t to be outdone, though, also pulling off the difficult half-mile / mile double. Officials were in such a quandary over who was the most meritorious performer that they awarded the Crabbie Cup jointly to McPhee and Liddell. It is also worth noting that heavy eventer Tom Nicholson lived up to expectations by adding another three gold medals to his trophy cabinet.
In 1922, for the first time since 1914, Scotland hosted the Triangular International Contest against England and Ireland at Hampden Park. However, the Scots were unable to repeat their 1921 victory, with England fielding a stellar team and running away with most of the points.
The star of Scottish middle-distance running, Duncan McPhee, still shone brightly in 1922. This veteran of pre-war athletics, a 1500 metres finalist in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, was still going strong. He had little reason to retire: he still had the measure of his compatriots in the half-mile and in the mile. Approaching thirty, McPhee was arguably stronger over the mile these days. With double Olympic gold medallist Albert Hill having hung up his spikes for good, the A.A.A. mile championship at Stamford Bridge was wide open that year. It had been 11 years since the last Scot, the late Douglas McNicol, had accomplished the feat of winning. Before that, you’d have to go all the way back to 1899 when the phenomenal Hugh Welsh won the A.A.A. title for the second time in succession. The mile was the blue ribband event of the A.A.A. championships and the race everyone wanted to win. Famed Bellahouston postman John McGough had thrown his hat into the ring several times in the early 1900s but had failed to advance beyond a runner-up medal, finishing in that position three times in succession, in 1904, 1905 and 1906. In the end, experience told, McPhee timing his sprint perfectly to win by three yards over emerging middle-distance prospect Henry Stallard in 4:27.4.

Duncan McPhee (W.S.H.) winning the 1922 AAA mile championship from Henry Stallard

McPhee had arguably been pushed harder in the S.A.A.A. mile championship, where he had to pull out all the stops to win by a bare yard from E.U.A.C.’s Charles Brown in 4:31.2. He only ran faster that year on one occasion, and that was in the mile at the Rangers Sports at Ibrox, which he won in 4:23.8. This was close to his pre-war lifetime best of 4:22.7, set when finishing third in the 1914 A.A.A. mile championship.
The Old Firm athletics meetings were back in full swing and as popular as ever, with the event at Ibrox attracting 20,000 spectators. The Celtic FC event a week later attracted slightly fewer spectators (15,000), due to the vagaries of the Scottish weather. Scottish mile champion Duncan McPhee took part in both events, winning the open mile handicap at Ibrox in 4:23.8 and the half mile handicap at Celtic Park in 1:58.0 from 6 yards. He also finished second in the open mile at Celtic Park in 4:28.0 from scratch.
How did the individual distance events shape up in 1922?
Women’s athletics was in its infancy at the time, and there were no female middle-distance performances of note in Scotland, so the focus is, by necessity, exclusively on the men.
The fastest time run in Great Britain over the half mile in 1922 was 1:55.6, set by Edgar Mountain at the A.A.A. Championships, where he won by a hair’s breadth from Welshman Cecil Griffiths. Fastest Scot was McPhee who was a distant fourth in the A.A.A. race in 2:00. The next fastest was William Rankine Milligan of O.U.A.C., later Lord Milligan, M.P. for Edinburgh North, who finished second to Edgar Mountain in 2:02.4 in the annual Varsity Match at the Queen’s Club in London. The bespectacled Milligan was a prodigiously talented half-miler. He had run 1:57.4 in New York the year before on the back of light training but, for academic reasons, competed sparingly that year. Behind them the field was thin and the standard poor. Charles Mein, runner-up in the S.A.A.A. Championships in 2:04, and Charles Brown, Scottish Universities champion in 2:04.4, were the only other Scots who bettered 2 minutes 5 seconds that year.

O.U.A.C. half-mile specialist William Milligan in action

The fastest Briton in the year over the mile was Henry Stallard of Cambridge University, who made the distance in 4:21.0 at Cambridge on March 9. He also won the Varsity mile in 4:22.4. Stallard would have been the undisputed No. 1 in Britain that year had it not been for our own Duncan McPhee, who showed him a clear pair of heels at the A.A.A. Championships. Behind McPhee there were several performances of note, both north and south of the border. 1922 Scottish Universities Champion Charles Brown posted a 4:31.4 on the slow track at Craiglockhart on May 27, so his performance at the S.A.A.A. championships should not have come as a surprise. C.U.A.C.’s William Seagrove, silver medallist in the 3000-metre team race at the Antwerp Olympics two years earlier, turned out only once over the mile. And that was in Cambridge on March 9 where he negotiated the distance in about 4 min 33 seconds. His speciality was of course the 3 miles. Scotland’s other Blue, William Milligan, also got his name on the board in 1922, posting a 4:33.9 at Oxford on March 3. No other Scots managed to better 4 minutes 40 seconds.
Now to the 3 miles. Here one would also have to consider the international equivalent, the 5000 metres, and the (then standard) 4 miles as well. Joe Blewitt of Birchfield Harriers produced arguably the best individual performance by a Briton in 1922 when he clocked 15:15.2 over 5000 metres at Paris on October 8. He was also best Briton over 4 miles at the A.A.A. Championships where he finished second behind the “invincible” flying Finn Paavo Nurmi in 20:04.0. In terms of times, however, Scotland’s own William Seagrove was almost on a par with the Birchfield runner. Seagrove made only two appearances over 3 miles, but they were quite something. On March 11, he ran 14:50.0 at the Fenner’s ground in Cambridge, the fastest time over that distance in the UK that year. A fortnight later, he won the Varsity race by the length of the straight in 15:02.6. The S.A.A.A. four miles title went to Jimmy McIntyre (Shettleston Harriers), who finished 10 yards ahead of Frank Watt (E.U.A.C.) in 21:00.8. The Universities Championship was secured by Charles Johnston (G.U.A.C.) who won at Aberdeen on June 17 ahead of James Hill Motion (E.U.A.C.) in 16:01.8. Motion, however, accomplished the third fastest time over 3 miles by a Scot that year, when he completed the distance in 15:18.8 at Craiglockhart on May 20. Otherwise, there were no performances of note, except perhaps a rare track appearance by 39-year-old George Wallach, Greenock Glenpark Harriers, who ran the four miles in Manchester on June 10 in 21:35.0. Although he missed five of his best years because of the war, Wallach could look back on a long and distinguished career, capped by a runner-up finish at the 1914 International Cross-Country Championships.

C.U.A.C.’s William Seagrove was UK #1 over 3 miles in 1922

The last long-distance track championship in question in 1922 was the 10-mile race. In the three years from 1919, Scottish athletes had set the fastest times in the United Kingdom. Professional runner George McCrae posted scratch times of 53:32.0 and 53:16.0 in the “Marathon” race at Powderhall Ground in 1919 and 1921 respectively. McCrae also notched up a fast time of 53:23.8 in 1920, but this was bettered by Jimmy Wilson of Glenpark Harriers, who set a Scottish amateur record of 52:04.0 in winning the S.A.A.A. championship at Celtic Park. The situation in 1922 was less rosy, with no Wilson around to provide any cosmetics. The S.A.A.A. championship went to Jimmy McIntyre, who won at Celtic Park in a modest 54:59.0, good enough to see off future Scottish marathon star Duncan McLeod Wright, Shettleston Harriers, by over 300 yards. Little did we know that McIntyre would blossom into a world-beating cross country runner within the space of a year. It was not until the following year that “Dunky” made a not so auspicious marathon debut in Aberdeen. In all, eight men broke the hour for the 10 miles that year, which was a marked improvement in terms of strength in depth. The A.A.A. title went to Derby veteran Halland Britton in 53:24.2, but the fastest time in the United Kingdom was again claimed by a professional – Bob Cole of Hereford – who won the “Powderhall Marathon” on January 2 in 53:17.0.

Jimmy McIntyre (Shettleston Harriers) is seen here on the right of picture

That just leaves the cross-country and, of course, the International Cross-Country Championship. In 1922 the event was held at Hampden Park in Glasgow, where the S.C.C.U. played hosted to five nations: England France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The win went to the great Frenchman Joseph Guillemot, who led France to the team championship. The Scottish team acquitted themselves admirably, packing well to take third. Despite being in his 40th year, George Wallach proved age is no barrier by rolling back the years and finishing an astounding fourth in the individual race.

In 1922 George Wallach proved that age is no barrier by running fourth in the International Cross-Country Championship

So that was the year that was 1922 from the standpoint of Scottish middle and long-distance running. It was one of those watershed years with several torch bearers, amateur and professional like, in the twilight of their careers and not a lot of strength in depth. However, the harrier scene was alive and kicking, with the likes of John Suttie Smith, Frankie Stevenson, Walter Calderwood, Robbie Sutherland, Jimmy Wood and Tom Riddell coming through the junior ranks. And Dunky Wright had yet to find his true calling.

Jimmy Duffy

Jimmy Duffy (1903-1976)

Unsung hero of the running track

The period from 1920 to 1932 was the Golden Age of British half-miling, an epoch during which Britons claimed a remarkable FOUR consecutive Olympic 800-metre titles: Albert Hill at Antwerp in 1920, Douglas Lowe at Paris in 1924 and again in Amsterdam in 1928; and, finally, Tom Hampson at Los Angeles in 1932, where he became the first human to breach the 1 minute 50 second barrier for the two-lap distance.

The dominant force in 1920’s British half-miling was indisputably the Cambridge Blue Douglas Lowe, who single-handedly lowered Albert Hill’s British 800-metre record from 1 minute 53.4 seconds to 1 minute 52.4 seconds in 1924, and then to 1 minute 51.8 seconds and finally to 1 minute 51.2 seconds in 1928.

In 1925, however, the dazzling brilliance of Douglas Gordon Arthur Lowe was very nearly eclipsed by a little-known coal miner from Broxburn.

It can be said without a shadow of a doubt that the best Scottish half-miler of the 1920’s was NOT Duncan McPhee, William Milligan, Charles Mein, Robert Downie, Tommy Riddell, William Seagrove or Hugh Maingay – all of whom were decorated sub-2-minute performers.

It was Bernard Rodden, alias Jimmy Duffy.

Duffy was born at Uphall, Linlithgowshire, on 13 September 1903. His father, Hugh, was a paraffin refiner at the Uphall Oil Works. Those were the days when shale oil and gas were thought to be anything but harbingers of ecological disaster.

This Jimmy Duffy is not to be confused with the Jimmy Duffy of Boston Marathon fame who emigrated from Edinburgh to Canada in 1911 and met his untimely end four years later on the battlefields of Belgium. Or the late J. (Jock) Duffy, the bricklayer who won the 1953 S.A.A.A. Marathon Championship and, like Duffy, was born at, yes, you’ve guessed it, Uphall near Broxburn.

Having grown up in needy circumstances during the First World War, Duffy began competing in boys’ races as a stripling of 12 years. His younger sibling James followed in his footsteps and became a successful long-distance runner in the early 1920’s under his alias “R. James (Linlithgow)”.

After making his big-time debut in the 1919 New Year Pedestrian Gala at Powderhall, where he was unplaced in the 3-mile race for under-16 boys, he first hit the public eye in 1921 when he won the June half-mile handicap at Powderhall off 55 yards in 1 minute 59.4 seconds. At the end of the year, running off 50 yards, he finished 3rd in the final of the £80 Powderhall Christmas half-mile handicap, having just failed to make up 35 yards on the two men ahead of him. His time of 1 minute 53.0 seconds, worth a little over 2 minutes for the full distance, was a notable performance on a heavy track.

Little was heard of Duffy in 1922, a circumstance which may have had something to do with the fact that his handicap had been slashed to 20 yards as a penalty for his performance at Powderhall. In professional athletics excellence was penalised, not rewarded!

Duffy finally hit his stride in 1923 when he broke the 2-minute barrier for the first time, posting a superb 1 minute 57.8 seconds at Powderhall on June 1 and backing this up with another sub-2-minute clocking at Powderhall on September 1. At the end of the year, he established his supremacy among the professionals in the half-mile when he put up a sterling performance to win the Christmas half-mile handicap at Powderhall from 25 yards in 1 minute 53.6 seconds. This was remarkable running in the middle of the grim Scottish winter and hailed then as one of the greatest performances Powderhall had ever seen.

For the next half dozen years, Duffy was to be regarded as the benchmark for the half-mile in Scotland. Until 1930, all half-mile handicaps at Powderhall were framed from Duffy at scratch.

Duffy was not only a stylist like all greats of the running track but also an exceedingly versatile runner, possessing both the flat speed sufficient to mix it with Scotland’s best pro sprinters and the stamina to run the mile in 4 minutes 28.4 seconds off 15 yards at Powderhall on May 12, 1923.

In 1924, Duffy saved his best for a Charity Gala at Powderhall on 7 June, where he took on a large field from the scratch mark. Unfortunately, the curse of the scratch man struck again, as it so often did. He had to run wide most of the distance and was baulked more than once as he picked his way through the competitors starting ahead of him. Still, he pulled off an impressive run, coming within a foot of victory in 1 minute 58.6 seconds on a soggy track.

Most of his numerous appearances during the summer months were untimed runs at the Highland Games, where he invariably did no more than was absolutely necessary to win. In any case, the running tracks used at such annual gatherings were typically rudimentary and temporary circles staked out in grassy fields with a wholesome irreverence for accuracy.

In the summer of 1925, the Broxburn runner attempted the world professional half-mile record at Shawfield. The record had for over a half a century been in the possession of one Frank Skurry Hewitt, a Londoner by birth, who, after emigrating to Down Under, was credited with a time of 1 minute 53.5 seconds at Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1871. This mark had eluded the world’s best professionals ever since, including the three-time “three A’s” half-mile champion Edgar Bredin, who, after turning professional, set the then standing British record of 1 minute 55.6 minutes at Stamford Bridge in 1897. With the aid of pacemakers and cheered on by a bumper crowd of 12,000 spectators, Duffy romped to victory in 1 minute 53.0 seconds, shattering the age-old figures. The celebrations were short-lived, however, as a re-measurement of the quarter-mile oval revealed that it was 2 feet short, and, hence, he had run 4 feet, or 1.2 metres, less than the full distance. That was still more than 800 metres (803.45 metres, to be exact), and his time, while not a professional half-mile record, is equivalent to a freakish 1:52.5 for the 800 metres – only 0.6 seconds shy of the world amateur (and outright) record set by the American Ted Meredith at Stockholm in 1912 and a mere 1/10th second off the British amateur record set by Douglas Lowe when winning Olympic gold at Paris a year earlier.   Would the track at Christchurch where Hewitt set the world record have stood up to such scrutiny? It was a moot point by then, of course.

Duffy went to the well a few more times that year in his quest to rewrite the record books. It is worth pointing out, though, that even if he had been credited with a world record at Shawfield, his performance might not have been recognized by statisticians owing to the circumstance that he had been paced throughout the last stage of his race – a big no-no, even in professional circles. On August 15, he was timed at 1 minute 55.0 seconds in a handicap at Powderhall Ground, thereby establishing a bona-fide British professional record. On 18 August he only managed 1 minute 57.0 seconds in another record attempt at Shawfield, and it seemed that he was running out of steam. But he bounced back to lower the record by a whole second to 1 minute 54.0 seconds at Wick on August 26, and then conjured up another marvelous effort of 1 minute 54.4 seconds over 875 yards (800.1 metres) at Powderhall on October 3. Alas, despite his best efforts, the world record was not to be.

Duffy was not exactly the epitome of your law-abiding citizen, and there were a few deviations from the straight and narrow along the way. He was convicted of theft twice in his younger years. But at least on the running track, he always gave an honest account of himself, even when the odds were stacked against him. A contemporary noted that he possessed “great strength and courage and never knew when he was beaten, snatching victory on the tape on many occasions when all seemed lost”. On October 31, 1925, he had to be hospitalised after collapsing from exhaustion in a handicap at Powderhall, where, as the backmarker, he had been set a hopeless task.

One of the easily overlooked highlights of the 1926 season was Duffy equalling his British record at Perth on July 24 when he won the half-mile handicap from scratch in 1 minute 54.0 seconds despite conceding mouth-watering starts of up to 85 yards. Seven days later, in a professional sports meeting promoted by the management of Clyde FC at Shawfield, Duffy returned another brilliant performance in front of 20,000 spectators to win the half-mile handicap from the back mark in 1 minute 55.0 seconds. By now, expectations were so high that the Sunday Post ran a piece disappointingly titled “DUFFY FAILS AT SHAWFIELD.”

On September 3, 1926, Duffy gave a demonstration of his blazing flat speed when he outclassed Frank Schultz of Australia to win the World Professional Championship at Shawfield, returning 49.67 seconds for the distance. This was not electronic timing, of course, but a time taken manually with one of the state-of-the-art 1/100-second stopwatches that had first surfaced in the UK around 1921. His performance, equivalent to 49.4 seconds for the metric distance, was a leading mark in the UK and, in fact, fractionally quicker than the winning time at that year’s A.A.A. championships.

The 1927 season saw Duffy heavily handicapped (a victim of his own success) and struggling to get placed, let alone win, in his favoured events. But rather than bowing to fate and the perceived ignominy of being an also-ran in handicaps, he increasingly turned to the short sprints – with surprising results. On January 2, 1928, he confounded the critics when he carried off the coveted 130-yard Powderhall New Year Sprint Handicap from 11 ½ yards in 12 4/16th seconds – a performance worth 11.3 seconds for 100 metres on a bumpy grass track in bitterly cold conditions.

Duffy was one of the few runners to win both the Christmas half mile and the New Year sprint handicaps. The Broxburn runner excelled at all distances, and it was confidently asserted that had he put his mind to it he could also have cut a good figure in the Powderhall Marathon.

Half-miler Jimmy Duffy caused a sensation in 1928 by winning the Powderhall Sprint

In around 1930 Duffy announced his decision to hang up his spikes, demoralised and convinced that there was no money in the game. Like many champions before him, he was finding little hope of competing with success in handicap events, with scratch races having become few and far between after the demise of the cinder track at Powderhall. He reconsidered, thankfully, and briefly returned to the spotlight in 1934 when he bagged the World Professional Half-Mile Championship in 2 minutes 1.2 seconds at Hackney Wick Grounds in London.   Film of him doing it is at the link below.

For close on twenty years, Jimmy Duffy toured the Scottish games circuit, winning hundreds of handicap races at all distances at meetings from Royal Braemar to Jedburgh. He was a real crowd-puller who loved to entertain – and, of course, to win. A contemporary marveled at the poetry of his motion: “He ran effortlessly with a flowing action which was thrilling to behold”.

After his retiral in 1939 (he did not so much retire as fade away), Duffy maintained an interest in athletics and for a time coached the Edinburgh University and Edinburgh Southern Harriers track teams. His proteges included two S.A.A.A. half-mile champions in Cyril Hall, Edinburgh University, and Jimmy Smart, Edinburgh Southern Harriers, before taking his talents to distant Calgary in Canada.

In 1949 he appeared in the Veteran’s Handicap in the New Year Pedestrian Gala at Powderhall. It is not known how he fared, but, knowing Jimmy Duffy, he would have been out to win it.

This unsung hero of the running track was, in the words of a pundit, “the greatest middle-distance runner produced by Scotland in the years between the wars and one of the greatest of all time”. So there you have it.

 

SAAA at Celtic Park

 

Celtic A& FC was established in 1887 and played their first match in 1888.   Most of the top football clubs that were already established held their own sports and , other than Clyde FC, they were amateur events.   Rangers, Kilmarnock, Greenock Morton and others were all annual events.  The first Celtic Sports were held in 1890 and at that point Glasgow had three top class athletics facilities available to it – Hampden Park, Ibrox Park and Celtic Park.   The SAAA championships for many years were turn about east and west of the country meetings and Celtic became one of the west venues.

The first SAAA Championships meeting to be held at Celtic Park was on Saturday, 26th June, 1897 and included events for the SRU (Scottish Cyclists Union). The report in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ the following Monday read as follows.

Those mentioned above were all significant figures in athletics: Welsh  was winner of 880 and mile that day and the following year, Robertson was a multi title winner, in particular winning 880, mile and 10 miles championships in 1898. Paterson won the 4 miles in 1897, 1898 and 1899, the Mile and the 10 miles in 190, the mile in 1901 and the Scottish crosss-country title in 1898, 1899 and 1900. Duffus was mainly a cross-country runner (champion in 1897) who also won 4 miles national title in 1896 along with several silver medals.   Another star on the day was Hugh Barr, a superb long jumper who won the championship in 1893, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900 with second places in 1894 and 1896.   Barr was also a very good sprinter who won the championship in 1898 (this was after a dead heat and a re-run of the final);  at Celtic Park in 1897 he was second in both sprints.   It really was a quality meeting right across the board

It was not until Saturday, 28th June in 1913 that Celtic Park was again the venue for the Scottish championships and they were covered briefly in the ‘Scottish Referee’:

McNicol also ran in and won the 880 yards in this meeting which, although there was a meeting in 1914, was effectively the last before the First World War in which many of the participants would lose their lives.   Men like Wilfred Cramb who ran in the sprints and the aforementioned Ralph Erskine.   Erskine’s older brother Thomas competed all summer 1913 and despite being praised and decorated for his service, died approximately a year late while Ralph was killed in January 1918.

Ralph Erskine

On Saturday, 28th June, 1919, at Celtic Park the first post war championships were held before a crowd of 4000.    The Scotsman report reads as follows.

Results in Full

 

Tom Nicolson

After being held in the east, at Powderhall, in 1920, the championships returned to the west and on Saturday, 25th June, 1921, Celtic Park again hosted the event.   Again, we have the report from the Scotsman.

Duncan McPhee

The fifth, and last, championships to be held at Parkhead were on Saturday, 23rd June, 1923 in ‘delightful weather wit a good attendance’..   It was a very good meeting indeed with three double event winners and one man won no fewer than 4 gold medals.   The star of the track however was Eric Liddell with two victories plus a share in another.   He won the 100 yards in 10.4 seconds and the 220 yards in 22.4.   “As was generally anticipated, Liddell retained his two titles with little difficulty, his strong finishing being the feature of his running.”   He was also out in the winning Edinburgh University medley relay team which defeated Maryhill Harriers.

Duncan McPhee won both 880 yards and Mile in 2:01 and 4:34.4 and the ‘Glasgow Herald’ said  this:

Moving on up, JG McIntyre won the 4 miles  and he had already won the 10 miles at Hampden in April, to give him a double.   Times were 20:55.6 and 56:48.   TR Nicolson however was the real top man when he won the Shot (40′ 9″), Hammer (148′ 02″), Hammer (standing style: 104′ 8 1/2″) and 56 lb weight (28′ 6 1/4″)

 

SAAA at Ibrox

The first SAAA Championships to be held at Ibrox Park were on Saturday, 22nd June, 1895, at a time of great controversy in the sport.   There was a disagreement between Clydesdale Harriers, the biggest club in the land by far, and the SAAA  as a result of which the Harriers left the SAAA and set up their own governing body.   This was the SAAU (Scottish Amateur Athletics Union) which held its own championships and events.   On 22nd June the SAAA held their Championships at Ibrox while the SAAU held theirs at Ibrox in conjunction with the SCU (Scottish Cyclists Union).   The report on the Ibrox meeting in the “Scottish Referee” the following Monday says:

Meanwhile across the city at Hampden Park, there was a real parade of Scottish champions in the form of such athletes as W Robertson, S Duffus, RA Vogt and many more while the  only real star at Ibrox was AR Downer.   In addition spectators at Hampden withnessed a significant half-mile race.   There had been a battle for the honour of being the first Scot under 2 minutes for the half mile with Robert Mitchell (St Mirren and Clydesdale), Walter Malcolm (Morton FC and Clydesdale) and Robert Langlands (Clydesdale Harriers.   In the SAAU championships the race between Mitchell and Langlands was won by Langlands in 1:59.6.    The crowd was estimated to be around 6,900.     

 

There was a gap of eight years before the next visit of the SAAA for their championships which were held on Saturday, 20th June, 1903.    The feud between SAAA and SAAU was now over and done with and there was a single championship held.   The “Glasgow Herald” reported “The twenty first annual championship meeting was held at Ibrox Park on Saturday afternoon.   The gathering was associated with delightful weather and the track was firm and in favour of fast racing.   Three of the champions did not defend their titles, the absentees being J McCormack, London AC, half mile; J McLean, London, who held championship honours for the 100 and 220 yards flat races, and H Nicolson, putting the weight.   Mr McLean is resident in New York, McCormack is in South Africa and Nicolson is now a professional.”    There was “a goodly crowd” present according to the “Scottish Referee” who hailed the top man of the day as John McGough of Bellahouston Harriers with this drawing and comment.

He well deserved the honour having won three endurance events – the Half Mile, One Mile and Four Miles events.    You will note that the Bellahouston Harriers ‘logo’ is just the same in the 21st century as it was when McGough sported it.   The results on the days were as follows:

100 yards: J Ford.   10.4 seconds

220 yards: RL Watson.   23.6 seconds

Quarter Mile: RL Watson.   54.4 seconds

Half Mile:  J McGough.   2:01.6

One Mile:   J McGough.   4:27.6

Four Miles:   J McGough.  20:10.3

120 yards hurdles:  GC Anderson, 16.6 seconds

Putting the Weight:  TR Nicolson.   41′  4 1/2″

Throwing the Hammer.   TR Nicolson.   140′  10″

High Jump:   JB Milne.   5′ 9″

Broad Jump:  GC Anderson.  20′ 8″

Two years later the championships were back in the west and back at Ibrox.   They were held on Saturday 24th June, 1905, ‘under delightful weather’.   A look at the results below is an indication of the quality of athletes on view.   JP Stark in the sprints, McGough in the Mile, Stevenson v Jack in the Four Miles, Stronach (above) in the hurdles, TR Nicolson in the throws, and maybe the biggest name of them all, Halswell in the 440 and 880.   There were also some really big names among those placed such as WH Welsh.   There were three best championship performances and two best performances were equalled.    

 Saturday, 26th June, 1909,  was the next visit of the SAAA Championships to Ibrox Park and they were welcomed by the Scottish Referee with the picture below.

It went on to commend the stadium – 

Entries were high but the 1909 championships were held, however, at a time when support for the sport was dwindling and among the reasons put forward for this had been the retiral of Halswell.   Came the day however and there were several of the very top names in action.   The weather was fine but the sport was even better if the ‘Referee’ is to be believed – 

The crowd was not the biggest and the rain during the week had made the turf a bit on the heavy side but the cinder path was in ‘first rate order’ after the care bestowed on it by groundsman Cameron.   The half mile was a good race with the holder RS Duncan facing stern opposition – J Ballantine led at the bell, Adam Turnbull of Clydesdale Harriers went in front at 220 to go and looked like the winner until Duncan eased past and won in 2:02.5, a yard in front of Rurnbull with Ballantine third ‘a couple of yards back’.   There was not ‘a laggard’ in the field.   A good win in a good race and in a good time too.   The race of the afternoon however was the one mile in which HT Jamieson managed to defeat John McGough by a yard and a half with Anglo-Scot McNicol half a yard back and T Welsh fourth.    

 

The complete results for the championships were as follows.

The last SAAA championships at Ibrox before the 1914/18 war were held on Saturday, 15th June, 1912.   

Again, the track was part of the story – the comments are worthy of a direct quote from the ‘Scottish Referee’ of the day before the meeting: 

The athletics were worthy of a better crowd than actually attended with three double event winners and TR Nicolson winning his seventh short putt title.    A glance at the runners and other competitors will tell you all about the quality.   Note – 

Four Miles:   Tom Jack defeated the holder GCL Wallach in 20:45 by all of 50 yards;

One Mile:   Won by holder DF McNicol in 4:31.8 by only three yards

880 yards:   JT Soutter from R Burton in 2:01.8

440 yards:   JT Soutter from RA Lindsay (Blackheath)

NB: The JT Soutter link is an interesting one from several points of view, not least the question of, “Whatever happened to ..?”

Complete results: 

 

Club crest and motto

The shield in front of the club group above is of particular interest to us in the 21st century.   Most clubs – not as many as formerly though – had their own crest and motto.   Some had them on a shield or other wooden representation which was kept in the club head quarters, placed the window of supporters club buses on the way to big races (the National, the Edinburgh to Glasgow) and so on.   If we take a closer look at the shield above – 

we see a winged foot, which needs no explanation.   It was a symbol used by many athletic clubs such as the New York Irish who had it front and centre on their vest.   Other clubs had their own crest – Shettleston Harriers had a torch, Clydesdale Harriers had a hunting horn and whip, Greenock Glenpark Harriers had a hare and so on.   The Beith crest and text were devised by Dugald McCallum, the janitor at Beith Primary School.

The Beith Harriers motto is also on the shield and is in Latin.   Most mottos were in Latin – Clydesdale Harriers was Excelsior, Shettleston’s   ‘Nihil Sine Labore’ was also in Latin while the Glenpark motto was ‘en avant’ in French.   The Beith slogan  of “Per aspers ad astra”   is usually translated as “Through hardship to the stars”.   It is a phrase and is used by many Universities, schools and organisations all round the world.   

Some clubs had the crest on a  cloth badge such as the one shown above which could be sewn on to a tracksuit, a training top or even on to a blazer.   Many clubs had metal lapel pins made and sold, usually at a small profit for club funds, and Tom Cochrane’s Beith pin is shown below.

Beith had the club insignia on the metal badge, the track suit cloth version and the large solid shield for display purposes.  Not all clubs had all three.   And there was also a cloth badge like the one shown below – not as easily recognised as Beith Harriers but a good indication that the wearer was a proud club member.

Beith Harriers – extracts from the Minutes

The best way to understand a club’s beginnings and development is usually to look through the minutes.   Not all club  minutes are extant or easily accessible, nor are the guardians always as helpful as they might be.   In this case, the interest for the wider community comes from the location and nature of the environment in which the club thrives.   Beith Harriers is a good going, consistent club in a rural setting where the challenges facing the club are a bit different in nature from those faced by most of the clubs in the country – and on this website.  There are many clubs like Beith Harriers and their place in the sport should be recognised and understood.      The guardian of the minutes is Kenny Phillips – a genuine enthusiast who knows a bit about athletics generally in Scotland, and a lot about his club.   He has kindly allowed us to see and publish the following.   Kenny has gathered the following and the rest of the page is his.

 

I have gone through the Beith Harriers minutes and noted the following:-

03/12/1923  Beith Harriers formed.

11/12/1923  Committee agreed to see Mrs Hood, who granted the use of her store as training Headquarters.

23/08/1926 AGM Headquarters – Hall rent 4/- per week instead of 5/-, 7.30 – 10.00pm, upstairs and downstairs, Charge 1d per week for all persons using stripping accommodation.

26/06/1926 Committee   Club to procure 3 red bands for the pace of each pack and 3 yellow bands and whistle for the whips.

28/09/1926 Essential training items to be bought Sponges and bands, 3 of each for pace and whips plus whistle for whip. 

15/08/1927 AGM Weekly levy 1d per week plus membership fee Seniors over 18 years 3/6d, Juniors under 18 years 2/-.  Overture for training quarters at Saracens Hall.

22/08/1927 Committee  Saracens Hall for training at 5/- per week.  AF Neilson reported that he had negotiated a bath for the club, which had previously been utilised by Beith Football Club.

27/04/1928 Weekly charge of 2d, only when members train.

12/04/1929 Club acquired a hut for training.

05/1929 A van secured for training entailing an expenditure of £10 and it was decided to paint it a red colour.

02/09/1929 Club still without training facilities.

07/10/1929 Quotations for a brick building 40’ x 20’ and for purchase of ground.

08/11/1929 Repair to floor in clubhouse.

12/02/1930 Agreed to pay the rates amounting to 27/6d for the house now used as headquarters.

16/05/1930 Plan for new clubhouse and site.

23/05/1930 Plan for new clubhouse cost £335 but only £250 in bank.  Approved.

29/08/1930 New headquarters to be built and finished in 2 weeks, fully equipped with bathing accommodation and gymnasium at a total cost of £400.

09/01/1931 Agreed to install a hot water apparatus to give central heating.

12/06/1931 ½ Yearly Meeting  The summer levy for runners to be 2d per week and 3d per week for members who just desired a bath.  (most of the houses at that time were single ends and room and kitchens without a bath or inside water supply and the local residents made use of the club facilities of 2 baths and shower..).

23/07/1931 General Meeting  Proposed Ladies Section.  Annual Subscription 2/6d for members over 18 and 2/- for members under 18.  Levy 1d per week with training on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and on Saturdays when the Club was away from home.

26/08/1932 Committee Meeting  Mr J Gibson appointed to see about coal for the baths and anthracite for the heating.

22/05/1945 Clubhouse derequisitioned and opened for training.  Levy 2d per week to cover cost of baths etc.

26/03/1952 Beith Harriers granted a free let of the clubhouse to the Old People’s Welfare Fund for a Beetle Drive to raise funds for meals for old folk and that no charge would be made for coal, lights etc..

31/08/1955 Wardrop Street Social Club wished to recompense Beith Harriers for the use of the clubhouse and offered their new premises with a purvey for the summer free of charge.

07/09/1955 Wardrop Street Social Club again offered a free let of their premises and purvey for the Ballot Team Race on 01/01/1956.

18/09/1957 H Maxwell said that he had purchased an immerser for the boiler and it will be installed soon.

21/04/1959 ½ Yearly Meeting.  A neighbour who held a key for the clubhouse was worried that she did not know many of the new members and that she might be giving the key to unauthorised persons.  The water heater had been left on, on several occasions wasting electricity.

20/08/1964 AGM  Bathroom to be painted with Pink Snowcem and the pipes to be lagged.

31/08/1967 Ayrshire Cross Country Relay Championships to be held in Kilbirnie Public Park with changing at the Garnock Swimming Pool.   The Secretary was asked to approach the Parks Superintendent, George Murdoch, who was a former famous Beith Harrier, to measure the trail.

06/03/1972  H Maxwell to be asked for help to repair the broken toilet and burst pipes.

12/1972 Work Party  W Parker and J Sloss to arrange repairs to boiler, toilet, back door and felt roof.  J Sloss to collect toilet from M Barr.

05/10/1974 Committee Meeting  Try to repair clubhouse roof for £50.

17/06/1986 The use of Garnock Pool in Kilbirnie for training on Thursdays was approved.

***

Beith Harriers had to spend a lot of time and energy building their clubhouse and maintaining it.  It had a felt roof that needed regular painting with bitumen and repair.  At one stage concrete roofing tiles of different colours were purchased cheaply and applied but they were too heavy for the wooden roof trusses and had to be removed and reverted to felt.  Very few clubs in Ayrshire had such a large gymnasium with equipment, two large baths, a shower, hot and cold water, central heating and various good cross country trails and it became popular for inter-club and championship races.

Reciprocal co-operation was achieved with neighbours, local organisations and other harrier clubs.   We got the let of the excellent Geilsland List D School for our Ne-erday races, when they were opened to females, and in return we offered to coach some of their residents.  We were thanked for our offer but reluctantly turned down because, “if the boys ran away, we would never catch them”

 

Stewarton Sports Association had a free let of the Strandhead Pavilion with showers on a Sunday morning but the members usually had a cross country run down one side of the River Annick and back up the other side, finishing with a dook in the burn, summer and winter, often having to break the ice.  They applied to Ayr County Council for the let of Stewarton High School to run an open cross country sports meeting on a Sunday for male and female athletes in all the age groups from Under 11 to Veterans but it was turned down by the letting committee whose membership included several ministers of religion.   With the assistance of the Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association, a successful appeal was made to the full County Council.  Support was provided by the Community Education staff and over the years up to 800 competitors took part enjoying proper cross country courses, hot showers, and home-made baking.   When Stewarton Academy was built, the High School was converted to a Primary School with miniature toilets and the races transferred to Stewarton Academy and Robertland Primary School.  The races were successful for 30 years despite complaints from some of the head teachers.   We scrubbed out the schools after the races, to be ready for the schools starting on the Monday morning.  When we were blamed for damage, we had to inspect the school with the janitor before and after the let and list all defects.  We suggested that the Council should provide plastic sheeting to protect the games hall floor but we had to provide it at our expense.  In our final let the Academy was cleaned 3 times, once by us, once by contractors employed by the Council at our expense and once by the regular Council cleaners. 

Some of our most prestigous events are sadly lacking in bathing facilities. 

I remember running in my first National Cross Country Race at Hamilton Racecourse, where there was probably about 500 competitors, and there was only one sink with cold water under an outside serving counter.

At a recent National Cross Country Championships at Calendar Park, Falkirk, during very wet weather, many muddy harriers took advantage of a flooded field to get washed before setting out for home.

The oldest Life Member of Beith Harriers, George Lightbody, remembers some of the deplorable toilet facilities at track and field meetings in the summer Highland Games etc, where the proper toilets were reserved for guests and invitation athletes.  I shall send more details later.

***

There is a wealth of good solid first hand historical information there that is worth study.   The obvious question about how did a club start and where were the changing rooms, is answered.   Not an easy first step to take – there was one Glasgow club whose runners turned up and met at a particular lamp post at a street corner.   That was their HQ!   

There is also a reference in June, 1926, to the purchase of red and yellow bands.   These were used for the regular pack runs with most clubs running three packs: fast, medium and slow.   Each pack was led by a nominated pace who was recognised by his red sash.  In addition each pack had a whip (or whipper-in) at the rear, wearing a yellow sash and carrying a whistle: if the pace set was too quick, the whip would communicate with the pace using the whistle to ease back to keep the pack together.   Similarly if the pace was too slow.   There were minor variations in detail – eg the Clydesdale Harriers whip wore a green sash although the red for the pace was the same.   

The continuing saga at every club was with accommodation.   Most clubs wanted their own club hut or clubhouse and for those that managed the dream of owning their own, the work that had to be put in – and was willingly put in – was  usually considerable.   This was not confined to Beith, clubs up and down the land spent lots of time raising money, repairing plumbing, doing woodwork and decorating the premises.   This is all made clear in the extracts from minutes and Kenny’s comments  above. 

 

 

Beith Harriers

Beith Harriers was always a good club – not a big club, but a good club.   You only have to look at the names of some of their men over the decades.   At one point in the w1960’s they had Ian Harris, Tom Cochrane, and Danny McFadzean, in the club at the same time.     And the talent was not confined to endurance runners – David Shedden who was a first class sprinter and long/triple jumper in the 1960’2 and a Scottish international rugby player, was a member of Beith as well as being a Scottish rugby internationalist.   

As a club they have enjoyed considerable local success in Ayrshire County Championships and in old South West District Cross-Country relays and events and have been strong supporters of the Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association – probably the oldest county association and one which is still going strong when others have fallen by the wayside.    

In the South West District Championships which ran until 1975 the club’s record was a good one.   At Senior level they won the title in 1930, 1934, 1960 and 1963; at individual level the championship has been won by J Millar in 1934 and in the 1960s it was almost monopolised by the club with Ian Harris winning in 1961 and 1964 and then Tom Cochrane winning seven times including 5-in-a-row in 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.   His feat was recognised by the District Committee when they joined in with the Midland District when they awarded him the championship trophy to keep in perpetuity.   The District Junior title was won in 1964 by J Millar and in 1975 by A Gourlay – there was no separate Junior team race as they ran with the seniors.   In the Youths age group, the club won in 1960 while individual wins were by Ian Harris in 1953, J Millar in 1961, J Golder in 1972 and A Gourlay in 1974.    The Senior Men won the Relays in 1931, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1938 before the war intervened.   After the war the club was successful in 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969.    Not a bad record in a very strong district which included clubs such as Bellahouston Harriers and both Greenock clubs – Glenpark and Wellpark.   

The club was also one of the mainsprings of the County Association, one which has outlasted many of the other county groupings which have appeared and disappeared over the years.   As well as organising the Beith New Year’s Dar race it has helped with county championships and on the track with the late Dirrans Sports Gala meeting,   The  arrs.run website which lists these statistics tells us that the Beith New Year race is, apart from the Carnwath Red Hose Race, the oldest endurance race in Scotland.   The Nigel Bargerace in Glasgow and the Edinburgh to  North Berwick are second and third.

The links below are what they say – click on the link for detailed pages on the topics.

  Tom Cochrane     Ian Harris     Danny McFadzean     Ken Phillips

Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association   Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association:  Some Notables   .

Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association 1924 – 39   . Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association: 1945 – 1955   . AHCA 1956-59

Beith New Year Race   .Dirrans Sports   Club Crest and Motto

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