Eddie Sinclair as a Coach

Eddie, second from right, with some of his runners and Springburn club mates:

Jack Crawford on the left with Bill Ramage, Harry Gorman and a young Graham Williamson second from left

Eddie was an excellent runner who ran for Scotland on the track and over the country.   His  range was wide – from 880 yards to six miles and steeplechase on the track, road racing including the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay and cross-country.   When his running days were over, he did not walk away – he stayed to coach generation after generation of young athletes and arguably did more for Springburn than he had done as a runner.   And that had been considerable.  The sheer numbers of trophies won was staggering.   For instance between 1962 and 1981 his Under 15 teams won medals in 16 national championships out of 19 – each team had of course four to count which meant at least five runners per race, so 80 individual medals at national level for the boys to take home.   Of course he had Under 17 and Under 20 teams under his care at the same time – the numbers not as great as the Under 15’s because at 15 many have to spend more time on their school work or are starting to earn their living in the workplace and the numbers inevitably fall for reasons unconnected with athletics or coaches.   The numbers were large but, another surprising fact, they almost all came from the same area of Kirkintilloch and Lenzie.   Arthur Lydiard said that you can find champions anywhere – Eddie found his almost all in the same small area.   We really need to find out more about him and his methods as far as we can.  

The Springburn team at Bute Highland Games Medley Race: Eddie on the right.

Eddie’e career as an amateur athlete was a relatively short one.   After coming through the ranks as a Youth and a Junior, his senior career lasted just three years – but it was meteoric.   On the track he had best times of  9:06 for Two miles, 14:05 for Three Miles and 9:27 for the 3000m steeplechase.     He won the SAAA Three Miles in 1960 and in the same year he was sixth in the National and was selected for the Scottish team for the International Championship.    As a Youth he had been fourth and sixteenth in the National and as a Junior in 1957 he was eighteenth.   As a Senior it was 6th/36th/15th.    In the Edinburgh to Glasgow, his first run was in 1957 when he was on Stage Seven and moved the club from eight to fifth with second quickest time of the day.   We know he ran the same stage the following year but no details are available about his performance.   In 1959 he was sixth on Stage One and in 1960 – his own personal annus mirabilis – he took over in fifth place on Stage Two after Tom O’Reilly had run well on Stage One, and moved through to second with the third fastest time of the day.   His last run in the E-G was in 1961, again on Stage Two when he took over on Stage Two in eighteenth and held that position – by the time Tom came to run on the last stage the club had climbed to fourteenth and that was where he kept it.   He ran as a pro after that for a while but crept back into amateur athletics soon after.    That’s when the coaching started.

We can begin by looking at the record.   He started coaching in the mid 60’s and we take the years from 1963 to 1986.  At National Championships level his teams won a total of 35 sets of medals, of which 12 were gold championship medals.   In the individual championships, his runners won 29 medals, of which 14 were gold.   The best year was arguably 1973/’74 when Springburn Harriers won the Under 13, Under 15, Under 17 and Under 20 team championships.   The results were of course even better in the Midland Districts (until 1975) and Western Districts (from 1976) where the opposition was less numerous but contained all the strongest clubs such as Victoria Park, Shettleston and Cambuslang.   In fact when the West District started their Young Athletes relays (under 13, under 15 and under 17 running in that order, Springburn won for the first six years in succession until Clydesdale Harriers took the title in 1981/82.    There were also many titles won on the track in all the age groups as well as in the Scottish Schools championships.   Graduates from the Eddie Sinclair Academy of Excellence, had their been such a thing, included Eddie Knox, Duncan Middleton, Graham Williamson and Steven Begen.   We could go on quoting similar statistics but the point is made.   One more point has to be made however: many coaches who have success with boys teams, fail to deliver senior athletes at the end of the process.   Eddie’s record is better than that – the four above were all senior internationalists, three of them won British Championships and one won gold, silver and bronze at world cross-country championships.   If the team/individual medals in the national cross-country championships are looked at we see that there were 5 team and 9 individual medals won at U20 level compared with 8 team and 2 individual at U13.   There were more U20 individual golds than at U13 or U15.   

It was really a quite remarkable record, made the more so by two more facts –

  • that he worked on his own – there was no team of supporting coaches following his guidelines.   
  • that his athletes came from the relatively small communities of Kirkintilloch and Lenzie with a few from Bishopbriggs.

Graham Crawford

First-class athlete and member of Springburn Harriers Graham Crawford, who was coached by Harry Gorman at the club and says that he learned a lot from Harry, has been a member of the club for a long time, says of Eddie:

“I have strong memories of the man from club nights and races and I’d sum him up in one word- passion.

“Eddie spoke with conviction. He was like an old style tough football manager who could get his team totally fired up. When he talked you listened. He held the stage. When Eddie roared at you in the final stages of a race you always somehow dug deeper, no matter how tired you imagined you were at that point.

As I’ve grown older I’ve found myself thinking more and more that if he had been my coach I’d have run over broken glass for him. I go to races these days to support the sons of a friend and I find that I remind myself of Eddie, chasing the lads around different parts of the course roaring them on. I get completely caught up in the moment, willing them to get everything out of themselves. That was Eddie, he just wanted you (demanded, expected?) to go to your very limit, ask every question of yourself. Why run if you don’t do that? That would have been his bare boned philosophy.

Eddie trained his athletes like most serious runners of that era, no fancy methods just straightforward hard work with a healthy mix of good sustained runs, often with a burn up at the end, and plenty of intense, quality and high rep track work. No – or little – gym work as far as I know.

He had a reputation for training teenagers very hard. It produced strong contenders and champions, and brought accusations in certain quarters that lesser runners were used as cannon fodder for Graham Williamson, ultimately to their detriment. I remember the same being said about Naylor and Nat Muir at Shettleston.

It was also said that during a period of doldrums for Springburn, nobody really turned up except Eddie, Jack Crawford and Williamson. And ask me to name the three most significant people in the club in my lifetime, and I suppose I may have the longest ongoing continuing connection, and it would have to be those three for their constancy, work and impact.

What Eddie did with Williamson was immense. Eddie asked everything of Graham and Graham had the makeup to respond to those demands. The teenage Williamson trained extremely hard under Eddie, with a heavy emphasis on frequent quality training.

Graham was a hard as nails, a ‘leave nothing behind’ racer because that is how Eddie trained him all through his teens. I’ll leave others to argue over the merits of that but I find it very hard to be critical of Eddie. I know stories, and I know he had his flaws and failings (as I acknowledge my own), but to me, his positives – his passion, commitment, drive, and motivational qualities – overrode everything else. He was a force of nature who had very strong views, a cutting tongue and a strong sense of humour.”

[Graham is quick to point out that “anything I have said about my regard for Eddie takes nothing away from the marvellous support and encouragement I got later from Harry Gorman when he coached me for a number of years. Harry gave me a lot.“]

Eddie Knox

Eddie Knox was Eddie Sinclair’s first international champion: in his first run in the ICCU World Championships he finished fifth, then next time, in 1967, he struck gold.   Colin Shields, in his history of the SCCU, says: “Eddie Knox followed Ian McCafferty as Junior international champion in an exciting race.   He was in the leading group throughout and edged his was into the lead 400 yards from the line, holding on for a two second victory over a Belgian.”  

   In the early/mid 60’s Eddie had a quartet of Eddie Knox. Duncan Middleton, Harry Gorman and Ian Young.  Knox won the International Cross-Country Championship, Middleton was one of the best 880 yards runners in the United Kingdom, Gorman was a very good middle distance runner  who was unfortunate not to get a SAAA title and after leaving school, Ian Young was a member of the really great Edinburgh University team.    Knox confirmed all that Graham Crawford said above about Eddie’s passion and determination but added that ‘you didn’t question his sessions’, you did what he said to the letter or you moved out of the squad.  He was quick to add, however, that Eddie did a lot for him personally.  However this first group that he worked with all achieved wonderful things in their career and one of them, Harry Gorman, went on to coach new generations of Springburn Harriers to success himself.  

From the first of his international runners to the man who was probably his last: Steven Begen.   Steven says

I found a different side to Eddie especially in my best years 84 through to 87.   Eddie coached me from my 1st real introduction into Springburn Harriers in 1978 ensuring that I knew what kind if club I was joining and what it took to succeed.   After a few years if club running Eddie pulled we aside at the start of the 83/84 season stating with real intensity ” Win the Scottish you go to the World’s”  true to that I managed to win with Eddie popping up at real decisive points throughout the course encouraging me in the way only Eddie knew how.  After 84 I worked very closely with Eddie and looking back now realised how ahead of his time he was.
Eddie was brutally regimented, tough but fair.. but most importantly Eddie was your mentor, he laughed, joked and chastised you all in one sentence.   He had the mental strength and knowledge  to ensure you had a steely determination to succeed and reinforced that in every single session you did. There was no trainibg session that didn’t have a purpose.   I remember Eddie with great fondness, he was like a father to me after I sadly lost my own father at 15. He understood what a young rough boy from Balornock needed and provided everything to make me a complete athlete and young adult.
Eddie could be summed up for me as Mr Springburn.. He only wanted Springburn harriers athletes to reach their potential and for years he made sure that happened.   I think of Eddie loads as I look back, the cold wet nights doing 200 repeats in the grounds of Woodilee Hospital, the lung bursting hill repeats up the Campsie Fells, the sub 2:40 1000m repeats round a busy Bishopbriggs with Adrian Callan, and the like. “

Steven Begen winning the Junior National

Was there any single thing that marked out Eddie’s runners from the rest of the scene, that accounted for the tremendous success of his runners?   Yes, there was, and it reflected the coach’s values in a very practical way.   Eddie’s runners always gave 100% effort.   They never eased up. This was, to me, most easily seen in the Under 17 age group  probably because I was coaching some runners in that age group at the time.   Races for Under 17’s generally started with a bit of a rush and went pretty hard for the first third of the distance, then eased up for the middle third before starting to race properly again for the last third of the race.   The Springburn youngsters just didn’t run that way: there was no steadying up in the middle of the race, there was no wee ‘sleep’ anywhere after the gun went.   They started hard and kept going hard all the way to the finish.   Others learned from that and soon everyone was trying to get their athletes to go from gun to tape.

Eddie Sinclair’s contribution to coaching, to Springburn Harriers and to Scottish athletics deserves to be better remembered than it is.



Football Club Sports in 1913

It is well known that football clubs were responsible for many athletic meetings from the end of the 19th century until well int the 20th.   The range of these sports was wide – from those held by village football clubs, via those by middle ranking clubs such as Ayr FC right up to the more glamorous ones held by top teams such as Queens Park, Rangers and Celtic.   Most were by 1913 amateur events but this was by no means true of them all: two such meetings were those held by Glasgow Police at the start of June, and that of Clyde FC at Shawfield.   On this page we’ll look at all Sports held by Football Clubs in 1913 as reported by the Glasgow Herald.   Since the comments of the reporter in the Herald on the Police Sports have a general interest they will be included too.   There were several ‘joint meetings’ held around the country – eg Heart of Midlothian and Edinburgh Southern Harriers held an annual fixture, and in Glasgow both Celtic and Rangers held such meetings with athletic clubs, Celtic maybe more than Rangers.   We start with one such.

Monday, April 21st:    The Celtic FC and West of Scotland Harriers are holding a joint sports meeting at Parkhead on May 17th, and it will be historically interesting as the last of these mixed – athletics and cycling – functions which have given that enclosure a world-wide reputation.   The reason for this is that the Celtic directors have come to a decision to demolish the cement track, which is now practically useless, as cycle racing is, to all intents and purposes, a thing of the past – something merely to be recalled as an incident in the sporting life of our great city.   The Celtic are expanding the holding capacity of their ground and this they can do to te extent of at least 20,000 by converting the track into terracing.   Harry Martin, the popular motor-cyclist, will do his best to ensure the “farewell” function with a series of sprint performances which will still further perpetuate the fine sporting traditions of the Celtic cement path.”

The subject of professional athletics will pop up from time to time on this page and in that connection, we can digress and look at this item and wonder what it tells us about amateurism in 1913.

April 28th, 1913:   The AAA of England is  setting its face more determinedly than ever against what is called the “hippodromy” athlete.   This class has been multiplying of late years, and there has been much talk regarding the peregrinating propensities of certain well known runners.   These in the future are to be better controlled, and it is just possible that fewer English runners will be seen at Scottish meetings than in previous years.   The AAA is sending a team  to South Africa at the end of September.   It will consist of half a dozen picked runners who can afford to leave England for four months.   This is an interesting Imperial movement and must have beneficial effects on athletics in South Africa.”

28th April, 1913: “….  in this context it may be mentioned that the Rangers have granted Bellahouston Harriers  training facilities at Ibrox on easier terms than in previous years and it is believed that this and other concessions will help t increase the activities of the club.   … “

Football and athletics enjoyed a close relationship at this time from which both parties benefited.   


An interesting note at the start of a report on Bellahouston Harriers Sports at Ibrox, reported  on 12th May, 1913:

“The Bellahouston Harriers held a confined meeting at Ibrox Park the other evening.   Owing to the fact that the track is being lowered at the corners – another indication that cycling is not worth catering for – the races were run on the grass. …”  Note the comment on cycling – we will come back to that!


There were many meetings held midweek by athletics clubs at the various football grounds – Bellahouston and Clydesdale tended to hold theirs at Ibrox, West of Scotland and Maryhll at Parkhead.   That was the generality but no connection was exclusive – eg Clydesdale also held meetings at Parkhead, no doubt encouraged by former member Willie Maley.   There were of course still joint matches such as the one held at Parkhead sponsored by Celtic FC and West of Scotland Harriers on 17th May, where the report “Additional interest attached to the meeting from the fact that it formed the last occasion on which the cement cycling track will be used, the Celtic FGC having decided on its removal to provide more accommodation for spectators at football matches.   The demolition of the track is to be begun immediately so that the added area may be available for next football season.   The decision to remove the track, which was opened 16 years ago, suggested the idea of a parade of veterans which brought out eight well known competitors of former times.  …”

Saturday, 24th May, saw the Morton Football Club Sports, reported elsewhere on this website, took place at Cappielow Park, Greenock.  Then on 31st May the Clydesdale Harriers Sports took place at Ibrox.   The clubs had a very close connection which had lasted since the Harriers club was established in 1885 and they had many members in common.   Rangers Sports at Ibrox were supported by the Harriers, and the Harriers events were supported by the Rangers.   On this occasion one of the attractions was a schools relay race with teams from Allan Glen’s , John Street Higher Grade School, Dumbarton Academy, Bellahouston Academy, Paisley Grammar School and St Aloysius College.   Allan Glen’s was the favourite to win and they did so ‘easily’.   There was also a schools relay race at the Police Sports the following week but it had a problem.


Friday, June 6th, 1913:   “Glasgow Police Sports:   Being an important factor in the corporate life of the city, the Glasgow Police never appeal in vain for support on the occasion of their annual Sports.   From modest beginnings these Games have grown into a great national function, so much so that a cup or medal won under the auspices of the Glasgow Police Athletic Club has a significance almost as great as a medal or cup won at the championships of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association.   An effort was made during the winter months to bring the Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Leith Police athletic clubs into the amateur fold ; to the regret of many it was not successful, but from the impression which the various conferences produced, there is good reason for believing that in the near future the leaders of police athletics will come to recognise that it is better, in many ways, to be under the discipline and control of a governing body such as the SAAA.    There are 31 events on tomorrow’s programme.   A dozen of these are confined to the Glasgow Police, five are open to police forces in Scotland, and the remainder are for all-comers.   Besides these there is a five-a-side football competition with prizes to the value of £20.   The invited teams are Rangers, Celtic, Clyde and Partick Thistle.   

Unusual interest seems to have been aroused by the events open to the Police Forces of Scotland, no fewer than 50 having entered for the 100 yards, 40 for the half-mile, 40 for the obstacle race in uniform and 16 for the cycle championship.    …….    There is also a relay race for schoolboys, and it is said no fewer than 40 schools will be represented.    Unconsciously of course, the Police Sports do those who take part in this race a bad turn.   The meeting is an unregistered one, and all who compete are debarred from running under the SAAA rules.   It is well said that this should be made plain as, in after years, any of those who figure in the races for Youths at Parkhead  tomorrow may, in the event of entering for amateur meetings, be disqualified.”   

Maryhill Harriers was the next club to hold a sports meeting at Ibrox Park, this was on 8th July and contained both confined and open events.  Beith FC and Hamilton Academicals FC each held their own sports on 5th July at their own grounds, and West of Scotland Harriers organised a Sports at Somerset Park, home of Ayr United on Glasgow Fair Friday, and Clydesdale Harriers held a meeting at the Clydebank FC ground.  On 28th June the SAAA Championships were held at Celtic Park and on the same day, Vale of Leven held their sports at Millburn Park, Alexandria and Bellshill Highland Gathering took place.   The links between football and athletics were strong – and not just at the top grounds in the country.   Both sports benefited.


21st July, 1913:  

“The Clyde Football Club are apparently “whole hoggers” as far as professionalism is concerned, and in this respect  they are at least consistent.   Instead of running amateur sports, as so many professional clubs do [amateurism in Scotland is practically subsidised at the expense of Association football] Clyde are running a purely professional gathering on Saturday first.   Of course football is the trump card, but in addition they are introducing Jack Donaldson, the eminent sprinter, and a runner of his impressive accomplishments should attract many to Shawfield on Saturday.   Largely through the influence of Struth, several of the best professionals in Scotland will take part in the proceedings.   Professional running in Glasgow has been pretty low in the water for years, but the Clyde are serving up in an attractive manner on Saturday, and will no doubt be rewarded for their enterprise. “

29th July, 1913:

As already indicated, Celtic Football Club are spreading their sports over two days, Saturday and Tuesday, the latter day being for the convenience of shopkeepers who seldom have a chance of seeing first class running.   Besides football there will be at least two open handicaps, 100 yards and 1000 yards, and should any of the top strangers who are coming to Parkhead remain over  there may be an invitation race.   Certain it is however that Mr William Maley will see that the shopkeepers are provided with a programme that will both instruct and amuse.   With the cement track removed, there will be no more motor thrills to stir the emotions of the Saturday crowd.   This of course willl be a big blank but there will be other novelties, one being a steeplechase with more obstacles and water jumps than hitherto.   This is always a side splitting race but it will be even more so at the forthcoming meeting.   Another novelty will be a three miles distance handicap race with record breaking inducements .   There will be the favourite handicap events, the 100 yards, the 220 yards, the 880 yards and the mile.   The invitation races which are always a prime feature at the Parkhead meeting, will not be determined until it is known who are coming from England and Ireland.  All the same we are safe in assuming  there will be at least two special sprints with a strong international complexion.  Mr Maley is well advanced with the preparations, some of which for obvious reasons can not be made public.  

Still on 29th July:

The Rangers FC are anticipating a big success on Saturday on the occasion of their amateur sports.   These are now limited to one day.   Many will regard this as a false step but of course the Rangers directors know their own business best.   Still, it will be seen that the Celtic directors are nowin favour of the two-fold gathering, and they are regarded as pretty sound judges of public taste in the way of athletic entertainment.  Perhaps in another year the Rangers may revert to the old arrangement of having a supplementary function on the Monday following their sports day proper.   Mr Wilton has arranged a very interesting programme.   WR Applegarth whose great sprinting achievements have  formed  the chief feature of the season’s running in Britain, will be the leading “star” and several minor ones will also be present.   There will be an invitation sprint handicap, and no doubt there will be some exciting sport in the other events holiday form, which always produces sensational results will, as in previous years,  shine out conspicuously at Ibrox Park on Saturday.”

Still on 29th July:

 “Scottish Cyclists Union Officials who were at Ayr on Fair Saturday  expressed themselves as well satisfied with the racing in the two handicaps set apart for wheelmen.   Of course these are the days of small things in that department of sport, nor is there any inclination, as far as we can divine, of richer results.   The Celtic path is no longer in existence.   Ibrox, never at any time safe,  is now out of the question for first-class cycling.   Hampden Park therefore is the only ground in the city where cycling can take place.”  

4th August, 1913

The Rangers Sports were held on 2nd August and the report is elsewhere on this website.   They were a big success with an attendance estimated to be at about 25,000 and many competitors from England.   The Aberdeen Police Sports were held at Pittodrie.   The lead-in to the Celtic FC Sports the following Saturday appeared in the “Sporting Miscellany” column.  

“There is always a strong Hibernian flavour to the Celtic FC Sports and the forthcoming meeting will be no exception in that respect if Mr William Maley’s hopes are realised.   When at Belfast he had a promise from FR Shaw of Dublin University to run in the sprints.   In that case the short distance handicaps will be of an international complexion.  Shaw is the greatest sprinter that Ireland has ever turned out; at all events he has accomplished “times” that no Irish sprinter has ever accomplished, and there is no better test of merit in the sprinting domain than the watch.   Applegarth and others who were at the Rangers Sports on Saturday will also be at Parkhead, and excellent as the sprinting was at Ibrox, it should be even better at the Celtic meeting.   It is to be hoped that Mr Maley will extend the invitations to more than one heat, as at Ibrox.   The public like to see the “big men” often, and in handicaps with heats there is in nine cases out of ten the chance of seeing them twice at least.   Besides it will allow Mr Maley to draw more on home resources, and after all it is an experience which many would cherish to be permitted to run in the same handicap as Applegarth and others.”  

At the Celtic Sports on 9th August, The weather was dull but dry and 36,000 spectators saw Applegarth set a new record for the 220 yards and the meeting itself is reported elsewhere on this  website.   Dens Park, the home of Dundee FC, was the venue for the Dundee Police Sports which like all police sports in the country was a professional meeting.   

The following week the football season opened and most sports at football grounds were at an end.   

This very quick look was in part prompted  by an article that said amateur athletics was subsidised by football.   Certainly we see even from this small sample that many clubs (Clydesdale Harriers, Maryhill Harriers, West of Scotland Harriers, Bellahouston Harriers, Glenpark Harriers) held their own sports at football grounds.   It is not as though they were the only sports grounds available – there were rugby clubs which were older than any open amateur athletic club, similarly there were cricket grounds that could have been used.   Pat of the reason may be that there were many football players who took part in the athletic contests and both sets of clubs had members in common.   Many clubs had their own sports of course – the Ayr United Sports were said to be more important than the SAAA championships, Rangers and Celtic Sports were maybe the biggest and longest lasting, Partick Thistle sports went back before the amateur era and the St Mirren sports at Love Street were always well attended.   The Queen’s Park sports too were looked forward to with enthusiasm.   It is certainly a subject worthy of a more detailed investigation than is presented here.   Maybe a PhD for a Sports degree candidate???

A Philosophy of 800m Running by Peter Hoffmann

Peter Hoffmann leading Paul Forbes in a Training Session at Meadowbank.

Wish upon a star

‘…Questions unanswered

Questions not asked

Some are worth knowing

Some left in the past

Go in with eyes open

Your life will be grand

Just give it your damndest

And go lead the band…’

Roger Turner

Forty years ago I ran a half mile in 1 minute 46 seconds, still a respectable performance today. At one time I even had an ambition to have raced Coe and Ovett down the home straight in the race of the century at the 1980 Olympic Games 800 metres final in Moscow.

Most runners look back on their careers feeling they never quite fulfilled their potential. As the old saw goes if is the saddest word in the English language. If only I had…Like many of you out there, from a distance of forty years I discern many good patterns of what we did well, but also some key mistakes too, which of course tear at the soul. And talking of souls, Father Gianni in the recent BBC series set in Tuscanny, Second Chance Summerexpressed it rather beautifully when he said: ‘…the problem is you only learn with age and experience, so by the time you realise you have learnt a lot of things unfortunately a lot of time has passed and many chances have been lost.’  

But for others-today’s and tomorrow’s young athletes it is not too late. Ben Jones, M.D. said ‘The saddest thing about dying is that all the stuff you’ve learned goes in to the ground with you. Make sure you pass it on before you croak.’  Following Ben’s advice, here’s my starter for ten. 

But first, a health warning. I’m neither a coach; nor a sports scientist; nor an academic, but instead someone who has run for almost 60 years – a reflective practitioner. This is not an academic nor a scientific treatise which works back from the demands of the event, relating them to your strengths and weaknesses and accordingly tailors a training programme, based on lactate tolerance or VO2 levels etc. Instead, it offers some practical, simple, common-sense tips garnered from a lifetime’s running experience from beginner, to international, to fun runner. I’m advocating a simple approach, but one which I sincerely believe will help any half miler run a best performance. I’m targeting it at international class athletes, but it’s equally applicable to aspiring youngsters wishing to run a great half mile or any master’s athlete out there too-just apply the principles and alter the times.

Peter preparing for a Track Session

  1. Dream Baby, Dream

In the 1920s, the writer and mythologist, Joseph Campbell (who also happened to be one of America’s finest half milers) wrote of following your bliss:

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.

You need to have a dream to sustain you over the years; find out what motivates you to get out there season in, season out, to train in all weathers. Find your dream, then follow it; and remember   Festina lente – Make haste, slowly.

Peter in a 200m race: note the GB vest

  1. Control Your Weight

Ensure your weight is at its ideal level. If it’s not, you won’t fulfil your potential. Simple fact. But that doesn’t mean being as light as possible. Too often I see good international runners who are actually too light. Don’t sacrifice lightness for strength. Instead, what you’re really after is the optimum power to weight ratio. So it’s better to be two or three pounds heavier with good power than to be too light with little power. The best athletes glide effortlessly over the track. Think Ovett at his peak over 1500 metres at the 1977 World Cup.

Control and monitor your weight; if you need to lose anything, do so, but very slowly. Be patient. If you’ve gained weight you will have done so over a period of time. To lose it, do so similarly. A pound a week is aplenty and you will hardly notice the effort; yet over 6 months that would add up to almost two stones! Eat regular, balanced, healthy tiffins every few hours. Drink plenty of water. Most people know what they should be doing. At the end of the day, retire to bed in the evening knowing that when you awake the following morning you will be very, very slightly lighter.


Peter and Paul Forbes

  1. Practice Running FAST!


By running fast, I mean sprinting flat out several times each week. Be honest with yourself-when did you last sprint as fast as you could, putting the pedal flat to the floor? For most athletes it will be months-probably years! Unless you’re a 60 metres indoors specialist or a 100 metres sprinter, 99% of runners never practice running flat out, so how can you expect to suddenly turn on the turbo-jets come a race, especially if it’s a year on from the previous summer? So, incorporate sessions over 30-50 metres several times each week e.g. 2 x 4 x 30 metres with a good recovery. And that’s just to maintain your speed. By the time you get into your early 20s your performance will deteriorate. Incorporating pure sprints into your training programme will help make the key middle distance sessions easier andswifter too.

  1. Strength and Power

But better still, rather than just maintaining speed, let’s improve it by improving your power. Get in to the gym twice a week. Do plyometrics; weights; gym work and bounding. In the off season run fast 20 seconds hill repetitions up a slight incline wearing a weights jacket. Do a Togher body weight circuit or get along to a Metafit session which is also a valuable cardio workout too. Work your glutes. Do squats. Do step-ups. If time is scarce run a few sprints followed by your strength work; it makes for good sense. Develop a strong core-everything comes from there. Buy a pair of 1lb barbells and practice fast arm action in front of the mirror for 2 minutes each evening.

But, on top of that here’s something different. Many athletes’ performances tail off toward the end of the season. Commentators say this is due to tiredness or getting stale and lacking motivation. I believe it’s more to do with the fact that after the spring most athletes neglect strength-work through the summer months. A radical proposal-keep the strength-work going throughout the track season. In 1984 Coe was still in the gym a week before the Los Angeles Olympics. Similarly, Salazar likes to see Farah et al keep that snap going throughout the racing season. You won’t need to do so many repetitions-just do enough to maintain your power to weight ratio; and perhaps ease off altogether ten days before your main competition of the season.

  1. Cardiovascular System

To run a good half mile you need a reasonable aerobic base; equally importantly, you need to be fit enough to undertake the key middle distance track sessions. I recommend doing a steady run every third day. But you will end up supplementing this when you warm up and warm down for your track and gym sessions on other days adding another half hour of daily aerobic running. Every couple of weeks incorporate into your schedule a long, steady run of between 60 and 90 minutes. If a 5k Parkrun happens to fall on such a day, give it a go-it will give you a useful base line as well as motivating you to run fast and hard on occasion. But quality and speed and tiredness should never be sacrificed at the altar of high mileage. There’s a trade-off and that needs to be in favour of track work and gym. If high mileage was the key to running fast half miles then all those millions of runners churning out 70 mpw would be running them. Generally, they don’t. And when they do, it’s the exception that proves the rule.

6. Box Clever

There are lots of little maxims out there; some of them are wise. Amongst them, less is more, is excellent advice. The Greeks had a word for it-practice the golden mean-nothing in excess, everything in moderation. Train only once a day and rest up for 24 hours before your next session. It will prevent injuries in the long term; help you recover from the previous day; and equally importantly you’ll have a zest for the next session. Similarly, it’s better to under-train than to over train.

Try to always run with the wind-practice running quickly and with good technique. And talking technique, if you don’t have it, identify with someone who does and copy them. El Guerrouj was the most beautiful runner; as is Bernard Lagat.

It’s still useful to have heroes; adopt a phenomenological approach; identify with someone you admire and respect and when those key moments of choice come along, ask yourself how they might behave or react in this situation. What would they do?

Closer to home, find a good mentor. When my good friend Paul Forbes (a 1 minute 45 seconds half miler) and I were teenagers we trained regularly with Adrian Weatherhead, a sub 4 minute miler. He was a decade older and taught us much, mainly informally, often when we were warming up or warming down after a session.

Get into a good training environment and squad. Training should be hard, but fun. Try to run sessions where sometimes you’re the top dog-it’s good to be confident and to reinforce this attribute; on other occasions run with peers to introduce a little bit of competition and edge; and occasionally train with people who are better than you at some sessions-but not too often, as you want to be a very positive athlete and racer. But such sessions will help push you and take you out of your comfort zone.  At weekends we had the best training squad in the world featuring World number 1 David Jenkins; World Student Games silver medallist, Roger Jenkins; 8 Nations gold medallist, Paul Forbes; GB international, Norman Gregor; sub 4 minute miler, Adrian Weatherhead; as well as myself, an Olympian and European Junior silver medallist. It meant that if we were running 6 x 500 metres, each athlete would take one run from the front, with Adrian on the last rep. It meant for a much higher quality session than we could have managed alone. But, it was important to get away from that elite squad at other times to prevent burning ourselves out.

Listen to your body. What is it telling you? Athletes tread a fine line-it’s like being a tightrope walker, making continuous fine adjustments to achieve that elusive balance between two polarities-being honest with yourself and staying disciplined-getting out there and just doing it, but also being sensible and taking the occasional day off too when you’re feeling exhausted or coming down with a cold.; as mentioned above, it’s always better to under train than to over train.

And as in all important areas of life, prioritise. You only have so much energy and those aspects of training that are most important should never be at the mercy of those areas which are less so. Distribute your energy as if it’s gold and allocate it wisely. Be at your freshest and at your very best for the key middle distance track sessions of the week. Make sure you’re turning up for these sessions with an eagerness-with an appetite-you’re excited and slightly nervous and apprehensive and not knackered, tired or unenthusiastic, where you end up just going through the motions. In other words don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. And talking of quality here’s some radical advice-simulate half mile racing-regularly. 

7.   Simulate 800 metres running-regularly

That begs the question what do I mean by quality. Similar to athletes ignoring sprinting flat out, most half milers only ever run occasional flat out 600s throughout the year; perhaps on fewer occasions than on the fingers of one hand, usually in the late spring. And yet this is what they’re expecting their bodies to do in a race! It’s crazy. Get your body used to doing what it’s expected to do come race time. Surely, it’s common-sense to practise this key aspect much, much more regularly so that you not only do you get used to running like this, but so that you become better too?

Each new season you hope to improve on what you’ve run the season before, yet you’ve spent up to a year avoiding doing so! So, here’s a radical proposal-if you really want to run a fast half mile in 1.44 or better, start running very fast 600 metres or similar every ten days throughout the year. Ideally you should be aiming to run them in 75 seconds or better. Otherwise, how can you expect to turn up for an international meet 800 metres and run relaxed through 600 metres in 78 seconds and maintain that pace if you haven’t been practicing it throughout the year; get your body accustomed to how it feels allowing it to make the key physiological adaptations. So, use pacers and aim to run two or three in training at around 75 seconds; come race day you’re more likely to be able to flow through the 600 metres mark in 78 seconds with a speed reserve for the last quarter of the race. An alternative good session which we used to do was a 600 metres (78 seconds); 500 metres (63 secs); 400 metres (48 secs); 300 metres (34 secs); and a 200 metres (22 secs) with a good recovery. Don’t shy away from these sessions. By incorporating this regime into your training programme you will steal a march on your rivals.

  1. Bread ‘n Butter Half Mile Sessions

To run a great half mile you also need to run bread ‘n butter half mile sessions; run 5 x 300 metres with a rolling start with a one minute walk 100 metres recovery, kicking off with 36 seconds. Or, 8 x 300 metres with a 3 minutes recovery starting with 37 seconds and try to hold the pace for as long as possible. 5 x 500 metres in 65 seconds with a 5 minute recovery is good as is 2 x 4 x 200 metres (30 seconds recovery) kicking off at 24 seconds. Clocks are excellent for gradually bringing on a jaded tiredness as you try to maintain speed endurance and quality-100-150-100 and 150-200-150 clocks (up and down in 10 metres) with a jog back 90 seconds recovery are excellent-they’re niggly little sessions. There’s no harm in occasionally joining the milers pack for one of the more traditional middle distance sessions-8 x 400s (1 minute recovery) or 4 x 600s (4 minutes rest) but they should be just that-occasional.

  1. Quarter Miling

To run a fast half mile you need to be able to run a great quarter too. Sometimes I ask good half-milers what they can run for 400 metres; they will reply vaguely, Oh! I’ve run sub 48 seconds-but when you ask what they can run right here, right now, there’s a world of difference. So don’t kid yourself. To run fast over a quarter you need to incorporate regular quarter-mile sessions e.g. 3 x 300 metres flat out in around 34 seconds. Or, 8 x 100 metres rolling with an easy 5 minutes’ walk around the track recovery.

  1. Resilience and Racing

Training and competition requires resilience. A few people have this quality in spades-a rod of steel running through them. I’ve trained with former world 5000 metres record-holder, David Moorcroft, and regularly with Adrian Weatherhead; with them it’s something inherent. I’ve seen it too with many of the distance runners-the iron men of the iron ground, who churn up the laps in cross country running. But the rest of us aren’t quite so hardy. However, you can help to overcome this with clever stratagems. Remember that dream. Use it to motivate yourself. Ask yourself what your success would mean to others who help you-your family, your friends? Develop mantras for when the going gets hard-First to the tape, First to the tape    or   Never give in, Never give in.

As usual, Kipling is good:


‘…If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son…


If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!’


If you’re doing a hard reps session don’t think too far ahead; leave the next run until towards the end of the recovery period-often people throw in the towel far too early. Take one run at a time. And when it becomes painful either embrace the pain-associate with it or alternatively disassociate from it by deploying some distraction techniques.

Some of you will recall the great BBC athletics commentator for forty years, David Coleman, and how he brought to life David Hemery’s stunning Olympic run in Mexico, 1968 or Ian Stewart’s magnificent 5000 metres win at the 1970 Commonwealth Games. On occasion,when I struggled through a tough training session wanting to give up, come these last few repetitions, in my imagination I could hear Coleman’s voice in my mind’s-eye ‘…and it’s Hemery (Hoffmann) gambling on everything…he’s really flying down the back straight…Hemery (Hoffmann) leads…it’s Hemery (Hoffmann) Great Britain…it’s Hemery (Hoffmann) Great Britain…and Hemery (Hoffmann) takes the gold…he killed the rest…he paralysed them…Hemery (Hoffmann) won that from start to finish…’ And before I knew it, the session was over and I’d run as best as I could and got through another tough work-out. I guess it’s called motivation-self-motivation. Find it where you can.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says ‘…I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all…’ so grab the opportunity in any race-be brave-show some chutzpah-seize the day; sometimes a smarter, more confident athlete can beat a better one-Matt Centrowitz ran a great race at the Rio Olympics in the 1500 metres. Races are nerve wracking so get used to handling them well by racing often-race under distance events such as 400 metres where there is slightly less pressure.  

Rest up before you race, making sure you taper your training. The people who knew best how to bring athletes to their peak were the old Pro schools in Scotland training athletes for the famous century old Powderhall Sprint. Money talks. And some of those schools stood to make significant monies from the bookies.  Come the race, if you can and have the confidence to do so, aim to distribute your energy wisely in half-mile races. Run the shortest distance and run even pace.

My final thought on racing is ensure you’re thoroughly warmed up having blown the carbon out of the engine! Too many athletes don’t warm up sufficiently; and when the race kicks off it comes as quite a shock to the system and naturally, negatively impacts mentally on their confidence too. How often have you found in training that it’s the second or third repetition that’s the easiest? The first few runs feel hard because of the systemic shock; the latter runs are hard because you’re beginning to tire. Whereas, on the intermediate repetitions you glide along, often effortlessly, because your body is completely warmed up; make sure you go to the line having struck the optimal balance so that you’re ready to race from the bang of the gun.

Whether, you’re an international athlete, an aspiring one, or a master runner, adopt the above and you’ll fly a half mile. Good luck with your adventures and seize the day.

A Hypothetical 800 metres Training ‘Week’

Day 1 3 x 600 metres flat out (15- 20 minutes recovery)

Day 2 60-90 minutes steady run

Day 3 5 x 300 metres (walk 100 metres recovery)

Day 4 2 x 4 x 30 metres (3 minutes recovery; 15 minutes between sets) followed by strength-work

Day 5 8 x 100 metres fast (walk 300 metres recovery)

Day 6 Parkrun 5k

Day 7 8 x 300 metres (3 minutes recovery)

Day 8 6 x 50 metres flat out (4 minutes recovery) followed by strength-work


*Peter Hoffmann partnered Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe as one of Great Britain’s three 800 metres athletes at the 1978 European Championships and was also part of the 1976 Olympic 4 x 400 metres squad at Montreal. He is the author of several books including A Life In A Day In A Year-A Postcard From Meadowbank which follows a ‘year’ in the life of an athlete. He is available for athletics advice on 400 and 800 metres running.*



Jack MacLean

Jack racing on the track in Bellahouston Park

Jack MacLean is a well-liked, much respected athlete who has been seriously involved in middle and long distance running since the 1950’s.   A life member of Bellahouston Harriers, he joined the club in 1950 after his National Service was over.  Jack has run all distances from 880 yards up to marathon in his career and has even won a medal, as part of an English team, for walking.   Known throughout Scotland, he was a member of the Scottish Marathon Club, the British Marathon Runners’ Club and a founder member of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club.   He is currently in his 68th year as a member of Bellahouston Harriers and to find out what has kept him in the sport so long we asked him to complete a short questionnaire and we can look at his responses before going on to some detail about his involvement in the sport.

Name:  Jack MacLean

Date of Birth:  20th June 1929

Occupation:   Newspaper printer

When did you get into the sport:  In 1950 after an introduction to Davie Corbett

Personal best times:   Two Miles:  10:03    Three Miles:   16:29      Six Miles:  33:20     Ten Miles  54:00

                                        Half Marathon:   1 hour 16 minutes     Marathon:  2:40:00    

Has any individual or group had a marked influence on your times or attitudes:  Davie Corbett, Bob Climie and Harry Fenion

What has athletics brought you that you would not have wanted to miss:  Good health, good friends, camaraderie and a feeling of well being.

Have you ever been a member of a club other than Bellahouston Harriers:  Scottish Marathon Club (Jack was captain and president of the club), British Marathon Club, founder member of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club.

Have you any thoughts on the sport in Scotland at present?   Generally the times are slower now with several outstanding exceptions like the Hawkins brothers and Andrew Butchart.   In general terms, when I was running we had a golden period for a number of years but we did not realise it at the time.   There were many runners running 2 hrs 13/2hrs 15 for the marathon or 28 min for the 10000m,   These were great times and many were run in Scotland.  

Jack mentioned three people as being influences on him when he joined Bellahouston Harriers.  David Corbett and Harry Fenion are well known, but Bob Climie is not a name that means much to modern athletics people.   Bob was a top class runner who came through the War and was a very good athlete for several years thereafter.  I quote only his record in the Edinburgh to Glasgow [remember that stages two and six were the toughest of the tough].   In April ’49 he ran second and moved from eleventh to sixth, in November ’49 he again ran second and held on to second place and  in ’50 he held 7th on the sixth stage.   Jim Irvine says: 

“Bob came back from the war and was the clubs best runner into the early 1950`s , he was one of the type who could run any distance 220 yards- cross country , he was third in the Renfrewshire cross country beating Harry Fenion into fourth , he also won the Scottish steeplechase two mile championship .  He moved around about a bit, going to stay in Melrose, then Tomintoul, then Elgin.   He got into orienteering, wrote the history about it , and got an M B E for his service to the sport.   When I was young he gave me some great advice.  One thing he said to me once  “ IF YOU CAN`T SAY ANYTHING GOOD ABOUT SOME ONES RUNNING, NEVER SAY ANYTHING BAD ALWAYS TRY TO HELP THEM WITH ENCOURAGEMENT” .


Bellahouston Harriers Club Group in 1958: the year they won the Edinburgh to Glasgow:

Jack is third from the right in the back row, half hidden.

Jack continues and says “I always loved running.   Born in the Gorbals in 1929, there was little traffic on the street so all the children played outside.   Being Glasgow, there was a lot of football but numerous other games whose base was running.   The Co-op had a Youth Club and there were many branches in Glasgow.  I joined up and played football for them.   One night the committee annnounced a sports night for all the co-op clubs in Glasgow and asked for volunteers to take part in the meeting at Helenvale Park.   Three hands went up – me and my two pals.   But they needed four runners because there was a medley relay, so one member said he would run 220 yards but no further.   The night arrived and my big pal, who was 6’2” tall, won the hop, step and jump as it was called then, and my other pal won the high jump which was stopped to allow him to run in the 440 yards where he finished second.   I ran the half-mile and finished second.   Then came the medley relay: I ran another half-mile and the team finished second.   I then ran in the mile where I was beaten by the boy from Shettleston Youth Club: he was in fact a ‘ringer’.  He was the Scottish Junior champion, not a member of the youth club, and his name was Eddie Bannon.   He later ran many times for Scotland.   Overall our team of four boys were runners-up in the competition, all on football training.   That was my introduction to track running.   

The football continued and I played for a team from Kilbarchan called Glentyan Thistle.   Like everyone else I went into the Army for two years National Service in 1948 and ran in cross-country races.   I won a couple of these plus some three mile track races.   After leaving the Army and playing a couple  of games for my old club, I decided to run seriously.   Having been introduced to Davie Corbett, I joined Bellahouston Harriers in 1950.   Such was the standard at Bellahouston with runners like Harry Fenion and Joe Connolly that it was difficult to make the team.”

Start of the SAAA Marathon Championship in 1969: Jack is seventh from the left in the headband

When Jack mentions the standard of running at Bellahouston Harriers in the 1950’s, and mentions particular runners, he was telling 100% of the truth.   Scottish distance running at that time was of a high standard – a fact not realised now.   The Victoria Park road running team with Scottish title holders and record breakers such as Andy Forbes, Ian Binnie and Bob Calderwood  was quite superb, the Shettleston team with Eddie Bannon, Hugo Fox, Harry Howard and Clark Wallace was also at a peak and Bellahouston Harriers was always right in the mix.   They had gold, silver and bronze in County, District and National events and when they won the Edinburgh to Glasgow eight man relay in 1958 it completed the set of gold, silver and bronze for that race too.   Harry Fenion won the National cross-country title as well as winning the SAAA Marathon championship, Joe Connolly ran internationally on the country and  in the Empire Games on the track.        Nevertheless Jack ran regularly for the club in all the major championships – county, district and National relays, county, district and national championships.  Given the high competitive standards at the club he only ran in one Edinburgh to Glasgow relay, but given his fitness and reliability he was always one of the runners and reserves entered on the programme.   He appeared in the programme in 1958 (number B17) with such runners as Joe Connolly, Harry Fenion, Des Dickson, Gordon Nelson, Fred Cowan, Tommy Mercer and Gavin Bell; sixteen years later, in 1974, he was again in the list (C13) with runners like Jack Adair, Brian Goodwin, Campbell Joss, Iain Kerr, Alistair McAngus, Murray McNaught, Rab Marshall and Jim Russell.  He was in every programme in between. The only other man in both squads was Jim Irvine.   I would hazard a guess that he appeared prior to ’58 and subsequent to ’74 too.   

Jack in the centre of the picture (0570) in the Glasgow Marathon with club mate Jim Russell on the right.

Jack started to run in longer races and discovered that he was better on the road than on the country.   His best position in the National was a commendable 44th.   “I joined the Scottish Marathon Club and ran the first of many Clydebank to Helensburgh 16+ miles races.   My personal best for the course was one hour and 30 minutes.   I also ran in the Ben Nevis race twice – in 1956 and 1958.   In the first of these, I had a bad fall descending, cutting my hand.   I was in 9th position at the time and after getting a handkerchief from a walker to wrap around the wound, I continued  and finished 19th out of 95 runners in 2 hours 15 minutes.   I then had to go to Belford Hospital to get the wound stitched. 

I ran a total of 64 marathons and two ultra marathons – the Two Bridges 36 miles race in 4 hours 11 minutes, and the Edinburgh to Glasgow 45 miles in 5 hours 20 minutes.”

The Scottish Marathon Club of which Jack was a member had been set up in 1944 ‘to foster marathon running in Scotland’.   To this end they helped organise many road races the length and breadth of Scotland.   They had a club championship with points awarded for positions in three out of four races, one of which had to be the Scottish marathon championship.   The races were the Springburn Harriers 12, the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16+, the Strathallan Gathering 20+ and the SAAA marathon.   Jack ran in them all from time to time.  He has mentioned the Clydebank to Helensburgh as one that he ran in a lot.   It was a very high standard of competition.  In 1960 Gordon Eadie won in 1:32:22, in 1962 Andy Brown won in 1:27:31, 1but other than that the winning time was usually in the low/mid 1:20’s.  The course record was under 1 hour 20 minutes set when the prevailing wind, which was usually in the runners faces almost all the way, was in the other direction and almost threw the runners to Helensburgh.   Gordon Eadie’s win in 1960 in a time that Jack and I could and did beat didn’t mean that we could have beaten him.   It was down to conditions.   Jack’s personal best of 90 minutes for the 16.25 miles works out at 5:57 a mile pace on that trail is not bad running at all.   Jack was a good solid club runner and an almost ever present in races like that.

Jack’s marathon running took him to  many parts of the globe in addition to the Scottish venues, he ran in London six times, as well as in Toronto, Hanover, Cologne, Paris and Viareggio where as a vet he ran a time of 3 hours 07 minutes in a temperature of 90 degrees.   Jack’s wife comes from New York and they travelled there for the marathon in 1980 when he was timed at 2:55.

Jack, second left, front row, at the club’s Centenary Dinner

Jack has been a member of three other clubs in addition to Bellahouston: we have mentioned the Scottish Marathon Club in which he filled the roles of President and Captain at various times, he was a member of the British Marathon Runners Club.   On 19th October 1968, the year before he became a veteran runner, Jack ran his longest race ever – the 44 mile Edinburgh to Glasgow.   Seventeen men faced the starter in Edinburgh for the eighth running of the race which featured many well known ultra-distance runners such as Bob Meadowcroft from Bolton United Harriers, Geoff Stott of Warley in the English Midlands, Hugh Mitchell (Shettleston), Bill Stoddart (Greenock Wellpark Harriers), Gordon Eadie (Cambuslang Harriers) and Don Turner (Pitreavie AAC) who were all real competitors over the longer distances.   Foley and Meadowcroft from Bolton both started six minutes behind the field.   The first man dropped out at 15 miles, another at 20 miles, one more at 25 and yet another at 30 miles.   Among the well known runners to drop out were cross-country internationalist John Stevenson of Wellpark, Willie Russell of Shettleston and Jimmy McNeil of Shettleston.   Jack worked away and finished eleventh in 6 hours 6 minutes 14 seconds: he was less than three minutes behind former winner Stott (6:13:17) and just over ten minutes behind David Anderson of Wellpark.   It was a very good run over a longer distance than he had ever done. 

The club in which he been most active has been the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, of which he is the only surviving founder member.   The other members of the group were Walter Ross  of Garscube Harriers, Jimmy Geddes of Monkland Harriers, George Pickering, Roddy Devon of Motherwell and Johnny Girvan of Garscube.  How did that come about?

After the Midland District Cross-Country Championship at Stirling University in 1970, Walter Ross spoke to me.   He wanted to form a veterans club with a minimum age of 40 years, and paid me the compliment of being one of the enthusiasts of the game.   The committee was formed of Walter and six others, and we held our meetings in Reid’s Tea Room in Gordon Street with a regular starting time of 7:00pm.   We all put forward our ideas and Walter drew up a constitution.   In the beginning the age groups went up in ten year intervals. 

I organised the very first Veterans race.   It was in Pollock Estate on Saturday 20th March, 1971.   We had very few officials at that point: Davie Corbet of Bellahouston started the race and shouted the times to George Pickering of Renfrew YMCA.   I had laid the trail in the morning with markers of wee pegs with paper attached.   33 runners started and 32 finished.   As I worked in the “Daily Record”, I arranged for a reporter and a photographer to attend.   There was a wee piece in the Daily Record about it.      The race was run over about 5 miles and the winner was Willie Russell of Shettleston.   He was followed by Hugh Mitchell, Willie Marshall, Tommy Stevenson, Williue Armour, Chic Forbes, Jack McLean and Andy Forbes in that order.   

Within a year we had 1000 members from the whole of Scotland.   Internationally we had great success as a small country.   The first World Championship for the marathon was held in Toronto in 1976.   I took part.   There were about 750 runners.   The race started at 7:30 am to avoid the heat.   I started well and was twenty second at two miles.   Then I started to be sick, I kept running and vomiting but I recovered at about 8 miles and finished 27th in 2 hours 43 minutes.   Gordon Porteous finished not long after me, smashing the world record for the sixties age group. 

After that I put it to Walter that ten year age groups were too much, so Walter put it forward at the World Committee meeting.   Vets were well established by then and five year age groups were adopted.   I also put forward the idea of colour coding for groups which was also adopted.   In the beginning the Scottish Vets took part in all the World Championships.   

  •   In Cologne I ran the marathon, Bill Stoddart ran in the 10000m.   The Australians were boasting that they had the winner in Dave Power, double gold medallist (six miles and marathon) in the Empire Games in Cardiff.   Stoddart beat Power in just over 30 minutes.  
  • Walter organised a large group to go to Paris for the World Masters Marathon in 1970.  There were between 600 and 700 runners.  On a day that was great for the spectators with a temperature of 88 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, Alastair Wood won the men’s marathon in 2:28:40 and Dale Greig won the Ladies marathon.   Charlie Greenlees of Aberdeen was 23rd and I was 33rd,  We won the team race and I was 7th British runner to finish.   
  • In 1980 the Scottish Vets staged the World Championships for 10,000m and the marathon.   I, along with Willie Armour set out the course: Willie in his car with the clipboard, me walking with a surveyor’s wheel measuring the course.    On the day, the whole thing went off very well with the Glasgow Corporation giving a great meal to the competitors in the City Chambers.   

Having been one of the founding members of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, I served on the Committee for 10 years before giving it up.   One of the unsung pillars of the organisation was Dale Greig,   She worked for Walter in his printing business and, as well as typing the newsletters, she did a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes.   

I ran my last marathon in London when I was 65, and it took me three hours and twenty two minutes but I continued running until I was 80 in 2009.   After that I kept on jogging.   I didn’t get many prizes or tangible returns for my  100 miles per week, but I got good health, great camaraderie, a feeling of well-being for years and many friends.”   

Jack with 200 yards to go in the New York Marathon where at the age of 51 he ran a time of 2:55

Jack has spoken of Cologne and Paris but there were other vets international races in which he took part.   For instance in Toronto in 1975 he ran in the Marathon, in the 45-49 age grouping and was 10th in 2:47:09.

Hanover 1979 was a bigger tale altogether.  At the start of the meeting he raced in the 10,000m in the 50-54 age group where he was 26th in 37:33.3.   Donald Macgregor was watching and he was approached by some English race walkers who lost the 10K road walk because they only had four runners while the race rules required ‘five to count’.   They asked Donald if there were any Scots who could fill in as a walker at the 20 km distance!   He suggested Jack.   They then approached Jack and, despite his protests, entered him for the race.   He was given a lesson in the car park in how to walk by English international Judy Farr and Athletics Weekly correspondent Colin Young.   Warned before the race not to get disqualified, he took part and finished in the first third of the field.   The team of Eade, Withers, Jacques, Goodwin and McLean finished second behind France and Jack had a silver medal.   The trail was around a lake for leisure boating and a large plaque on the wall said that Hitler had opened the venue in 1936. 

Of course, Jack continued to run in vets races at home and in the course of these he has beaten some notable athletes, eg he once defeated Ben Bickerton of Shettleston Harriers in the 10000m championships at Bellahouston Park.   Ben  was always a quality athlete and you can read about him here .    Always a good advert for the sport, Jack recruited other runners to the sport.   These include Hugh Currie who worked on the ‘Daily Record’ when Jack was there.   Hugh had been a member of the Creag Dhu Mountaineering club and was very fit so that when he came into the sport as a veteran he was immediately very successful and set the M65 record for the London Marathon.   

It is clear from the above that Jack has had a wonderful career in the sport.   A career in which he ran hard and well for many years before putting a lot back in the form of his work with the veterans movement worldwide.   Always the same to speak to, Jack is always even tempered and good natured and never has a bad word to say about anybody.   



University Track and Field: 1970 – 74


Alistair Blamire (E) winning the BUSF 10,000 at Westerlands in 1968 fairly comfortably

1970 was the BIG YEAR.   The Commonwealth Games w coming to Scotland for the first time, to Edinbuirgh in fact and all who had any ambition at all were training and laying out race schedules with that in mind.   The whole season was coming forward and peaks had to be reached earlier.   With their season normally starting in early April and peakiong in June, the universities suddenly found other meetings were starting to crowd their season and ‘pinch’ their big race dates.   There was nothing they could do about it so they just went on with their normal fixtures with minor tweaks.

The season started on 11th April with Heriot-Watt competing against Queen’s University, Belfast, and Edinburgh Southern Harriers at Pitreavie: the match replaced the cancelled fixture between Edinburgh University and Queen’s and resulted in a win for Heriot-Watt (96 pts) from Queen’s (82) and ESH (66).   The result was pretty well meaningless – David Jenkins ran as a guest for H-W and won the 100 and 200m.    TA Renwick (H-W) won the 400m and 800m, and G Grant (H-W) won the 1500m.   Looked good for Heriot-Watt and the following Saturday they held their club championships.   On that day, 12 of the 17 titles on offer went to Norwegian athletes.   K Karlsen won three events (pole vault, javelin and weight-over-bar), and A skiftenes (1500m and 5000m), T Tangen (110m hurdles and long jump) and J Ranke (discus and hammer) won two events each.   

Edinburgh University opened its season on 25th April against Dundee and Heriot-Watt at Peffermill.   Star of the day was hurdler AG Webb, reigning SAAA 400m hurdling champion,  who won the 200m and the 400m hurdles.   Edinburgh defeated Heriot-Watt by 94 to 86, and Dundee by 111 to 41;  and Heriot-Watt beat Dundee 115 to 49.   In the women’s triangular match, Dundeee had 49 points to 46 for Edinburgh to 10 for Heriot-Watt.   

The annual contest for the Appleton Trophy between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universitie took place on 2nd May at Westerlands  and Edinburgh won yet again – 155 to 123 points.   Glasgow won the 100m and 200m (W McCrorie), 400m (I O’Muircheartaigh), 110m hurdles (B Clarke),  and Edinburgh won the 800m (Jack Macfie), 1500m (J McDougall), 5000m (Dave Logue and Andy McKean), 400m hurdles (Andy Webb), high jump & shot putt (J Bruynhooghe), long jump & hammer (G Davidson), and javelin (G Ritchie) .   The District championships were held on 23rd May.   The only students who did well in the West was I O’Muircheartaigh (G – 3rd 400m) and he wasn’t even Scottish.   In the East, the situation was much healthier.   WT Bell (St A) was second in the 100m, CA Murdoch (A) was third in the 200m, Tom Renwick (H-W) won the 400m, N Hargreaves (E) was third in the 400m), Jim Dingwall (E) second in the 1500m, Dave Logue (won the steeplechase, RA Davidson (E) won the 110m hurdles, Andy Webb (A) won the 400m hurdles, AH Brown (St A) third in the 400m hurdles, KG Morrison (E) second in the long jump, W Clarke (E) won the triple jump, GJ Davidson (E) second shot putt, and JH Burnett (E) second in the javelin.

On 16th May, 1970 the Scottish Universities Championships championships were held at Meadowbank.  There were no fewer than 12 best championship poerformances – eight by men and four by women.   Possibly the best was by David Wilson (H-W) who won the high jump with a height of 6′ 7 1/4″ which bettered the existing record by 4 1/4 inches.   The event winners were (championship best performances marked *

100m:  I O’Muircheartaigh (G) 10.3 *      200m:  T Renwick )H-W) 21.8*      400m   Renwick   48.9 *     800m:  G Grant (H-W)  1:54.8*

1500m:  J Dingwall (E), 4:02.3;   5000: A McKean (E) 14:04.5*; Steeplechase:  D Logue (E) 9:26.6

110y hurdles:  RA Davidson (E) 15.5 *;  400y hurdles: AG Webb (E) 53.7*

High jump: D Wilson (H-W) 6′ 7 1/4*;   long jump: N Alford (St A) 22′ 6″;  triple jump: W Clarke (E) 48′ 7 3/4″*;  

Javelin: J Bennett (E) 184′ 3″; discus: C Davidson (E) 130 3 1/2″;  shot: D Myklatun (H-W) 41′ 4 1/2″;  hammer: P Scott (E) 146′ 11″

Team result:  1.   Heriot-Watt 109;  2.   Edinburgh 104;  3.  Glasgow 46 points

Women’s 100m:  Mary Flockhart (A)  12.6;  200m: I Comrie 27.1*;   400m: J Sawkins (D) 64.2   800m:  S Wanless (A)  2:2:21.6*

80m hurdles:   Joan Goodall (A) 17.9′   200m hurdles:   Joan Goodall (A) 31.5*

high jump: S Wanless 4′ 7 1/2″;  long jump:  S Wanless 17′;  discus:  A Dale (St A)  117′ 8 1/2″;  shot:  A Sadler (E) 29’2″

Team result: 1.  St Andrews 69;  2,  Aberdeen  68.

The women’s team result was the closest for a long time – and neither of the ‘big two’. Edinburgh and Glasgow figured in it at all.   With Heriot=-Watt winning the men’s competition, it was a rather different looking universities championship.   

Dave Logue (E) Steeplechase champion, 1970

 The District championships were held on 23rd May.   It was a tale of two halves.   The only students who did well in the West was I O’Muircheartaigh (G – 3rd 400m) and he wasn’t even Scottish.   In the East, the situation was much healthier.   WT Bell (St A) was second in the 100m, CA Murdoch (A) was third in the 200m, Tom Renwick (H-W) won the 400m, N Hargreaves (E) was third in the 400m), Jim Dingwall (E) second in the 1500m, Dave Logue (won the steeplechase, RA Davidson (E) won the 110m hurdles, Andy Webb (A) won the 400m hurdles, AH Brown (St A) third in the 400m hurdles, KG Morrison (E) second in the long jump, W Clarke (E) won the triple jump, GJ Davidson (E) second shot putt, and JH Burnett (E) second in the javelin.  All events were earlier in the season becaude of the imminence of the Empire Games with the SAAA championships being held on the first Saturday in June.   

Saturday, 6th June at Meadowbank was the venue, SAAA championships followed by the meeting of selectors who would pick the team.   University athletes who medalled were – gold:   DN Wilson (H-W, 110 hurdles and High Jump) and G Bryan-Jones (E, Steeplechase);  silver: RA Davidson (E, 110 hurdles) and AG Webb (E, 400m hurdles); bronze: J Dingwall (E, 1500m).   There were no women from the universities in the top three in their events where, to be fair to them, a whole host of the very best Irish women from Short’s, from Ballymena and from Albert Foundry were scoopimng up medals.   Former students such as Bill Ewing (A), Adrian Weatherhead (H-W), David Stevenson (E), Steart Seale (E) aand L Bryce (S) were all among the medals too.   The team was announced on 16th June, 1970, and the universities had less representation than they might have warranted for a home Games.   Wilson was included for the high jump,  along with Fairbrother who was the team captain, but not for the hurdles where there was only one runner picked; Bryan Jones was selected for the steeplechase; A Webb (E, 400m hurdles) and Lawrie Bryce was selected for the hammer throw and that was the extent of the men deemed worthy of a place.   Former students who were nominated included Fergue Murray (E) and D Macgregor (St A) for the marathon, HC Robertson (triple jump), D Stevenson (E, pole vault).    

How did they perform?   Gareth Bryan-Jones was fourth in the steeplechase final, missing a medal by 3 seconds with Dave Logue representing Ireland going out in the second heat; David Wilson was seventh, and first Scot, in the Final;  Andrew Webb progressed to the semi-final where he was eliminated, Lawrie Bryce was fourth in the final of the hammer.   Fergus and Donald performed nobly in the marathon, finishing 7th and 8th,  Hamish Robertson was eighth in the final of the long jump and failed to qualify in the triple jump and David Stevenson was ninth in the pole vault.   Bernie Nottage of Bahamas and Aberdeen University ran in both 100 and 200m without making the final.


On 1st May 1971 the big universities match was a four cornered affair between Edinburgh University, Heriot-Watt University, Aberdeen University and Edinburgh Southern Harriers which was won by ESH with 192 points from H-W (157), EUAC 148 and Aberdeen (100).   David Jenkins for the University was the stand out performer when he won the 100m in 10.8 and then won the 400m in 46.4 seconds which was the fastest time by a British runner since 1968 and well inside the qualifying time of 47 seconds for the European Games.   It was also an age best for an 18 year old.   Craig Douglas for ESH won the 800m in 1:53.5 and the 1500m in 3:48.1.    Commonwealth Games runner IW Turnbull (A) won the 200m, I Elliott (ESH) won the 5000m, David Wilson (H-W) won the 110 hurdles and the high jump, AT Murray ESH won the 400m hurdles, W Clark (E) won the long and triple jumps, W Swann (ESH) won the pole vault, Sandy Sutherland (ESH) won the shot, AM Black (H-W) the discus, G Applegate (A) the hammer and JM Burnett (A) won the javelin.    

On the same day, St Andrews was expecting a match against Strathclyde University but only 5 athletes turned up from Glasgow so the match was declared void.  However in the events which were covered D Lorimer won the 5000m in 15:33.2 which was a university record, taking 18.3 seconds from the existing best time.   

The Universities Championships were held on 15th May at Pitreavie where again David Jenkins ran well enough to take two titles but with a headwind in the straight his times for 100m and 200m  a bit slower – ‘only’ 10.9 for the 100 into a 20 mph headwind!   Arguably Graeme Grant (H-W) had a better day than Jenkins with victories in 400m (50.7), 800m (1:59.3) and 1500m (4:o2.7).   The middle distances were all well contested with some excellent second and thirds – eg in the 800m Frank Clement (S) was second to Grant, in the 1500m Stuart Easton (St A) was second to Grant and in the 5000m Colin Youngson (A) was second to Alistair McKean (E).   The 110 hurdles was won by David Wilson (E) from previous winner RA Davidson (E), in the high jump Wilson won from Kevin Maguire (E).   The team result was a victory for Heriot-Watt (117) over Edinburgh 93, St Andrews 47, Glasgow 46, Aberdeen 37, Strathclyde 27 and Dundee 22.   The women’s competition was also a good one in the prevailing wind, with I Cormie (G) winning the 100 and 200m, I Parkin (D) won the 400m, L Rae (A) won the 800m, Moira Walls (Glasgow) won the 100m hurdles and the high jump, Blackwood (S) won the shot and discus,  and H Rutherford (A) won the javelin.   Winning university was Glasgow with 69 points, second was St Andrews with 55 and then came Aberdeen 44, Edinburgh 34, Strathclde 14 and Heriot-Watt 10.

In the District Championships, it was the same old story: many titles and medals in the East were won by University athletes with not a single championship coming the way of either Glasgow or Strathclyde Universities.   Winners in the east included Graeme Grant (H-W), Alistair McxKean (E), a one-two in the steeplechase where Bryan-Jones (E) won from Youngson (A), and a double from Clark (E).   The British Universities Championships were held on 12th June at Birmingham and several Scots took the chance to make their mark.   Wendy Blackwood won the shot putt s well as the discus throw and Tom Campbell won the hammer.   Both were from Strathclyde.    Other notable performances from Scots were Frank Clement’s second place in the 1500m in 3:48, W Adlei (S) second in the high jump, D Rae (G) 3rd in the shot, N Sandilands (G) 3rd in the discus and K Hay (A) 4th in 400m hurdles.   Women who came home with medals, in addition to Blackwood, M Flockhart (A) 3rd in 100m; J Goodall (A) 2nd in 80m hurdles and J Robertson (St A) 2nd in high jump.   

The national championships held at Meadowbank on 26th June David Jenkins (EUAC) again won two events – the 200m and 400m this time – as did David Wilson (also EUAC) when he won the sprint hurdles and high jump.   Some outstanding former students such as Gareth Bryan-Jpones, Hamish Robertson and Sandy Sutherland came away with gold in their kit bags too.   Second places were taken by Frank Clement (S) in the 800m, Tom Campbell (S) in the hammer and S McCallum (G) in the long jump.   In the women’s championships there was an invasion of top class athletes from England and three Americans too which meant there were ew titles for Scots women and even fewer for Scottish university students.   Moira Walls (G) was second in the long jump and E Rutherford (E) second in the javelin were the only medal winners from the universities.


In 1972, Olympic year, the first inter-university match was on 15th April between St Andrews and Queen;s, Belfast, which was won by the Irish team by 99 points to 83.   Next week, 22nd April saw several matches ake place.   Edinburgh Southern Edinburgh AC, Heriot-Watt and Dundee University faced off at Meadowbank where the scores were ESH 186, EAC 146, Heriot-Watt 130 and Dundee 102.   In the Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde meeting at Westerlands, Alistair Hunter and Charles Kyatzui (Both Glasgow) had doubles – Hunter won the 400m (51.4) and the 800m (1:56) and Kwatzui won the 100m/200m double in 11 sec and 22.6.   Glasgow won the contest with 169, Aberdeen had 140 and Strathclyde 62.   Edinburgh took on St Andrews whom they defeated with 97 1/2 to 84 1/2 at St Andrews.   Edinburgh’s Andrew Makowski won both discus (115′ 3″) and hammer (24.69m)and Robert Smith of St Andres won both hurdles races.   The Glasgow championships were held on th May and the main item to note was the win in the 5000m of Dave Logue who had run in the Commonwealth Games for Ireland while a student at Edinburgh University.   He had now moved along the M8 to Glasgow to continue his studies.   

The Universities Championships that year were held at Balgownie, Aberdeen.   Results were as follows:

100m:  Charles Kyazui (G) 11.5;  200m:  Bill Harrow (H-W)  23.7;  400m:  Nigel Hargreaves (E)  51.0;  800m: Frank Clement (S) 1:55.1;   1500m: Jim Dingwall (E) 4:14.6;  5000m:  Alastair McKean (E) 15:12;  3000m S/c: David Lorimer (St A) 9:43.2; 110 hurdles:  David Wilson (H-W) 15.2;  400m hurdles:  John McGing (D) 56.4;  high jump:  David Wilson (H-W) 1.90;  long jump:  Ken Morrison (E) 7.02;   Triple jump: Ken Morrison (E) 14.37;   pole vault: Dick Williamson (H-W)  3.35;   shot putt:  Bruce McKay (A) 13.31;  discus:  Alex Black (H-W)  42.50;  hammer:  Tom Campbell (S)  51.81; javelin:  Alex Black (H-W) 57.0m

Unfortunately the Athletics Weekly did not publish the omen’s results and the Glasgow Herald did not publish any results and there were no team totals available either.

In April, 1973, the match between Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities was held at Peffermill on 28th of the month with Edinburgh winning the overall points tally for the Appleton Trophy: their men lost to the Glasgow team but the women won decisively to have an aggregate of 145 to Glasgow’s 144 points.   This was a good tune-up for the Scottish Universities championships two weeks later but the final result was the same.   The report in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read as follows:

“Glasgow University could legitimately claim that the fates had been unkind to them this season.   After leading all the way through the Appleton Trophy contest in Edinburgh recently, only to be beaten by one point by the home club, they suffered a similar affront at the Scottish Universities championships at Meadowbank on Saturday.   Glasgow had won seven men’s titles to four by Edinburgh when the men lined up for the last event, the 4 x 100 metres relay.   Glasgow were comfortable winners only to be disqualified for an infringement at the first take-over.   Edinburgh therefore won the event and the Rosebery Trophy.

After the hubbub had died down it appeared that Edinburgh would have won itin any case, although only by two points.   But amid the usual grousings that usually follow such narrow defeats there were more allegations that several Glasgow athletes were refused admission for reporting late while similar infringements went unpunished.   David Wilson had a successful comeback after his knee operation for Heriot-Watt, the holders who finished third.   He won the 110m hurdles in 14.9 sec, and the high jump with an easy 6 feet.   Results (men first):

100m:  C Kyatzui (G)  10.9;  200m:  C Mathieson (G) 22.6 ; 400m D Hargreaves (E);  800m  A Hunter (G)  1:58.7;  1500m:  J Dingwall (E) 4:01.7;  5000m: J Dingwall (E) 14:43.8.   3000m S/c: R O’Brien (E)  9:10.6;  110 hurdles  D Wilson (H-W);   400m hurdles  N Gregor (G)  55.9.   high jump  Wilson (H-W); Pole Vault  R Williamson (H-W)  13′ 6 1/2″; long jump  J Lumley (G) 21′;  triple jump:   Lumley  44′ 7 1/2″;   shot  N Sandilands (G) 43′ 0 1/2″;  discus  A Black (H-W)  146′ ;  hammer  T Campbell (S) 180′ 6″; A Black (H-W) javelin  174′ 3″.   EUAC  111 pts, Glasgow 103, Heriot-Watt 67.

100m: J Robertson (St A)  13.1;  200m:  M Nimmo (G)  22.3;  400m: T Parker (St A) 62.6;  800m: A Brear  (St A) 2:16.9; 100m hurdles:  Nimmo  14.6;  200m hurdles: T Parker 33.1.   high jump: P Robinson (A) 5′;  long jump: Parker 16′ 3 1/4″; Shot:  W Blackwood 38′ 0 1/4″; discus: Blackwood 130′ 7″; 4 x 100m relay:  St Andrews  53.5 sec.  Team totals:   1.  St Andrews 100 pts,   2.  Edinburgh 66,    3.   Glasgow 43

The standards in 1973 were, by and large, not quite as high as in previous years although there were some standout performers – Jim Dingwall, David Wilson, Wendy Blackwood and Norman Gregor being probably the pick.   


The championships the following year saw Myra Nimmo winning five titles at Westerlands on 18th May.   She was also part of the winning relay team and was third in the shot putt.   She won the 200m (26.7), 100m hurdles (15.3), 200m hurdles (66.1), high jump (1.52m) and long jump (5.50m).   David Jenkins dignified the meeting with a solitary appearace – in the 4 x 400m relay – which was duly won by Heriot-Watt.   His brother Roger won the 100m and the 200m in 11.3 and 22.3.   There was a whole host of middle distance talent on dissplay though with Ron McDonald (G) winning the 800m (1:52.6), Lawrie Spence (S) the 1500m (3:56.9), Jim Dingwall (E) the 5000m (14:11.6).   


University Track and Field: 1965 to 69

Edinburgh University Sports, 1965: Alistair Blamire (30) and Fergus Murray immediately behind.

Between them these runners could cover at least 880y, Mile, Three Miles, Six Miles, Steeplechase

Because of the fact that that the university year ends in June, and because of the importance of end of year and degree examnination work, their ahletics season actually starts in early April although interest in the wider community in their sports tends to begin in May with events such as the annual Glasgow  v  St Andrews  v  Queen’s University, Belfast and the Appleton Trophy contest between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities.   For instance the 1965 programme looked a bit like the one below.   Not all University events are included but the length of their season and the ratcheting up of the intensity and importance can maybe be seen.   

April 17th: Shettleston (103) v  St Andrews (95)

April 21st:    GU Track and Field Trials – all events for men except 3 and 6; for women 100, 220, 440, 80m hurdles, high, long, javelin

(The death of Sir Edward Appleton, Principal and Vice Chancellor at Edinburgh, one of the world’s most distinguished scientists suddenly at home: 72.)  

April 24th Aberdeen  v  Glasgow;     Edinburgh v Strathclyde and Queen’s

May 1st: Queen’s  v  Glasgow  v  St Andrews;    Strathclyde  v  St Modans  v  Aberdeen  v  Glasgow seconds

May 5th: Bellahouston v St Andrews

May 8th:   GU Championships;     Octavians  v St Andrews 

May 15th:  UAU Championships;     Strathclyde  v  Newcastle  v  Aberdeen  v  Glasgow;     St Andrews  v  VP  v  Ayr Seaf

May 22nd:  Appleton Trophy

May 29th: District Champs 

June 5th: Scottish University Championships

June 12th  SAAA Decathlon Champs (N Foster);   Lanarkshre Police Sports

June 19th:   SAAA Relays held at the Scottish Schools Championships

June 26th:   SAAA Champs

Allan Faulds, Glasgow, leading the field at Westerlands

We can’t cover them all here but we can start at the very beginning with the Shettleston v St Andrews at Barrachnie on 17th April where Shettleston won a close fought contest by 103 points to 95.   A University man was the key factor in Shettleston’s victory – Norrie Foster, who would be competing for Glasgow University that season won four events – 120 yards hurdles in 16.4, 440y hurdles in 61.7, the long jump with 21’9″ and the pole vault with 13’9″.   Winners for St Andrews who would figure in university athletics included J Tretheway won the 220 yards, D Dempsey who won the 440 yards, MF Davies who won the 880 yards, M Snow won the javelin, H Cameron the hammer, C Kelk the triple jump and the university won both relays.   It was a men only competition and had the match been held at St Andrews, that might have been the difference between success and failure.   Minor places count in these competitions.    

Foster featured again in the Glasgow University trials on 23rd April at a windy Westerlands when most of the known names were in action.   Winners of the A races, there were A and B races in the sprints) are below but note the first real appearance of Brian Scobie in the half-mile where his time was felt to be a very good one in the gusty, windy conditions.    

100 yards: WM Campbell 10.1; 220 yards: WM Campbell 22 seconds; 440 yards: Barclay Kennedy 51.2; 880 yards: BWM Scobie  1:56.4; Three Miles:   J Bogan 14:57.8;  1500m steeplechase: R Baillie  4:39.4;     High Jump: B Jackson  5’4″;  long jump:  G McInroy 20′ 3″;  Triple jump:  A Wellins  38′ 4″; Pole Vault:  N Foster  12′ 6″;   Shot Putt:  AL Sutherland47′ 10″;  Discus:  AL Sutherland  122′ 5″;  Javelin: B Seton 149′ 6″.   

In the Glasgow  v  Aberdeen on 24th April , Glasgow’s winners were Campbell (100, 220y), Mayberry (440y), Scobie (880y), Baillie (3 Miles), GL Brown (120 and 440 y hurdles), A Jackson and AL Sutherland (Shot); Aberdeen’s top men were W Ewing (Mile), I Grant (long jump), Bernie Nottage (triple jump), DH Taylor (discus), A Fowlie (javelin) and G Wilkie (Hammer).   Final score: Glasgow 59 points, Aberdeen 4 .

Cherryvale Park in Belfast was he venue on 1st May for the annual triangular match between Queen’s College, Glasgow University and St Andrews University.   Glasgow with 83 beat Queen’s with 67 and St Andrews with 23 points and in the women’s match, Queen’s had 42 1/2 points, Glasgow 34 1/2 and St Andrews 20.   The Glasgow Herald report read: “The contest, which was to have been held on a new all-weather track was transferred to a grass track of doubtful maintenance, because the new one was not ready for use.   Offsetting the poor ground conditions for some was the decision to run the 100 yards and the 120 yards hurdles on the back straight with the help of the wind.    None of the others was able to benefit in any way and not unnaturally times throughout the day were slow.   After allowing lesser mortals in the 880 to act as hares and, what was more important, as windbreakers for him, BWM Scobie (Glasgow) broke away with half a lap to go and won in 2 min 1.2 sec, a time that on any other day but Saturday he would have readily scorned.   Queen’s, perhaps more knowledgeable of the peculiarities of the field and certainly better equipped as a team than they were at Westerlands last year, won the high jump, triple jump, discus and javelin, and St Andrews, faced with the prospect of another obscure year in athletics were able only to win the mile.”   A bit harsh on St Andrews who had been producing very good athletes all through their history but, not surprisingly given the relative size of the establishment, were short of  numbers.  As of course was Aberdeen who also produced good athletes every year.   It was not an accident that the two biggest universities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, turned out winning teams on a regular basis.    On this occasion, the double winners were Campbell (G 100 and 220y), Brown (G 120yH and 440yH), Corkey (Q W100y and 220y) and F Fernie (G WHJ and WShot).   

On the same day, Strathclyde took on Aberdeen University, St Modans and Glasgow University second team.  Strathclyde won most points (48) from St Modans (32), Aberdeen (14) and Glasgow seconds (6).   

Brian Scobie winning an invitation 880 yards race at Westerlands

The Glasgow University championships were again held in dreadful weather with wind and rain and, maybe related to this, small numbers of competitors.   This was most evident in the triple jump where Norrie Foster was the only competitor and ‘won’ with a single jump.  There were only two competitors in the 880 yards, three miles, 440y hurdles, long jump and steeplechase.   The 120y hurdles was cancelled because there was only one runner.  The Biles Cup went to RD Baillie who won the Three Miles in 14:37.8.   The administrators on the day were again creative with the sprinters allowing them to run with the wind and the 100 was won by WM Campbell in 9.4 seconds.   Foster won all four jumps and the hammer, and was second in shot and discus.   Sutherland won both shot and discus.   In the women’s events, JP Murray won 100 yards, 80m hurdles and long jump and J Semple won discus and javelin.    And at Nethercraigs, Bellahouston beat St Andrews 133 to 68.

On 14/5th May the first major championships of the season took place at Wyncote Sports Ground in Liverpool.   The Scots did well –  two gold medals on the Friday night  and then four gold, three silver and three bronze on the Saturday indicated that university athletics north of the border were in good fettle.   WM Campbell won the 100y on Friday night and the 220 on Saturday, LM Bryce won the hammer, Miss EK Patrick (St A) won the 80m hurdles and the long jump, GL Brown won the 440 yards hurdles on the Friday evening and was second in the 120y hurdles on Saturday in 15.2 seconds, AB Kennedy of Glasgow was second in the 440y and W Ewing of Aberdeen was third in the Mile in 4:10.3.     Back at home there was a four cornered match between Strathclyde, Newcastle, Aberdeen and St Andrews which was won by Newcastle from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Strathclyde.

The Appleton Trophy was always well contested and on 22nd May at Craiglockhart Edinburgh won: by 83 to 51 in the men’s contest and in the women;s contest Glasgow won by 42 to 35.   Norrie Foster was top man for Glasgow ith wins in the 440 yards,long jump and pole vault.   For Edinburgh Fergus Murray won the mile and was first equal in the three miles – an event in which he coulkd easily have been first.    In the women’s contest, Miss A Dixon won Long Jump, shot putt and discus and Miss P Kerr won both 100 and 220 yards.    In the men’s events E Osbourne won both 100 and 220 hurdles  for Edinburgh before B Kennedy won the 440 for Glasgow.   J Steels took the 880 yards for Glasgow and Hugh Stevenson won the 120 yards for Edinburgh.   In the field events AL Sutherland (G) won both shot and discus, Santini (G) won the triple jump and LM Bryce won the Edinburgh title.  

In June 1965  at the Scottish Universities championships, Foster won no fewer than four events, establishing himself as the top universities multi-eventer.   Other winners included Hugh Stevenson (120y hurdles,), M Sinclair (E 880y from Scobie), Fergus Murray (Mile and Three Miles).   


Later in June, at the Scottish Schools Championhips, Glasgow University won the SAAA Senior relay titles over the 4 x 110 yards  (McGeoch, Murdoch, Foster and Campbell)  and 4 x 440 yards (Foster, Scobie, Kennedy, Campbell) distances.  The latter was won in very controversial circumstances when after overcoming an eight or nine yards deficit on Campbell, Ross Billson of Ayr Seaforth fell through the tape at the same time as the University man.   Not all were happy with the judges decision but it stood.

Billson gained some compensation on 26th June in the SAAA Championships proper when he won the 440 yards in 49 seconds after Campbell had withdrawn because of a knee injury.   Campbell had however won the 100 yards and 220 yards in 9.5 and 22.7 seconds.   E Osbourne of Edinburgh University was second in the 100 making it a university 1-2.   GL Brown (G) was third in the sprint hurdles, Foster (G) won the pole vault, in which C Balchin (E) was third,  and was third in the long jump, AL Sutherland (G) was second to D Edmunds (Strathclyde) in the shot putt and L Bryce (E) won the hammer with F Scott (E) third.   Among the Junior winners, JRA Blamire (E) won the Mile, H Stevenson won the 120y hurdles and was third in the high jump and R Morrison*S) was second in the hammer.   An interesting extra was the Scottish Schools 1500m steeplechase held on the same day where D Gillon of George Watson’s won from J Fairgrieve of Currie Secondary in 4:25.7.    

That effectively ended the Universities season although their members continued to compete as individuals – some in the university colours, many for their own ‘home’ club – several of whom gained international honours before term started again in October. 

Summer 1966 started as in previous years with all the April fixtures and trials, and all five were in action on 22nd April.  The annual Glasgow  v  St Andrews  v  Queen’s was held at St Andrews, and Aberdeen  v  Edinburgh had been enlarged to include Strathclyde in Aberdeen.   Edinburgh (90) defeated the others, St Andrews were on 75 and Strathclyde 15.   Aberdeen’s Bernie Nottage won both sprints plus the triple jump and J Dixon won the 440 yards but in the middle distance events, it was Edinburgh students who shone with C Elson winning the Mile and A Blamire the Three Miles.  Edinburgh went on to win the 120y hurdles, 440y hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault and all the throws events thanks to LM Bryce and P Eddy.    The ‘Herald’ described the women’s performances as moderate but nevertheless K Goodfellow of Edinburgh won the 100 yards (12.2), 220 yards (30.3) and long jump (14′ 3″).

In the match at St Andrews, Queen’s won (86) from Glasgow (54) and St Andrews (45).   Queen’s won largely because of the wonderful multi eventer and pole vaulter Mike Bull (who won long jump, shot putt and pole vault) and J Kilpatrick (100 and 220 yards).   Glasgow had three double winners in Dick Hodelet who won both 440 yards and the half mile, RD Baillie who had the difficult double of Mile and Three Miles  and GL Brown who won both hurdles races.   Other Scottish victors were R Souter (G) in the high jump, C Durant (St A) javelin and H Cameron (St A) hammer.   

The following week, DM Edmunds, competing for Strathclyde against St Andrews set a new record for the St Andrews ground in the shot putt with 49′ 3 1/2″.   He also won the discus with 136; 9 1/2″.   G Muir (S) won 100y, 220y, long jump and triple jump setting a ground record for the long jump of 23′ 5 1/4″    The home team won by 67 to 49 in the men’s match and 44 to 23 in the women’s.   There was another new university competing against Glasgow and Aberdeen at Westerlands – Heriot-Watt was the second newcomer to the ranks of Scottish universities.   They finished third (26 points), behind Aberdeen (76) with Glasgow winners (89).   Where WM Campbell was the sprint winner in previous years, this time round it was Bernie Nottage of Aberdeen who took the 100 and 220 yards.   Campbell was meanwhile competing for Grascube Harriers against Pitreavie and Dumbarton in a League fixture.   The other double winner was Dick Hodelet (G) in the 440 and 880 yards events.  Glasgow’s women beat Aberdeen by 63 to 36 with no representation from Heriot-Watt.   

14th May was a packed day of athletics for Scottish universities’ athletes ancient and modern.   Edinburgh had the university’s centenary sports day, Glasgow had their own championships, the two new teams  (Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt) faced off against each other at Redford and St Andrews hosted Aberdeen with the women’s teams including Dunfermline College of Physical Education to make it a triangular contest.   The Athletics Weekly report on the centennial games read:

“This being their centenary meeting, Edinburgh University included seven invitation events in the programme, all of which produced fine performances.   Howard Payne added one inch to his Scottish all-comers record in the hammer with Lawrie Bryce a good second.   Dave Stevenson’s pole vault clearance was the best in Britain to this date.

100y:  E Osborne 19.5;   220y:  N Patrick 23.7; 440/880y: M Sinclair 52.9/1:52.3; Mile:  AF Murray 4:22.4; 120y hurdles/220y hurdles/440y hurdles: H Stevenson 16.3/26.9/62.1; High Jump: K Chubb  5′ 8″; Pole Vault: P Balchin 13m; long jump: D Seale 20.3; triple jump: G Kerr 42′ 7″; Shot/Hammer: L Bryce 40’3″/184′ 11″; Discus/Javelin: P Eddy 118’10″/159′ 4″.

Women: K Goodfellow 199y/220y  12.5/27.9; 440y:  M Redhead 66.4;  Discus/Javelin:  E Shedden  82′ 3 3/4″/100 – 1/2″

Invitation Events:  100y  WM Campbell (Garscube H) 10.3 ; 880y:  C Douglas (Teviotdale) 1:56.9; Mile I McCafferty 4:15; PV: D Stevenson (ESH)  15.0;  Shot Putt: D Edmunds (Strathclyde) 47′ 8 1/2″; Hammer: H Payne 200′ 4″; Scots Hammer:  I McPherson (Pit)  123′ 2″.   

10 Miles Road Race:  AH Brown (MYMCA)  50:04 (in front of A Wight (EU) 50:14, D Macgregor 50:34, Alex Brown 51:00 and G Bryan-Jones (EU-J) 51:07.  

In Glasgow there were four wins for Dick Hodelet (220y, 440y, 880y and Mile), three for Norrie Foster (discus, shot putt and hammer plus second in the javelin) and two for GL Brown in the hurdles races.   Hodelet won the Biles Cup for his 880 yards win in 1:53.5 which took 2.8 seconds of JR Boyd’s time of 1957.   Other winners included J Hickey, a very talented Irishman no studying at Glasgow, in the Three Miles in 14:48.9, Jim Bogan won the Steeplechase in a new record of 9:59.4 – Ray Baillie was second in both of those races, Robin Souter in the high jump and B Quinn in the 100 yards.  Miss P Fernie set a new record in the shot putt of 32′ 1 3/4″and also won high jump, javelin and discus.   

At Redford Barracks, Heriot-Watt beat Strathclyde by 98 1//2 points to 82 1/2.   Adrian Weatherhead had a treble when he won the 880, Mile and javelin and  I Dobson also won three events – both hurdles races along with the pole vault.   The Edinburgh University centennial had several invitation events and two of Strathclyde’s men – D Edmunds and Gordon Muir – were competing at both events since the grounds ere so close.   Edmunds won the  shot and discus and Muir the 100y and long jump.   In the Aberdeen v St Andrews, Aberdeen won 72 – 45 for the men and DCPE won the women’s with 69 points to St Andrews 29 and Aberdeen’s 18.   

Two very good new names among the distance runners now in the frame – sub-four miler Weatherhead for Heriot-Watt and Irish international Hickey for Glasgow.

The British Universities Sports Federation held their championships on 21st May and Lawrie Bryce (E) retained his title with a throw of  179′ 3″ and another Edinburgh competitor, PT Scott, was third.   In the long jump HC Robertson (G) was second  23’8″.    Dick Hodelet had a real go at winning the half-mile by breaking away from Dave Cropper halfway down the back straight but was caught almost on the line to finish second in 1:54.8 – only one fifth of a second separated them.  Bernie Nottage of Aberdeen had two third places – the 100 yards and the 220 yards.   RL Brown injured his instep in an early heat and could only finish third in he final.   Robin Souter (G) was fourthin the high jump having cleared 6 feet.   

The District championships were held on the last Saturday in May as usual and, as usual, there were many University medal winners.   In the West the winning students were Hodelet in the half mile in 1:52.2, HC Robertson in the long jump with Foster second  and the triple jump, D Edmunds in the shot and AL Sutherland in the discus.   In Edinburgh the East District title winners were Nottage in the 100 (9.8) and 220 (22.1), AF Murray (three miles), W Ewing (A) steeplechase, and LM Bryce in the hammer.   

The peak of Scottish Universities  athletics is the Scottish Universities championships and they were held on 4th May at Craiglockhart.   Top man was Aberdeen’s medical student from the Bahamas Bernie Nottage who won the 100 yards in 9.9 and 220 in 22.2.   Other doubles were from HC Robertson (G) in long and triple jumps and DM Edmunds in shot and discus.   There were three best championship performances – by Edmunds in the shot (49’5″), LM Bryce (E) hammer (183′ 6″) and Miss J Goodall (A) in the 880 yards (2:28.0).   The men’s team trophy (the Rosebery Cup) went to Edinburgh (63 points to Aberdeen’s 44), the women’s contest was won by Edinburgh (40) from Aberdeen (29) and the contest between Edinburgh and Glasgow, combined men’s and women’s teams, for the Appleton Trophy which hadbeen included here, was won by Edinburgh,  103 points to 70.    

Aberdeen had six first places – Bernie Nottage in both sprints, John Dixon in the 440, Bill Ewing in the Mile, Doug Fowlie in the javelin and the 4 x 110 yards relay.   Other winners were Sinclair (E) from Weatherhead (HW) in the 880, Murray from DG Bryan-Jones (both Edinburgh) in the three miles, Stevenson (E) from Foster (G) in the 120y hurdles, Foster from Stevenson in the 440y hurdles, Souter (G) high jump and Balchin (E) pole vault.    Women’s winners were K Goodfellow (E) 100 and 220y, A Barron (A) 440y, A Dixon (E) 80m hurdles, P Fernie (G) high jump, R Mawer (St A) long jump, E Taylor (A)  discus, E Sheddon (E) javelin and Glasgow won the relay.  

Gareth Bryan Jones, Westerlands, 1968, BUSF Championships

There had been several changes in student athletics since 1964 that were important in themselves and for what the promised for the future.  It is more than just the arrival of more talented athletes such as Gareth Bryan-Jones and Bernie Nottage at Aberdeen.   The Universities Championships and the Atalanta Club were limited to the four ‘ancient’ universities but in 1964 Glasgow’s Royal College of Science and Technology (the ‘Tech’) became Strathclyde University and in 1965 began to compete against the ‘Big Four’ as an equal.   In 1966 Heriot-Watt University appeared on the scene and with athletes like Adrian Weatherhead and Martin Sinclair had a strong men’s team.   The four had become the six.   And it would not stop there – there would be more and more universities appear on the scene from the South-West to the Highlands and Islands.   Stirling, Paisley, Glasgow Caledonian and many more would enter the stage.   And the Atalanta Club disappeared to become simply a Scottish Universities team.    In 1966 the Appleton Trophy meeting which had been an annual fixture in its own right between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, was contained within the Scottish Universities Championships.   It returned to its former status in 1967 but the pressure on inter-university fixtures with more universities and a limited time span was increasing.   The university major fixtures at the start of 1967 were as follows.

22nd April:  Glasgow  v  St Andrews, Westerlands; Edinburgh v Strathclyde v Dundee Hawkhill

29th April:  Appleton Trophy, Craiglockhart, Edinburgh v Glasgow; St Andrews v Heriot-Watt v Strathclyde.

5th May: Edinburgh v Glasgow v Aberdeen v Leeds v Durham v Carnegie v Sheffield at Durham; Heriot-Watt Championships; Aberdeen University  v  Glasgow v  Jordanhill College.

13th May:  Glasgow University men’s championship; Edinburgh University championships.

20th May: Edinburgh University v Edinburgh Southern Harriers v Octavians

27th May:  District Championships

3rd June:  Scottish Universities Championships, Westerlands

Bernie Nottage

Bernie Nottage was a Bahamian international sprinter and politician who died earlier this year (28 June 2017) at the age of 71.   He was a medical student at Aberdeen University and won Scottish and British Universities titles in their colours.   In three consecutive years, 1966/67/68, he won both 100 yards and 220 yards at the SAAA Championships – this at a time when ‘Ming’ Campbell, Les Piggott and Don Halliday were sprinting well.   Only three men had achieved the feat – Campbell, Willie Jack and Alf Downer.   He ran for Bahamas in the Pan American Games in 1967 (sixth in 200m final) and in the Mexico Olympics (1968) in the 100m, 200m and relay where he was part of the team that set a new national record.   I quote from the obituary in the Scotsland in June: 

Bernie’s medical studies were his priority, although he did find time to enjoy a social life and at one point sang in a band. A smart dresser, it was always known that Bernie was at the track when his expensive suit could be seen hanging up in the changing room at a time when others could not aspire to such tailoring. A well-built, powerful athlete, he was a formidable presence on tracks here and elsewhere. Les Piggot, who competed in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, enjoyed a number of duels with him. He commented: “In the best possible sense, he was a bit of a thorn in the flesh for us Scottish sprinters! He had bags of natural ability and a wonderful rhythm to his running. A smashing guy who was also very humble.” Prior to coming to Aberdeen Bernie had competed for the Bahamas in the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games, in the sprint relay in a team which set a new national record, but it was really only after coming to Scotland that his athletic career began to fulfil its early potential. One of his inspirations was his country’s greatest ever sprinter, Tom Robinson, a Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist with whom he ran in the national relay team at the Mexico Olympics and whose supremacy he sought to challenge. While at Aberdeen Bernie also represented Scotland in four internationals between 1966 and ’69, notching a sprint double in the first against Wales and Midland Counties at Birmingham and contributing to a sprint relay success in 1968 at Grangemouth against England,Wales and Northern Ireland with teammates  Ian Turnbull, “Ming” Campbell and Les Piggot. His early interest in politics, popularity and sporting stature led to Bernie being elected President of Aberdeen University Sports Union, a role he carried out with distinction. “
[Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-bernard-j-nottage-bahamian-international-sprinter-and-politician-1-4508147} ]
 HC Robertson was the star of the Glasgow  v  St Andrews match at Westerlands on 22nd April when he won four events – long jump, triple jump, 120 yards hurdles and 440 yards hurdles.   Glasgow won the men’s match by 104 to 73 and the women’s by 76 to 43.   Other winners included D Walker (G) 100 yards, K Clark (G) 220 yards, 440 yards J Gilligan (G), W McDonald (G) 880 yards, J Bogan (G) Mile, R Heron (St A) three miles, A Jackson (G) high jump, AG Pollock (G) pole vault, G Newsom (St A)) shot putt and javelin, A Fraser (G) discus and S Cameron (St A) hammer.   St Andrews won the 4 x 110 yards relay.   For the women GW Adams won no fewer than three events – 100y, 220y and 440y – A Ainslie (St A) won the 880y, N Barron (G) the 80m hurdles, F Fernie (G)  the high jump and shot putt, L Monteforte (G) long jump, J Paris (G) Javelin, A Dale (St A) discus, and the relay was won by Glasgow.
 A very good start to the season for Glasgow on a Saturday when none of the other Universities were in action.
The Appleton Trophy contest between the combined men’s and women’s teams at Craiglockhart on 29th April resulted in a convincing win for Edinburgh by 109 points to 82.   In 1967 however, Aberdeen was included in a separate three way contest with the resultant score being Edinburgh 76, Aberdeen 66 and Glasgow 43.   These places were neatly reversed when Glasgow (39) was first, Aberdeen (36) second and Edinburgh (33)  third.   The results were:
100y   1.   B Nottage (A) 10.4          100y (women):   1.   W Adam (G)  12.5
220y:  1.  B Nottage (A) 22.5          100y (women)    1.   W Adam (G)   27.8
440y: 1.   I Hathorn (E)  57.2         440y (women)   1.   A Barron (A)   65.6
880y  1.   M Sinclair (E) 1:57.9      880y (Women)  
80m hurdles:                                                                   1.  M Fleming (E)  14.3
120y hurdles:  1.  GL Brown (G) 15.9
440y hurdles: 1.  GL Brown (G)  57.3
high jump:  1.  G Balfour (E) 5′ 10″   high jump (women)  1.   F Fernie (G)  4′ 8″
long jump:  1.  HC Robertson (G) 21′ 6 1/2″   long jump (women)  S McRoberts (E) 15′ 8 1/2″
triple jump:  1.  HC Robertson (G) 43′ 1″
pole vault:  1.  S Seale (E) 12′ 6″
shot putt:   1.  D Clarke (A) 40’7″       shot putt (women):  1.  E Taylor (A) 35′ 6″
discus:  1.  D Clarke (A) 115′ 7″           discus (women):  1.  E Taylor (A)  96′ 10″
javelin: 1.  DG Fowlie (A)  179 4 1/2″    javelin (women): 1.  W Paton (A)     90′ 7″
hammer:  1.  PJ Scott (E)  157′ 7 1/2″
Relay:   1.   Aberdeen                             relay (women)  1.  Glasgow
Results were shown in detail to show the improvement in the Aberdeen scores with 6 first places of 14 events in the men’s match compared with 5 for Edinburgh and  4 for Glasgow they had a higher proportion than at any time in recent years.     Maybe the students national championship would be tighter this year.   
A new name for Scottish university athletics followers appeared on 6th May.   The Rowland Shield was contested by Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Durham, Carnegie and Sheffield at Durham and the teams finished in the above order.   Only five of the individual events were won by students from south of the border – and one of these was MR Lindsay, the Scottish international shot putter, who won two of the five.   The Scots victors were as follows.
B Nottage  100yds/220yds  10.2/22.7 seconds;   GL Brown (G) 120yds hurdles/ 440 yrds hurdles 15.8/55.8;  G Bryan-Jones (E)  steeplechase  9:13.4; high jump  G Balfour (E) 5;11″;  HC Robertson (G) long jump/triple jump  23′ 3 1/4″/44′ 10 1/2″‘;  S Seale  pole vault  12′ 6″; javelin  D Fowlie (A) 186’ 4″; hammer  LM Bryce (S)  186’0″.
At home Aberdeen beat Glasgow and Jordanhill TC 63 to 58 to 56.    And in Edinburgh Doug Gillon won four events at the Heriot-Watt championships – he won the 880 (2:06.1), Mile (5:12.3), Three Miles (16:20 and 440 yards hurdles (61.3).   
GL Brown had been competing at a very high level for several years and on 13th May, 1967, he won the Biles Trophy for the best performance at Glasgow University’s Sports.  The closed championships at the various universities were always a good indicator of how they were liable to perform in the Scottish universities later in the month.   Brown won both hurdles events, the 120y in 15.3 and the 440 in  56.4 and he was unlucky not to win the 100y sprint where he was second.   A feature of this race was that HC Robertson, better known as a jumper, won in 10.4 seconds which, when added to the triple jump, gave him a double.   GL Brown won his events,    Jim Bogan won both Mile and 3000m steeplechase events and on the women’s side of the meeting, CF Fermie won four events (high jump/ discus/javelin/shot putt) and W Adam three (100/220/440).
In Edinburgh first year student Miss M Fleming won four events (100, 220, 440, 80m hurdles) and two men each won three events – Hugh Stevenson took all three hurdles races and SD Seale won pole vault, long jump and discus.   Edinburgh was the only university to hold a 220 yards hurdles race – one of the very few clubs university or not to hold such an event.   Stevenson won that one along with the more usual 120 yards and 440 yards hurdles.   
A new name appeared in the West District championships on 27th May: John Myatt who was studying at Strathclyde and finished third in the mile behind Ian McCafferty and Lachie Stewart.   HC Robertson won both jumps-for-distance, GL Brown won the hurdles events, D Edmunds won shot and discus and LM Bryce, now at Strathclyde University, won the Hammer.   Meanwhile in the East Nottage won the 100 yards in a record equalling 9.8 seconds but dramatically lowered the 220 time from 22.1 to 21.7 seconds.   His team mate at Aberdeen, I Turnbull was third in the 100 yards.  Martin Sinclair (E) won the 880 yards with JA Macfie (E) third, winning time 1:53.8.   Gareth Bryan-Jones won the Three Miles from Ian Young (both EUAC) in 13:58.   W Allan and A Blamire (both EUAC) were second and third behind a very good steeplechase win for W Ewing in 9:06.2.   G Balfour (E) won the high jump, P Gammell (E) was second in the long jump and in third place in that event was S Rogers of Dundee University – the first appearance that we have so far of anyone from the very new Dundee University winning a medal in one of the main championships.   In the pole vault, Balchin and Seale (both EUAC) were second and third to erstwhile team mate DD Stevenson, Fowlie of Aberdeen University won the javelin, Wilkie of Aberdeen was second in the hammer and Don Clark, also Aberdeen, was second in the discus.   
The University championships which had been exclusive to the four ancients, now included Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt and Dundee with others lurking on the sidelines about to come on to he pitch seeking some of the action.   Winners on 3rd June when they were held at Westerlands were as follows.
100y/220y:   B Nottage (A)  10.1/22.8       440y:  G Miller (S) 49.9     880y:  M Sinclair (E) 1:58.6
Mile:  AT Weatherhead (HW)  4:14,7;   Three Miles: I Young (E) 14:16   Steeplechase: GB Jones (E) 9:17.8
120y hurdles:   R Davidson (E)  15.8;  440y hurdles:  H Stevenson (E) 57.2
high jump:  R Souter (G) 5’10”; long jump:  H Robertson (G) 23′ 0 1/4″; triple jump:  H Robertson (G) 
javelin:  S Seale 181′; discus: D Edmunds (S) 139′ 7″; shot:  Edmunds  49′ 8″;  hammer:  Edmunds 143′ 9″
pole vault: S Seale (E) 13;
Women: 100y  W Adam (G)  12.1;  220y: G VD Lippe 27,5   440y:  A Barron (A) 60,8; 880y  Barron 2:28.9
80m hurdles M Fleming (E)  13.4; high jump: S Dennler (E)   5;2″; long jump:  L Monteforte  15′ 10 1/2″
Discus:  E Taylor (A) 107 5 1/2″   shot putt: E Taylor  57.6″javelin: E Shedden (E)  115′ 2″
The contending universities’ championship was won by Edinburgh from Glasgow with the others being Aberdeen, St Andrews.   The quality was excellent.  eg in the mile there were Weatherhead, Dave Logue, John Myatt, in the three miles A Blamire and John Myatt finished second and third behind Ian Young while in the steeplechase Willie Allan and Jim Bogan were behind Gareth Bryan Jones.
As usual the season continued with members of the various university teams continuing to compete and excel, 1967 had been a good year for student athletics – many records being broken by women as well as by men, many new faces appearing that would soon be senior Scottish and British internationalists and at least two Olympians. There were also more new universities – Dundee being the latest to joining what had formerly been a pretty exclusive club along with Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde.   The two teacher training colleges at Jordanhill and the Dunfermline Training College in Edinburgh for women – were also taking the varsity teams athletically.  What would 1968 bring? 
British Union of Students Federations (BUSF) Championships at Westerlands in June 1968
Note the television gantry and power cables above the track for nationwide coverage
Glasgow University was the first to actually publish its fixture list for the new 1968 season.   As it appeared in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of 15th April, it read as follows.
April 17th: Team Trials at Westerlands;    19th/22nd: Irish tour – Queen’s Belfast; Unversity College, Dublin; 24th: Trials, Westerlands;  27th: Edinburgh, Westerlands;  2nd team, Edinburgh
May 1st:  1st team v Heriot-Watt; Strathclyde, Westerlands; 3rd/4th: 1st Team, Durham Trophy, Durham;  4th: 2nd team v Aberdeen, Westerlands; 8th:  1st team v Victoria Park, Bellahouston, at Scotstoun; 2nd Team v Jordanhill, Jordanhill; 11th: Glasgow University championships, Westerlands; 15th:  Women’s Meeting, Westerlands; 18th:  1st team v Aberdeen and Dundee, Aberdeen; 22nd:  1st Team v Edinburgh Southern, Westerlands:   25th: Western District Championships; 29th: 1st team v Jordanhill and Strathclyde, Jordanhill; 31st – 1st June:  Scottish University Championships, St Andrews.
June 12th: 1st team v Strathclyde and Queen’s Belfast, Nethercraigs;  14th/15th: BUSF Championships, Westerlands; 18th:  1st team v Glasgow Schools, Westerlands;  21st/22nd: Scottish championships, Grangemouth; 24th:  1st team  v  Trinity College, Dublin, Westerlands.
 That is the length of the Universities athletics season as defined by the club fixture list.   Note the new teams on the schedule from 1965 – and we now have  actual head-to-heads with Dundee, Jordanhill TC and Trinity College from Dublin appears twice in the season instead of once.   And where is St Andrews in the list?    Of course matches with Jordanhill (at Jordanhill) and Strathclyde University (Nethercraigs) the matches were pretty well home meetings and as well as saving on travelling time and expenses, a full turn out of selected athletes was pretty well guaranteed. 
While Glasgow was on its Irish trip, Edinburgh University was defeating Aberdeen (86 – 85) and Heriot-Watt (91-88) at Saughton as part of the new Scottish Universities League.   Note how close the scores are – one point and three points by the strongest team in student athletics.   The only double winners were from Aberdeen  Bernie Nottage (sprints) and I Grant (both jumps for distance).      
The next week, Glasgow and Edinburgh came head to head yet again in the annual battle for the Appleton Trophy, amnd again Edinburgh came out on top winning the men’s contest 98 – 85 and the women’s 60 – 57.   I O’Muircheartaigh (Morarity) won two events – the 440 in 49.5 seconds, and the 220 in 22.6 seconds.   For ERdinburgh Gareth Bryan-Jones won the three miles in 13:44.6.   Other winners of note were Jack Macfie in the 880 for Glasgow in 1:56, Alistair Blamire (Edinburgh) the mile in 4:18.1, HC Robertson of Glasgow won the long and triple jumps and one of the new faces to win was Bill Gentleman in the hammer for Edinburgh.   Top women were W Adams of Glasgow who won 100, 220 and 440 yards, A Saddler of Edinburgh who took both discus and shot.
The same middle distance men all performed well in the Rowland Cup match at Durham on 4th May with Macfie, winning the half-mile in 1:54.2, Blamire the three miles in 13:58.6 and Bryan-Jones the steeplechase in 8:53.   The result was a win for Edinburgh with Leeds Carnegie second, Glasgow third, and Strathclyde fourth.   Edinburgh’s women were second to Durham, beaten 60 – 57.   Doug Edmunds (S) won the discus and was second in hammer and shot.   
Back at home on 11th May, the Biles Trophy at Glasgow University Sports was won by high jumper Robin Souter who added an inch to the existing record when he cleared 6′ 1″.    O’Muircheartaigh won both sprints.   The last Saturday in May was always the District Championships and on `8th May, the only University athletes to win titles were throwers from Strathclyde University.   DM Edmunds won the shot putt and discus throw and LM Bryce won the hammer.   Other university men to win medals were O’Muircheartaigh second in the 220, R Cassie (G) was second in the 440y hurdles and  R Souter was second in the high jump.    Title winners in the East championships were IW Turnbull (A) ho won both sprints beating Bernie Nottage in the 100, G Bryan-Jones who won both three miles and steeplechase in 14:00.8 and 9:09.2, Balfour (E) won the high jump from team mate R Bruynooghe and Heriot Watt’s D Cunningham, and J Fowlie (A) won the javelin from JA McKenzie (A) and R Burnett (H-W).   Other placed athletes were JMM Dixon (A) second in the 440, JA Macfie (E) second in the 880, I Hathorn third in the 880, D Logue (E) third in the mile, A Blamire (E) second in the three miles, I Young (E) third in the three miles, RA Davidson (E) third in the 120y hurdles, AG Webb (E) third in the 440y hurdles, S Seale (E) second in the pole vault, T Tangen (H-W) second in long jump, JW Keddie (H-W) third in triple jump, P Myklatun (H-W) third in shot, Fowlie (A) second in the discus, T Beare (D) third in the discus, RT Cross (H-W) third in the hammer, and JA McKenzie (A) second in the javelin.   Many, many more students in the medals in the East than in the West.   Harder to win in the West  –  or better styudent athletes in the East?   The championships would sort that one out.
The University championships took place on 1st June at St Andrews and there were seven universities competing.   It was one of the rare occasions when the field events eclipsed the track events in excitement and maybe even in standard of performance.   There is no more dramatic event than the javelin and this time David Birkmyre of Strathclyde set a new championship best performance of 210′ 3 1/2″.  His second best throw of 207′ 8″ indicated that this was no fluke.   The record had previously belonged to Fowlie of Aberdeen who threw 199′ 7″ which would have been a championship best performance in its own right.    Stewart Seale of Edinburgh not only produced a personal best in the pole vault but a championship best of  14′ 3 1/4″.   DM Edmunds of Strathclyde won the shot and discus and  LM Bryce won the hammer.    
On the track, Bernie Nottage won the sprint double and Gareth Bryan-Jones won the Mile in a ground record of 4:13.5 and Alistair Blamire won the three miles in 14:16.8 which equalled the championship record.   The other events were won by I O’Muircheartaigh (G 440y), Jack Macfie (E 880), RA Davidson (E 120y hurdles), A Webb (E 440y hurdles), A Balfour (E) high jump, T Tangen (H-W long jump) and I Grant (A triple jump).   Edinburgh won 78 events, Aberdeen won 3 plus the relay, Strathclyde won 4, Heriot-Watt 1, Glasgow won 0, St Andrews won 0, Dundee won 0.   [Note that the day after these championships, Gareth Bryan-Jones running for ESH set the fastest steeplechase time in GB so far in 1960 when he ran 8:40.6: 4 seconds inside the Olympic qualifying standard.
In the women’s events, W Adams (G ) 10n the 100 y, M Campbell (A) won the 220y, A Barron (A) won the 440y, M Ainlsie (St A) won the 880y, J Dry (E) won the 80m hurdles, E Duke (D) won the 100m hurdles, C Howarth (E) won the high jump, K Rennie (G) won the long jump, E Taylor (A) won the shot, A Dale (St A) won the discus and A Sadler (E) won the javelin.   Edinburgh won 3 events, Aberdeen won 3, Glasgow won 2, St Andrews  2, Dundee won 1, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt won medals but none were gold ones.
The report by Willie Diverty in Athletics Weeekly read:  

“Championship bests in pole vault, hammer and javelin and was equalled in the 3 miles.

Bernie Nottage gained revenge on clubmate Ian Turnbull for a recently inflicted repeat and was the only treble winner of the day with individual first and a share in Aberdeen’s relay victory. Doug Edmunds won shot and discuss, the only field events double.

100: B Nottage 10.0, I Turnbull 10.1; 220: B Nottage 22.2  Turnbull 22.6; 440 I Moriarty (G) 50.6, John Dixon (A) 51.2;  880 Jack McFie (E) 1.58.2, G Grant (HW) 1.58.3; Mile: G Bryan-Jones (E) 4.13.4, J Myatt (Strath) 4.17.3; 3M: A Blamire (E) 13.55.0, J Wight (E) 14.16.8; 120H: R Davidson (E) 15.4; 440H: A Webb (E) 57.0; 4×110: Aberdeen 43.8; HJ: G Balfour (E) 5’10’’; LJ: T Haugen (HW) 22ft quarter inch; T.J: I Grant (A) 44 ft one inch; PV: S Seale (E) 14 ft three quarters inch; SP: D Edmunds (S) 50ft 3 and a half inches, L Bryce (S) 47.10; DT Edmunds 138’ 5’’; HT L Bryce 184’9’’; JT D Birkmyre (S) 210’3’’;

Teams: Edinburgh 102; Aberdeen 93; Strathclyde 62, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Dundee, Glasgow.

Women: 100 W Adam (G) 11.9; 220 M Campbell (A) 27.3; 440 A Barren (S) 63.2; 880 M Ainslie (A) 2.29.6; 80mH J Dry (E) 13.2; 100mH E Duke (D) 17.2; 4×110 Aberdeen 54.3; HJ C Howarth (E) 4’5’’; LJ C Rennie (G) 16’; SP E Taylor (A) 32’11’’; DT A Dale (St A) 112’2’’; JT A Saddler (E) 113’4’’;

Teams: Edinburgh 82, Aberdeen 62, St Andrews 49. G, D “

The Edinburgh team was triumphant again and the university  athletic season was over and although the individuals continued to compete, some in club colours and others in university strips, it had already been a good season with several more talents coming through to replace those who had moved on.
There was however on really big university championships to come in 1968 – the British Universities Sports Federation (BUSF) championships were coming to Glasgow and they took place at Westerlands on June 14th/15th.   The Scottish winners were: I (A) Turnbull (100/220), A Blamire (E – 6 Miles), G Bryan-Jones (E – Steeplechase), S Seale (E – PV),  DM Edmunds (S – SP).   Women: W Adams (G –  100/220).   Ron Marshall in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ covered it  at some length and the following are extracts from his commentary:  “In the hammer, LM Bryce, the holder, suffered one of his rare defeats from a British opponent when B Williams (Salford)threw 198 feet 1 inch.   Bryce, recently speaking out about the frustration of being stuck in the 190 foot range againburied the hammer to that mark.   This was 20 feet further than the next athlete, but second places to him are value-less.   A Edwards (Loughborough) sent the javelin to a championship and ground record of 238 feet 9 1/2 inches , only 11 1/2 feet short of the all-comers record.   D Birkmyre, Scotland’s top student thrower, fell well below his best , which would have given him second place, and his farthest throw landed below the 200 foot mark.   This pushed him into fifth position.   On the track, IW Turnbull (A) and Miss W Adam (G) completed their sprint doubles in imperial fashion.   Turnbull, not the most elegant sprinter in the country, shot his way up the 100 straight for a 9.8 victory, giving notice of a strong challenge this Saturday in the national championships.   Miss Adam can generate more miles an hour than her short frame suggests.   She leaned into the 220 bend like an expert and came into the straight knowing the race was hers.   Her time, 25.5, would have been a ground record but for the wind assistance.   
A Blamire covered 24 hot, dusty laps at creditable speed for an easy win in the six miles. “
The   other Scots to win medals on Saturday were I O’Muircheartaigh (G) third in the 440 yards, G Grant (H-W) second in the 880, R Davidson (E) third in the 120y hurdles, T Tangen (H-W) second in the long jmp, A Forster (G) third in the long jump, DM Edmunds (S), first in shot putt, H Smith (E) second in the shot, S Seale (E) first pole vault;  WOMEN: M Ainslie (St A) third 880, J Dry (E) second 80m hurdles, A Duke (A) third in 80m hurdles,  E Taylor (A) second shot, E Shedden (E) third shot, E Dole (St A) second discus, and C Howarth (E) third equal in high jump.
BUSF  Women’s 220 yards, Westerlands, 1968
1969 started with Heriot-Watt defeating Glasgow and Aberdeen in Glasgow (121 points to 113 and 110 respectively.   Iggy O’Muircheartaigh (G) won the 100y, 220y and the 440y and Douglas Fowlie (A) won the javelin.   In the women’s match Aberdeen beat Glasgow 95 to 44.   The season was underway and Glasgow went on to face Edinburgh in the Appleton Trophy in Edinburgh the following Saturday.   
That Glasgow won the Appleton Trophy was largely due to the women’s section.   Edinburgh’s men won by 101 to 84 but their women lost by 30 points (75 to 45).    Edinburgh was weak in the shorter events – Glasgow winning 100m (McCrorie), 220m and 400m (both O’Muircheartaigh) plus relay.  and Edinburgh taking 800m (Macfie), 1500m and 5000m (both Blamire).   Edinburgh won both hurdles races (Webb and Davidson) and all four throws (Davidson shot, Scott hammer and Burnett javelin.) Glasgow won three of the jumps (Forster long and triple jump and Black high ump)  and Seale won the pole vault for Edinburgh.   Glasgow won 7 events and Edinburgh 10: it was the minor places that won the men’s match for them  In the women’s events, Wendy Adam (G) won 100m, 200m and 400m, H Morton (G) won the 800m and B Twiss (G) won the 100m hurdles.   Glasgow also won the relay to give them a clean sweep of the women’s running events.   In addition for Glasgow K Rennie won the long jump, S Robb the discus and G Ritchie the javelin.   The only event that Edinburgh won was the shot putt by V McLaren.   A very competitive match and one that boded well for the coming season.
The rivalry continued the following week at Durham in the Rowlands Trophy match on 10th May.   The report on the match read:  “Edinbvurgh retained the Rowlands Trophy on Saturday after a hard fight with Glasgow in the inter-university match organised by Durham University.   A Blamire was outstanding for Edinburgh, winniong the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase and R Davidson and A Webb gave them the 110 and 4oom hurdles respectively.   Ignaid O’Muircheartaigh won the 400 metres and anchored the Glasgow team to victory in the 4 x 400 metres relay.   Allan Fraser won the long and triple jumps for Glasgow.   Ian Turnbull (Aberdeen) scored two splendid wins in the 100 and 200 metres.   Durham won the women’s match for the Wimpenny Trophy with 59 points to Glasgow’s 48.   Miss Winnie Adams, Glasgow, was the outstanding woman competitor, winning the 200 and 400 metres.”
And that was it: no times or distances, no results – not even a list of winners.  But it was like the old days with Edinburgh and Glasgow battling it out.
 On to the 17th May and it was universities championships day.   The headline at Glasgow’s sports was “Three Wins for Irish Sprinter”   tells the tale.   Iggy won all three sprints in respectable times – 10.8, 22.3 and 50.2.   Respectable enough to win him the Biles Trophy for the most meritorious performance of the championships.    There was no 800 metres because there were not enough athletes forward for it – not a good sign.   He wasn’t the only ‘treble’ winner – A Halkerston won shot (32’8″), discus (105′ 5 3/4″) and Hammer (137′ 10″),   and    S McCallum won 400m hurdles (57.3), pole vault (10′ 6″) and javelin (137′ 10″) – and, yes, hammer and javelin were given the same distance.   Four titles were won by athletes who were also members of Springburn Harriers – R Beaney won the 1500m and the 5000m, K Lunn won the steeplechase and R Souter won the high jump.   Top women were K Rennie who won the 100, 200 and long jump, G Ritchie who won shot, discus and javelin.
In Edinburgh, the Donovan Cup was shared between hurdler R Davidson and distance runner A Blamire.   Davidson was first in four events (100m, 200m, 110m hurdles and 200m hurdles) and second in two others, while Blamire’s time in the 5000m of 14:23.6 was relatively the best performance of the afternoon.   AG Webb won two races – the 400m and the 400m hurdles and J Davidson won the long jump and the shot putt.   Other winners included J Macfie in the 800m, D Logue in the 1500m, G Balfour won the high jump, HM Burnett won the pole vault and JN Burnett won the javelin.
In the women’s events, M Ferrie won three events (100m, 200m and long jump), M Fleming also won three (400m,100m hurdles and  javelin),  and P Burke won two (high jump and discus) and theshot putt was won by S Burke.    Edinburgh had trophies for best performance and these were won by the two men mentioned and Morag Ferrie.   Edinburgh alone among the universities had additional trophies for ‘best style’ at the meeting and PJ Scott (winner of the hammer) won the Fahmy Cup for best style, and M Ferrie won the Haultain Trophy for best style in the women’s events.    and Heriot-Watt.   
On 24th May at Peffermill, Edinburgh University took on Edinburgh Southern Harriers and lost 101 to 84.   A rare setback but the following weekend was that of the District championships.  In  the west the university men who won their events were S McCallum who won the pole vault with a height of 11′ 6″ , Doug Edmunds in the discus, and Laurie Bryce in the hammer.   In the East, Nottage won the 100m, Turnbull (A) the 220, Martin Sinclair (H-W) the 800m, I Dobson the pole vault, and D Fowlie (A) the javelin.   The result of the intrer-club held in conjunction with the meeting resulted in a win for Edinburgh Southern from Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt.    
The universities championships for 1969 were held at Westerlands and the report from the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read:   “R Bruynooghe (E) and Laurie Bryce (Strathclyde) were the two leading field events competitors In the Scottish Universities championships at Westerlands on Saturday.   Bruynooghe clipped two and a quarter inches off the university high jump record wth a clearance of 6′ 3″.   Bryce who hopes to beat the all-comers record of 200′ 4″ set by Howard Payne at Craiglockhart three years ago, broke the Scottish universities record  of 195′ 5″ which was his own best performance set two years ago, with a throw of 200′ 0 1/2″.   RA Davidson (E) who won the 110 metres hurdles in 15.6 sec, and A Webb the 400m hurdles winner in 55.4 gave Edinburgh further points which enabled them to retain the Rosebery Trophy .   M Sinclair, also Edinburgh, won the best race of the day, the 800m, in 1:55.1 holding off his team-mate Jack Macfie in a tight finish.   Winifred Adams (G), had easy wins in the 100m and 400m for women, and she would also have taken the 200m title but a pulled muscle forced her to pull out six yards from the finish.”
For the record the 200m was won by K Rennie (G) who also had seconds in the 100m and the long jump.  M Ainslie (E) won the 800m and was second in the 400m.   Glasgow won the women’s competition from St Andrews (96 to 42).
Another season of universities athletics had drawn to a close and the closing five years of the decade had seen superb athletes like Berni Nottage, ‘Ming’ Campbell, Fergus Murray, Gareth Bryan-Jones, Alistair Blamire, Bill Ewing, David Stevenson, HC Robertson, Sandy Sutherland, Doug Edmunds, Laurie Bryce, Norman Foster all competing.    If university athletics was not all about competing, it nevertheless posted some excellent results from international athletes on an annual basis.

University Track and Field: 1960 – ’64

Glasgow University AC, mid 60’s

Where Edinburgh was the top team of the 1950’s as far as universities were concerned, they did not have it all their own way in the next decade.  the Glasgow University teams of the 1960’s were among the best in the country with athletes like Calum Laing, Allan Faulds, Doug Gifford, Brian Scobie, Menzies Campbell, Robin Souter and many others and with a good team manager in Willie Diverty (2nd right, middle row), and St Andrews had DJ Whyte, one of the country’s best long jumpers and no mean sprinter.  

The Glasgow and Edinburgh rivals met on 30th April, 1960 at Westerlands for the annual contest for the Sir Edward Appleton Trophy and Edinburgh won 64 -55 in the men’s contest and 44 – 26 in the women’s.   The report on the event read as follows.   “A Millar (Glasgow) in the 100 and 220 yards, HM Mabon (Edinburgh) in the shot putt and discus, and J Addo (Glasgow) in the long jump and hop, step and jump, gained doubles in the men’s event.   The most exciting race of the day was the medley relay which was just won by Glasgow.   S Horn failed to hold AG Mowat over the half-mile relay, but Miller put in a splendid furlong effort and passed on to M Campbell with a slight lead.   R McCrindle held on grimly, in spite of a fine effort by RL Hay to catch up over the final quarter mile.   O Drummond (Edinburgh was the outstanding woman athlete with wins in the 100 yards, 220 yards and the long jump.”

The results were a mix of old and new faces – look at these and you will be able to spot the up-and-comers (M Campbell – Big Ming – has already been noted!)   Men’s results:

100 yards:   A Miller (G) 10.6 sec;   220 yards:  A Miller 23.1;   440 yards:  R McCrindle (G)  52 sec;   880 yards:  AG Mowat (E) 2:0.7;   Mile:  J Bogan (G) 4:27.8;   Three Miles:  A Jackson (E)  15:10.4;  Medley Relay:  Glasgow (Horn, Miller, Campbell, McCrindle) 3:40.4   120 y hurdles:  P Crawley (G) 16.1 sec;  440 y hurdles: RL Hay (E)  57 sec;  High jump:   GOA Ladido (G)  5′ 9″;  Long Jump:  J Addo (G) 21′ 7″;  Hop Step and Jump:  J Addo 43’11;  Pole Vault:   D Stevenson (E) 11′ 7″;   Shot Putt:  H Mabon (E) 45′ 9″;   Discus:  H Mabon 134′ 6″;   Hammer:  N McDonald (E) 1474′ 7″;   Javelin:  CR Keith (G) 173′ 1″     Glasgow won 10 events to Edinburgh’s 7

  Women’s Match:  100: O Drummond (E) 12.2: 220: O Drummond 25 sec;  440: A Glen (G) 63.5;   4 x 110 yards relay:  Edinburgh 53.1;   High jump:  A Langlands (G) 4′ 6″;  Long jump:   Drummond 16′ 3″; 80m hurdles:B Davies (E) 13.4;  Discus:  B Davies, 90′ 9″;  Javelin:   B Affleck (E) 74′ 1″;  Shot Putt:  B Affleck, 27′ 11″    Edinburgh won 8 events to Glasgow’s 2.

Although Edinburgh won. the men’s match was much closer and with sprinters such as Miller and Campbell for Glasgow, and field events men such as David Stevenson and Hunter Mabon coming in for Edinburgh there was promise of much good competition to come in 1960.   In the Aberdeen v St Andrews match at St Andrews the home team won by 65 to 49 in the men’s match and their women won every event in their competition.   I McPherson of Aberdeen won three of the throws events – shot discus and hammer – and DJ Whyte of St Andrews won both jumping events.   

The following weekend saw the annual St Andrews  v  Glasgow  v  Queen’s, Belfast match held at St Andrews where the home team won.   Points were St Andrews 74, Glasgow 63 and Queen’s 43.   DJ Whyte won all three jumps and had a third in the 100 yards while WM Campbell of Glasgow ran 50.3 for the quarter-mile which was eight-tenths of a second quicker than JV Paterson’s record of four years earlier.   Elkins (Queen’s) pole vaulted 11′ 9″ which added 1″ to the meeting record set by RF Edington, Glasgow 12 years earlier.  In Glasgow, Edinburgh University defeated Shettleston at Barrachnie by 78 to 64.  

Saturday 14th May was packed with action – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities all held their club championships and St Andrews hosted a triangular match with Edinburgh Southern and Shettleston.   Points won:  St Andrews  95 points, Southern 62 and Shettleston 27.   There was a women’s competition too and the result there was a win for Jordanhill TC39, to Southern’s 36 and St Andrews 33.   DJ Whyte again won high and long jumps and the 100 yards.   In Edinburgh there were many notable results – David Stevenson ‘a freshman from Dumfries’ attempted a ground record for the pole vault but had to be content with equalling the existing record, RL Hay won 220y and 440y, AG Mowat , the cross-country captain won the half mile in 1:57.9, Adrian Jackson, the university’s long distance runner’ was defeated in the Mile by RA Clark from Paisley but did retain his Three Miles title.   Weir won the 220 and 440 yards hurdles, HM Mabon won the shot putt (47′ 4 1/2″) and discus (140 11 1/2″), the shot with a university record by 1′ 7″.

In Glasgow a record was set in the javelin when CR Keith threw 169′ 4 1/2″ but there were several other good performances: Alex Miller won both sprints from WM Campbell, who won the 440 yards from McCrindle, Stan Horn won the half mile, Jim Bogan the Mile and Three Miles.   Bobby Mills won both hurdles races, the 440 yards hurdle in 57 sec which was only four tenths outside Gracie’s meeting record.   Addo won the long jump and had second places in both high jump and hop, step and jump.   

On 21st May the Universities Athletics Union championships were held at Nottingham and there were several Scots involved.   In the 440 yards hurdles, RL Hay (E) and RR Mills (G) were second and third in the 440 yards hurdles which was won in 53.1 seconds.   D Stevenson (e) was third in the pole vault with 12 feet.   In the women’s contest the small contingent from Edinburgh was third in the equivalent contest at Leicester.   O Drummond was second in both sprints, B Davis was second in the 880 yards and J Hogarth was third in the 440 yards.   Back at home, Glasgow and Aberdeen, both under strength tied on 60 points each and Edinburgh beat Jordanhill with 68 points to JTC’s 50.

The following week was the traditional date for the District championships and many university athletes were involved in these.   A Miller (G) was third in the West District 100y and second in the 220.   Ming Campbell won the 440, RR Mills was second in the 120y hurdles but won the 440y hurdles, John Addo won the long jump, A Robertson was third in the discus and CF Riach was second in the javelin and first in the shot putt.   On the East coast, DJ Whyte won the javelin and discus and was second in the 100 yards.   I Docherty was third in the Three Miles   McLeod and Weir were first and third in the 120y hurdles and RL Hay won the 440 y hurdles.   In the pole vault DD Stevenson was in control.  HM Mabon again won the discus and shot.   

Lots of interesting results there but when it came to the Scottish Universities championships on 4th June, the top team was Glasgow with  65 points to Edinburgh’s 55; it was the first time in ten years that Edinburgh had failed to come out on top.   David Stevenson cleared 12′ 1″ for a meeting record and Hunter Mabon won the shot putt from I McPherson.   There was an upset when John Addo and J Swai (both Glasgow) beat him into third place with Addo winning not only the long jump but also the high jump.   RL Hay won the 440 yards and 440y hurdles –  the latter only by inches from RR Mills (G).   Another upset came when John Glennie (A) won the three miles from Jim Bogan (G).   The other middle distance races went to Edinburgh with AG Mowat winning the 880y in 1:56.5, RG Clark winning the Mile from  AS Jackson in 4:22.   In the women’s events, O Drummond (E) won both sprints and the long jump and Ann Glen won the 440 yards.   

 The 120 yards hurdles had been won by RD McLeod of Aberdeen University who also won the SAAA championships in 15.2 seconds which would have been a new native record but for the fact that there was a following wind above the legal limit.   Nevertheless it was a notable double.  In the longer hurdles race, RL Hay won from RR Mills in 55 seconds.  David Stevenson set a new junior championship record for the pole vault of 12′ 0″ when finishing second in the senior event.   RG Clark, Edinburgh, was second to Morrison of Larkhall in the 880 yards after having run the fastest qualifying time. 

At the start of July Hunter Watson, competing for Heriot’s AC, won the SAAA Decathlon title from RL Hay, Edinburgh University, with a total of 5103 points.   Within the competition, individual events were won by RR Mills, Glasgow University, in the 1500m of 4:27 and DD Stevenson, Edinburgh University, cleared 11′ 3 /4″ in the pole vault.   Stevenson tackled the AAA Junior championships at the end of July at Hurlingham in London and won in a new championship record of 12′ 2″.    University track rankings are below – event/name/university/time/rank.

100 yards:   A Miller (G)  10.1   10=

220 yards:   A Miller (G)  22.5    9=

440 yards:   R Hay (E)      49.7    7

880 yards:   R Clark (E)  1:55.2   8

Mile:              –

Three Miles:   –

120y hurdles:  R McLeod (A)  15.2    2;   F Crawley (G)   15.6  3;   K Gilham (St A)  15.8  6;  D Wright (E)  15.9  8

440y hurdles:  R Hay (E)  55.1 sec  1=;  RR Mills *G)  55.1  1=;  K Gilham (St A)  57.5  6;  M Weir (E)  57.6  8;  

                           E Davidson (St A)  58.5  9;   E Smith (A)  58.5  9

DJ Whyte, winning the AAA’s Junior title with 23 feet 4 inches

The 1961 season began for the Universities on 29th April when Glasgow and Edinburgh fought out the Sir Edward Appleton Trophy at Craiglockhart.   Glasgow won by 99 points to 90 in a match containing 27 events, both and women’s.   The women won their contest by six points and Glasgow won the men’s event only after victory in the final, event, the relay. The Press agreed that the performance of the meeting was by Callum Laing in the Three Miles where he won in 14:44.4 which was 14.8 sec faster than the winner of the Scottish Universities title in 1960.   RL Hay (440y and 440y hurdles), J Addo (longjump and hop, step and jump) and Miss M Thomson (E) (100y and 220 y) all won doubles.   Among the other winners were D Stevenson (E) and J Bogan (Mile).  In Aberdeen, St Andrews defeated Aberdeen University by 11 points (66 to 55) with DJ Whyte being the stand out performer with victories in all three jumps on the programme.

On 5th May, 1961, there was the annual triangular fixture between Glasgow, St Andrews and Queen’s, Belfast which was held at Westerlands.   After a closely fought men’s contest St Andrews came out on top with 74 1/2 points to Glasgow’s 71.   In the women’s event Thelma Hopkins again had a good day when she won five of the nine events on the programme.   Her best performance, relatively speaking, was victory in the high jump with 5′ 3″ which was a ground record of six years previously.   In the men’s contest, DJ Whyte of St Andrews had a triple succes winning the long jump, hop, step and jump and the high jump.   WM Campbell won two events – 220 yards and 440 yards, and G Den of Glasgow won shot and discus.   Callum Laing of Glasgow – a name that would become well known among the distance running fraternity – won the Three Miles in 15:01.5.   Hopkins won 80m hurdles, long jump, high jump, discus and shot putt for Queen’s with J Atkinson, also of Queen’s, winning the 100 yards and 220 yards, A Glen of Glasgow won the 440 yards but Queen’s won the 4 x 110 yards relay giving them eight wins from nine events.

Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities had their own inter-club at Craiglockhart where Edinburgh won the men’s match by 39 points and the women’s by 18.   More new faces appeared in this fixture – MacFarquhar for Aberdeen and Craven for Edinburgh.   RL Hay won the 220 and the 440 yards hurdles for Edinburgh.   On the track, W Russell won the 100y for Aberdeen before finishing second to TG Bower in the 440y.   Roddy MacFarquhar won the half-mile for Aberdeen, Clark the Mile for Edinburgh, then Martin Craven (E) and D Dingwall (E) dead heated for the Three Miles.   DD Stevenson (E) won both the pole vault and hop, step and jump  and J Nicholson won both shot and discus for Edinburgh.   Among the women O Drummond again took the honours with a sprint double plus the relay victory.   

13th May was the day for club championships.   Menzies Campbell won the Biles Cup when he won the 220 yards in a personal best and university record of 21.7 seconds which was 0.6 faster than the record set by the watching JAM Robertson 19 years earlier.   A Miller, the title holder who had earl;ier won the 100 yards, eased off in the finishing straight to avoid exacerbating a thigh injury.   Campbell went on to win the 440y in 52 seconds.   Callum Laing took 10.2 sec from D Johnstone’s record in the Three Miles when he ran 14:551.2.   Other winners included J Bogan in the Mile, CD Young was unfortunate to be second to two different runners in the hurdles – Crawley in the 120y and Wilson in the 440.   In the women’s events, A Paxton won three events (110y, 220y and long jump), N Fraser won the javelin in a new record of 95′ 2 1/2″and A Glen again won the 440 yards.   In the Edinburgh championships, the Donovan Cup for the utstanding performance went to N McDonald who had a club and sports day record in the hammer throw with his best of 168′ 5 1/2″ which was over 9′ better than the club record.   RL Hay won three titles – 220y, 220y hurdles and 440y hurdles, AG Mowat won the 440y and 880y, the latter in a sports day record of 1:55.5, David Stevenson won the hop, step and jump as well as the pole vault and H Mabon won both discus and shot.   Martin Craven who was second to RG Clark in the Mile, won the Three Miles in 15:28.7.     

St Andrews took on Shettleston and Edinburgh Southern Harriers at Barrachnie where DJ Whyte won all three jumping events.   

DD Stevenson, Edinburgh

In the Universities Athletic Union championship on 27th May at Motspur Park in Surrey, DJ Whyte retained his British universities championship when he won the long jump with 23′ 10 1/2″.   DD Stevenson was second in the pole vault with 12; 6″ anbd N McDonald was third in the hammer with a best of 156′ 5 1/2″.    In the West District Championships Addo won the long jump and the hop, step and jump, Menzies Campbell won the 220y, the only race he contested, and in the East Districts B Jaiyeela of St Andrews won the 100 yards, B Linley, also St Andrews, won the 440y, and there were several others who performed well, eg HM Mabon, who were competing for clubs other than the university.

The universities championship was held at Aberdeen on 3rd June, and the report from the Glasgow Herald is reproduced here. 

“Best championship performances were broken in five events on Saturday during the Scottish Universities athletic championships at Aberdeen.   Glasgow and Edinburgh tied in the team event for the Rosebery Cup, each team scoring 55 points.   St Andrews (50) and Aberdeen (15) were third and fourth.   WM Campbell (Glasgow) beat the holder, RL Hay (Edinburgh) in a record quarter-mile time of 49.1 seconds – his personal best time.   He also won the furlong race from a team mate, AM Miller, who lost his sprint title because of a bad start.   Rod MacFarquhar (Aberdeen) beat the mile champion R Clark (Edinburgh) by five yards in 4:15.5, a record.   Clark equalled the previous best of 4:16.2.   C Laing (Glasgow) won the three miles, making the pace all the way and winning easily in a new championship best time of  14:37.8.   

The other leading performers were DD Stevenson (Edinburgh) with a pole vault record of 12 feet 6 inches, and DJ Whyte (St Andrews) who set a high jump meeting record of 6 feet 0 3/4 inches.   Whytre also won the long jump and hop, step and jump events.   St Andrews won the women’s contest with 34 points, Glasgow had 28, Edinburgh 27 and Aberdeen 18.”   

There were other commendable performances – with athletes like Campbell (100 yards), John Addo (both jumps for distance) and Craven (Three Miles) filling second places, some indication of the quality of student athletics at the time is seen.   Hunter Mabon won shot and discus and CR Keith won the javelin.   In the women’s match, Ann Glen (G) again won the 440 yards, this time in 62.6, K Fossey (E) won both sprints and C Walters (St Andrews) won 80m hurdles and long jump.    


In the next major championships, the SAAA no less, Campbell again won from Hay in 49.0 seconds.   The rivalry between the two students from different sides of the country was producing good times.   Hay went on to win the 440y hurdles from FW Dick (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) in 54.9 seconds. and Campbell was third in the 100 yards.  There were other students competing and winning medals – FK Crawley of Glasgow was second in the 120y hurdles, N McDonald was second in the hammer throw and DD Stevenson was third in the pole vault.  There were some good athletes also competing in the Junior championships held on the same day: AJ Patrick (E) second in the 220y, WE Ewing (A) third in the Mile and AGS Tulloch (E) won the pole vault.   The indefatigable Hay took part in the SAAA Decathlon the following week and finished third with his best events being 400m in 51.1 seconds and 1500m in 4:36.1.   

There was a match against Atalanta the following week at Pitreavie.   The Atalanta Club was a combined team representing the four ancient universities, and for more information on the club and its competitions go to:   http://www.scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot/the-atalanta-club/


1962’s universities athletics season started with the contest for the Appleton Trophy contest between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities which the hosts (Glasgow) won by 100 to 89.   Glasgow won the men’s match (68 – 51) and Edinburgh the women’s (38 – 32).   David Stevenson (E) set a ground record in the pole vault of 12′ 8″ and John Addo (G) won the other three jumping events.   Menzies Campbell (G) won both the 220 yards (21.9) and the 440 yards (49.5).    Other winners included AM Miller in the 100 yards for Glasgow but Edinburgh produced more top class endurance runners about whom we would hear more in the years to come – Chris Elson won the Mile in 4:21 and Fergus Murray won the Three Miles in 14:35.2.   FK Crawley (G) won the 120 yards hurdles and RL Hay (E) won the 440 yards hurdles.   In the throws AL Sutherland (G), another name to watch, won the shot puttwon both shot and discus.   This list of names indicated the sheer quality of University athletics at this time – Campbell in the sprints would go on to do the treble (100,220 and 440) in the SAAA, run for and captain Great Britain, and when he ran in the Olympics in Tokyo Fergus Murray was also in the team.   RL Hay was an outstanding hurdler, international athlete and Games competitor, David Stevenson top class international competitor for Scotland and Britain and another Olympian with Sandy Sutherland and John Addo  top talents in their respective events.   

In St Andrews, the home team defeated Aberdeen’s men and women in their inter-club fixture.   Top man had to be Aberdeen’s W Russell who won 100 yards (10.6), 220 yards (23.5) and 440 yards (51.6) as well as runninbg in the relay.   His team mate Alan Milne also had a double winning shot and discus and for St Andrews DJ Whyte won long and high jumps, and K Gilham won both hurdles events.   The quality here was also very high with all those already mentioned being of a very high calibre plus P Judge who won the Mile and Mel Edwards who won the Three Miles for Aberdeen in 15:16.  

May 12th was the date for the Universities championships – Glasgow at Westerlands, Edinburgh at Goldenacre and St Andrews had their annual triangular fixture with Shettleston Harriers and Edinburgh Southern at Fernieside.   In Glasgow, five men’s records were broken and two equalled, while on the women’s side one was beaten and two equalled.   The star athlete had to be Menzies Campbell who won the 100 yards in 10.0, the 440 yards in 49.2 (each equalling the best championship performance) and finished the day with a win in the 220 yards in 21.5 which eqqualled the Scottish native record.   Callum Laing improved his championship time for the mile by 8.8 seconds when he won in 4:18.1; he later won the three miles, taking 9.2 seconds off his championship best, with 14:42.3.   FK Crawley won the 120 yards hurdles in a new championship best time of 15.4 seconds, and AL Sutherland won the shot putt, also in a best distance of 45′ 6 1/2″ adding 1 1/2 inches to a 22 year old mark.   Ann Glen was the only woman who broke a championship record when she ran 63.8 seconds and J Murray equalled the champiponship best for the 220 yards and for the 80m hurdles.     CD Young won the 440 yards hurdles in 59.4 seconds.   Laing had defeated Ray Baillie to win the Mile and Allan Faulds and Cameron Shepherd to win the Three Miles, and in the steeplechase Nick Rodgers won from Dick Hartley and Jim Bogan: all of these results indicating a qualiity in depth.   In the field events, Addo had two firsts and a second in the high jump, while Sutherland won shot and discus and also finished second in the hammer.   

Across the country in Edinburgh, the top man, and Donovan Cup winner, was David Stevenson for his pole vault of 12′ 11 1/2″ which beat his previous sports record by 10″.   AJ Patrick equalled the record when he won the 100 yards and also won the 220 yards.   P Brown won the women’s  220 yards and 440 yards.   She equalled the record (26.8) in the  former and set a new record of 60.4 seconds in the latter.   Among the performers not mentioned above, RL Hay won the 440 yards and the 220 yards hurdles, F Dick won the half-mile, Fergus Murray won the Mile in 4:21.4,  Martin Craven won the three miles in 15:17.2, and Lawrie Bryce won the shot and the hammer.   

In the St Andrews triangular match, the university lost the match with Edinburgh Southern and won the match with Shettleston Harriers.   

One week later and Glasgow beat Aberdeen in Aberdeen by 72 to 47.   Menzies Campbell won both 220 and 440 yards events, after AM Miller won the 100 yards.   In the middle distance events, Rod MacFarquhar (A) won the half Mile,  Laing (G) won the Mile and A Faulds (G) won the three miles.    CD Young (G) won both hurdles races and Glasgow won the relay.   All but one of the track events went to Glasgow.  In the field events, Sutherland of Glasgow won the shot pputt, but all the other throws went to Aberdeen – A Milne discus, A Hutchison javelin and D McMillan hammer.   In the jumps, Glasgow won three – G Ladipo the high jump, W Thomson long jump and IH Bilsland pole vault – with J Grant Aberdeen’s sole winner when he took the triple jump.   Meanwhile St Andrews won their contest with Bellahouston at St Andrews.   They only won one track event – the Mile by P Judge – but in the field there were wins in long jump, triple jump and pole vault plus javelin and hammer.   

In the District championships on 26th May, there were both highs and lows for the unversities contingent.   In the West Campbell was second in both short sprints to MG Hildrey and had not entered the 440 yards.   In the Mile R Baillie was second to JP McLatchie but one of the highlights was Callum Laing’s victory in the Three Miles in 14:01.5 from Mike Ryan of St Modan’s.   Laing also won the Six Miles for a remarkable double in 30:27.1.   T Moncur of Glasgow, was third in the 440y hurdles, one place behind ex-university man RR  Mills.    JJ Addo won the long jump, and was second in what was now officially called the triple jump.   AL Sutherland won the shot and discus events with P Davidson third in the former.   CR Keith was third in the javelin behimnd Riach of Jordanhill and Hill of Victoria Park.    On the East coast, Edinburgh University defeated the holders Edinburgh Southern for the team title, led by RL Hay who won both 44 yards and 440y hurdles.   FW Dick won the 880 yards with B Stacey third, and CJ Elson won the Mile from WH Watson, both of Edinburgh University.   AF Murray was third in the three miles behind Steve Taylor and Alastair Wood of Aberdeen.   DD Stevenson was second in the pole vault, J Balfour third in the high jump, D McKechnie (E) won the long jump and triple jump to give Edinburgh four out of four for the jumps and Hobson of Edinburgh won the javelin.   All in all an excellent day for the universities.

Fergus Murray

The last big championship of the year was the SAAA Championships on 23rd June.   Campbell was second in the 220y and first in the 440y.   Stevenson in the pole vault cleared 14′ 0 1/2″ .    Other winners from the universities included Sandy Sutherland (G) in the shot putt, DJ Whyte (St A) in the long jump and RL Hay (E) in the 440y hurdles.   Placed athletes were LM Bryce (E) second in the hammer, Laing third in the three miles and CR Keith third in the javelin.   

Then on 7th July Menzies Campbell did what many had been forecasting and set a new Scottish 100 yards record of 9.8 second in an invitation event in Edinburgh.   The following week at the White City in London David Stevenson injured himelf in the pole vault when clearing 13′ 6″.   That placed him fourth but he was out of the competition.   There was an unusual result in the Gourock Highland Games where several Glasgow University men were taking part – TD Gifford was second to Ian Kerr in the 14 miles road race: it was unusual for students from any of the four universities to take part in races on the road at any time.   The furthest any of them races in summer was the Six Miles track race, and that only infrequently.   

The decade was by now well under way and the sprinters and field events athletes were all doing very well.   The field events athletes rankings were interesting.

High Jump:   David Whyte, St Andrews, 1.83m  9;   Olanyi Lapido (Nigeria)  Glasgow 1.83  

Pole Vault:   David Stevenson, Edinburgh, 4.28m  1;   Ian Cuthbert,  St Andrews,  3.66  6;  Mchael Hill, St Andrews 3.50  8

Long Jump:   David Whyte, St Andrews, 7.05  1;   John Addo, (Ghana) Glasgow, 7.02;  Ian Grant, Edinburgh 6.83  4;  David Stevenson, Edinburgh 6.65  9

Triple Jump:  John Addo (G)  14.54;   David Whyte (St A) 13.99 3;  David Stevenson (E) 13.73  5;  Ian Grant  (E) 13.61

Shot Putt:  Sandy Sutherland, Glasgow  14.58  3;  Lawrie Bryce, Edinburgh, 14.04  4;  John Nicholson, Edinburgh, 13.66  6; George Hobson, Edinburgh, 13.30   8;   James Tynan, Glasgow, 13.26  9

Discus:  Ian McPherson, Aberdeen, 43.69  4;  Sandy Sutherland, (G) 41.17 7;  Robert Robertson, Glasgow, 38.25, 10

Hammer: Niall McDonald, Edinburgh, 50.41  4;   

Javelin: Colin Keith, Glasgow, 56.41  3; George Hobson, Edinburgh, 53.24   6;  James Tynan, Glasgow 51.89 9; A Derek Fraser, Glasgow, 51.59  10

There are a good number of international athletes there including at least two Olympians and even more GB internationalists.   



Allan Faulds (G) leading Donald Macgregor (St A), Martin Craven and Fergus Murray (both E) in Scottish University Three Miles Championships, 1963 at Westerlands

From the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of April 22nd, 1963:     “Edinburgh won the Appleton Trophy when they beat Glasgow in the first inter-university  athletic contest for the seasonwith the combined aggregate of 102 points to 85 over the 27 event series for men and women at Craiglockhart on Saturday.   The men’s match was won by Glasgow by 63 points to 54,    Edinburgh won the women’s series by 48 to 22.   Performances suffered because of strong winds and a soft track, which accounted for slow times from the quarter-mile upwards.   There were four triple winners – WM Campbell (Glasgow) in the 100, 220 and 440 yards, DD Stevenson  (Edinburgh) in the longand triple jumps and pole vault, Miss P Brown (Edinburgh) and Miss A Dixon (Edinburgh). ‘

The point about slow times is well made – Campbell running outside 54 seconds for the 440 yards is a good indicator of that.   Glasgow had first and second in every event up to the 440, in the half mile Glasgow won with JC Wilson from B Stacey of Edinburgh and Barclay Kennedy (G) third; in the Mile Ray Baillie won from Jim Bogan – both Glasgow; in the Three Miles Martin Craven of Edinburgh won from Callum Laing and Allan Faulds, both Glasgow.  In the hurdles, Glasgow won the 120 yards with JF Crawley and JE Davidson of Edinburgh won the 440 yards hurdles from Carter of Edinburgh.   The only jump not won by Stevenson was the high jump which went to G Balfour of Edinburgh, and in the throws, L Bryce, Edinburgh,  won the Shot Putt and the hammer, Keith of Glasgow won the javelin and Edmunds of Glasgow won the discus.     

In the women’s events, Brown won 100, 220 and 440 yards, Dixon 80m hurdles, shot putt and javelin.   F Kidd of Glasgow won the high jump, E Bruce of Edinburgh won the long jump.    

On 4th May, Glasgow defeated St Andrews and Queen’s Belfast at St Andrews by a wide margin – Glasgow 106 points, St Andrews 43 and Queen’s 39/   Edinburgh had anpother good day when they beat Aberdeen by 75 to 43.   Aberdeen’s top men were McDonald in the sprints and McFarquhar in the middle distance events while Stevenson was the best for the Edinburgh team.   A week later, 11th May, Glasgow and Edinburgh both held their club championships.  In Glasgow the Biles Cup was awarded to Doug Edmunds@ a former pupil at Str Joseph’s School in Dumfries he set a new record in the shot putt when he defeated holder Sandy Sutherland with 46′ 3″, and he also won the Hammer.   In Edinburgh the Donovan Cup went to Fergus Murray for setting a new record in the Three Miles of 14:26.8.The winners in both events were

Event,                Glasgow ,        Perf,           Blank,       Edinburgh ,              Perf

100y,               A Gibbons,        10.2 sec,        – ,           AJ Patrick,                10.5

220y,               WM Campbell, 22.7,             – ,            AJ Patrick,                23.1

440y,              WM Campbell, 50.6,            – ,             A McLean,                 53.6

880y,              JC Wilson,        1:59.5,         – ,             R Sinclair,                  1:58.9

Mile,               R Baillie,          4:28.5,         – ,              B Stacey,                   4:32.3

Three Miles, C Laing,            15:06,         – ,               AF Murray,              14:26.8

120yH,          FK Crawley,     17 sec,         – ,               R McDonald,           17.2

440yH,        TF Moncur,       60.6 sec,    – ,               E Davidson,             54.9

S/chase,      J Bogan,            10:26.6,      –     ,           no event, ,                 –

High jump,  J Addo,             5′ 10″,        – ,                G Balfour,                 5′ 7″

Long Jump, J Addo,            22′ 1 1/4″,  – ,               R Hallett,                  21′ 2 1/2″

Triple Jump, J Addo,         45′ 1 1/2″,  – ,                DD Stevenson,        40′ 10 1/2″

Pole vault, I Bilsland,           – ,             – ,                 DD Stevenson,        12′ 6″

Shot Putt, D Edmunds,      46′ 3″,       – ,                J Nicholson,             45′ 8 1/2″

Discus, S Sutherland,          – ,             – ,                 J Boulton,                 114′

Hammer, D Edmunds,     113′ 6 1/2″,  – ,              LM Bryce,                 153′ 10″

Javelin, CR Keith,               – ,               – ,               ?Leefe,                       164′ 8″

Sandy Sutherland, Goldenacre, 1961

  Things were hotting up with the expected athletes not always winning, even at their own Sports Meetings and the Universities Athletic Union Championships were held on 18th May at Motspur Park in Surrey.   Miss AD Dixon of Edinburgh University won two titles – the javelin (94′ 4 1/2″) and the shot putt (35′ 10 1/2″) and was third in the discus (89′ 10 1/2″).   She was the only Scot to win any event at the championships although four men took second place.   Two Glasgow men J Wilson and T Steel were second and third in the half mile behind JP Boulter.   The other Scottish runners up were LM Bryce in the hammer with 157′ 4 1/2″, AL Sutherland in the shot putt with 47′ 5 1/2″ and DD Stevenson with a pole vault of 13′.    R Hallett (E) was third in the long jump with 22′ 9 1/2″.   Back at home that day, St Andrews was in a triangular match with Bellahouston and Victoriua Park at Corkerhill in Glasgow.   The most noteworthy performance by a St Andrews man was by Donald Macgregor who won the six miles in 32:06.6,  and  Glasgow University defeated Aberdeen at Westerlands.

In the West District championships at Dam Park, Ayr, there were two Glasgow University men with double victories: Campbell won won the 100 yards (10.1) and 220 in 21.6, and Sutherland won both shot (47′ 5″) and Discus (134′ 7″) from fellow Glasgow student D Edmunds whom he beat by a full 19 feet in the discus.   There were sevral placed men from the University too, Gibbons was third in the 100, Miller second in the 220, Steel third in the 880 yards, Wilson second in the Mile, Moncur was second to RR Mills of Dumbarton in the 440y hurdles,and McInroy was second in the long and triple jumps.   At Meadowbank, the East championships were being held with one track and one field event record being set by University athletes.   AF Murray won the Three Miles in 14:07.4 from Martin Craven and DD Stevenson won the pole vault with 13′ 1″.    Other University medallists were Patrick (E) second in 100, McFarquhar (A) won the 880 from Sinclair (E), Balfour (E) was second in the high jump, Hallett (E) won the long jump, LM Bryce (E) won the hammer and was second in the long jump, and V Mitchell (A) won the javelin.   

The Scottish Universities championships were held in Glasgow on 1st June, 1963 and Glasgow won the points competition over Edinburgh after a dramatic surge over the last three events.  Scores were 76 for Glasgow, 70 for Edinburgh, Aberdeen 27 and St Andrews 11.   Edinburgh did win the women’s contest however with 48 points from Aberdeen 22, St Andrews 19 and Glasgow 18.   The report read:  “WM Campbell (G) increased his collection of Scottish Universities Athletics titles when he won the 100 yards, in addition to retaining the furlong and quarter-mile titles at Westerlands on Saturday.   With the the help of a wind that varied from 12 to 19 feet per second, Campbell equalled the best champiponship time of 9.8 secondsfor the 100 yards and beat by 0.4 seconds the furlong record of 21.6 seconds which was set 40 years ago by the late Eric Liddell.   He was in such convincing form that he also took the quarter-mile by 10 yards in the respectable time of 50.3 sec and then did much to bring about the success of the Glasgow relay team, when he took over level with A Patrick (E) for the final 100 yards.   Glasgow’s winning time of 43.4 sec was also a championship best.

F Crawley (G) with 15.1 seconds, cut 0.2 sec off the best championship time for the 120 yards hurdles, but he also was favoured by the wind.   

The closest race of the afternoon was the half-mile.   Rod MacFarquhar (A) always lay handy during three-quarters of the race behind JA Wilson (G) who set a warm pace, and, timing his effort judiciously, succeeded in warding off the challenges of G Reed (A) and Wilson.   Less than three yards covered the three in the fine time of 1:54.7.   Miss P Brown (E) had a fine treble in the women’s events – the 100 yards in 11.2 equalling the best championship time, the 220 yards in 25.8 sec and quarter mile in 60.6 sec – and helped her team win the relay in a best championship time of 51.8 sec.   Miss A Dixon (E) established a shot put record of 38′ 8 1/4″ .

Among the winners not mentioned above, AF Murray (E) won the mile from W Ewing (A) in 4:18.8, M Craven (E) won the Three Miles from Murray and C Laing (G) in 14:33.4.   G Shannon (E) won the high jump, J Addo (G) won the long jump and triple jump and was also third in the high jump, AL Sutherland won the shot putt and discus, LM Bryce the hammer, V Mitchell the javelin.   The women’s winners were, in addition to those already mentioned, I Mackie (A) 80m hurdles and high jump, E Patrick (St A) long jump, and M Wilson (A) discus.

Not content with winning three university titles in one day, Campbell repeated the feat at the SAAA championships on 22nd June , also at Westerlands.   10.1, 23.2 and 48.4 were the winning times this time.   There were several university athletes competing under club colours – Murray for Dundee Hawkhill won the Three Miles in 14:01.6 and Ewing for Aberdeen AAC third in the Mile – but medals won by athletes in their university colours included Miller GUAC) third in the 220y, Wilson (GUAC) third in the 880, Hallett of Edinburgh University won the long jump and Sutherland and Edmunds were second and third in the shot.   It was a very good year for University athletics but would 1964 be any better?


The Appleton Trophy competition between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities is traditionally the first real inter varsity match of the summer and it took place on 18th April, 1964, at Westerlands when the visitors won by 20 points – 108 to 88.   In the absence of DD Stevenson who had won three events in 1963, Edinburgh depended on the women’s team (who beat Glasgow by 48 to 22 – for their victory.   Top men’s athlete on the day was again Menzies Campbell who won 100 and 220 yards in 9.9 and 21.6 seconds before contributing mightily to victory in the relay where the changeover was a bit of a mess-up  and he ran what was estimated to be the fastest 110 yard he ever ran.   Fergus Murray had been second in a 3000 metres race (8:18.6) at Wembley the night before was outstanding in the Mile and Three Miles.   He won both in 4:13.8 and 14:25.6.   Dick Hodelet’s 880 yards  was one of the fastest ever run at Westerlands when he defeated team mate J Steel in 1:54.5.   In the women’s match Miss P Brown (E) won the 100, 220 and 440 plus a stage of the relay.   

Glasgow staged a decathlon at Westerlands on Friday 24th and 25th April which was won by DD Stevenson (E) with 4895 points.   And at St Andrews Aberdeen defeated St Andrews and the Royal College of Science and Technology.

The next of the traditional opening matches, however, was the triangular match between Glasgow, St Andrews and Queen’s University, Belfast.   It was held on   May 2nd at Westerlands and resulted in a win for Glasgow beating Queen’s by 60 points and St Andrews by 92.   Campbell won the 100 and 220 yards races, Steel defeated Hodelet in a hard fought half mile, Wilson (G) defeated Scobie (G) in the Mile and Laing (G) beat Greenwood (Q) in the Three Miles.   Addo again won both long and triple jumps with third in the high jump, Sutherland won both shot and discus.   This was followed on 9th May by the Glasgow and Edinburgh championship meetings.

In Edinburgh, two records were set despite high winds.   DD Stevenson added nine and a half inches to his pole vault record with 13′ 9″ and L Bryce added 3″ to his hammer record with 171′ 3″.   The most prolific winner was C Young with four successes – 100 yards novice, 120 yards hurdles, 220 yards hurdles and 440 yards hurdles.   G Evans won both quarter and half mile events and AF Murray won the Mile.   At Westerlands, Campbell won the 100, 220 and 440 yards for which he received the Biles Trophy.   J Tynan won shot, discus, hammer, and javelin defeating holder Sutherland in the first two.   Wilson finished first in a disappointing half mile with the favourite R Hodelet finishing ten yards back.   It should be pointed out that Hodelet did win the Mile, and Callum Laing woin the Three Miles from B Scobie.   GL Brown won both jurdles races,  Jim Bogan won the steeplechase from A Faulds and Addo won the long and triple jumps with third in the high jump.  

The build up to the national university championships continued and on 16th May, Edinburgh University had a triangular match against Edinburgh Southern and Durham University at Craiglockhart which they won with 94 points to Southern’s 74 and Durham’s 16.   Murray was again the hero – having just qualified for the Olympic 5000m, he set a new record for the Mile of 4:08.2.   Lawrie Bryce won shot putt and hammer with a new ground record in the latter of 181′ 9″.   A new member of the Edinburgh team was E Osbourne, a former English schools champion who finished second in the 220 yards.   Meanwhile at St Andrews the students lost to Bellahouston in a triangular match with Octavians.  In the UAU Championships at Oxford on 23rd May, there were several Scots in action, notably Edinburgh’s Lawrie Bryce who broke the championship record for the hammer by more than 22 feet when he threw 181′ 10″.   E Osbourne (E) was second in the 220 yards, GL Brown (G) was second in the 120 yards hurdles, Fergus Murray second in the Mile, Miss E K Patrick (St A) first in the long jump, Miss P Brown (E) second in 220y and 880 yards,  and Miss A Dixon (E) was third in the discus.   

The last Saturday in May was the date of the District championships and at Westerlands John Addo won both long and triple jumps, Dick Hodelet won the half mile and GL Brown won the 120y hurdles.   In the East, Lawrie Bryce won the hammer  and the shot putt (both with new meeting records), DD Stevenson won the pole vault wit 14′ 0″, Chris Elson (E) defeated Murray in the Mile, Mel Edwards (A) won the Three Miles, and EL Heath won the javelin.

June 6th was the culmination of all the hard work put in so far on behalf of the universities when the Scottish Universities championships were held at St Andrews.   The team competition results for the men were Glasgow 87, Edinburgh 57, St Andrews 24, the Royal College of Science and Technology (later Strathclyde University) had been admitted to the competition and had 19.   The women’s competition result was Edinburgh 54, St Andrews 40 and Glasgow 13.   The headlines  had variations of  “Campbell wins Three Sprints”.

It was becoming a habit for Menzies Campbell to win  100 yards, 220 yards, and 440 yards as well as take a hand in the relay and this time his times were 10.0, 22.0 and 49.1 seconds, and Glasgow won the relay.   Four gold medals for one afternoon was becoming commonplace, as were meeting and ground records – the 220 and 440 times filled these slots for him.  Other notable performances included

  • Miss A Dixon who held the British Universities shot putt title, also won three events – shot (36′ 8 3/4″ which was a new Scottish universities record), discus (93′ 3″) and javelin (92′ 3 1/2″) and was second in the 80m hurdles.   
  • Miss E Patrick (St A) won the long jump breaking a 31 year old record with 18′ 2 1/4″, and also won the 80m hurdles.   
  • John Addo (G) won thre events – long jump (21′ 8″), triple jump (46′ 9″) and high jump (5′ 10″).   
  • DD Stevenson (E) won the pole vault with 14′ which equalled his ground breaking record.

In the middle distance events, RT Hodelet won the half mile, D Orr (E) won the Mile and W Eadie (RCST) won the Three Miles.   GL Brown (G) won both hurdles races, D Edmunds won the shot and discus events, L Bryce (E) won the hammer and G Hobson (E) won the javelin.   For the women in the events not already noted, the winners were E Bruce (E) 100y, P Brown (E) 220y and 440y, W McLaren (St A) high jump, and Edinburgh won the relay.   The puzzle is, why were there no competitors from Aberdeen present?   There was not a single Aberdonian among the results and, had they been there, athletes like Mel Edwards and Roddy MacFarquhar would certainly have figured among the results.   

The Scottish Decathlon championships were held on 12th and 13th June and Glasgow University student Norrie Foster was the winner with 5633 points.   At the Babcock & Wilcox Sports on 20th June, the Glasgow relay team of McGeoch, Gibbons, Ewan and Campbell won the SAAA Championship 4 x 110 relay, and then Foster, Wilson, Hodelet and Campbell won the SAAA 4 x 440 yards relay title.  None of the runners emerged victorious in the inmdividual events – whether because they had not entered or because they were ‘handicapped out of it’ is unclear.   The former is probably the reason since the SAAA track and field championships were coming up the next week.

On Monday 29th June, the headline in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read “Campbell again takes three titles.”   Still racing in the Glasgow University colours, he won the 100 in 10.1, the 220 in 21.4 and the 440 in 48.4 seconds.   The headwind varied from 10 to 15 feet per second down the finishing straight, and that, the Herald correspondent suggested, indicated that on a still day, Campbell would have been inside the ‘seconds’ figures – ie sub-10 for 100 yards, sub-22 for 220 yards and sub-48 for 440.   Despite fields of very high quality, only one record was broken at these championships and that was in the pole vault where Syevenson cleared 14′ 4″.   There were however best championship performances by university men in the following events:

  • 880 yards:     RT Hodelet,  Glasgow University, 1:52.6
  • pole vault:      DD Stevenson, Edinburgh University, 14′ 4″
  • three miles:    AF Murray,  Edinburgh University,  13:47.8

Other students to be placed included Mel Edwards (Aberdeen U) third in the three miles, GL Brown (Glasgow) first in 120y hurdles, J Addo (Glasgow) second in long jump, N Foster (Glasgow) second in pole vault, DM Edmunds (Strathclyde) second in shot putt, J Tynan (Glasgow) second in javelin, and LM Bryce (Edinburgh) second in hammer.

These were the highlights of the domestic universities athletics year but it was of course an Olympic year with the Tokyo Games to be held in Autumn.   Two of the winners above went to Japan with th team – WM Campbell (‘Big Ming’) was one and Fergus Murray was the other.   The latter selection caused some controversy (what selection doesn’t?) but the fact that he qualified for the 5000m and was passed over in favour of English runners (nothing new there either) for the 5000m and was selected for the 10000m  caused irritation to some commentators.   But his selection was justified and he was on the plane.    They were the only two Scots, university or not, whio were picked for the team.   How did they do?

Selected for the 200m, Campbell won the second heat of the first round in 21.3 seconds from three other athletes all clocked at 21.5 seconds.   In the second round, he was in the third heat (won by Harry Jerome in 21.2) he was sixth in 21.7 and eliminated.   He also ran in the 4  x  100m relay where in a team of Radford, Ron Jones, Campbell and Lynn  Davies, he qualified from the first heat where the team was third in 40.1 seconds.   In the semi-finals the same team qualified for the final by finishing fourth in 40.1 seconds.   In the final, won by America in a world record of 39.0 seconds, the same quartet ran faster (39.6 seconds) but finished eighth.   Only six tenths behind a world record set by Drayton, Stebbins, Ashworth and Bob Hayes and they were eighth!   

The 10000m was one of the most dramatic in Olympic history.  There were 38 starters and 29 finishers.   The field included Ron Clark, Mamo Wolde, Gerry Lindgren, Ron Hill and other top class 10000m runners.   It was won by American Indian Billy Mills in a dramatic last lap where the leaders weaved their way through the crowds of lapped runners.  Mills won in 29:24.4, an Olympic record from Mohammed Gammoudiand Ron Clark with Mamo Wolde fourth, Ivanov fifth, Tsuburaya sixth.   Many good men dropped out including Ireland’s Jim Hogan, Kenya’s Naftali Temu and Dutov of the Soviet Union.   The British runners were Ron Hill, Mike Bullivant and Fergus.   They finished 18th (29:53), 21st (30:12.0) and 22nd (30:22.4).   Imnmnediately behind Fergus were Barry Magee (NZ), Pyotr Bolotnikov (USSR) and Ron Larrieu (USA).   Very good company, respectable run.   


The early 60’s was a good time to be a student interested in athletics: every one of the four universities produced top class athletes and, by 1964, the four had become five with RCST becoming Strathclyde University and joining the various events.    The universities continued to contribute to the Scottish athletics scene in a big way.



University Track and Field: 1955 – 59

Edinburgh University team, 1950’s.

The 1955 season effectively started with a match between Edinburgh University and Glasgow University at Craiglockhart with the home team winning 68 points to 50.   A second team contest between the same two universities at Westerlands was also won by Edinburgh by 48 points to 40.   The report on the first team match read: “CAR Dennis (Edinburgh) won three events in an athletics match between Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities at Craiglockhart on Saturday.  Dennis won the 120 yards hurdles, the 440 yards hurdles and the discus. I Stuart (Glasgow) an inter-universities champion, clocked 1 min 55.4 sec in winning the half-mile – probably the fastest time for the distance recorded at the ground.   HM Murray (Edinburgh ) established a University record for the hop, step and jump with 45′ 4 1/2″.   Miss W Bowden (Edinburgh) won four of the women’s events – 100 yards, 220 yards, 550 yards and 80 metres hurdles.”

There were several other good performances from both teams – for Edinburgh JV Paterson won the 440 yards in 50.3,   Adrian Jackson won the Mile in 4:22 and DWR MacKenzie won the javelin; while for Glasgow G Robertson won the 100 yards and the 220 yards, J Finlayson won the Three Miles, W Little won the high jump, R Akpatu won the long jump C Orr won the pole vault.   On the women’s side, Bowden was the outstanding athlete with R Charters, also Edinburgh, winning discus and shot.   

Glasgow regained some pride when on 14th May they took on St Andrews and Queen’s Universities at Westerlands and defeated them both comfortably – 25 points separating Glasgow from second placed Queen’s.   Top performances for the men came from Alan Dunbar (G) 100 yards in 10.3, 880 yards where I Stuart and H Stewart (Q) tied in 1:58, W Little won the high jump with 6′ 0″; while for the women, L Barr (G) won both sprints and T Hopkins (Q) won five events – 80m hurdles, high jump, long jump, javelin and shot.   Thelma Hopkins was of course the reigning European and Empire high jump champion and a high quality all-round athlete and she pretty well won the women’s contest for Queen’s all on her own!   On the same day, Watsonians defeated Edinburgh University B team at Myreside by 38 points to 36.

On 21st May 1955 at the White City in Manchester, the Universities Athletic Union held their annual championships and several Scots performed well there.   I Stuart in the half-mile was second in 1:57.3 to DCE Gorrie (Oxford) ran 1:52.8 – he too was a Scot and went on to set a Scottish record for the distance. Adrian Jackson was second in the Three Miles,  Alan Dunbar was third in the 100 yards which was won in 10.0 seconds and James Paterson was third in the 440 yards behind J Wrighton in 49.4 seconds.   In the field events, R McG (Bob) Stephen (G) was runner-up in the hop, step and jump with 44′ 7″.

On the same day there was a Glasgow v Aberdeen match at Westerlands where there was no lack of quality.   Judge for yourself.   “Although weakened by the absence of their sprinters, quarter miler and half miler, Glasgow University did not experience any problems : they won the men’s contest by 63 1/2 points to 38 1/2 and the women’s by 49 to 19.   The performances were on the whole only moderate except in the quarter mile and Mile in which Aberdeen students J Pringle and A Wood recorded the fine times of 52.5 and 4:30.5 respectively.   D Ariyanayagam (G) certainly warmed up the pace for Pringle in the quarter mile, but the latter’s powerful striding action soon wore down his rival and he won by six yards.   

In the Mile, J Finlayson (G) was expected to give a good account of himself , but Wood showed better pace over the journey than ever before and won practically as he pleased.   A dual winner in the women’s events was Miss L Barr (G).   Her 12.7 for the 100 yards and 29.2 for the furlong were commonplace but the conditions were by no means good.  Miss Barr later helped her team win the relay.”   

And in Edinburgh the University defeated Stewart’s College in a six event match.

28th May was the day for the Universities individual championships with Glasgow and Edinburgh both deciding who the event champions were.   In Glasgow Alan Dunbar was surprisingly beaten by JGR Robertson in both short sprints, Ian Stuart did not contest the half mile choosing instead to run in the quarter where he was second to DP Marshall.   Other titles went to J Finlayson (Mile), R Stephen (both jumps for distance), W Little (high jump), Robertson added the shot title to his sprints, WJ More won the discus and B Kirkland won the javelin.   On the women’s side of things, L Barr won three events – the sprints and the long jump.

James V Paterson, Edinburgh University


In Edinburgh at their championships, top man was DWR McKenzie who set a new Scottish native record for the javelin of 204′ 11″ .   On the track JV Paterson set a record in the half-mile of 1:57.8.   CAR Dennis had four wins this time – 220 yards, both hurdles races and the discus, Adrian Jackson won the Three Miles in 14:58.9.   

The result of all this preparation was seen in the Universities team championships on 4th June: Edinburgh won both men’s and women’s championships.   In the men’s contest they had 87 points with second placed Glasgow on 71, and in the women’s they had 42 points, ten more than nearest challengers, Glasgow.   In the actual competition, CAR Dennis had three victories: he won both hurdles races and the discus.   His 120y time of 15.5 sec equalled the championship record.   GR Robertson (G) won both short sprints (10.0 and 22.2), JV Paterson (E) won the quarter mile (51.8), I Stuart (G) took the half mile title (2:00.5), Adrian Jackson won both Mile and Three miles (4:32.3 and 15:11.8).   DWR McKenzie won the javelin fairly comfortably.

The Atalanta Club consisting of the athletes past and present of the four ancient universities of Scotland, had a match on 11th June against the Christie Club (an imitation of the Achilles and Atalanta clubs) representing Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester Universities at Westerlands.   There were many excellent performances – JV Paterson set a ground record for the 440 yards of 50.1 seconds, DWR McKenzie in the javelin with a best of 199′ 10″, Alistair Wood set a new pb in the Mile of 4:16 when finishing third, Finlayson ran 14:35.1 in the Three Miles when finishing second and Dennis won both hurdles races.   The SAAA Championships took place on the last Saturday in June and the big surprise in thefield events was the second place in the javelin of DWR McKenzie behind Fraser Riach (JTC).   The other University men placed were Paterson who was just edged out by Bobby Quinn of Victoria Park on the line at the end of the quarter, Donald Gorrie from Oxford beat I Stewart of GUAC in the half mile, Adrian Jackson and Alistair Woord were second and third to Graham Everett in the Mile, CAR Dennis won the hurdles events, Little took the high jump, Stephen and Akpata (both Glasgow University) were second and third in the long jump with Stephen winning the hop, step and jump. 

Paterson was again the hero on 23rd July at Linksfield Park, Aberdeen when he set a stadium record and equalled the Scottish native record of 1:53.4 when he won the half mile but could only finish third behind Quinn (VPAAC) and Martineau (Aberdeen) in the quarter.   At the end of the year the principal university track men ranked in the top ten of their event were 

event name university performance rank
100y JGR Robertson Glasgow 10.0 2nd
100y AS Dunbar Glasgow 10.1 3rd
100y KA Robertson Edinburgh 10.1
220y JGR Robertson Glasgow 22.2 2nd
220y AS Dunbar Glasgow 22.5 5th
440y JV Paterson Edinburgh 53.6 1st
880y JV Paterson 1:53.6 2nd
880y IM Stuart Glasgow 1:54.4 3rd

The 1956 season started for real on 5th May when Glasgow took on Edinburgh at Westerlands for the Appleton Trophy.   Edinburgh won the men’s match by 76 to 42 but the Glasgow  women won by 35 1/2 to 31 1/2 points.   There were three double event winners – JG Robertson (G) won 100y and 220y, CAR Dennis (E) won the 120y hurdles and the 440y races and A Dow (E) won javelin and hammer.   Paterson and Jackson won the 880 and Mile races for Edinburgh and Peter Ballance won the Three Miles for Glasgow.   There were two double winners in the women’s competition – A McKinnon (G) won both 100y and 220y with R Charters (E)  was runner up in each but also won the shot and discus,

The following Saturday at Craiglockhart there was a match between what were recognised as Scotland’s two strongest clubs – Edinburgh University and Victoria Park AAC.   The close contest was won by Edinburgh with 60 points to Victoria Park’s 58 over 17 events.   The Empire Games champion Ken Wilmshurst from England won three events (long jump, hop, step and jump, 120y hurdles) for Victoria Park while he was in Scotland for five weeks for business.   Otherwise doubles were scored by JV Paterson (quarter and half miles), W McNeish of VPAAC won shot and discus.   There were very good performances all round by some excellent athletes,  eg. Ronnie Whitelock (V) won the 100y, WH Watson (E) won the mile, Ian Binnie had a brilliant run in the Three Miles which he won in 13:58.9, the third fastest of his career and W Piper (V) won the high jump with 6′ 1″.   

On 18th May both Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities held their own championships, and St Andrews had a match against Edinburgh Southern and Shettleston Harriers.   At the Glasgow championships, sprint champion JGR Robertson was suffering from a thigh strain so he passed on the sprinting but won medals in two events nevertheless – first in the discus and second in the shot.   The sprints titles wen to RM Beaton (100 yards) and Dickson (220).   Beaton had two seconds too, the 220 yards and the 440 yards which was a hard fought affair against R Cairney.   McFarlane won the 880, Ballance the Mile (he had won the Three Miles midweek) and in the hurdles, W Beresford was triumphant in both.   Little won the high jump, Akpata the long jump and Sephen the hop, step and jump.   In the women’s events, LCJ Barr had three wins – 100 yards, 220 yards and long jump.  At Craiglockhart, A Hannah won three hurdles championships – 120 yards, 220 yards and 440 yards hurdles races were all taken.   The strength of the Edinburgh middle distance events was seen when JV Paterson won the 440y (49.6) and 880y (1:57.5) in record times, WH Watson won the Mile in 4:19 (a meeting record) and Adrian Jackson took the Three Miles (14:35.5 – another record time).   Mensah, Leitch and Murray won the high, long and hop, step and jump, with Findlay, Lunde and Dennis taking the shot, javelin and discus.   P Robinson won the women’s 100y, 220y and long jump and J Morrison won the 440y and high jump.   In the inter-club with Edinburgh Southern and Shettleston there were some notable performances by St Andrews athletes – W McDonald won both sprints, P Kirch won the shot, EL McKenzie the javelin and their team won the 4 x 110 relay.

In the British Universities Championships the following week, Adrian Jackson was one of two Scottish winners when he won the Three Miles in 14:05.2; the other winner was IS Bain of Oxford University in the hammer.   Bob Stephen (G) was second in the hop, step and jump, DWR McKenzie (E) had a second in the javelin and AS Dunbar (G) third in the 100y.   St Andrews took on Jordanhill TC and Tubingen University from Germany in a triangular competition at Jordanhill and was third of the three teams.   W McDonald (StA) was runner-up in both sprints, but A McAdam from the University had three wins to celebrate – 440y, 880y and 440y hurdles.   There were two double winners in the women’s events, both by St Andrews athletes.   F Franklin won the 100 and 220, V Menzies won the shot and discus events.   

On 2nd June the Scottish Universities championship was held at St Andrews and as expected Edinburgh won by an even bigger margin than heretofore: 93 points to Glasgow’s 58 with St Andrews 18 and Aberdeen 15.   In the women’s competition, Glasgow’s 47 beat Edinburgh’s 334, Aberdeen’s 16 and St Andrews 10.   Three Edinburgh students had double wins : JV Paterson (440 in 51.1 from team mate CAR Dennis; and 880 in 1:58.7), WH Watson (Mile in 4:34.3; and Three Miles in 16:04.3) and A Hannah (120y hurdles in 15 sec, and 440y hurdles in 58.2).    Glasgow’s Robertson won both sprints with Robertson and Sutherland of Ediburgh second and third in them both.   In the field events, Lunde (G) pole vault and javelin with second in the long jump, Stephen (G) won the long jump and was second in the hop, step and jump, Little (G) won the high jump and Dow of Edinburgh won the hammer.   In the women’s events, Barr (G) won three events (100y, 220y and long jump), and D Will (A) set a new record of 109′ 8 1/2″ in the discus.    

It had been a good championship and showed the strength of the Edinburgh squad which won handsomely even without the services of Adrian Jackson and with champion hurdler Dennis competing only in field events.   As for the women, Glasgow was the stronger outfit and Barr seemed out on her own as far as the sprints were concerned.

Hunter Watson: 18

The end of year rankings did not show very many university field events athletes at all compared to the track events so it will again be an extract from the track rankings to illustrate the strength of the university runners vis-a-vis the general standards.   AS Dunbar who had run for the University at the start of the year was by now listed as VPAAC (100y)  or JTC  (220y) and was not counted.

Event name university performance rank
220y JGR Robertson Glasgow 22.5 3rd
440y JV Paterson Edinburgh 49.1 1st
440y CAR Dennis Edinburgh 50.8 3rd
880y DCE Gorrie Oxford 1:51.5 1st
880y JV Paterson Edinburgh 1:51.9 2nd
Mile WH Watson Edinburgh 4:14.4 3rd
Mile A Wood Aberdeen 4:15.6 4th
Mile AS Jackson Edinburgh 4:19.3 5th
Two Miles AS Jackson Edinburgh 9:07.9 1st
Three Miles AS Jackson Edinburgh 13:55 1st
120y hurdles A Hannah Edinburgh 15.0 2nd
120y hurdles R McLeod Aberdeen 15.4 3rd
440y hurdles A Hannah Edinburgh 54.5 1st
440y hurdles CAR Dennis Edinburgh 55.7 2nd


4th May, 1957, was the date set for the annual Edinburgh v Glasgow contest for the Appleton Trophy, held at Craiglockhart this time round.   It usually set the tone for the rest of the universities athletics fixtures.   Edinburgh won by 67 to 51 points in the men’s event, and Glasgow won the women’s by 41 to 27.  Similar results but the Edinburgh winning margin was not as big as it had been in 1956.   The report read: 

“The best ‘double’ win of the programme was gained by JV Paterson, Edinburgh, with times of 50.4 for the 440 yards, and  1:55.8 for the 880, and he also led Edinburgh’s successful relay team.   JTA Johnstone, Glasgow, had very creditable wins in the long jump and 120 yards hurdles, surprising his more mature rivals in the latter event and finishing with the splendid time of 15.0 sec.   Two other noteworthy performances were accomplished by A Hannah, Edinburgh, the Scottish national champion, who won the 440 yards hurdles in 56.6, and WH Watson, Edinburgh, who ran the Mile in 4:23.4.

Miss C Martin, Glasgow, Was the only ‘double’ winner in the women’s events with moderate performances of 12.7 for the 100 yards, and 14.2 for the 80 metres hurdles.”

There were several recognisable names among the winners – JGA Robertson, Glasgow, won the 100 yards, KA Robertson, Edinburgh the 220 yards, HM Murray in the hop, step and jump, and RS Scott, Glasgow, in the hammer.   An interesting new name was that of the multi talented J Freebairn who won the high jump and would go on in the sporting sphere to be a noteworthy professional highland games athlete and later Scottish national coach for throwing events.   It promised to be an interesting season.

The following Saturday it was a female athlete who made the big headlines in university athletics – and she wasn’t even Scottish.   It is worth reprinting the entire article.


Miss TE Hopkins, holder of the British women’s high jump record, won five individual events, helped her team win the relay, and broke a ground record on Saturday when when she was a member of the Queen’s University (Belfast) team taking part in a triangular match at St Andrews against the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow.   There were also three ground records in the men’s events.

Glasgow won the men’s contest with 91 points, Queen’s scoring 46 points and St Andrews 45.   The women’s section was won by Queen’s with 44 1/2 points of which Miss Hopkins scored 25.   St Andrews were runners-up with 38 and Glasgow gained 23 1/2.   Miss Hopkins successes were in the 80m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot putt and javelin.   She has often achieved better figures in all of them – her ground record high jump was only 4′ 10″ – but the conditions were unhelpful.   

Miss R Menzies, St Andrews scored a sprint double but with moderate times,   The best performances in the men’s track events was a 1 min 56.8 half mile – a ground record – by JR Boyd, Glasgow, who promises to be a good rival to the Scottish title holder JV Paterson in the inter-university championships at Aberdeen on June 1st, and the Scottish Championships at Meadowbank on the last Saturday in June.   MM Armour, St Andrews won the shot puttwith 44′ 11″, and the discus with 116′ 2″, a ground record.   The remaining ground record was achieved by R Scott, Glasgow, with a fine hammer throw of 155′ 9″.   JGR Robertson, Glasgow had a sprint ‘double’  for Glasgow.”

Among the remaining Scottish winners were WJ More (Glasgow) in the Mile (4:29), D Johnstone, Glasgow (15:35), A McAdam. Sr Andrews, 440 yards hurdles (59 sec),TA Johnstone, Glasgow high jump (5; 10″ ), E Ericsson, St Andrews, long jump, (24’4 1/2),  G Stalker, Glasgow, hop, step and jump (43′ 5 1/4″) and J Freebairn, Glasgow, pole vault, (10′).

On the same day, a team billed as Edinburgh University B defeated Watson’s College: this ‘B team’ included JV Paterson, reigning SAAA and Scottish Universities champion at both 440 and 880 yards who won the 440, and A Hannah who won the 120 yards hurdles and the 880 yards.    The University won by 54 points to 16.   

The Glasgow Herald report of May 20th:

“JTA Johnstone, Glasgow, formerly of Ardrossan Academy, was in good form despite the poor conditions in the inter-university athletics match between Glasgow and Aberdeen at Westerlands on Saturday.   He won three events and helped the Glasgow team to win the relay.   He won the high jump, long jump and 120y hurdles with creditable performances in the circumstances.   His time for the hurdles of 16 seconds was relatively the better of his performances, and if he could increase his speed towards the “trig” his long jump performance of 20 ft 5 1/2 in could be increased by as much as two feet.   RA Patterson (Strathallan), a former holder of the Scottish Schools and national junior half-mile titles, made all the running in the half-mile winning in the excellent time of 2:04.6.   Aberdeen disappointed, their only success being by B Grassick in the javelin, and the points aggregate in favour of Glasgow was 73 to 23.   

The principal feature of the women’s events was the triple win of Miss V Friel (Glasgow) who won the high and long jumps and the javelin.   The team result was Glasgow 39 1/2 points, Aberdeen 15 1/2 points.”

The times on the day were all slow – R Beaton winning both sprints in 10.9 and 24.4 seconds, the Mile going to D Johnstone in 4:43.5.   There were no women’s races beyond 220 yards and the winning times were outside 13 seconds and 29 seconds.   

On the same afternoon St Andrews had a home match against Shettleston and Edinburgh Southern Harriers which ESH won from St Andrews.   Notable performances by the university were the 100  and 220 yards victories by W McDonald, high jump win by J Oladapo. long jump by S Ericssen, 120 yards hurdles by RK Carruthers, 440 yards hurdles by A McAdam, Hammer and shot putt by MM Armour and the javelin by C McDonald.   

Further down the sports column, with smaller headlines, was the report on the British Universities championship at Reading.   Several Scots did well – DCE Gorrie had the headline for his victory in the 800m in 1:54.2.   JV Paterson was third in the 440 yards with  49.4.   WJ More of Glasgow was fourth in the Mile in a personal best of 4:20.6.   In the field events, R Scott of Glasgow was second in the hammer, MM Murray, Edinburgh was third in the hop, step and jump  and I McClung, Glasgow, was fifth in the same event.

On 1st June at King’s College, Aberdeen, Edinburgh won the inter-universities title with 77 points to Glasgow’s 72, St Andrews 25 and Aberdeen’s 9.   The women’s contest was also won by Edinburgh with 40 points from St Andrews 39, Glasgow 29 and Aberdeen 8.   JV Paterson set new records for the quarter and half mile events of 48.8 sec and 1:52.8.   WJ More of Glasgow set a ground record of 4:20.8 for the Mile, and A Hannah, Edinburgh, broke DK Gracie’s record for the 440 yards hurdles with a time of 54.1.   In the 120 yards hurdles, J Johnston, Glasgow, equalled the Scottish native record of 15.3 which broke the universities record.   R Scott, Glasgow, won the hammer with 142′ 11″.   HM Murray of Edinburgh had the unusual experience of setting a new Scottish native record which was nt a universities record!    Miss D Will of Aberdeen beat her own discus record with 111′ 5″, and Miss S McLeod, Glasgow, beat Miss J Pringle’s record for the shot by 7″ when she threw 30′.    

Among the other winners, Glasgow had a first and second in the Three miles, won by I Asher from D Johnston and the 440 yards hurdles featured two former winners behind Hannah – CAR Dennis was second and A McAdam third. 

The business of breaking records but not getting the recognition continued at the Glasgow Police Sports on 15th June.   “In winning the Scottish one mile medley relay, Edinburgh University put up new record figures of 3 min 27.2 sec.   The foundation of their success was laid by JV Paterson who returned the fast time of 1 min 54.2 sec for the half mile.   The students’ time will not be recognised as a native record as CAR Dennis is not Scottish.   Bellahouston Harriers whose team clocked 3 min 30.2 sec and beat Victoria Park’s previous best time of 3 min 31.7 sec, will be the new record holders.”

Paterson was the headline act in the SAAA Championships the following week in Edinburgh.   “JV Paterson (Edinburgh University) favourite for both 440 yards and half mile, was only a fifth of a second short of equalling the native record of 48.4 sec for the quarter mile standing in the name of Captain Halswell.   Probably if Paterson had not still to compete in the final of the half-mile he would have broken the record.   He completed an afternoon of excessive competition by winning the half mile in a new championship best of 1:53.1 beating by half a second the previous championship record made by JC Stothard at Hampden Park 22 years ago.”

Paterson was known for his very fast first laps and this was in evidence on the first Saturday in August at Ibrox Park in the Rangers Sports.   Lined up in the invitation half mile against English stars Mike Farrell, Derek Johnston, Brian Hewson and Mike Rawson he took them through the first lap in 52 seconds but where the domestic opposition would have been well behind by that time, the four Englishmen were still on his shoulder.  Farrell won in 1:49.2 with the next three given the same time of 1:49.6.   Such was the pace that the first Scot to finish, JR Boyd of Glasgow university in fifth, set a new native record of 1:50.7.    

JR Boyd, Glasgow University, in his Ayr Seaforth club strip

1958 started in May with the Appleton Trophy meeting between Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, held at Westerlands it was a narrow victory for the home team by 97 points to 89.   In the women’s match, Glasgow won comfortably by 42 to 26.   The match was notable for the first appearance in a Glasgow University strip of John McIsaac who won the 440 yards in 49.5 seconds which was a ground record.   It had been expected that JV Paterson would have made a real contest of it but, suffering from a pulled thigh muscle,  the Edinburgh man could not run.   JTA Johnstone won three events – high jump, long jump and 120y hurdles with the hurdles time of 15.5 being his best.   It was a hard fought race with A Hannah (Edinburgh) being first over the final hurdle and Johnstone surging past him almost on the line.   Edinburgh in the form J Sutherland won both sprints with JGR Robertson of Glasgow being second.   R Paterson of Glasgow won the half mile in 1:59.5 but the Mile was a hard fought race between Adrian Jackson and W J More – Jackson just got home ahead in 4:20.5.   The women’s events were reported to be of a moderate standard but C Martin and N Fraser gained doubles for Glasgow – Martin in the 80m hurdles and long jump and Fraser in the shot putt and javelin.   On the same day, St Andrews beat Aberdeen at St Andrews in both the men’s and women’s matches – the men by 81 to 33, and the women by 49 to 18.   There were two match records set -D Carter in the Mile in 4:25.3 and I Docherty in the Three Miles in 15:02.3.   

Glasgow won at Westerlands the following Saturday too, when they defeated Queen’s Belfast, and St Andrews with three of their men scoring double victories.   One was new boy McIsaac who won the 100 yards (10.5) and 220 yards (22.7) with JL Graham of Queen’s taking the 440 in 52 seconds dead.   JTA Johnstone won the 120 hurdles (15.7) and high jump (5′ 9″), and I McLune won the long jump (21′ 5 1/2″) and hop, step and jump (44′ 8 1/2″).   Stan Horn (Glasgow) won the Three Miles in 15:01.5 and RA Paterson won the half mile in 1:59.4.   In the women’s events, Martin, Fraser and Menzies of St Andrews all achieved doubles with R Menzies’ being the sprint double.   

In the Universities Athletic Union championships at Cardiff on 17th May, John McIsaac had a brilliant run to win the 440 yards in 49.4 in ‘a gusty wind and constant drizzle’ .   The time was only 1 second outside Arthur Wint’s record for the championships.   Top make it even better for the Scots Hay of Edinburgh finished third.  Adrian Jackson was narrowly beaten by Bruce Tulloh – he challenged for the lead four times on the final lap but couldn’t quite get there    Glasgow only had two women representing them, but between them Misses C Martin and N Fraser garnered enough points to finish third in the team competition.    Back at home, St Andrews took on Shettleston and Edinburgh Southern in a triangular match at Barrachnie in Glasgow where their top performers were A Duncan who won the B races at 100y and 220, RK Carruthers who won the 120y hurdles, M Denny who won the high jump, C McDonald who won the javelin, and they also won the medley relay race.

John McIsaac

“St Andrews University with 42 points beat Jordanhill Training College, 38, and Pitreavie, 4, in a triangular contest at Jordanhill.   Four events had to be abandoned because of the rain.   St Andrews and Jordanhill each won six events, but the University had more minor placings.   CF Riach, Jordanhill, was the most successful athlete with firsts in the javelin and discus and a second in the shot putt – won with a distance he has often beaten.   One of the most notable competitors apart from Riach was A McAdam (St Andrews) who easily won the 440 yards hurdles in the good time of 57.8 sec.”

The university winners were W McDonald, 100 yards in 10.4 sec, A Barrie, Mile in 4 min 46 sec and Three Miles in 15:19.5, M Denny, long jump 20′ 4″, and L McDonald, shot putt of 39′ 6 1/2″.  

The Edinburgh University championships were also held at the end of May in heavy rain but it didn’t prevent Adrian Jackson setting a meeting record for the Three Miles of 14:29, HM Murray added 4 1/2″ to his own record for the hop, step and jump,  and S Nealey, a student from Idaho, broke the discus record  with a throw of 141′ 9 ” but it was not near the club record because HL Duguid had recorded 155′ 3″ in 1951.  J Sutherland won both sprints, EL Hay won the 440, WH Watson won the half mile in 1:585, MG Elder took the Mile in 4:24, and A Hannah won both hurdles races.

In the West District championships on 31st May McIsaac won the 440 yards in 48.8, only 0.4 sec slower than Halswell’s record for the distance.   Jackson and Hannah both won races at the East championships and helped the University to lift the trophy for the club with most points.   

They also won the Rosebery Bowl for most points in the Scottish University championships on Saturday 7th June.   They had 95 points to Glasgow’s 57 in the men’s competition and Glasgow won the women’s competition with 34 to 27.  Again the Mile produced a good race between Jackson and More with Jackson winning in a new meeting record of 4:16.2.   Jackson later won the Three Miles from Stan Horn of Glasgow.   McIsaac continued his unbeaten run with ease in 49.6.   There were many familiar faces among the winners – DWR McKenzie won the javelin, JTR Johnstone won the 120y hurdles and high jump, HM Murray won the hop. step and jump and there were some new ones as well – Nealey won the discus for example.   On the women’s side of things, R Menzies of St Andrews won both sprints and C Martin won 80m hurdles and long jump. 

McIsaac had a wonderful run at the Glasgow Police Sports at Ibrox Park on 14th June when he broke Halswell’s record for the 440 yards exactly 50 years after it had been set, and on the same track.   Where he had missed it by four tenths earlier in the season, he broke it by four tenths this time.  Leading from Les Locke, an Anglo based in London, he was challenged in the home straight by Donnie McDonald of Garscube but won by 10 yards.   A moment of triumph but it was followed the next day with misfortune.   He spiked himself running a relay on an Empire Games training day at Redford Barracks.   Taken to hospital for treatment he returned to Redford for the rest of the day.   

Not surprisingly, McIsaac missed the Scottish championships six days later.   Other university athletes performed well though – JTA Johnstone, Glasgow, won the 120y hurdles narrowly from A Hannah, Edinburgh by inches and DWR McKenzie won the javelin.   The team was selected the next day and it contained four Varsity men for the 440 yards – McIsaac, Paterson, RL Hay and R Thomson (Cambridge).   Other university men were Paterson and Locke in the 880, A Hannah for the 440 yards hurdles, HM Murray for hop, step and jump, and Miss AM Ireland for the women’s discus.     There were several men listed as Atalanta but they had not competed in University athletics that year (ECK Douglas, R Scott, etc), and there were more who had been University athletes but were now club members and listed as such.  (AS Dunbar, AJ Wood, etc).   The University presence in the Empire Games team was marked.   

Although all the major championships had taken place, and the Games team had been selected, life went on and at the famed Stewarton Bonnet meeting on 28th June WJ More who was running as a Glasgow University club member, although he was also a member of Kilmarnock Harriers, won the race of the afternoon when he took first place in the half mile where he ran as back marker conceding starts of up to 34 yards.   On the strength of his form in the University matches, he was chosen for the Atalanta v SAAA match the following Tuesday.   

The Empire Games started on 19th July in Cardiff with several Scots in action against many of the world’s very best athletes.   The events and results for the ‘weel kent’ names are below.   Remember that it was a six lane track.

Name event round performance place
AS Dunbar 100y QF 10.0 5th
J McIsaac 440y F 48.9 6th
RL Hay 440y Ht 2 49.9 5th
L Locke 880y F 1:54.7 7th
JV Paterson 880y Ht 2 1:54.4 4th
A Hannah 440y hurdles SF1 53.9 4th
ECK Douglas Hammer final 164'9" 9th
HM Murray Triple Jump QR 45' 4 1/4" 18th
D Will Women's Discus QR 125' 4" 8th
A Ireland W Discus QR 108' 8 1/2" 11th
LA Stevenson W high jump QR 4' 8" 10th

The Rangers Sports were held on 2nd August that year and several athletes used it to turn in best performances. The meeting organisers had many athletes from the Empire Games – countries such as South Africa, Belgium, Canada, Jamaica, Canada, British Guiana and Uganda were all represented.    A Hannah, the hurdler from Edinburgh, ran 53.8 sec for the 440 yards hurdles when finishing third behind Potgieter of South Africa.   The time took 0.5 from David Gracie’s native record.   JR Boyd, now in the RAF, ran an excellent half mile in 1:50.8.   This was only 1 second short of his own native record and seemed to justify the claims for his inclusion in the Empire Games team.  There were several other meetings on that day and John Freebairn was the most successful student at Strathallan Gathering when he won the high jump.   


4th May 1959 saw a change of pattern to the usual Glasgow v Edinburgh on the first Saturday of the month.   Glasgow took n Sheffield University and Edinburgh faced Victoria Park, while Aberdeen and St Andrews met in Aberdeen.   On a day when there was a headwind in the home straight, John McIsaac won the 100 in a slow 10.9 defeating an Englishman who had run 10.0 for the distance, before winning his specialist distance of 440 yards from another Glasgow man, R Galbraith, in 52,5.   He also ran in the 4 x 100 yards relay for the winning team.   Glasgow won 11 of the 15 events on the programme.   Appearing for the first time in the Glasgow was R Mills who won the 440 yards hurdles.  Among the other winning Scots were D Hamilton (880), D Johnston (3 miles), G McLune (long jump and hop. step and jump), J Keating (javelin), and D Bonnar (discus).   In Edinburgh, the University defeated Victoria Park by the unusually wide margin of 71 – 52.   RL Hay for the University won the 220 and 440 hurdles in 23.4 and 52 seconds respectively.   Top man in the field events was Hunter Mabon who won the discus and set a ground record for the shot putt of 45′ 8 1/2″.   Back on the track the closest race was the 440 yards in which R Birrell (VP) ‘lunged over the line and just beat MEL Weir of the University.   

Among the winners were such as a young Alan Houston, a high jumper from Victoria Park who would go n t be an international competitor, Ronnie Whitelock, a stand out Scottish sprinter for many years – also Victoria Park and Adrian Jackson who won the Three Miles.   It was a surprise though to see Tom McNab, ex-Glasgow University and more usually linked with Shettleston Harriers, jumping for the Glasgow club.   

The UAU championships were usually dominated by the English Universities but in 1959 one of the races of the day was the 440 yards where the top English runner was Mike Fleet, an established GB runner.   Herald report:

“McIsaac received stern opposition from another Scot, RL Hay (Edinburgh), who finished second, only one tenth of a second behind.   McIsaac was drawn in the third lane with Hay in the fifth, and after Fleet Loughborough) had looked dangerous on the back straight, McIsaac swept to the front and stayed there although Hay pressed hard.   Scotland had a clean sweep in this event for R Galbraith, Glasgow, finished third in 50.3 in spite of drawing the unfavoured outside lane.”

Adrian Jackson made a very good bid for the Three Miles title – he led from MBS Tulloh with 400 yards to go, but Tulloh stayed within two yards and then sprinted past with 40 yards to go and won by 0.6 seconds in 14:21.   Tulloh’s reputation in Scotland was not a good one – he chose to run for Scotland until the English selectors wanted him when he switched allegiance.   A soldier of fortune.   In the field events, HR Murray did 46′ 4 1/2″ in the triple jump where, although equal in distance to the winner, he was second because his next best was shorter.   Stalker of Glasgow was third.   N McDonald of Edinburgh was third in the hammer.   

Meanwhile back in Scotland, Glasgow beat Aberdeen by 77 to 41 at Westerlands.   Top men were I McPherson (A) in the shot putt, McLeod (A) in the hurdles.   Glasgow won 11 of the 17 events with, for instance, first two places in both 100 and 220 yards.    Watson won the 440, CP Wilson the 880, Stan Horn won the Mile, J Gray the Three Miles, R Mills the 440 yards hurdles, J Addo both high jump and long jump; for Aberdeen I McPherson was the top man winning discus, shot and hammer.

Ian McPherson, Aberdeen

The District championships were held on 30th May, 1959, and McIsaac was one of a select few to retain his title in the West Districts – winning his heat in 51.9 and then the final in 49.4 which were run with a strong wind down the back straight.   R Galbraith of the university was second.   Other Glasgow students to win titles were Bobby Mills in the junior 120y hurdles and the senior 440y hurdles and John Addo in the long jump.   Meanwhile on the east coast, J Sutherland of Edinburgh University won the sprint double, RL Hay won the 440, Adrian Jackson won the Three Miles, all six medals in the hurdles races went to university athletes – the 120y hurdles 1-2-3 were R McLeod (Aberdeen), RT Wright and ID Burns (both Edinburgh), while the first three in the 440 yards hurdles were RL Hay, MEL Weir and G Burns (all Edinburgh).   In the field events, winners from the universities were AD McAdam, Edinburgh) in the long jump and MG Hill (St Andrews) in the pole vault.   These meetings all led to an excellent day’s sport at the Scottish Universities championships on 6th June at Westerlands:

The meeting trophy for men was won by Edinburgh with 74 1/2 points to Glasgow’s 65, and for women by Glasgow with 46 points to Edinburgh’s 35.   

  •   McIsaac won the 440y by eight yards from RL Hay in 48.6 which was 0.2 inside JV Paterson’s record.   He had already won the 100y  in 10.7 with both first and second (DJ Whyte, St A) being timed at 10.7 sec.
  • Adrian Jackson broke his own meeting record, set in 1954, by 6.8 seconds with 14:44.2.   He had already won the Mile in 4:22.9.
  • Miss D Will (A) won the discus with a new record of 117′ 5 1/2″.   

Other notable title winners were RL Hay who won the 440y hurdles from Mills and Weir in 56 sec and DJ Whyte won the long jump and high jump.   In the women’s events, E Hoggarth (E) won both sprints and C Martin (G) won both long jump and high jump.   

On 20th June, Glasgow University finished second to Victoria Prk in the SAAA 4  x  100 yards relay before winning the 4    440 yards relay championships at Golden acre.   

McIsaac led a universities clean sweep of the medals in the SAAA championships at the end of the month, with Hay and Galbraith filling the second and third slots, in 48.4 seconds.   There was another such clean sweep in the 120y hurdles with McLeod, Wright and Burns being the first three but there were only two medals in the 440y hurdles – Hay being first and Weir third, separated by Beresford of Airdrie Harriers.   These were the winners but there were many more scattered through the programme picking up seconds and thirds.   

That McIsaac was not invincible was shown one week later when he was beaten in the East  v  West inter-area match.   The winner was WR Galbraith in what was described as the finest win of his career in 49.4 seconds.   He won by 10 yards from McIsaac whose time was only 51.2.   He was described as not moving with his normal fluency and he was absent from the AAA;s championships the following week when the only student to win was DJ Whyte of Dundee Hawkhill in the long jump.   McIsaac took a few weeks off and returned to compete in the invitation quarter mile at the Rangers Sports at Ibrox where he finished second to England’s John Salisbury in 48.4 – four tenths outside his native record.   Galbraith ran a personal best of 49.3 in this event.

Of all the Universities, Edinburgh’s men had been by far the most consistent in track and field throughout the 50’s   while Glasgow women were the most consistent of the teams from the four universities.   Would the same be true in the 1970;s?



University Track and Field: 1950-54

DK Gracie, Glasgow University

The University athletics season began very quietly on 22nd April, 1950, with the St Andrew’s University Championships where the highlights were a new University two miles record of 10:33 by J Buchan, and a throws double by A Herdman in shot and discus.   A week later on the final Saturday in April, St Andrews University and Edinburgh University competed at University Park, St Andrews.   “WN Laing, a St Andrews University coloured student cleared 47 feet in the hop, step and jump beating by half an inch the record set by AS Lindsay who represented Scotland at the Empire Games. ”   How much of that has changed!   ‘a coloured student’.  ‘hop, step and jump’ and the Empire Games are now the Commonwealth Games.  Edinburgh won the contest and in the match between the Royal ‘Dick’ Veterinary College and Edinburgh’s second team, the University made it a double delight by winning that match too.   The season really started to come to life on Saturday 6th May when Glasgow University lost to Queen’s, and Edinburgh beat Aberdeen at Craiglockhart.      DK Gracie was the top man in the Glasgow team as he would be again and again.  The Larkhall man was the country’s top quarter  The next week, the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews took part in inter-club fixtures with other non-university clubs.    Edinburgh lost to Victoria Park AAC by 20 points to 30 at Goldenacre, and St Andrews lost to Shettleston Harriers and Edinburgh Southern at Westerton.   

On 27th May there were three separate University Championships – Glasgow, St Andrews and Edinburgh.   The short review that preceded the detailed results in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ read: “Two coloured students created new Scottish all-comers records on Saturday at their respective Universities’ championships.   SO Williams beat the previous best broad jump by over 7″with a leap of 24′ 2 3/4″ in the Glasgow University event at Westerlands, and at the St Andrews title meeting WN Laing bettered his year old record for the hop; step and jump with a splendid effort of 47′ 3 1/2”.   Williams also won the high jump and the hop, step and jump with DK Gracie taking the 440 yards.   In Edinburgh, the star performer was Miss Pat Walker who won the 440 yards and the javelin, although she lost her discus record to Miss Toni Ireland.   

The 1950 Scottish Universities Championship took place on 3rd June at Craiglockhart, Edinburgh and again Williams and Laing set the records.   Both were Nigerian, and in the broad jump Williams did 24′ 1 1/2″ for a championship record,  and Laing 48′ 5 3/4″ to set  Scottish all-comers record.   Other best performances were  Gracie in the 440 yards equalled Liddell’s 50.2 seconds championship best, TB Begg (Glasgow) set a record of 1:56. in the half-mile, DA Stewart (Edinburgh) in the 440y hurdles ran 58.4, RL Duguid (Edinburgh) set a record in the discus of 138′ 3 1/2″, W McNeish (Glasgow) in the hammer with 150′ 1″, and B McInnes (Glasgow) in the women’s javelin with 90′ 2″.   The Glasgow men’s medley relay team also set a CBP of 3:34.5.   Overall, Glasgow won the team contest with 61 points against Edinburgh’s 48, St Andrews’ 8 and Aberdeen’s 4.    A full team of two per event was chosen after for both men’s and women’s teams to compete at Newcastle at the start of July in a match against English universities. 

Before that though there were some other contests – on 10th June Glasgow University defeated Aberdeen at Hilton Park with McNeish winning four field events – shot, discus, hammer and pole vault – and the track team winning every event bar the 120y hurdles and the relay. In the British Championships on 17th June in London, Williams set a new British record but since there was no wind gauge there were problems with it being recognised.     

The quality of student athletics at the time can maybe be judged from their places in the SAAA championships in June and these are listed below:

100 yards:   1st  AT Bruce, Edinburgh University      220 yards:   3rd D Mercer(Edinburgh University)

440 yards:  2nd DK Gracie   880 yards:  TR Begg (Glasgow University)

120 yards hurdles:   1st JGM Hart (Edinburgh University); 3rd  RD Unkles (Glasgow University)

440 yards hurdles:   1st DA Stewart (Edinburgh U);   2nd.   RM Boyd (Glasgow U)

High Jump:  2nd SO Williams (Glasgow U).  Hop, step and jump:  1st WN Laing,  2nd SO Williams  

 Long Jump:  1st SO Williams;  2nd G Mackie (Jordanhill TC),  3rd WN Laing (St Andrews U)

Pole Vault:  1st  RF Edington (Glasgow University)

Discus:  1st  RJ Duguid (Edinburgh U),   2nd  DG Milne (Oxford U and Achilles)

Javelin:  GNM Fraser (Cambridge U and Achilles.)

Of the five men selected to represent the association at the AAA’s championships, three – Williams, Laing and ECK Douglas of Edinburgh U) – were university men.

SO Williams,  Glasgow University

On 5th May, 1951 Glasgow defeated Queen’s Belfast, and St Andrews Universities at St Andrews in a triangular fixture.    Since Glasgow still had the services of Williams, Gracie and Unkles it augured well for the only university in the west of Scotland for the rest of the season.   The quality was emphasised a week later in an inter-university match between Glasgow and Edinburgh at Craiglockhart when HI Duguid of Edinburgh – the reigning SAAA discus champion – set a new British record for the event  bettering John Savidge’s record by 7 1/4 inches.   Glasgow won the contest by only 9 points.   SO Williams won both long and triple jumps.   The matches came thick and fast at this point.   The following weekend, Edinburgh University was beaten by Victoria Park at Scotstoun, St Andrews lost to Edinburgh Southern at New Meadowbank, and Glasgow comfortably defeated Aberdeen at Westerlands.   St Andrews only winner was Laing in both long and hop, step and jump events, Edinburgh’s top man was again Duguid with wins in shot and discus, while Glasgow won every event except the Mile (K Coutts) against Aberdeen.   

The Glasgow University championships on the last Saturday in May saw a triple win for Gracie in  220 yards, 440 yards and 440 yards hurdles.   It was his first public run over the hurdles and he was timed at 58.3 seconds.   Hugh Hatrick won the half mile but another very interesting result was Bobby Calderwood’s victory in the Mile in 4:42.2.   Calderwood would be one of the first students to continue running for his club, in his case Victoria Park, while attending university.   On the same day Jordanhill Training College defeated St Andrew’s University.   The Scottish Universities Championships were held at Westerlands on 2nd June when the Glasgow Herald reported on the event as follows.

No fewer than 14 records, 4 of which were Scottish, were established at the Scottish Universities Athletics championships on Saturday.   The four Scottish records were made by women: Q Shivas, (Aberdeen) 11.2 sec for 100 yards and 12.2 sec for 80m hurdles; DE Walby (Glasgow) 5′ 0 1/2″ in the high jump; and E McInnes (Glasgow) 107′ 7 1/2″ in the javelin.   

The six other University records were:- Men:  K Coutts (Aberdeen) 4 min 24.3 sec in the Mile, SO Williams (Glasgow)  6′ 0″ in the high jump; HL Duguid (Edinburgh) 146; 11″ in the discus.   Women:- Miss C Clephane (Edinburgh) 26.3 sec in the 220 yards; Miss J McGowan (Glasgow) 63.3 sec in the 440 yards and Edinburgh women 52.3 sec in the 4 x 110 yards relay.   DK Gracie (Glasgow) equalled the university record for the 440 yards hurdles, 56.5 sec.   Edinburgh won the men’s team title aggregating 52 points.   Glasgow had 48 1/2, Aberdeen 11 and St Andrews 7 1/2.   Glasgow won the women’s team championship with 36 1/2 points.   Aberdeen had 19 1/2, Edinburgh 17 and St Andrews 1. “

Laing won the hop, step and jump and Hatrick the half mile.   

The SAAA Championships were held at Hampden Park on 22nd/23rd June and Laing, Williams and Duguid  all retained their titles while Hatrick, Gracie and McKenzie (EUAC) won the 880, the 440/440 yards hurdles and the javelin events.    The students were all doing well and all were interesting characters.   SO Williams graduated that year and went on to Purdue University in Indiana, USA.

Sylvanus Olatunde Williams had been born on 16th September 1922, son of a watch repairman, he attended dthe Methodist Boys School in Lagos and then Higher College, Yaba, before matriculating at Glasgow University in 1947 to study Civil Engineering.   He attended classes at the Royal College  of Science and Technology (now Strathclyde University) and Glasgow University and graduated with a BSC (Hons) in 1951.   The then studied Civil Engineering at Purdue where he graduated with an MSc in 1955.    Athletically, he was awarded his full blue in 1949.   That year he won the first of three consecutive SAAA long jump titles.  He won the British Universities title for the event in 1950. was seected for international duty against France where he won the long jump.   A versatile athlete he also won Scottish medals in the triple jump and high jump.   Internationally he represented Nigeria at the Olympics in 1952 in Helsinki where he could only finish 16th with 6.98 metres, and in the Empire Games at Vancouver in 1954 where he was third with 7.22 metres.   After returning to Nigeria to work as a civil engineer, he also took an active interest in Sports governing bodies serving as chairman of the Amateur Athletics Association of Nigeria, president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (1969-79) and was a member of the Nigeria Olympic Committee from 1954 to 1974.   These were recognised with awards of Officer and later Member of the Order of the Niger.   He died in Canada in 2006.

Although there were as many talented athletes at the various seats of learning as ever, 1952 had to be DK Gracie’s year which will be summarised later but to start at the beginning: 

The report in the Glasgow Herald on 12th May, 1952 indicating that the universities athletic season had started in earnest, read.


Hurdler equals Record

Glasgow, although they did not field their best team – JJ Donnelly and H Hatrick for instance were absent – were too strong for Aberdeen in an inter-university contest on Saturday at King’s College Grounds, Aberdeen.   They won the men’s contest by 66 points to 39, and the women’s contest by 32 points to 31.   RD Unkles (Glasgow) equalled the ground record for the 120 yards hurdles, 16.2 seconds.   Miss J Pringle (Aberdeen) with the aid of a following wind beat her own ground record for the javelin with a throw of 91 ft 3 in.”

“St Andrews University beat Edinburgh Southern and Shettleston in a triangular contest at St Andrews.   “Doubles” were scored by JP McAslan (Edinburgh Southern) in the 120y hurdles and long jump, and by K Akinsete (St Andrews).   

. Two weeks later in the Glasgow University championships. JJ Donnelly lived up to his billing as one of their best athletes by winning both 100 and 220 yards titles in 10.1 and 22.6 seconds and Hatrick won the half mile.   Now that Williams had moved on the long jump was won by NC Smith with 22′ 3 3/4″.   In the women’s events Miss NP Kerr won three events – 100, 440 and high jump.   There were however some notable names missing from the results sheet.  The London Caledonian Games were being held on that day and DK Gracie won the 400 metres flat race and the 400m hurdles beating England’s two top men in the event – Harry Whittle and RW Scott trailed in behind him.   ECK Douglas of Edinburgh University won the Hammer and old friend SO Williams won the long jump.    While Douglas was winning at London, his club best was being beaten by WJR Leckie when Edinburgh University hosted Victoria Park.   Ken Coutts, who ran for Aberdeen University in previous years, was now at Edinburgh, along with JL Hunter and RWS Rankin were also missing from the University side.  

On 31st May Edinburgh won the Scottish Universities men’s championship at St Andrews for the 25th time.   They had 57 points, Glasgow was on 39, St Andrews 16 and Aberdeen 8; St Andrews won the women’s with 25 to Glasgow’s 17, Edinburgh’s 16 and Aberdeen’s 14.   There were several double on the men’s side – JJ Donnelly won both 100 and 220 yards, WN Laing won both horizontal jumps, WJM Leckie (Edinburgh) won both discus and hammer throws.    On the women’s side, J Pringle (Aberdeen) won all three throws – shot, discus and javelin – setting a new record in the shot putt.   Gracie of course won the 440 yards hurdles and Ken Coutts of Edinburgh won the Mile.   It being Empire Games year, the SAAA championships were held early – on 7th June – and Gracie set a new Scottish all-comers record for the 440y hurdles of 54.7 seconds which took 0.4 seconds from that set by American HF Ault at the Glasgow Police Sports three years earlier.   He also won the 440 yards flat in 50.5 seconds.   DW McKenzie of Edinburgh University retained his javelin title with a windy 183′  3 1/2″.   Other students who performed well were WJ Leckie who was first in the discus and 3rd in the hammer,  Ken Coutts of Edinburgh who won the Mile in 4:21.7, CAR Dennis of Edinburgh (3rd in 120y hurdles), H Ferguson (Glasgow: 2nd in long jump) and  S Olafsen of Edinburgh (3rd in the shot).   A good day all round, topped off by the selection of Gracie for the team to go to the AAA’s in London later that month.   The boy from Larkhall (Gracie) did not take a week off between championships – the following week he was competing at the Motherwell and Wishaw Pipe Band Sports at Fir Park where he won the short limit handicap 440 yards and anchored his club team to victory in the relay.

Reported as being ‘rather slack from the blocks’ in the AAA’s, Gracie finished third.

Gracie was a quite outstanding athlete and his career is detailed in the Shields and Black book “The Past Is A Foreign Country” and it is required reading for anyone interested in the standards at the top of Scottish running.   Doug Gillon, of course, wrote a marvellous piece about him on 21st July, 2016.   David Gracie won seven SAAA titles in six years, set nine Scottish records in eleven days in 1952, won gold and silver in the World Student Games, set a UK record and was ranked in the world top 10 as well as running in the 1952 Olympic Games.    On the Helsinki Olympics running, Gillon says: ‘Gracie ran two rounds within three hours on the opening day, advancing to the next day’s semi-finals.   The first three qualified for the six man final later that evening, Gracie was fourth in 52.4 – faster than all but the winner of the other heat.   That time would have placed fourth in the final.’   His best 400m hurdles time would have won the Scottish title 24 times since 1969 and 8 times in the past 15 years.   On only 4 times in that 47 years would he have failed to win a medal.     Gillon’s  article is well worth reading – easily found on the internet. His results from Helsinki – 

First round, Heat 7:   1st DK Gracie 54,2   2nd Wilson Carneiro (Brazil)  56 seconds

Second Round:  Heat 3: 3rd DK Gracie 53.9

SF 1:  1st Y Lituyev (USSR) 51.8;  2nd John Holland (NZ)  52.0; 3rd A Yulin (USSR) 52.1;  4th D Gracie 52.4

He was a superb athlete and Scotland was very lucky to have him.

By the end of 1952 there were University athletes ranked in almost every event on the calendar

100 yards: JJ Donnelly Glasgow 4th  10.1;   JR Moorhouse, Edinburgh,  10th  10.2

220 yards (straight):  JJ Donnelly,  1st and 2nd fastest times  22,,1 and 22.6 sec; DK Gracie 4th 22.8; IB MacKenzie, Edinburgh 5th, 22.8

440 yards:  DK Gracie, 1st 49.4; JM Cameron, Glasgow, 6th, 51.3; WHJ Campbell, St Andrews 8th, 51.5

880 yards:   HA Cumming, Edinburgh, 7th, 1:59..3; H Hatrick, Glasgow, 8th, 1:59.4

Mile:  K Coutts, 1st, 4:21.2;   GD Hillary, Ednburgh, 6th, 4:24.6;   J McDonald, Aberdeen, 9th, 4:28.1

3 Miles:  JW Brydie, Edinburgh, 7th, 15:05.5

120 y hurdles:  RD Unkles, Glasgow, 4th, 16.0;  CAR Dennis, Edinburgh, 4th, 16.0

440y hurdles:   DK Gracie, 1st, 52,7; DH McKenzie, Edinburgh, 57.5

High Jump:  AG Ramsay, Glasgow, 8th, 5′ 10 1/2″

Long Jump:   WN Laing, St Andrews, 2nd, 22′ 3″;  HC Ferguson, Glasgow, 4th, 22′ 0 3/4″;  G Storey, St Andrews, 7th, 21′ 7 1/2″;  JL Hunter, Edinburgh, 7th, 21′ 7 1/2″

Hop, step and jump:  WN Laing, 1st, 47′ 9″; HK Lawson, Edinburgh, 4th, 44′ 11″

Pole Vault:  EO Akinsete, St Andrews, 4th 10′ 6 1/2″; D Corbet, Aberdeen, 5th, 10′ 6″; W McNeish, GUAC, 5th, 10′ 6″

Shot Putt:  S Olaffsen, Edinburgh, 2nd, 32′ 0 1/4″;  HK McLachlan, Glasgow, 7th, 40′ 0 1/4″

Discus:   WHJ Leckie, 2nd, 137′ 2″;  L Velecky, Glasgow, 4th, 125′ 2 1/4″

Hammer: WHJ Leckie, 3rd, 150′ 1 1/2″.

Javelin:   DWR McKenzie, 1st, 183′ 3 1/2″

That’s the list at the end of summer 1952: members of Atalanta, and members of Achilles or other English Universities are not included.   The influence of  the Universities was great and entirely beneficial.   The inclusion of athletes from outwith Scotland – Williams, Laing, Akinsete, Olaffsen and the rest – all helped to raise the standard for Scottish students which would be taken back to the clubs for discussion and probably implementation.

On 2nd May, 1953, the first of the year’s inter-varsity matches took place at Westerlands where Glasgow University defeated Edinburgh by 104 points to 84.   Several of the top men from 1952 were in action – Unkles, Finlayson and RS Scott were winners for Glasgow while Smart won the half mile for Edinburgh.   In the Ladies triangular match between Maryhill Harriers, Edinburgh Southern and Glasgow University, they clubs finished in that order.   Edinburgh was in action again two weeks later – this time against Aberdeenat King’s College Grounds.   They won by 76 points to 37 and the top athletes on show were LB McKenzie (E) who won both sprints, CAR Dennis (E), who won both hurdles races, while good performances were put up by Coutts in the Mile, Nisbet (E) in the discus and McKenzie (E) in the javelin.   David Gracie ran in the YMCA Championships at Alloa on the same day and won both 100 and 220 yards.   The following Saturday, May 23rd, Glasgow University defeated Durham University and a Northumberland & Durham side at Westerlands with only five victories in total (two on the track, three in the field).   Their key men were AR Smith with two victories in the horizontal jumps, RS Scott in the Hammer, H McLaughlin in the javelin, Duthie in the 880 yards and Finlayson in the Mile.   On the same day, Jordanhill TC beat St Andrews University in a combined men’s and women’s match at St Andrews.   Jordanhill had one triple and one doubles – CF Riach winning shot, discus and javelin, and WP O’Kane 220y and 440y,   St Andrews had G Storey winning long jump and hop, step and jump.   On the women’s side, St Andrews beat the Scottish women’s record for the 4 x 110y relay with 52.1.   R McLaren of the University won 100y and 220y, A Gaudin (St A) won both javelin and shot putt and I Todd of JTC won the 80m hurdles and the long jump.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow had their championships the following weekend and both were reported in the Glasgow Herald with full results coverage.   Of the Glasgow event, it ran as follows:

RS Scott established a Glasgow University championship record at Westerlands when he threw the hammer 142′ 1″.   His distance beat the previous best by W McNeish by no less than 8′ 1 1/2″.   For the achievement he was awarded the Biles Cup.   DK Gracie also established a new championship best in the 440 yards hurdles whch he won in 57.2 sec.   Less than an hour earlier he had won the 440 yards hurdles at the Glasgow Highland Gathering in 55.8.  The Ure Primrose Cup was awarded to AS Dunbar who beat RH Ward in the 100 yards.   Ward reversed the result in the 220 yards.   For his first in the high jump and third in the broad jump TJA Johnstone was awarded the Tiger Trophy.”   

The Edinburgh Championship report read:
“With a time of 61.3 for the 440 yards, Miss W Bowden beat by 2.8 sec the Edinburgh University record in the championships on Saturday at Craiglockhart.   She also broke the 100 yards record by 0.3 sec in a time of 11.9 sec, and won the 220 yards.   Miss J Kirkland broke the 80m hurdles record by 0.4 sec with 13.5 sec.   In the men’s events, DWR McKenzie , Scottish javelin champion, although his 174′ 8″ throw was not his best, broke the university record by 9′ 1″.   HE Lawson, a Jamaican who has also done better, raised the hop, step and jump by 3 1/2″ to 44′ 8”.   

For his brilliant running in the mile, K Coutts, the Scottish champion, received the Donovan Cup, and CAR Dennis was  awarded the Fahmy Cup for his style in the hurdles.   Miss Bowden won the Haultain Cup for the outstanding performance in the women’s event and she was awarded the Points Cup.   Miss I Smith who had three firsts in the field events was awarded the Pavilion Cup.”

These pretty well cover the events and a good competitive national inter-universities championships was in prospect.   These were held on 6th June at King’s College, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh won with 64 points.   Glasgow had 39, St Andreews 14; in the women’s contest, St Andrews won with 37 points to Edinburgh’s 15 and Aberdeen’s 12.   Gracie was absent so both hurdles events were won for Edinburgh with CAR Dennis.   In the women’s events. W Bowden  set a new Scottish universities and ground record for the women’s 440y in 61.9.   J Pringle of Aberdeen won the javelin and the shot, being second in the discus.   Winners:  MEN –

100 yards: A Dunbar (G) 10.2;   220 yards:  RM Ward (G)  23.1;   440 yards:  J Johnston St A  51.5

880 y:  CDG Hillary (E) 1:59.2;   Mile:  K Coutts 4:25;  Three Miles:  JW Brydie (E) 15:05

120y hurdles:  CAR Dennis  16 sec;   440y hurdles:  CAR Dennis  57.2 sec

Shot:  S Olaffsen 42′ 6 1/4″; Discus: J Jarvis (St A) 114′ 5″;  Javelin: DWR McKenzie 168’1″;  Hammer: RS Scott 141′ 3″

High Jump: RS Scott  5′ 9″; Long Jump:  AR Smith (G)  21′ 3 1/2″;  Hop, step and jump: HK Lawson 44′ 5 1/2″;  Pole Vault:  E Akinsete 9′ 6″


100 yards: R McLaren 11.6;   220y  R McLaren  26 sec;  440 yards:  W Bowden 61.9 sec;  8om hurdles:  M Mellor (St A) 12.7 sec

Discus:  Smith (E) 91′ 7″;  Javelin:  J Pringle 97′ 6″;  Shot:  J Pringle  32′ 0 1/2″;  High Jump:  M Mellor  4′ 9″; Long Jump: M Mellor 16′  9 1/2″

Alan Dunbar

St Andrews University took on Queen’s, Belfast, and Glasgow University at St Andrews on 8th May, 1954.   Glasgow won the men’s match and St Andrews won the women’s contest.  Alan Dunbar, Glasgow, won the 100y and the 220y and team mate Peter Ballance won the Mile and the Three Miles, and tem mate    I. Stuart won the half-mile in a ground record of 1:58.5 .  On the women’s side, M Mellor won the 80m hurdles and the high jump, while R McLaren won both sprints.   On 15th May at Westerlands Edinburgh beat Glasgow by 64 points to 33.   I Stuart in the half mile was again  the top athlete on the day – he came through 440 in 55.5 and won as he liked in 1:1:57.5 from Boyd of Edinburgh.   McKenzie won the javelin with 192′ 9 inches.   Both were ground records.   Old faces such as Alan Dunbar in the sprints, CAR Dennis in the hurdles and McLauchlan in the field events were joined by up and coming athletes like Adrian Jackson of Edinburgh who won the mile in 4:32 and L Nisbet in the throws.   In the women’s events, L Barr won both sprints and W Bowden won the 440.   Away from the inter club, RL Scott of Glasgow won the hammer at the inter university championships at Motspur Park.   Across London at White City, David Gracie ran away from the country’s best hurdlers to win in 56.5 seconds.   The following week Gracie won the 100y and the 220y at the Scottish YMCA Championships  and Edinburgh took on Victoria Park and the Albert Foundry (Belfast) team in an inter-club.   The Edinburgh winners included CAR Dennis in both hurdles races, Hunter Watson in the Mile and Adrian Jackson in the Three miles, McKenzie in the javelin and Nisbet in the Hammer. In the Glasgow University championships on 29th May, there were several good performances but many of the top athletes were missing.   The same could not be said of the Universities championships on 5th June at Craiglockhart.   They were all there – Gracie, Dennis, Jackson, Olaffsen, Nisbet, McKenzie were all winners.  The women’s competition was no less well attended – R McLaren, Bowden, Mellor and Gaudin also took titles.   

Adrian Jackson running second here behind ‘the one who got away’, Bobby Calderwood

In the SAAA Championships at the end of June several of the athletes ran in club rather than university colours – Alan Dunbar ran for Victoria Park for example – but those in the universities colours performed creditably.   Gracie won the 440y hurdles while Dennis won the 120y hurdles and collected bronze in the longer race; Adrian Jackson won the mile, WA Little (Glasgow) won the high jump, McKenzie won the javelin and there were several second and third places.   

There was a match between English and Scottish Universities at Linksfield Park, Aberdeen on the first Saturday in July which resulted in a win for the English squad.   The Scottish winners were JV Paterson (Edinburgh) in the 440, P Ballance (Glasgow) in the Mile, Adrian Jackson in the Three Miles, CAR Dennis in the 120y hurdles, W Little in the high jump, RM Stephen (Glasgow) in the hop, step and jump, S Olaffsen (Edinburgh) in the shot, DWR McKenzie in the javelin, L Nisbet in the discus and RS Scott in the hammer.   

There are several names there who would feature significantly in Scottish athletics over the next few years – Jackson and Paterson in particular.




Summit: 10-in-a-Row

If there is any doubt left in anyone’s mind about the quality of Jim and Carol McLatchie’s coaching, the latest results from the Summit cross-country teams should dispel it.   The target of a straight ten consecutive State Championships was brought to us on 29th October when Jim sent results of their latest District Championships victory when he noted that they were going for the record the following week. 

Then on November 4th the local newspaper, the Bend Bulletin, published the story that the girls of Summit had won their tenth straight State championships.  I quote: “With senior Taylor Vandenborn winning her first individual state title and five more Storm runners placing in the top 10, Summit claimed its record-setting 10th straight girls cross-country state championship Saturday at Lane Community College with 15 points — the first perfect score ever posted, by any gender in any classification, in OSAA history. ”   Reporter Grant Lucas went on to say that   “No program had ever won more than nine consecutive cross-country state titles in OSAA history, and while Summit was heavily favored to win the championship Saturday, Vandenborn said there was no stress to break the record”.    

Many school coaches in all countries have a very good record but when it is examined you find the they have a lot of team titles with the Under 13 athletes, not as many with the Under 15’s, several at Under 20 level and hardly any at Under 20.   In other words, as the coaching effect takes place, the runners perform less well!   Not the case with the McLatchies.  

Taylor Vandenborn, mentioned in Lucas’s story above, is leading the pack above and has been improving year-on-year for the past four years.  For example look at her placings in the State championships:   2014 10th;   2015  4th;  2016  2nd;  2017  1st.    Regular year on year improvement.   The obvious question is how do they do it?  

  •  Interviewed by Lucas she started by saying that the level of expectation for the teams going into this event “was not pressure, it was motivation.”   For a whole team to think that way is not accidental, it is an attitude that is taught, perhaps without the coach realising it, session on session, year on year.  
  •  How about team spirit?   “We just love each other so much that we just work hard for each other. We’re not working for ourselves; we’re working for our team, and that makes it really strong.”    
  •  Then the question that coaches and athletes like to ask – how are they trained?   Team mate Fiona Max who was second: “This whole season, we do these gnarly hill workouts, we do workouts running through swampy grass, and then recovery after that.  It’s all a process. We believed this season that if we put our minds to it, collectively as a group, and put our best foot forward, then we could accomplish it.”  
  • As a runner Jim McLatchie was a real hard athlete, he never gave anyone an easy race in his life.   The same attitude has been passed to the runners: “You can’t even describe it,” Vandenborn said. “It’s just a lot of hard work and a lot of pushing and mental toughness that you would never expect yourself to have. You dig deep down, you don’t even know it’s there, and it’s amazing.”

These are of course all qualities that serve well in life after running – team spirit, hard work and mental toughness.    But regardless of who or how good the coaches are, it is the runners who deliver the goods.   They are the ones who do the work, the training and the racing.  

Another look at the photograph above: