SVHC NEWLETTER: SPRING 2020

 

 

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 14th March 2020

MEMBERS

We regret to inform you that Jack MacLean passed away on 23rd Jan 2020 aged 90. Jack was a founding member of the SVHC.

James Munn, another SVHC stalwart who was based in Chorley for many years, passed away in Dec 2019, aged 86.

 For those who have not already renewed membership, payment is now overdue.

Standard Membership £20
Non competing Membership £10

Over 80 Membership Free

Welcome to the 21 new and 7 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 23rd November 2019. As of 14th March 2020, we have 533 members, including 28 over 80 & 4 Life Members47 have not renewed their membership.

NEWSLETTER

We are desperately looking for a volunteer to take over the preparation & editing of the Newsletter, otherwise this will be the last edition.

The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so.

Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue to:

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races.   The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers. 

STANDING ORDERS

Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). Stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526

By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB KIT

Vests and shorts can be purchased from Andy Law – £18 for vests, including postage and £23 for shorts, including postage.  If ordering both together deduct one lot of postage.  Or, can be delivered to any of the Club races by arrangement with no postage.

(Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

 

NEW MEMBERS
NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN
2533 Stuart McCandless 20-Oct-19 Glasgow
2534 Robert White 20-Oct-19 Glasgow
2538 Lorna Brown 29-Nov-19 Grangemouth
2539 John Weir 05-Dec-19 Kenilworth
2540 Mandy Williams 06-Dec-19 Stirling
2541 James McLaughlin 19-Dec-19 Rutherglen
2542 Jennie Jackson 02-Jan-20 Kilwinning
2543 Andrew Brown 06-Jan-20 North Berwick
2544 David Murray              14-Jan-20 Cumbernauld
2545 Elizabeth Short 22-Jan-20 Lennoxtown
2546 Ewan Paton 28-Jan-20 Bristol
2547 Michaela McLean 29-Jan-20 Kirkcaldy
2548 Heather Anderson 31-Jan-20 Fife
2549 Andrew Fish 01-Feb-20 Peebles
2550 Stephen Golder 06-Feb-20 Kilmarnock
2551 Andrew Anderson 12-Feb-20 Glasgow
2552 Bryce Aitken 29-Feb-20 Kirkcaldy
2553 Sandra Aitken 29-Feb-20 Kirkcaldy
2554 Philip McCaig 06-Mar-20 Glasgow
2555 Euan Craig 11-Mar-20 Cumbernauld
2556 David Shaw 13-Mar-20 Glasgow
1805 Henry Curran 18-Dec-19 Paisley
1809 Kirsty Baird 23-Dec-19 Linlithgow
2272 Neil Smith 23-Dec-19 East Grinstead
2331 Brendan Lynch 08-Jan-20 Falkirk
2362 Iain Reid 06-Feb-20 Giffnock
2370 David Stirling 20-Feb-20 Glasgow
2446 Michelle Slater 06-Mar-20 Buckie

Ada Stewart

Membership Secretary

 

OBITUARY: JACK MACLEAN

23rd January 2020. Jack MacLean of Bellahouston Harriers died, aged 90. He became ill over the weekend and passed away in Ayr Hospital. His running profile is at www.anentscottishrunning.com/jack-maclean/

Here is an extract. Do read the full profile of this popular, well-respected runner.

“In running circles, Jack was 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. A versatile athlete, Jack ran all distances from 880 yards up to marathon, ultra and the Ben Nevis race. He even won a medal, as part of an English team, for walking. 

The club in which he has been most active has been the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, of which he was the last 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, Willie Armour, Chic Forbes, Jack MacLean 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.”   

 In Memory of J. Munn my Friend and Mentor (4.12.33 – 21.11.19) 

I first met James a number of years ago through a clubmate, Hugh McKinlay, who mentioned that he would introduce me to James, as he kindly arranged a number of places for Masters in the Great Scottish Runs in Glasgow, which James painstakingly organised for Masters until 2018, when he eventually handed the reins over but wanted to be kept in the loop until 2019.

I immediately took to James as he was a runner himself and had many interesting stories about Masters over the years. His memory – to recall various races, individual times and performances – was astounding.

James ran himself well into his late 70’s and then in his 80’s challenged himself in race walking.

Over many years of my running, James showed an enthusiastic/excited interest in what races I was doing and suggested how it might be possible at times to push myself a bit more!

Last year we met up in Falkirk for  a chat and lunch and James was eager to show me his plan for me in the W60-64 age category, which at that time felt many, many months away, but he was always so well organised and had obviously put a lot of effort into this piece of work, which must have taken time to research and put together.  I wasn’t to know of course at that time it was going to be the last time I would see him.  This piece of work my friend so thoughtfully completed is now something that I have to remember him by and hopefully, in his memory, manage to execute successfully at least one or two of the many challenges that he was hopeful I could achieve.

I truly hope that James realised what a huge asset he was to me. He will always remain in my memory and be part of my life.

Fiona Matheson 

 Hugh McGinlay added the following:

Dale Greig and James Munn

I was one of two SVHC members to attend the funeral of Dale Greig, the other a member of Garscube Harriers. I expected more from the Glasgow area.

Dale not only enriched athletics, she also enriched my athletic scene personally, as did Jim Munn, who died in December 2019.

He worked in secret his wonders to perform, neither seeking nor expecting recognition.

For some reason he chose me to be respected, as he did many others, originally a trio: Gordon Porteous, David Morrison and I, since greatly extended.  We were invited guest runners for The Great Scottish Run with all accrued benefits.  He also took a personal interest in all my races, and wrote evaluating them. Looking back through old magazines, I note that he made quality contributions and, as an athlete, he participated with creditable performances.  He race-walked the Glasgow Marathon just to participate.

The things great men do live on long after they are gone. Thank you, Jim Munn.

I am now officially disabled: can pool/gym train but The Great Outdoors, for me, is now no more.

NEW EDITOR URGENTLY REQUIRED FOR THE SVHC NEWSLETTER

This edition will be my last as editor. If no one volunteers to take over, the Newsletter will cease to exist, which would be a real shame.

I have overseen the creation and publication of 21 magazines – and feel that new blood is needed. It has been a very enjoyable task, with lots of assistance from Karen Connal, our computer expert; and contributions from so many SVHC members, especially David Fairweather.

After Spring, I will continue to help my successor (if asked) by suggesting material or people to email etc. The new editor will not be unsupported, when she or he works on the Autumn edition and puts her or his own stamp on a fascinating and satisfying project, which receives so much positive feedback. Please consider yourself for the post! (Joint-editorship with a partner would also be possible.)

Colin Youngson

ALASTAIR WALKER’S SUPERB 2019 HIGHLIGHTS

At Hogmanay, Teviotdale Harrier Alastair (Sammy) Walker, the 2018 World Masters M60 10k Champion, and surely now one of the all-time greatest SVHC runners, posted the following on Facebook:

“Goodbye 2019 it’s been a blast!

Masters V60 Golds in:

European 10k Road
European 5000m track

British and Irish International Cross Country
British Cross Country
British 10k Road
British 5k Road
British 5000m track

Scottish Cross Country
Scottish Short Course Cross Country
Scottish 5k Road
Scottish 10,000m track (New record)
Scottish 1500m (Championship record)

BMAF Male distance runner of year

Scottish Masters Athlete of year

and tomorrow we go again in 2020!”

He started the 2020 racing year with the Scottish 3000m Indoor Championship on 3rd January, finishing 1st V60 in 9.51.36, only 8 secs slower than Andy Brown’s 1994 Scottish age-group World Record.

Alastair contributed the following article:

2019 – That was quite a year!

From hills not half a mile from my house in February for the Masters Cross Country to the glitz of the Hilton in Glasgow 2019 was a year to remember.

Pick a stand-out occasion in the year says our esteemed editor and write about it for the newsletter. There have been so many in 2019. Scottish Athletics Masters Athlete of Year, BMAF Distance Athlete of Year, a Scottish V60 best for 10,000 metres at Carluke (who decided to build a track on top of a hill?) British and Scottish V60 titles on track, road and country. Aintree glory. Did he say he wanted one memory or twenty?  One it is, then.

European Masters Athletics Championships at Jesolo, Italy

Time away and financial constraints meant that I targeted the 5000 metres on the track and the 10k road race, which were taking place on the 13th and 15th September 2019 respectively. In both I reckoned my main rivals would be the Swede Torre Axellson and the Dutchman Jaap Stijjart based on the times both had declared (does anyone ever put their correct times down?) So, with both these names entrenched on my mind and on my hate list ha ha, I arrived in Jesolo on 11th September. After a couple of days registering and chilling (wrong word in that heat) with Colin Welsh and John Thomson, fellow Scots and friends, the day of the 5000 arrived.

The 5000 was being held at the track at Eraclea, which was six miles from Jesolo. Boarding the free shuttle bus, I immediately recognised “The Swede” (thank you Google images) and, after avoiding eye contact all journey, we arrived at the track around 4 pm for a 6.30 race. Found some shade before starting what little warm-up that was required. As ever, warmed up in my Scottish Masters tee shirt.

Finally race time. Had decided to sit in for few laps but the pace was so pedestrian that I took it on from lap 2. As if to script, I drew my two rivals away from the rest and by lap 4 we had drawn well clear of the field. Feeling fairly comfortable I made my move on lap 8 and ‘felt’ my two rivals fall behind. After holding it together for the final few laps, gold was mine in 17.08 with Axellson 23secs adrift and Stijjart a further 7 secs back

Amazing buzz! Flags up poles, National Anthem and loads of friendly chats with my new best friends Torre and Jaap plus their wives and kids. Raucous bus journey back to Jesolo with Ireland’s Brian Lynch, who had won the V65, then out on the town with Colin and John for pizza and copious pints of Moretti.

The next day I headed into Venice for a day’s sight-seeing with Colin and John. Beautiful place but so busy. Then back to Jesolo to get ready for the next day’s 10k road race.

Sunday arrived, another scorching hot day and 10k time. Got taxi to the start in central Jesolo and thought myself lucky that I hadn’t decided to do the half marathon, which was two laps of the 10k course. As usual, I was there way too early and mingled with the mass of other athletes from all over Europe till was finally race time. All ages were present at the start in a mad free for all. Had a quick chat with Claire Elms (going for her umpteenth medal of the championships) and had a look around for Torre Axellson who again was going to be my main rival in the V60.  Surprisingly, he was nowhere to be seen. Gun went off and we were away. Shouts of encouragement from Colin and John standing with suitcases on their way to Airport.  I settled into a 35 min pace which I knew, barring a big turn up, would win me gold.  Course was flat but heat made it tough. Shout of congratulations from Archie Jenkins half mile from home and that was it. Another victory. Time was 35.28 and runner up was indeed my Swedish friend, invisible at the start, who was a minute behind.

Medal presentation was in a packed town square. After sitting through an endless array of national anthems there I was again on the podium.  Very happy days.

So 2020 has dawned and, as I write this, I have had a stinker at Johnstone and battled through the mud at Falkirk ……………  Oh for those summer days of 2019!

 

SCOTTISH MASTERS XC CHAMPIONSHIPS

AT JOHNSTONE ON 8TH FEBRUARY 2020

Scottish Athletics contributed a fine article:

“Ross Houston has savoured a couple of great moments when racing in the west of Scotland during a lengthy career.

Eight years ago he featured in a Scotland team, led by Derek Hawkins, which claimed a memorable and historic victory over England in the Home Countries XC International at Rouken Glen Park, on Glasgow’s Southside.

Two years later the Central AC stalwart represented Scotland again in the marathon at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The playing fields of McMaster Community Centre in Johnstone will now have a place in his affections, too, after he claimed a first Lindsays Masters XC gold two months after turning 40.

‘It is my first Scottish title in cross country after about 26 years of trying,’ grinned Houston, after winning by a single second in 28.05 for the 8k course.

A GB international in ultra-running since Glasgow 2014, he had to work for the win in Johnstone almost every stride of the way – after a superb run by Central AC team-mate, Scott Brember.

Brember had to settle for V45 gold in second place with Grant Baillie of East Kilbride, who had been in the leading group of three well into the third and final lap, in third (V40 silver).

‘Scott has pushed me all the way there and Grant had a really good run, too,’ said Ross.

‘These guys are well used to cross country and to the Masters XC Champs. I’ve had a couple of years where, while not stopping running altogether, I’ve been doing other things with the kids and so on and not really racing.

‘I came back at the East Champs just a few days after my 40th birthday. There were muddy sections today and twists and turns that made it harder than it looked. And at times you were running into those really strong winds but it developed into a really good race with the three of us clear.

‘I am racing at the National XC at Falkirk in a couple of weeks. It’s important for Central AC as we chase ten-in-a-row at Senior Men that we maybe have 10 guys really battling for the top six counting places. If I run at my best I might be close to the top six for Central but in some ways I’d hope not.’

Brember had won the V40 race at Hawick last year – the first V45 to do so. He won in a sprint finish on that occasion but Houston just edged ahead of him before the last 400m or so.

‘I did manage to get ahead of him coming off the final hill but as we turned round onto the pitch for the last section, Ross got a little bit of a lead,’ said Scott.

‘He’s a very fine athlete and I’ll settle for V45 gold. It was an honour to win the overall race last year and be second this time.’

Cambuslang dominated the V40 and V45 races as they took places four, five, six and seven in that race just behind the top three – landing team gold thanks to the efforts of Kerry-Liam Wilson, Iain Reid, Ben Hukins and Kenny Campbell. Second team was Corstorphine AAC, with Giffnock North AC third.

The impeding ‘doom’ of Storm Ciara, of course, didn’t deter hundreds of Masters athletes.

Women’s race winner Heather Anderson of Fife AC had to work really hard to hold off the challenge from Angela Mudge of Carnethy in a battle that raged throughout the race.

‘The winds were strong and in certain points, running into it was really tough, but I enjoyed it,’ said Heather.

‘I’ve come through from St Andrews and there were the weather warnings but it never crossed my mind not to come here. Of course not.

‘I am late to racing, only in the last couple of years really, and am more used to hill running. This is me really making a start in terms of cross country but having been on the hills I was well aware of the challenge that Angela would present.’

Angela Mudge took the V45 gold in her first Masters XC race for half a dozen years, well clear of V45 Scottish Internationals Jennifer MacLean and Megan Wright.

Angela said, ‘It might be my first and last, I am just warming up for hill races to come,’ she said, with Claire Gordon of Hunters Bog Trotters finishing third overall and W40 silver medallist, with Ruth Fraser-Moodie third W40.

Frank Hurley of Cambuslang Harriers won the M65 and above race with the 1-2-3 completed by Tony Martin of Falkland Trail Runners and Andrew McLinden of Hamilton.

There were no fewer than 18 finishers in the M70 race and the beauty of watching these from the side-lines is noticing athletes who are making huge contributions to their clubs and the sport in other roles – like Pat Kelly at Law and District, Des Dickson at Cambuslang, Stuart Irvine at Garscube and so many others.

*Big thank you once again to our Road Running and Cross Commission and all helpers for making the Lindsays Masters XC happen at Johnstone.”

Other results included the following:

The top W40-50 team award went to Hunters Bog Trotters, with Giffnock North obtaining silver medals and Lothian RC bronze.

W50 victor was Sue Ridley, who has had such a long and successful career. It was so good to see her racing really well once again. She was just in front of Mary McCutcheon, with Melissa Wylie third.

Carol Moss triumphed in the W55 division, well clear of Mary Western and Yvonne Crilly. Isobel Burnett retained her W60 title, with Innes Bracegirdle second and Margaret Martin third.

Ann White, our stand-out W65 athlete, held off Jeanette Craig and Susan Linklater. Sheila Strain won W70 gold.

The team title for W50+ went to Edinburgh Athletic Club, in front of Fife AC and Giffnock North AC.

M45 silver medallist was Kerry-Liam Wilson and Steven Campbell received bronze.

In the M50 category, Stevie Cairns won, not far in front of David Gardiner, with Perth Road Runners’ David Knight third – he led his team to M50-60 victory, in front of.Cambuslang Harriers and Shettleston Harriers. First M55 was Chris Upson, from David Eckersley and Nick Milovsorov.

The legendary Hill and Cross-Country International Colin Donnelly finished well clear in the M60 category, in front of his distinguished Cambuslang team-mate Eddie Stewart. Charlie Haskett ran strongly to secure third place.

M70 winner for the third year in a row was Alex Sutherland, after a close battle with his International team-mates Robert Marshall and Norman Baillie.

Alex wrote the following on Facebook. “Fraser Clyne (journalist and former British Marathon International) got in touch with me for some comments after the race so I sent him the following.

“Haven’t got your phone number but as you know part of the challenge of cross-country running is that every course is different, usually showcasing the local landscape and topography and, when you add Scottish winter on top of that, the outing and event can be anything but predictable!

Johnstone was a good parkland venue with challenging short hills made doubly so by the forerunner of Storm Ciara’s gale-force winds catching us, fortunately just before the rains commenced.

Even when I tried the old trick of tucking in behind another runner, like wild geese do when flying in close formation, there was little respite, but when you turned a corner it was as if someone released the hand brake on your car! The other factor, which we had in abundance, was the soft wet ground which as you know saps strength, and then your energy seems to run out of your legs, robbing them of any bounce.

But this is all part of the peculiar challenge of cross-country running, which also has the effect of levelling the playing field, when Masters runners compete against younger faster competitors in difficult conditions. Old age, cunning and determination can sometimes outwit youthful talent!”

 

Fife AC veteran George Black marked the start of 2020 with a World age group best performance at the Portobello Promathon.

The popular road race is over the four-mile distance and Black came home in a remarkable time of 30:10, thus improving on the M80 World best which is listed at 37:45 on the ARRS site.

Adrian Stott has reported that George, who only started running in his 40s, plans to take on the Scottish 5k Champs in May and the British Masters 10k.

 

Scottish Athletics reported:

“It would be stretching the truth to say that the Scottish 3000m Champs, staged within the GAA Miler Meet at the Emirates Arena, was awash with some of our bigger names.

There was absolutely no shortage of ‘stalwarts’ of athletics in Scotland dotted around the indoor venue on Friday evening, however.

That complimentary label could justifiably apply to many of those present in various roles – Officials, volunteers, coaches and parents – as more than a few well-kent faces enter another decade.

Or to a host of our Masters medallists, too, with Cambuslang Harrier Kerry-Liam Wilson laying claim to quite an achievement as he closed off his V45 years with a fifth successive age group gold for the 3000m indoors. With all of those runs under 9:17.

As always, the Masters categories were keenly contested – with stalwarts out in force.

The names will be familiar but the achievement is precious each and every time. The aforementioned Kerry-Liam, for example, rightly proud to note that all five of his winning runs from V45 to the age of 49 have been under 9:17.

Among the other gold medallists were:

M40 Leon Johnson (Edinburgh AC); M50 Stephen Allen (Motherwell AC); M55 Guy Bracken (North Shields); M60 Alastair Walker (Teviotdale Harriers); M65 Frank Hurley (Cambuslang); M75 Bobby Young (Clydesdale Harriers).

W40 Jackie Etherington (Cambuslang); W45 Karen Kennedy (PH Racing); W50 Julie Wilson (Inverness); W55 Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Vics).”

 

Masters Track and Field Update by Mike Clerihew

New Scottish Masters best performances were set in January by Darren Scott (St. Helens Sutton) in the M50 60m recording a time of 7.52s at the Sale Harriers Open in Manchester eclipsing the late Alasdair Ross’s 7.61s from  2004 and Paul Forbes (Edinburgh) broke Alastair Dunlop’s M60 800m best of 2m 20.19s from 2015 with a time of 2m 18.84s at the Scottish National Open at the Emirates Arena on 18th January after narrowly missing it at the World Indoors in Poland last year.

Alastair Walker (Teviotdale) was the only athlete to set a Championship best at the National 3000m Championships at the Emirates on 3rd January when he won the M60 race in a time of 9m 51.36 bettering Andy Brown’s 9m 54.02s from 1993.

There was some success for Masters athletes at the Scottish National Championships at the Emirates on 26th January with W35 Mhairi Porterfield (VP Glasgow) winning the shot with a throw of 13.10m, W35 Philippa Millage (VP Glasgow) placing second in the 800m in a time of 2m 08.54s and W35 Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh) winning bronze in the pole vault with a clearance of 3.14m

Scottish Masters Track and Field Championships and Combined Events Championships

Five Scottish Masters best performances and 15 Championship bests (with another being equalled) were recorded at the very competitive Masters Championships held in the Emirates Arena over the weekend 1st/2nd February. 

Masters bests were set by George Black (Fife) winning the M80 800m in 3m 32.03s and the 1500m in 7m 17.64s, Bob Masson (Aberdeen) won the M70 pole vault with 2.67m, and Linzie Marsh (Pitreavie) won the W40 high jump with 1.44m.  Bobby Stevenson (Ayr) won the M65 long jump with 4.87m which, if ratified, betters John Charlton’s British record of 4.86m.  George, Bob and Bobby’s performances were also Championship bests.

Other Championship bests were set by Mary Barratt (Loughrea) with 11.71s in the W60 60m hurdles, Ian Horsburgh (Central) with 7.28s in the M40 60m and 22.48s in the 200m, Kathleen Stewart (North Shields) with 40.90s in the W80 200m and 1m 32.56s in the 400m, Ian Broadhurst (Wrexham) with 63.75s in the M65 400m, Andrew Lewis (Harrow) with 5.97m in the M50 long jump, Paul Guest (Yeovil) with 5.36 in the M55 long jump, Frank Stewart (Derry) with 9.64m in the M80 shot, Peter Fryer (Derry) with 1.68m in the M35 high jump and Melanie Garland (Kidderminster) with 9.09m in the W55 triple jump.  Melanie also equalled the existing cbp with 1.30m in the W55 high jump.

In the combined events competition M55 Ron Todd (Central) won the Steedman Medal as best Scottish male placing second in the Masters heptathlon with 4245 points behind M60 Peadac McGing (Dundrum) with 4489 points.  W45 Amanda Broadhurst (2690 points) won the pentathlon from W40 Katheen Ballard (North Ayreshire) with 2306oints. 

Well done to all competitors with my apologies to anyone I have missed. 

Updated best performance lists are published in the Track and Field section of this site.  Any new record performances should be notified to me (mikeclerihew@yahoo.com).  No documentation is required as I undertake my own research.

Philippa Millage and Darren Scott in Outstanding Form

Philippa Millage (VP City of Glasgow) took over a quarter of a second off her own W35 British record in her heat of the 800m at the British Indoor Championships in the Emirates Arena on 22nd February with a time of 2m 05.70s.  In the final the following day she recorded a time of 2m 07.27s which was good enough to win the bronze medal – a great achievement at age 39.

At the Sale Harriers meeting on 23rd February Darren Scott (St. Helens Sutton) set new Scottish Masters best performances in the M50 category with 7.47s in the 60m, lowering his own time, and 23.88s in the 200m. Very well done to both athletes.

British Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships and Winter Throws Competition

The event was held at Lee Valley, London over the weekend 7th/8th March and produced several notable performances for Scottish athletes with forty-three medals being won over the two competitions and two Scottish Masters best performances set in the Indoor championships.  Darren Scott (St. Helens Sutton) improved his recently set M50 60m best with a time of 7.41s finishing second and Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) won the W40 800m in 2m 23.66s bettering Sonia Armitage’s best from 2004. Jacqui also won the 1500m in a time of 4m 58.70s.

Also indoors gold medals were won by Claire Cameron (VP-Glasgow) in the W60 shot  (9.88m), Linzie Marsh (Pitreavie) in the W40 high jump (1.40m), Andrew Brown (Dunbar) M40 1500m (4.11.70), Paul Forbes (Edinburgh) in the M60 800m (2.20.02), Douglas Graham (Edinburgh) in the M40 pole vault (4.00m), Graham Lay (Southampton) in the M40 shot (12.62m), Brandan Lynch (Falkirk) in the M70 60m (8.82s), Jim Sloan (Annan) in the M75 shot (9.29m), Mike Tarawsky (Dundee) in the M45 400m (57.55s) and Steve Whyte (Thames Valley) in the M55 shot (12.97m).

In the outdoor throws competition Claire Cameron won gold in the W60 discus and silvers in the weight throw and hammer, Graham Lay gold in the M40 discus and javelin with silver in the weight throw and hammer, Stephen Leek silver in the M35 javelin as did Allan Leiper in the M55 event, Jim Sloan won gold in the M75 discus, David Valentine (West Suffolk) gold  M60 weight throw and silver in the hammer and Steve Whyte won golds in the M55 hammer and weight throw.

SCOTTISH ROAD RUNNER OF THE YEAR AWARD HISTORY continued

(The Donald McNab Robertson Trophy)

1958 Alex MacDougall: although Hugo Fox, a former cyclist, won the Scottish Marathon in 1958 (arriving in the lead at New Meadowbank to discover a six-foot spiked gate still locked, but climbing over, without impaling himself, to finish in 2.31.22), and Alex McDougall (Vale of Leven) entered through the newly-opened gate to record 2.32.35, it was Alex who was awarded the Robertson Trophy. This was because, although Fox, Harry Fenion and Alex all represented Scotland in the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games Marathon, in almost unbearably hot conditions only Alex McDougall finished – a fine 7th place in 2.29.57.2, against very strong competition. Alex also won the season-long SMC championship.

1959 Hugo Fox: Gordon Eadie (Cambuslang Harriers) remembered this race, from Falkirk to New Meadowbank. Hugo Fox, the holder and a good judge of pace, raced into an early lead from the start. By half-distance, he was several minutes in front; but, by twenty miles, runners dropped away from the chasing pack and Gordon found himself alone in second, and closing on the leader. However, “Hugo was one fox who wouldn’t be caught and finished on the track to win by almost a minute”: 2.28.27 to Gordon’s 2.29.22. After a long discussion of several road race results, the SMC committee voted to nominate Hugo for the Robertson Trophy (rather than Andy Brown of Motherwell) and consequently the SAAA presented Hugo Fox with the prestigious award.

1960 Gordon Eadie: Gordon had been the 1959 SMC champion. He retained this title in 1960, narrowly from John Kerr (Airdrie Harriers). In the Scottish Marathon to Meadowbank, on a particularly hot sunny day, Gordon started cautiously and ran an even-paced race, making steady progress, and passing the leaders in later miles, to win convincingly in 2.36.40 from John Kerr. Gordon Eadie received the Robertson Trophy.

1961 John M Kerr: John, a former cyclist, was a strongly-built runner with a low but very powerful running action. The Scottish Marathon – yet again, Falkirk to Edinburgh – was held in very warm conditions. Four English runners turned up and sounded very confident. However, the heat got to them, and John Kerr won in 2.36.06, from Bill McBrinn (Monkland Harriers – 2.37.32). John won the SMC championship as well (and retained this in 1962); and was a unanimous choice to receive the Robertson Trophy.

1962 Alastair J Wood: was one of Scotland’s finest International athletes, who had won Scottish Track titles (3 miles in 1957 and 1959; 6 miles every year from 1958-1961). He was Scottish Native Record holder for both events. In Cross-Country, running for Shettleston Harriers, he became National champion in 1959; and was an excellent seventh in the International Championships at Hamilton Racecourse in 1960. Then in 1962, by now a member of Aberdeen AAC, Alastair took part in the Scottish Marathon, which started and finished at New Meadowbank, via Dalkeith and Cockenzie. The course was hilly, with a headwind on the way back, but Alastair broke away at 18 miles from Andy Brown (who later dropped out) and won, well clear of John Kerr, in a Championship record of 2.24.59. In July, Wood ran splendidly in the AAA Marathon to finish second to Brian Kilby; and then represented Great Britain in the Belgrade European Marathon. Kilby won, with Wood a meritorious fourth. After such a superb season, Alastair Wood was bound to receive the Robertson Trophy. 

1963 Ian Harris: The favourite for the Scottish Marathon was Jim Alder (Morpeth Harriers and EAC), the famous Geordie Scot. He had won the 1962 Scottish Cross-Country title, and represented Scotland in Belgium and GB in Barcelona, as well as setting a new record in the Edinburgh to North Berwick 22. The course for his marathon debut was out from and back to Anniesland in Glasgow. Jim was well clear early on, but the long uphill stretches wore him down. Although he was three and half minutes in front at 20 miles, he slowed dramatically and only just held on to second place after Ian Harris (Beith Harriers and the Parachute Regiment) swept past. Ian won in a good time of 2.25.23, over six minutes in front of struggling Jim Alder, who learned a lot from this experience. Harris, a Scottish International cross-country runner in 1961, when he had also won the Beith Harriers New Year’s Day event, raced well in hill races like Ben Lomond and Ben Nevis (4th in 1963). Ian Harris was awarded the Robertson Trophy.

1964 Alastair Wood: The redoubtable, satirical Ally Wood, who inspired a generation of good Aberdeen distance runners, secured the second of his six Scottish Marathon titles on a slightly easier course, which finished at New Meadowbank but went out through Portobello and Musselburgh to the turn at Aberlady. Wood was not content to win, but pushed hard to reduce his own Championship record to 2.24.00. Despite Jim Alder finishing third in the AAA event, Alastair was awarded the Robertson Trophy.

1965 Alastair Wood: This Scottish Marathon was a tough one – a genuine head-to-head between the reigning champion and a future one. The course was a switchback out and back to Westerlands in Glasgow. Donald Macgregor (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) lived and worked in St Andrews. In March, he had run for Scotland in the Ostend Cross-Country International. Then he had lost to Alastair Wood in the Dundee 10; but gained revenge by winning the SAAA Ten Miles Track title in front of the Aberdeen man. In the Marathon, these rivals ran together until 19 miles, when Donald became tired and Wood drew away to win in his third Championship record (2.20.46), from Macgregor (2.22.24). Later in 1965, Fergus Murray (ESH) won the Shettleston Marathon in 2.18.30, with Wood second in 2.19.03 – the first sub-2.20 clockings in Scotland. In May 1964, Dale Greig (Tannahill Harriers) had set an inaugural Women’s World Record by completing the Isle of Wight Marathon in 3.27.45, and in 1965 the SMC made her a Life Member; but Alastair Wood retained the Robertson Trophy.

1966 Gordon Eadie: There were three outstanding candidates for the Robertson Trophy this year. In July, Alastair Wood achieved a European record 2.13.45 in the Inverness to Forres Marathon. This was eventually ratified as the 1966 World’s fastest marathon time. In Kingston, Jamaica, in very hot conditions, Jim Alder produced a wonderful run to win the Commonwealth Games Marathon for Scotland. Gordon Eadie had finished second behind Charlie McAlinden in the Scottish; but showed real strength by winning two ultra-distance races. The first was gaining revenge on Bernard Gomersall, the Englishman who had won the 1965 London to Brighton 52 (when Gordon was third). In July 1966, Gordon beat his rival by nine minutes, winning the Liverpool to Blackpool 48 and a half miles race, recording 5.00.22. Then he set a new record time of 4:41:27 in the Edinburgh to Glasgow 44. In addition, he became SMC champion. After a vote between Alder and Eadie, which ended up five to four in favour of the latter, Gordon Eadie was awarded the Robertson Trophy.

1967 Alastair Wood: In the AAA Marathon at Nuneaton, near Birmingham, Scots finished first (Jim Alder 2.16.08), second (Alastair Wood 2.16.21) and third (Donald Macgregor 2.17.19). The Scottish Championships were held in Grangemouth Stadium, and Wood secured his fourth marathon title, on an out and back course, in 2.21.26 from his Aberdeen clubmate Donald Ritchie (2.27.28). The Robertson Trophy was regained by Alastair Wood, who won it for the fourth time.

1968 James N C Alder: On several occasions, the Robertson Trophy was presented to a runner who had almost won it the previous year or the one before. Jim Alder (who must have been very close indeed to receiving this honour in 1966 and 1967) was well clear at the top of the Scottish rankings in 1968, with a time 2.14.14 in the Polytechnic Marathon. He also recorded 2.16.37 when he finished a fine third in the AAA Marathon in Cardiff. This performance ensured GB selection for the Mexico City Olympic Marathon. Unfortunately, the high altitude forced even this toughest of competitors to drop out. Nevertheless, it was crystal clear that Jim Alder fully deserved to be presented with the Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy.

1969 Jim Alder: There could only be one winner of the Trophy: the holder, Jim Alder. In the AAA he was third in 2.18.18; and was selected to race for Great Britain in the European Championships Marathon, over the notoriously hot and hilly course from Marathon to Athens. Jim fought his way to a bronze medal in 2.19.05. Consequently, he was a unanimous choice to retain the Robertson cup and plaque.

1970 Jim Alder: This was a very important year for Scottish Athletics with the Commonwealth Games at Meadowbank in Edinburgh. The Scottish Marathon was the team trial. Jim Alder won in a championship record of 2.17.11, with Donald Macgregor second just three seconds behind and Fergus Murray third (2.18.25). These runners were selected as Scotland’s representatives in the Commonwealth event; and Jim Alder was chosen as the ‘Mystery Man’ to enter the stadium, complete the relay from Canada, and hand the baton to Prince Philip, as the official signal to declare the Games open. In the Marathon, England’s Ron Hill smashed the European record with 2.09.28, but Jim Alder (who had won gold in Jamaica 1966) battled in, exhausted, to secure a valiant silver medal in the Scottish National record of 2.12.04. Murray was seventh (2.15.32) and Macgregor eighth (2.16.53). For decades thereafter, this remained the fastest marathon ever run in Scotland. There was no doubt that Jim Alder would receive the Robertson Trophy for the third successive year.

1971 Alex S Wight: The Scottish Marathon rankings were topped by Alex Wight’s marvellous 2.15.27 victory in the Edinburgh to North Berwick Marathon, not far in front of his brother Jim (2.15.43). In the AAA Maxol Marathon, Jim Alder finished sixth in 2.15.43, but was 22 seconds from qualifying for the GB European Championships team. In ultra-marathons, Alex Wight won twice: in the Edinburgh to Glasgow 44; and the Two Bridges 36, by more than five minutes. (In 1972, he was to break the Two Bridges course record with 3.24.07.) He also won the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16. Consequently, Alex Wight was chosen to receive the Robertson Trophy.

1972 Donald F Macgregor:  In June’s Maxol Marathon (and British Championships), Donald Macgregor finished third in a personal best 2:15.06, and thus qualified for the British Olympic team. In Munich, he surpassed even this performance. Timing his effort brilliantly, he came through to seventh place (2.16.34.4), the highest achieved by a Scotsman in any 1972 Olympic final. Furthermore, he was less than four seconds behind the illustrious Ron Hill, who seemed severely shaken when Donald appeared at his shoulder. Donald Macgregor was chosen unanimously as the most deserving of Robertson Trophy recipients.

1973 Don Macgregor:  In 1973, events were inevitably less exciting, but the Scottish Marathon Championship served as a trial for the Christchurch Commonwealth Games team. Donald remembered the race as tough but he did not have much difficulty winning in 2.17.50, 34 seconds in front of Jim Wight. They were both chosen to compete in the Commonwealth Marathon. Despite Aberdeen AAC’s Rab Heron topping the Scottish rankings with 2.17.07 (set in winning the Edinburgh to North Berwick Marathon), Donald Macgregor retained the Robertson Trophy.

1974 Don Macgregor: In January at Christchurch, New Zealand, a fast-finishing Donald Macgregor produced another fine race – 6th in the Commonwealth Games. This was to be his best-ever time – 2.14.15. After a respite period and period and a second build-up, later on Donald reflected that winning the Scottish Marathon in June 1974 was probably the easiest of his three victories (1973, 1974 and 1976). He recorded 2.18.08, in front of Rab Heron (2.19.18). Two other fine performances that year took place over a difficult course at Draveil, near Paris, where Alastair Wood became World Veteran Marathon Champion; and Dale Greig (aged 37) won the very first IGAL World Championship Women’s Marathon. Nevertheless, there was no doubt that Donald Macgregor should, for the third successive time, be awarded the Robertson Trophy.

1975 Colin J Youngson: Jim Wight (EAC) had run very well to win the August 1974 Two Bridges 36 (3.26.31); and followed that with victory in October’s Harlow Marathon (2.16.28). Since the Trophy decision was often made by the end of September, Wight’s Autumn flourish might well have led to the award in 1975. Sandy Keith (EAC) and Colin Youngson (ESH) often ran hard 20-mile Sunday sessions together, but were serious rivals. Colin finished in front of Sandy in the EU 10 and did so again when he won the Drymen to Scotstoun 15, but Sandy was peaking for the Scottish Marathon and getting stronger – he won the tough Fort William 10. In the Scottish, on a very warm day, Sandy charged off into a slight headwind but Colin sheltered right behind. After the turn, they ran side-by-side. Colin broke away at 19 miles, but Sandy was still dangerously close at Meadowbank. Youngson’s time was a new championship record (2.16.50) and Keith’s a personal best (2.17.58). Subsequently, both ran in small GB teams and finished second in International Marathons: Colin in Berchem, Belgium; and Sandy in Enschede, Holland. Then, too late for consideration, Sandy Keith won the Harlow Marathon in 2.16.12, which topped the Scottish rankings. However, Colin had finished a close second, and first Scot, in his ultra-marathon debut – the Two Bridges 36 – in 3.29.44, and this performance probably tipped the balance, so that Colin Youngson received the Robertson Trophy.

1976 Alexander B Keith: This year there was no doubt – Sandy Keith was the top Scottish Marathon runner. (Colin Youngson had trained too hard and suffered sciatica; although he was to win two more Scottish titles in 1981 and 1982.) The big race was the AAA Olympic trial on a hot day in hilly Rotherham. Sandy finished 6th in 2.19.02 (which topped the Scottish rankings) having hung on as long as possible to the three men (Barry Watson, Jeff Norman and Keith Angus) who were selected for the Montreal Games. Sandy had to content himself with another British vest in a foreign marathon. On 31st July he was victorious in the marathon at Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands, in 2.21.43; and, up to 1979, was to run subsequent events for GB (and Scotland in 1982). Furthermore, his Harlow victory in October 1975 was extra evidence to ensure that Sandy Keith was awarded the Robertson Trophy.

1977 Jim Dingwall: The Scottish Marathon this year was to be the fastest until 1999. Once again, it was over the usual Meadowbank course on a warm day. The main man was that charismatic schoolboy 100 metre sprinter turned Scottish or British International middle-distance, cross-country and road runner Jim Dingwall (Falkirk Victoria Harriers) – the ‘Guv’nor’ as he was known at Edinburgh University – or ‘the Head Waiter’ as he was cursed by those who had suffered his famed ‘kick’ to the finishing tape. In the AAA event at Rugby in May, Jim had finished a good eighth. A personal best 10,000m (28.55) two weeks before the Scottish (which was held at the end of June) showed his good form. Confidently but uncharacteristically, Jim led from the start, and by halfway was leading with Sandy Keith and Willie Day (FVH). Dingwall surged away at 15 miles and won in a championship record of 2.16.05 (topping the Scottish rankings), from his team-mate Day (2.17.56). Soon afterwards it was time for celebratory beers at the Piershill Tavern, near Meadowbank Stadium. Jim Dingwall was a certainty to receive the Robertson Trophy.

1978 Jim Dingwall: In mid-April, Jim Dingwall displayed fitness by winning the Clydebank to Helensburgh 15. The AAA Marathon at Sandbach took place in May and Jim managed 2.13.58 (top of the Scottish rankings) for 5th place and selection to represent Scotland in the Edmonton Commonwealth Games Marathon. Sandy Keith ran 2.18.15 and was unlucky not to be chosen. Unfortunately, Jim suffered during the flight to Canada and his training was seriously affected. Nevertheless, he led to halfway, and then hung on bravely to the leading pack, before having to drop away after 25km. Yet Jim Dingwall was the unanimous choice to retain the Robertson Trophy.

1979 Alastair Macfarlane: After a year of injury-free training, a sensible blend of mileage and short or long repetitions, Alastair Macfarlane (Springburn Harriers) showed ominously good form in April, winning the Clydebank to Helensburgh by over a minute, and, shortly afterwards, setting his fastest time for 5000 metres. In the Scottish Marathon at the end of May, a pack of six reached halfway, after fighting into a slight headwind. After the turn, suddenly the pace of the return journey became extremely fast, and athletes were dropped until Macfarlane, Macgregor and Youngson were left. After 20 miles, Alastair was out on his own and, with five miles to go, knew that he would not be caught. Relaxed and fresh, he won in a personal best (2.18.03), from Donald (2.19.15) and Colin (2.19.48). Deservedly, Alastair Macfarlane was presented with the Robertson Trophy. However, in 1979, things were changing for Scottish Marathon runners, with the introduction of inaugural Aberdeen and Glasgow Marathons, which would be emulated by several others around Scotland. With the possibility of prize money on the horizon, plus more expenses-paid ‘trips’ to International Marathons, the ‘Serious Amateurs’ would be replaced by ‘Semi-Professionals’, and the Scottish Marathon Championship would seldom, in future, be significant in deciding the recipient of the prestigious Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy.

1980 Graham Laing: Top of the 1980 Scottish Rankings was John Graham (Clyde Valley AC) who finished a marvellous third (2.11.47) in the New York Marathon – held too late for Robertson Trophy consideration. The Scottish Marathon in June was, alas, to be the final one similar to the fast 1970 Commonwealth Games course. A strong following wind on the outward journey caused problems on the return. Young Graham Laing, an athlete of great potential from Aberdeen AAC, eased away up Wallyford Hill and reached the turn in 66.46, well in front of Alasdair Kean (Derby) and Colin Youngson, who were together in 67.08. On the way back, while Youngson sheltered behind Kean, Laing kept increasing his lead, as they battled the strongest wind they had ever encountered in a marathon. Youngson moved into second at 17 miles but Graham won ‘easily’ in 2.23.03, with Colin timed at 2.24.56 and Alastair Macfarlane 2.27.21, followed by the very tired Alasdair Kean. The race had been sponsored by a butcher, so Graham won £100 worth of meat for his freezer. Not even a chop for the others, however. Elsewhere, Jim Dingwall had won marathons at Le Quesnoy and Glasgow (2:16:07). Yet it seemed fair that the talented, improving Graham Laing, already twice a Scottish International at 10,000m, should win the Robertson Trophy.

1981 John E Graham: Having moved to Birmingham in 1979, joined Birchfield Harriers and produced a Scottish National record at New York in late 1980, John Graham improved even more in 1981, when he won the inaugural Rotterdam Marathon in a startling 2.9.28 – a time then only beaten by six other athletes in history. Second in the 1981 Scottish rankings was Graham Laing, with 2.13.59, when fifth in London. John Graham had represented Scotland in the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships four times: once as a junior (1975); and thrice as a senior (1977, 1978 and 1980). In 1978, he had twice broken the Scottish Native Record for 3000 metres steeplechase, ending up with 8.39.3. Now he was piling in many miles of incredibly tough training. Over the year, this averaged 115 miles per week, including track work. Before a marathon, John endured six weeks of even heavier mileage; followed by six weeks of faster work. Undoubtedly, John Graham raised Scottish Marathon standards immensely; and, of course, became a Robertson Trophy winner.

Leslie Watson (London Olympiades), a former Scottish International track and cross-country runner, won the British Championship Marathon in 2.49.08.

1982 John Graham: His marathon racing career (1980-1987) coincided with boom years for the marathon. He competed for GB or as an invited athlete all round the world and received marvellous hospitality and prize money. He met and formed friendships with great runners past and present, from Herb Elliot to Frank Shorter and Steve Jones. In 1982, representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, John raced boldly but suffered from a cruel stitch (an old problem due to a scarred stomach muscle) and finished fourth in 2.13.04. Graham Laing ran very well for seventh in 2.14.54. To finish the season, John Graham ran 2.10.57 in New York; and retained the Robertson Trophy.

1983 Jim Dingwall Back in 1982, Jim had been 5th in the AAA race at Gateshead in 2:15:30, nine seconds clear of Graham Laing, who, along with John Graham, was selected to run the Commonwealth Games Marathon instead of Jim, due to lack of Scottish team funding. How did he respond to this setback? In January 1983 Jim won the Hong Kong Marathon (2.15.48). Then, in the London Marathon on the 17th of April, he ran the fastest time of his life: 2.11.44, securing fifth place and bronze in the British championships. On paper this was his best run, but he was left without the feeling of euphoria that normally accompanies such a performance. To explain, having had a cold for the three days prior to the race he had not slept well, and then on the day he had lost a lot of ground on the cobbles at the Tower at 22 miles. The resulting feeling was one of frustration as he felt that he could have gone even faster although he was pleased with the time. He also ran Laredo, New York and Bolton in 1983; and after that continued to represent GB in marathons. Looking back, Jim reckoned that his best ever performance had been winning the 1976 San Silvestre Villecana road race in Madrid, since to defeat four Olympic finalists came as such a lovely surprise. For the third time, Jim Dingwall was presented with the Robertson Trophy.

1984 Don Macgregor In 1983, Donald had won the first Dundee Marathon in 2.17.24, the fastest time of the year by a British Veteran. In 1984, aged almost 45, he won Dundee again in 2.18.41. After his birthday, he smashed the British M45 record in the Glasgow Marathon with 2.19.01. Donald, the 1972 Olympian, had been World Veteran Marathon champion in 1980; and also coached the Scottish Marathon squad. The fact that Donald Macgregor received the Robertson Trophy suggests that the SMC/SAAA selectors had become fully aware of the flourishing Veteran/Masters movement and were not automatically nominating the fastest Scot of the year.

The 1980s were dominated by John Graham and then Allister Hutton, which meant that other really good marathon men seldom won the Trophy. In 1984, Fraser Clyne (Aberdeen AAC) finished second at the US Marathon Championships in Sacramento in his fastest ever time of 2:11:50. He had run for Scotland: five times in the World Cross; and had Scottish vests for 3000m Steeplechase, 5000m and 10,000m. Fraser, hampered by a lower back problem, still finished tenth in the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Marathon, and often represented GB, as well as (between 1992 and 1997) winning five Scottish Marathon titles. Fraser Clyne, along with Peter Fleming (Bellahouston) must be the best male Scots never to receive the Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy.

1985 Allister Hutton: In 1975, aged 20, Allister had won the Scottish Junior Cross-Country title. He was National Senior Champion in 1978 and 1982; and had a record ten appearances for Scotland in the IAAF World Championships. At 5000 metres, he recorded his best time, 13.41.45, at the age of 26. Four years earlier he had run 28.13.09 for 10,000 metres at a mere 22 years old; but it took almost another ten years before he finally broke a barrier to record 27.59.12. Thirteen of the top fifty Scottish 10,000 metres performances were his. Allister competed in three consecutive Commonwealth Games for Scotland during his career, starting in 1978. In 1985, he finished his third marathon in London, third in the race (and the British Championships) behind Steve Jones and Charlie Spedding, in a Scottish National record time of 2.09.16 – a mark which was to endure for 34 years. This excellent performance justified completely Allister’s years of Spartan concentration on maximising speed and stamina before switching to the classic distance. John Graham ran 2.9.58 when he was second in Rotterdam; and 2.12.55 in Chicago, but Allister Hutton had to be chosen as the winner of the Robertson Trophy.

Aberdeen AAC’s Lynda Bain (who in 1983 had been the first Scottish Women’s Marathon Champion, and retained this title in 1984) finished London in 7th place, with an excellent 2.33.38, a new Scottish National record.

1986 John Graham: In the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games Marathon, the holder – Australia’s Rob de Castella – zipped casually through the first ten miles in 49.27. He then increased the tempo, covering the next five miles in 24.10 with only Scotland’s John Graham (who that Spring had run 2.13.42 in Rotterdam) for company. The big Lanarkshire man was keen to pick up a medal after finishing fourth four years earlier in Brisbane, but paid a heavy price for trying to stay with the tough Australian. De Castella continued to power away and went on to win in 2.10.15. Graham ran out of steam and was overhauled by another Australian (Steve Moneghetti 2.11.08) and Canada’s Dave Edge (2.11.18). John had to settle for fourth place in 2.12.10. It was little consolation to win the Robertson Trophy for the third time.

Allister Hutton had been third in London again (2.12.36) and won a British Championship silver medal.

For Scotland, Lorna Irving (Border) was a very good fifth in the very first Commonwealth Games Women’s Marathon (2.36.34).

1987 Lindsay Robertson: Although Scottish Athletics records are patchy, it seemed likely that John Graham would have received the Robertson Trophy for the fourth and final time. He topped the Scottish rankings with 2.12.32 when securing bronze in the British Championships in London. Sadly, John considered this time ‘slow’, reduced his training mileage and eventually stopped racing. Amazingly, John Graham once held nine of the best twenty Scottish marathon times. Although the Scottish Marathon Club proposed John Graham for the Trophy, the SAAA over-ruled in favour of Lindsay Robertson (EAC), who won the Frankfurt Marathon that October, recording his fastest-ever time of 2.13.30. During his career, he ran seventeen sub-2:20 marathon races; won Edinburgh twice and the Tiberias Marathon in Israel three times. Lindsay ran several good races representing Scotland (or GB in the European or World Marathon Cups). He raced all over Europe plus New York and Seoul in South Korea.

1988 Allister Hutton: Sixth place in London, in a very good time of 2.11.42, made sure that the Robertson Trophy returned to Allister Hutton. Sheila Catford (Leeds) ran very well to record 2.33.44. Allister and Sheila topped the Scottish ranking lists.

1989: Allister Hutton (ESH) or Lynn Harding (Houghton). These two athletes might have shared the Robertson trophy, after topping the Scottish rankings, Allister with 2.12.47. Lynn finished eighth (British Championship bronze) in London, clocking an excellent time of 2.31.45, breaking the Scottish National record, which had been set in 1985 by Lynda Bain (Aberdeen AAC). Scottish selectors were now taking Women’s performances very seriously, and into consideration when it came to awarding the Robertson Trophy. Between 1976 and 1982, Leslie Watson (London Olympiades), a Scottish International on track and country, had topped the Scottish Women’s marathon rankings six times. She became an extremely popular competitor in umpteen British city marathons; and also set records in the London to Brighton ultra; and the World’s fastest time for 50 miles. Then Lorna Irving and Lynda Bain ran marathons for Scotland and Great Britain. Sheila Catford and Lynn Harding followed suit. Before long, Liz McColgan would become the top Scottish marathon runner, more highly rated than any contemporary Scottish male.

1990 Allister Hutton: There could only be one athlete considered for the Robertson Trophy this year: the British Marathon Champion, Allister Hutton.

Here is the official London Marathon history online report: “The tenth London Marathon saw the first British men’s winner since 1985 when 35-year-old Allister Hutton left a quality field far behind after dispensing with the services of pacemaker Bill Reifsnyder of the USA at 14 miles. In poor weather, Hutton maintained his form to the line, winning in 2:10:10. He was in such good shape that he even asked the early pacemaker Nick Rose to speed things up after only10km. The real race was among the chasing pack but Italian Salvatore Bettiol and Spaniard Juan Romera proved stronger than the rest to finish second and third. Romera set a new Spanish record with 2:10:48. Pre-race favourite Belayneh Densimo, the world record holder from Ethiopia, dropped out after 14 miles.”

Seldom has a television broadcast seemed so fascinating to Scottish viewers; seldom has time (and distance) taken so long to pass. Yet Allister showed no sign of distress: his style remained controlled and his face composed. However, the long, long straight of The Mall seemed an eternity to him – both agony and ecstasy as he lived out the dream of leading such an important event in front of so many rivals and spectators. Eventually he crossed Westminster Bridge first, still twenty seconds ahead, in 2.10.10 – a really dramatic Scottish victory in the English heartland.

Back in 1984, awesome runaway victories in the Morpeth to Newcastle and AAA Half Marathon had convinced Allister to try the marathon seriously. During his career, he ran well in London (five times), Chicago (twice), Oslo and New York; and in 1990 created a significant piece of Scottish (and British) Athletics History.

Sheila Catford won a bronze medal in the British Championships with a time of 2:36:42.

1991 Donald A Ritchie: Later voted the World’s finest ultra-distance runner of the 20th Century, Donald was aged 47, when he won the 1991 West Highland Way race and the AAA 24 hours title, before being awarded the Robertson Trophy. In 1992 he was victorious in the very first Scottish 100km event at Heriot Watt University, the British 100km at Nottingham and his third consecutive 24 hours AAA championship. Scottish Athletics presented him with the George Dallas Memorial Trust Trophy.

N,B. Paul Evans topped the Scottish marathon rankings in 1991 (2.12.53) and 1992 (2.10.36). Evans was born in Springburn but based in Suffolk. He was identified as a 1994 Commonwealth Games prospect but in 1993 ran a road race for England at Bamburgh Castle, then notified the Scottish CG team manager that he intended to continue competing for England. None of his later times featured in Scottish lists, even when he won the 1996 Chicago Marathon in 2.8.52.

1992 Liz McColgan: Suffice it to say that Liz McColgan (nee Lynch) of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers was one of Scotland’s greatest all-time athletes, world-class on track, country and road. Do read her full profile on the site Scottish Distance Running History, under ‘Elite Endurance’. She concentrated on the marathon between 1992 and 1998, setting very high standards which have never been equalled by a Scottish woman. In 1992 she won the first World Half Marathon title; and also the Tokyo marathon in a Scottish National record of 2.27.38 and was a clear choice to receive the Robertson Trophy – the first woman to do so, but certainly not the last.

1993 Liz McColgan: She finished a fine third (2.29.37) in the 1993 Flora London Marathon in 1993 and retained the Robertson Trophy. Then she was injured and, by 1995, had been told that she might never run again, since years of hard training were taking their toll, causing chronic pain in back, knee and foot. Yet her doctors probably didn’t realise who they were dealing with: this was Liz McColgan!

Top male Scot in the 1993 marathon rankings was Peter Fleming (Racing Club Edinburgh) with his fastest-ever time of 2.13.33 in San Sebastian, Spain. Peter also led the way in 94, 95 and 96 and enjoyed a long, successful, lucrative 20-year road running career, not only in Britain but also predominantly in the USA. Aged 22, he had won the 1983 Glasgow Marathon for Scotland (leading his team to victory over the other home countries) but, between 1987 and 1990, concentrated on increasing speed at shorter distances. The result was a 1991 marathon in 2:14:17. GB marathon ranking positions for his best time each year were 7th in 1993, 8th in 1994, 6th in 1995 and 9th in 1996. Peter Fleming won several significant American races as a Veteran.

1994 Trudi Thomson: At the age of 35, Trudi Thomson (Pitreavie AAC) raced very frequently. By early June 1994, that year she had already won the Scottish veteran cross-country, half marathon and marathon titles, as well as finishing third in the UK Inter County 20 miles championship at Corby; and fifth in the Two Oceans (Indian to Atlantic) 35-mile race in Cape Town. At the end of June, Trudi represented Great Britain in the World 100 km championships at Lake Saroma in Japan. There she had the race of her life to take the silver medal, recording 7 hours 42 minutes and 17 seconds, a Scottish National record. Trudi also won her third Two Bridges 36 Miles in a much faster time than before, a record 4:06:45. Victory in the Edinburgh to North Berwick 22.6 miles produced another course record of 2:15:31. After such a marvellous season, Trudi Thomson was the outstanding candidate to receive the Robertson Trophy.

1995 Lynn Harding:  In the European 100km Championship. Lynn won individual silver in the excellent time of 7.52.23, leading the Great Britain team to silver medals as well. Back in 1989, she had set a new Scottish marathon record of 2.31.45 in the London Marathon; and also ran for Scotland in the 1990 and 1994 Commonwealth Games Marathons. Lynn Harding was the last definite recipient of the Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy.

1996 Liz McColgan: In soaring heat, Liz McColgan won the Flora London Marathon (2.27.54), becoming British Champion. The official report included the following: “Norway’s Anita Hakenstad, who was chasing a 2:30:00 Olympic qualifying time, formed an early breakaway alliance with Russia’s Firaya Sultanova and Estonia’s Jane Salumae and the trio left the women’s elite pack far behind. Hakenstad forged ahead in mile 10 and passed the half way point alone in a personal half-marathon best of 73:31. At this stage she was 2 minutes clear of Liz McColgan and was to stay in the lead until the 20-mile point. Chasing hard, McColgan did not gain sight of the fleeing Norwegian until 30km but, thus encouraged, the Scot quickly closed the gap and by the finish was over 2 minutes clear of the emerging Kenyan, Joyce Chepchumba. Defending champion, Malgorzata Sobanska from Poland, salvaged something from a lack-lustre run by taking 3rd place from Angelina Kanana of Kenya with a late rally. The bold Hakenstad, although suffering in the closing miles, was rewarded with a full marathon personal best in 5th place.”

In the Autumn, Liz McColgan finished first in the BUPA Great North Run, but had again been left disappointed at the Olympics.  McColgan had chosen the marathon but, just days before, while preparing at her base in Florida, she suffered an insect bite. The poison entered her system and she was never herself, finishing sixteenth in the Games in Atlanta. There is no doubt that, had it been presented that year, she would have received the Robertson Trophy.

1997 Liz McColgan:  In 1997 she was so close to successfully defending her London Marathon title, losing by one second to Kenya’s Joyce Chepchumba, who took victory with virtually the final step of a memorable race. But McColgan’s time of 2:26:52 was a personal best and a new Scottish National record.

Top male Scot was David Cavers (Teviotdale Harriers/ Border) who ran 2.16.18, probably in Rotterdam. Between 1990 and 2000, he represented Scotland four times for road running (10km, half marathon, ten miles, marathon) and nine times for cross-country, including the 1990 Home Countries International, which Scotland won, plus British championships and World Trials. Cross-country was his main strength: six East District titles; and amazing consistency in the Senior National. Between 1989 and 2001 he was second, fourth twice, fifth twice, seventh, eighth twice, ninth, tenth twice, twelfth and fourteenth.  Dave’s silver medal in 1999 was won at Beach Park, Irvine, when he was defeated by Bobby Quinn but finished in front of Tommy Murray, Phil Mowbray and Tom Hanlon.   When he was fourth in 2000, the three in front were also very high-quality GB Internationals – Quinn, Murray and Glen Stewart.

1998 Liz McColgan:  Once again, Scotland’s best marathon runner finished second in the London Marathon with 2.26.54; and should have been awarded the Robertson Trophy for the fifth time.

Dave Cavers improved his personal best to 2.16.06 in Rotterdam. He was selected to compete for Scotland at that year’s Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, this took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which proved extremely hot, humid and totally unsuitable conditions for long distance running. Dave was also unlucky to contract a virus and did not finish the race. However, by November 1998, he had recovered in time to win the Derwentwater ten miles road race in Kendal. Dave Cavers continued to run cross-country until 2008 before retiring after an outstanding career.

1999 Simon Pride:  Born in Swansea, he represented Wales in 800m and 1500 metres as a youngster and was in the same Schools’ International team as World Champion hurdler Colin Jackson. His promising running career took a back seat after he left school to join the Army at 17. Four years later he moved to Fochabers in Moray, Scotland. An industrial accident almost ended his running but, once he recovered, advised by Donald Ritchie (the World 100km Track record holder) he found international success in the world of ultra-distance running. His first 100K in 1996 produced a Scottish Championship bronze medal. The following year he was ninth in the European Championships and by 1998 he had a top six finish in the World Championships to his credit (6:59:38). In March 1999 Simon Pride came close to breaking the world record for 40 miles track when winning the well-respected annual event in Barry, Wales, with a time of 3:53:55 which was a race record. The Keith and District athlete’s greatest triumph came in May 1999 in France, where he won the World 100km title with a UK and Scottish road best of 6 hours 24 minutes 05 seconds. In an exciting last 10K he prevailed over the Frenchman Thierry Guichard by a mere 21 seconds! Simon received the John Jewell Medal for 1999 which is presented annually by the Road Runners Club for the most outstanding annual road running performance at any distance from 10K upwards by a British athlete. In addition, he was Scotland’s Athlete of the Year; and would have been certain to win the Robertson Trophy

2000 Lynne MacDougall: 1984 Olympic 1500m finalist Lynne MacDougall (City of Glasgow) concentrated on road running after a very successful track career, winning Scottish and AAA titles. In 2000 she topped the Scottish rankings with 2:38:22 from second placer Trudi Thomson’s 2:40:40. Lynne’s time was set when she was first British female runner to finish in the London Marathon which meant that she was the UK Women’s Marathon Champion.

Simon Pride, who had decided to take a rest from ultras, won the Dublin Marathon in 2.18.49; and also the Scottish Marathon at Lochaber, breaking the course record. Running on his own for almost the whole way, he took advantage of perfect conditions to stop the clock in 2:21:17.

2001: Alan Reid won the Anglo-Celtic Plate, running for Scotland in the Home Countries International, and became UK 100km champion. The Peterhead AC athlete won the Two Bridges 36 in 1999; and the Speyside Way 50km in 2000. His other ultra-running achievements include: Gold (2001), silver and bronze medals in the British 100km Road Championships, the Scottish 50km title in 1999 and 2000 and winning the Barry 40 miles track race in 2001. Naturally he was a GB International and deserved to win the Robertson Trophy.

Lynne MacDougall: Despite appearing on no fewer than five Scottish all-time ranking lists, Lynne in 2001 stuck to road running, where the ability, that had made one of Scotland’s best ever at distances from 800m to 5000m on the track, indicated that she was certainly one of the best of her generation on this surface too. Lynn topped the Scottish lists at 10 Miles (55:28 when winning at Carlisle in November), half marathon (74:24 when finishing in fifteenth in the Great North Run at South Shields in September) and in the marathon (with 2:37:40 at London in April). She won the Scottish 10,000m with a time of 34:41 and it was her second national title at the distance with the first being in 1993 when she was timed at 34:28.

Simon Pride ran a very good personal best of 2.16.27 when he finished the London Marathon in 17th place.

2002: Lynne MacDougall improved her personal best with 2.36.29 when second in Seville but was subsequently injured and did not race in the Commonwealth Games.

Simon Pride represented his adopted country, Scotland, in the Manchester Commonwealth Games marathon in 2002, finishing sixteenth. Earlier he had won the Belfast Marathon.

Jamie Reid (Law and District) was Scottish Marathon Champion in 2002, 2003 and 2007; and won the Scottish 50km in 2004. In 2002 he topped the Scottish rankings with 2.21.46.

2003 Simon Pride (Metro Aberdeen RC) topped the rankings when he ran 2.18.52 for 5th place in Dublin. He had always maintained not only endurance but also speed in his training – long mile intervals with short recoveries, and tempo runs or fartlek, often on undulating forest tracks. After a brief return to ultra-running when he finished third in the 2004 European 100K Championships in Faenza, Italy, Simon reverted once more to shorter distances.  His marathon victories included: Belfast, Dublin, Lochaber and the Loch Ness event. He was Scottish Marathon Champion four times, in 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2006 (variously representing Keith, Metro Aberdeen and Forres Harriers).

2004: Kate Jenkins: Running for Carnethy Hill Running Club, Kate won the Scottish Marathon championship (always when it was held as part of the Elgin Marathon) four times (1997, 2000, 2003, 2007).  In 2007 and 2011, she was first in the Scottish 50km. In the West Highland Way Race, Kate Jenkins set a Women’s course record of 17:37:48, in 2000, when only one man was faster. She was also victorious in this arduous event in 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2006. Kate, usually accompanied by her spaniel, won the Speyside Way 50k in 2000, 2002 and 2004. Surely these achievements made her a likely winner of the Robertson Trophy?

Topping the Scottish Marathon rankings were Susan Partridge (City of Glasgow) with a time of 2.41.44; and Simon Pride (Metro Aberdeen) with 2.19.42.

2005 Hayley Haining: On 17 April the marathon career started for a woman who had started out running fast 800m races as a twelve-year-old. In the Flora London Marathon, Hayley clocked an outstanding 2:35:23, which led to her selection for the Great Britain World Champion team. In Helsinki, on 14th August, Hayley raced to a personal best of 2:34:41. The British team, led by the champion Paula Radcliffe, won bronze medals. On 2nd October Hayley competed in the World Half Marathon Championship in Edmonton, Canada, and finished 24th in 73:39.

Top of the Scottish rankings was Kathy Butler (Windsor), with an excellent 2.30.01 in Autumn when 7th at the Chicago Marathon. However, after such a superb season, Hayley Haining (Kilbarchan) would have been a worthy winner of the Robertson Trophy.

2006 Kathy Butler: ran even faster, with 2.28.39 when 9th at the Chicago Marathon. Born in Edinburgh, she was British 10,000m Champion in 2004 and 2005. Kathy represented GB in the 2004 Athens Olympics and finished 12th in the 10,000m. In 2003 she ran in Liverpool, leading a winning Scottish team in a cross-country match against England. Kathy also competed for Scotland in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 10,000m, finishing seventh. She deserved to win the Robertson Trophy.

Hayley Haining: In the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Marathon, another good run saw her finish ninth in 2:39:39, one place and 20 seconds ahead of Scottish rival Susan Partridge.  Hayley’s second marathon of the year was the Adidas Dublin Marathon where 2:31:51 was another personal best.

2007 Hayley Haining: She produced yet another fastest time when finishing sixth at the Berlin Marathon on 30th September with a time of 2:30:43. This topped the Scottish rankings and she should have regained the Robertson Trophy.

2008 Hayley Haining: After two fast half marathons, Hayley competed in the Flora London Marathon on 13th April: it turned out to be another personal best, a silver medal in the British Championships and an Olympic Qualifying time of 2:29:18, having gone through the half marathon in 73:56. It was the official qualifying race and she was second Briton behind Liz Yelling and had the time. BUT – and it was a very big but – Mara Yamauchi had already been selected and World Champion Paula Radcliffe had not run because she was injured and the selectors had to keep her in mind. Paula decided to run in the Beijing Olympic Marathon, although her performance was not good by her own high standards. Hayley was unlucky not to take part.

In the Scottish rankings, Hayley topped the lists for the 10K with a time of 32:24 run in Cardiff (second was Kathy Butler with 33:43 run in Cape Elisabeth, USA), for the half marathon with 70:53 in the Great North Run (second was Kathy Butler in 74:52 run in San Jose, USA) and the marathon with 2:29:18 (second was domestic rival Susan Partridge with 2:41:40). Hayley’s racing year ended with the New York City Marathon in 12th place, clocking 2:35:11. She should have retained the Robertson Trophy.

2009: Martin Williams (Tipton) topped the Scottish Men’s rankings with 2.18.24.

 Hayley Haining ran 2.36.08 in the Berlin Marathon.

2010 Andrew Lemoncello: The Fife AC Olympic steeplechaser ran a very good 2.13.40 when he was 8th in the London Marathon and became British and Scottish Champion.

Susan Partridge: The Leeds City athlete ran 2.35.57 to become Scottish Champion in London and secure British silver. She was selected for the GB team in the Barcelona European Championships Marathon and contributed to team bronze medals.

Perhaps both of these athletes should have received Robertson Trophy plaques.

A very good ultra-distance runner, Ellie Greenwood (Vancouver Falcons), became 2010 IAU 100 km World Champion in Gibraltar; and led GB to team gold as well. She was born in Dundee, but spent most of her childhood in England. She moved to Canada after graduating from university to work for a ski tour operator. Ellie lives in Vancouver, Canada, but races for Great Britain, although she has never run for Scotland.

2011 Susan Partridge: In the London Marathon, she ran 2:34:13 (a personal best) and secured bronze in the British Championships. Susan was picked for the World Championships in Korea. Although the temperature there was extremely hot, she finished a very good 24th (first GB athlete); and should have received the Robertson Trophy.

Andrew Lemoncello obtained a British silver medal 2:15:24 in the London Marathon, but his time (2.15.24) was slower, since his training had been affected by an Achilles tendon injury.

2011 Craig Stewart: The Forfar Road Runner won the Anglo-Celtic Plate International 100k race in 7.01.36, leading the Scottish Men’s team to victory over the other Home Nations. Craig should have been awarded the Robertson Trophy.

Hayley Haining ran 2:35:10 in the New York City Marathon.  

2012 Freya Murray-Ross: The Edinburgh athlete produced an excellent 2:28:12 in the London Marathon and won British Championship silver. In the London Olympic Marathon, she ran a good well-paced race to be first Briton in 44th place, recording 2.32.14. Freya was victorious in six Scottish cross-country championships; and, in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, represented Scotland in 5000m and 10,000m. She thoroughly deserved to win the Robertson Trophy.

Derek Hawkins (Kilbarchan) ran a fine first marathon, clocking 2:14:04 in Frankfurt to top the Scottish Men’s rankings.

2013 Susan Partridge: The Leeds-based athlete (who had been born and educated in Scotland) recorded her fastest time (2:30:46) when she was 9th in the London Marathon and became British Champion. In the Moscow World Championship Marathon, Susan came through very strongly to finish an excellent 10th and third European. She should definitely have regained the Robertson Trophy.

Derek Hawkins: The Kilbarchan man became British Champion by running 2.16.50 in the London Marathon. Although he was selected for the GB World Championship Marathon team, he decided not to go, preferring to continue training for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Hayley Haining secured a bronze medal in the British Championships with 2:36:56.

2014 Derek Hawkins: He had been Scottish Cross-Country Champion in 2011 and 2012. Derek ran very strongly to record 2:14:15 and finish 9th – and first Briton – in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Marathon. He should have shared the Robertson Trophy with Susan Partridge, who was sixth in the Commonwealth Games race, with 2.32.18.

Hayley Haining ended her very successful racing career with 13th place in Glasgow. Aged 42, Hayley became Scotland’s oldest Commonwealth Games athlete.

Ellie Greenwood regained the IAU 100km World Championship in Doha. She has broken numerous course records, including those for the Western States 100, the Canadian Death Race, the JFK 50 Mile Run and the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run. She was the first British woman to win (in 2014) the 90 km/54 miles Comrades Marathon in South Africa; and has a 100km personal best, set in 2010, of 7:29.05.

2015: Ross Houston: The Central AC athlete won the prestigious Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km (the Home Countries International contest) – and became UK Champion – in an excellent record event time of 6.43.35. Ross had been Scottish Marathon Champion at Inverness in 2011 and 2012. He should have been awarded the Robertson Trophy.

Topping the Scottish marathon rankings were: Susan Partridge, with a very good time of 2:31:31; and the promising Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan) with 2:12:17 when 12th in Frankfurt.

2016 Callum Hawkins: The very talented young Scot became British (and Scottish) Champion when 8th in the London Marathon, in a personal best of 2:10:52. In the Rio Olympics, despite roasting temperatures, Callum performed marvellously to achieve 9th place in 2.11.52. He and his older brother Derek were both trained by their father Robert. Callum would certainly have won the Robertson Trophy.

In London, Derek Hawkins ran 2:12:57 for bronze in the British Championships. He was chosen to represent GB in Rio but, hampered by injury, was forced to struggle bravely to the finish.

Tsegai Tewelde of Shettleston (formerly Eritrean) was second Briton at the London Marathon in 12th place with a time of 2:12:23. Although this earned him a place in the Great Britain team for the Rio Olympics, he did not manage to finish in the men’s marathon.

Freya Ross became Scottish Marathon Champion in London with a time of 2.37.52.

Ross Houston created a new Scottish 50km Championship record (2.56.37).

2017 Callum Hawkins: performed superbly to finish fourth in the London World Championship Marathon, clocking his fastest-ever time of 2:10:17. In Japan, Callum created a new Scottish National Half Marathon record, winning in 60 minutes exactly. Previously, he had competed for Scotland in the 10,000 metres at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the men’s 10,000 metres, finishing 20th. Callum was Scottish Cross-Country Champion in 2014 and 2017. Undoubtedly, he should have won the Robertson Trophy.

2017 Robbie Simpson (Deeside Runners) became Scottish Marathon Champion in London, with a time of 2.15.04, which secured a British Championship silver medal and qualified him for the 2017 World Championships Marathon, as well as the 2018 Commonwealth event. Unfortunately, injury prevented him from taking up his place at the World Championships but he bounced back to be at his best at the Commonwealth Games.

Susan Partridge became Scottish Marathon Champion in the London Marathon, clocking 2.37.51.

2018 Rob Turner: The Edinburgh AC athlete won the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km and became both Scottish and UK Champion. Scotland’s Men defeated the other Home Countries to win the Team award.

Robbie Simpson: He had run his first marathon in 2016, finishing 18th in the London Marathon with 2.15.38. Previously Robbie had competed in mountain running events, having been a silver medallist at the 2014 European Mountain Running Championships and a bronze medallist at the 2015 World Mountain Running Championships. Robbie competed five times at the European Mountain Running Championships and five times at the World Championships. He won the Jungfrau Marathon in 2016 and 2018. In very hot conditions at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Marathon, Robbie judged his effort brilliantly and came through to secure a bronze medal in 2.19.36.

Perhaps both of these fine Scottish distance runners should have received Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy plaques.

2019

Sophie Mullins (Fife AC) became the very first Scottish woman to win the Anglo-Celtic Plate (along with UK and Scottish titles).

Steph Twell delivered a new Scottish Record for the Women’s marathon with a superb run in Germany. She clocked 2:26.40 to finish eighth in the Frankfurt Marathon – with that time 12 seconds quicker than Liz McColgan’s time from 1997; and well below the 2:29.30 qualifying time for the Olympics being asked by British Athletics. Steph is now fifth on the all-time British list. She also set a new Half Marathon personal best of 68.54, a time only beaten by Liz McColgan on the all-time Scottish list.

Callum Hawkins ran brilliantly, and very hard, to secure 10th place in the London Marathon, creating a new Scottish National Record 2:08:14.  He won British Championship silver behind Mo Farah. (The previous Scottish Record was set by Allister Hutton, 34 years ago!)

Callum’s performance guaranteed a place in the team for the World Championships in Doha and thrust him into contention for one of the three GB 2020 Olympics spots, since he finished well inside the qualifying time.

He said: “It was really tough. It was windy about three quarters of the way around. I had a funny moment when I hit 40km but managed to get myself back together. It’s a good stepping stone for whatever I choose towards the end of the year. Hopefully it will be the World Championships and perhaps I will be pushing for a medal and be in even better condition.”

Callum came so close, with a fantastic fourth place in the World Championship Marathon. He was awarded the trophy for Scottish Athletics Male Athlete of the Year. Subsequently, he was pre-selected for the GB 2020 Olympic Marathon team.

 

From Ray Aiken

In April 2019 I joined 6 cyclists for a bike tour of Palestine.  Our arrival in Bethlehem coincided nicely with the Palestinian marathon. I knew that both the distance and hilly terrain were beyond my current ability but I thought I might manage the 10k. Another cyclist called Mike had entered for the family 5k fun run but agreed to join me if I’d do the 10k. He wondered given his current injury status if he’d manage the 10k. I wondered if I could. What an experience.

Here’s what I wrote about the 10k:

Don’t think I’ll forget that 10k in a while

I came for a cycle.

On the 22nd March the day after arrival

The Palestinian marathon took over.

Running for me has lessened and taken longer with age

The surface now generally grassy and soft

5 kilometres has been the longest for a long while

Now I was going to attempt 10k on a hilly tarred terrain

Even thought of a full 26 miler

Graham finally and in retrospect mercifully nailed that one on the head

keeping my feet on the ground.

 Mike upgraded from 5k

We were going to start together

On warm sunny weather.

He thought I might finish ahead

With previous injuries he might not finish.

I was asked about pace

Suggested somewhere between 5 and 6 mins per k.

Thinks I, can you even do that now, Ray?

 We were well back in the crowd at the start

Shuffled along as we crossed

Dodging in and out over the line

Picking up speed and then slowing down

As others ran or walked across our path

or right in front

Stopped.

 Well over 6 minutes for the first kilometre

Ideas of a 5 minutes per k out the window.

With the next sub 6 mentally set the target as an hour in total

I kept Mike informed with info from Garmin.

He reminded me it wasn’t all about time.

A timely reminder.

 Up hills and there were many

he went ahead or maybe it was me that dropped back.

Downhill the reverse.

We worked well together.

Complemented

and giving compliments.

 What a party atmosphere

Music, laughter and song

With slogans on posters

Advised not to run into the wall.

Young and old

Great spectator support

Encouraged by others for just being there.

 After 5 k I became quite convinced we’d do it.

If injury didn’t set in

We were sure to fin…..ish.

 We reached 10k in just over 57

There was still that steep hill

Going up it Mike picked up the pace

I’m not too far behind

Just over one hour for over 10k.

 Elated to have done it

To be part of such an occasion

I’m on a high

I’ve run in some big races

But can barely recall

Finishing with such elation.

 The chap on the loudspeaker

Thanked us all

52 nations represented in freedom of movement

We ran feeling part of a cause

One day to walk, run freely

Unrestricted

No borders

I’ve started supporting a Marathon Cause.

 

I think the marathon winner, Quentin Guillon, has written a great article which captures the pathos and magnificence of the event I was privileged to see and participate in. It’s worth a read:  

http://quentinguillon.com/index.php/2019/04/02/palestine-marathon-a-run-between-the-walls/

                                                            Frank Hurley (M65 gold) leading Tony Martin (M65 silver)

 

                                                  Heather Anderson (W40 gold) outsprinting Angela Mudge (W45 gold)

                                                                              Sue Ridley (W50 gold medallist)

                                                    Claire Gordon (W40 silver) moving clear of Ruth Fraser Moodie (W40 bronze)

Honorary President:

ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President:

CAMPBELL JOSS

25 Speirs Road

Bearsden, G61 2LX

Tel: 0141 9420731

cdjoss2@gmail.com

 

Immediate Past President:

ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

 

Vice-President:

ADA STEWART

30 Earlsburn Road,

Lenzie, G66 5PF

Tel: 0141 5780526

Honorary Secretary:

ARLENE LEWIS

202 Archerhill Road

Knightswood

Glasgow, G13 3YX

Tel: 07850 070337

Honorary Treasurer:

ANDY LAW

Euphian, Kilduskland Road

Ardrishaig, Argyll

PA30 8EH

Tel. 01546 605336

LAWCHGAIR@aol.com

Membership Secretary:

ADA STEWART

30 Earlsburn Road,

Lenzie, G66 5PF

Tel: 0141 5780526

stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper:

PETER RUDZINSKI

106 Braes Avenue

Clydebank. G81 1DP

Tel.0141 5623416

p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN   BELL

Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street

Glasgow G20 8QW

Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE

6 Kintyre Wynd

Carluke, ML8 5RW

Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER

12 Powburn Crescent

Uddingston, G71 7SS

Tel: 01698 810575

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEWART McCRAE

17 Woodburn Way, Balloch

Cumbernauld G68 9BJ

Tel: 01236 728783

 

 Eddie McKenzie

Little Haremoss,

Fortrie, Turriff

Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR

Tel: 01464 871430

 

PAUL THOMPSON

Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae

Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ

Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG

4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs

Glasgow G64 2EH

Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates

To be appointed

Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate

Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM

To be appointed

Website

Ada Stewart

Auditor

George Inglis

FIXTURES 01 2010/11

*****************************

 

 

Covid-19 virus. All events up to at least end May are cancelled or postponed. It might be much longer.

March 2020

Sun 15th – Sat 21st

Postponed until 10 – 17 January 2021  
European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships
Braga, Portugal

April 2020

Sun 5th Postponed

Tom Scott 10 mile Road Race

Water Sports Centre, Strathclyde Park,

Sun 19th Postponed

British Masters 10k Road Championships,
Grangemouth Stadium

 

 

May 2020

Wed 5th Cancelled

Snowball Race 4.8 miles

Coatbridge 7:30pm

Changing at Lochview Golf Driving Centre

Sat 16th Cancelled

British Masters Road Relay Championships
Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield

Sat 30th   TBC

Bathgate Weslo Cairnpapple Race

2:30pm £3 entry

June 2020

Wed 3rd   TBC

Corstorphine 5 Mile Road Race

Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh, 7:30pm

Sun 21st  TBC

BMAF 5K Champs, Horwich

Wed 24th  TBC

SVHC 5K Champs

Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street,

Clydebank, 19:30

July 2020

Sat 4th  TBC

SAL Masters 5000m Track Champs Greenfaulds High School, Cumbernauld

Sat 11th TBC

SAL Masters T&F Champs

Scotstoun Stadium  TBC

Sun 19th  TBC

BMAF Half Marathon Champs

Redhill, Surrey

August 2020

TBC

We are trying to replace theGlasgow 800 10km road race with a 50th anniversary race up the Rest & be Thankful. Check SVHC website tor further info.

Sat 29th  

SA Masters & SVHC 10000m Track Champs
Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock

September 2020

TBC

Masters Cross Country Trials

Tollcross Park, Glasgow

 

Web site: www.scottishmastersathletics.webnode.com

 

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: WINTER 2019

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 23rd November 2019

MEMBERS

For those who have not already renewed membership, payment is now due.

Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

Welcome to the 17 new and 18 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 9th August 2019. As of 23rd November 2019, we have 556 members, including 30 over 80 & 4 Life Members.

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests and shorts can be purchased from Andy Law – £18 for vests, including postage and £23 for shorts, including postage. If ordering both together deduct one lot of postage. Or, can be delivered to any of the Club races by arrangement with no postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2518 William Halliday 11-Aug-19 Lochgilphead

2519 Scott Henderson 11-Aug-19 Glasgow

2520 Nanette Heaney 19-Aug-19 Ceres

2521 Stuart Gibson 21-Aug-19 East Kilbride

2522 Stuart Robertson 28-Aug-19 Perth

2523 Finlay Finlay 30-Aug-19 Glasgow

2524 Morag Casey 30-Aug-19 Glasgow

2525 Andrew Norris 06-Sep-19 Glasgow

2526 William McCulloch 14-Sep-19 Galashiels

2527 Walter Henderson 16-Sep-19 Glasgow

2528 Yvonne Burgess 19-Sep-19 Glasgow

2529 Joe Chambers 23-Sep-19 Glasgow

2530 Colin Reilly 07-Oct-19 Glasgow

2531 Margaret Cavanagh 24-Oct-19 Kirkcaldy

2532 Daniel Scroop 12-Nov-19 Bearsden

2535 Ewan Jack 22-Nov-19 Dollar

2536 Billy Colvin 18-Nov-19 Edinburgh

2152 Crispin Walsh 21-Aug-19 Glasgow

2462 Barry Queen 23-Aug-19 Helensburgh

1503 James Rowley 31-Aug-19 Carluke

2320 Stuart McGeachy 09-Sep-19 Campbeltown

2047 Russell Whittington 09-Sep-19 Glasgow

917 Andy Rennie 12-Sep-19 Irvine

1702 Robert Rogerson 20-Oct-19 Kilsyth

2378 Jill Smylie 24-Oct-19 Glasgow

2387 Grant Noble 01-Nov-19 Dunbar

2133 Roddy Simpson 01-Nov-19 Linlithgow

2415 Alan Cameron 01-Nov-19 Airdrie

170 Richard Hodelet 01-Nov-19 Bishopton

2234 Morag Taggart 04-Nov-19 Broughty Ferry

1227 Alex MacEwen 05-Nov-19 Edinburgh

1377 Carol-Ann Gray 11-Nov-19 Edinburgh

2190 Jim Wilson 13-Nov-19 Lanark

2003 Louis O’Hare 14-Nov-19 Chryston

931 Douglas Cowie 17-Nov-19 Forres

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

Obituary: MEL EDWARDS M.B.E.

Sadly, after a typically brave and very long battle against cancer, Mel Edwards, the hugely-popular Aberdeen runner, died recently aged 76. 500 people attended the cremation. Many SVHC members will remember Mel’s endless enthusiasm and love for our sport. Do go to ‘Elite Endurance’ on the Scottish Distance Running History website to find Mel’s updated profile, as well as detailed obituaries of a great man.

                                   BRITISH AND IRISH MASTERS CROSS-COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL

                                        AT AINTREE RACECOURSE ON THE 16TH OF NOVEMBER

                            

         Original Int XC vest. Wrexham 1988 5th November: from Bobby Young

 Scottish athletes enjoyed a particularly successful outing to the 2019 version of this great annual fixture. Individually, three gold, five silver and two bronze medals were secured; and there were two team victories as well as five silver medals (M60, M65, M70, M75, W35) and nine bronze.

Michelle Sandison (W35), Alastair Walker (M60) and Ann White (W65) each retained titles won last year. Ann was chased all the way by Jane Waterhouse (who has a very fine record in this event), Jeanette Craig finished fourth and Linden Nicholson fifth, which ensured team triumph. The other winning Scottish outfit was M35 due to fine runs by Stuart Gibson 2nd, Richard Mair 3rd and Colin Reilly 4th.

Scott Brember won M45 silver for the second year in succession. Alex Sutherland improved to M70 silver. Bobby Young fought off a Welsh rival for M75 silver. Jennifer MacLean, such a consistent runner, took W45 bronze.

Grant Baillie 4th was first Scottish M40; David Gardiner 5th led our M50 team; and Chris Upson finished 9th M55; Alastair Walker (M60)  was well-supported by Rob McLennan 9th and Jeff Farquhar 12th; the M65 Trojans delivered yet again, with Tony Martin 4th, Andy McLinden 5th and Frank Hurley 8th; Alex Sutherland was well-backed by Robert Marshall 7th, Norman Baillie 8th and Stewart McCrae 9th. Bobby Young’s old friend, Pete Cartwright, finished 7th M75.

Michelle Sandison’s W35 team-mates included Katie White 5th, Sara Green 6th and Jill Smylie 10th; Louise Ross finished 8th W40; Megan Wright was 10th W45; Ana Richardson ran well for 4th W50, with Mary McCutcheon 6th; Anne Howie (6th W55) was supported by Mary Western 8th , Rhona Anderson 9th and Pamela McCrossan 10th; Isobel Burnett was 5th W60, with Phyllis O’Brien 9th, Nanette Heaney 10th and Innes Bracegirdle 11th;  Liz Corbett finished 9th W70); and Elizabeth Gilchrist was 4th W75.

Congratulations Alastair Walker Scottish Athletics Masters Athlete of the Year 2019!

This award could not be more deserved. Alastair has had an absolutely fanastic year of competitive success. He is World, European, British and Scottish Masters M60 Champion at 10k and/or 10,000m; European, British and Scottish Masters M60 Champion at 5000m and/or 5k; and British and Irish, British and Scottish Masters M60 XC Champion!

The greatest Scottish Veteran Harriers include runners like Janette Stevenson, Trudi Thomson, Fiona Matheson, John Emmet Farrell, Gordon Porteous, Bill Stoddart, Willie Marshall, Donald Macgregor and Donald Ritchie, amongst others; and now Alastair Walker of Teviotdale Harriers can certainly be added to this small, select list of superstars.

                                                                                       AINTREE

It was fantastic to be selected to represent Scotland again at the Masters International. There is always a great atmosphere within the squad and a rendition of “Flower of Scotland” during the team photo certainly spurred us on.  I was all warmed up and ready to race at 11am when a fifteen-minute delay due to the late running of the England bus was announced: there is nothing worse than hanging about in the cold in your vest and shorts. But at last we gathered at the start. I pushed my way to the front as all the England women had lined up across the start line. It was so much better having a separate race for the older runners: the start was much less crowded and it was sometimes possible to see other runners in my age group during the race.

I found the course itself rather disappointing: three circuits of a flat field with no hills, no mud, no trees and no standing water. Not really cross country at all! But I soon settled into a rhythm and tried to maintain a steady pace. On the second lap my daughter, Katie, told me that I was one second ahead of the next V65 runner. This spurred me on and by half way through the third lap she shouted “Just keep going steady and you’ve got it!” There was plenty of great support all round the course. It really does make a huge difference to hear your name being shouted out. I was delighted to run through the finish line as first woman in the race and even more delighted to realise that we had won the FV65 team gold as well. Great running, Jane and Jeanette! What a team!

The evening event was very enjoyable, meeting up with people that we hadn’t seen since Swansea last year. The camaraderie carried over into the Sunday morning when we met lots of people running down the pier and along the sea front. Then it was all over for another year. Hope to see everyone in Dublin.

By Ann White

 NEW EDITOR REQUIRED FOR THE SVHC NEWSLETTER

The Spring 2020 edition will be my last as editor. By then I will have overseen the creation and publication of 21 magazines – and feel that new blood is needed. It has been a very enjoyable task, with lots of assistance from Karen Connal, our computer expert; and contributions from so many SVHC members, especially David Fairweather.

After Spring, I will continue to help my successor (if asked) by suggesting material or  people to email etc. The new editor will not be unsupported, when she or he works on the Autumn edition and puts her or his own stamp on a fascinating and satisfying project, which receives so much positive feedback.

Please consider yourself for the post! (Joint-editorship with a partner would also be possible.)

Colin Youngson  

 

British Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships

By Mike Clerihew

The main BMAF T&F event was held at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham over the weekend 10th/11th August.  Windy and wet conditions on Saturday hampered performances and although Sunday was dry the gusty wind remained an inhibiting factor.   Despite the conditions the 32 Scottish competitors returned with an amazing haul of 47 medals – 26 gold, 13 silver and 8 bronze setting three British records, one Scottish Masters best with another being equalled.

It was good to see 1970 Commonwealth Games discus champion and multiple Word Masters champion Rosemary Chrimes (formerly Payne) return to competition after an absence of five years and set three British records in the W85 age group winning the hammer with a throw of 19.40, shot with 7.08m and discus with 18.61m.  Although her shot figure is listed as the British record Rosemary actually recorded 7.09m at the beginning of August at Birmingham University relays as well as clearing 90cm for a new British record in the high jump.  A bit odd that her high jump performance has been ratified as a record but her not her shot.

James Smith (Motherwell) was another triple gold winner taking the 200m in a time of 30.65s, bettering his own Scottish Masters best, the 100m and the long jump with a leap of 3.67m in the M75 category.  Double golds were claimed by Claire Cameron (VP-Glasgow) in the W60 shot and discus, Anne Howie (Aberdeen) in the W55 800m and 1500m and John Thomson (Fife) in the M60 800m and 1500m.

Dougie Graham (Edinburgh) equalled his own Scottish Masters best with a winning 4.20m in the M40 pole vault and other winners were Liz Bowers (Worcester ) – W65 800m, Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh) – W35 long jump, Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) – W40 2000m steeplechase, Bill Gentleman (Edinburgh) – M75 hammer, Graham Lay (Southampton) – M40 shot, Allan Leiper (Aldershot, Farnham and District) – M55 weight throw, Linzie Marsh (Pitreavie) – W40 high jump, Alan Robertson (Motherwell) – M40 200m, Ron Todd (Central) – M55 pole vault, Julie Tuck (Aberdeen) – W40 80m hurdles, David Valentine (West Suffolk) – M60 hammer, Alastair Walker (Teviotdale) – M60 5000m and Colin Welsh (Gala) – M35 800m.

Well done to all athletes competing and my apologies to any I have omitted.  Full results are listed below.

Name Club Age Event Position Performance Comments
James Buchanan Dumfries M50 3000m s/c 3rd 11m 54.10s
Liz Bowers Worcester W65 800m 1st 3m 14.17s
Stephen Brown West End RR M35 800m 6th 2m 10.30s
1500m 5th 4m 29.48s
Claire Cameron VP-Glasgow W60 shot 1st 9.36m
discus 1st 26.97m
weight 3rd 11.08m
hammer 4th 26.00m
Rosemary Chrimes Halesowen W85 hammer 1st 19.40m British record
shot 1st 7.08m British record
discus 1st 18.61m British record
Gillian Cooke Edinburgh W35 long jump 1st 5.29m
100m 3rd 13.30s
Douglas Dickson Kilmarnock M50 200m 7th 28.43s
Bob Douglas Livingston M65 400m 2nd 66.07s
100m 5th 14.15s
Jacqui Etherington Cambuslang W40 2000m s/c 1st 7m 49.63s
Bill Gentleman Edinburgh M75 hammer 1st 30.90m
weight 2nd 12.26m
Douglas Graham Edinburgh M40 pole vault 1st 4.20m =SMBP
Anne Howie Aberdeen W55 800m 1st 2m 41.08s
1500m 1st 5m 24.29s
Ian Johnston SVHC M50 5000m 5th 17m 09.53s English national
Ian Johnstone Inverness M65 1500m 5th 6m 00.52s
Graham Lay Southampton M40 shot 1st 12.53m
discus 2nd 35.18m
weight 3rd 10.41m
javelin 3rd 41.97m
hammer 4th 28.23m
Gary Leek Edinburgh M55 100m 5th 12.82s
200m 9th 27.36s
Stephen Leek Livingston M35 long jump 2nd 5.39m
javelin 2nd 36.89m
Allan Leiper Aldershot Farnham & Dist M55 weight 1st 13.87m
shot 2nd 12.61m
high jump 3rd 1.45m
javelin 3rd 39.42m
long jump 6th 4.40m
discus 5th 34.92m
pole vault n.h
Martin Leyland Shetland M60 100m 4th 13.43s
200m 4th 27.77s heat 27.62s
Linzie Marsh Pitreavie W40 high jump 1st 1.40m
Paul Masterton Corstorphine M55 high jump 2nd 1.45m
James MacGregor Aberdeen M50 high jump 2nd 1.60m
Grant Ramsay Fairlands Valley Spartans M45 3000m s/c 2nd 12m 25.14s
Alan Robertson Motherwell M40 200m 1st 23.75s
100m 2nd 11.76s.
Iain Robertson Clydesdale M40 800m 4th 2m 06.47s
Jim Sloan Annan M75 discus 5th 22.41m
James Smith Motherwell M75 100m 1s t 14.91s
200m 1s t 30.65s SMBP
long jump 1st 3.67m
John Thomson Fife M60 800m 1st 2m 23.07s
1500m 1st 4m 58.43s
Ron Todd Central M55 pole vault 1st 3.30m
Julie Tuck Aberdeen W40 80m hdls 1st 13.35s
long jump 2nd 4.89m
shot 3rd 8.44m
David Valentine West Suffolk M60 hammer 1st 47.47m
weight 2nd 17.22m
Alastair Walker Teviotdale M60 5000m 1s t 16m 55.16s
Colin Welsh Gala M35 800m 1st 2m 04.26s
1500m 2nd 4m 15.83s

                                  Scottish Masters Track and Field Outdoor Best Performances

  Claims for a Scottish Masters Best Performance should be submitted with details to Mike Clerihew (mikeclerihew@yahoo.com)         

Note: When a Scottish Masters Best Performance betters a British Record and the British Record is held by a Scot the British Record is shown in italics below the Scottish Masters Best.  This situation could arise for a variety of reasons such as appropriate British Record request form not being lodged or being unacceptable.  Legal wind speed readings are required for British Record ratification but not for Scottish Masters bests.                                                                           

The majority of timings are official electronic ones but it has been agreed that if a manual timing is 0.25s better than any electronic one it will be accepted as a best performance.  If less than 0.25s better both timings are recorded.                                                                         

100 metres  

M35 Darren Scott 10.74 2006 Bedford
M40 Darren Scott 10.81 2010 Nyiregyhaza Hungary
M45 Darren Scott 11.19 2015 Manchester
M50 Darren Scott 11.47 2019 Abingdon British Record
M55 John Steede 12.30 1997 Durban S. Africa
John Steede 12.2 (m ) 1997 Coatbridge
Alasdair Ross 12.2 (m) 2007 Bracknell
M60 Alasdair Ross 12.42 2013 Solihull
M65 John Ross 12.91 2003 Derby
M70 Walter Hunter 13.79 2014 Pitreavie
M75 Walter Hunter 14.10 2014 Birmingham
M80 John Ross 16.91 2018 Grangemouth
M85 Duncan McLean 16.3 (m) 1973 San Diego USA British Record
M90 Duncan McLean 19.9 (m ) 1975 Hendon
Duncan McLean 19.9 (m ) 1977 Gothenburg Sweden British Record
W35 Joss Harwood 12.39 1993 Miyazaki Japan
Joss Harwood 12.2 (m) 1993 Rotherham
W40 Joss Harwood 12.72 1999 Gateshead
W45 Pat McKinnon 13.1 (m) 1997 Coatbridge
Dawn Whittle 13.14 2007 Wishaw
W50 Sylvia Wood 14.0 (m) 1997 Coatbridge
Joss Harwood 14.12 2008 Pitreavie
W55 Esther Linaker 14.21 2000 Jyvasklya Finland
Esther Linaker 14.1 (m) 2000 Aberdeen
W60 Esther Linaker 14.05 2003 Pitreavie British Record
W65 Esther Linaker 15.44 2006 Scotstoun
W70 Betty Steedman 18.04 2004 Arhus Denmark
Rosemary Chrimes 17.9 (m) 2007 Solihull
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 18.00 2010 Birmingham
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 19.75 2013 Birmingham British Record
          

200 metres       

M35 Darren Scott 21.15 2008 Ljubljana Slovenia
M40 Darren Scot t 21.64 2010 Nyiregyhaz Hungary British Record
M45 Darren Scott 22.49 2015 Lyon France
M50 Alasdair Ross 23. 2002 Hendon
Darren Scott 23.6 (m) 2019 Warrington
M55 Alasdair Ross 24.66 2007 Riccion Italy
M60 Alasdair Ross 25.38 2015 Lyon France
Alasdair Ross 25.3 (m) 2013 Abingdon
M65 John Ross 26.38 2003 Norfolk Virginia U.S.A.
M70 John Ross 28.86 2008 Pitreavie
Ernie Plimer 28.8 (m) 1987 Glasgow
M75 James Smith 30.6 5 2019 Birmingham
M80 John Ross 36.54 2018 Grangemouth
M85 Duncan McLean 41.1 (m) 1972 Crystal Palace London
M90 Duncan McLean 49.2 (m) 1975 Toronto Canada
W35 Joss Harwood 24.5 (m) 1993 Edinburgh
W40 Joss Harwood 25.9 (m) 1999
W45 Pat McKinnon 27.8 (m) 1997 Coatbridge
W50 Christine Scarles 28.6 (m) 1995 Pitreavie
W55 Esther Linaker 29.94 2000 Jyvasklya Finland
W60 Esther Linaker 29.59 2003 Pitreavie
W65 Betty Steedman 35.64 1998 Sheffield
W70 Betty Steedman 38.04 2004 Arhus Denmark
W75 Christine McLennan 41.31 2007 Riccione Italy
W80 Christine McLenna n 44.28 201 1 Sacramento USA
                     

400 metres     

M35 Darren Scott 49.35 2008 Stretford
M40 Darren Scott 49.81 2011 Sacramento USA
M45 Alasdair Ross 51.18 1997 Durban South Africa
M50 Alasdair Ross 53.55 2003 Derby
M55 Alasdair Ross 54.94 2007 Riccione Italy
M60 Alasdair Ros s 56.53 2015 Lyon France
M65 John Ross 59.71 2003 Norfolk Virginia U.S.A.
M70 John Ross 64.84 2008 Pitreavie British Record
M75 John Ross 72.48 2014 Birmingham
M80 Harry Tempan 83.79 2008 Kingston
M85 Fred Cowan 1.36.00 2019 Grangemouth British Record
M90 Hugh McGinlay 2.19.46 2017 Grangemouth
W35 Philippa Millage 55.59 2016 Southampton
W40 Dianne MacKenzie 59.47 2000 Inverness
W45 Barbara Oliver 60.00 1989
W50 Laura Mahady 61.05 2009 Lahti Finland
W55 Laura Mahady 64.60 2013 Birmingham
Laura Mahady 64.6 (m ) 2013 Aberdeen
W60 Betty Steedman 78.84 1993 Miyazaki Japan
W65 Liz Bowers 85.99 2018 Solihull
W70 Ann Bath 2.06.22 2018 Birmingham
W75 Christine McLennan 90.15 2006 Poznan Poland
                          

800 metres     

M35 Colin Welsh 1.58.56 2018 Stretford
M40 Alastair Dunlop 1.58.45 1996 Malmo Sweden
M45 Alastair Dunlop 1.59.08 2001 Brisbane Aus
M50 Alastair Dunlop 2.03.14 2005 San Sebastian Spain
M55 James Whiteford 2.07.62 1999 Gateshead
M60 Harry Tempan 2.15.2 1985 Wormwood Scrubs
M65 Fred Cowan 2.19.8 2001 Pitreavie
. Harry Tempan 2.21.0 1990 Glasgow British Record
M70 Jimmy Todd 2.38.94 1994 Glasgow
M75 Jimmy Todd 2.42.35 1997 Birmingham
Jimmy Todd 2.45.82 1997 Durban South Africa British Record
M80 Harry Tempan 3.08.8 2008 Kingston
M85 David Morrison 4.19.81 1999 Gateshead
M90 Emmett Farrell 4.38.99 1999 Gateshead British Record
W35 Philippa Millage 2.05.13 2016 Manchester
W40 Sonia Armitage 2.19.3 2004 Aberdeen
W45 Sonia Armitage 2.19.8 2007 Dundee
W50 Laura Mahady 2.19.50 2009 Lhati Finland
W55 Laura Mahady 2.27.05 2013 Grangemouth
W60 Sandra Branney 2.53.61 2016 Grangemouth
W65 Janette Stevenson 3.00.33 2016 Perth Australia
                           

1500 metres  

M35 Stuart Campbell 4.04.62 2006 Grangemouth
M40 Ian Elliott 3.57.9 1992 Grangemouth
M45 Bill Boyd 4.11.16 1999 Gateshead
M50 Alastair Dunlop 4.12.65 2005 San Sebastian Spain
M55 Alastair Dunlop 4.25.83 2011 Sacramento USA
M60 Harry Tempan 4.36.04 1985 Rome Italy British Record
M65 Harry Tempan 4.44.0 1990 Solihull British Record
M70 Jimmy Todd 5.12.51 1992 Kristiansand Norway British Record
M75 David Morrison 5.50.1 1989 Newcastle
M80 Harry Tempan 6.30.1 2007 Kingston
Gordon Porteous 6.39.4 1995 Jarrow British Record
M85 Gordon Porteous 7.41.45 1999 Gateshead British Record
M90 Gordon Porteous 9-01.92 2004 Birmingham British Record
W35 Phillippa Millage 4.20.22 2017 Glasgow
W40 Carol Sharp 4.40.9 1995 Birmingham
W45 Sonia Armitage 4.45.36 2007 Riccione Italy
W50 Fiona Matheson 4.46.86 2012 Derby
W55 Sandra Branney 4.57.58 2009 Pitreavie
W60 Janette Stevenson 5.25.47 2009 Birmingham
W65 Janette Stevenson 5.50.62 2016 Perth Australia
W70 Ann Bath 8.22.09 2018 Birmingham
                     

3000 metres    

W35 Sandra Branney 9.26.0 1989 Walthamstow
W40 Lesley Chisholm 10.05.47 2016 Glasgow
W45 Janette Stevenson 10.17.7 1995 Coatbridge
W50 Fiona Matheson 9.58.0 2012 Grangemouth
W55 Sandra Branney 10.13.8 2009 Meadowbank British Record
W60 Janette Stevenson 11.20.22 2009 Pitreavie
W65 Jocelyn Ross 12.47.6 1993 Wormwood Scrubs
                     

5000 metres    

M35 Robert Quinn 14.23.08 2002 Scotstoun
M40 Donald Macgregor 14.33.5 1979 Edinburgh
M45 Archie Jenkins 15.21.0 1997 Jarrow
M50 Iain Campbell 16.08.3 2010 Eton
M55 Alistair Murray 16.56.00 2008 Pitreavie
M60 Andy Brown 16.48.40 1994 Ayr
M65 Willie Marshall 18.02.12 1993 Jarrow British Record
M70 Willie Marshall 19.16.8 1999 Edinburgh
M75 Jimmy Todd 20.00.13 1997 Durban South Africa
M80 Gordon Porteous 23.39.1 1994 Coatbridge
M85 Gordon Porteous 24.51.7 1999 Edinburgh British Record
M90 Gordon Porteous 31.25.45 2004 Birmingham European Record
W35 Sandra Branney 16.08.15 1989 Jarrow
W40 Hayley Haining 17.02.03 2014 Glasgow
W45 Fiona Mathieson 17.23.93 2008 Pitreavie
W50 Fiona Mathieson 16.55.08 2011 Scotstoun British Record
W55 Sandra Branney 17.52.82 2009 Pitreavie British Record
W60 Janette Stevenson 19.05.70 2009 Birmingham
W65 Janette Stevenson 21.08.25 2016 Perth Australia
W70 Ann Bath 29.17.78 2018 Birmingham
                     

10,000 metres  

M35 Chris Robison 28.47.26 1997 Sheffield
M40 Donald Macgregor 30.04.2 1979 Hanover Germany
M45 Kerry-Liam Wilson 31.33.38 2016 Crownpoint Glasgow
M50 Jeff Farquhar 32.58.51 2010 Meadowbank
M55 Bill Stoddart 33.35 1986 Glasgow
M60 Alastair Walker 34.54.08 2019 Carluke
M65 Willie Marshall 37.30.60 1993 Jarrow
M70 Willie Marshall 40.12.88 1999 Edinburgh
M75 David Morrison 42.03.4 1989 Coatbridge
M80 Gordon Porteous 48.06.0 1994 Greenock
M85 Gordon Porteous 55.03.48 1999 Gateshead British Record
M90 Gordon Porteous 69.27.5 2004 Coatbridge World Record
W35 Hayley Haining 32.47.96 2007 Watford
W40 Janette Stevenson 36.25.0 1990 Glasgow
W45 Fiona Matheson 35.53.8 2010 Coatbridge
W50 Fiona Matheson 35.05.7 2011 Coatbridge World Record
W55 Fiona Matheson 37.04.54 2018 Glasgow British Record
W60 Joselyn Ross 43.01.1 1989 Reading
W65 Joselyn Ross 46.48.34 1994 Miyasaki Japan
W70 Ann Bath 63.33.23 2018 Battersea Park London
                        

2000 m s/chase           

M60 M Scott 8.54.7 1986 Grangemouth
M65 Andrew Galbraith 9.29.87 1999 Edinburgh
W35 Allison Simpson 7.02.33 2007 Scotstoun
W40 Claire Thompson 7.13.19 2016 Manchester British Record
W45 Julie Wilson 8.10.23 2016 Perth Australia
                          

3000 m s/chase    

M35 Grant Baillie 10.15.27 2014 Grangemouth
M40 John Kennedy 9.43.2 1990 Ayr
M45 Stewart McCrae 9.47.93 1992 Glasgow
M50 Jim Buchanan 11.19.41 2018 Birmingham
M55 Benjamin Hands 11.53.43 2016 Perth Australia ;
W35 Allison Simpson 10.36.91 2007 Manchester
                   

80 m hurdles        

M70 Ian Steedman 15.39 1998 Sheffield
W40 Joss Harwood 11.55 1999 Gateshead
Joss Harwood 11.68 1998 Hexham British Record
W45 Joss Harwood 12.58 2005 San Sebastian Spain
Joss Harwood 13.02 2008 Pitreavie
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 14.87 1989 Reading
W60 Betty Steedman 17.56 1996 Malmo Sweden
W65 Betty Steedman 18.56 2002 Sheffield
[.table]

100 m hurdles

M50 Tom Leeson 14.89 2013 Porto Alegre Brazil
M55 Roy Buchanan 16.33 2010 Grangemouth
M60 Ian Steedman 16.9 (m) 1988 Grangemouth
M65 Ian Steedman 17.41 1993 Miyasaki Japan
W35 Joss Harwood 13.96 1993 Birmingham
            

110 m hurdles 

M35 Francis Smith 15.42 2017 Grangemouth
M40 Paul Sutherland 15.90 2006 Birmingham
M45 Eamon Fitzgerald 17.1 (m) 1994 Grangemouth
Tom Leeson 17.1 (m) 2009 Dundee
                   

300 m hurdles    

M60 Robert Stevenson 44.86 2013 Porto Alegre Brazil British Record
M65 Ian Steedman 49.52 1993 Miyasaki Japan
M70 Ian Steedman 59.01 1998 Newport
Ian Steedman 58.8 (m) 1998 Grangemouth
W50 Angela Graham 61.19 2012 Tauranga New Zealand
              

400 m hurdles                                                                                

M35 Derek Paisley 53.27 2009 Lee Valley London
M40 Paul Sutherland 56.87 2006 Eton
M45 Robert Stevenson 57.91 1999 Gateshead
M50 Robert Stevenson 58.40 2oo3 Pitreavie
M55 Robert Stevenson 61.34 2008 Ljubljana Slovenia
W35 Jane Low 60.70 1996 Malmo Sweden
W40 Jacqui Etherington 74.37 2019 Venice Italy
W45 Catherine Geddes 80.15 1994 Ayr

High Jump              

M35 Jamie Creighton 1.85 2019 Grangemouth
M40 Geoff Parsons 1.91 2005 Watford
M45 Eamon Fitzgerald 1.80 1992 Kristiansand Norway
M50 Eamon Fitzgerald 1.75 1998 Inverness
M55 Allan Leiper 1.60 2015 Lyon France
M60 Eric Simpson 1.55 2008 Grangemouth
M65 Bill Lonsdale 1.40 2017 Kingston
M7 0 Trevor Madigan 1.30 2014 Aberdeen
M75 John Ross 1.12 2014 Birmingham
W35 Christine Drewry 1.55 1983 London
Christine Drewry 1.55 1986 Wigan
Nikki Thompson 1.55 1990 Glasgow
Jacqueline Gilchrist 1.55 1997 Durban RSA
W40 Rosemary Chrimes 1.55 1975 Toronto Canada
W45 Janice Hardcastle 1.40 2006 Milton Keynes
W50 Lilian McNab 1.35 2011 Wishaw
Alison Murray 1.35 2017 Rugby
1.35 2018 Twickenham London
1.35 2019 Wimbledon
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 1.37 1989 Reading
W60 Rosemary Chrimes 1.30 1993
W65 Rosemary Chrimes 1.25 1998 Newport
Rosemary Chrime s 1.25 1999 Edinburgh British Record
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 1.26 2003 Carolina USA British Record
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 1.18 2012 Nuneaton British Record
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 1.10 2013 Porto Alegri Brazil World Record
W85 Rosemary Chrimes 0.90 2019 Univ Birmingham British Record
                     

Pole Vault  

M35 Dougie Graham 4.20 2013 Aberdeen
M40 Dougie Graham 4.20 2018 Malaga Spain
4.20 2019 Birmingham
4.20 2019 Venice Italy
M45 Allan Leiper 4.10 2006 Basingstoke
M50 Eamon Fitzgerald 3.70 1997 Linwood
Eamon Fitzgerald 3.70 1998 Cesenatico Italy
Allan Leiper 3.70 2015 Aldershot
M55 Allan Leiper 3.60 2015 Lyon France
M60 Bob Masson 3.00 2010 Aberdeen
M65 Bob Masson 2.90 2012 Pitreavie
Bob Masson 2.90 2013 Aberdeen
M70 Bob Masson 2.70 2019 Aberdeen
M75 John Ross 1.70 2014 Birmingham
W35 Gillian Cooke 3.22 2019 Grangemouth
W40 Janet Lyon 2.81 2004 Aberdeen
W45 Alison Murray 3.30 2016 Wimbledon
W50 Alison Murray 3.10 2017 Birmingham British Record
                     

Long Jump                                                                         

M35 Ian Paget 6.62 2010 Pitreavie
Ian Paget 6.62 2011 Grangemouth
M40 Darren Scott 6.37 2009 Manchester
M45 Robert Stevenson 6.11 2001 Pitreavie
M50 Eamon Fitzgerald 6.01 1997 Sheffield
M55 Robert Stevenson 5.68 2008 Pitreavie
M60 Mike Clerihew 5.14 2008 Birmingham
M65 Robert Stevenson 4.98 2019 Grangemouth
M70 Trevor Madigan 4.22 2016 Aberdeen
M75 James Smith 4.00 2019 Grangemouth
W35 Jane Scott 5.48 2016 Perth Australia
Zara Asante 5.48 2019 Birmingham
W40 Fiona Davidson 5.25 2015 Grangemouth
W45 Linda Nicholson 4.66 2006 Poznan Poland
W50 Linda Nicholson 4.87 2010 Cardiff
W55 Sylvia Wood 4.20 1999 Jarrow
W60 Betty Steedman 3.87 1994 Bedford
W65 Betty Steedman 3.45 2001 Eton
W70 Betty Steedman 3.08 2005 Birmingham
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 2.34 2014 Birmingham

Triple Jump                                                                        

M35 Stuart Benson 13.10 2017 Cosford
M40 Eamon Fitzgerald 12.76 1991 Birmingham
M45 Eamon Fitzgerald 12.25 1992 London
M50 Eamon Fitzgerald 11.78 1999 Meadowbank
M55 Robert Stevenson 11.33 2010 Ayr
M60 Robert Stevenson 10.29 2016 Aberdeen
M65 Robert Stevenson 10.33 2018 Grangemouth
M70 John Oulton 8.33 2003
M75 James Smith 7.80 2019 Venice Italy
W35 Zara Asante 13.41 2018 Sportcity Manchester
W40 Fiona Davidson 11.39 2017 Aarhus Denmark
W45 Sylvia Wood 9.36 1992
W50 Sylvia Wood 9.87 1996 Grangemouth
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 9.12 1988 Cwmbran
W60 Betty Steedman 8.17 1994 Bedford
W65 Betty Steedman 7.06 1999 Gateshead
W70 Betty Steedman 6.48 2005 Birmingham

Shot                                                                          

M35 Neil Elliott 16.55 2007 Wakefield
M40 Steve Whyte 16.27 2004 Eton
M45 Steve Whyte 15.12 2009 Leeds
M50 Steve Whyte 15.54 2014 Solihull
M55 Jim Hogg 14.17 2010 Linwood
M60 Jim Hogg 15.44 2015 Livingston British Record
M65 John A. Scott 12.22 2007 Grangemouth
M70 John A. Scott 12.78 2012 Crownpoint Glasgow British Record
M75 John A. Scott 11.72 2016 Crownpoint Glasgow
M80 Ian Miller 10.88 2014 Birmingham
W35 Rosemary Chrimes 14.60 1972 Crystal Palace
W40 Rosemary Chrimes 14.67 1974 Port Elizabeth RSA
W45 Rosemary Chrimes 11.25 1978
W50 Rosemary Chrimes 11.34 1987
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 12.97 1989
W60 Rosemary Chrimes 12.20 1993 Miyasaki Japan British Record
W65 Rosemary Chrimes 11.04 1999 Gateshead
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 11.02 2003 Derby World Record
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 10.35 2010 Cardiff
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 9.50 2013 Univ Birmingham
W85 Rosemary Chrimes 7.09 2019 Univ Birmingham
7.08 2019 Birmingham British Record

Javelin 

M35 Tom Dobbing 60.81 2008 Portsmouth
M40 Alex Black 59.00 1990 Glasgow
M45 Alex Black 53.98 1994 Meadowbank
M50 Steve Whyte 44.42 2014 Amersfoord Ned .
M55 Allan Leiper 41.41 2019 Hull
M60 John Ross 45.04 1998 Solihull
M65 John Ross 39.07 2003 St George Utah USA
M70 John Ross 36.11 2009 St George Utah USA
M75 John Ross 31.92 2013 St.George Utah USA
M80 John L Scott 20.64 2019 Grangemouth
W35 Norma Bruc e 36.01 2005 Scotstoun
W40 Jane Kirkpatrick 29.98 2014 Scotstoun
W45 Jayne Kirkpatrick 26.89 2018 Lee Valley London
W50 Joyce Rammell 27.22 1997 Grangemouth
W55 Margery Swinton 25.23 1998 Eugene USA
W60 Margery Swinton 27.22 2007 Grangemouth
W65 Margery Swinton 18.72 2009 Pitreavie
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 12.40 2014 Birmingham
                        

Hammer                                                                               

M35 Andy Frost 66.25 2016 Eton
M40 Steve Whyt e 60.13 2006 Twickenham
M45 Steve Whyte 59.80 2009 Leeds
M50 Chris Black 66.92 2002 Potsdam Germany
M55 Chris Black 55.88 2006 Stretford
M60 Bill Gentleman 52.90 2001 Brisbane Australia
M65 Bill Gentleman 50.04 2005 San Sebastian Spain British Record
M70 Bill Gentleman 47.60 2011 Birmingham
M75 Bill Gentleman 41.59 2015 Livingston British Record
M80 Ian Miller 35.44 2014 Birmingham
W35 Mhairi Porterfield 53.15 2017 Livingston
W40 Susan Freebairn 35.77 2006 Scotstoun
W45 Claire Cameron 33.75 2004 Arhus Denmark
Claire Cameron 33.75 2008 Malmo Sweden
W50 Margery Swinton 36.84 1996 Jarrow
W55 Margery Swinton 35.56 2000 Kamloops Canada
W60 Margery Swinton 31.96 2004 Reading USA
W65 Rosemay Chrimes 31.62 2001 Nuneaton
W70 Rosemay Chrimes 31.62 2003 Derby
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 28.63 2010 Leicester
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 24.31 2013 Porto Alegre Brazil
W85 Rosemary Chrimes 19.40 2019 Birmingham British Record

Discus 

M35 Neil Elliott 48.53 2007 Meadowbank
M40 Steve Whyte 48.30 2004 Ewell Court
M45 Steve Whyte 47.31 2009 Compiegne France
M50 Steve Whyte 50.40 2014 Amersfoort Ned.
M55 Steve Whyte 44.89 2019 Hull
M60 Jim Hogg 49.36 2015 Livingston
M65 Bob Masson 42.45 2012 Pitreavie
M70 Bob Masson 38.13 2019 Aberdeen
M75 Jim Sloan 31.10 2017 Grangemouth
M80 Ian Miller 25.41 2014 Birmingham
W35 Rosemary Chrimes 58.02 1972 Birmingham British Record
W40 Rosemary Chrimes 56.40 1973 Crystal Palace Lon. British Record
W45 Rosemary Chrimes 44.26 1978 Wolverhampton British Record
W50 Claire Cameron 34.99 2009 Ancona Italy
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 40.86 1989 Eugene OregonUSA British Record
W60 Rosemary Chrimes 37.56 1993 Miyasaki Japan British Record
W65 Rosemary Chrimes 34.95 2001 Nuneaton British Record
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 31.62 2003 Derby British Record
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 30.07 2010 Leicester
Rosemary Chrimes 29.07 2008 Ljubljana Slovenia British Record
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 24.18 2013 Birmingham British Record
W85 Rosemary Chrimes 18.61 2019 Birmingham British Record
                  

Weight Throw                                                                                

M35 Chris Black 19.03 1986 Grendon Hall
M40 Steve Whyte 18.52 2004 Randers Denmark British Record
M45 Steve Whyte 17.38 2010 Milton Keynes
M50 Steve Whyte (Indoor) 22.10 2014 Budapest Hungary British Record
M55 Chris Black 20.01 2007 Riccione Italy
M60 Bill Gentleman 20.06 2002 Leon Mexico
M65 Bill Gentleman 17.06 2007 Riccione Italy
M70 Bill Gentleman 18.65 2010 Nyerigyhaza Hungary
M75 Bill Gentleman 15.52 2015 Jarrow British Record
M80 Ian Miller 14.44 2014 Birmingham British Record
W35 Susan Freebairn 13.25 2003 Derby
W40 Claire Cameron 11.02 2003 Derby
W45 Claire Cameron 11.41 2004 Randers Denmark
W50 Claire Cameron 11.39 2012 St. John Canada
W55 Claire Cameron 11.33 2014 Budapest Hungary
W60 Margery Swinto n 12.01 2004 Hendon London

                                                                                   

Combined Events – Best age graded performance only                                                                            

Pentathlon                                                                          

M65 John Ross 4032 pts 2003 Solihull
W40 Carolyn Smith 3845 pts 2003 Pitreavie

Heptathlon  

W60 Betty Steedman 4149 pts 1995 Sheffield
                         

Decathlon   

 

M60 John Ross 7582 pts 1998 Scotstoun
                         

Weight Pentathlon          

M50 Steve Whyte 4590 pts 2014 Amersfoort Ned. British Record
W45 Claire Cameron 3668 pts 2004 Aarhus Denmark

 29th August 2019.  Scottish National Senior Championships.

Several Scottish Masters athletes competed at the recent National Seniors champs at Grangemouth with pride of place going to Mhairi Porterfield  (W35) representing VP-Glasgow who won the shot with a throw of 13.54m (fifth in the hammer with 52.00m) and Zara Asante (W35) representing Blackheath and Bromley who won the triple jump with a leap of 12.89m. 

Other medals were claimed by Gillian Cooke (W35 Edinburgh) with silver in the pole vault clearing 3.05m (7th in the long jump with 5.25m), Philippa Millage (W35 VP-Glasgow) with silver in the 800m in a time of 2m 09.15s (4th in the 1500m with 4m 32.05s) and Chris Smith (M40 Arbroath) with bronze in the javelin throwing 52.29m.

Ian Horsburgh (M40 Edinburgh) came 5th in the 200m in a time of 22.67s after a 22.60s heat, Colin Welsh (M35 Gala) ran 1m 59.97s in the heats of the 800m, Michelle Sandison (W35 Springburn) came 7th in the 5000m in 17m 36.60s and Catriona Pennet (W35 Edinburgh) finished 5th in the 100m hurdles with a time of 15.01s. 

All the above athletes performed really well and must certainly have helped to enhance the profile of Scottish Masters.   My apologies to anyone I have missed.

11th September 2019.  Scottish Masters 10,000m Championships.

One Scottish Masters best performance and six Championship bests were recorded at the recent 10k championships held in Carluke with the most notable performance coming from Alastair Walker (Teviotdale) who ran 34m 54.08s in winning the M60 category setting a new Championship best and erasing Bill Stoddart’s Scottish Masters best of 35m 19.2s from 1992. 

Further Championship bests were set by Julia Johnstone (Gala) with 41m 44.96s in the W45 category, Marianne McLevy (Dundee) with 48m 37.92s in the W50s, Andy McLinden (Hamilton) with 39m 39.54s in the M65s, Norman Baillie (Garscube) with 45m 25.32s in the M70 group and Bobby Young (Clydesdale) with 45m 02.12s in the M75 category.

It is good note that over thirty athletes competed in this fairly recently introduced Championship event and, hopefully, it will continue to prosper in years to come as Scottish Masters have historically been at the forefront of Masters distance running.  Well done to all competitors.

October 2019.  European Masters Stadia Championships.

The event was held in very warm conditions at three venues, Jesolo, Caorle and Eraclea on the outskirts of Venice from September 9th to 15th and saw a large British team place third in the overall medals table with 247 gongs, 103 being gold.  The home nation finished top with 337 medals (127 gold) followed by Germany with 317 medals (119 gold)

As far as I can ascertain twenty Scots competed and returned with a total of four individual and five team medals with two Scottish Masters best performances achieved and another equalled.  Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) won silver in the W40 2000m steeplechase in a time of 7m 34.35s and set a new Masters best finishing 6th in the 400m hurdles in 74.37s, Dougie Graham (Edinburgh/Arbroath) took bronze with a 4.20m clearance in the M40 pole vault equalling his own Masters best whilst Jim Smith (Motherwell) set new figures of 7.80m in the M75 triple jump.

Ian Horsburgh (Edinburgh), a former British Junior international who recently returned to the track, won silver in the M40 200m in a time of 22.62s after a 22.51s semi and Dave Valentine (West Suffolk) won bronze in the M60 hammer with 48.23m. 

Alan Robertson (Motherwell) was part of the British M40 4 x 100m relay gold winning team, Sue Ridley (Edinburgh) won gold in the W50 cross country team event, Ronnie Hunter (Corstorphine) won silver in the M55 4 x 100m relay as did John Thomson (Fife) with the M60 cross country team and Jim Smith won bronze in the M75 4 x 100m relay.

Full results for all Scots competitors are listed below.  Well done to all with apologies to any I have missed.

Name Club Age Event Position Time/Dist  
Stephen Allan Cumbernauld M45 half marathon 12th 1h 22m 28s  
Claire Cameron VP-Glasgow W60 shot 9th 9.35m  
      discus 8th 27.02m  
      hammer 14th 26.87m  
      weight throw 12th 10.43m  
Gillian Cooke Edinburgh W35 long jump 4th 5.18m  
      pole vault 8th 3.05m  
Jacqui Etherington Cambuslang W40 400m hdls 6th 1m 14.37s SMBP
      2000m s/chase 2nd 7m 34.35s  
      4k cross country 8th 14m 43s  
Paul Forbes Edinburgh M60 800m dnf    
Dougie Graham Edinburgh/Arbroath M40 pole vault 3rd 4.20m =SMBP
Ian Horsburgh Edinburgh M40 200m 2nd 22.62s sf 22.51s
Ronnie Hunter Corstorphine M55 100m heat 13.36s  
      200m heat 27.59s  
      4 x 100m relay 2nd    
Allan Leiper Aldershot, Farnham M55 pole vault 8th 3.30m  
      shot 5th 13.09m  
      discus 10th 32.72m  
      weight pentathlon 11th 3192pts  
Fred McCain Haddington/Central M70 5000m 23rd 29m 28.97s  
Paul Masterton Corstorphine M55 high jump 18th 1.40m  
Iain Moody Pitreavie M55 400m hdls heat 1m 10.93s  
Sue Ridley Edinburgh W50 4k cross country 10th 15m 35s  
      cross country team 1st    
Alan Robertson Motherwell M40 200m 8th 23.70s heat 23.38s
      4 x 100m relay 1st    
Brian Scally Shettleston M50 800m heat 2m 26.23s  
      half marathon dnf    
Jim Smith Motherwell M75 100m 7th 15.27s heat 15.08s
      200m 6th 30.96s  
      long jump 7th 3.91m  
      triple jump 7th 7.80m SMBP
      4 x 100m relay 3rd    
John Thomson Fife M60 800m 6th 2m 19.68s  
      1500m 6th 4m 45.91s  
      4k cross country 10th 14m 25s  
      cross country team 2nd    
Dave Valentine West Suffolk M60 weight throw 6th 16.18m  
      hammer 3rd 48.23m  
Andy Vince Falkirk M60 discus 20th 36.90m  
      weight throw 8th 14.43m  
      hammer 5th 44.27m  
      weight pentathlon 10th 3038pts  
Colin Welsh Gala/TevioT M35 800m 8th 2m 00.01s

 

 

 

Our Computer expert Karen Connal wrote: “The Canicross is going really well. My young dog is amazing and has fairly given me my running mojo back. We did a freedom run round my new local parkrun in 22:09. I have been training there on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Loving it!”

Photo by Karen. How happy all four look!

(Fifty years ago, the editor and Bob Anderson were clubmates in Aberdeen University Hare & Hounds. For several weeks in 1970. Bob visited Portsea in Australia, where the legendary coach Percy Wells Cerutty trained 1960 Olympic 1500m champion Herb Elliott and other great athletes. This is a photograph of one of Percy’s inspirational essays.)

                                                                                            HISTORY SECTION

                                                               THE D. McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy

                                                                       (for Scottish Road Runner of the Year)

                                                                                    PART ONE: 1952-1957)

In 1951 an appeal was launched to commemorate the outstanding Scottish marathoner Donald McNab Robertson who had died so suddenly in 1949. This appeal came to fruition in 1952 when the Scottish Marathon Club handed over a trophy to the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association, to be awarded annually to the Scottish athlete with the most meritorious performances in long-distance road racing, as adjudged by a joint sub-committee of the SAAA and the SMC.

Donald Robertson (Maryhill Harriers) had been the AAA Marathon champion six times (1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1939, adding a silver medal in 1946. He had finished second in the 1934 London Empire Games; and, aged over 40, won the first two Scottish Marathon titles in 1946 and 1947. In Leni Riefenstahl’s notorious yet epic film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Donald can be seen finishing seventh. Tragically, he died in 1949, aged only 43.

(N.B. From 1987, gaps appear in the list of Robertson Trophy winners; and there are no certain recipients after 1995. However, I have done my best to nominate yearly candidates right up to 2018. When one candidate seems to have the best claim, I have indicated this in bold italics. When it was difficult to make a decision, I have not emphasised any name in this way. At some point, the Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy ceased to be presented; and now it seems to be lost. However, I wish to suggest that there should be annual recognition of Scotland’s best distance road (or trail) runner.)

1952 Charles D Robertson: The minutes book of the SMC makes clear that Charlie Robertson was chosen unanimously as the first trophy winner “by virtue of his fourth place in the AAA Championship Marathon, when he returned a time of 2 hours 30 minutes and 48 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded by a Scotsman.” The presentation was made by Miss Betty Robertson, sister of the late Donald McNab Robertson. Charlie (Dundee Thistle Harriers), the 1948 Scottish Marathon champion, was no relation of Donald. Before nearly making the 3-man GB Olympic team in the AAA event, Charlie had broken the Perth to Dundee 22 miles record; finished first in the Edinburgh Marathon; and then, after the AAA, tackled the Scottish Marathon (a lengthened Perth to Dundee), winning by 25 seconds from John Duffy.

1953 Joe McGhee: While Joe (St Modans) was the up-and-coming runner, and definitely a member of the SMC, he was beaten into third place in the Lauriston (Falkirk) to New Meadowbank Scottish Marathon championship, the winner being John ‘Jock’ Duffy (Broxburn and Hadleigh Olympiads), who had taken the train up from Southend to London and then Edinburgh. This was a twelve-hour journey. He slept for a few hours in his father’s Broxburn house; then more travelling to the start, rather tired already! Duffy was not a member of the SMC, so was not considered for the Robertson Trophy, which was awarded to Joe “for consistently high standard running in 14 races and particularly for his fine performance in the Perth to Dundee race on 29th August 1953, when he beat the existing record set by C.D.Robertson, who had been awarded the Trophy in 1952.”

1954 Joe McGhee: Joe had joined Shettleston Harriers and increased his training. At the end of May, the Scottish Marathon course was from the Cloch Lighthouse, Gourock, to Ibrox Park. Joe set a new championship record of 2.35.22. In early August at the Vancouver British Empire Games, Joe McGhee secured a famous victory in the marathon, after Jim Peters of England collapsed during the final lap of the track. Joe was made an Honorary Life Member of the Scottish Marathon Club. The SAAA presented him with the ‘Coronation Cup’ as “outstanding Scottish athlete of the year.” Naturally, he kept the Robertson Trophy.

1955 Joe McGhee: Joe was fitter than ever, ready to show that he was a worthy Empire Games champion, when at the end of June, over the Falkirk to Edinburgh course, he won the Scottish Marathon by nine minutes. John Emmet Farrell, a Scottish cross-country champion before and after World War Two, wrote in ‘The Scots Athlete’ “Joe McGhee’s championship record-breaking 2.25.50 was easily the feat of the SAAA Championships, puts him into world class and adds extra glitter to his British Empire gold medal.” The SAAA awarded Joe the ‘Crabbie Cup’ for the best performance at the Scottish Athletics Championships; and it was a formality for Joe to retain the SMC Robertson Trophy.

1956 Joe McGhee: Joe retained his Scottish Marathon title – a third successive triumph – in 1956. Injuries had prevented some training but this was a successful come-back. He won in 2.33.36 – a meritorious performance in warm sultry conditions. The pace was fast from the start, but Joe had to slow down after 20 miles. However, his rivals suffered even more and the margin of victory was thirteen minutes. Therefore, Joe McGhee was awarded the Donald Robertson Trophy for the fourth year in a row.

1957 Harry Fenion: This was to be Harry Fenion’s most successful season. The diminutive Bellahouston Harrier became not only the Scottish Cross-Country champion but also the Scottish Marathon winner. Even in 2019, this double achievement in a single year remains unique. Before the Marathon, Harry finished first in the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16.  For some time after the start in Falkirk, on a cold and sometimes damp day, Harry was content to lurk in the leading pack. At the first water station after ten miles, he put in a kick and quickly pulled away. When he eventually entered the track, someone told him that he had a chance of beating the 1955 championship record, so he gave one final sprint and did so – by six seconds, in 2.25.44, three minutes clear of Hugo Fox (Shettleston) who finished second. The SMC agreed that this race was ‘undoubtedly the performance of the season’; and Harry Fenion received the Robertson Trophy.

                                         (Next Time: 1985-2019, featuring 17 wins by female athletes.)

 

                                                             IN PRAISE OF THE TEN-MILER

Don’t you think 10 miles is the absolute greatest race distance?

Most races nowadays are 10k or Half Marathon but the 10-miler just fits so perfectly in between – a handy extra-endurance run for the 10k enthusiast, an ideal tune-up race for the Half Marathoner. There don’t seem to be very many of them but somehow we have ended up, barely into April, with 4 different 10 mile races already under our belts this year.

Netherhall 10-mile Road Race in Maryport, West Cumbria was the first (24th Feb), and was in our calendar only because it was in our Club’s Grand Prix. Starting and finishing at a (very easy to find) school, it’s a loop on mostly minor roads through gorgeous countryside which starts with a pell mell downhill 200m, then turns a corner out of town and grinds steadily uphill for a mile and a half. Whew! There are a couple of uncomfortably steep downhill stretches and some lesser climbs, but other than that it’s fairly low key ‘undulating’ and this year the weather was glorious enough to pass for May. The local support was enthusiastic, and the spread provided afterwards was incredible, with sandwiches, pies and quiche as well as the usual sweet treats.

Lasswade 10-mile Road Race a few miles South of Edinburgh was next (3rd March). This one was in the Scottish Veteran Harriers race list. Registration, changing, prizegiving and post-race feasting at the Whitehill Welfare football clubhouse. It was a sunny, bright day, with SERIOUSLY gusty wind, strong enough at times to lean right into and causing havoc with ponytails. This is not a joke, being whipped across the face with a 50mph ponytail hurts! The course description also prompted much in-race whining about the point at which use of the word ‘undulating’ should become illegal. A short climb out of town, an astonishingly long, quad-trashing downhill into a village that felt almost deep enough to be in the crater of a volcano, then a 400m climb so steep that if you were walking you’d be bracing your hands on your thighs…there were a few later hills which would have paled in contrast if you hadn’t already destroyed your legs in the first 3 miles! The best bit was a long but very gentle (and wind-assisted!) down slope between 6 and 7 miles which delightfully brought together a classic uplifting super-hero bound with that wonderful stage of a 10 miler where you start to overtake the 10k runners as they run out of steam. The finish on leafy cycle path was lovely and the sweet and savoury edibles offered were judged excellent.

Tom Scott 10-mile Road Race is a regular for us, run in Strathclyde Park (just off the M74, 20 mins south of Glasgow), on 31st March. This is usually the Scottish Championship 10 miler and so attracts hordes of super-fast runners. It’s mostly flat, and a good one if you’re looking for a time…if only you could battle your way up to near the front at the start ahead of the elite runners (it’s a big race with a gun start and chip mat only at the finish line), except you’d then have to avoid being trampled by them on the narrow cycle paths! The route goes out around the Loch then loops back on itself and round the other way. Between miles 5 and 6 anyone at a pace over 8-minute miles better watch out for ‘elites’ thundering past on their final mile.

The parking and accessibility is great, the changing facilities and showers excellent (though a few more toilets wouldn’t go amiss on race day!), and the wee printout slips showing your time are brilliant. They don’t, alas, do the ‘spread’ but there were Tunnock’s Caramel Logs as well as Mars Bars at the end. The weather at this race always seems to be perfect – cold, clear, bright sunshine.

3 Village 10 Mile Road Race (7th April, another Grand Prix race) starts in Weatherall, a few minutes off the M6 just below Carlisle in pretty rural Cumbria. A very picturesque run which goes twice round a hilly 5-mile loop and passes through 2 other villages (the clue is in the name!) on the way. Lucky with the weather again, it was cool but dry with a bit of breeze. Considering the size of the villages it was amazing how many cheering supporters were on the road outside their houses or clapping at corners. This race has it all. The community centre used is right on the main road, with an excellent sized, airy hall for the registration, prizegiving and after race re-fuelling as well as plenty of space for hanging around. Well laid out, amply marshalled, generously provisioned, and the added benefits of a chip mat at the start and, like the Tom Scott, a wee printout of your time and position straightaway at the finish!

Reasons to love 10 milers – apart from the secret joy of picking off the ‘roadkill’ of 10k runners in the last 3 miles – are mostly related to the fact that they always seem to be local ‘club’ races rather than bigtime money-making extravaganzas, which from a runner’s point of view means

– Cheaper entry.

– Starting from a local hall or community centre (Parking! Proper toilets! Changing rooms! Showers!).

– Easier to get there. Why is it that ‘big’ runs always seem to start in the middle of a city at some ungodly hour on a Sunday too early for public transport!?

– Less waiting about, shivering in your race kit at the start.

– Lots of friendly marshals and local supporters round the route to cheer and encourage.

– Post-race tea and coffee and tables laden with cake/biscuits/scones and other goodies, often supplied by volunteers and nearly always free for race participants.

– Age group prizes! And they generally wait till everyone has finished running before they start the prizegiving.

– ‘Teams’ from clubs often travel to the race together, so arrive together, cheer each other in and wait together to leave. This means that (especially at registration, buffet time and prizegiving) it’s like a big party with groups of runners in their club colours all mingling and laughing catching up with rivals and comrades from other clubs.

– Tricky, hilly, challenging and otherwise interesting routes where your time can’t really be compared to anything except another time on the exact same course.

And the icing on the cake is that it’s harder than a 10k, but less damaging to ageing joints and muscles than a Half-Marathon, meaning quicker recovery so that even for old-timers, 4 races in 2 sets of consecutive weekends inside 7 weeks is more than just survivable, it’s fun!

By Anne Macfarlane

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2018-2019

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: ARLENE LEWIS 202 Archerhill Road Knightswood Glasgow, G13 3YX Tel: 07850 070337

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

December 2019

Sun 22nd Xmas Handicap Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, Race start 11:00am

January 2020

Fri 3rd Scottish National 3000m Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 26th TBC SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00am February 2020

Sat/Sun 1st/2nd Scottish Athletics Indoor Combined Events. Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 2nd Scottish Athletics Indoor Masters Championships. Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sat 8th Scottish Masters XC Championships McMaster Community Sports Centre, Johnstone

Sun 9th British Masters 10 Mile Road Championships Lytchett Minster Sports Centre, Post Green Rd, Lytchett Minster, Poole, Dorset BH16 6JD

Sat 22nd Scottish Athletics XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk

Sun 23rd British Masters Indoor Pentathlon Championships Lee Valley Athletic Centre Meridian Way London N9 0AR

March 2020

Sun 1st TBC 10 Mile Road Race (Lasswade AC) Whitehill Welfare FC, Ferguson Park, Carnethie Street, Rosewell Start time, 12:00pm

Sun 1st Inter-Area Indoor Track & Field Challenge Lee Valley Athletic Centre Sat/Sun 7th/8th British Masters Indoor Track & Field and Winter Throws Championships Lee Valley Athletic Centre

Sat 7th British Masters Open Cross Country Championships Rhug Estate, Corwen, Denbighshire, North Wales UK, LL21 0EH

Sun 15th – Sat 21st European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships Braga, Portugal

April 2020

Sun 5th TBC Tom Scott 10 mile Road Race Water Sports Centre, Strathclyde Park, Motherwell 10:00am

Sun 19th British Masters 10k Road Championships Grangemouth Stadium, Falkirk St, Falkirk FK2 9DX

May 2020

Wed 6th TBC Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge 7:30pm Changing at Lochview Golf Driving Centre

Sat 16th TBC British Masters Road Relay Championships Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield Birmingham B74 2YT

Sun 24th British Masters Mile Championships Westminster Mile, The Mall, London. Assemble in Green Park London SW1A 1AA

                                                                       The winning M35 team at Aintree

 

                                                                                            The winning W65 team

                                                                                      Photos by Pete Bracegirdle

 

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: AUTUMN 2019

                                       (Dale’s friend was Aileen Lusk, another important pioneer of Scottish Veteran Women’s running.)

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 12th August 2019

MEMBERS Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

SVHC was saddened to learn of the passing on 12th May of Dale Greig, aged 82. She had been an Honorary Life Member since 1984, and for many years she printed our Newsletter. We also regret to report the passing of Hamish Cameron on 6th June, George Armstrong on 13th June and Hazel Bradley on 31st July.

Welcome to the 19 new and 9 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 4th April 2019. As of 12th August 2019, we have 528 members, including 25 over 80 & 4 Life Members.

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests and shorts can be purchased from Andy Law – £18 for vests, including postage and £23 for shorts, including postage. If ordering both together deduct one lot of postage. Or, can be delivered to any of the Club races by arrangement with no postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2499 Ana Richardson 04-Apr-19 Glasgow

2500 Margaret Connolly 16-Apr-19 Canterbury

2501 Gordon Simpson 16-Apr-19 Invergowrie

2502 Robert McHarg 13-May-19 Old Windsor

2503 Paul McMonagle 15-May-19 Cumbernauld

2504 Kevin Durnian 16-May-19 Motherwell 2505 Chris Smith 19-May-19 Bellshill 2506 Patrick Gibbons 11-Jun-19 Helensburgh

2507 Iain MacCorquodale 02-Jun-19 Glasgow

2508 Nina Cessford 10-Jun-19 Galashiels

2509 Shirley Simpson 14-Jun-19 Kilsyth

2510 Ian Horsburgh 21-Jun-19 Doune

2511 Ian Smith 21-Jun-19 Sandford

2512 Martin Glancy Pending Kirkintilloch

2513 Douglas Dickson 15-July-19 Kilmarnock

2514 Kenny Leinster 27-July-19 Clarkston

2515 Paul Nichol 02-Aug-19 Peebles

2516 Fiona Jordan 11-Aug-19 Clydebank

2517 David Gill 11-Aug-19 Warrington

589 Jane Waterhouse 16-Apr-19 Dunblane

2225 Elaine Hogg 01-May-19 Moodiesburn

2305 AnnMarie McGregor 23-May-19 Kirkintilloch

1862 John McKeown 28-May-19 Banchory

2458 Emma Dawson 07-Jun-19 Peterhead

787 Joyce Rammell 10-Jun-19 Dumfries

1963 Stan Walker 13-Jun-19 Bridge of Don

2008 Grant Ramsay 28-Jun-19 Stevenage

1978 Kerry-Liam Wilson 04-Aug-19 Girvan

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

(Doug Gillon, the eminent sports journalist who knew Dale well, wrote the following obituary. Additional information came from Arnold Black, the Scottish Athletics historian. Many thanks to both.)

Dale Greig, athletics pioneer, administrator, benefactor, World veteran marathon champion, and inaugural holder of the women’s world marathon best

Born 15th May 1937; Died 12th May 2019

“Dale Greig, who wore plimsolls when she set the first officially ratified world record for the women’s marathon, has died in a Paisley hospice three days short of her 82nd birthday. Her funeral on Friday (May 24) came just a day after the 55th anniversary of her world best, at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Taking time off work as secretary to Walter Ross, publisher of The Scots Athlete magazine, she was intent only on lasting the distance. Prevailing rules excluded women, so she started four minutes ahead of 67 men. Nineteen failed to finish in 80-degree heat, with an ambulance – and her widowed mum, Anna, in a car – following the event.

Dale finished in 3:27:45. “I felt sorry for the men I kept passing in the closing stages – they looked embarrassed,” she said subsequently.

Yet in interviews with The Herald she denied she was a campaigning feminist: “I never considered myself as championing women’s rights. I ran because I loved being outdoors.”

Her training regime, even by today’s standards, was mind-blowing. “I’d set out from Paisley at 7am, and head for Largs via Bridge of Weir. I’d stop there for an ice cream cone and walk while I ate it. By the time I’d got to Largs I’d done nearly 30 miles. I would have a swim in the outdoor pool. I’d hire a towel but I carried my costume in a pocket of my wet-suit top. Then I would go for a cup of tea and a scone in a cafe and return along the coastal route, along the shore of the Clyde by Wemyss Bay and Inverkip. If I got thirsty I’d just drink from a stream, or sometimes I might stop for a coffee and a wee cake before finishing in Gourock. I’d go to a friend’s for a bath and then catch the train and be home by 3:00 pm. The total run was just over 50 miles and I did it quite a few times.”

After the record race, she danced until midnight and rose early for a swim before travelling home.

Misogynist officialdom was incensed, however. The Ryde club received a letter warning there must be no repetition, “as the resulting publicity is not good for the sport.”

Greig received nothing for her trailblazing, but successors like Paula Radcliffe, only Briton to hold the women’s world best since Dale, have become millionaires while hundreds of women now make a living from marathons.

Greig spent much of her life in a house she bought from the council, but was adamant: “I’m not envious. We ran just for the fun of it. I never made a penny, and I was proud to be an amateur. That’s not to say I would not have liked to make a living as a runner, but I believed in the amateur code, and actually gave away my prizes. Now it’s professional and completely different. Drugs are terrible. What pleasure can they get?”

There was no women’s club in Paisley, so Dale formed her own: Tannahill Harriers, named after the Tannahill Weavers and the street where she lived. She was president, secretary, treasurer and the sole member – paying affiliation fees to the governing bodies from her own pocket.

She was a multiple national champion, representing Scotland for 13 years at cross-country, first having come to notice as runner-up for the national 880 yards title in 1956, before taking bronze at the mile four times in the next decade. It was the longest track race available to her.

She was the first woman to run the mountainous 40-mile Isle of Man TT course, first to race up and down Ben Nevis, and first to run the 53-mile London to Brighton. In 1974, then aged 37, over a difficult course, she won the inaugural World Masters Marathon, in Paris, in 3:45:21. It was the first time the sexes were allowed to race together, paving the way for mass participation and a whole industry. That historic race was a double Scotch: for Alastair Wood won the men’s race.

But in 1982 Dale jumped in the shallow end at a swimming pool. “You’d think I was a kid,” she recalled. “They were changing the water and it was shallower than it might have been. I hit my heels on the bottom, and suffered cracked bones in my feet. I was never quite the same.”

Feisty and independent, but modest, self-deprecatory, and never strident, she served as secretary, treasurer, and president of the Scottish women’s cross-country body and assistant secretary of the embryo global Masters movement, IGAL for five years from 1982.

She was inducted into the Scottish Athletics Hall of Fame last November. She was also a founder of the Scottish Women’s Cross-country Union, an Honorary Life Member of the Scottish Marathon Club and an invaluable official in the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club.

She dismissed the notion that she deserved an MBE: “I have worked at being anonymous, and been reasonably successful at it,”. she said. “I’m a wee shy person and don’t look for plaudits.” There was not a trophy to be seen in her home. She kept a veritable treasure trove hidden in a cupboard.

She was honoured annually, however, by the London Marathon, among an elite group of Brits who had held a world record or won a major title.

And in gesture surely rooted in her treatment by male officialdom, she helped establish a fund to give opportunities to Scottish female athletes. World champion Liz McColgan was among many benefactors. “I’d have loved the opportunity that they have to make a career and a life out of running,” said Dale.

She did, however, write a column, Dale’s Diary, for ‘The Scots Athlete’ magazine, for which she worked for many years.”

(Arnold added extra information.)

“Beginning as a schoolgirl sprinter, Dale soon found that her natural métier was stamina rather than speed. Between 1956 and 1959 she won a silver medal over 880 yards and two bronze medals at one mile in the Scottish women’s national championships before going on to specialise in cross country and road running.

She was the founder member of Tannahill Harriers, named after the famous Tannahill weavers from Paisley. In 1960, she won the first of four national women’s cross country titles.

This was the last Scottish Cross-Country Championship organised by the Scottish Women’s AAA and she is the only runner to have won national titles under both the SWAAA and the subsequent Scottish Women’s Cross Country Union organisations. As a member of the group of active women enthusiasts who established the SWCCU at a time when the sport was languishing in Scotland, Dale was the national secretary for six years and treasurer for a further five years.

She continued to compete on the track in mile races and won her 4th and final Scottish cross-country title in 1968, going on to finish 8th in the English championships and 14th in the International championship at Blackburn.

Her interest in long distance running grew from a meeting with the inspirational Rhodesian, Arthur Newton, pioneer of ultra-long distance running. This led to her Isle of Wight Marathon record-setting feat in May 1964.

However, she enjoyed conventional competition too much to break from the standard women’s events, and it was not until 1971 that she made her next attempt at a long distance event. After a thorough build up, running from 60 to 100 miles per week with continuous runs of 30 to 40 miles, she competed in the Isle of Man 40 miles race over the famous motorcycle TT course, finishing the distance in 6:48:00.

Another pioneering effort came in hill running, where she was the first woman to compete in and finish the Ben Nevis 10 mile mountain marathon race in Fort William.

In 1972 she decided to run in the classic London to Brighton 53 mile race. Her normal schedule of 50 to 60 miles per week was supplemented by three 40 mile runs, plus other continuous runs over 45 and 50 miles. For some of these long runs she ran from her Paisley home over country roads to the Clyde Coast, carrying her tracksuit in her shoulder rucksack.

Setting off on her solo run at 6 a.m. from Big Ben at Westminster Bridge, one hour before the male runners in the official race, she completed the arduous event, running non-stop with no noticeable aches or strains, in 8:30:03, representing a pace of under 9 minutes per mile.

 

GEORGE (IRONMAN) ARMSTRONG

Born 25/6/1939. Died 13/6/2019

Born in Jedburgh into a sheep farming family and was the eldest of three sons. His early life and school were in Hawick. He was a strong boy who loved action and played rugby for Hawick Juniors before moving to Dunbar in East Lothian after he married Jessie. They raised 5 children, Kenny, Christine, Pat, Colin and Caroline who now lives in Australia. George spent six years in the Royal Army Reserves.

George was a regular member of Haddington Rugby Club playing in the first team as a mobile forward. George’s love of running began by taking part in the Borders Highland games event and local hill races. He started his road running in his late 30s having been inspired when acting as a steward in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and ran his first marathon in 1981 under the Scottish AAA regulations around a 3-lap route in Edinburgh. He had to drop out at 20 miles, but his determination to finish was the hallmark of his further 140+ marathons during the marathon boom years with a personal best of 2hrs 36m.

In addition to his incredible marathon races George loved events such as the Corrieyairack Challenge, the Isle of Mull Fell Race and twice completed the 95 miles of the West Highland Way. George also was part of the Haddington East Lothian Pacemaker team to cover the East Lothian 3 Peaks run (Traprain Law, North Berwick Law and Lammer Law)

He was an original member of Lewisvale Spartans running club based in Musselburgh before it became Musselburgh DRC.

George was part of the successful HELP Veteran squad and also represented Scotland and Great Britain in numerous events including European and World championships in Europe, America, Japan and Australia. His medal haul is something that the local youngsters and fellow athletes were inspired by when they visited him. (In the Scottish Masters Cross-Country Championships, George won M50 bronze in 1990, M55 bronze in 1995 and M60 silver in 2008. One of his proudest moments took place in 1992, when he became M50 Scottish Champion.)

George’s tartan bonnet and shorts marked him out and his well-known ‘grunt’ told you that he was chasing you down.

After retirement from the building industry at 65 George decided to ‘put something back’ into his love of athletics by taking a Scottish Athletics Coaching Course as a JogScotland Leader encouraging people of all ages to take up recreational running. He regularly led groups at Meadowmill and Haddington. He would attend as many events as he could and we can all remember his battle cry “Mental Toughness”

An unfortunate accident at his home in Robertson Avenue Tranent which impaired George’s mobility resulted in a transfer to the Loch Centre Sheltered Housing Unit. Following several periods in hospital over the last year George became weaker and he passed the finish line of his greatest race, in peace, on Thursday 13th June 2019 just 12 days short of his 80thbirthday, supported along the road by his family and friends.

By Henry Muchamore.

 

MEMORIES OF HAMISH CAMERON

Born: 27/1/1947. Died: 6/6/2019.

Hamish and I first met in October 1966 when I started studying at Aberdeen University. We were both members of the AU Hare & Hounds – the cross-country running club. Hamish had started a year earlier, and ‘Athletic Alma’ the Summer 1966 edition of the annual sports magazine commented on him: “Elusive, but great potential as a runner. Social life unknown.” Two years later, his profile read: “Notable for picturesque language, he has improved greatly this year and won the Christmas Handicap.”

We travelled to races all over Scotland and usually trained together on Wednesday afternoons (the weekly club run) which could be on road, grass and sand. On warm days, it was noticeable that Hamish sweated a lot. His party trick, back outside the changing rooms, was to take off his running vest and wring an amazing amount of moisture from it. This was because his back had childhood scar tissue so the sweat could only come out of a limited portion of normal skin. Hamish never complained; his team-mates merely laughed!

Hamish steadily reduced his fastest time over the 6-and-a-half mile home course. By 1968 he was part of the first team (and is in the back row, third from the right, in this photo, looking young and happy). By 1969 Hamish had featured in several team victories against other universities, for example Queen’s (Belfast), Glasgow, Dundee and St Andrews; and had run twice in the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow 8-man road relay. One of his very best performances was in the 1968 event, when he overtook two rivals on the final stage, moving AU up to 12th (third university to finish) which was good, considering that only the best 20 clubs in Scotland had been selected.

After graduating in 1971, to begin teaching I moved to Glasgow, joined Victoria Park AAC – and discovered a familiar team-mate – Hamish Cameron, who met his wife-to-be-Edna in that city. Hamish remained calm, clever and usually a man of few words, who raced and trained as hard as possible – he loved the sport. There were club runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the winter though dimly-lit streets on twisting traditional routes. Cross-country in the West of Scotland involved deep mud. VPAAC was a very good club, ranked in Scotland’s top four, but Hamish was right on the edge of the first team – indeed in 1972 he ran particularly well in the important McAndrew road relay and, judging by the time he set, should indeed have been one of the first 8 Vicky Park men. In 1974 Hamish appeared in the annual Scottish ranking lists, with a marathon time of 2.43.16, when he was 17th in the Scottish Marathon Championships in Edinburgh.

Between 1973 and 1981 I taught firstly in Sweden and then for seven years in Edinburgh. However, I often came up to run the Forres Highland Games road race and saw Hamish there. When I ran for Aberdeen clubs between 1981 and 2008 we frequently took part in North District events. By then Hamish was the invaluable long-serving Forres Harriers club secretary and organiser of the North District Cross-Country League – such a series of strenuous, challenging races. Despite never drinking alcohol, or partly because of this, Hamish was a star performer in pub quizzes, as well as BBC television Mastermind. In fact he was an outstanding Scottish International Quizzer.

In 2009 I moved to Forres and naturally joined the Harriers. Hamish was a clubmate yet again and running better and better – as most of us slowed down, Hamish maintained fitness and became a real ‘friendly rival’ – an opponent to worry about, specialising in 10km road races, an amazing 137 parkruns and cross-country. I remember that five years ago I got round a parkrun in Sydney and won my age category. Hamish replied with glee that he had raced that exact one earlier – and had run it faster than I had! We both ran for medal-winning M65 Scottish teams in the annual Five Nations Masters International Cross-Country event: Belfast 2012 and Dublin 2015. Before that, in the 2014 Benromach Forres Harriers 10k, Hamish had been too strong for me at last; and in the 2016 Scottish Masters XC Championships at Forres, when he was 69, finished a long way in front. A fine career in the M70 category seemed certain. Unfortunately, injuries prevented this, but Hamish kept very fit by cycling many days each week. In addition, he could still run when necessary, and was one of the small leading group of old graduates in the 2017 AUH&H reunion run, when the two of us finished side by side on the King’s College playing fields, which we remembered so well from the 1960s.

I could only marvel at Hamish’s impressive expertise and quick responses in ‘Mastermind’. He did a lot to help others and achieved a great deal during his life, which has been cut cruelly short.

He and Edna were a devoted couple, who were so proud of Niall, Mairi and Isla. We can only remember a good, clever, determined man and express our sympathy to Hamish’s family.

by Colin Youngson

 

QUESTIONNAIRE (for SVHC Newsletter)

(Jenny MacLean has won many National medals, including gold in the 2007 Scottish Half Marathon Championship. In Masters competition, at W35 she was first overall in the Scottish Masters XC (2009 and 2010); won the 5k road title in 2014; the 10 miles gold in 2012; and the Half Marathon crown in 2013. In the 2016 British and Irish Masters XC, Jenny was part of the silver medal-winning W40 Scottish Masters team.)

NAME Jenny MacLean

CLUBs Edinburgh AC

DATE OF BIRTH 28/11/73

OCCUPATION R&D Engineer for Bosch Rexroth (Hydraulic Motors)

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

Looking for something to do in the evenings during my third year University work placement in Warrington. I’d come across a Women’s Jogging Initiative organised by a lovely American lady who was a founder member of the Reebok Running Sisters. It was for total beginners and was a fab group of people. Despite considering myself pretty fit, I was horrified when I found that I couldn’t get all the way round the (small) local park without stopping to walk! 10 weeks and my first 5k later and I was hooked – running has been an important part of my life ever since.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

Moving to Edinburgh in 2003, joining EAC, finally doing ‘proper’ sessions, running with lovely people and getting advice on a proper, structured programme was the real kick which I needed. Up to that point I’d mostly been a 3-4 miles, 3-4 times a week runner, though had been starting to do more and getting more competitive. Mixing with like-minded and knowledgeable folks and being more consistent gave me rapid improvement and a real sense of belonging.

In 2007 I was probably running at my best when hit by my first real experience of injury. At the time I was in charge of a small fitness business and met loads of really interesting people, one of whom helped me massively with focus and self-belief. As a result, I’m much better able to deal with disappointment and injury and also to really pull myself together when racing.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

For me, running is a sanity check. It’s my ‘me time’ where I can let my mind run free and let the endorphins do their brilliant thing. I’ve always loved being outside immersed in nature and love watching the seasons, the scenery and whatever else is going on as I’m running past. It also helps me to scratch my very competitive itch – the buzz of competing during training and racing is the most difficult thing to replace if I’m out injured. Despite doing the majority of my running solo, I really value the social side. Whether that’s chatting on a long run or between reps during a session, or getting to know people better on a trip away. That sense of community developed over the years just gets stronger and makes races even more attractive.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

The results I’m proudest of are probably from cross country races – 4th at the Nationals in 2009 and 2nd at the National short course in 2010. They’re certainly the highest profile. Much more recently, I was chuffed to come second at the British Masters in Forres in 2018, despite patchy training.

At the longer distance scale, I had a great run of results at the Corrieyairack Challenge (16 mile run over the pass, followed by a 26 miles road bike at the time when I did it – it has become shorter since then), with three wins in four attempts.

The most unexpected was the first time I did the London Marathon back in 2004. I got married at the end of January and had a 10-day ski honeymoon (zero running), so even with some good training after that, went into the race with very little expectation. The day before the race I started feeling a bit coldy and woke up on race day with basically no voice and a slightly sore throat. I squeaked and croaked my way round, chatting to people and enjoying the experience and was delighted to duck under 3:15 and gain myself a championship place for the following year. No sleep on the sleeper back up to Edinburgh (every muscle in my body hurt), and was then floored by a horrible bug for the next fortnight. You’d never recommend that to anyone, but the gamble paid off on that occasion.

YOUR WORST?

For some reason, half marathons feature prominently here, despite having had some really good experiences and results! At Glasgow in around 2006, it was a really warm day, training had gone really well and I thought this was going to be a breakthrough run. But the wheels really fell off 10 miles in and I remember miserably trundling the last three miles wondering where I’d gone wrong. I think it was fairly soon after that I managed to bust the 1:20 barrier, so it was just one of those bad days. More recently, in 2013, training had also been going really well for the Loch Ness Marathon, but I had achilles niggles. The second half of the Moray Half was VERY sore and disappointing, so that the thought of walking back from the town for the prizegiving was too much and I limped slowly back to the train station instead.

But I think the most disappointing was when I had a place in the elite field at the 2007 Great North Run (sat on the bus behind Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher). I’d had some ankle tendon issues in the lead up and deep down knew it was unlikely to end well and I shouldn’t even have started. But… it was too good an opportunity not to have a go, so I persevered and was struggling so badly I had to limp across the regular finish line as they’d already pulled the elite one in. Could barely walk onto and off the train home and spent the next couple of days with my ankle on fire and elevated whilst lying on the sofa. The start of the most persistent and painful period of injury I’ve ever had.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

The marathon and I have unfinished business – have never felt that my results and times have lived up to the shape I’ve managed to get myself in beforehand. Contemplating trying again in the autumn if I can manage to keep myself in one piece after several years of on-off training with niggly injuries. Also eyeing up age group duathlon/triathlon. I dabbled in triathlon in the mid-2000s and did quite well. Having always cycled as well as run, there’s a big part of me which wonders how good I could be if I focused on it more seriously…

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

I have to confess that a lot of them are also pretty active! Having avoided gyms for a decade and a half, I’m trying to balance out the running with some weights and mobility work and thoroughly enjoying some cardio classes into the mix.

Cycle touring is one favourite type of holiday and my husband and I have had some fun adventures the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland (including accidentally routing across the Hardnott and Wrynose Passes first thing on a Monday morning, on a day which was to be 90 miles and when we’d arranged to meet friends in Ambleside for coffee mid-morning).

Walking is a particular favourite – last summer’s best adventure was a midsummer 13 miler starting at 11:30pm, along the River Avon with headtorches, tip-toeing past isolated West Lothian farmhouses to get up Cockleroy hill at 2:30am to see the Lothians laid out below us pre-dawn and getting home in almost full daylight before 4am!

Gardening is very therapeutic (we did our new build house garden in conjunction with BBC’s The Beechgrove Garden in 2015, so feel we have to keep on top of it).

I do enjoy a good sit down too and can get lost in a good book for very many hours on end. Cinema, music and theatre trips also feature prominently in the social calendar.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

A feeling of freedom and challenge. Camaraderie and connection to other people and the wider world. Getting to see different places (great for exploring whilst away too). I’ve been lucky enough to get trips to Milan, Dublin, Manchester and Conwy (amongst others) in a Scottish vest and see things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

When in one piece and training seriously, I’ve always been pretty consistent, generally putting in 45-55 miles over 6 days. One tempo type run or longer efforts, one session with shorter efforts (anything from short hill reps to laps of the Meadows, with pyramids, mile reps etc… also represented), often a mid-week longer (7-8 mile) run, a proper long run (typically 12-16 miles, off-road where possible), plus a couple of easy/recovery runs. If marathon training, volume goes up, if fighting off niggles, volume and intensity both go back down.

In the summer, some runs may be replaced with, or supplemented by cycling. In the winter, I’ve rediscovered spin classes and the gym for some variety and extra challenge. I was a Pilates teacher for many years and am increasing finding I’m missing it – at some point I’d like to be able to slip quietly into the back of someone else’s class for some more regular core work!

Having moved out of town to Linlithgow a few years ago, I’m really appreciating the variety of great off-road training routes accessible right from my front door, and now make a point of cutting out the worst of the pavement pounding whenever I can. Point me in the direction of an interesting trail, preferably with a view and I’m happy!

Mabie 10k Trail Race. 10/06/18

 (Or The Sad Demise of the Small Race Trophy)

 Is there a setting more beautiful but still eminently accessible, than Mabie Forest? This wee race has to be one of the best ever. We’ve entered every year since we started racing…6 years now…and it was the first race where I ever won a trophy. 

In those days they had trophies 1st to 3rd in each veteran age category going in 5-year steps, Mine was a 3rd place F45 trophy and I was a LONG way behind the F45 winner, but was immensely proud of myself. Although it’s not exactly lost in the mists of time, it seems as though, since then, we’ve entered a different, ‘voucher’ era in race prizes.

Nowadays Mabie has a total of 3 female veteran prizes, one each for 40+, 50+ and  60+…(same for men) and no trophies!  Sad to say, this now seems to be a feature of smaller races. The (small) collection of modest little trophies I have, from various small-town races around the country, seem to have tailed off around 2015 even though I still do many of the same races (and probably more often win age group prizes!) (A major benefit of getting older as a runner – the competition thins out somewhat).

It’s a nice run anyway. Mabie Forest is an excellent reason to live near Dumfries, it’s fresh and green and lovely and only 10 mins drive from the town centre. Our kids used to love the climbing frames, death slide and monkey bars in the adventure playground, and there are dipping ponds, bridges for Pooh sticks, long grass meadows and interesting forest walks short enough to herd small children round without too many tantrums. We often go for training runs around the miles of paths there and have family nicknames for most of the features.

 Don’t you love the cheerful buzz at the start of a wee local race? Even if you don’t know anyone it feels nice, and completely different to bigger, commercially organised events. Dumfries Harriers always have plenty of marshals, and they’re all very friendly and encouraging, whether you’re rocketing off at the front or slogging along at the end. I was extra pleased to see that so many of their fast female runners were on marshal duty… 

We came into this race pretty tired (yes, I know, excuses, excuses!); the Dick Wedlock 10k And Edinburgh Half being actual target, proper-taper, hard-effort races and us only 2 weeks past that, with 2 extra races (Race the Train and Grantown) last weekend instead of recovery. Also, Reformer Pilates on the Friday. The thing about Reformer Pilates is it really works all kind of obscure core muscles in a way that definitely helps your running, but is really exhausting and makes said obscure core muscles tender and sulky…but you have to do it to get the benefit and if you’re racing all the time and missing it so you won’t be sore in the races then you have to sacrifice that benefit. Probably matters more for auld yins too. Long story short: if it’s not a ‘target’ race, no taper, do the classes and just tell the obscure core muscles to shut up and do their best. 

Ready to go

So Mabie was, emphatically, a training race. No anxiety, don’t chase anyone, take as long as it takes, concentrate on good form. It was a perfect running day, sunshine in the sky and all the wee birds tweeting prettily in the trees. The starting horn sounded and off we trotted, half a mile on level fire road. Alex (partner of Michelle the Niece and Serious Running Snake) meanwhile, tore off in a cloud of dust!

The long hill that starts half a mile into the race route is known in our family as ‘Relentless brown’ (because it’s on the brown walking trail). The lack of shade as you plod up the endless hill prompted a re-think on how perfect the weather was, but, hey, it’ll likely be hotter in Malaga…the next junction in the race is only 2/3 of the way up old Relentless and turns off onto more level roads which was welcome, as was the sporadic shade. Another half mile or so later it heads up into the woods on a favourite, undulating path…in this case undulating means proper ups and downs, some of them (like ‘Mountain Goat Crag’ which looks out over a truly magnificent view of the Solway Estuary with Criffel posed in the background) almost needing hands as well as feet. I got caught behind someone in less of a hurry on the way up there, mega frustration! Pet hate of the day: slowing down against your will when going uphill. Losing momentum, IMHO, just makes it harder. 

Next is ‘Badger path’ where a – surprisingly long-legged – badger actually crossed in front of me once on an early morning run, it undulates (less sharp but still up and down) down the other side and is a good place to pick up a bit of speed…unless you’re stuck behind someone running just a bit too slow on the single file path!

Then the route turns along the side of the hill overlooking a Loch on ‘Butterfly Walk’. I think that might be the actual Mabie Forest name of that bit, there’s certainly lots of butterfly information along the way. And actual butterflies . At the end of Butterfly Walk is the water station…on a T junction with the fire road…too busy offering water to remember with directions; Alex reported having to pause his charge to ask which way he was supposed to go! There were a couple of runners in front of me gave up and walked on the next set of uphills, but I’m always too paranoid to do that in case I can’t get started again.

The levelling out is welcome again along the top of the hill, then it’s right onto a tricky wee path until the terrifyingly steep downhill of ‘The Glorious 12th’, which is (!) on the orange walk. Geddit!?

The 12th was actually ok that day as it was dry underfoot, so apart from the odd loose rock didn’t feel too life-threatening. At the bottom of the hill there’s a super, open and undulating (very gentle undulations this time) section for another half mile or so, just enough of an overall downhill slope for powerful springing like a superhero. Turn right at the ‘Crocodile Pond’ (elder daughter named that one!) and up the ‘Green Hill’ (some names are better than others!).

When the marshal at the bottom of the 12th said I was 1st female I thought I’d heard him wrong, but the next one said the same. Oh no! Instant Pressure. What if someone overtakes me!? How close is the next one (CAN’T LOOK BACK!)?…It doesn’t matter, I told myself sternly. It’s still a training race, and 2nd or 3rd is still brilliant. It’d be lying to pretend I didn’t speed up a shade, but I tried hard to keep the head.

After the Green Hill there’s a longish stretch on fire road around the side of the hill, then the last km (it’s marked!) follows a stream through shade-dappled beech-woods which we call ‘Antelope Trail’, because it gives you a real ‘bounding gazelle-like through the sunlit forest’ feel.  

As it happened, the person I could hear behind was male with no other females close, so I came in 1st female. Yes, really! 

2nd female, would you believe it, was the Running Niece! Oh, and Mr Running Snake had blistered the trails to come in a full 2 mins in front of everyone else in the race, winning 1st Male.

Running Niece, Running Snake, and First Female 

Here’s the sad thing. I’ve never been 1st in a race before (school doesn’t count). I think it’s not all that likely that I ever will again. I got 1st prize, and it’s a voucher. How am I supposed to gloat over that in my old age? 

“See these Injinji socks?” I’ll say to the clustered great-grand-weans…”These came from my winnings the time I actually WON a race!” 

Nah, vouchers are fine for superhero runners with trophy fatigue; I say bring back the cheapo keepsake trophy for us normal mortals who want to treasure our wee moment of glory forever! 

By Anne Macfarlane

 

Road Running Round-up

Neil Green (Giffnock North) made quite a comeback (after only running six races in the previous 12 years). Now aged 51, in the Monklands Half Marathon in May, he finished second overall and first M40 in a time of 1 hour 20 minutes. A couple of weeks earlier, Neil completed the Victoria Park run in 17.10.

At the British Masters Indoor Championships trophies and certificates were presented to the best athletes of 2018. Some also gained World and European awards.

BRITISH AWARDS: FEMALE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER –  FIONA MATHESON

 

TRACK AND FIELD REPORTS by Mike Clerihew

3rd March 2019.  Scottish Masters Indoor Combined Events Championships.

The combined events competition took place in over the weekend 16th and 17th February and saw M60 Brian Slaughter (Eastbourne) win the male heptathlon competition with a total of 5126 points ahead of M70 Bob Masson (Aberdeen) with 4870 points.  As best placed Scot, Bob won the Steedman medal (I assume that Scottish Athletics are still presenting the medal) and also had the consolation of setting two Scottish Masters best performances in the high jump with 1.33m and pole vault with 2.65m. 

In the woman’s pentathlon competition W45 Amanda Broadhurst (Wrexham) won with a total of 2976 points.

3rd March 2019.  Scottish Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The Indoor T&F Champs took place in the Emirates Arena on Sunday 17th February and some excellent performances were witnessed.

Six new Scottish Masters best performances were recorded and another equalled.  Bobby Stevenson (Ayr) set new figures in the M65 category winning the long jump with a leap of 4.75m and the triple jump with 10.10m and Fred Cowan equalled this feat with new bests in winning the M85 200m and 400m double with times of 44.00s and 1m 31.97s respectively.  Fred’s 400m time is superior to the current British record of 1m 40.37s held by Eric Shirley so I hope that the necessary paperwork has been completed and submitted to BMAF for ratification.  John Ross (Corstorphine) also set a 400m best in the M80 category with a time of 1m 29.18s but lost his M65 200m best when Bob Douglas (Livingston) won the event in 28.38s, one hundredth of a second faster than John’s time from 2004.  Linzi Marsh (Edinburgh) equalled the W40 best with a winning clearance at 1.40m.

With the 3000m championships (held in January) included 22 Championship best performances were set and another equalled.  In addition to Fred Cowan, Bob Douglas, John Ross and Bobby Stevenson’s performances mentioned above new championship bests were set by:-

Andrew Lewis (Harrow) M50 60m hurdles (8.98s) and long jump (5.79m)

Mary Barrett (Loughrea, Ireland) W60 60m hurdles (11.87s), shot (10.12m) and high jump (1.20m)

Bob Douglas (Livingston) M65 400m (64.71s)

Jacqui Hodgson (Durham) W50 200m (28.63s) and 400m (64.82s)

Kathleen Stewart (North Shields) W75 60m (11.78s) and 200m (39.32s)

Catriona Pennet (Edinburgh) W35 60m hurdles (9.35s)

Robert Biggar (N. Ireland) M60 1500m (4m 51.05s)

Bobby Young (Clydesdale) M75 1500m (6m 04.72s) and 3000m (12m 39.28s)

Stuart Gibson (Cambuslang) M35 3000m (8m 39.04s)

Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) W40 800m (2m 25.45s)

Ian Horsburgh (Central) equalled the M40 60m best in 7.32s.

22nd March 2019.  British Masters Indoor T&F Championships and Winter Throws Competition.

The BMAF T&F Indoors and Winter Throws took place at Lee Valley, London over the weekend 9th/10th March with Scots athletes winning a total of 28 medals (7 gold, 16 silver and 5 bronze) and setting two Scottish Masters best performances at the indoor championships. 

Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh) secured a golden double in the W35 pole vault, in a new Scottish Masters best performance, with a 3.30m clearance and long jump with 5.21m as did John Thomson (Fife) in the M60 800m with 2m 26.14s and 1500m in 5m 5.66s. Other winners were Claire Cameron (VP Glasgow) in the W60 shot with 9.47m, John Coyle (Garscube) in the M45 3000m with a time of 9m 45.15s and Allan Leiper (Aldershot, Farnham & Dist) in the M55 shot with a throw of 12.80m.

James Smith (Motherwell) claimed four silver medals in the M70 age group, 60m in 9.22s, 200m in 30.79, triple jump with 8.63m and long jump with 3.64m, Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) won three in the W40 category, 800m in 2m 28.74s, 1500m in 5m 6.47s and 3000m in 11m 6.11s and Graeme Armstrong won two, the M60 60m in 8.25s and 200m in 27.35s.  Other silver medal winners were Alison Murray ( Hercules Wimbledon) W50 pole vault  with 2.81m, Colin Welsh (Gala) M35 1500m in 4m 9.50s, Ian Johnston (SVHC)  M50 3000m in 9m 48s, Paul Masterton (Corstorphine) M55 high jump with 1.49m, Ron Todd (Central) M55 pole vault with 3.20m, John McGarry (Irvine) M65 60m in 8.63s and Bill Lonsdale (Aberdeen) M65 long jump with 4.19m.

In addition to his silver in the 1500m Colin Welsh won bronze in the M35 800m in 1m 59.78s which is a Scottish Masters best performance, whilst further bronze medal winners were Gary Leek (Edinburgh) M55 60m in 8.05s, Gary’s son Stephen in the M35 long jump with 5.73m,

Jim Sloan (Annan) M75 shot with 9.66m and Dean Kane (Inverness) M35 3000m in 10m 7.85s.

In the throws Claire Cameron won the W60 weight with 11.21m discus with 26.02m and came third in the hammer with25.74m.  Jim Sloan came second in the M75 discus with 28.56m, Allan Leiper second in the M55 discus with 37.89m and Stephen Leek third in the M35 discus with 25.09m.

Well done to all Scots competing.

4th April 2019.  World Masters Indoor Championships.

The 8th version of the WMA Indoor Championships took place in Torun, Poland from 24th to 30th March with the British contingent finishing 4th in the medals table with a total of 166 (60 gold, 58 silver and 48 bronze).  Germany once again headed the list with 262 medals (100 gold) followed by USA with 159 (62 g) and Poland with 182 (60 g).

To my knowledge 21 Scots competed winning a total of 4 individual and 6 team/relay medals.  As I no longer either compete or officiate I have kind of lost track of Scottish athletes so I apologise now for anyone I have omitted from the undernoted.

Four new Scottish Masters best performances were set with Bob Douglas (Livingston) recording a time of 63.60s in the in his heat of the M65 400m to add to his 200m best from the Scottish Masters Championships and Colin Welsh (Gala) bettered his own best from the BMAF Championships with 1m 59.51s in his M35 800m heat.  Jamie Creighton (Liverpool) cleared 1.90m in finishing 4th in the M35 high jump and Ron Todd (Central) cleared 3.35m for 10th place in the M55 pole vault.

Medallists:-

Jacqui Etherington (Cambuslang) won bronze in both the individual W40 8k cross country and team event as well as a silver in the 4 x 200m relay.   Anne Howie (Aberdeen) won bronze in the W55 1500m (5:17.22), Alison Murray (Hercules Wimbledon) bronze in the W50 pole vault (2.80m), Gillian Cooke (Edinburgh) silver in the W35 long jump (5.36m), Susan Ridley (Edinburgh) gold  in the W50 cross country team, Ronnie Hunter (Corstorphine) silver in the M55 4 x 200m relay, Brett Rund (Edinburgh) gold in the M40 4 x 200m relay and Bob Douglas silver in the M65 4 x 200m relay.

Other results:-

Jacqui Etherington  5th  in the  W40 800m (2:25.25), 5th in the 1500m (4:52.38) and 5th in the 3000m (10:50.31).

Anne Howie  5th in the W55 800m (2:37.59, heat 2:36.82).

Susan Ridley  8th in W50 3000m (11: 29.06s) and 5th in  8k xc .

Brian Scally (Shettleston) 11th in the M50 half marathon (1h 20m 03s.)

Ronnie Hunter  heats of the  M55 60m (8.11s) and 200m (26.47s).

Brett Rund  sf of the M40 200m (23.55s, heat 23.35s) and 6th in the 400m (51.62s).

Bob Douglas  sf of the M65 200m (29.39s, heat 28.53s).

Fiona Steele (Motherwell) heat of the W50 60m (9.03s) and sf of the 200m (29.52s, heat 29.47s).

Colin Welsh (Gala) 9th in the M35 800m (2:02.31, heat 1:59.51) and 11th in the 1500m (4:19.07s, heat  4:11.40).

Andy Ronald (Falkirk)  heats of M50 M50 800m (2:16.32s) and 1500m (4:35.25).

Paul Forbes (Edinburgh)  6th in M60 800m (2:20.36, heat 2:20.24).

John Thomson (Fife) 4th in the M60 1500m (4: 50.84).

Chris Upson (Cambuslang) 18th in M55 3000m (10:27.33) and 22nd in 8 k cross country.

Allan Leiper (Aldershot, Farnham & Dist) nh in M55 pole vault, 6th in the shot (12.67m) and 14th in the discus (28.12m).

Jim Sloan (Annan) 10th in the M75 shot (9.70m) and 10th in the discus (27.11m).

Claire Cameron (VP Glasgow) 15th in W60 weight (11.04m), 14th in the hammer (25.98m) and 6th in the discus (25.56m).

Dave Valentine (West Suffolk) 6th in M60 weight (17.17m) and 4th in the hammer (47.92m).

Well done to all competitors and again apologies to any I have missed.

 

Scottish Masters Track and Field Indoor Best Performances

(from Mike Clerihew)

            60 metres                                                     

M35 Gary Leek 7.00 1996 Glasgow
M40 Darren Scott 6.98 2010 Manchester
M45 Darren Scott 7.26 2015 Manchester
M50 Alasdair Ross 7.61 2004 Cardiff
M55 Alasdair Ross 7.67 2007 Helsinki Finland
M60 Alasdair Ross 7.92 2014 Lee Valley London
M65 Brendan Lynch 8.51 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M70 Walter Hunte r 8.64 2014 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M75 Walter Hunter 9.16 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M80 Andy Coogan 11.21 1998 Glasgow
W35 Joss Harwood 7.80 1994 Glasgow
W40 Joss Harwood 8.04 1998 Glasgow
W45 Fiona Davidson 8.25 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W50 Linda Nicholson 8.66 2011 Ghent Belgium
W55 Esther Linaker 9.14 2001 Cardiff
W60 Esther Linaker 8.98 2003 San Sebastien Spain
W65 Esther Linaker 9.43 2007 Helsinki Finland
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 10.41 2005 Cardiff
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 10.86 2010 Lee Valley London
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 11.49 2014 Lee Valley London BR

            200 metres                                                  

M35 Darren Scott 21.62 2008 Clermont-Ferrand F
M40 Darren Scott 21.71 2010 Birmingham WR
M45 Darren Scott 22.52 2015 Torun Poland WR
M50 Alasdair Ross 24.05 2004 Sindelfingen Ger.
M55 Alasdair Ross 24.42 2007 Helsinki Finland
M60 Alasdair Ross 25.24 2014 Budapest Hungary =ER
Alasdair Ross 25.24 2015 Torun Poland =ER
M65 Bob Douglas 28.38 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M70 John Ross 29.14 2009 Lee Valley London
M75 Walter Hunter 31.67 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M80 Willie Russell 43.64 2012 Glasgow
M85 Fred Cowan 44.00 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow .
W35 Joss Harwood 25.29 1992 Cosford
W40 Joss Harwood 25.99 1998 Glasgow
W45 Pat MacKinnon 28.60 1997 Glasgow
W50 Fiona Steele 29.09 2017 Lee Valley London
W55 Esther Linaker 31.15 2001 Cardiff
W60 Esther Linaker 30.43 2003 San Sebastien Spain
W65 Esther Linaker 32.51 2007 Helsinki Finland
W70 Betty Steedman 39.03 2004 Cardiff
W75 Betty Steedman 46.61 2011 Glasgow

            400 metres                                                  

M35 David Agnew 51.70 2015 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M40 Darren Scott 49.35 2010 Birmingham BR
M45 Alastair Dunlop 53.72 1999 Glasgow
M50 Alasdair Ross 55.37 2004 Cardiff
M55 Alasdair Ross 56.60 2008 Lee Valley London
M60 Alasdair Ross 58.13 2014 Budapest Hungary BR
M65 Bob Douglas 63.60 2019 Torun Poland
M70 John Ross 66.08 2009 Lee Valley London BR
M75 John Ross 71.90 2014 Lee Valley London
M80 John Ross 89.18 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M85 Fred Cowan 91.97 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W35 Philippa Millage 57.10 2016 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W45 Gillian Dicherty 66.31 2007 Glasgow
W50 Laura Mahady 64.20 2013 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W55 Laura Mahady 64.11 2013 San Sebastian Spain
W65 Betty Steedman 93.31 2001 Cardiff

            800 metres  

M35 Colin Welsh 1.59.51 2019 Torun Poland
M40 Alastair Dunlop 1.58.36 1995 Glasgow
M45 Alastair Dunlop 2.02.02 2000 Glasgow
M50 Alastair Dunlop 2.02.20 2004 Sindelfingen Ger.
M55 Alastair Dunlop 2.09.99 2009 Glasgow
M60 Alastair Dunlop 2.20.19 2015 Lee Valley London
M65 Harry Tempan 2.22.28 1993 Glasgow
M70 Jimmy Todd 2.34.2 1912 Glasgow BR
M75 Jimmy Todd 2.42.35 1997 Birmingham ER
M80 Hugh McGinlay 3.52.47 2006 Glasgow
M85 Hugh McGinlay 4.10.88 2011 Glasgow
W35 Philippa Millage 2-05.96 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow BR
W40 Sonia Armitage 2.24.44 2004 Sindelfingen Ger.
W45 Sonia Armitage 2.22.77 2006 Linz Austria
W50 Laura Mahady 2.30.40 2009 Glasgow
W55 Laura Mahady 2.27.84 2013 San Sebastian Spain WR
W60 Liz Bowers 2.59.27 2013 Lee Valley London
W65 Liz Bowers 3.08.57 2018 Lee Valley London
                        

            1500 metres  

M35 Jozsef Farkas 4.05.44 2017 Deag S South Korea
M40 Andrew Brown 4.08. 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M45 Alastair Dunlop 4.12.68 2002 Glasgow
M50 Alastair Dunlop 4.18.40 2004 Sindelfingen Ger.
M55 Alastair Dunlop 4.24.39 2009 Glasgow BR
M60 Alastair Dunlop 4.39.74 2014 Budapest Hungary
M65 Harry Tempan 4.53.02 1991 Glasgow
M70 Jimmy Todd 5.13.1 1992 Glasgow BR
M75 Jimmy Todd 5.42.26 1997 Birmingham BR
M80 Hugh McGinlay 7.52.47 2006 Glasgow
M85 Emmett Farrell 8.41.47 1997 Glasgow BR
W35 Susan Bevan 4.32.55 1996 Birmingham
W40 Lesley Chisholm 4.46.45 2016 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W45 Sonia Armitage 4.45.85 2006 Linz Austria
W50 Fiona Matheson 4.48.70 2013 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W55 Fiona Matheson 4.56.51 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow WR
W60 Liz Bowers 5.55.25 2013 San Sebastian Spain
W65 Liz Bowers 6.13.42 2018 Lee Valley London
                      

            3000 metres                                                

M35 Stuart Gibson 8.39.04 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M40 Eddie Stewart 8.32.6 1997 Prague Cze.
M45 Archie Jenkins 8.56.69 1999 Glasgow
M50 John Linaker 9.16.6 1990 Glasgow
M55 Hugh Rankin 9.37.9 1990 Glasgow
M60 Andy Brown 9.43.88 1994 Glasgow WR
M65 Willie Marshall 10.32.28 1993 Glasgow
M70 Jimmy Todd 11.08.49 199 4 Glasgow BR
M75 Jimmy Todd 12.12.72 1997 Birmingham BR
M80 Gordon Porteous 14.10.79 1994 Glasgow BR
W35 Liz McColgan 9.31.11 2004 Glasgow
W40 Lesley Chisholm 10-13.52 2016 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W45 Susan Finch 10.22.84 2008 Glasgow
W50 Fiona Matheson 9.56.39 2011 Glasgow WR
W55 Fiona Matheson 10.18.87 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow WR
W60 Jocelyn Ross 12.33.3 1990 Cosford
W65 Jocelyn Ross 13.09.42 1994 Glasgow

            60 m hurdles    

M35 Francis Smith 8.39 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M40 Carson Graham 9.05 2018 Lee Valley London
M45 Tom Leeson 9.15 2009 Glasgow
M50 Tom Leeson 9.09 2014 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M55 Roy Buchanan 9.82 2010 Lee Valley London
M60 Robin Sykes 10.54 1995 Glasgow
M65 Ian Steedman 10.54 1994 Glasgow
M70 Ian Steedman 11.71 1999 Glasgow
W35 Joss Harwood 8.69 1993 Birmingham
W40 Joss Harwood 8.88 1998 Glasgow
W45 Joss Harwood 9.49 2005 Glasgow
W50 Joss Harwood 9.62 2008 Clermont-Ferrand Fr. BR
W55 Joss Harwood 10.32 2013 Lee Valley London
                                                                     

            High Jump   

M35 Jamie Creighton 1.90 2019 Torun Poland
M40 Jim Malcolm 1.72 2004 Glasgow
M45 Eamon Fitzgerald 1.76
Brian Whittle 1.76 2012 Glasgow
M50 Eamon Fitzgerald 1.71 1998 Glasgow
M55 Eamon Fitzgerald 1.60 2002 Glasgow
M60 John Freebairn 1.50 1998 Glasgow
M65 Bill Lonsdale 1.41 2017 Deagu South Korea
M70 Bob Masson 1.33 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M75 Ian Adams 1.16 1997 Glasgow
W35 Nikki Thompson 1.50 1990 Glasgow
W40 Elaine Forbes 1.40 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
Linzie Marsh 1.40 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W45 Jan Hardcastle 1.38 2007 Lee Valley London
W50 Rosemary Chrimes 1.30 1987
Janice Hardcastle 1.30 2011 Ghent Belgium
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 1.36 1989
W60 Rosemary Chrimes 1.30 1997 Birmingham
W65 Rosemary Chrimes 1.25 1999 Birmingham BR
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 1.18 2005 Cardiff BR
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 1.16 2010 Lee Valley London BR
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 1.09 2014 Lee Valley London WR
                           

            Pole Vault 

M35 Dougie Graham 4.10 2012 Glasgow
M40 Dougie Graham 4.17 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M45 Allan Leiper 4.12 2006 Carshalton
M50 Allan Leiper 3.80 2014 Budapest Hungary
M55 Ron Todd 3.35 2019 Torun Poland
M60 Bob Masson 3.02 2009 Grangemouth
M65 Bob Masson 2.90 2012 Grangemouth
M70 Bob Masson 2.65 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W35 Gillian Cooke 3.30 2019 Lee Valley London
W40 Janet Lyon 2.70 2004 Glasgow
2.70 2005 Glasgow
W45 Alison Murray 3.11 2015 Lee Valley London
W50 Alison Murray 3.02 2017 Carshalton BR
                                      

            Long Jump                                                 

M35 Ian Paget 6.21 2012 Glasgow
M40 Ian Paget 6.24 2014 Budapest Hungary
M45 Robert Stevenson 5.82 2002 Glasgow
M50 Tom Leeson 5.69 2014 Glasgow
M55 Robert Stevenson 5.29 2008 Glasgow
M60 Robert Stevenson 5.07 2015 Glasgow
M65 Robert Stevenson 4.75 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M70 Trevor Madigan 4.28 2016 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W35 Gillian Cooke 5.65 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W40 Fiona Davidson 4.93 2015 Emirates Arena Glasgow
4.93 2017 Lee Valley London
W45 Fiona Davidson 5.14 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow BR
W50 Linda Nicholson 4.66 2011 Glasgow
4.66 2011 Ghent Belgium
W55 Sylvia Wood 4.07 2001 Glasgow
W60 Betty Steedman 3.80 1994 Glasgow
W65 Betty Steedman 3.42 2001 Glasgow
W70 Betty Steedman 3.88 2006 Linz Austria
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 2.58 2014 Lee Valley London

            Triple Jump                                                

M35 Ian Paget 12.82 2010 Glasgow
M40 Steve Wallace 11.89 2000 Birmingham
Ian Paget 11.89 2014 Grangemouth
M45 Eamon Fitzgerald 11.81 1992 Glasgow
M50 William Beattie 11.52 2004 Cardiff
M55 Robert Stevenson 11.00 2012 Glasgow
M60 Robert Stevenson 10.32 2017 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M65 Robert Stevenson 10.10 2019 Emirates Arena Glasgow
M70 James Smith 7.97 2018 Lee Valley London
M75 John Scott 7.40 2015 Lee Valley London
W35 Zara Asante 12.75 2018 Birmingham
W40 Fiona Davidson 11.02 2014 Budapest Hungary
W45 Fiona Davidson 10.45 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
10.45 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W50 Sylvia Wood 9.21 1995 Birmingham
W55 Sylvia Wood 8.58 2001 Glasgow
W60 Betty Steedman 7.98 1994 Glasgow
W65 Betty Steedman 7.00 2001 Glasgow
W70 Betty Steedman 6.69 2005 Cardiff

            Shot     

M35 Neil Elliott 16.56 2009 Glasgow
M40 Steve Whyte 16.18 2005 Eskilstuna Sweden
M45 Steve Whyte 14.66 2014 Lee Valley London
M50 Steve Whyte 15.75 2014 Budapest Hungary
M55 John A. Scott 13.45 1998 Glasgow
M60 John A. Scott 13.33 2002 Glasgow
M65 John A. Scott 12.12 2007 Lee Valley London
M70 John A. Scott 12.75 2013 Lee Valley London BR
M75 Ian Miller 11.15 2010 Lee Valley London
M80 Ian Miller 10.20 2015 Lee Valley London BR
W35 Mhairi Porterfield 13.54 2018 Emirates Arena Glasgow
W40 Rosemary Chrimes 14.40 1973 Cosford
W45 Claire Cameron 10.74 2004 Glasgow
W50 Rosemary Chrimes 12.48 1986 BR
W55 Rosemary Chrimes 12.04 1989 Glasgow
W60 Rosemary Chrimes 11.66 1997 Birmingham
W65 Rosemary Chrimes 11.75 2002 Glasgow BR
W70 Rosemary Chrimes 9.79 2005 Cardiff
W75 Rosemary Chrimes 9.66 2011 Gent Belgium
W80 Rosemary Chrimes 9.58 2014 Lee Valley London BR
                            

Multi Events Pentathlon (Age Graded) Points   

M50 John Freebairn 3756 1988
W35 Carolyn Smith 3060 1997 Glasgow
                                                      

            Heptathlon (Age Graded)            

M50    Eamon Fitzgerald     5240   1998   Glasgow       

 

Scottish Masters Outdoor Track and Fleld Championships: Report One

The 5000m races were held in Aberdeen on 26th May. Officials were efficient yet relaxed and encouraging. This is not always the case at Grangemouth…….

Age-group winners:

Michelle Slater (Moray Road Runners W40, with a Championship record of 20.02.60);

Karen Kennedy (PH Racing Club W45 – faster than W40 with a Championship record of 19.13.69);

Anne Howie (Aberdeen AAC W55);

Richard Mair (Kilmarnock H and AC M35 – with a Championship record of 15m 02.27);

Darran Muir (Law and District AC M40);

Gordon Barrie (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers M45);

Ross McEachern (Cumbernauld AAC M50);

Athol Burnett (Aberdeen AAC M55);

George McPherson (Metro Aberdeen M60).

Charlie Noble (Fraserburgh AC M65);

Bobby Young (Clydesdale Harriers M75, with a Championship record of 21.52.86 – he also went on to win the 1500m gold medal in another Championship record);

Colin Youngson (Forres Harriers M70).

Other Track and Field events were held at Grangemouth on 13th July, along with a bewildering amount of Junior and Senior Multi-Events. The official results are in random order and I apologise for errors or omissions.

Although most of the Men’s Masters events were well-contested, the number of Women Masters competing was disappointing.

On the track, multi-event winners included:

Fiona Steele (Motherwell AC W50) 100m and 200m;

Karen Kennedy (PH Racing Club W45) 800m and 1500m;

Anne Howie (Aberdeen AAC W55) 800m and 1500m.

Ian Horsburgh (Central AC M40) 100m and 200m;

Stan Walker (Aberdeen AAC M50) 100m and 200m;

Gary Leek (Edinburgh AC M55) 100m and 200m;

Bob Douglas (Livingston AC M65) 100m, 200m and 400m;

James Smith (Motherwell AC M75) 100m, 200m, long and triple jumps;

Paul Forbes (Edinburgh AC M60) 400m and 800m;

Gordon Barrie (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers M45) 800m and 1500m;

Ian Johnstone (Inverness Harriers M65) 800m and 1500m.

On the field, multi-event winners included:

Mairi Porterfield (Victoria Park W35) hammer, discus and shot;

Claire Cameron (Victoria Park W60) hammer, discus and shot;

Julie Tuck (Aberdeen AAC W40) long jump and shot;

Carson Graham (Shettleston M40) long and high jumps;

Bob Masson (Aberdeen AAC M70) javelin and discus;

James Sloan (Annan and District M75) discus and shot.

Edward McKenzie (Aberdeen AAC M50) shot and javelin.

Once again, WHY NOT INCLUDE the Masters 5000m? All Scottish Masters track and field events could easily be timetabled in one day, by shifting multi-events onto different dates. Alas, Scottish Athletics refuse to listen to this recurring and entirely justified complaint about the exclusion of Indoor 3000m and Outdoor 5000m from the other Scottish Masters T and F championship events.

 

Scottish Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships: Report Two

(by Mike Clerihew)

The main championships were held at Grangemouth on Saturday 13th July and, certainly in terms of best performances, were very successful.  A British Record, six Scottish Masters Best Performances and 23 Championship Best Performances were recorded.

Fred Cowan (Bellahouston) set a new British Record of 96.00s in the M85 400m to add to his recently set indoor record.  Additional Scottish Masters Bests came from James Smith (Motherwell) with 4.00m in the M75 long jump and 31.02s in the 200m, Bobby Stevenson (Ayr Seaforth) with 4.98m in the M65 long jump, John L Scott (Kilbarchan) with 20.64m in the M80 javelin and Jamie Creighton (Liverpool) with 1.85m in the M35 high jump. 

Championship Best Performances:-

Kevin Brown Royal Sutton M50 discus 41.61m
Claire Cameron VP-Glasgow W60 discus 25.59m
Eoin Coull Ross County M45 3000m s/c 11m 12.31s
Fred Cowan Bellahouston M85 400m 1m 36.00s
Jamie Creighton Liverpool M35 high jump 1.85m
Paul Forbes Edinburgh M60 400m 60.36s
M60 800m 2m 17.72s
Ian Horsburgh Central M40 100m 11.23s Electronic best
M40 200m 22.30s
Jayne Kirkpatrick Nithsdale W45 javelin 26.80m
Linzie Marsh Pitreavie W40 high jump 1.43m
Bob Masson Aberdeen M70 discus 36.71m
Catriona Pennet Edinburgh W35 100m hdls 14.99s
Joyce Rammell Nithsdale W70 hammer 15.60m
W70 shot 6.13m
Hugh Ryan North East Vets M80 hammer 25.00m
John L Scott Kilbarchan M80 javelin 20.64m
James Smith Motherwell M75 long jump 4.00m
M75 triple jump 7.45m
Bobby Stevenson Ayr Seaforth M65 long jump 4.98m
Ron Todd Central M55 pole vault 3.30m
Alastair Walker Teviotdale M60 1500m 4m 44.50s
Bobby Young Clydesdale M75 1500m 6m 09.50s

The combined events championships were also held at Grangemouth over the weekend 13th and 14th July with, unfortunately, only four competitors.  Derek Glasgow (M55 Inverness) gained gold in the decathlon with an age graded score of 5774 points.  The women’s heptathlon was a close-run thing with Rosemary Gibson (W45 Ireland) winning with an age graded score of 3053 points followed by Mary Scanlon (W40 Ireland) with 2993 points and Kathryn Ballard (W40 North Ayrshire) in third with 2734 points.

The 5000m championships were held in Aberdeen on 26th May and saw some excellent performances with four Championship Best Performances being set.  Karen Kennedy (PH Racing Club) ran 19m 13.69s in the W45 category, Michelle Slater (Moray Road Runners) 20m 02.60s in the W40s, Bobby Young (Clydesdale Harriers) 21m 52.86s in the M75s and Richard Mair (Kilmarnock) 15m 02.27s in the M35 age group.

Full results for all the above events can be found on the Scottish Athletics website.

The 10,000m championships are due to be held on 31st August at the John Cumming Stadium in Carluke.  

Finally, a big thank you and well done to all competitors for continuing to support Masters Athletics in Scotland and good luck to those intending to compete in the British Championships in Birmingham on 10th/11th August and at the European Masters Championships in Venice from 5th to 15th September.

 

MASTERS INTER-AREA TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Clare Barr wrote:

“On Saturday 6th July the SVHC T&F team had an absolute ball at the Masters Inter-Area Championships.

We had 28 members competing in Coventry in ideal conditions. Eddie McKenzie has said he’ll do a write-up for you and hopefully you’ll be able to put something up on Facebook/website and in the newsletter.

SVHC came 5th overall from the seven areas taking part. We had some excellent performances but need to fill in some of the empty slots if we are to score more highly in the future; the top teams from other areas covered almost every event and therefore managed to amass loads of valuable points. We need to get recruiting for next year! It would be great if SVHC helped to promote this – summer track can be very beneficial for winter cross country runners!

It was such an excellent experience for all the SVHC members. Usually we compete as individuals so it was lovely to be part of a team and have the support and friendliness that comes along with that. It was also great for the runners, throwers and jumpers to mix – again, often our paths don’t cross that much so it was a wholly positive day.”

SVHC Winners: Paul Forbes (M60) 400m and 800m; Colin Welsh (M35) 800m and 1500m; Alastair Walker (M60) 3000m; Carson Graham (M40) Long Jump; Allan Leiper (M55) Shot; Chris Smith (M40) Javelin; Linzie Marsh (W40) 400m and High Jump; Anne Howie (W55) 1500m; Gillian Cooke (W35) Pole Vault, Triple Jump and Long Jump; Joyce Rammell (W70) Long Jump; Claire Reid (W40) Discus; 4x100m relay (W35/W40): Nina Cessford, Julie Hendry, Linzie Marsh, Gillian Cooke.

 

RECOLLECTIONS

When distance running years have passed

And walking proves quite hard enough

What memories might we recall

Of days when we were fit and tough?

 

As tireless children, we could play

For hours, resilient and carefree.

Contesting Primary School sprints,

Would earn us cheers, not victory.

 

Yet Sports Day at the Secondary

Demanded stamina plus speed –

The longest (One Mile) track race gave

A chance for us to take the lead.

 

Back then, our ‘training’ might turn out

To be a joke, more fake than real –

Mere jogging, hard laps, round-the-block

Then home in time for evening meal.

 

Cross-country, though, came as a shock –

The four-mile course, long-distance,

On steep and bumpy grass or roots,

Through heavy mud resistance.

 

And yet, thin youngsters learned to like

The challenge, effort, getting fit,

Then banter – even foolish pride,

With show-off badges on our kit.

 

Then, after school, we had to work,

But joined a club and trained much more.

That greatest race – the E to G –

Would motivate, in Days of Yore.

 

You grabbed the baton, ran off fast,

Yet had to learn to chase and pace

yourself but not slow down at all –

avoid collapse and cruel disgrace.

 

The ‘National’ (major target) next,

A mud-fest round a racecourse, then,

Or snowbound struggling up and down,

To separate the ‘boys’ from ‘men’.

 

The girls and women raced elsewhere,

their company we’d sorely lack,

because of separate championships –

until we watched them on the track

 

At Meadowbank Athletics; the

3000 was the most they’d run.

Unfairly, men could tackle a

10,000 or the Marathon.

 

The Marathon! But first you had

To suffer roads near Highland Games,

rough routes round random distances

With finish lines by dancing dames.

 

A rite of passage was the Hill,

Though going up was hard but fair –

Ben Nevis was the famous one –

Where wheechin’ doon wis affy sair.

 

‘Road fairies’ tried The Ben but once,

Preferring 26-mile slogs.

Was carbo-loading overdone?

If so, seek vainly en-race bogs.

 

Take care to set off cautiously

And concentrate on every stride.

Don’t ‘go for home’ till very late –

Avoid ‘the wall’ and those who ‘died’.

 

Attempt an Ultra? What about

Two Bridges? Or the L to B:

Run forty well-paced miles; what’s left?

“Just” fourteen (“post-wall”) to the sea!

 

‘Peak Year’ ascent then slip away

(Plateau till 35 or so)

But running was the sport we loved –

So we fought Time, our matchless Foe.

 

‘The Boom’ for fun-run Marathons,

Ten Ks and Halfs changed things a lot –

At least our ageing ‘serious’ pace

Looked pretty fast if not ‘red-hot’.

 

Then 40 loomed – a ‘Vet’ at last –

A chance to wear fresh Scottish kit.

To try new races, just perhaps

To win new medals for ‘Top Brit’.

 

We raced old rivals and new friends

Both male and female, Scots or not.

Defeat hurt less; resilient,

We laughed and then ‘revenge’ we sought.

 

The marathon might give you up

But Kelvin Hall could be a treat.

A second youth! “Short stuff” again –

Flat-out, steep bends and sliding feet.

 

A ‘Master’? Hardly true because,

At 60 plus, the legs said “Oi!

Slow down, run fewer, cautious miles –

You’re getting older now, My Boy.”

 

Ah, well. To get outside feels good

And realistic goals are set –

Take part and do your best today,

Who knows how fast and far you’ll get?

 

Olympic stars and joggers too –

A runner is a runner, still.

Wait long enough, all win and lose,

Get injured, fit again, until?

 

Was it all worth the effort, then?

Of course – it was the finest game!

The Joy of Moving, Dance of Life,

Regardless of success or “fame”.

(by Colin Youngson)

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2018-2019

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: SHARON TAYLOR 14 Skaethorn Road Glasgow G20 0TQ Tel: 07801 653103

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

ARLENE LEWIS 202 Archerhill Road, Knightswood Glasgow, G13 3YX Tel: 07850 070337

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

August 2019

Sat 31st SA Masters & SVHC 10000m Track Champs. Main event 12:30 John Cumming stadium, Carluke On-line entries only. See SA website

September 2019

5th – 15th European Masters Track & Field Championships Venice, Italy

Sat 14th Masters Cross Country Trials Tollcross Park. Start 11am – 11:30am First Race:Women & M65+ followed by M35 to M64.

Sat 21st British Masters 10,000m Track Champs Monkton Athletics Stadium, Dene Terrace, Jarrow NE32 5NJ

October 2019

Sun 6th Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness

Sun 6th SVHC Half Marathon Champs, Kirkintilloch

Sun 20th SVHC Trail Race. Time 1:30pm Pollok House, Pollok Park, Glasgow Followed by AGM, 2:30pm See website for full details

Sun 20th BMAF Marathon Champs, York

Sun 27th Ruby’s 5km race Kilmarnock

November 2019

Sat 16th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Southport, England December 2019

Date TBC Xmas Handicap Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, from 12.30. Race to start at 13:30

January 2020 Fri 3rd Scottish National 3000m Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 26th TBC SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00am February 2020

Sat/Sun 1st/2nd Scottish Athletics Indoor Combined Events

Sun 2nd Scottish Athletics Indoor Masters Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow Sat 8th Scottish Masters XC Championships McMaster Community Sports Centre, Johnstone

Sat 22nd Scottish Athletics XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk

                                                       Photo by Clare Barr from Masters Inter-Area Championships

 

                                             Former British and Scottish International Paul Forbes (now M60) out on his own.

                                                    FPSG Masters 2019 (C) Bobby Gavin of www.thatonemoment.co.uk

SVHC NEWSLETTER: SPRING 2019

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 1st April 2019

MEMBERS Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

Welcome to the 11 new and 2 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 30th November 2018. As of 1st April 2019, we have 489 members, including 459 paid, 25 over 80 & 5 Life Members.

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests and shorts can be purchased from Andy Law – £18 for vests, including postage and £23 for shorts, including postage. If ordering both together deduct one lot of postage. Or, can be delivered to any of the Club races by arrangement with no postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2488 Lorna Simpson 05-Dec-18 Linlithgow

2489 Alistair Peat 04-Jan-19 Bishopbriggs

2490 Catriona Pennet 08-Jan-19 Bridge of Don

2491 Neil Green 16-Jan-19 East Kilbride

2492 Adrienne Caldwell 28-Jan-19 Crieff

2493 Ross Houston 05-Feb-19 Roslin

2494 Jennifer Learmonth 05-Feb-19 Dundee

2495 James Annan 27-Feb-19 Settle

2496 Duncan Ryan 13-Mar-19 Perth

2497 Alan Robertson 27-Mar-19 New Brighton

2498 Ian Sutcliffe 01-Apr-19 Orkney

1144 Michael Clerihew 05-Dec-18 South Queensferry

2210 Jim Scott 07-Mar-19 Edinburgh

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

 

SCOTTISH MASTERS XC, HAWICK 2ND FEB 2019

 Scottish Athletics reported as follows:

“Garscube Harrier Lesley Chisholm landed the Scottish Masters XC title on a sunny afternoon in Hawick – making it four wins in five years for the Scotland international.

In the men’s race, Central AC runner Scott Brember became the first M45 to take victory in the M40-60 race for the first time since Kilbarchan’s Bobby Quinn some six years ago.

Brember prevailed in an exciting finish in the sunshine in the Borders. Title holder Jethro Lennox (Shettleston H) and Scott shared the lead after the first lap of the two -lap race over the hilly Hawick course. During the second lap Graeme Murdoch (Gala Harriers) moved into the lead and coming into the final field he was still leading with Brember close behind. But, over the final downhill sprint it was Scott who came through to become 2019 champion closely followed by first M40 Murdoch. Winner for the past two years, Lennox took bronze on this occasion.

The team gold for M40+ went to Cambuslang Harriers with the same club retaining the M50+ team title.

The other men’s Age Category gold medals were as follows: M50 Charlie Thompson (Cambuslang); M55 Colin Donnelly (Cambuslang); M60 Alastair Walker (Teviotdale); M65 Andrew McLinden (Hamilton); M70 Alex Sutherland (Inverness); M75 Bobby Young (Clydesdale); M80 Stephen Cromar (Dundee Hawkhill).

Central AC’s Scott Brember is joined by bronze medallist Jethro Lennox (left) and silver medallist Graeme Murdoch at Hawick (photo by Alex Corbett)

Champion Lesley Chisholm is flanked by silver medallist Charlotte Morgan (right) and third-placed Carol Parsons (photo by Alex Corbett)

In the women’s race, Chisholm and 2018 champion Charlotte Morgan (Carnethy HRC) shared the lead after the first lap. During the second, Lesley went clear with Charlotte taking silver and Carol Parsons (Dundee Hawkhill) the bronze.

It was a special day for Chisholm with her dad, Alex, taking silver medal in the V60 men’s race.

Dundee Hawkhill Harriers won Women 40+ team gold, the first ever Masters women’s team medals of any colour for the Hawks. Edinburgh AC retained the Women’s 50+ team title.

Other women’s Age Category gold medals were as follows: W45 Megan Wright (Hunters Bog Trotters); W50 Veronique Oldham (Aberdeen AAC); W55 Rhona Anderson (Dunbar RC); W60 Isobel Burnett (Carnegie); W65 Linden Nicholson (Lasswade AAC); W70 Sheila Strain (Hunters Bog Trotters)

A sunny though cold day contrasted to the near blizzard conditions the 2014 Master’s Championships held over the same course.

Teviotdale Harriers are again due thanks for all the work involved in hosting the championship; with thanks also to (local farmer) John Mercer for use of his fields.”

The editor added the following.

Although the weather, bright with a chilly breeze, was nothing like the Nordic nightmare hypothermic hell of five years ago, the course posed definite problems. It was frozen rock-hard and bumpy with steep downhills, which were difficult (especially for older stagers) to negotiate, nasty little climbs, a slippery slanting section round the side of a hill and a stumbling awkward finish. A real test for knees, ankles, hamstrings, nerves and resilience. Nevertheless, three valiant M80s completed the course: well-deserved respect for role-models Stephen Cromar (9 wins so far), Walter McCaskey (also 9) and James Pittillo (M80 winner in 2017).

Great runs by Lesley Chisholm and Scott Brember, of course, but others shone very brightly indeed.

In the Women’s race, an impressive fourth overall was Veronique Oldham W50 (who has now won a total of four titles in three age groups) just in front of M45 champion Megan Wright. Rhona Anderson was first W50 in 2015; and first W55 in 2019. Isobel Burnett completed a hat-trick of W60 titles to add to her W55 win in 2014. Linden Nicholson, reigning W65 British champion, gained Scottish gold.

In the Men’s race, the tireless Colin Donnelly continues to amaze: a third successive M55 title took his individual gold medal count to 9 in four age categories. M60 World (and British and Irish) champion Alastair Walker raced away with the Scottish championship on his Teviotdale Harriers home course. British M70 champion Alex Sutherland now has 5 titles at M65 and M70. British and Irish champion Bobby Young’s M75 victory makes his total so far 7 wins between M55 and M75.

Congratulations to all the medallists. As for the rest of us: at least we finished!

 

SCOTT BREMBER ANSWERS THE QUESTIONNAIRE

NAME: Scott Brember

CLUBs: Central AC

DATE OF BIRTH: 27/10/1972

OCCUPATION: Customer Service Coach

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

I have been running on and off over the years and ran a couple of half marathons in my 20s.   I started running more regularly in my late thirties and ran the Edinburgh marathon a couple of times. I heard about Central AC from a friend that was interested in going along and decided to go to one of their training sessions to try it out.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

All the members at the club have had an influence on my attitude and in particular the coach, Derek Easton.  Everyone works hard at the sessions and it’s really beneficial to be in that environment. I don’t think I would get as much out of a session if I was training on my own. Derek is always available to offer advice and encouragement and has helped me immensely in the time I have been at the club.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

The main benefit I get from the sport is to help stay fit and healthy. I also like the feeling I get from running. Running lifts my mood and if I’ve had a stressful day at work it can help me to relax.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

The National Masters Cross Country at Hawick! (Surely Scott’s silver medal in the M45 category at the 2018 Swansea British and Irish Masters International XC also deserves a very honourable mention. He was first Scotsman in the race, beating our M35 and M40 runners. Ed.)

YOUR WORST?

The London marathon in April this year. Although I was reasonably happy with my time it’s the hardest race I’ve ever run. It was a hot day and I made the mistake of going off too fast at the start which caught up with me as the race went on. Hopefully, I will learn from the experience. In spite of that the atmosphere was incredible and I’d like to give it another go.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

Longer term I would like to run some ultras. I go for a long trail run on a Sunday which is my favourite run of the week so I would like to pursue this at some point. There are loads of great races in Scotland and abroad that I would like to try.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

I used to go hill walking on a fairly regular basis but I haven’t been out as often the past few years as running has taken over. I still get out occasionally though and always enjoy it when I do.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

I enjoy the social side of running. I look forward to meeting up with other runners at the club and finding out how they got on at the weekend or any races they have planned. I’ve always loved the outdoors so it’s great to spend a Sunday afternoon on a trail somewhere. 

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

I normally do most of my races between August and December.  During this period an average week would be roughly 60 miles.  This would be;

Monday – 10 miles (easy pace)

Tuesday – Club session

Wednesday – 10 miles (easy pace)

Thursday – Either Club session or 5 miles easy pace (incl. short hill sprints) if racing at the weekend

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Race or tempo run

Sunday – Trail run (16 – 20 miles)

I go to the gym once or twice a week for strength and conditioning.

In the winter I will start building up my weekly mileage (up to 80 miles) for a spring marathon.  I do the same in the summer to get ready for the autumn races. 

 

ISOBEL BURNETT ANSWERS THE QUESTIONNAIRE

NAME: Isobel Burnett

CLUBs: Carnegie Harriers, SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH: 21/12/1956

OCCUPATION: Retired teacher

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

About 14 years ago I used to go for a weekly short run with a couple of friends until one of them persuaded me to enter the Smokies 10-miler. She handed me the paper form (online entries were few and far between then) after giving me a lift back from the hospital.  I was recovering from a varicose veins op, wasn’t allowed to drive and could hardly walk 10 metres, never mind run 10 miles!  This was November, however and, never one to dismiss a challenge, I had till March to get my legs in some sort of working order for it to happen.  I got the bug!

I entered several more races after that, and about two years later I joined Carnegie Harriers, a club I have remained with for the last 10-11 years.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

I found the regular training provided by Carnegie Harriers caused a noticeable improvement in my times; and the wise practical advice of the more experienced members of the club was worth following.  It has also been a club with a variety of running genres catered for so I have easily been able to join in hill-racing, cross-country and trails as well as the road-running that I started with.  I have put my foot in the ultra waters 4 or 5 times but I don’t feel the love like some of our members do!

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

At first it was a good way to get out in the fresh air and take some exercise, and I was happy to run on my own, whether on road or trail.  I have always enjoyed sport and played hockey and tennis matches at school, and later played badminton and squash (leisure only).  Running up and down a hockey pitch or fast movements in racquet sports always gave me a lot of satisfaction so, although I did a little athletics as part of the normal school curriculum, I wasn’t surprised when I found that taking up running at the age of 49 seemed to work for me.                                                                               

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

I think, in sense of personal time achievements, my favourites would be getting a parkrun PB of 19:40 at the age of 56, and in the same year running the Smokies 10-miler in under 70 minutes (69:16).  I also managed to run the Loch Ness Marathon the year before in my best marathon time of 3:16.

I have also been able to wear my Scottish vest on 5 occasions for the British and Irish XC Internationals, and gained team medals at 4 of those.  And in the Scottish Masters XC Championships I have just this year completed a hat-trick of golds for my age group. 

YOUR WORST?

I don’t feel I’ve ever performed really badly but I have had two races which were certainly challenging for different reasons.  In 2017 I was pleased to complete the London marathon in 2017 with a splint on my arm, albeit the slowest marathon time I’ve ever had of 3:45. Recovering from a broken wrist and therefore having missed a lot of training gives your completion of the race plenty of meaning.   Also, my first attempt at the Lairig Ghru, an off-road/hill race of 26.5 miles, was an experience of being wet and cold to the point of numbing, and therefore unable to open my much-needed cereal bar or unzip my jacket for the checkpoint marshals to see my number.  I learned a lot from that race about Scottish mountain weather in June, about lack of salt causing cramping and how to just hang on in there to the end – a real sense of achievement!

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I wouldn’t call myself particularly ambitious and so, apart from an occasional little flirtation with the idea of trying track running, I mainly aim to keep fit and uninjured, trying hard to attain performance times which are equal or close to what I’ve achieved in the previous year.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

Sailing (usually weekly for the April to September season) – hanging out the edge of the boat is great cross-training, helping core and quad strength as well as upper body… although on the cooler days out on the splashy Forth, I often look wistfully over at the sun shining on the Pentlands!  Weekly Pilates and swimming plus fortnightly field archery and an occasional cycle all help with general fitness and, although Scotland’s snow is somewhat erratic, I enjoy an annual ski holiday in the French Alps to keep the knee joints working!  Non-sporting leisure time is spent doing stained-glass work or spinning and dyeing wool, but time seems to be limited!

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

Friendships, the challenges and self-discipline that training for and running races give you, and the amazing opportunity to explore the area of Scotland I live in – far more than I would otherwise have done, with plenty of wildlife encounters (including a face-on challenge from a belligerent capercaillie, never to be forgotten (not in Fife, I hasten to add).

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

As I tend to enjoy a variety of race distances, it can depend on what races are coming up, but my general rule is to run 4 times in the week, one of which will include club training and to aim for a speed intervals session, a tempo run, a hill session and a longer run.  The longer runs vary from 9 or 10 miles up to over 20, depending on how close a marathon race might be.

I usually try to do at least 2 of my own runs on trails, as there is a fantastic amount of accessible woodland in West Fife that I can use as my training ground. The problem I have is trying not to stop every time I spot some flora or fauna or interesting flying creature that requires further inspection! 

In the winter season I use cross-country as part of my training as it keeps me focused on my running fitness and I enjoy the club and inter-club camaraderie at XC races.

Along with the cross-training activities, I also fully believe in good recovery time after a race, getting adequate sleep (easy for me to say since retiring), including making time for a “wee snooze” after a particularly hard race or after a very long training run.  Recovery is a much bigger part of training than many runners appreciate, and becomes even more important, I think, with advancing years. That’s my excuse anyway for taking my time in the morning these days!

 

MICHELLE SANDISON ANSWERS THE QUESTIONNAIRE

(Michelle Sandison has run both 5000m and 10,000m for Shetland in the bi-annual NatWest Island Games four times, in Lerwick (2005), Sandown (2011), Jersey (2015) and Visby in Sweden (2017). Her Power of 10 profile lists umpteen track or cross-country races from under-23 (for Shettleston Harriers) back in 2001; onto representing Springburn Harriers from 2010 onwards. It is notable that Michelle’s personal bests (for 3000m, 5000m, 10,000m, parkrun and 10k) have all come in 2017 and 2018, after she moved into the W35 age-group. In 2016 (Glasgow), 2017 (Derry) and 2018 (Swansea), she took part in the prestigious British and Irish Masters International, running very well for Scottish Masters: obtaining individual bronze and team gold in Glasgow; finishing fourth individual in Derry (team silver but in front of England); and winning the W35 title in Swansea (team bronze). Michelle also secured W35 bronze (and GB team silver) in the 2018 World Masters cross-country in Malaga.)

CLUBS  Springburn Harriers and SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH  11.04.80

OCCUPATION  Additional Support Needs Teacher.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

I have run all my life. I grew up on a small island in Shetland and running was a natural way to get to places quickly. When I was young, I accompanied my dad on his long hikes through the hills and, when I reached 10 years old, he had to give me his fly-fishing gear and the water to carry – he says it was to slow me down so he could keep up! I joined Shetland Amateur Athletics Club which was based on the mainland of Shetland when I was 12 years old. For me to train on the mainland of Shetland required a lot of dedication from my parents, who had to drive me to and from the sessions. The journey consists of a 30-40 minute ferry journey and 30 minute drive, often in challenging weather conditions.

Running became a lot more serious for me when I left Shetland to go to Stirling University in 1998. I joined Central AC and had my own coach. At Uni I was selected to run for Scotland at Cross Country and I represented the Scottish Universities and East District team at Inter Districts events. I also competed in 3000m and 5000m events on the track.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

There are four people that spring to mind.

Firstly, my parents. They have always accepted and supported my love of running even when they haven’t understood it. They allowed me the freedom to be outdoors, get very muddy and to run everywhere as a child. They drove me to and from athletics three times a week and sat waiting in some awful conditions until I had finished. My father’s love of the hills, nature and being outdoors certainly had a huge impact on me as a child, helped me to appreciate what’s around me when I run and how to pace myself. My dad has always been my biggest fan and has been proud of me when I have won but, more importantly, has been there for me the many times that I have lost or been disappointed.

Secondly, my husband whose background in sports psychology has helped me significantly change my approach to racing and training.

And finally, my coach, Anne-Marie Hughes. Without her I don’t even know if I would still be running. Anne-Marie became my coach in 2002 when I was seriously ill and had not been able to run for nearly a year. She agreed to take me on at a time when I felt like I had lost running forever. Her honesty, love and belief in me is something that shaped my future, my running and my attitude to life.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

My husband says running for me is my “default state” and in many ways he is right. It’s something that I have done for as long as I can remember and, when I can’t run due to injury or illness, I yearn for it.

Running has widened my horizons and given me opportunities to travel. It is running that brought me to Glasgow, where I now live and work and where I met my husband. It has also provided me with deep, ever-lasting friendships and a busy social life. I have a lot to thank the sport for.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

The most memorable and most meaningful performance for me was when I won 10,000m gold at the 2005 Island Games in Shetland. It wasn’t my fastest time or best tactical race but running (and winning!) in front of my family, friends and my community was a very rare opportunity. It gave me an experience that I shall never be able to repeat and will stay with me forever.

YOUR WORST?

My worst was in Holyrood Park in 2001 when I was running for the East District in the Great Edinburgh International and Inter Districts event. I was not well and hated every step. When I crossed the line, I was a wreck physically and mentally. It was the last time I ran for a year.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

I try very hard not to set outcome goals, as I find they tend to work against me, rather than be a source of motivation. I have things that I would still like to accomplish in my running, of course, but it won’t be the end of the world if I never do.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

I love catching up with friends near and far, so I tend to go out socialising quite a bit and travel to see people when I can. As a teacher and a runner, I don’t get much time for leisure but in the holidays I like to read.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

I am a low mileage runner. I usually run between 25 and 30 miles per week. I have learned over the last 38 years what my body is happy with and that I have to listen to it or I will get injured. My job is also very physically demanding so I see work as my first session of the day.

A typical week consists of:

Mon – Quality session consisting of anything from 300m reps to mile reps.

Tue- Cycle and weights session.

Wed – Hard tempo run and Kettlebells.

Thurs – Speed type session.

Friday – Rest.

Sat – Hard reps session or hills. Core work.

Sun- Either a swim or a few easy miles, usually no more than 4 or 5.

 

MALAGA WORLD MASTERS REPORT

It’s been a while since I wrote a race tale, but I thought our BIGGEST RUNNING ADVENTURE EVER might be of interest!

We didn’t even know there was such a thing as World Masters until 3 or 4 years ago; What a fantastic idea  …running not only against other people in your own age group but from all over the world! We discovered that it’s held every 2 years and moves around the world. Korea and Australia sounded a bit far to travel but it was due to be in Malaga, Spain in 2018…that had the added benefit (at the time) of being far enough in the future to be exciting but un-scary.

I was surprised, at first, to learn there are no qualifying standards. Then I actually thought about it. International games for young athletes are sponsored by companies who make their money because people want to watch televised coverage with adverts (including kit…remember those rainbow-coloured Nike trainers from the Rio Olympics?) and product placement. Since there’s not a huge audience looking to watch old athletes, it has to be self-funding like any other race. Hence, like most other races (obviously they do other events; throwing and jumping etc., but we’re biased too! you enter online, pay your entry fees, claim your number at registration and wear it to compete. And like any race, you can only race the other people who enter!

We agreed that Malaga was our only real goal this year and tried to gear training towards that. A most excellent plan which worked perfectly…until we introduced life to the mix…weddings, funerals, illnesses, weather (including the allotment), oh, and then there were all the other races that we didn’t want to miss even though they didn’t really fit the training plan…oops. So maybe the training didn’t go EXACTLY as intended, but it was hard to be proper upset about that. After all, we run because we like it! Neither of us was expecting to do particularly well (at this point my husband Planman usually inserts some loud comment to the effect that HE doesn’t expect to do well but of course I will…he’s a sweetie and simply doesn’t see that I’m nowhere near the best W55 in Scotland never mind UK!) and the adventure never was about actually winning anything.

Flights and accommodation were no problem, we had that all sorted last October (well you give the man a chance to plan…!) and as soon as the event entries opened, we were online getting our spots.

Complication number 1 presented itself…we’d both assumed we’d run for Scotland. Turns out there is no Scotland in World Masters (then how come Gibraltar get to be a country!? Not fair!!) and it goes by your actual passport – having an Irish spouse isn’t enough. I suppose that makes sense, there has to be some method other than just picking a country you like…so it’s non-negotiable; I’m GB and Planman is Ireland.

Then there’s the kit. Again, it makes sense when you think about it…you have to wear your country’s official kit to compete, and so you have to buy it (unless you’re Irish, they have a sponsor!). There are howls of outrage all over the internet about the injustice of having to shell out for your own kit when you’re representing your country, but really, who do they think is going to pay for it? And £20 odd for a vest isn’t cheap, but it’s not ridiculous. Having said that, buying horrible, strangely sized (or is it me who’s strangely sized…?) uncomfortable Lycra shorts and weirdly shaped vest tops by mail order definitely qualifies as the low point of my Malaga adventure, I thought I’d grown out of being self-conscious about body shape! Still, as my Irish spouse observed, at least I HAD kit…a convoluted saga involving missed calls and factories burning down resulted in us leaving for Malaga with still no Irish kit…being unprepared so close to a deadline, you understand, being something close to Planman’s worst nightmare!

Malaga, as expected, was hot. Not as hot as the sauna though! This was our clever idea before we came…I had vaguely remembered one of the offspring coming home from a biology class all excited at learning that in a hot climate your body fats actually change to ones that solidify at higher temperatures – hence people from hot countries become sluggish when visiting Scotland in winter, and us Scots genuinely feel like our blood might be boiling when it’s hot…because it is! Well, apparently it takes at least a fortnight for the body fats to adapt, so in order to get a head start we visited a sauna several times in the 2 weeks before we left.

We arrived with only a few minor adventures on the journey, took the (excellent and super-cheap) train straight from the airport into town (don’t you just love European public transport!) and walked 4 min to our apartment which was also 12 mins from the subway that would take us to the stadium.

By the way, I’d definitely recommend going for an apartment or aparthotel any time you want accommodation in Europe…it’s usually cheaper, you have more space, you can cook and eat whatever and whenever you want and, for a longer stay, especially if it’s hot, a washing machine and drying space makes life much easier.

Next morning we set off to find the stadium. It took a bit of wandering (and more than 12mins!) to find the subway station the first time, but already we were seeing people around the streets that looked like athletes, including a skinny and happy-tired looking guy in Brazilian kit who must have been on the way back from competing in one of the sprint events. We found the subway, chatted to Naana, a bubbly GB W35 100m runner on the journey and she helped us find registration.

The stadium was just ALIVE with people…mostly athletes and their supporters, with events happening out on the track, people registering or declaring, stalls with info about other events or selling kit. In less than an hour we’d almost signed up for Venice (European Masters next year), chatted to several other athletes (and the son of an M90 100m runner) and found some Irish people who knew, or at least had heard of, the person who might have the Irish kit, hallelujah!

For the next couple of days we did a few wee practice runs, trying to hit the times and temperatures we were expecting on race day, and learned:

– Even if you can take the heat, the sun burns the bits you don’t usually expose (duh!).

– You need sunglasses (unless you wear glasses anyway) because the wind is hot and gritty

– Spanish ice cream is many-flavoured and delicious.

– It’s really hard not to overeat when you’re not doing much else and hardly running.

We spent time at the stadium to watch other events and it was BRILLIANT

We walked, we lounged, we arranged a clandestine meeting with a stranger in a train station to procure the elusive Irish kit (whew!), we read a lot of books and drank strong Spanish coffee, and we checked the weather forecast – I’m not kidding – every half hour.

At long last, Sunday 9th September arrived and it was time for the 10k.

It had been hard to decide whether to enter 10k or Half Marathon for the best results…it was our esteemed coach who suggested we did both. “But I can’t run a good HM just 7 days after a hard 10k!” I wailed. “So run the 10k easy” says he, “and use it to acclimatise to the conditions” and we did pairs of 10k/HM races to try it out, especially to practise doing actual 10k races slowly. Don’t laugh! It’s ridiculously difficult not to run as fast as you are able once you’re out there with all the other runners racing past you!

An added twinge of angst, I realised with some embarrassment as we prepared for the race, was that ‘everyone’ would think that WAS the fastest I could run…Down, my over-sensitive Ego!

My beloved just laughed in absolute delight…he’d no intentions of running anything other than as fast as he possibly could and was determined to seize the opportunity to try and beat me in the 10k!

Our number bibs were pinned to vests the night before (and tried on to make sure they were in the right place…don’t want to discover that when you’re on a timescale in the morning!). You have 3 numbers, one for your front (that one has a timing chip in it), one for your back (so anyone coming up behind you can see what age group you’re in…this is essential information as the only people you’re actually racing against are the ones in the same age/gender category) and one for your bag. The coffee was in the pot ready to switch on, kit laid out, sunglasses, shoes all ready. We were a tad anxious about finding and using the bag drop facility so just travelled in our vests and shorts with essentials (apartment key, subway cards, emergency euros, spare hanky…) in a waist belt.

It was still dark when we crept out, courteously quiet, and the streets were deserted…as a fellow Scot you can probably appreciate how surreal it felt to be walking along a street in the dark morning dressed in only a vest and shorts. Dark mornings mean the clocks have gone back, it should be winter! Instead the air was so warm it pressed gently against your bare skin. The closer we got to the subway, the more fellow athletes and supporters we saw. We waited for the train beside Americans, Kiwis, Colombians, Swedes, Spaniards, Latvians and Argentinians. We sat in amongst a Chilean group on the train, then came out at the other end to a twilight morning in a real crowd all headed for the stadium.

The streets around the stadium are wide and open, and were teeming with jogging athletes in various national kit, warming up already in the brightening morning. The crowds denser the nearer we got.

There wasn’t any obvious sign of the start line, but somehow the information filtered through the crowds that we’d all to head underneath the stadium and we’d be ‘processed’ there. Inside was a huge, almost warehouse-like space which must have been beneath the main seating area…there was plenty room for literally hundreds of athletes to run, skip, stretch as we all warmed up. The M35-65 athletes were herded first through the big double doors into the arena; the rest of us had to wait another 10mins to start…hence your Uncle’s gleeful optimism about beating me, in most 10k races he’d be around 10 mins slower, he was determined that today I wouldn’t catch him!

It seemed a long 10mins before we all crushed through the doors and out onto the track. A start gantry marked the beginning and the runners were all loosely clustered behind it. Well, the part of the crowd I was in anyway…the ones at the front were (as evidenced by the race photos!) crammed tight, poised on the start line. I couldn’t even hear the start gun but suddenly noticed those front runners as they came into my field of vision running like the wind and already half way round the track! The back end of the race kind of shuffled over the line, people jostling for position as we ran a loop of the track and out of the stadium at the other side. It was actually difficult not to trip over people at the same time as keeping moving…lesson learned for future events…though really you’d think I’d have got this by now – if the time matters, wriggle up nearer the front!

From there it was a case of trying to settle into a pace, dodging round people where necessary, not too fast. My strategy, in order to NOT risk any impact on the HM was to run nose-breathing pace (that’s both in and out through the nose) until 8k, then hurry it up a bit for the last 2k. Even I can recover from 2k hard in a week

By now it was full daylight and sunnier than it was forecast (did I mention we’d been checking the weather forecast every 5 mins? The most recent we’d seen predicted light rain with 24 degrees (feels like 28) at the start time and humidity 77% (I’ve no idea what that means!)) rising to 29 (feels like 31).

There was no rain, it was bright though not full sun, with hot air hugging you weirdly…a bit like being in a swimming pool…

The streets are wide and mostly flat, some with palm trees up the sides, and the route was more or less straight along the front on the main road with some side loops. There were several sections where you ran one side of cones with, on the other side, the people in another part of the race going the opposite direction, so you could see roughly where you were in the race. I was surprised, at first, to notice quite a few barefoot runners, some towards the back but others well up. There was an enormous range of speeds and as my bit of the pack started to overtake the end of the men’s race it was clear that the slower runners weren’t necessarily the older ones.

I ran as hard as I could manage without trading up to mouth-breathing and concentrated on feeling comfortable in the pressing warmth…on the grounds that my brain will let me run better if I’m feeling good. I declined any anxiety at the sight of women with W55 bibs running past me (it’s a training race, it’s a training race…) and focused on form. Then I saw the 8k marker and – as your mother would say – ran like hell!

What a buzz!! Charging past all the (well, at least some of them!) people who’d outpaced me in the last stretch, opening out the legs and really going for it. I overtook an Australian M65 who gave me a fight for it, then chased down a Colombian W45 and a Polish M55…as we came into the stadium for the final lap I saw a woman in GB kit maybe 50m ahead and upped the pace to close on her…close enough to see the W55 on her back! There was that still moment where I realised there wasn’t time to catch her before the finish gantry, then decided all of a sudden to blast it and try. Eyeballs bursting and snot flying I somehow lunged past her a few feet before the line…and saw, to my utter dismay, that this was the start gantry and the actual finish was another 75m down the track

That last 75m must be one of the hardest I’ve ever run…the kind of effort you pay for in grey hairs and try to reserve for the times that matter. I could FEEL this instant rival right on my shoulder, battling to get her place back. All in my overheated head though – the finish times say she was nowhere near my shoulder (6 seconds behind).

Once over the line we had time to make friends as well as with another GB W55 who was not far behind, and we pledged to look out for each other at the Half Marathon the following Sunday.

Planman was smugly content to beat me in by 3 mins and the pair of us strutted the stadium feeling pretty darned pleased with ourselves

Upstairs, there was some big ‘Masters Athletes’ research study going on, run by a German university, and in the haze of endorphins following the race, we signed ourselves up, committing to appointments on the Friday.

Now for the Half Marathon.

It was still dark when we got out of bed and we couldn’t wait to get started! At long last, the reason we came to Malaga in the first place, the World Masters Half Marathon, the main race of our whole year, probably the most important race of our lives so far.

Doing the 10k as a dry run had been a superb idea…we knew how long the journey would take, where the bag drop was, all the things that help you feel comfortable going to any race. We were glad we’d set off a little earlier this time, because the subway station was much busier. Standing among the groups of athletes waiting for the train we started a casual conversation with a British couple nearby.  Then I, politely, asked the woman if she’d be running…Oh no! Have you ever had someone ask you how your run went, when you know they’re really not the slightest bit interested, and in a split second of pure evil you decide to tell them, EXACTLY how your run went!?  (…am I the only evil one in this family?)

So this random stranger seized the opportunity to tell me – including countless details like the name of each specialist, the dates of the various scans and procedures and a blow-by-blow of every actual experience of attempting running with the affliction which was preventing her from running today

I had no idea how to stop her.

Speaking of afflictions, it was hard for me to even hear this poor injured runner over the loud whinging of my right calf. Clever race prep tips: do not (eagerly!) sign up to participate in scientific studies of Masters athletes (Masters Athletics Field Study – MAFS) 2 days prior to an important race. I mean, it was truly fascinating…they plugged us into various machines and gave us intriguing feedback on our body composition, cardio-vascular function and resting metabolism. The problem was the calf-strength test. Let me describe…you sit with your foot flat on a platform, there are electrodes all over your calves and ankles, some kind of pressing weight thing is on the knee and when they say ‘push!’ You’ve to push up on tiptoe AS HARD AS YOU CAN against the weight for 6 seconds while they take ultrasound readings of what your muscles do. The testers whoop and cheer you on. You can also see your muscles shift and pull on a wee screen as you do it. Cool! Well they said as hard as you can and so…visualising the granny who lifts a car to save a trapped grandchild I pushed with all my heart and all my might. 6 reps was the test, and although I was all chuffed to have lifted 75% of my bodyweight on a single muscle (they said that was good, though for all I know they might’ve said that to everyone!) the cramp afterwards was a bit alarming. I limped around all the next day (at least by the next morning the cramp had stopped!) and, I kid you not, on the way to the race my calf was so tight and sore that it was all I could do not to burst into howls of manic, gasping laughter at the sheer ridiculousness. Like I said, biggest race EVER, all that preparation, and then do something like that 2 days before it!?!

Ah well. I wasn’t really limping much; it only hurt, by now, when pushing through my toes…like at the take-off point on a running stride

Off the train in the twilight morning again, up to the stadium, quick visit to the bag drop and into warm up.

This race started out on the street, the route looping around several times (I think we passed the start line 4 times) with long stretches backwards and forwards along the main road in the open sun. It’s a very flat route, but that doesn’t make it easy…it feels endless and by half way you’d do anything for a wee variation.

The runners were corralled by age-group, with the youngest (35+) at the front. Some older people had sneaked into our corral, which I didn’t think anything of at the time because I didn’t realise till afterwards that there was no chip mat at the beginning…this meant that we ONLY had gun times. I think the rationale was that it was a race to the line, against only the others in your own age group (who should all be in the same corral) so your actual time was irrelevant. Well, even without the dodgy calf and the roasting sun, I was never going to be in a medal position, so it didn’t really matter!

The first kilometre or so, until the field opened out a bit, was hard going, with all speeds of people mixed in together (mostly) by age, there was lots of potential for tripping. After that it was, pure and simple, a slog in the hot sun. For the first time in my life, I emptied water over my head. Weirdly, it felt as though it slowed me down a bit every time (which was every water station!), but I figured it was all investment in holding off the overheating. If I’d tried the tactic before, I’d probably have realised that there’s a technique to maximise the cooling without getting water a) in your shorts (now that’s an unpleasant feeling!) or b) in your shoes …just call me Squelchy McGee!

Experiential learning in effective cooling with water aside, the race went as well as it could. I worked hard, ignored, as much as possible, the pathetic bleating from my calf, and tried to stay focused. Twice I nearly back-ended into other runners who stopped suddenly. I don’t know if that was them giving up altogether, or just temporarily running out of steam. Every so often there would be an athlete sitting or crouching at the side of the road, or walking sadly in the opposite direction to the race. You can’t tell from the results how many started but didn’t finish (anyone who didn’t finish is recorded as DNS), but a full third of the runners in my age group didn’t finish…only 29 out of 45 entrants actually completed the race!

The sun beat down as we ran, on and on. Looking at the route map before the race didn’t help at all, we just followed the runners in front of us round bends, along roads and between buildings, tiny, tree-sized patches of shade on sun baked streets, over and over. Passing the same things repeatedly added to the surreal relentlessness of it all. Squelchy shoes, fried eyeballs. It seemed at least 3 weeks later we were finally in the stadium where the last stretch went round the outside of the track (the track itself was being used for the 1500m finals at the same time). The spouse’s moment to treasure came as he powered in and overtook the W80 champion in that final circuit! Mine was after the race.

We had to wait 3 hours for the results, and couldn’t go home (well, back to the apartment!) to change until we knew…if you get a prize, you see, you have to be wearing your national kit (and we didn’t exactly buy spare kit just in case!)…I knew there were lots of individual W55s ahead of me, but there are team prizes as well. The first 3 ‘counters’ from each country have their times added together and the lowest totals win.

And we did it!

My very absolute best claim to fame (so far) and treasured possession, is a bronze team medal for GB from the W55 World Masters Half Marathon. Not only that, but I was FIRST counter in the team.

Icing on the cake…My sister – the stat geek – told me, when we got home (to Scotland), that if they HAD let me run for Ireland, Ireland would have won the Gold Team Prize. Their loss!

We loved the World Masters and would recommend it to anyone. Not just competing, it’s absolutely incredible to watch – you’d be truly astonished at the power and the speed and the passion, and it does something warm to your insides seeing the performances in the older age groups. The spectators (other athletes and their families) out of their seats without even meaning to – on their feet, hearts bursting with the sheer joy of it, bouncing up and down whooping and cheering because when we’re that age, maybe WE can be like that!

By Anne Macfarlane (Dumfries Running Club)

(This article was previously published in the Road Runners Club Journal.)

                                               Anne and her husband after the Malaga World Masters Half Marathon

 

SCOTTISH MASTERS INDOORS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Friday 4th January 2019. GAA Miler Meet

*There were Scottish Masters golds at 3000m at the Emirates Arena for the following athletes:

W40 Lesley Chisholm (Garscube) 10.23.59

W45 Cath Ferry (Edinburgh AC) 11.33.32;

W55 Anne Howie (Aberdeen) 11.34.04

                                                 Lesley Chisholm. Photo by: Bobby Gavin of www.thatonemoment.co.uk

M35 Stuart Gibson (Cambuslang) 8.39.04;

M40 Darran Muir (Law and District AC) 9.02.00;

M45 Kerry-Liam Wilson (Cambuslang) 8.59.06;

M50 Stephen Allen (Motherwell Ac) 9.24.78;

M55 Guy Bracken (North Shields) 9.10.14;

M60 Roger Homyer (Highland HR) 12.13.98; 

M65 Ray Aiken (Keith and District) 13.20.89;

M75 Bobby Young (Clydesdale) 12.39.28.

 

Sunday 17th March: Scottish Masters Indoors Track and Field

Scottish Athletics reported: “At the Emirates Stadium, medals were on offer in five-year age categories from V35 with a number of our Masters looking for good performances ahead of other competitions later in the year – starting with the British Masters on March 9-10. The World Masters is also next month, taking place in Poland.”

The Combined Events, Relays and Masters Indoors Championships. Note that Masters come last in the list. Judging by the confusing, near endless results, nowadays fewer and fewer Scottish athletes enter Masters Indoors Track and Field. Top honours are frequently taken by people from Northern Ireland or England; and the timetabling mish-mash of events for Young Athletes and Multi-Eventers, plus lots of hanging around, surely discourage participants. If only it were possible to bring back the Kelvin Hall and one day of Masters-only fixtures, including the 3000m!

Not many contestants; inevitably lower standards, in spite of superior facilities.

The 2019 edition, despite the fact that some runners, jumpers and throwers must have enjoyed taking part, seems to have produced few notable performances. Apologies if I miss out significant names; I can only judge by the results information and memories of past championship standards.

Double wins were achieved by I Horsburgh of Central AC (M40 60m and 200m); G Cooke of EAC (W35 60m and Long Jump); C Welsh of Teviotdale Harriers (M35 800m and 1500m); G Barrie of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers (M45 800m and 1500m). There was a triple victory for J Smith of Motherwell AC (M70 60m, 200m and Long Jump).

In the M65 800m and 1500m, Andy McLinden of Hamilton Harriers came out on top, as he continued his old rivalry with Frank Hurley of Cambuslang Harriers.

There were two especially well-contested races. In the Women’s 1500m, Lesley Chisholm of Garscube Harriers won the W40 clash, in front of J Etherington (Cambuslang) who had earlier finished first the 800m. Third overall was the tireless W55 Fiona Matheson of Falkirk Victoria Harriers, well clear of W45 and W50 rivals. R Bigger of Northern Ireland just managed to pip J Thomson of Fife AC in the M60 1500m.

At least one Scottish Masters record was broken, by Bobby Young of Clydesdale, whose 6 minutes 04.72 seconds reduced the M75 1500m mark, previously held by Hugh McGinlay of FVH by 17 seconds.

Former World Masters Triple Jump Champion Fiona Davidson of Aberdeen AAC finished first in the W45 Shot Put but, inexplicably, results for the Triple Jump (and some other events) were not available two days after the fixture.

 

LANDSCAPES I HAVE RUN THROUGH..…….

 Running memories often come back to visit as a parade of sharply etched vignettes, probably heightened by the physical exertion and intensity of the activity at the time they were experienced. My own theory as to why recalling this can be so enjoyable most of the time is that basically we are still pursuit animals accumulating useful life skill experiences. This really becomes noticeable when you are part of a race pack or during a competitive interval training session.   

Sometimes the location is the centre of the memory. One autumn weekend heading east to Portmahomack to avoid the equinoctial gales sweeping the Highlands I found the receding storm had whipped up huge amounts of foam onto the shore line route so that you ran through a mixture of knee-high soapsuds totally covering the path surface. An interesting contrast to the previous day’s Bught Parkrun in Inverness when the running surface was rich with multi-coloured fallen leaves.

Then there was running across suburban Toronto to get to the start of a 10km race. The city is built over a deeply fissured lakeside landscape. The sound of a rock band from a park in the distance gave a clue to the event and, after extensive but frustrating suburbs, the most direct line to make the start seemed to be via a short-cut through an industrial estate which lead to an inevitable cul-de-sac and a high chain-link fence. There was only one choice and once scaled it was into thick brush with a steep drop off into a gorge and a tree-hanging descent to the bank of a suspiciously deep stream of sinister grey muddy water.

Meanwhile the sound of the warm-up band at the race start point was growing louder but further away. It is bad enough rushing to arrive at the start but even more frustrating to have to overcome man-made in addition to natural obstacles. Wisely I decided not to swim the river and eventually found a vestigial path which led to a footbridge. Got into the race and won a prize (a nutritional book for aspirant runners) but with a diminished ambition to take up orienteering or tough mudding.  

In Perth, Australia, the obvious choice was to try a run along one of its famous beaches. Some miles into it I began to notice that garments were becoming more minimalist and then non-existent. All became clear when a sign appeared providing information that clothing was optional! And then there was the near-vertical section of the Knockfarrel hill race when the young lady close behind me felt herself slip and instinctively grabbed the waistband of my shorts!

Hill races are all about sure-footedness and fast fearless descents sharing a lot with downhill skiing. I once tripped on a descent from Ben Bhraggie, Golspie, (after spitting on the Duke of Sutherland’s statue) and managed to convert a potentially disastrous fall into a forward roll with no more than slight gravel rash in the small of my back,    

Beaches are also great for self-examination of running style through your footprints, but it is also possible to check posture and angle of lean from shop windows, shadows and even shadows on bigger road signs from rear headlights.

The Isle of Man has a great hill run along its south western coast high above the water and cliffs overlooking the Irish sea. Some distance into this route there is an old detached farm house now an outdoor educational centre. A minibus full of youngsters and a hassled instructor are wrestling with a large table trying to get it through the door. Arrival of one elderly runner who shows them how to turn it on its side and shuffle two legs past the porch and right angle to the living room and hey presto job done and the good Samaritan high tails it up the next hill. Who was that guy?

Animals – all part of the mixed terrain experience with usually manageable and predictable outcomes but there are some more memorable encounters. My worst dog experience was once again running along the riverside in Inverness in full winter darkness. A car with headlights at full beam completely dazzled me and the next sensation was a full-on impact from an Alsatian being run beside its owner’s car. On the other hand, running local back roads in darkness it is sometimes the deer which get the biggest surprise. Hens and ducks, just messy, but don’t be afraid of a hissing sinuous goose with its head out since they are great cowards and will back off if you stand up to them.

 Similarly, dogs: don’t let them sense your fear. And then there is the dog that decides to come along for the outing. I confess to some enjoyment from seeing an overweight owner struggling to bring one back to heel. I’ve had a number of runs in company with horse riders and here the main thing is to be aware of kicks, foot crushing and being pinned against a fence or wall by half a ton of animal. It is a bit like approaching a helicopter: always let the animal and or the pilot or rider see you. Cattle, and cows with calves at foot – never get between a mother and its young and generally just give all livestock lots of space, although llamas and alpacas can spit with deadly accuracy from up to 10 metres!

Cats will regard your progress with bemused indifference but beware the post-run moggie that leaps onto your lightly protected lap with unsheathed claws!

Pigs are very bright animals and often think an intruder into their field is bearing refreshment so they may stampede towards you but, if cornered, remember they can be transported into ecstasy by a well-administered back rub.

And then sometimes spectators can cause a smile. The two cailleachs (old ladies on Skye) chorusing, “He isn’t even breathing hard!” was better than being overtaken by someone dressed as a pantomime fairy then a dog with a runner in tow.

And finally, if the Stromness Shopping Week Queen presents you with an award for their half marathon don’t miss the chance to administer a sweaty embrace to the surprised young lady.

By Alex Sutherland

 

A FAVOURITE RACE MEMORY

THE LONG WARM UP

On the 9th May 1989, just short of the my 39th birthday, a bus load of Fraserburgh Athletes was leaving Fraserburgh to take part in the North District Track and Field Championship events at Queens Park, Inverness. As it was a particularly fine morning, I left instructions with the bus driver that I intended to run as far as I could and to look out for me en route and pick me up on the road somewhere.

I set off at 5am on a quiet main road, passing New Pitsligo, Macduff, Banff, Portsoy and I was just short of Cullen when the bus came along and picked me up.

I had covered 37.4 miles in 4hrs 36mins, averaging 7.22 mins per mile.

Later that afternoon, when we finally reached Inverness, I ran the 5000 metres track race. The first few laps were a struggle until I got going properly but I managed to run that race in a time of 16mins 43secs and achieved 6th place out of a field of 21 runners.

Nowadays, that time of 16mins 43secs would win most Park Runs!

By Charlie Noble

Fraserburgh Running Club

(Editor adds: Charlie is a legend in Fraserburgh and Aberdeenshire. Almost 70, he is still running well. He completed all 12 Aberdeen Marathons; between 2001 and 2003 won the M50 category three times in the Scottish 50km Championship; ran for Scotland at 100km; and was a Scottish Masters Cross-Country International.)

 

My Favourite Race Memory

The Dumfries Marathon, 1986 – a Sprint Finish!

It was a fine, breezy day on Sunday, October 12th, 1986, when several of us, members of Law and District AC, travelled south to run in the Dumfries 800 Marathon, a celebration event to mark the Octocentenary of the town. It would perhaps be the only ever Dumfries Marathon so I wanted to take part even though I had run the Glasgow marathon 3 weeks previously, finishing 10th woman in 3.03, and just failing yet again to break the 3 hour barrier.

I was still disappointed with my Glasgow run and had no great expectations in Dumfries, my 13th marathon, other than to enjoy a run around the pleasant Dumfriesshire countryside. I knew that there were another couple of women running who would be strong competitors, Carolyn Brown of Dumfries Running Club and Kate Todd of Loudoun Road Runners but I decided just to run my own race. It was all going quite smoothly until the 25 mile mark when someone in the crowd shouted to me that the first lady was only a short distance ahead. So that was it. I had to make a bit of an effort. I suppose the adrenaline must have kicked in and I put on a bit of a spurt but not too much too soon as I couldn’t risk cramp at this stage.  And then, with just a few hundred yards to go, I saw her. It was Carolyn, just 50 yds ahead. Then it all came back to me – the good advice given to me by the legendary David Morrison who mentored me when I first joined the ‘vets’ – how to pass rivals effectively – “get up to them, collect yourself, then GO and never look back and once you have gone you can’t slow down just KEEP GOING no matter how bad you feel”. So, with David’s words ringing in my ears, I did go and I didn’t look back and I did feel bad. There was doubt in my mind. Did David really think I could do this in the last few hundred yards of a marathon? Well, I would soon find out and I wouldn’t let him down. I hung on and there was the finish line. I had won the women’s race. It was a slow 3 h 11 mins, well outside my PB, with Carolyn finishing just seconds behind me and, unbeknown to me, Kate Todd was finishing strongly less than a minute behind Carolyn, 70 seconds separating the first three women according to the official record. I never expected to have to finish a marathon with a sprint finish but I had done it! It was my fifth marathon win.

I was delighted to find that David Fairweather had placed second in the race, and first vet, clocking 2 h 28 min, after an equally dramatic battle with eventual winner, Dave Wilson of Wallasey.  The next surprise was that our team from Law and District AC were awarded the team prize, with David Fairweather, Ian Donnelly who finished 24th in 2 h 55 min and myself counting for the team. However, that was not the end of the drama. A complaint was made to the organisers by a well-known Central Belt club which shall remain nameless. The complaint was that a team containing a WOMAN wasn’t allowed to win the team prize! I thought that this was a bit silly as surely if a team of 3 men couldn’t beat a team of two men and a woman they didn’t really deserve to win the prize. I think the organisers must also have thought that it was a bit silly as, after some discussion, the complaint was dismissed and we retained our team prize. I suspect that the organisers had actually broken some SAAA rule in awarding us the prize but rules are made to be broken. I have always remembered the words of Walter Ross, one of our SVHC founding fathers, who once said to me “with running as with everything in life, let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Running is for fun and, at the end of the day, we are all fun runners.”

Kay Dodson

 

A VIEW OVER THE BARRIERS

My interest in finding out about the steeplechase event was stimulated by talking with other athletes, followed up by viewing internet videos. I had returned to running aged forty-five, some nine years ago, with my favoured surface turning out to be cross country – the rougher and muddier the better, demonstrated by winning my first age group gold in the Kilmarnock mud last year. Whilst there are various opinions about steeplechase technique and tactics, everyone agrees that a heightened degree of exhaustion is caused by hurdling the barriers. It’s this management of complexity and concentration, with increased tiredness levels, that fascinates me.

Masters men, until the age of sixty, compete over 3000m with 28 hurdles (36” in height) and 7 water jumps. Masters women compete over 2000m with 18 hurdles (31” in height) and 5 water jumps. It’s also important to state that the steeplechase barriers are solid and heavy, and are extremely unforgiving if hurdling technique or timing falters.

Early hurdling attempts during the Winter 2017/18 were a bit ‘Alf Tupper’, with several wooden pallets set on their side across the lawn at home. Successfully surviving these clearances provided confidence to go ‘semi-public’, and to set up the sprinters’ hurdles at the local track. Although I do admit to timetabling my sessions to avoid club training times, until I felt a further degree of confidence. Steeplechase training utilises the lighter weight sprint hurdles, four located at the correct track positions, and one located outside the water jump. Few athletes will train over the actual water jump, as the jump down and outwards produces forces up to seven times body weight. Add these stresses to those of training and there is a recipe for numerous aches, pains and longer lay-offs through injury.

Early sessions emphasised ‘volume’, so I gradually built up to 10 x 400 with hurdles, allowing an accumulation of sixty hurdle clearances. This volume was then moulded into differing configurations, 5 x 800, 4 x 1200, and peaking at 3 x 1mile. A second hurdle session each week was light on volume, and more about drill techniques emphasising hip mobility. Unfortunately, I tried to cover too many areas within training, plyometrics for dynamic hurdling movement, yoga for flexibility, track technique drills, plus endurance sessions – hence somewhat inevitable (with hindsight) knee inflammation.

With six weeks to go till the Scottish Masters Track & Field Championships at Grangemouth (July 2018) I spent most days undertaking spin sessions on the bike or some light pool running. With a week to go the inflammation eased enough for several light hurdle sessions, which re-established confidence at clearing the obstacles. Attendance at the Championships for the first time also introduced the nerves and protocols of warm-up areas, call-up rooms and the starter’s orders – all very enjoyable but maybe another layer of nerves for a first run-out over the barriers!

Whilst my time of 11.30.48 felt slow, it was enough to claim gold and set a new Scottish best outdoor performance. I cleared all 35 barriers without incident – a success, considering that I had missed six weeks of running. The experience made clear that the dynamic action of hurdling creates a high level of tiredness, and it’s hard to describe the exhaustion brought on by the water jump. The push off the top of the water jump barrier presents a particular physical challenge in structural loading to the legs upon landing. The further one jumps, the greater the impact. Landing on one leg for a rolling restart creates a high force; or you can share the landing load across two legs, but then have to make a restart to your running from a momentarily stationary position.

An additional challenge with the water jump is the need to land the lead foot on top of the barrier. The other barriers can be hurdled and cleared, whereas this one requires a precise placement of the foot on top. Then sufficient momentum to roll the foot forwards into position for a push off across the water. It’s my current thinking to ‘Alf Tupper’ this as well and construct a solid barrier in the garden, so that this leap up, foot placement and push off can be regularly practised.

A second run out over the steeplechase came at the British Masters Track & Field Championships in late August. It was a dreary wet Sunday 9.30am morning race, with no one seemingly ‘up for it’. There were three known (to me) steeplechase exponents in my M50 age group. It was delightful that one let slip being seemingly “stuck on about 11.18…”, I confess to deploying a fine Scottish lowland stalking technique for five laps before slipping past to claim bronze and the time further reduced the Scottish age group outdoor best to 11.19.42.

With this year being in my last in the 50-54 age group, the emphasis is on gathering more race experience over several steeplechase distances of 1500, 2000 and 3000. But also entering (flat) track races at those distances to gain experience in race strategy, positioning and competitiveness. As stated earlier, the lesson of last year was not to cover too many aspects within a training cycle, so a better periodised overview is being planned. I also recognise that I have joined a small band of runners, perhaps with a slightly different headspace, and there is a great sense of camaraderie in that heightened shared challenge.

I should like to conclude my ‘view over the barriers’, by acknowledging the guidance and encouragement given to me by coach David Hood (Nithsdale AC). Sadly, David passed away this January, and will be sorely missed. His words prior to my first steeplechase were along the lines of ‘No matter where you are (in the race) it’s all about the next hurdle, sight it, and focus on it until it’s cleared’. These words are about personal focus and awareness and, in a simple phrase, I was given a key, not only to unlock the complexity of the steeplechase, but also a way to approach daily life in a more rewarding way.

Jim Buchanan

                                                         Jim leading at Grangemouth. Photo: Bobby Gavin/Thatonemoment

FROM THE ARCHIVES

 GREAT SCOTTISH VETERAN RUNNERS: GORDON PORTEOUS

When, at the age of 93, Gordon died on 18th of January 2008, his club Maryhill Harriers published a respectful, affectionate and informative obituary. He was described as “a gentleman and a fine example to others in many ways. He was a courteous, caring individual and an ambassador for Maryhill Harriers and Scotland.” Anyone who was privileged to meet Gordon, or to receive one of his elegant, precise but witty letters, can only agree wholeheartedly.

The obituary continued: “Gordon’s contribution to and support for Maryhill Harriers was simply breath-taking. A member since 1935, he held every senior office and did so for many years at a time. As well as support the club administration, he would still turn up to help out at those races in which he was not competing, whatever the weather. He had encouraging words for several generations of runners and was notable in never having a bad word to say about anyone. He was simply inspirational, always positive.

At the time of his death, Gordon was Honorary President of Maryhill Harriers and Honorary President of Scottish Masters Athletics (incorporating the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club).

He was a keen modeller who used to escape his female-oriented household to the loft to undertake this hobby for many hours at a time. He would only re-enter the house if there was a John Wayne movie on the TV!”

Gordon Porteous was born on the 20th of February 1914. In the late 1930s he trained and raced with illustrious clubmates like the Olympians Dunky Wright and Donald McNab Robertson and the 1938 (and 1948) Scottish Cross-Country Champion John Emmet Farrell. When the Second World War ended in 1945, despite a poor diet (which continued for years of severe rationing in Britain), Gordon wasted no time in returning to athletics at the ‘advanced age’ of 31. On 16th June 1945 he travelled south to take part in the famous Polytechnic Marathon from Windsor to Chiswick, finishing 8th in 3 hours and 14 seconds. That sounds like an inauspicious debut, although it did rank him in the top 70 in the world that year. Gordon’s excuse was that he “suffered severe stomach cramps around the 21-mile mark and had to actually stop – couldn’t even walk – so much so, that my clubmate Andy Burnside, who had been over four and a half minutes behind me at 20 miles, passed me before I could get going again. I probably lost about 5 minutes as a result. That was the only time cramp ever affected me during a marathon. (I never had cherry pie again for my lunch!)”

In 1946, after a trial race, Gordon Porteous was selected to run for Scotland in the ICCU Cross Country Championship in Ayr. He finished 43rd as one of his country’s counting team.

That was the year when the first Scottish Marathon Championship took place, although Gordon did not take part. However, he provided useful information which is quoted in ‘A Hardy Race’. “After the war, dietary problems included digesting dried egg and getting hold of enough food to sustain us. Runners lucky enough to be ‘possibles’ for the 1948 Olympics received food parcels from South Africa, courtesy of the AAA. Survivors of the Saturday long run replenished reserves with Bovril (served in special club Bovril mugs) and cream crackers or a pie. Maryhill road men had one advantage over their rivals. Dunky was a member of the Home Guard. The crafty fellow obtained a supply of heavy brown Army plimsolls, which had much thicker rubber soles than the usual ones. More cushioning and fewer blisters. The alternative was Dunlop Green Flash – a tennis shoe which would ensure blood on the road for its masochistic owner. This brand was still used in the 1960s!

Other kit comprised shorts, a vest, grey flannel trousers for the warm-up and a jersey with long sleeves to be pulled down over the hands on cold nights. Training was usually thirty miles a week. Maryhill Harriers (motto: ‘Good Fun – Good Fellowship – Good Health’) ran together from Maryhill Baths on Tuesdays and Thursdays – about seven miles a night. There might be a slow pack and a fast pack, each one with a Pacer and a Whip. A good deal of wisecracking could be heard, especially as the fast pack whizzed past, unless runners were breathless. On Saturdays, if there was no race, a pack of runners might cover fifteen or even eighteen miles over road and country, followed by tea, buns and a singsong to the music of mouth organs etc. An alternative was some serious hiking.

Not surprisingly, Sunday was considered to be the day of rest. However, Dunky Wright and Donald Robertson (who was ‘a bit of a horse’) added a long Sunday run to the regime.”

By 1948, Gordon was ready to have another go at the marathon, and improved to 5th in the Scottish Championship at Dundee, finishing in 2.54.11.

By 1962, aged 48, he hadn’t been doing much racing, when John Emmet Farrell, who was five years Gordon’s senior, suggested having a go at the Scottish Marathon. Consequently, they trained together doing about 40 or 50 miles per week, with the odd 20 miler nearer the race. Gordon suspected JEF of “doing an extra run on the QT.” The race started outside Old Meadowbank Stadium, and went through Dalkeith, Cockenzie and back to finish on the ash track. “Since it was a warm day,” (Gordon wrote) “the two (not so old) warriors ran steadily together. This was a wise move since JEF was notorious for going off course. Then with 50 yards or so to go, the old b…. sprinted to hold me off at the line! I never let him beat me in a marathon after that.”

Amazingly, Gordon Porteous was still breaking the three-hour barrier in 1981 at the age of 67. (He stated that his so-called ‘failure’ to run as fast after then, was due to a hamstring injury sustained while track training for the 10,000 metres in the European Veterans Championship in Strasburg.) Between 1949 and 1969 he contested only eight marathons (PB 2.49.23) and dropped out of three of them. However, he ran two in 1970 and never missed the Scottish Senior (or Veteran) Marathon Championship between 1972 and 1982.

At the age of 60 in 1974 he ran 2.53.08 and in 1975 two M60 World Marathon records: 2.51.35 in the Scottish Senior and 2.51.17 to win the inaugural World Veterans Championship in Toronto. This was nearly three minutes faster than his 1948 effort!

Gordon Porteous went on to achieve a truly marvellous series of successes. He set European and World age-group marathon records at: M65 (2.57.00); M70 (3.11.45); M75 (3.23.12); and M80 (3.47.04).

He won World Veteran Marathon gold medals in Coventry 1976, Berlin 1978, Hanover 1979, Glasgow 1980, and New Zealand 1981 plus Rome 1985.  A European Marathon gold medal was won in Brugge, Belgium in 1989.

In 1976 Gordon actually won an amazing four World Championships in ten days. As well as the marathon in Coventry, he was first in 10,000 metres on the track, 10k cross country and 25k road!

Of course, he won many gold medals at shorter distances and in British championships too. Doug Gillon wrote about the occasion when in September 1994, at the age of 80, Gordon “added another title and record to a portfolio which, in its way, rivals that of Linford Christie. Porteous took more than nine minutes from the UK over-80 10,000 metres track record, clocking 48.06, when he won his age group in the Scottish Veterans championships at Ravenscraig Stadium.”

Gordon enjoyed many glory days in the company of his close friends John Emmet Farrell and Davie Morrison. The three of them travelled together all over the world to championships and broke so many records. I remember in particular the splendid and well-deserved newspaper and television coverage of those three Scottish heroes in the 1999 British Veterans Championships at Meadowbank; and the subsequent World Championships at Gateshead.

Even when he was over 90 years old, Gordon said, in an interview “In a good week I manage to run 30 to 40 miles. The idea is to keep fit, although a little piece of pride also comes into it. When I began running, I didn’t imagine it would become as popular as it is today. Normally, you try to do a wee bit better each year, but eventually you reach a stage when you’re just hoping to finish!” He was married to Nettie for more than 60 years. She survived him for just two.

Even now in 2010, Gordon Porteous continues to hold three world age group records: M85 5000m (24.51.7); M90 5000m (31.25.45); and M90 10,000m (69.27.5). He should be remembered as a great champion and a wonderful role model.

 

Please sing along to these lyrics! They were compiled by Dougie Gemmell of Clydesdale Harriers, a fine road and cross-country runner as a senior athlete; and, when M50, Scottish Veteran XC champion; Scottish and British 3000m winner; and 2nd in the British and Irish International XC.

The scenario is as follows: a runner is responding to a request from his club to compete in multi-events for cheap points; and the tune is ‘The Laughing Policeman’ (google it if you are too young), and the voice a cross between folk-singing legend Matt McGinn and actor John Grieve.

The photo is of Dougie being presented (by Walter Ross) with a cup at Clydesdale’s Annual Dinner in 1977. Walter was the founder, and driving force behind, the SVHC.

OH I RUN THE TEN THOUSAND

 Oh I run the ten thousand

That’s all I ever do

I do not run the steeplechase

You always get wet through

 

Five thousand metres is too short

The marathon too far

Tae travel a’ thae miles away

I’d rather take the car.

 

I tried the hundred metres

But found I couldny sprint

The gun went BANG, I fell and said

A word ye cannae print

 

Two hundred, it was just as bad

Goin’ roon the bend I tripped

I tumbled ower my wulkies and

My brand-new shorts got ripped.

 

Oh I don’t run the metric mile

Three laps and up the straight

Cause I like runnin’ roon an’ roon

And wavin’ tae ma mates

 

I don’t run ower the hurdles

I canny jump that high

And I don’t do the pole vault,

Cause I’m too young to die.

 

I do not do the triple jump

I canny count to three

And I don’t throw the hammer –

It’s awfy MICHTY ME!

 

I do not do the indoor meets

I like to breathe fresh air

Nae Kelvin Hall or Emirates

Ye willny see me there.

 

You’ll always find me doon the track

I canny get enough

What, gie up sunshine, rain or hail?

Not on yer Nelly Duff!

 

Cross-country is another thing

That I just willny do

Gie me a nice flat Tartan track

Wi’ nae sign o’ a coo.

 

Oh I run the ten thousand

To that I’m dedicated

It used to be the six-mile race

But I’ve been metricated

 

Oh I run the ten thousand

And OOOYAH! That was SORE!!

I’ve torn my hamstring a’ tae shreds

QUICK! Bring that stretcher ower!

 

Ooooh ….. I canny move.

 

 

OH GOOD, IT’S A CLUBMATE!

(The Psychology of Running Teams)

‘Rover’. ‘Wizard’. ‘Hotspur’. ‘Adventure’. The best comics for boys I ever read. Nineteen Fifty-something. Most stories had one drawing and a long action-packed yarn, featuring swarthy snarling baddies, toffee-nosed snobs and clean-cut daring heroes or admirable eccentrics such as ‘The Great Wilson’ and of course ‘Alf Tupper – the Tough of the Track’. How I wish I had kept those comics – a fine escape from reality. My mother even gave me a subscription to B.O.P. – “Boys’ Own Paper” – the most morally-improving magazine imaginable. Now how would these publications have portrayed running and the bond between team-mates?

“Now pay attention, chaps. This is the Public Schools Cross-Country Trophy and we just can’t let these rotters from Chancerhouse make off with it. Now we’re all white men – and that includes you, Ram Jam Singh – and won’t resort to shortcuts, tripping, spiking, barging, bribing officials, twins running a relay and so on. It’s a jolly good job that amphetamines and diabolic steroids haven’t been invented yet, or they’d use them too. Make no mistake – they’re out to win by foul means or fouler! So keep your wits sharp, stick together and give your best for the old Alma Mater. We can be confident that, in this comic, good always triumphs over evil, so let’s toe the line, give them a rousing chorus of the school song – and run united to victory and a gruff word of congratulation from ‘Slasher’ Grimthorpe, our beloved Headcase!”

Heart-warming stuff – and nonsense? Well, not entirely, if you consider Road or Cross-Country Relays (and no doubt sprint or 4×400 metres relays too – although as a slow-twitch ectomorph I have no experience of these exotic athletic events). Certainly, a team-mate passing responsibility on to you (by baton, touch of a hand or simply overlapping) does excite a surge of adrenalin and a desire to gut yourself for the cause. Some folk collapse under the strain but many produce their best performances in relays. Tactics (apart from ‘eyeballs-out’) are seldom needed, unless you’re allowed a brief rest behind an opponent into a severe headwind – and even then you have to take your share of the work to prevent other clubs from closing up. Six, Eight or even Twelve-Man road relays are best. The ‘stars’ of the team are only marginally more valuable than the slowest runners. Anyone who can squeeze out more effort, and save a few seconds, may contribute to a famous victory or a more respectable placing. I’m not particularly devoted to amateurism – everyone likes a decent prize – but relay medals are to be treasured because they remind you of occasions full of drama, whole-hearted trying, good fellowship and (probably) beery exultation.

How about ‘team spirit’ in normal racing and training? I don’t propose to discuss athletics as such. No doubt it’s pleasant if a busload of assorted juniors and seniors from Princetown Posers descend on a track and field competition – the South-East Minor District Athletics League Round Five, for example. At the end of the day, once the points have been added up for third place in the standing bunny-jump, second in hurling the haggis and fifth in the metric mile medley, the Posers are first overall! How easy will it be for massive-muscled chuckers, egocentric speedsters, elongated elastic-jointed springers and sinewy middle-distance mules to find enough in common to communicate – let alone celebrate together? More difficult than the athletics, I would suggest. But what about a team of distance runners?

A vital feature of any cross-country or road-racing team is the Weekly Evening Run. If some folk meet up on Sunday mornings as well, this only emphasises how important pain (suffered or inflicted) is to them. No one totally unfit attends the club session. Slow jogging, helpless panting, stopping and walking, stiff sore legs and that sick weak exhausted feeling – these stages are best endured in the dark, on your own (unless they coincide with the last six disastrous miles of a mass marathon, in which case begging onlookers for drinks and sweets can be added.) In the dressing room before the club run, most people look and sound relaxed and carefree. Of course, cautious types will choose to run steadily with others incapable to ‘beating’ them. But for the first team and those on the fringe, the club session will not lack ‘needle’ despite the banter and bonhomie. Passers-by may think “Skinny men but friendly ones”. Insiders might disagree.

You see, racing well is partly a matter of talent and effort and partly a matter of confidence. A good competitive so-called ‘training session’ will provide that confidence. All you have to do is record a fast time for the Winter nine and a quarter – or manage to drop your ‘chums’ and leave them grovelling. Unless the best runner zooms off from the word go, the first couple of miles will involve no more than a stride-out for a group of friends, chatting on the run. Then, strangely enough, the jokes and reminiscences cease, and you reach a certain point (usually the bottom of a long tough hill) when companionship disappears abruptly as, without apology, someone leans into the slope, the effort increases fifty per cent, and the bunch fragments. Some will hang on as long as possible before heading back by a shorter route (trying not to be caught by the fast boys); others, running very nearly flat out, will grit their way onwards to the finish. Usually the pecking order stays the same: but the savage joy of someone who moves up the rankings can barely be concealed.

During a ‘proper’ competition, status quo may well be re-established. There are those who perform much better in ‘training’ than in racing. But although most runners will wish both clubmates and rivals the best of luck before a race, and say well done or sympathise afterwards, this is partly insincere tradition. During the struggle for supremacy or self-respect, there is nothing worse than sensing someone looming up beside you – and realising that he’s wearing an identical club vest! What a stab in the vitals; or motivating kick up the rear! Strangers may pass without much retaliation, but to be beaten by a ‘friend’ or old foe is not to be contemplated, unless you are injured or about to pass out from the sheer desperate insanity of effort recently produced to keep the devil behind you. To concede sixth place in the club charts, especially without any real fight, would be an admission of imminent senile decrepitude. Next stop Zimmer City!

And yet, I may exaggerate. Rightly or wrongly, there are rumours of nastiness and hatred between footballers, cricketers and rugby players. Are runners quite as resentful? Probably not, because distance running is a very humbling sport. We all have our good races; and even champions know what it is like to fail, and flounder in the mud, their hopes trampled by better men (on the day). Could there actually be genuine friendship and respect – even between clubmates?

CLUB NIGHTS

For dogged old runners in their seventies, club sessions must be avoided, since one tends to try too hard to keep up with swifter youngsters and injury is almost guaranteed. In youth and middle age, however, training with clubmates was essential to improve fitness and confidence and achieve potential. Hardier athletes might manage to run hard in company perhaps two or three times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for example. Others might restrict themselves to once a week for speedwork and once for endurance. It depended on the training pattern of your own club and I competed for quite a few.

At Aberdeen University in the late 1960s, we only ran together on Wednesday afternoons. Few lingered for long in the Hare & Hounds dressing room in King’s College pavilion, due to the rank, musty, sweaty pong. Less hygienic harriers simply removed their steaming amber vests and wound them round the hot pipes, so that they would be dry, crusty and aromatic in time for the next outing. Starting slowly, we might go round the varied six and a half miles race route: past St Machar Cathedral, over the cobbles, onto the road, down the dodgy steps and over the narrow Don bridge, along the towpath, over the fence and up the grassy hill to Balgownie, fast down the road hill to the main Ellon road, onto the dunes, back along the sand, and then onto the undulating riverside path to finish in Seaton Park by sprinting up to the cathedral. Our annual half marathon was twice round plus laps of King’s field.

In Aberdeen AAC, aspiring long-distance runners usually ventured out on Woodie’s Sunday run (15 miles or further). Several youngsters might be suffering a hangover, since races plus piss-ups were usually on Saturdays. At 10 a.m. the group left the house of Alastair Wood, irascible marathon guru, and almost immediately battled up King’s Gate, a long hard hill en route to Hazlehead pony-track, the golf-course, narrow country lanes, and more forest paths before plunging down to Cults for the final two-mile ‘race-track’ along the pavement of the North Deeside Road. A truce was called at Mannofield and most survivors pretended to be cruising easily home – before the redoubtable Wood (and his equally hard training companion Steve Taylor) cut off, whereupon the rest of us sagged against pillar-boxes and groaned back to our residences at walking pace.

Victoria Park AAC was a traditional Glasgow club, heavily influenced by pre- and post-war training patterns. Tuesdays and Thursdays might feature club races or time-trials round the streets made familiar by the McAndrew Relay. Yet the usual system involved a slow pack and a fast pack, both with a ‘Pace’ to choose appropriate leg-speed and a ‘Whip’ to ensure that the pack kept together. However, by the early 1970s we were less amenable to regimentation. Ronnie Kane the coach would give stern instructions that the slow pack were to be given at least two minutes start, as a five-mile route like the ‘Shorter Knightswood Backward’ was tackled, but Alastair Johnston, Pat Maclagan, Ian Binnie, Albie Smith and co normally started chasing the moment their less talented clubmates were round the corner, swept past and bashed on mercilessly in the dim light of winter streetlights. No prisoners! On Sundays, only Pat and Alastair did long runs, which lesser men found ridiculously fast. The alternative was a testing cross-country effort out at Milngavie. Nearly all Vicky Parkers preferred the roads.

Fredrikshof Idrottsforeningen, was a wealthy Stockholm club that provided free kit and paid my racing expenses during the ten months (1973-1974) I taught in Sweden. Sadly, since I lived a hundred miles away from the city, I was forced to train alone. When I did join up with the team, it struck me that the pace was a lot friendlier than back in Scotland. However most of them were not very fast competitors!

Edinburgh Southern Harriers was one of the very best Scottish clubs when I ran for them between 1974 and 1981. While there were club nights at Fernieside, where the old cinder track was used for speedwork, most of the key distance runs were open to all-comers and started at The Meadows. On Mondays there was a ten-mile, sixteen short repetition session, lapping the park; Wednesday featured another ten-mile run, with nine longer reps, out by Colinton; and Sundays could be sixteen miles out and back to Balerno, via the old railway track, or anything up to 25 miles, if one added the reservoirs, Bonaly Tower, and extra circuits of the Meadows. It is fair to say that any athlete who avoided injury despite participating regularly and putting real effort into these three runs could only get fitter! A number of these guys were ex-university, so after races (still on Saturdays!) rather a lot of real ale might be downed, to prevent dehydration of course.

Back with Aberdeen AAC during the 1980s (when the club won three E to Gs), Wednesday night was the important one. After warming up round the Linksfield track or nearby streets, the group headed out at a good pace, up King Street, down the Beach Boulevard, up the promenade to the Bridge of Don, left towards Balgownie. If the pace was not fast enough by then, it lifted savagely on long uphills, and continued through housing estates before zooming homewards past Woodside, down St Machar Drive and back to Linksfield. This was thought to be ten miles, but the record-holders made clear that it could not be further than nine and a quarter. The second half at least was very competitive and runners sometimes chose to hang on desperately until they were forced to let go, before straggling back or cutting the route short. Either way, it was a serious session, which gave a real indication of how fit or unfit we were. One of our members supplied beer to pubs, so he often arranged for post-run beers (and free snacks) at some hostelry. The venue had to keep changing, since publicans were displeased because, unlike rugby types, most of us could only manage a couple of pints before heading home knackered to bed.

Metro Aberdeen Running Club was formed by road-runners who reckoned that AAAC concentrated too much on young athletes and track and field. Coach Jackie Stewart organised evening rep sessions or hill-work not far from King’s College, and in addition (after the initial democratic delusion, soon ignored, that we would all wait for the slower athletes) there was usually a very similar road race/run to the one described in the previous paragraph. Regular rehydration continued, since Metro continues to be very sociable.

10 years ago, I retired from my main job and moved north to join Forres Harriers. We have 80 to 100 members, young and old, with many female runners. Once again there are club sessions on Tuesdays (speedwork) and Thursdays (about six miles on the pavements). Sometimes there are hill-sessions from Grant Park. For several years, the Harriers won the North District cross-country league, partly because I am far too slow nowadays to count in races. In recent years I have also been too slow to train with anyone apart from myself.

In all these fine organisations, there has been complaining about real or imaginary injuries, banter, insults, jokes, motivation, friendship, fellow-suffering and team spirit. Long may such marvellous running clubs flourish!

 

Canicross, my Motivation to Run by Karen Connal

 The editor has asked me if I would write a story about Canicross (I put together the artwork for this newsletter), and as there is a full page empty in this newsletter, here goes.

I started running when my kids were of an age to join the local running club and I was not the sort of mum to drop them off and go for the shopping so I slotted in to the slowest group and discovered how much fun and how social running could be. My sport had been dog agility but my dogs had got too old for even a good walk so running was something to do till I eventually got another dog for Agility in 2007.

That dog was a border collie called Jura and in 2008 we took her down to Crufts dog show, this would change my life as we saw a demonstration race of Canicross. I watched it with my son and we both got excited that we could do this with Jura. We shot off to the trade stall and bought some kit, not the right kit but it was a start and we were seen running round a Birmingham hotel car park that night with a rather bemused dog.

That was the start but we were disappointed to find that our new sport was only really happening south of Birmingham, although we did find an event at Kielder but it clashed with a ski holiday and we only managed the 2nd day on very tired ski legs but we were hooked.

In those days I was not a fan of driving long distances so the few races we got to were those furthest north (Hamsterly forest, Kielder and Glen Tress) but the desire to run with the dogs was a strong one so a few of us decided to put on a race in Scotland.

Canix, the company holding the races down south tried to host one at Mugdock park in Milngavie but ignored all our advice and clashed it with the Great Scottish Run so the Canicross entries were low as people had already entered the GSR so the following year in 2012 we held an event at Mugdock Park independently and it was well attended and people seemed to love it.

Over the years the other organisers moved away or dropped out, it was a lot of work to host races, but I carried on and eventually built it up to hosting one race event a month over the season which is September to May in the cooler months.

We went from an entry of 36 up to a capped entry of 150 with races selling out in a matter of days. Other organisations and Canicross clubs started to host races and the sport is Scotland is strong and growing with a large Scottish team assembling to challenge for the “Fur Nations” a 3 part home international which Scotland has won in 2018 and 2019.

I now happily travel all over the country to run and race with my dogs, we have represented the UK twice in the Canicross European Championships and my son was Junior World Champion in 2013 when it was held in the UK.

I personally continue to host races under the Umbrella of “Cani-Sports Scotland”.

I find great motivation in my furry pacemakers, they need exercise and running with them is a great way to get a run in at the same time. If I go out for a run without them I don’t enjoy my run so much.

Canicross has taken me to some of the most beautiful places in the country, because I seek out off-road, quiet places that suit my running buddies, I find gems of tranquillity off the roads and on the trails. Old aches and pains from my years of road-running are gone as the trails seem to suit me better.

I have made friends from every corner of the country and attended races in far flung places to support them as they start up in their area as I started up in mine. It even got me into running Ultra Marathons but that’s another story.

The turning point for me, when I had just discovered the sport, was a friend telling me “you can run with a dog at parkrun you know!” “parkrun what’s that?” I said and another addiction was kicked off.

I started at Strathclyde parkrun which is still a favourite for running with a dog as the start is wide and grassy. I have run at nearly all Scottish courses (4 still to do at time of printing) mostly with a dog to pace me. Tiree is my dog of choice for parkrun as she really knows her job and responds to instructions very well and she really loves it. Finn & Jura get a shot sometimes. I have a young dog in training but he won’t do a parkrun till he has learned to respond to commands like “steady” and has sharp directional commands.

Although I am not a fast parkrunner I do like to start nearer the front with a dog as they don’t understand pacing and set off full pelt only settling in to the run after the excitement has died down. I find it much easier and safer for other runners to overtake me when they can see me and my dog than to be forced to start at the back and have to overtake half the race to find our place, startling or offending people as we pass.

Canicross etiquette is to let people know that you are about to overtake “I’m coming by you on the left/ right with a dog” is my warning. In nondog runs, like parkrun, especially when people have headphones in, we have to be very careful not to startle folk.

Things we are asked and things that are said: “That’s cheating.” It’s not cheating, It’s what we do, it’s Canicross, it’s fun and in trail races where dogs are allowed we aren’t allowed to take a podium place or there are separate results for Canicross runners, parkrun can mark the run as assisted.

“Can I get a tow?” No because I won’t lend my running partner to anyone who hasn’t trained and learned his/ her ways, they are our partners we are a team.

“That shouldn’t be allowed.” We use parkrun as training and for fun the same way as non-dog runners do. Parkrun is an excellent place to teach our dogs how to race, it’s local and it’s free, perfect, the same reason many other people go there to run.

“My dog would pull me over.” It won’t, with the right equipment, a waist-belt puts the pull on your hips, it’s a great core workout, a hand-held lead will pull you over as it upsets your point of balance. Once you get going it just feels great. Once your dog learns the commands, you’re a team.

The bond you build with your dog in a shared activity is second to none. There are local clubs and groups who can help you get started. Look up

www.canisportsscotland.co.uk

 

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2017-2018

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

ARLENE LEWIS 202 Archerhill Road, Knightswood Glasgow, G13 3YX Tel: 07850 070337

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

May 2019

Wed 1st Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge 7:30pm Changing at Lochview Golf Driving Centre

Sat 18th BMAF Road Relay Champs Sutton Park, Birmingham

Sat 25th Bathgate Weslo Cairnpapple Race 2:30pm £3 entry

Sun 26th SAL Masters 5000m Track Champs Aberdeen

June 2019

Sun 2nd BMAF 10 Mile Champs Dorking, Surrey

Wed 5th Corstorphine 5 Mile Road Race Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh, 7:30pm

June 2019

Sun 16th Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road Horwich BL6 5PY

Wed 26th SVHC 5K Champs Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, 19:30

Sun 30th BMAF Multi-Terrain Champs, Gravesend

July 2019

Sun 7th BMAF Half Marathon Champs Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Sat 13th SAL Masters T&F Champs Grangemouth

August 2019

Sun 11th Glasgow 800 10km road race Cartha Rugby Club, 1:30pm

Sat 31st SA Masters & SVHC Andy Forbes 10000m Track Champs Carluke

September 2019

5th – 15th European Masters Track & Field Championships Venice, Italy

Sat 14th B&I Masters Cross Country Trials Tollcross Park October 2019 Sun 6th Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness

TBC SVHC Half Marathon Champs, Kirkintilloch AGM, Date & venue TBC See website for full details

Sun 20th BMAF Marathon Champs, York November 2019

Sat 16th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Southport, England

                                              Colin Donnelly at Hawick (Photo: Pete Bracegirdle)

 

                                                     Veronique Oldham at Hawick (Photo: Alex Corbett)

                                              Alastair Walker (275) heading for M60 gold (Photo: Pete Bracegirdle)

                                             Isobel Burnett easing towards W60 hat-trick victory (Photo: Pete Bracegirdle)

 

 

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: WINTER 2018

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 30th November 2018

MEMBERS Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

Welcome to the 14 new and 13 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 12th August 2018. As of 30th November 2018, we have 555 members, including 301 paid, 10 underpaid, 215 unpaid, 24 over 80 & 5 Life Members.

 NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests can be purchased from Andy Law for £18, including Postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

 2474 Mark King 15-Aug-18 Glasgow

2475 Donnie Macdonald 15-Aug-18 Muir of Ord

2476 Robbie Paterson 25-Aug-18 Forres

2477 Iain Robertson 04-Sep-18 Glasgow

2478 Brian Robinson 14-Sep-18 Ayr

2479 Romy Beard 16-Sep-18 Glasgow

2480 Ewen McNair 25-Sep-18 Alloa

2481 Julie Gordon 15-Oct-18 Glasgow

2482 Lesley Corr 15-Oct-18 Glasgow

2483 Morna Fleming 21-Oct-18 Dunfermline

2484 Claire Wharton 30-Oct-18 Eaglesham

2485 Steven Park 30-Nov-18 Edinburgh

2486 Penny Gardiner 15-Nov-18 Dunbar

2487 Derek Clyne 27-Nov-18 Galashiels

2351 Grant Baillie 24-Aug-18 East Kilbride

26 George Black 13-Sep-18 Kingskettle

2358 David Eckersley 14-Sep-18 Balfron

2135 Scott Hunter 16-Sep-18 Rutherglen

2278 Sheila Lewis 01-Oct-18 Clarkston

2128 John Duffy 01-Oct-18 Cumbernauld

1869 Alexander Chalmers 07-Oct-18 Bearsden

2211 Andrew White 30-Oct-18 Greenock

2303 Chris Devine 30-Oct-18 Loughbrickland

2160 Emilio Cosimo 06-Nov-18 Muirhead

2275 Deborah Roe 12-Nov-18 Lenzie

2374 Charles Steven 20-Nov-18 East Kilbride

745 Thomas Feeney 26-Nov-18 Uddingston

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

 

2018, SWANSEA, WALES

This year saw our team head for Swansea which, if truth be told, isn’t the easiest of places to reach. As Mens’ team manager, I was just hoping everyone would be all right for race day after such a testing journey.

Ross McEachern V50 suggested that I could fly to Bristol then hire a car and drive to Swansea, allowing me to be there early to collect team numbers and check out the course etc.

So, when our team arrived finally arrived, slightly battered and bruised, I really didn’t know what to expect come race day but, in fairness to our team, the mood was upbeat, which I must say was better than I would have been after travelling on a bus for some 11 hours.

With numbers handed out and our new newbies all kitted up you could see some nerves starting filtering through which. for a team manager, is a good sign, if you ask me. Our team had a real mix of old hands and newbies.

Our hotel was only a mile from the course, so some opted to run there and some took the coach to the course, which in hindsight maybe wasn’t the best idea, as the second coachload missed our allocated photo slot time of 10.35 a.m. However, Innes Bracegirdle’s husband Pete took some excellent photos, so many thanks Pete we really appreciated it.

On to the real business of the day, the races itself. First up for the males would be our V65, V70 and V75+, who started alongside the young whipper-snapper women of the V35 category.

I was hoping that the day would start well and by the end of the race we would have some silverware to get the rest of the age groups fired up. I had high hopes especially of our experienced V75 quartet (Bobby Young, Jim Scobie, Ian Leggett and Pete Cartwright). It was great to have strength in depth for this age group.

Our V65 and V70 runners had a wealth of experience at this level and included individual medallists from previous years so medals would depend on who raced well on the day.

Under starting orders on a dry course, which seemed to spectators fairly flat, but like a lot of courses it was not until you put the foot down you realised there was always a sting in the tail. The second half of this course was no different, with a long testing drag up to the highest point where you could see positions change throughout the day. First to come over the line for Scotland was none other than Andy McLinden V65 in 8th place, one in front of Tony Martin. Along with Ed Norton, the team secured Bronze medals.

With so many runners being in the first race, it is always hard to keep track of positions throughout the age groups, but in-form Alex Sutherland M70 had set his stall out early and was always in contention for an individual award, which he duly delivered with a gutsy performance to claim Bronze. Unfortunately, this age group wouldn’t be claiming any team medals as Norman Baillie had to pull up with a hamstring injury after just 50 metres, taking the team out of contention, although it didn’t deter Stewart McCrae from putting in a sterling performance finishing an excellent 7th M70.

If I had been asked beforehand which teams I thought had the best chance of medals, I would have opted for our V60 and V75, both very strong at British level and generally performing well at these events. It was great to see Pete Cartwright toe the line after his recent health issues, despite his doctor advising him not to run (what do doctors know about us runners?). Evergreen Bobby Young M75 never fails to amaze me not only by drinking skills afterwards but especially by his running achievements. He seems to rise the occasion every time with a calculated run making his final surge for victory on the tough climb to claim victory by 20 seconds. First Gold of the day for our men’s team! Jim Scobie, Mister reliable, put in a tough shift, fighting all the way to finish 7th and help us claim a well-deserved team Bronze.

Just past mid-day and the medals were starting to come our way.

V50 to V64 races

The V60 year age group was up next, and this is where I thought we could play our ace of the pack, Alastair Walker, who I had down as pre-race favourite although nothing is guaranteed in this game such is the competition each year. Alongside the formidable Walker, we had the likes of Paul Thompson, Jeff Farquhar and Alex Chisholm, so hopes were high for a team medal of some colour. Despite being in the sport for a few years more than I care to remember, I still get excited watching guys like Alastair warm up, totally focused on the task ahead. After the first lap Alastair looking relaxed and composed. He was leading the the V60s but not without a spirited effort from the Northern Ireland athlete Laurence Johnston, who was trying to match Alastair’s every move. Jeff Farquhar, now back on the stage where he belongs, ran a great race to finish 7th, Paul Thompson was 8th and Alex Chisholm 9th. These guys were a team manager’s dream. Yet the day belonged to Alastair who was under pressure throughout but stayed calm and extended his lead on the final lap to 32 seconds, which may sound comfortable but my stomach was churning just watching as the NI athlete also ran a cracking race. Second Gold of the day! Not only that but we managed to secure team Silver for our efforts.

Our V55 team was made up of Mick McLoone 10th, Dave Eckersley, Steven Worsley and Stan MacKenzie. They had it tough as the strength-in-depth from the other nations was impressive. If I’m being honest, I think this may have been the strongest V55 I’ve seen from England and Northern Ireland, which left Ireland, Wales and ourselves fighting for the scraps, but fight we did, right to the end, with a great effort put in by everyone. Well done lads.

V50: This one had me monitor the team performance maybe more than others, as I know most of the team very well and have trained with them on many an occasion. Couple this up with me turning the Big 50 next year – who knows, will I aim for a comeback? (Watch out, Chalmers, your place is on a shaky peg!). Once again England and Northern Ireland were to the fore dictating the proceedings but, from a Scottish point of view, all our team gave us a great race to watch and to see who would come out on top of the V50 Scottish guys. Well that top spot went to Andrew White, finishing in a credible 14th, but as I say a great race to watch as all the guys had a turn at the front at one stage for the Scottish top spot – Andrew White 16th, Stephen Allen, Ross McEachern, Alex Chalmers, Howard Elliott and Ian Johnston.

Now we move on to the young guns – V35 to V45.

Our trial winner Scott Brember V45 was looking to perform well, as his recent racing programme had shown good signs. Alongside Scott we had Paul Rogan, who made his debut the same day as myself a few years ago down at Birmingham, but was feeling slightly nervous as he had thought he may have overcooked his build up to the race. However, as the results would show, Paul put in a top-class performance. Paul Monaghan had a nasty tumble at the start of the race and never fully recovered to get himself back in to the race where he had hoped he would like to have been, and the result didn’t do him justice, but thankfully at the end of the day it was only his pride that was hurt and nothing more serious. On the injury note, Davie Gardiner pulled a hamstring with only 150 meters to go to which I feel slightly guilty about as I was yelling at him for that last push to the line. Justin Carter and Stephen Allan again showed what the Scottish vest meant to them by putting in 100% on the day – what more could we ask for? So back to Mr Brember, who was tracking his English rival like a man possessed and kept making inroads each lap but maybe just ran out of grass before that Gold would have been his – but hey, who wouldn’t be happy with an excellent Silver medal against a top-class English runner?  Great run Scott – he was first Scot home in this race, beating all his younger team-mates – but unfortunately there were no V45 team medals today.

V40: As the age group goes down, the pace usually gets faster so to medal at these age groups everyone has to run well and not just well but probably out of their skin even to be just considered for a team medal. So our boys did very well by claiming an excellent team Bronze. Without being disrespectful, I was thinking this would have been a tall order for the boys but I love to be proven wrong, especially when medals are up for grabs. Graeme Murdoch 10th and his team of Donnie MacDonald, Chris Devine, Darran Muir, Malcolm Lang and Stevie Campbell had us all celebrating. This race turned out very similar to the men’s V50 event with each of the guys striving to finish in that counting four. As this result came out of the blue, it was probably the one I will savour the most. As is often said, cross-country races are not won on paper but on the course – guys, sorry for doubting you but at the same time so happy for you all.

V35: Please excuse me for starting my V35 report by mentioning the race winner, Mark McKinstry of Northern Ireland, but I couldn’t help but admire the manner in which he took this race by the scruff of the neck right from the gun. Initially I thought he had started far too fast but he just kept going to from strength to strength to claim a well-deserved victory.

Our own guys (Grant Baillie 9th, Darrel Hastie, Mike Houston, Chris Mooney, Robbie Paterson and Garry Matthew flew the flag as well as they could but, without making any excuses, the pool our English counterparts have to choose from in this age group is always going to be the toughest, as some of the athletes are still competing for their country as seniors, never mind as veterans. Grant Baillie came away with a top 10 placing which might not sound particularly special but I thought this was a great run. Not to be outdone, all our other guys fought tooth and nail to be part of that counting four and were only separated by a mere 50 seconds. Unfortunately, Garry Matthew had to pull up with one lap to go with a calf injury but, after a few shandies, he seemed on the way to recovery.

Now for a brief overview. May I finish by saying that once again it has been a great pleasure, being asked to be team manager for a great bunch of guys who gave nothing less than 100%. Our Scotland team is not made up of any superstars or elitist athletes – just a mere bunch of hairy-arsed Scotsmen willing to give everything they have on the day for the vest!

So, roll on next year!

By John Bell

 

SCOTTISH WOMEN’S RESULTS

W35

Michelle Sandison has written about her splendid individual gold medal in this age-group. Backed by Sara Green and Romy Beard, the team won bronze medals.

W40

Carol Parsons finished an excellent fifth, with Jennifer MacLean 9th. Jacqueline Etherington completed the team and secured bronze.

W45

Megan Wright (7th) was first Scot home in this category. Karen Kennedy and Allie Chong allowed the team to obtain bronze medals.

W50

Mary McCutcheon ran well for 6th place. Her bronze medal-winning team-mates were Sue Ridley (9th) and Rhona Anderson.

W55

Our perennial star, Fiona Matheson, delivered individual victory yet again, for the third successive time in this age-group. (Between 2011 and 2013 she achieved the same feat in the W50 category and added two individual silvers in 2014 and 2015!) Fiona was ably backed by all her silver medal-winning team-mates: Anne Howie (7th), Pamela McCrossan (9th) and Mary Western (10th).

W60

Team bronze was the result for Isobel Burnett (a fine 5th), Margaret Martin (8th) and Innes Bracegirdle (9th).

W65

Last year’s W65 gold medallist, Ann White, won an excellent individual silver this time; and team silver too, with superb backing from Linden Nicholson (4th) and Morna Fleming.

W70+

Liz Corbett (5th) was the outstanding Scottish runner in this category, and along with Anne Docherty and Margaret Robertson the team obtained bronze medals.

 

The Long and Winding Road: A By-Stander’s Perspective

 

When Paul McCartney penned the lyrics for the Long and Winding Road in the late 1960s he is said to have credited the road from Carradale to Campbeltown as part of his inspiration.  That’s as may be, but I don’t know if he ever spent a dark and cold November night on a Parks of Hamilton 53-seater going over the twists, turns, ups and downs of the Brecon Beacons in Wales after being on the road from Cowcaddens in Glasgow since 09:00.   By the time the troops fetched up in Swansea the last thing they felt like doing was singing!  Just over half of the Scots contingent came that way, others by car, plane (or two planes and hire car in the case of Susan Linklater from Shetland – with her husband, mark you), train and maybe even the odd ferry thrown in.  Whatever, Swansea is not the easiest place to get to, but it does have a great waterfront, beach (excellent running along at least a three mile stretch of firm sand, best done on a dark early morning with the sun a mere suggestion in the south-eastern sky) and, as BBC reported after the event – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46237354. – “possibly the most disappointing Christmas parade in the UK.”……. A Christmas parade has been branded a “shambles” after parents said it had just three floats and was “all over in five minutes”.

We were greeted by the welcoming sight of The Dragon Hotel, digs for most of us and also, by happenstance, for the English team.  No grief with that, although race day breakfast was carnage in the dining room – it’s just as well most of the runners did not want too much to eat.  There was the odd ‘normal’ guest in the hotel too who stumbled into the melee and must have jaloused that their chance of a well-cooked full breakfast was a bit dodgy!

Jim Baxter – Parks’s driver – drove us back and forward to the course on the day and his gentle Glasgow patter and observations no doubt set the runners up for the battle ahead.  Spectators had a great course to view the races, over what appeared to be a nicely firm surface, plenty of twists and turns and pretty challenging hills.  The weather gods had been appeased, which was maybe just as well as there appeared to be no shelter from the storm, if it had come.  Teams adopted their own particular tree in the park for kit drop, etc and that seemed to work well.  Watching the runners, it was instructive as to how the runners with the best form also seemed to be the ones who got towards the front of their respective packs.  As a comparison watching the final section of the race around two hundred metres from the finishing straight there was a fairly steep downhill and sharp final bend where (especially some of the more mature) athletes came down absolutely all out, heads flung back, gasping for air and arms flailing around to keep their balance.  Good photography territory.

Brangwyn Hall – https://www.swansea.gov.uk/brangwynhall – at night for the prizegiving and meal where the Welsh had set things up admirably.  The catering by an outside firm was as good as one was likely to get for the 500 or so odd folk there.  Drinks orders seemed to arrive.  Wall murals were admired and puzzled at and the craic was good.  The decibel level of cheering for the successful athletes seemed to be in inverse proportion to the overall success level of the teams.  Hence Northern Ireland made a goodly amount of noise for their victories, the Scots, Irish and Welsh not far behind, but strangely muted were the English celebrations of success.  It may be that many of their team had gone off home after the event, or they were just being suitably modest as the best overall team by a long way. 

A couple of interesting things to note about the evening event: –

         While acoustics for the speechifying were pretty lousy, the speeches themselves were admirably constrained and to the point.  Well done to Mel James and Arthur Kimber for that.

         Photographs were not organised, in fact actively discouraged at the podium.  That worked very well to speed up the flow of prize-winners and let individual teams do the necessary with smartphones, etc back at their tables.

Some of the Scottish team’s support pack simply soaked up the race atmosphere and shouted on their team and individuals. Others did that and ran in the open race, and a few participated in the Parkrun on race-day morning, in particular one who managed the women’s team – Ada Stewart take a bow.  John Bell was seen to don a pair of shorts on Sunday morning, so no major hangover there then; maybe he was starting his training stint for an attempt on team selection for Southport next year!

By Andy Law

 

Wow, what a weekend… Swansea.

A flight from Glasgow to Bristol and a car share to get there but every second of travel was worth it.

Race Day – Singleton Park. As I warmed up, with pre-race music ringing through my head, I could feel the sun on my cheeks, I could smell a hint of mud which made me feel happy and I remembered how grateful I am to be injury-free and fit and healthy. So many times through my running life, as for every athlete, this has not been the case but bad times ensure that the good times feel even better. I went through my race plan, recalled my process goals and worked hard to keep the adrenaline at bay until the start line.

When standing there, I often think, “It’s not too late to change your mind, you don’t really have to do this” and “you need a wee” but deep down I know I do want to do it, I’m actually desperate to run it and I don’t really need a wee. Weird head demons. 

BANG! Elbows, elbows, elbows!! The tussle seems to have popped me out in front so I settle. I don’t need to be at the front, that is not the race plan and is an unrealistic goal! All I recall about the first lap is working hard at keeping the adrenaline as low as possible, finding the hard tempo pace that I am happy with, remembering the best lines around the course and focusing on my breathing, my feet, my shoulders. The first time up the hill feels good but I know that it won’t always seem that way so I prepare myself mentally for how it may feel harder next time.

Lap 2 is inevitably where it starts to hurt physically and mentally. I had planned a small “rest” period here to ensure I had plenty for lap 3 so I focused very hard on every aspect of my body…relax the jaw, shoulders down, use the arms, lean gently from the hips, switch on the glutes, listen to your feet, listen to your breathing….calm, calm, be calm. I am aware that I am leading V35 but I shove that knowledge far away. This is not the time to get carried away.

As I enter Lap 3 I am tired, I feel a bit sick and my arms and legs are starting to get heavy. “It’s only a lap and a bit of Glasgow Green (one of my training areas in Glasgow) you’ve done that tired many times” I tell myself. Last big effort. The tannoy cuts in – I hear my name. It makes my heart jump, my adrenaline spike “shhhhhh, be calm, you need to breathe”. The spotlight effect has not always been my friend so I force myself to ignore it and run away from the noise. As I run, my mind wanders, asking itself nonsensical questions, allowing demons in and losing focus on my body, another sign of fatigue for me. I work so very hard mentally to pull it back under control, to focus completely on my body and my breathing and I visualise all the times I feel like this in training. I force myself to hear the voice of my coach, Anne-Marie, in my head, I force myself to leave the reality of Swansea and go to the island I grew up running on (I am from Shetland). I visualise running through knee-deep heather with my father, as I did as a child, and force myself to block out the physical and mental pain. As I approach the final hill someone shouts “there’s a medal in there for you Scotland” but I brush it off. I have a hill to climb and a “sprint” finish to complete, there’s no medal if you collapse before the finish line! 

Luckily, I didn’t collapse and did cross the finish line and there was a medal. A gold! I was so exhausted that the overwhelming emotion at the finish was pure relief. I had followed my plan, I had kept my focus and had executed the race as I had wanted. I had run every ounce of energy out of my body (so much so that I got a visual migraine but even that was positive as I was looked after by the best team-mates you can ever hope for… but that is another story). Relief was quickly followed by elation and a final massive surge of chemicals through my body. The runner’s high, I guess. And nothing beats it.

By Michelle Sandison

 

 

A Good Result

The race was on the side of a ‘mountain’. 1k straight down and 1k straight up. Last 200m steep climb to high point and 200m steep down to start/finish.

Ran first lap to be told “Welshman 50m ahead”. Didn’t see him till got to steep climb on second lap and pulled him in. On long downhill he opened 30m. Eased up to him over gradual climb and made contact at bottom of steep 200m. Bombed up the hill and tore down steep 200m to finish!

Took about 20s advantage on the hill!

Turned out he was Emyr Davies. Old foe!

That was my 27th British and Irish XC contests out of 31.

25th team medal: 2 Gold 14 Silver and 9 Bronze.

8th individual medal: 2 gold 3 silver and 3 bronze.

Training 2018

Mileage 40-50 per week

80% comfortably steady   20% Quality (Intervals/hills/race)

Mon         5-6 miles             steady

Tue          6 miles                 session                  e.g.  12 x 400m or 6 x 800m    

Wed         5-6 miles             easy

Thu          6 miles                 session                 

Fri           5-6 miles              easy

Sat           5-6 miles               Race or Parkrun

Sun         10-16 miles           longer steady run

Phases  

Stamina, then Strength, then Speed (Arthur Lydiard)

A Pyramid beginning with Stamina, acquired by concentrating on maximum steady mileage and only one session per day. The broader the base (aerobic threshold) the higher the peak.

Strength involves Tuesday/Thursday on hills (for about 4 weeks).

And finally Speed with 2 interval sessions and a race or parkrun (for 6-8 weeks).

Monday/Wednesday/Friday can be shorter or omitted if recovery is needed.

By Bobby Young

 

GREAT SCOTTISH RUNNERS: ROBERT QUINN

Robert cycling the Pyrenees, 2018

 

Robert Quinn (‘Bobby’ in his younger days) has been one of Scotland’s finest distance runners for many years. Do look up his full profile by Brian McAusland under ‘Elite Endurance’ on scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot

Robert joined Kibarchan AAC in 1981 and in 1983 won his first Scottish cross-country title in the Youth age group. Since then he has added many Scottish XC titles: Junior in 1984; Senior in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000; the SAF 4k in 1999; Masters M40 in 2008 and 2009; M45 in 2011 and 2013 (winning the race outright on both occasions) and 2012 (second home)); M50 in 2017.

He ran for Scotland in the World Cross – at Junior and Senior levels; and for GB as a Senior.

Several memorable cross-country successes came in British and World Universities competition. Robert Quinn led Glasgow University Hares and Hounds to British victory in 1984. After becoming 1986 Scottish Universities cross-country champion, he was 9th in the World Student Championship. In 1992 he ran what he considers his best-ever cross-country performance on the international stage. First, Robert won the British Universities title by quite a long way and as a result captained the UK team in the World Student XC Championships in Dijon, France. In this event, Robert secured the individual bronze medal and led the British team to bronze medals. He was only seconds behind the winner Sean Creighton, who had been sixth in that summer’s Olympic steeplechase.

On the track, Robert has been Scottish 10,000m champion four times – the last one in 2010, aged 44! He was twice ranked first in Scotland. Naturally he ran for Scotland many times over 5000m and 10,000m as well as on the road.

Brian McAusland reported that Robert reckoned he was always a good uphill runner, being light with a good strength to weight ratio, so he was suited to hill and mountain racing in a way that many cross-country runners are not. Spending summers charging over the most beautiful mountains in Europe and beyond, he describes as ‘great’ and who would disagree? His record is fantastic.

Robert ran for GB in the World Mountain Trophy six times between 1994 and 2002 with his best individual performance being third in 1998; to this can be added four participations in the European Mountain Running Trophy (including sixth in 2000); and tenth in the 2009 Commonwealth Mountain Running Championship. In the annual Grand Prix for Mountain Running, Robert won a major event in 1999 and was world-ranked third that year.

One of his many claims to fame is that he was the first person to gain full senior UK representative honours across all major surfaces: Track (European 10,000m Challenge, Lisbon 1996); Road (World Ekiden Road Relays, Copenhagen 1997); Cross-Country (World Championships 1995); and, of course, Mountains.

Robert Quinn has been very loyal to his club and has taken part in countless team events. In the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay he recorded fastest times on the very classy Stage Two; and Kilbarchan won silver and bronze medals; as well as having similar success in the Six-Stage Road Relay and the Cross-Country Relay. In the National XC, Robert contributed to team silver medals (Youth and Junior).

As a Masters athlete, Robert has also enjoyed many successes, despite periods of inevitable injury. His M40, M45 and M50 Scottish Masters XC wins have been mentioned earlier in this article. Kilbarchan won team bronze in 2008 and silver in 2009. In 2007, he was first Masters finisher in the Gateshead UK XC Challenge. On the track, he was first in a gale-torn 2010 Scottish Masters 5000m at Pitreavie (a title he regained in 2013); and, also in 2013, won the Scottish Masters indoor 3000m at the Emirates Stadium, Glasgow.

Robert’s three races for Scotland in the splendid annual British and Irish Masters XC International have been outstanding. In 2007 at Stormont, Belfast, he won the M40 title and at the presentation was cheered deafeningly as the hero of his entire team (female or male, aged 35 to 70 plus). In 2008 at the very muddy and hilly Singleton Park, Swansea, he may have been second to England’s Tim Hartley, but considers this run to have been even better than Belfast. At Derry in 2017, despite being hampered by limited training due to injury niggles, he narrowly missed a medal, battling to fourth M50.

In the Scottish National senior cross-country Robert finished first Master three times, in 2008, 2009 and 2011, with his best position tenth.

In UK Masters rankings, Robert has been first M40 in 3000m, 5000m, 10,000m and Parkrun; and first M45 in Parkrun.

In 2018 he has taken a break from running, hopefully freshening his legs for future age-groups! Naturally, he remains very fit. This summer, as well as completing bike tours of Arran, Mull of Kintyre, round Loch Fyne, Bute and Rothesay, Robert cycled up major Pyrenean climbs like Luz Ardiden and the Tourmalet. In fact, before the road was closed on 27th July, he ‘nipped’ up the Tourmalet again to take photos of the Tour de France racers who were not far behind.

Brian McAusland finished his profile with the following. “A talented athlete, a superb worker, a ferocious competitor and a real and practising lover of our sport.” All his many friends, including SVHC runners, wish this intelligent, friendly, admirable man a speedy return to running.

 

NEW FEATURE: MY BEST RACE

(or My Favourite Race Memory etc)

Since the Newsletter is struggling for lack of contributions, please consider emailing the editor with a short or long article describing an important event in your running career.

To kick things off, the editor remembers the very best race he ever ran, way back in Mediaeval Times…….

Sandy Keith was, in the mid-1970s, a major marathon rival and I trained with him on long runs near Edinburgh only when I felt good, since he was basically stronger than me. I defeated him three times in the Scottish Marathon – in 1974, 1975 and 1982. However he beat me in 1977 and was the superior marathon runner from 1976 to 1979.

My training at this time included three key weekly sessions. Monday meant The Meadows: four laps including no less than sixteen repetitions – short or long, on the flat, uphill or downhill on tarmac paths. Wednesday was a nine-mile pavement fartlek through Colinton with a series of testing longer efforts. Saturday was race day in the 1970s but, no matter what state you were in, the Sunday run was compulsory – a basic sixteen miles from The Meadows through Colinton Dell and out the old railway line to Balerno (and then back). The route might be extended via the reservoirs and Bonaly Tower. Anything between 16 and 25 miles might be covered (the latter with a sadistic little final lap of The Meadows, pretending not to be exhausted, until you parted from your companions/rivals with a cheery wave, turned a corner, and struggled wearily home. If you added some recovery running or a few hill reps on the intervening days, you had about eighty miles of excellent training in the hilly city – worth a hundred in the flat south?

Saturday 28th June 1975, Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh.

It was a warm, sunny day, and Sandy Keith took the initiative from the start, racing away down the hill to Portobello into a slight headwind. Only Colin tucked in behind and tried to relax. It seemed a hard way to start 26 miles! Sandy’s ambition was to win a marathon from start to finish, from the front – and how he tried! Five miles in 25.30, ten in 51.30, the turn in 67.30. As the pair, on their return journey, passed ex-champions Alastair Wood and Donald Macgregor, who were approaching the turning point, Wood muttered that the young fools would destroy each other. Macgregor warned that they were about two minutes ahead already!

Since there was now a pleasant following breeze, and to show that he was feeling good in spite of Sandy’s efforts, Colin moved alongside and they ran together for the next five miles. Then, at nineteen, as the route swung into a lay-by for a drink station, an official was clumsy in handing up Sandy’s cup of water. Sandy swore, quite uncharacteristically, hesitated for the drink, and Colin, seeing that his rival was feeling the strain, simply surged away for a full mile, down the Wallyford hill. 20 miles in 1.43.45. A nervy glance back revealed a decent gap, fifteen seconds, and it was head down again and flat out for Musselburgh and Portobello. The pace was still fast, but tiredness and worry set in. To win the Scottish Marathon was Colin’s main ambition in the sport, and now it was a case of hanging on grimly. Up the long hill to Jock’s Lodge and then, at the twenty-five mile mark, Youngson’s right leg suffered cramp. Would Keith catch up, so near to the finish? Keeping the limb as straight as possible, Youngson bashed onwards, to the stadium and round the track. No sign of Sandy until the final bend was reached and it was safe to negotiate the straight and break the tape.

What a relief for Colin Youngson, who felt sure that he must have broken the 2.20 barrier at last, but was very surprised to find that Jim Alder’s championship record had been broken by 21 seconds. Finishing times were: Colin Youngson (Edinburgh Southern Harriers 2.16.50; Sandy Keith (Edinburgh Athletic Club) 2.17.58; Alastair Wood (Aberdeen AAC) 2.21.14; Davie Wyper (West of Scotland) 2.25.44; Gordon Eadie (Cambuslang) 2.25.48; Alistair Blamire (ESH) 2.26.20; Ian Trapp (EAC) 2.28.26; Mike Logue (Victoria Park AAC) 2.29.56.

After the race, Alastair Wood said, “Well done, Colin. I think you’re at your peak now.” To which Colin replied that he felt there was a little more to come. But in fact Alastair did turn out to be right since this remained Colin’s fastest time ever. Still, the rest of the season produced further success: second to Allister Hutton (1990 London Marathon winner) in the 10,000 metres track race for Scotland against Iceland in Reykjavik; second behind ‘ultra’ great Cavin Woodward in a fast ‘Two Bridges’ 36 miler; and a close second to Olympian Danny McDaid of Eire in the international marathon in Berchem, Antwerp. This was Colin’s only race representing Great Britain as a senior, and he and Max Coleby won the team race. At the end of the 1975 season Colin Youngson was presented with the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association ‘Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy’ as Scottish Road Runner of the year.

 

THE ULTIMATE MASTERS CHALLENGE

By Doug Cowie

In November 1971 I started the transition from being a footballer to a runner, and for the last 47 years it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

For someone who would be described as a ‘decent’ club runner I achieved a fair bit of success both as a Senior and a Master. I represented Scotland on numerous occasions, represented G.B. in three different events and won two European medals, but my FINAL athletic event was to prove to be the icing on the cake.

Regardless what sport we played, we all had our heroes and I was no different.  My hero was American middle-distance runner Steve Prefontaine. Tragically ‘Pre’ was killed in a road traffic accident on the 30th May 1975 and for the last 39 years the Prefontaine Memorial 10k has been held in his home town of Coos Bay on the Oregon coast.

It was a race I’d always wanted to do but the right opportunity never arose, until last September. I decided I would retire the following February so with regard to the race, it was now or never.  Plans were made and this year, September 2018 I made the trip to Coos Bay, Oregon, USA.

We spent 5 days in Vancouver before hiring a car for our trip to Coos Bay. The journey was broken with a couple of days in Seattle and Portland before heading out to the coast. Our route took us through Eugene where I visited ‘Pre’s Rock’, the place where that fatal accident took place.

On arrival in Coos Bay we booked into the Edgewater Inn not knowing that this was where the Prefontaine Tours left from. We visited the museum where a room is dedicated to Prefontaine, showing photographs, records and medals. One picture I was very familiar with was of Prefontaine being pipped for bronze on the line by Ian Stewart in the 1972 Olympic 5000m final.

The race was Saturday morning but registration was open from 1600-1800 on the Friday evening so I decided to collect my number then. As soon as I said who I was or rather where I came from I got the feeling they were waiting for this runner from Scotland to arrive. I was taken to meet Prefontaine’s sister Linda and the rest of the committee. The hospitality was amazing.

Preceding the 10K was a junior race where 28 High School teams were introduced to the spectators. Each had approximately 20 runners and they were immaculately turned out in club colours. Monies raised from the Prefontaine races go to promoting sport in youth.

Before the main event got underway the runner from Scotland, along with a few others were introduced to the crowd.

At this point I was still not sure whether I’d be able to complete the race…………I was definitely going to start!

Back in March I sustained a Medial Meniscus tear and I had not run a step since then. My fitness levels had been maintained by cycling and swimming. It didn’t help either when I fell off my bike 6 weeks before the race. It was quite a heavy fall and I lost a chunk out of my arm and couldn’t walk properly for four or five days.

My knee was sore warming up and the plan was to run the first half mile or so, drop out and walk to the finish.

That was the plan! My knee didn’t get any worse so I decided to carry on and try to finish.

I crossed the line in 47.23, 84th overall out of about 1000 and 4th in the 60-69 age group. My slowest time ever for a 10K.

I was obviously disappointed with the time but on the other hand very happy to have been able to run and finish and to be honest it was the toughest 10k course I’ve ever run. Apart from the first and last half miles it was 5 miles of rolling road. If you weren’t running uphill you were running downhill.

All things considered it was a truly wonderful experience – it was everything I hoped it would be, and more.

I would urge anyone who is remotely thinking about doing it, to  JUST DO IT! You won’t be disappointed.

[Steve Roland “Pre” Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975) was an American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics.  Prefontaine held American records in seven different distance track events, from 2,000 to 10,000 metres; he died aged 24 in an automobile accident near his residence in Eugene, Oregon. Prefontaine’s career, alongside those of Jim Ryun, Frank Shorter, and Bill Rodgers, generated considerable media coverage, which helped inspire the 1970s “running boom.” He was known for his moustache and long locks of hair that parted as he ran. (Wikipedia)]

Racing Round-up

World Masters Championships, Malaga, Spain

Scottish athletes did very well at this year’s highly-competitive World Championships, securing individual and team medals. Thanks to the following for noting these performances: Mike Clerihew (and his valuable website scottishmasterstrackandfield.com); Fiona Matheson; Norman Baillie; as well as online official results.

Alastair Walker (Teviotdale Harriers), the BMAF 10km road champion, won two individual medals: bronze in the M60 5000m; and a runaway gold in the 10km road race. Last November in Derry, a rather late convert to veteran racing, Alastair (formerly ‘Sammy’) was an impressive silver medallist in the British and Irish Masters International XC; and now he is a World Masters Champion!

Fiona Matheson (Falkirk), in her third season in the age group, added to an illustrious W55 Masters medal haul with 1500m bronze and 5000m silver.

Andy Mclinden (Hamilton) sprinted home to snatch individual silver in the M65 Half Marathon and his GB team won gold.

Yvonne Crilly (Lothian) ran superbly to win silver in the W55 800m.

Ann White (Garscube) not only secured individual W65 silver in the Half Marathon but also contributed to the GB W60 team which finished second.

Her daughter Katie (Garscube) was second home in the W35 Half Marathon, leading the GB team to silver medals.

In the cross-country, Michelle Sandison (Springburn) won W35 individual bronze and team silver. Phyllis Hands (Motherwell) contributed to W60 GB team silver; while Stephen Allan (Cumbernauld) and Justin Carter (Cambuslang) secured M45 team bronze.

On the track, Ronnie Hunter (Corstorphine) was part of the GB team that finished second in the M55 4x100m relay.

In Half Marathon, Kerry-Liam Wilson led the GB team to M45 silver. Anne Macfarlane (Dumfries) gained W55 team bronze; and Norman Baillie (Garscube) M70 team bronze.

Apologies for any omissions.

Andy Mclinden – photo by Doug Smith of shaggysphotos.com

TWO TOUGH RACES

Linda and I travelled with two of our friends on 06 Sep and stayed for a week in Torremolinos. The change in temperature from home was dramatic and I hoped itwould ease a bit for the 10k. Had three mornings of dodging early strollers and joggers along the front before the first of two big days arrived.

10k Road Race 09 September

The early start of the race (9.00 am) meant a 7.00 am taxi ride to the start at the main athletics stadium in Malaga. Even that early as light was breaking there were athletes from all over world milling around and the throng just grew and grew as start time approached. Had quick word with Justin Carter from Cambuslang in the warm-up area and outside while jogging, and ran into Paul Forbes and later Paul Thompson’s lovely lady Jan. Back into the stadium and it was time for the start on the track. There I spoke to Paul Mingay, my nemesis from the Run Britain rankings who I had never met and had spent two years hating!! Turned out he was a really nice guy. The start was just a free-for-all. All ages pushing in. The gun went and we were off to a slow start till we got clear of stadium. The course was out and back and very flat. Thankfully, although it was still hot there was cloud cover. I felt that I was going well and my mile splits were as I had hoped. Didn’t see many V60 numbers en route. My wife and friends had been briefed to look out for V60 runners. Finished very tired in 35.56 and hadn’t a clue about my position I’d finished. I got to the reunion area for my wife to say I’d won and my friends confirming this. After a long wait for the official results, I was indeed World Champion. Then it all got quite surreal, with strangers lauding me, flags, national anthems and a gold medal. All very emotional. A truly unforgettable day.

5000m Track 12 September

This was held at the Carranque Stadium, one of three where events were held. Because of the numbers entered there were 3 seeded heats with the gold medal going to come from third heat which I was in. I wished John Thomson luck as he was about to compete and started my warm-up. It was much hotter than the day of the 10k. Then it was off to the call room and the start of the race. I noted that the Spaniard who won gold in the cross-country and the New Zealander who got bronze were both on the start line. My plan was to sit in but the pace was so slow I took it on from 800 metres.  The Spaniard sat in and passed me with 300 metres to go and the New Zealander, who I wasn’t conscious of being there, passed with 50 metres left. Could I have run differently?  I don’t know. Bronze this time. I wished Fiona Matheson all the best as she was about to compete and headed off on my warm down.  My World Champs were over.

Footnote: Paul Mingay, who I beat in the 10k, won the half marathon V60 on the following Sunday and the 1500 metres was won in 4.51. (I’d done 4.52 at Grangemouth). If only, ha ha.  Roll on Toronto!

By Alastair Walker

Alastair on the 10k Podium: photo by Linda Walker

A HOT HALF MARATHON IN MALAGA

We knew it was going to be very hard. We had trained in the heatwave during the summer and had found it difficult to maintain pace during speed sessions: we are just not used to that sort of weather in Scotland. The Beast from the East was more our thing. At least the race was early in the morning.

We were not sure of the route so we arrived early at the stadium and tried to work out where we would be running and where the water stations would be. We took advantage of the opportunity to have our own electrolyte drinks at two of the water stations. Having warmed up we headed for the start which was arranged in age groups.

Katie’s race: Having not run in any of the International Masters events before I didn’t really know what to expect from the race so I had no target time in mind. After an over-crowded start and a first loop around the stadium people started to spread out a bit and I settled into a consistent pace on the long out and back section of the course. On the first lap it was nice to find a bit of shade, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. I wasn’t sure what position I was in until the turn-around point at about 4.5 miles. Then I realised I was the second woman with quite big gaps between the women in first and third place, so I just hoped I would be able to keep a steady pace and maintain my position. I don’t normally drink anything during a half marathon but I tried to make good use of all the water stations both for drinks and to throw water over myself to keep cool. Looping around the stadium to start the second lap there was some good support for the GB team, which really helped encourage us on as we set out on the long out and back again. The gaps between me and the other women runners didn’t seem to have changed much and I was maintaining a relatively comfortable pace. It was good to finish with a lap of the track and experience the support in the stadium. Other than the hours spent waiting for the results I really enjoyed the event so hopefully it will be my first of many more International Masters events.

Ann’s race: I set off at the pace that would give me my target finishing time but after the first few miles I realised that, because of the heat, I would not be able to maintain it for the whole race. There was an athlete in my age group from Finland just ahead of me and I had decided to use her as a pacemaker but I had to let her go and just run at a pace that I thought I could manage for 13.1 miles. We did two laps of the course, round the stadium and out and back along the coast.  On the first lap there was some shade from the tall buildings along the way but later we seemed to be in the blazing sun all the time. It seemed a very long way between some of the water stations and it was a relief to pick up my drinks and pour water over my head. There were several moments during the race when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish but I just tried to maintain my pace. Starting the second lap was daunting as I knew exactly what I was up against but there was some good support along the way that kept me going. And then, about three miles from the finish, I spotted the Finnish runner up ahead! I steadily gained on her and then had a dilemma. Should I overtake her now or just tuck in behind and then make a break nearer the finish? I decided to risk it and went past her, expecting her to come back at me any second. But she didn’t! Then it seemed a very long run back to the stadium, particularly the last mile where we had to circle the outside of the stadium and then do a lap of the track. I was getting cramp as I circled the track but I was spurred on by the sight of Katie cheering me on from the stands. What a relief to finish and get into the shade of the stadium.

I had no idea where I had come. Indeed it wasn’t until very late in the afternoon that the results were revealed and I was delighted to find out that I had won an individual silver medal in the W65 age group and team silver in the W60 age group. Although we had to wait for several very trying hours in the heat for the medal ceremony, it was a great feeling to be on the podium with the Union flag. I was very proud to see Katie get her silver medals as well and we had an excellent paella and a couple of beers to celebrate later that evening.

By Ann and Katie White

 

SVHC QUESTIONNAIRE ANSWERED

(Two experienced and successful athletes are profiled in this edition. Sharyn Ramage has been mainly a track specialist but has run for Scottish Masters in the British and Irish XC International and won the Scottish W50 XC title in 2013. Pamela McCrossan has concentrated more on road and country: she finished first W55 in the 2018 Scottish XC championships; and has run for Scottish Masters several times in the British and Irish XC.)

 

NAME: Sharyn Ramage

CLUBS: EAC & Ayr Seaforth

D.O.B: 06/08/1962

OCCUPATION: Retired

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

I was in the school gymnastics and netball team and as competition was fierce they required extensive training to ensure selection for the teams. I left school at 15 and my body was so conditioned to training that I needed something to fill the void. I began to jog and one day I stumbled on a group of 4 or 5 men warming up to go for a run and was invited to join them. From there Colchester Joggers was formed. I was hooked immediately and found myself running many half marathons, mostly within a 20-mile radius of Colchester, with reasonable success. My then husband was posted to Berlin where I joined Berlin Harriers for group training – however races were limited due to the restriction of the wall. I ran the Berlin marathon and 25km road race. I worked for the military whilst there where I ran the 7 miles to and from work every day. My colleagues were keen for me to run for them in the cross-country league.  I was really not interested but after a lot of persuading I started competing for them and went on to win every race. To those colleagues, I am forever thankful. However I do not ever remember running in mud up to my armpits like here in Scotland, our,next posting. It was imperative I found a running group. I acted on an advertisement for a training group at Saughton and this was where I met Kim (Fisher) Forbes. Kim and I immediately struck up a friendship, running many miles together both in training and competition, usually not without incident, we always had a story to tell. During this time I joined Pitreavie for a short period. When I wasn’t running I was playing netball for Edinburgh.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

I ran up until the birth of my son, Reece, and was back on the roads 6 weeks to the day after his birth. I was looking to get the elusive sub-three-hour marathon. Kim, suggested meeting Bill Walker at Meadowbank and he advised me to join the middle-distance group. I fell in love with the training sessions and the 800m. Bill, a no-nonsense coach, together with a focused, competitive and supportive squad, helped develop me into the athlete I am today. Having joined Bill’s squad I also joined my current club, Edinburgh Athletic Club.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

Initially I began running solely for my health and well-being. Never did I envisage it being such a huge part of my life. Running has brought me everything I could possibly wish for and more. The camaraderie, lifelong friendships, amazing places I have travelled and picking up a few medals on the way, for me the best tonic ever.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

My first memorable performance was at the East District Championships 1500m at Pitreavie 1999. Hayley (Parkinson) Ovens, a Scottish senior squad member at the time, set the pace. I was a W35 and I tucked in behind her. What was I thinking?  I remember wondering ‘where are they’? i.e. the rest of the field.  As Hayley started to pull away with a lap to go, I believed I could medal. With true grit and determination along with the benefit of Bill’s training, I held onto win the silver medal with a PB of 4:44:04.

The second memorable performance was at the British Masters Championships 800m in Newport, Wales. The weather conditions were wild with torrential rain and a wind that could almost hold my body weight. My Mum and Dad were spectators. Mum had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and as I left for the call room I said, ‘This one is for you’. My husband, gave me a pep talk advising I should tuck in behind given the gale force winds. Nodding my head, I made my way to the start line. Immediately after the gun I went to the front – I suspect Alan was shaking his head at this point. With 200m to go an athlete passed me, I was expecting more to follow. Visibility was poor and the headwind on the home straight was brutal. I’m hanging on for dear life to medal, working my arms like never before – I’m sure my eyes were closed – however I was aware of increased volume from the spectators. I was thinking the rest of the field were queuing up behind me. I remember looking down asking myself ‘where the f*** is the finish line’? There it was, I lunged and pipped the leader to take the title. British Master W35 800m Champion, for my Mum!

 

YOUR WORST?

My worst performance has to be the Scottish Masters Indoor Championships 800m in Kelvin Hall. Leading from the gun I won! Oh no! I eased up at the wrong line, and let another athlete slip pass on my inside. I was gutted, adding to my woes Bill, my coach, was on photo finish. For months I was regularly reminded ‘How far is 800m’?

 

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

Before I became very ill, I had been very close to a World and European individual medal. Eventually after two years I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease – this was a huge relief. After various tests and following a strict gluten free diet I was back to full health. At the time it had a massive impact on training and performance, too much time had elapsed and I never really recovered previous fitness levels. Occasionally there is a glimpse of my former self but mostly I’m propping up Edinburgh Athletic teammates Sue Ridley and Karen Dobbie for team medals in cross country races.

 

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

For a laugh, my friend sent me a link to play “WALKING” Netball. The hardest thing is to not burst into a run, however, I now facilitate it and play regular netball myself. I didn’t think I would ever play netball again.

 

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

Training sessions have been varied over the years. In the early days I would run 6 miles to Meadowbank followed by a session and run the 6 miles back. Typical sessions were 10-12 300m or 400m with a minute recovery, 4 sets of 4 x 200m with 30 seconds recovery and 5 minutes between each set, 600m reps with 8-12 minutes recovery. Then there were the 150m reps, I hated them. Too fast and too short. I remember shouting at Bill, ‘I’m going to scream if we have 150m tonight’! Yep, we had 150m and yep I screamed. I didn’t appreciate the value of these sessions until my times improved.

My most memorable sessions were quite contrasting. The first being hill reps at Arthur’s Seat with Andy Stoane. As it was just the two of us the reps were increased, and all on the long steep hill where Bill sat on a rock at the top with stop watch poised. Not shy of training hard we were giving it all we had. Lactic was excruciating unlike I had ever felt before to the point when returning to the bottom was a challenge in itself. We were walking down backwards, sitting down and eventually any which way in an ungainly manner ready for the next rep.

The second was at Meadowbank, only myself and David Ovens showed for training. Bill wanted us to work on our technique. Following his postural instructions and trying to run at the same time felt ridiculously alien to us, we giggled uncontrollably while Bill, unusual for him, quietly despaired. Incredibly we got faster every rep. I have so much to thank him for.

I am currently coached by Paul Forbes when I’m free of injury.

 

 

NAME  Pamela  McCrossan

CLUBs Clydesdale Harriers and SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH  10/6/1961

OCCUPATION  Theatre Charge Nurse

Pamela on the podium after the Monklands Half Marathon

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? 

Cliff Brown is neighbour of mine and he was a runner and a member of Clydesdale.  He encouraged me to do a Ladies 10k race one year (about 20 years ago) and he helped me train for it.  He then persuaded me to join Clydesdale Harriers and I have been running and racing ever since.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

Clydesdale Harriers have had a huge influence on my running and helped me improve over the years.  I have received so much help, support and encouragement from everyone there and I have made many good friends. Now I am very proud to be an Honorary Member of the club and current Ladies’ Captain.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

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

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

That’s a difficult question as I have done so many races over the years.  However I was totally surprised and delighted to finish as first lady in the Aberfeldy Marathon in 2012 at my first attempt at the distance. I have also been lucky enough to be part of a medal winning team on the 5 occasions I have represented Scotland at the Masters International British and Irish Cross-Country events.

YOUR WORST?

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

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

None really. At my age I consider myself very fortunate just to be able to run and still compete in races.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? 

I go to classes in the gym, go to the theatre and cinema and I like to go on holiday as often as possible!  First thing I pack is the running gear!

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

Running has brought me the opportunity to represent Scotland and the chance to spend many wonderful running holidays in the Canary Islands with friends from Clydesdale and other clubs. I have also enjoyed many weekends travelling away for races and special social occasions with friends I have met through running. These are just a few things I would  not have wanted to miss.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

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

 

Landscapes I have run through..…….

Running memories often come back to visit as a parade of sharply etched vignettes, probably heightened by the physical exertion and intensity of the activity at the time they were experienced. My own theory as to why recalling this can be so enjoyable most of the time is that basically we are still pursuit animals accumulating useful life skill experiences. This really becomes noticeable when you are part of a race pack or during a competitive interval training session.   

Sometimes the location is the centre of the memory. One autumn weekend heading east to Portmahomack to avoid the equinoctial gales sweeping the Highlands I found the receding storm had whipped up huge amounts of foam onto the shore line route so that you ran through a mixture of knee-high soapsuds totally covering the path surface. An interesting contrast to the previous day’s Bught Parkrun in Inverness when the running surface was rich with multi-coloured fallen leaves.

Then there was running across suburban Toronto to get to the start of a 10km race. The city is built over a deeply fissured lakeside landscape. The sound of a rock band from a park in the distance gave a clue to the event and, after extensive but frustrating suburbs, the most direct line to make the start seemed to be via a short-cut through an industrial estate which lead to an inevitable cul-de-sac and a high chain-link fence. There was only one choice and once scaled it was into thick brush with a steep drop off into a gorge and a tree-hanging descent to the bank of a suspiciously deep stream of sinister grey muddy water.

Meanwhile the sound of the warm-up band at the race start point was growing louder but further away. It is bad enough rushing to arrive at the start but even more frustrating to have to overcome man-made in addition to natural obstacles. Wisely I decided not to swim the river and eventually found a vestigial path which led to a footbridge. Got into the race and won a prize (a nutritional book for aspirant runners) but with a diminished ambition to take up orienteering or tough mudding.  

In Perth, Australia, the obvious choice was to try a run along one of its famous beaches. Some miles into it I began to notice that garments were becoming more minimalist and then non-existent. All became clear when a sign appeared providing information that clothing was optional! And then there was the near-vertical section of the Knockfarrel hill race when the young lady close behind me felt herself slip and instinctively grabbed the waistband of my shorts!

Hill races are all about sure-footedness and fast fearless descents sharing a lot with downhill skiing. I once tripped on a descent from Ben Bhraggie, Golspie, (after spitting on the Duke of Sutherland’s statue) and managed to convert a potentially disastrous fall into a forward roll with no more than slight gravel rash in the small of my back,    

Beaches are also great for self-examination of running style through your footprints, but it is also possible to check posture and angle of lean from shop windows, shadows and even shadows on bigger road signs from rear headlights.

The Isle of Man has a great hill run along its south western coast high above the water and cliffs overlooking the Irish sea. Some distance into this route there is an old detached farm house now an outdoor educational centre. A minibus full of youngsters and a hassled instructor are wrestling with a large table trying to get it through the door. Arrival of one elderly runner who shows them how to turn it on its side and shuffle two legs past the porch and right angle to the living room and hey presto job done and the good Samaritan high tails it up the next hill. Who was that guy?

Animals – all part of the mixed terrain experience with usually manageable and predictable outcomes but there are some more memorable encounters. My worst dog experience was once again running along the riverside in Inverness in full winter darkness. A car with headlights at full beam completely dazzled me and the next sensation was a full-on impact from an Alsatian being run beside its owner’s car. On the other hand, running local back roads in darkness it is sometimes the deer which get the biggest surprise. Hens and ducks, just messy, but don’t be afraid of a hissing sinuous goose with its head out since they are great cowards and will back off if you stand up to them.

 Similarly, dogs: don’t let them sense your fear. And then there is the dog that decides to come along for the outing. I confess to some enjoyment from seeing an overweight owner struggling to bring one back to heel. I’ve had a number of runs in company with horse riders and here the main thing is to be aware of kicks, foot crushing and being pinned against a fence or wall by half a ton of animal. It is a bit like approaching a helicopter: always let the animal and or the pilot or rider see you. Cattle, and cows with calves at foot – never get between a mother and its young and generally just give all livestock lots of space, although llamas and alpacas can spit with deadly accuracy from up to 10 metres!

Cats will regard your progress with bemused indifference but beware the post-run moggie that leaps onto your lightly protected lap with unsheathed claws!

Pigs are very bright animals and often think an intruder into their field is bearing refreshment so they may stampede towards you but, if cornered, remember they can be transported into ecstasy by a well-administered back rub.

And then sometimes spectators can cause a smile. The two cailleachs (old ladies on Skye) chorusing, “He isn’t even breathing hard!” was better than being overtaken by someone dressed as a pantomime fairy then a dog with a runner in tow.

And finally, if the Stromness Shopping Week Queen presents you with an award for their half marathon don’t miss the chance to administer a sweaty embrace to the surprised young lady.

By Alex Sutherland

 

FROM THE ARCHIVES

 A DAY OUT OF THIS WORLD

The first signs of dawn could be seen in the midsummer sky as twenty of us met at Milngavie railway station for the first official running of the West Highland Way Race. The air was filled with a mixture of excitement and apprehension as we made our last-minute checks to food, clothes and back up arrangements.

Words of ‘encouragement’ came from the course record holders. “You must all be mad!” said Bobby Shields. “You will know what suffering is before this day is out!” said Duncan Watson. “It will truly be a day out of this world!”

Undaunted, at 3 a.m., we set off. Our objective, of course, was to cover the 95 miles and 9400 feet ascent to Fort William in under 24 hours.

For the first four miles we all ran together at a very easy pace, chatting and getting to know those around us. The early morning mist hung over Craigallian Loch and it felt good just to be up and running at that time on a summer’s day. The pack began to break up now and I found myself keeping good company with fellow SVHC Jim Templeton. Jim and I were to stay together, sharing the joys and helping one another through the bad patches.

Soon we were past Drymen at 12 miles and on up to Conic Hill. Before we descended, we paused for a moment to look down over Loch Lomond and its islands. It can never have looked more beautiful and we lifted our gaze to Ben Lomond and the Crianlarich hills beyond which led towards our destination. But at Balmaha our dreams were shattered as we ran into our first significant problem – midges! We quickly had some tea and a bite to eat but could hardly bear to stop as we were attacked by the relentlessly biting beasties. It was a relief to be running again and soon we were at Rowardennan – but so were the midges and we didn’t linger for long.

The next fourteen miles of the way are perhaps the hardest going of all and certainly the slowest because of the roughness of the ground. We reached Inverarnan, our first major checkpoint, at 40 miles, in good spirits. We realised that the sun was very hot as we left the shade of the trees. The going became better now but the sun became even hotter as we continued northwards up Glen Falloch, through the new plantations near Crianlarich and eventually on to Tyndrum.

At 60 miles, Bridge of Orchy was our second major checkpoint. We were still keeping closely to the schedule I had set and we heeded the good advice we had been given and still managed to eat a little every hour. It was becoming increasingly difficult to get going again after a stop as the legs stiffened up quickly. On we went to Forest Lodge, up through Black Mount and past Ba Bridge. The cool of the evening was most welcome as we came off Rannoch Moor at Black Rock Cottage – with ‘only’ a marathon to run – and the Devil’s Staircase looming in the distance. We went on past the Kingshouse to Altnafeadh and the first of two stiff climbs began.

Strangely enough it was almost a pleasure to be walking up the steep zigzags as ‘fresh’ muscles were discovered. Eventually we reached the top and began the long descent to Kinlochleven.

The distance would not beat us now. Only time and darkness would be our enemy. At Kinlochleven we had our last ‘pit stop’ – cups of tea and hunks of cake (well, they do say that a good runner can always manage to eat regardless of the situation).

With only 15 miles to go, we began the climb out of Kinlochleven and on through the Lairigmor. Regrettably, darkness had now descended upon us and because of the roughness of the path it became dangerous, on tired legs, to attempt more than a fast walk. For safety reasons, the race followed the road from Lundavra to Fort William. Luckily the darkness prevented us from seeing the tortuous route which lay before us as we concentrated simply on putting one foot in front of the other. At last the street lights of Fort William lit the sky and we were almost there.

A warm welcome greeted us at the Nevisbridge Hotel. There were sandwiches and soup, hot showers and even floors to sleep on for those who had not arranged for accommodation.

Fourteen completed the race, nine under 24 hours. The winner was Dave Wallace of Edinburgh in 18 hours 8 minutes. But the day surely belonged to the women vets and in particular to Betty Hall (Westerlands) who was second overall in 19.43 and Sylvia Watson (Leeds) who was fourth in 21.40. Their performances demonstrated women’s ability over long distances, a fact which women themselves have always known but which men have been reluctant to accept! Jim and I were well pleased with our joint seventh place in 23.09.

It was certainly an unforgettable experience and one which any vet could enjoy with a little physical and a lot of mental preparation!

It really is a “day out of this world”. Perhaps the best epilogue lies in the last line of the inscription on the special pottery flask which every finisher received: “Your prize is neither fame nor fortune, merely satisfaction”.

By Kay Dodson, November 1988

(Kay was an invaluable member of the SVHC committee; a former editor of this Newsletter; and a tough determined runner! Do look up the West Highland Way Race website for the history and past results of this challenging annual event.)

 

Shakespeare needed stamina to cope with multi-tasking, as playwright, director, actor, manager and poet. Could he have been a runner?

(If you have written poetry about running; or have read some good ones, what about emailing the editor for inclusion in a future Newsletter. Contributions of any sort are always needed, in normal sentences as well as poetry, of course!)

A LATER SONNET

Oft do my footprints mark the morning dew

As I light-limbed, exultant, onwards tread

When sunrise sky is brushed a rosy hue

And freshness floods my Spirit, clears my Head.

Through every Season of my Life I’ve run,

Relishing Youth’s resilient joyous Spring,

Then racing, Victory’s garlands to be won

And now, with speed so sadly slackening.

Our Year is brief; so let us live with zest,

Strive to succeed and thus remember to

Put Brain – and Body also – to the test.

When faced with sure Defeat, which will be due

To swift opponent Time’s relentless pace,

We hope to welcome rest and peace with grace.

 

IT’S STODDART’S TITLE

Scotland’s Bill Stoddart, current world champion at 10,000 metres, aquaplaned his way through driving wind and rain to annex the M40-49 World Veterans 25 Kilometres title at Douglas, Isle of Man, on 20th May 1973.

At half way it looked as though he was on the verge of being dropped by speedsters Kilmartin and Rooke, but he rallied at the toughest part of the course and forged his way into a lead which he stretched steadily to the finish. Ken Hodkinson surprised everyone with a real eye-opener of a performance to finish second, while Germany’s Willi Irmen finished strongly to take third as he did in the Cologne marathon last year.

 Over 500 competitors from more than 20 countries had made their way to Douglas during the preceding three days, and they were welcomed by beautiful sunny weather tempered by a cool breeze off the Bay. Many made the most of that weather by looking over the Island, running round the course and taking trips on the horse-drawn trams along the Promenade. It was just as well 1hey did, for Sunday morning brought the most abysmal weather imaginable. Gale force winds lashed across the Bay driving wind, sea spray and anything free of anchorage against the terraces of hotels which lined the hill over the Bay.

Only runners ventured forth from the sanctuary of their hotel rooms that morning. Certainly no sane person would have done so. And they were to find no respite when their low-geared bus journey finally deposited them at the start in Glencrutchery Road, for they were now high enough to be in the midst of the trouble making elements themselves!

For up to an hour the mass of runners huddled beneath the T.T. stand jogging, singing and chanting in a variety of languages to keep their spirits up and their nervous energy at hay. The T.T. stand which is usually packed with motor cycling enthusiasts watching the world’s fastest two-wheeled drivers race round the closed road circuit in pleasant weather, was now nothing more than a shelter from the wind-lashed rain outside. But those beneath the stand were not only out of the rain they were out of sight of the road and out of earshot too. The verbal warnings of the start, if they were made at all, were lost in the hub-bub of that patiently waiting crowd. The inevitable happened. The brave ones (and perhaps the wise ones too) stripped down just before 10.00 hrs. and jogged down to the start, a good 200 metres away. They were drenched within a minute or so, and having got their line positions were impatient to get away. Back at the stand the hub-bub continued, oblivious of the thinning ranks and the growing stream of runners jogging to the start. At 10.01 hrs. the gun was fired and it was 10.05 before the last man had crossed the start line.

Martinez of France and Cibosch of Czechoslovakia lead the charge over the first 800 metres when the course took a sharp right-hand turn and the road narrowed. This itself produced a bottleneck which hampered the late starters. It was noticeable though that most of the leading runners had not been caught napping and it was a relief to see lrmen, Hodkinson, Rooke, Wild, Mu!ler, Kilmartin, Jonsson, Holmroos and Stoddart all in the first group. With the head of this tadpole-like field well past, the tail brought forth its unhappy string of late starters. At about 40 seconds Bill Allen and Bob Bowman tore past in track style, with Bowman imploring his partner to “cool it”. Twenty seconds back a despondent Arthur Walsham had already accepted that his title was lost. A half minute later Roy Coxon was beginning a chase he was destined to abandon at halfway, and a full 2 minutes behind the leaders came Ron Franklin cursing his way round the course and delivering unfinished sentences to each of the 400 odd runners he was due to pass. Even further back was a very cross John Tarrant, a good 3½ minutes down. After the first mile the leaders hit the l ¼ mile climb which they had to face on each of the 4 laps.

The pace was viciously fast with 1972’s top 1500m man Terry Kilmartin. forcing the pace. At the end of the first lap (19:58) Kilmartin, Rooke and Hodkinson were just ahead of Wild, with Stoddart ten metres back, hanging on. And well he might be, for the pace was averaging 5:08 per mile! Almost a minute of rainy silence went by before the spattering of the next group was heard lrmen, Holmroos and Allen. Allen! He had taken over 300 runners in one lap to get up there. Could he possibly hold it? The second lap (21:01) showed only a slight easing in pace, but this certainly wasn’t apparent as Kilmartin and Rooke towed the field through. Hodkinson, running the race of his life, was 5 metres down with Stoddart, straining again on this fast stretch, another 5 metres back. Wild had faded lo a 100 metres deficit and was now in the sights of a strong looking Irmen. When the leaders reached the long climb on the third circuit, Bill Stoddart’s strength and class began to tell. He went to the front, refusing to allow the pace to lag and left the speed merchants in his wake.

Terry Kilmartin faded and it was left to Rooke and Hodkinson to lake up the chase.

A buzz of excitement went around the stand at the end of lap 3 (21.13) as Stoddart whipped past 100 metres clear of the field. And 50 metres behind the chasing English duo was Holmroos of Finland – already ahead of Kilmartin! With Irmen and Muller now up to 6th and 7th it was still very open. No one could afford to ease, even a fraction.

Bill more than doubled his lead on that final circuit (21 :26) and was taking no chances, thrashing himself right through to the line; Ken held his form well too and thoroughly deserved his second place. Terry Rooke was caught by the fast-finishing Irmen over the last 1,000 metres, Willi adding another bronze to the one he gained in the 1972 marathon. Rooke’s was a courageous effort, for it was only 6 weeks earlier that he had suffered the tragedy of his wife’s death.

H Muller of Germany gained Fifth place ·after a workmanlike effort, but probably paid for being over-cautious on that first lap. Terry Kilmartin’s performance was the reverse. He paid for the early pace-making but still surprised many by the way he kept going and actually re-took Holmroos on the line.

Johnny Wild ran his usual brave race of hanging on to. the leaders and when dropped, saying “to beat me they have to pass me. To pass me they have to catch me. To catch me they have to run faster than me, and I’ll make it as hard as I darned well can!” His 8th place was a fine effort.

Bill Allen of Canada went into the race as a medal prospect. On track and country he is very good, but the road is his true forte – and that first lap showed he would have been with the leaders but for missing the start. He took his disappointment very sportingly and showed no resentment. It is very likely he would have made 3rd or 4th.

Erik Ostbye was not his usual devastating self, but then he had no need to be, for he ran out an easy winner of the class 2 event once more from Englishmen Ken Hall and Jack Fitzgerald. Former marathon champion Tom Buckingham was amongst those who missed the start, finishing in an uncharacteristic 26th position.

Erich Kruzycki was an equally convincing winner of the class 3 race (60-69), beating marathon holder Jensen (Sweden} with Weichert (Germany) repeating his 3rd place of last year’s marathon. It was surprising t0 see Farrell (Scotland) and Nordin (Sweden) out of the first three.

But 20th May 1973 was definitely Bill Stoddart’s day. He had his problems too, as you will read elsewhere in these pages, but he overcame them to produce a run of high quality, portraying all the attributes of a great runner – judgement and self control, stamina and speed, courage and determination. A worthy champion.

With the race over and the bedraggled athletes back at the Summerland taking their baths and showers, the rain stopped and the sun appeared once more. Perhaps there is an omen there somewhere. Omen or not, there were plenty of high spirits abroad at the Summerland and neighbouring hotels that night in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Bill Stoddart said afterwards, “I made my effort on the hill the third time round and this time they didn’t respond. From then on it was just a matter of worrying whether an injury caused the previous Tuesday would affect my running in the latter stages and how much daylight I could put between myself and the chasing group. I finished happy but very sore and it gave me as much pleasure as I can ever remember to beat such a large and experienced field.”

1 Bill Stoddart GB/SVHC 1.23.38

2 K. Hodkinson GB 1.24.16

3 W. Irmen GER

4 T. Rooke GB

5 H Muller GER

6 T. Kilmartin GB

7 B. Holmroos FIN

8 J. Wild GB

9 B. Allen CAN

10 R. Monseur BEL

11 E. Goosens BEL

12 W. Vergison BEL

13 Charlie McAlinden IRE/SVHC

14 A. Walsham GB

15 J. Lindholm FIN

16 A. Taylor CAN

17 M.Ciboch CZH

18 J. Flannery IRE

19 Bobby Calderwood GB/SVHC

31 Bill Ramage GB/Scotland

480 finishers

By Clive Shippen (in ‘Veteris’ Magazine, September 1973)

 

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2017-2018

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

ARLENE LEWIS 202 Archerhill Road, Knightswood Glasgow, G13 3YX Tel: 07850 070337

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

December 2018

Sun 16th Xmas Handicap Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, from 12.30. Race to start at 13:30

January 2019

Fri 4th Scottish National 3000m Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 27th SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00am

February 2019

Sat 2nd Scottish Masters XC Championships Hawick

Sun 17th Scottish Athletics Indoor Combined Events & Masters Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sat 23rd Scottish Athletics XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk TBC

March 2019

Sun 3rd 10 Mile Road Race (Lasswade AC) TBC Whitehill Welfare FC, Ferguson Park, Carnethie Street, Rosewell Start time, 12:00pm

Sat 9th British Masters Open Cross Country Championships Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sat 9th – Sun 10th BMAF Indoor Track & Field Champs Lee Valley Athletics Centre Sun 24th – Sat 30th World Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships Torun, Poland

Sun 31st Tom Scott 10 mile Road Race Water Sports Centre, Strathclyde Park, Motherwell 10:00am

May 2019

Sat 18th BMAF Road Relay Champs Sutton Park,Birmingham

June 2019

Sun 2nd BMAF 10 Mile Champs Dorking, Surrey

Sun 16th BMAF 5K Champs, Horwich Sun 30th BMAF Multi-Terrain Champs, Gravesend

November 2019

Sat 16th TBC British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Southport, England

SVHC NEWSLETTER: SPRING 2018

 

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 12th March 2018

MEMBERS

Welcome to the 12 new and 18 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 15th Nov 2017. As of 12th March 2018, we have 466 paid up members, including 21 over 80 & 5 Life Members. 104 have either not paid, or underpaid, their subscriptions. SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW OVERDUE FOR 2017/2018 Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF. CLUB VESTS Vests can be purchased from Andy Law for £18, including Postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2431 Jim White 05-Dec-17 Carluke

2432 Gordon McCaffrey 08-Dec-17 Clydebank

2433 Paul Forbes 09-Jan-18 Kirknewton

2434 Nicola Gauld 11-Jan-18 Aberdeen

2435 Yan Horsburgh 15-Jan-18 West Linton

2436 Graeme Armstrong 18-Jan-18 Edinburgh

2437 Oliver Scott 19-Jan-18 Lenzie

2438 Catriona Gourlay 31-Jan-18 Giffnock

2439 Colin Berry 02-Feb-18 Great Sutton

2440 Susan McRitchie 08-Feb-18 Forres

2441 Jim Meehan 01-Mar-18 Inverness

2442 Ian Thomson 06-Mar-18 Inverness

2199 Nicol Baird 16-Nov-17 Aberdeen

2268 Hylda Stewart 27-Nov-17 Newton Abbot 2262

Mark Gallacher 11-Dec-17 Motherwell

1210 Gerald Kennedy 15-Dec-17 Old Kilpatrick

2139 Keith Haining 18-Dec-17 Stewarton

1825 Scot Hill 18-Dec-17 East Kilbride

2167 Phyllis O’Brien 18-Dec-17 Edinburgh

2292 Frank Murphy 19-Dec-17 Strathaven

2245 Graeme Scott 21-Dec-17 Wemyss Bay

2244 Cameron Douglas 27-Dec-17 Dumfries 2252

Neil Young 28-Dec-17 Leven

1823 Hamish Cameron 02-Jan-18 Elgin

1973 Craig Johnston 02-Jan-18 Larbert

2234 Morag Taggart 15-Jan-18 Broughty Ferry

2002 Stephen Wylie 28-Jan-18 Blantyre

1861 Mike Stewart 30-Jan-18 Fochabers

1925 William Richardson 12-Feb-18 Seamill

28 Bernard Gough 20-Feb-18 Hamilton

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

JACK McLEAN PROFILE ONLINE (To read an excellent profile of our only surviving SVHC founder member, go to anentscottishrunning.com and read the front page.) It starts like this:

“Jack McLean is a well-liked, much respected athlete who has been seriously involved in middle and long distance running since the 1950s. 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.” (After lots of information about Jack’s running career, a fascinating section of Jack’s profile is about the start of our club!)

“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, Willie 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.”

MY FAVOURITE RACE: Ben Lee

The distinction between a “favourite” and most memorable run can become blurred through the passage of time and of course the vicarious pleasure from reliving an old running experience is a great and enjoyable way to iron out the memory of discomforts, anxiety, or what on earth am I doing here? This usually begins soon after any hard event as relaxation, refreshments, banter and camaraderie take over.

Ben Lee looms above the small port of Lochmaddy in North Uist. It sits on the other side of the bay and is a prominent landmark without any direct connection to the village and ferry terminal. The 10.5 K. hill race was first held in 1994 and takes place on an August evening followed the next day by a race up Ben Kenneth in South Uist which also has the intriguing option of a swimming short cut.

The start is unusual, runners assemble on the pier, are handed out life jackets then taken across the bay by a small boat and landed on a sloping barnacle and seaweed covered slab of rock with waves threatening to pull you back into deep water. The hill race starts from that point and I just remember it as mainly being a joint effort by everyone to establish a foothold on dry land and to shrug off life jackets.

From there on everything was wet and I followed a steep self-guided route to the summit at 263 metres with occasional rock sections from a genuine sea level starting point. Of course, it was wet and windy and the local coastguards, complete with radios and survival gear were the marshals in a worsening storm. Several participants bailed out at the first check point, and the rest of us were directed along the ridge before being pointed down a gully into mist-strewn bogs and lochans. I relied on trying to keep another runner in line of sight while trying to navigate a route through the pathless bog pools, leaping over the remains of several long-deceased blackface sheep until eventually a welcoming single-track road provided the final mile return to Lochmaddy.

The finish was on the main street in the village and, of course, after changing into dry clothes, it was straight into the welcome warmth of a hotel bar and restaurant and great craic about what we’d just survived and then inevitably plans for other events began to creep into the conversation…. Certainly one for the memory bank!

Alex Sutherland

 MEMORIES OF DERRY

The excitement really started to build at the team photos, seeing how many people were taking part and what it meant to everybody to be there running for their country. A warm-up jog round the course revealed how muddy some sections were, the difficult corners and the long, tiring stretches.

The start line was very crowded but the initial straight was quite wide and the field soon spread out. Although we were wearing numbers on the back and front of our vests I found it impossible to know how I was doing in my age category as I didn’t see anybody else with a 65 number for the full three circuits. So it was just a case of going as fast as I could and hoping for the best. The support around the circuit was tremendous particularly as we approached the end of each lap and it really kept me going.

The celebration dinner was lovely and the food was excellent. I was absolutely delighted to have won an individual gold and team silver. The medals are a really beautiful design. The organisation was superb and I had a great time both at the race and the dinner.

Everyone in Derry was really friendly and the city itself was very interesting, highlights for me being the Peace Bridge, the city walls and the Museum of Free Derry.

We also ventured further afield and went to the Giant’s Causeway and Belfast where we visited the Titanic Exhibition. Thanks to everyone who took part, the organisers in Derry and in each of the participating countries and all the supporters.

By Ann White

After struggling (due to illness) through the race in Tollcross the previous year, my aim for the race this year was to finish as a counter for the team. Conditions on the day were good, and after checking out the course during the warm up we were ready to go.

As I tend to start slowly and gradually improve my position throughout the race, I was a bit concerned that I had started too fast as early on I found myself just behind the leading group. But I was feeling good and as the group gradually broke up I was able to make up a few places and by the start of the last lap there were three of us left challenging for first place.

The support all around the course was great and really helped push me on to finish in second place overall in a close race. I was delighted to have far exceeded my expectations and win my age group. I then had a nervous wait hoping that mum would finish well in her age group too.

It was a great weekend, a well organised event, with good support and cameraderie between all the runners. I enjoyed being part of the SVHC team and will hopefully get another opportunity in Swansea next year.

By Katie White

I have been a road runner for about 10 years. I never thought about Cross Country running until two keen friends from my club encouraged me to enter the trials for the British and Irish Masters at Tollcross in 2016. So I did, thinking that would be an end to that. To my amazement I was told I had been selected to run for Scotland for my age group. How could I refuse!

2017 was unfortunate for me as I had a number of injuries. I had to drop out of the Cardiff Half marathon and I thought it would be the same for the Cross Country at Derry. However, I recovered and was looking forward to taking part. A week before the event I was out training in Bellahouston Park when I was bitten by a dog. I ended up in A&E and the first question I asked the Doctor, was, “Will I be able to run next week?” Needless to say, I did.

Derry was a wonderful experience. My daughter and I stayed in the hotel with most of the Scottish Team members. It was good to mix with the other participants at the reception or at breakfast and get to know them. On the day itself, I found there was a great atmosphere in Gransha Park. We encouraged one another even though we hoped our nation would win.

At the dinner and awards ceremony in the evening, again the ambience was friendly even when sitting in our respective country groupings. For me, it was a privilege to represent Scotland for a second time. I made new friends, visited a new city, and also realised how much preparation and planning goes on behind the scenes for the country that is hosting this event. Now I’m looking forward to the 31st British and Irish Cross country in Swansea and I hope I will be representing Scotland again for another year!

By Jeanette Craig

My trip to Derry last November to run in the over 70 team brought back memories of my previous involvement with Scotland. Mind you it was a long time ago and even my running diary was struggling to remember. However, the fact that the teams included runners like Colin Youngson and Bobby Young who were there 20 and 30 years ago when I previously took part made me feel very welcome.

I took part in the first meeting in 1988 when, as Janette Stevenson mentioned, it was only England and Wales we ran against. As with a few of the earlier years I was accompanied to the venue in Moss Valley, Wrexham by my Dundee Roadrunners friend Sue Roger who is slightly older and sometimes ran in my age group and sometimes in the next one up. There is a very fuzzy picture of us on the Scottish Distance Running History website wearing what would now be considered very tight shorts and with very 1980s looking hairstyles. In that race the over 40s team, which I was a part of, was 3rd.

I also took part in the next event in 1989 which was at Ampthill Park in Bedfordshire. My main recollection of this course is of Heartbreak Hill and the strongly worded encouragement I got as I struggled up it! In addition, I have vivid memories of the journey to the race. One of my team mates was Tricia Calder from the Borders racing family. At the time I had a Vauxhall Astra which conveyed us to Ampthill. After we picked up Tricia she took over the driving and my car exceeded speeds and did things it never did before or after. We travelled with Sam Graves from Fife AC and Sue Roger and the look of fear on Sam’s face was worth seeing. Scotland was second W40 team at the race with Janette Stevenson, Sue and myself.

I was in Scottish teams for Aberdeen 1991 and Cardiff 1993. By 1993 I was 46, but there was no W45 team at the time, and I finished 11th W40. Dundee Roadrunners were well represented with myself, Sue and Irene Gibson who were both in the over 50 race by that time and the over 50 team got silver. The picture on the Scottish Distance Running History website only has Christine Price and myself with all the men. Again, my strongest memory of this event was not of the race but the opulence of the Cardiff hotel, which I think had a moat round it. I have a picture of me and Sue Roger in the room which was extremely nice.

1993 was my best year at cross country and in the Vets Championships at St Andrews I was 1st over 45 and 3rd overall behind the greats – Sandra Branney 1st W35 and Janette Stevenson 1st W40.

I also took part in the 1998 competition at St Asaph in Wales. I’m not sure how I ran but probably not great. Round about the mid-90s, when I was at my best and doing reasonably high mileage, I got a stress fracture of my foot which was not diagnosed at the time, and that led to a long period in the wilderness of not being very competitive.

My final British and Irish International before 2017 was at Ballymena in 2002. Our W55 team comprised Phyllis Lemoncello, Sheila Bauchop and myself. We packed well at 9th, 10th and 11th and got the bronze.

I got back to competitive running in the last few years through parkruns and found a challenge in trying to get as high up the over 65 and over 70 charts as possible. I didn’t do the trial for the Scottish Vets team, as I had lost track of what level was necessary to get into the team, but hours of scanning the parkrun charts gave me the confidence to say “yes” when I got the call from Ada Stewart. In the end our W70 team got bronze and I was 2nd counter.

This involvement has got my adrenalin going, and I have invested in a new pair of spikes and am determined to push on over the next year to see if I can keep it up. I always enjoyed cross country and running in spikes gives such a buzz. Let’s see what 2018 brings – I am even entered for a half marathon for the first time in about 20 years.

By Margaret Robertson

I was pleased to make the V60 team for the British and Irish XC International in Derry in November probably helped by being towards the younger end of the 5 year age bracket. Our hosts in Derry put on an excellent event. It was also worth going for a few more days either side of the run to take in and explore the lovely historic city of Derry.

The course in Derry was generally flat but testing underfoot due to recent rain. Although sapping, it didn’t turn into a mud-fest characterised by many cross- country courses in Scotland in recent years. It is interesting to compare our ideas of cross country to those of other nations, a recurring theme when watching seniors at televised World and European events. I had first-hand experience of this as I was persuaded to run in 2 World Masters Championship events in Perth, Australia (October 2016) and Daegu, South Korea (March 2017). Both championships opened with a cross country event. Both courses were pancake flat and firm underfoot to the point of suiting a road runner like myself rather than a cross country or hill specialist. No need for anything but road racing footwear. My impression for this, at least at these Masters events, is that the cross-country event and indeed a half marathon are add-ons to what are essentially track meetings and their inclusion makes such championships more attractive to road runners like myself who might baulk at travelling to potentially expensive destinations to run in just one or two track races.

Runners who have yet to participate in a World Masters event might be surprised by the lack of strength in depth in the field although most races were competitive at the sharp end. As might be expected medals generally went to runners in the younger end of the 5 year age category. Also at World events many countries outside Australasia, Europe and USA fail to have enough runners to compete for team medals (awarded in the cross country and road events) so GB athletes have plenty of opportunity to compete for both individual and team medals. In 2018 the World Championship is in Malaga so one anticipates more intense competition for both individual and team medals.

 I would encourage runners to take in at least one World or European Masters Championship as the experience is interesting on many levels. They really are the Olympic equivalent for the master athlete in that they are structured along the same lines with as much rigour and organisation. Unlike the Olympics, however, we are lucky as no selection is necessary.

Running in a GB vest as opposed to a Scottish one is also interesting. Incidentally, the tale of purchasing my GB vest is a long and complicated one and my wife (Jan) has the story and it involves a few tears and a lot of angst culminating in an acrimonious encounter with an unofficial team GB person which nearly resulted in a Glasgow kiss. For the first few events in Perth I ran the cross country in a borrowed female vest 2 sizes too small but the correct vest, ordered some 4 months previously, was finally purloined.

In Perth and Daegu, the Scottish contingent was numerous and tended to gravitate together helped by excellent daily reporting on the SVHC website by Alan Ramage. There was, however, a general camaraderie amongst the GB runners and many new friendships were formed which were renewed in Derry.

 By Paul Thompson

I started running at Bearsden Academy, in 880 yards and mile races, which shows my age. Then with Dunbartonshire County. I did one Scottish Schools age group mile championship, at Westerlands, perhaps in 1964, when I may have finished fourth. All training and races at school were on grass track or football pitches, so maybe I should have taken up cross-country then. Then I left athletics behind, except for a couple of local half marathons and early Glasgow marathons, with very ordinary times, as I recall.

I ran Some Polaroid 10k races in 2007, and got the bug and joined Garscube around 2008. Interestingly, I did the Buchlyvie 10k, unattached in 2009, and got round in a new PB around 44 minutes. It was 2010, when I stopped working (if I ever started) in the insurance industry in Glasgow, when I started training properly, and enjoyed my running and improved my times a lot.

Onto Derry, which was a great experience, despite having a previous aversion to X/C, for no good reason. I think Derry was my 5th-ever mud race. I loved the camaraderie and the characters, no names, although I had known Archie previously. I was only convinced to do the Trial in Tollcross, by John Bell and am very grateful to him. It is only a pity that this is the only Scotland Masters representative race. However it is definitely very much worth being involved in. I loved it.

The event itself seemed to me very well-organised, particularly when listening to some of Bobby Young’s stories from early years, when “ a cup of soup or Bovril and a sandwich“ was the best you could hope for after the race, before driving straight home. Obviously holding this event anywhere in the UK is so much better when the host city is near an airport. The whole weekend experience was fabulous and I will remember it all for a long time.

By Norman Baillie

Being a bit of a runner myself I know the feeling when it comes time for another race. The preparations, the anticipation, the pre-race nerves and the post-race endorphins, but attending race events as a bag carrier/supporter is a different thing altogether. You get the opportunity to travel with someone going thru all these highs and lows, whilst you are wondering what range of ales will be on offer in the bar, and will white AND black pudding be available at breakfast.

Cross Country has never been my favourite type of running, but carrying Fiona’s bag on the GB and Ireland XC international certainly has been. I got hooked early, with a trip to Dublin, and every subsequent trip to the Emerald Isle has been a joy. With the growth in Park Runs I have had a run on the Saturday morning prior to heading off to the course to see the best Master athletes from these islands going thru their paces.

Derry/Londonderry was no exception – indeed it was perhaps the friendliest and most enjoyable venue that I have been to. Everything was close by and the mid November weather was great. Many of you will know that Fiona is not very keen on flying, but she makes an exception occasionally, and the trip from Glasgow to Derry was very straightforward and the flight was about 30 mins in the air. On landing we were fortunate to pair up with Willie Murray, who showed why he was selected by tearing thru the airport and getting to the front of the taxi queue. Well, truth be told, ignoring any mention of a queue and leaving the younger runners to ponder how they might plan their airport escape better next year.

SVHC management had flown over the day before to get the logistics up and running and I have to thank Ada, John, Andy and Ishbel for block booking rooms for us in the Di Vinci hotel, which was a great base for the team, being very close to the city centre, and having a lively bar. Fiona and I had booked our Friday night dinner at a local restaurant (so no di Vinci Last Supper for us,) and the mile walk there and back was a pleasant leg stretch for us both, and allowed us to find our bearings. Fortunately for me it coincided with part of the Parkrun route so I was able see where I had to go in the morning.

On Saturday morning I was up early to get ready for the parkrun, which was a well-run event. The RD was well aware that he had many visitors running that morning, supporters of the athletes running the International, and asked us to cheer when he called our country out. Needless to say, Scotland got the biggest cheer. The route was an out and back, starting on the river walkway and going over the Peace Bridge, along the other side of the river, round a picnic bench and back. My main aim was to get it done, get back to the hotel, have a shower, get down in time for a cooked breakfast and figure out how to get to the course. Fiona was away on the bus to the course by the time I got back, but I did manage to get my cooked breakfast, and get a lift to the course from Eddie Devine who was over shouting on his son, Christopher. Like me, Eddie had done the parkrun and was enjoying his post run breakfast. Thanks again Eddie.

Eddie and I, between us managed to find the course, and in perfect timing for race one starting. It was a good course to spectate on, offering a few different vantage points, and it’s always a pleasure to see the Scots runners mixing it up with the other 4 teams.

Fiona’s race finished and as she always enjoys a post-race chat with the many friends she has made at these events over the years, I got to see the other two races before we headed back to the hotel on the bus.

Being on my holidays I headed straight to the hotel bar when Fiona went to get showered and changed, and then we went off for a late lunch, before heading back to the bar at the hotel. My second visit to the bar (Fiona’s first) was an unusual one as it was one of the few times when Fiona has asked me to visit a bar, and not the other way round. The Gala girls (and boys,) were fine company.

The dinner and medal awards in the evening was a well organised event, and the Scots were all within the main room. Some of the speeches went on a little, but the company at the table was good and the time went quickly.

The scrum for the taxis at the end of the evening was a bit of a low point as the booking system had broken down completely, but Fiona and I decided to walk and see if we could flag down a taxi on the way. We met up with Frank Hurley and his better half, who had had the same thought and we weren’t even off the hotel’s driveway when we struck gold, jumped in a taxi, and were soon back in the bar at the di Vinci, where Scottish accents were very much in prominence.

Sunday was a quiet day, we went to walk round the city walls, where you can see why this very welcoming small city has two names. A quick flight home and the weekend was over.

For those who have the honour of being selected for 2018, yin dod ar yr Alban!

By Grant Matheson

First of all, I would like to say huge thank you to all the Scottish Team of Volunteers, and Team Captains that spent their valuable time in organizing this trip as without them this type of event would not take place. It is always quite exciting visiting a new place for the first time and when Grant and myself arrived at the hotel in Derry we were quite keen to get our bearings so decided after the travelling (flying which is a challenge to me before the actual event) it would be a good idea to stretch our legs as well as get our bearings and took a walk along the River Foyle for a mile or so then back again. While walking we were, of course, checking out the best café for cakes and coffee to come back to on Saturday.

The morning of the XC event I was pleased to see that the weather looked favourable as most of my family and friends know I don’t do cold/icy conditions in fact I think I would enjoy running XC more in the Springtime if I was given the choice.

Having done my usual preparation of looking to see the competition in the W55 Category from the other teams, I knew who would be my rivals in this age category. However, when you cannot get a chance to check out the course or run around it until the actual day, this can be a bit of the unknown, as everyone will have a particular XC course that they favour over others. However, this course at Gransha Park had a bit of everything in it, including quite a bit of mud which can be interesting especially when there is more than 1 lap involved. I try to take a mental note, on the first lap of a course about where the deepest parts of mud are. Thus, on the 2nd and 3rd Lap I may try to avoid this. However, I always end up ploughing through the same sections of mud nearly every time.

Before the Women’s race went off, it was Team Photographs for all and the Scotland Team were up first which is always good, as then it lets you do all your pre-race preparation in plenty of time. Just after the Scottish Team Photograph, Archie Jenkins seemed oddly keen for me to stick around. However all eventually became clear, as Archie had kindly organized to surprise me by presenting Certificates for the World W55 records in 1500m and 3000m indoor events that I had achieved earlier in the year. This actually gave me the adrenaline rush I needed just before the start of the Women’s XC event, therefore huge thank you for that Archie!

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend of competing and spending time with many like-minded great people from all Teams. Meeting new characters is always a bonus, as is spending time with many running friends that I have got to know over the years. Well done to all the Scottish Team! Here’s to a Healthy Fit 2018!

By Fiona Matheson

 A TALE OF TWO ATHLETES

Sammy Walker – Played Rugby from school age up to 27 years old got swept up in the running boom of the mid 80’S (same as Davie Cavers who remarkably played prop). Joined my home town club of Teviotdale Harriers in 1983.

Got blown away in my first East District league race, total shock to the system. My abiding memory was there was a false start and Allister Hutton had run half a mile before they could stop him!

Decided needed take this running thing seriously. Finished 19th in the East Districts of 1984 and 33rd in the Scottish of that year. Was so chuffed and thought this was as good would ever get ….then my friend Colin Hume returned from college in the States. I thought I had been training hard but with Colin went to a different level. Was running at a pace I had never been near. The results were startling – 6th in the East Districts of 1985 and 17th in the Scottish of that year (which was the year that “Humegate” occurred when Colin made the Scottish World Cross Country team at Eddie Stewart’s expense.

Around this time, it all started to come together for Teviotdale. Brian Emmerson was there already and had been ploughing a lonely furrow. Now there was me, Davie Cavers had joined, Rob Hall from Jedburgh, Andy Fair was taking it seriously. Keith Logan came from the local cycling club and I was in Ian Elliot’s ear every day at work about coming back to us from ESH. There were legendary 15 mile runs on a Sunday morning which set off at 5.40 pace.

Best achievements of Sammy Walker. The win in the National relays at Inverness was an amazing buzz. We were just three Hawick guys plus one from Jedburgh. All mates had left Hawick at 6.00 a.m. To win was just insane. Two fastest legs at the E to G are right up there. Winning the Flockhart Trophy. Top ten finish in the Scottish at Dundee.

My proudest moment isn’t even in the record books. I finished 5th in the Paris to Versailles road race, beating Steve Binns (who I became good friends with). I went there with Brian Emmerson on one of those “running tours “ or joggers’ tours as I found out it was. As a result I had number 10756 so, when the guy with this number approaches the finish line in 5th they think…cheat and stop me crossing the line. Managed a 29.49 10k, 1hr 06 Half Marathon, 2.22 Marathon (in the last Glasgow).

So, got to 38 and Sammy fell out of love with running. Had done no too bad and “never going to run over 40 ..I mean that Vet stuff, it’s a bit of a joke isn’t it??”

Alastair Walker – 22 years on and two stone heavier than his namesake “Sammy” . Son Greg joins Teviotdale. Alastair goes to watch a few of the league races and catches the bug. Starts to go out a couple nights a week. Feels great. Flying. Be as good as that Sammy ever was ..maybe even better. Enters the Hawick 1OK (two-lap course ), blows up after a lap and drops out feigning injury.

Get Serious Time! So Alastair gets serious and ups the miles. Buys a Garmin and discovers all Sammy’s training runs are two miles shorter than listed in the training diaries. This is Strava time and Run Britain rankings. So much information on people and times. Goals to aim for.

Runs an acceptable 1OK at Jedburgh. Struggles at league race at Broxburn and enters the Scottish Vets at Dundee. Finishes a distant fourth in the V60 behind Eddie Stewart who must have been stored in ice for last 30 years because looked exactly same.

Now going get Really Serious. The result? Fastest 5k and 10k in Britain for 2017 for V60 and 2nd in the British and Irish Masters V60. One of the best weekends ever – the race, the people, the reception when received medal ..”I mean that Masters stuff, it’s what everyone should aspire to, right?” Sammy and Alastair doing the same training. Alastair a bit slower. One long run, 2 speed sessions. Other days steady running. Around 50 miles a week.

By Alastair Walker

 

SWAN SONG

It had been a day full of other days, yet unique, as every day may be, Alastair Taylor mused around midnight, as he lay on the hotel bed. Running hard was one reason for tiredness, of course, but travelling from the North of Scotland to Northern Ireland had not been straightforward – a long bus journey to Glasgow, overnight there, then bus, plane and taxi to arrive the evening before the event.

In his youth he had merely walked or cycled to a local grass track or parkland and rough trails for cross country. Scottish Schools’ championships had involved bus trips, true, while, at university, subsidised travel was by train and, later, minibus – or, each December, a swaying, dipping ferry to Ireland for two races in Belfast and Dublin, each followed by many pints of black nectar.

As a senior athlete, but still young, he cadged lifts from car owners. Planes had only been necessary years afterwards when expenses-paying European marathons beckoned. During more than fifty years, he had competed in a number of exotic countries: Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Australia, USA (the Boston Marathon, with its ten miles of quadricep-mashing descents leading to five miles of wall-inducing heartbreak hills) – plus every part of the British Isles. Yet the actual venues often tended to be less attractive – post-industrial towns or sprawling untidy S cities. Never mind, in each place, only the race had mattered.

As usual, Alastair had slept fitfully the previous night, after booking in, chatting lightly with familiar grey-haired team-mates, exchanging ritual complaints about injuries and lack of fitness, marvelling at the athleticism of 35 and 40-year-olds. Old Masters, not! A sensibly small meal – low-fat and easily digested – had been consumed, with not even a beer to wash it down. He recalled that, in his prime, he had avoided alcohol only before marathons or ultras – concerned to avoid dehydration. While in his late 30s, with carefree confidence, the night before one Scottish Senior National Cross-Country Championship, he had downed four pints of real ale – after all, the distance involved had ‘only’ been seven and a half miles – and had almost made the top twenty, considerably better than expected. Nowadays, although M70s were expected to cover a paltry 6 km, he went teetotal for a couple of days beforehand. It would be stupid to add (to the impossibility of quality training and frequent leg niggles) yet another probable cause of failure. Before competition, optimism had never been one of his characteristics, unlike moaning.

Long ago, some self-appointed sage had stated that it was not sleep the night before that mattered – but sleep the night before that. If you could not doze off, between nightmares about missing the start, remember that you were lying down, as calmly as possible, getting plenty of rest. Easy for that guy to say.

On race day he had nibbled breakfast (toast, cereal, banana, fruit juice) a full four hours before the start, leaving plenty of time for digestion, sips of water, changing into kit and nervy repeated visits to the loo. Surely, at this late stage, he should be less twitchy? Yes, wearing a dark blue vest added extra responsibility, but nowadays he could only start slowly, not jet-propelled, so why not age-related wisdom and composure?

At least his pre-race meal had not been steak and chips, which he had chomped an hour before his first marathon back in 1969. Strangely, at the age of 21, that had not caused a problem. However, the pint of cream (in theory, taking on fatty acids as fuel, to go with a ‘fast start’ triple black espresso) half an hour before a Scottish Championship marathon in the late 70s had caused a massive personal worst after so many pukes, plods and pitstops. Curry was best avoided, too.

A brief coach trip to the course, two hours before “Go!” and the build-up began. A walk to inspect at least some of the two-kilometre lap – some tricky mud and rather mossy underfoot but only lightly undulating, thank goodness, and suitable terrain for veterans aged 35 to 80 plus. Steep climbs and drops nowadays? No thank you! Traumatic memories of ghastly trails passed through his mind with merciful brevity. The 1972 English National XC in Sutton (very) Coldfield (nine miles of mud, sub-zero temperatures, extra wind-chill and snowstorm – on the last desperate lap, a reigning Commonwealth gold medallist had been passed, upside down in a ditch); uphill slurry before clambering over barbed wire fences in Dunbartonshire; near death by hypothermia in Hawick. That one had been a Scottish Masters; the very first he had contested was Clydebank 1988. Some sadist had taken a film of the three laps. First one, pretty snowfall adding enchantment; second, the action totally obscured by a blizzard of heavy, wet, white flakes; the final lap, knackered survivors of a Norwegian notion of hell. Any hat-wearers now sported snow-stacks stuck to their heads.

Despite tackling any conditions when forced to, really Alastair had been a bit of a ‘road fairy’, whose favourite cross-country routes traversed firm, dry, grassy, mainly flat golf courses. Heat exhaustion, Alastair thought, had not been a problem in cross country events; only in long, scorching road runs, especially marathons or ultras. Foreign ordeals where you were shocked yet grateful when spectators sprayed you with garden hoses or chucked buckets of water; that Lairig Ghru 28 miler (80 degrees in mid-glen) when you struggled exhausted past the finish line on the wrong side of the busy main street in Aviemore. Officials hauled you across safely, then left you hanging over a fence in blessed shade. And how long it took before even a vestige of energy returned so you could fumble to untie over-tight running shoes and find something, anything, to drink! A final heatwave moment, was finishing as roasted runner-up in a South of France marathon. A photo in the local newspaper had been published in black and white – despite this, it was obvious his face had been bright scarlet. The report had referred to him as “Taylor, l’epouvantail”. Alastair’s schoolboy French had not included that word. Back in Scotland, a language teacher had cackled as she told him it meant “the scarecrow”.

Photographs were taken on time, an hour and a half before the start. So many grinning male and female teammates and now, unbelievably, he was in the second-oldest age group. When happy, he still felt like a teenager, as long as he avoided mirrors. However, while cycling a road bike in perfect weather gave an illusion of fitness, running told the truth about damaging impact, physical deterioration and advancing years. Never mind, shut up, too bad, keep trying!

Warming up routine. Alastair recalled that, in earliest days this was merely a five-minute jog; at the peak, an hour of steady running, stretching, strides and sprints; now the process was laughably but necessarily careful. This was no parkrun where, if something hurt before the start, you could simply forget it and get back into the car. Injury might force you to drop out, but it could only be even slightly acceptable if a calf or hamstring ruptured during the actual race.

Start by walking away from the rest to find a quiet area. Don’t be psyched out by superior-looking rivals – Alastair had learned that trick as a teenager, when impressive lads with fancy tracksuits covered with running badges usually proved easy to beat. Very slow jogging, short strides, try to keep upright, stop occasionally for a gentle hamstring stretch. Then five or ten minutes steady; concentrate on smooth progress. A loo check, no problem. Half an hour to go. Steady with a few fifty-yard strides, gradually working up to what passed for race pace. Save any real effort for mid-contest! More stretching, lower back, hamstrings. And, miraculously, muscles and tendons ease a little, permitting increased range of movement. Hope increases, some confidence re-appears. Maybe this might be okay! All you need is just a little luck.

Between 40 and 15 years ago, luck was hardly necessary, since injuries occurred seldom and proper training was normal – 60 to 80 miles each week, sometimes including a twenty miler, plus hill reps, group fartlek, steady runs and a time-trial or a race, in which you were almost certain to run well or even very well.

Nowadays, Alastair had to listen to his whingeing body very carefully indeed, and work within those frustrating limits. Still, fortunate to be able to jog at all. No hip or knee replacements yet!

A last, totally unnecessary, loo check. Then the call to the start-line. Alastair was edgy but under control. Not like before long ago high-pressure road relay events – they were the worst. Sometimes he actually stress-retched five minutes before receiving the baton – fairly cleared the tubes, though, for the panting, eyeballs-out charge all the way to the next changeover.

Now he took up position near the back of the field, alongside other old fogeys. Injuries usually happen soon after too rapid a start. With some common sense, he might just come through eventually to a decent finishing position. Let young women, fast old guys and idiots go for it! Some might blow up before too long. Experience might count for something, after all.

An officious self-important official bawled irrelevant guff about the course and warned that anyone with even a toe in front of the line would have it amputated. False starters would, deservedly, be executed. Or some such traditional nonsense. Impatient athletes jiggled up and down and ignored him. Alastair had a brief flashback to Nos Galan, the Welsh New Year event through the narrow streets of Mountain Ash, when stars like Dave Bedford used to emerge from shop doorways in front of the start line and took their places seconds before the race commenced. Then there was the English National, when thousands anticipated the gun and started jogging away inexorably before they were ordered to go. No chance of calling them back!

Bang! Release! While speedsters shot off, Alastair focused on getting into a short, pattering rhythm, keeping upright and swinging his arms forcefully. For the next 400 yards or so, the trail was extremely muddy – if this continued throughout the race, it would be horrible. However, they emerged onto the loop and most really sticky patches could be avoided. Gazing ahead, Alastair noticed without surprise that the leaders were already out of sight. At 41 he had led every step of the Scottish Vets cross country championship – a sequence of photos proved it. In this event at M45 he kept up with the fastest M40 men for quite a while, before winning his age group.

Ah well. Occasional nostalgia can be pleasurable; but remember to appreciate the present moment! Although he knew that few in his age group had started more slowly, Alastair still felt in control. In front he could see a straggle of individuals and small groups, including men around his age – who were the real targets today. Taking care to accelerate only slightly, he started to inject more effort, and gradually moved out to pass ‘victims’. If he could just keep working hard, then others might fade. Anyway, overtaking was much more fun than being overtaken.

At his peak, Alastair had loved front-running and also putting in surges mid-race. Road had been his favourite surface, and long uphills where he tried to break away. Not having much of a sprint meant that he had to go for it early, at unexpected moments. Even as a veteran on the track, these tactics had sometimes worked well.

Nowadays, grinding away, hopefully at a single semi-decent speed (the only alternative being slower) was the simple strategy. At least it meant that he didn’t have to think much. Just aim for the runner in front or try to hang on to others. As usual, he seemed to be puffing faster – still testing for possible heart attacks – compared to everyone he plodded past. A team-mate was only fifty yards behind and, when Alastair glanced back, it seemed that they were moving up the field at the very same pace, as if attached by invisible rope. Since this old friend possessed a sprint finish, Alastair would strive to keep clear as long as possible. Being trounced by strangers was much less irritating.

A long shallow downhill was negotiated gingerly. Thirty years earlier, in the British Vets XC, Alastair had been clinging on to the leader and race favourite – a very classy Welshman – when a steep downhill proved his undoing, as a hamstring strain forced him to ease off and (at least he was thoroughly warmed up) concentrate on holding second place. Eventually, still clear of the bronze medallist, but moving with difficulty and discomfort, he approached the finish, to be “congratulated” by a famously-grumpy Scottish blazer-wearer who grated, “Taylor, you’re such an ugly runner!” which, although he had never been a stylish swan, seemed a trifle uncharitable to Alastair, who had rated himself a “brave war-wounded soldier”!

Now, much closer to second-last but trying his best on the day, Alastair entered the third and last lap. He must have moved up thirty places, passing several age group rivals, but had no idea of his current position. Not last anyway, and still making slow progress. With two kilometres to go, he pushed some more, since he could see a few more strugglers coming back. Half a mile left and one more man within reach. At the start of the long finishing straight, Alastair forced himself ahead, but the effort emptied his energy tank, so his rival closed right up and then strode away in the last hundred yards. Knowing he was beaten, Alastair looked over his shoulder for other sprinters. Clear, thank goodness, and over the line. His team-mate was only eleven seconds down – they had both squeezed into the M70 top ten.

On a previous occasion, as a dirty, knackered runner collapsed at the end of a such a race, a bewildered spectator had inquired, “Who are you trying to impress?” Well the answer could hardly be a potential girlfriend, with a warped lust for mire and snotters. Self-respect after trying hard, that was all. A stamina adventure!

One good thing about having dodgy, fragile legs was that they would not permit racing too far or hard, so Alastair recovered quickly, glad that disaster had been avoided. His team definitely wouldn’t be fifth, thank goodness, and he would not be to blame. Quite an enjoyable run, in fact. Winners nowadays punch the air; while respectable also-rans mainly feel relief. Still in the game! And forget the warm-down. Who knew when he would next take part in an important race?

Of course, you could be left in a dreadful state after really tough events: hitting the proverbial in marathons, for example, battering through the final miles gasping, weaving about and groaning aloud. Off normal training, Alastair had once attempted the famous challenging London to Brighton road race (54 miles – and a quarter). Even pacing it perfectly, he had run out of blood sugar at 40 miles but did not drop a place during the last 14, since everyone within range was feeling just as weak. At the longed-for end, he waved away a space blanket and then his legs buckled! Shortly afterwards, he had been deposited in a deep bath, and had to scream for help, since it was far too hot. However, drinking colder water, warm tea and (with difficulty) consuming a few biscuits had encouraged a quick recovery. Since the pace had been steady, his legs hadn’t been destroyed and he managed to take part in a short road relay six days later. Years afterwards, he wished that energy bars and gels had been invented earlier….

The afternoon passed in a contented blur. The showers proved impossible to locate but he found a doorway and changed into dry clothes, while spectators were fascinated by much younger men bounding athletically through their races.

A lift to carefully selected Derry pubs – old friends, including all the M70 team, turned up – assured ‘rehydration’, thanks to pints of stout and nips of Irish malt whiskey. Back to the hotel, shower, change for the banquet – the food was delicious, but Alastair sobered up with water. The Scots had tables farthest from the stage. As ill-prepared speechmakers droned on and on, Alastair sat back and assessed the British and Irish Masters International XC experience.

A decade ago, he had looked through a long running career and tried to order his top ten races. These were fairly easy to list, but somehow he ended up with a top fifty worth remembering. It was not all about ‘lifetime best times’. (When else could you achieve them?) Nor about most significant wins or medals or (badly designed) trophies. As park-runs suggested (with their age-grading of times), any event, even when you were old, could give some sort of satisfaction. Team wins stood out as important. Running was essentially a solo activity, and it was a real bonus when fellow enthusiasts banded together to do well. Like today.

Was that to be his “swan song”? And what did those words mean, anyway? His phone supplied formal research answers. “Swan Song came from ancient Greek, and was a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. However, the common Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor), although not actually mute, was known neither for musicality nor to vocalise as it died. The only sounds it could make were honking, grunting, and hissing – not unlike overstressed runners, perhaps. Yet the snow-white Whooper Swan (Cygnus Cygnus), a winter visitor to parts of the eastern Mediterranean – and Scotland – did possess a ‘bugling’ call, and had been noted for issuing a drawn-out series of notes as its lungs collapsed upon expiry, both being a consequence of an additional tracheal loop within its sternum. This was proposed by naturalist Peter Pallas as the basis for the legend.” So there! Ye ken noo. Well, Alastair had no thought of imminent retirement from his beloved running, or indeed expiry, unless that referred to breathing out before breathing in again.

The medal presentations were nearly complete. Every recipient was applauded generously by folk from all five nations. The Scots were noisiest, as usual. His M70 team was announced – they had won surprise silver medals! White-haired Alastair and his three companions, heads high, floated the length of the hall, down a river of shouts, cheers, claps, handshakes and even mistimed high fives. Alastair tried to maintain dignity and smiling self-control. Yet, although no song came from mute lips, around his mind echoed a silent whoop!

By Colin Youngson

 

As promised in the previous Newsletter, here are two more reports about races which David Cooney selected as great team performances by Cambuslang squads. They took place at Sutton Coldfield, in the park which may be considered the spiritual home of UK road relay running.

RONHILL CAMBUSLANG RETAIN UK VETS ROAD RELAY TITLE 22 MAY 2003

 Ronhill Cambuslang convincingly secured their third victory in the prestigious UK 8 man over-40 road relay trophy at Sutton Coldfield and their day was made complete when it was announced that John Cowan and Jack Brown had recorded the two fastest times of the day.

Cambuslang’s tactics were to start steadily and to produce a strong tail courtesy of Alex Robertson, John and Jack. However, things did not initially go to plan as Dave Dymond, who had prepared well for the event, felt below par right from the gun and struggled round the tough three-mile trail in 16.17 to hand over to Dave Thom in 30th place. Despite feeling unwell, Dave D had given his all, which is what relay running is all about.

Dave T, in spite of not having raced for a number of months, produced a solid and valuable time of 16.02 to gain 10 places for the club and to launch their comeback.

Hill runner Colin Donnelly in his annual road race carried forward the Scots’ momentum to finish in seventh place with a strong time of 15.30 which was the 4th fastest on leg three.

Frankie Barton now took up the challenge and to the delight of the Cambuslang team prised open a lead of 11 seconds over the fancied local club Telford. In clocking 15.23 Frankie had recorded the fastest time on leg 4 and had made it look easy with his smooth-running style.

Ian Williamson, although unsure about his fitness due to a longstanding injury, maintained the Scots lead over Telford and Woodford Green with a useful 15.44 (4th fastest on leg 5).

Alex Robertson with a 15.34 stint and 4th fastest on his leg held on to first but Woodford Green had moved to within 19 seconds of Cambuslang. Alex was disappointed that he did not get closer to his previous time of 14.57 but a persistent heel injury had hampered his preparations.

With two legs to go Woodford Green were feeling confident that they could overhaul the Scottish outfit. Their plan was to keep Cambuslang’s penultimate runner in sight to allow former British international John Sear the opportunity to run the glory leg. Unfortunately for them John Cowan sabotaged their plan by running a smooth and outstanding time of 14.51 to record a new club record and the fastest time of the day. 

The London club was now 67 seconds behind with Telford 3 seconds adrift of them.

The glory leg fell instead to Jack Brown who anchored Cambuslang to an emphatic victory with a confident and relaxed 14.55, the second-best time of the day.

While Jack and John attracted the individual attention, it had been another great spirited team effort.

The Ronhill Cambuslang over-50 veterans also contested their 6-man event. In spite of injury problems, they managed a creditable 14th place. The star performer was Frank Hurley who ran a fast 16.26 to move Cambuslang into 4th spot after Freddy Connor had led off. After successive legs by Sandy Eaglesham, Ian Gordon and Tom McPake the Scots were 9th but dropped 5 places as Archie Jenkins suffering from a cartilage problem jogged round. Archie had only come to spectate but a late withdrawal by the injured Barnie Gough allowed Archie to step in.

There was further Scottish individual and team success as Clydesdale’s Bobby Young recorded the fastest time by a 60-year-old (16.58) and, with support from Peter Cartwright and Brian Campbell, the Clydesdale trio won the bronze medal.

REPORT ON UK VETS ROAD RELAY CHAMPIONSHIPS AT SUTTON COLDFIELD 0N 15 MAY 2010

Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers triumphed at the UK veterans’ road relay championships when winning the over-35 and over-50 team titles. The Cambuslang athletes were continuing the proud record which the club has in this prestigious event. The over 40 men had previously won gold in 1999, 2003 and 2004 as well as silver in 2000 and 2002 and bronze in 2001. The over 50 squad had also achieved bronze medals in 2002 and 2003.

This year the over 35, 40 and 50 athletes competed together with the younger age group doing 4 legs, the middle group 8 and the older group 6 legs. It was touch and go whether the club would be able to field an over 35 team as Alan Ramage had suffered a calf injury while training in Tenerife only 4 days before race day. However, Kerry-Liam Wilson kindly agreed to step in at the last minute to support Greg Hastie, Charlie Thomson and Jamie Reid. Greg and Charlie who are both over 40 vets were up against some younger rivals.

Greg (15.58) ran a well measured opening leg over the tough 3 miles and 8 yards trail to finish 10th in the over 35 age group. Charlie (15.43) provided his usual gutsy performance to advance the team 3 places. It was great to see Charlie back in serious competition after a lengthy spell of injuries over the last 4 years. Kerry-Liam, the Scottish Veterans cross country champion, proceeded to run a stormer (15.08) and catapulted Cambuslang into the lead ahead of Liverpool Harriers. His time was the 2nd fastest on the day by an over 35 and confirmed that he is running better than ever.

The experienced Jamie (15.21) who had major Achilles surgery last winter ran strongly from the front to anchor the team to a 27 seconds victory over Trafford with Preston a further 7 seconds adrift. This was an impressive performance by the Cambuslang runners who were only 10 seconds outside Salford’s course record.

Colin Feechan had the difficult task of launching Cambuslang’s over-50 challenge against the two younger age groups. Colin (17.20) paced himself well to finish 17th in his age category. Our rivals were lined up nicely ahead for Frankie Barton to majestically slice through the field to prise open a lead for Cambuslang. His time of 15.49 was the 2nd fastest of the day in his age category. Archie Jenkins (18.17) was now the target man for the opposition and although he lost some ground the club was still in close contention. Dave Thom who only turned 50 prior to the race restored RHC’s lead with a strong 16.26 stint which was the 2nd fastest for this leg and Iain Campbell with an impressive 15.59, the fastest on leg 5 and 5th fastest time overall, consolidated the club’s position at the head of the field. This allowed Frank Hurley (17.05) to run a hard but relaxed final leg which gave Cambuslang a decisive 86 seconds victory over Clayton Le Moor with South London Harriers 18 seconds further behind. Like the over 35 squad this was a well-balanced team effort and the second-best club performance ever behind Oxford City.

Interestingly Frankie, Archie, Frank and Dave had previously won gold in the over 40 race and Frankie had previously competed in all of the 6 medal winning teams while Archie had been in the two over 50 bronze medal teams and Frank in one of them. These statistics speak well of the longevity of the athletes concerned and of their commitment to the club and the sport.

Cambuslang also fielded an over-60 team for the first time. This race took place before the main event and was combined with the men over 70 and all the female age categories. The club finished 24th team through Davie Fairweather (21.15) who had recently returned from an extended holiday in Australia and New Zealand, David Cooney (20.16) and Robert Anderson (21.39).

 However, the Cambuslang trio were overshadowed by former title holders Clydesdale who were 12th team thanks to Peter Cartwright (19.16), Brian Campbell (20.09) and Bobby Young (19.06). This UK event is unique in terms of atmosphere, excitement and quality of athletes taking part and it is surprising that so few Scottish teams have participated in the past. Certainly, Cambuslang hope to return again next year and contest all male age groups from over 35 to over 60.

By David Cooney

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 Euphian, Kilduskland Road. Ardrishaig. Argyll PA30 8EH

I had the good luck to accompany the Scotland team to the British and Irish Masters 2017 Cross Country International in November and was struck by the great camaraderie around the weekend and the way in which this was seen by many of the runners there as one of (or perhaps) THE highlights of their running season.

That got me to thinking on how we could translate that back to the benefit of Masters Athletics in Scotland and more specifically what the SVHC can do to act as the catalyst in the process. My brief thoughts are a wee starting point for some further work and not all of these have a prescription attached. The suggestions and questions are mine only and not related to my role as the SVHC Treasurer, nor do they represent a Committee view.

 

  1. The XC International is a pivotal target for many of the best runners in their age group in Scotland (as it is in the other nations) and we need to keep it as a focus for our annual planning. The trial leading up to the selection process has been a great innovation over the last two years and it gives everyone the chance to aspire to run against the best in the British Isles. We should have a wee bit more pushing to get non-SVHC members to join up and strengthen the team.

 

  1. We should recognise that the running calendar is pretty full and that there is ample opportunity almost everywhere in Scotland for athletes to get their weekend fix in a variety of ways. ParkRun, every local community looking to raise a few bob, serious money making ventures – you know the kind of organisations I mean – and Jogscotland all seem to have added their wares to more established events since I started running seriously about 15 years ago. In this environment the SVHC have to be cute about how we target our own organised races and/or helping out other organisations.

3 The SVHC (Run for It) series is a good model to try and get folk to attend club races or other masters’ events, but does it suffer from having too much of a scatter-gun approach?

 

  1. I would like to see our runners competing abroad in European and World Masters events wearing Scotland kit if they wish to do so (excepting where they are chosen to be part of a Great Britain and NI team). Most of these events are not selected on talent, apart from the ability to write a cheque, As I understand it if the BMAF was to register more than one kit for representatives of the home countries that would be a possible solution.

 

  1. The SVHC Committee – or just the Club for that matter – needs help in maintaining its Facebook page, website and club magazine. Facebook by its nature is pretty self-serving but the website is hungry of resources and the magazine is excellent but too dependent on its editor. An under the bus scenario is not good to think about. Volunteers needed.

 

  1. Is the best name for the club still the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club? I recall it was voted on at an AGM a few years back and it was quite divisive – as a lot of voting is. The traditionalists, including me then, won that debate and kept the existing name, but I wonder if use of the term Master in the name would be better in attracting new members? I’m not quite sure of my own views in this, just that there is a discussion to be had.

 

  1. What can we do to engender interest in track events? What can we do to spread our events wider throughout Scotland – I’m writing from the west, not the central belt like all thae Glesca and Lanarkshire folk, but I know we are seen as a West of Scotland organisation. Interestingly mind you the XC International team was made up of athletes from across all parts of the country, so there’s maybe something in the mantra of “Put on an event and they will come”

 

Anyway, that’s enough for now, but it would be interesting to get some reaction.

By Andy Law, Ardrishaig

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR continued

FROM JAMES MUNN

John Emmet Farrell was Maryhill Harriers XC club champion for 21 successive years.

I asked Emmet about the first year he was NOT champion, “Who beat you Emmet? Was it an up-and-coming young man or someone who had come close in previous years?”

He was reluctant to answer but I was persistent and eventually got an answer.

“Jim, three of them beat me.”

“You were fourth, Emmet?”

 “Yes, and when we got back to the clubhouse everyone was overjoyed. You would think they were pleased I had lost.”

“Emmet, they were pleased, and I’m with them …….. they were all fed-up with you winning every year.”

 “Jim, some smart-alec stood up and called for everyone’s attention. “Listen lads it’s the Scottish XC championships in three weeks’ time so why don’t we have a medal for the first Maryhill Harrier to finish?” Everyone agreed it was a splendid idea.

However Emmet, in a light-hearted way, had his revenge on the whole pack of them – yes, he was the first Maryhill Harrier to finish and, yes, he collected the medal! Oh, and yes, I was back on Emmet’s side.

(As related to me by JEF himself.)

(John Emmet Farrell was one of the greatest ever SVHC members. See his profile under ‘Marathon Stars’ on scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot and read his autobiography “The Universe is Mine” on anentscottishrunning. com)

 

SCOTTISH WOMEN IN THE IAAF WORLD CROSS

 Cross-country running is a traditional sport: a true test of endurance and resilience; meeting such a difficult challenge certainly forms character! Although the population of Scotland is small compared to many other countries, including England, Scottish International cross-country runners work very hard for selection and race even harder. Naturally, some have more talent than others and, assuming they have trained properly and have strong race day nerves, probably finish higher in the results. However, every person named in this article deserves considerable respect.

For Scottish teams, the ICCU International Championships started in 1935 with only one opposing outfit. By 1972, up to 18 teams were competing. Once the IAAF World XC Championships started in 1973, even more countries took part. By 1987, the record number of nations competing had risen to 28. Obviously, this meant a higher standard and truly world-class competition. Scottish Women (and Men) found it increasingly difficult to shine, especially against Russian, American or African opponents but, despite this, often ran well and always did their best on the day. Who can ask for more?

Between 1973 and 1987, Scottish teams took part in the annual IAAF World Cross Country Championships. From 1988 onwards, Scots could only participate as part of a British (United Kingdom) team. There were three types of event for Women during 1973 and 2017: Senior Women Long Course; Junior Women (under 20 years of age, from 1989 onwards); and between 1998-2005, a Senior Women Short Course.

The first IAAF World Championships was held in 1973 in Waregem, Belgium. 75 started and Scotland finished 9th team from 13, in front of Wales, France, Spain and Netherlands. Christine Haskett had won the Scottish National Senior title, but was beaten in the Worlds by her constant rival Margaret Coomber, who was 19th to Christine’s 27th. Ann Barrass finished 38th and Moira O’Boyle 43rd.

Moira O’Boyle was a precocious, determined young athlete who had won the 1973 Scottish Intermediate XC title. Aged only sixteen, she was selected for the Senior Women’s race in the 1973 World XC Championship. In 1974 Moira O’Boyle won the Senior National XC, beating Christine Haskett and Ann Barrass. She had won bronze and silver medals in the SAAA 3000m in 1972 and 1973. Eventually her family moved from Glasgow to Belfast and Moira (later Moira O’Neill) became Northern Irish marathon record holder (and champion three times) and ran for NI in two Commonwealth Games marathons, finishing 8th in 1986 and 12th in 1990. She won the Belfast and Dublin marathons and her fastest time was an impressive 2.37.07.

In 1974 the World Championships took place in Monza, Italy. There were 69 competitors. Mary Stewart ran a tremendous race to finish 8th (4th Briton); Christine Haskett was 33rd, Margaret Coomber 39th and Moira O’Boyle, the Scottish Champion, 43rd. The Scottish team finished 8th, beating four countries – France, Spain, Ireland and Wales.

Rabat, Morocco, was the 1975 venue. 71 ran. Mary Stewart repeated her excellent 8th position (with the same time as the leading British runner, England’s Ann Yeoman 7th), with Scottish Champion Christine Haskett 23rd ((6th Briton), Margaret Coomber 42nd and Ann Barrass 56th. The Scottish team finished 10th, beating Australia, Wales and Morocco.

The 1976 World Championships took place in Chepstow, Wales. 69 ran. Once again, Mary Stewart was first Scot in 9th place (second Briton). Scottish Champion Christine Haskett finished 23rd (4th Briton), Moira O’Boyle was 41st and Margaret Coomber 54th. The Scottish team was 9th, beating Spain, Finland and Wales.

Dusseldorf, West Germany, was chosen for the 1977 World Championships. 96 ran. Margaret Coomber (52nd) beat Scottish Champion Christine Haskett (61st). Judith Shepherd finished 65th and Gillian Hutcheson 86th. The team was 16th, in front of Wales. The medallists were: Soviet Union, United States and New Zealand.

Judith Shepherd was newly 18 when she ran the 1977 World XC. She was to be SAAA 3000m track champion from 1977 to 1979; break the Scottish record for that distance; and win Scottish National XC titles in 1978 and 1979.

The 1978 event was in Glasgow, at Bellahouston Park in wet, muddy conditions. 99 ran. Scottish Champion Judith Shepherd performed very well to be first Scot in 22nd place (5th Briton). Margaret Coomber was 69th, Scottish Intermediate XC winner Fiona McQueen 79th and Janet Higgins 87th. The team finished 16th, beating Wales and Italy.

Fiona McQueen won the Scottish Intermediates XC titles in 1977 and 1978. In 1983 she was first in the Senior National. On the track she became 1981 SAAA 3000m champion.

Violet Hope was Scottish 1500m champion in 1980 and 1983.

Limerick, Eire, was the venue in 1979. 100 ran. Judith Shepherd, Scottish champion once again, finished 44; Fiona McQueen 57th; Kerry Robinson 67th; and Margaret Coomber 82nd. The Scottish team was 14th, beating Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 1980 the World Cross took place in Paris. Scotland had a new champion – Christine McMeekin – and she ran very well indeed to finish 18th (and fourth Briton) from 104 competitors. Fiona McQueen was 73rd, Barbara Harvie 79th and Margaret Coomber – in the last of her fantastic fourteen successive International Cross Country appearances for Scotland – still a counter in 88th place. The team was 15th, just behind Netherlands and Denmark but in front of Wales and Northern Ireland.

Christine McMeekin (later Christine Whittingham) had a twin sister, Evelyn, and an older brother David. All three were outstandingly successful Scottish International athletes and took part in Commonwealth Games. Christine won several SAAA titles including: 800m (thrice); and Indoor 600m (twice). She ran 800m in the 1976 Olympics; and twice raced 1500m in the Commonwealth Games – in 1978 (when she finished fourth) and in 1986. She won two 1500m silver medals in 1986 – in the AAA and UK championships.

Sonia McLaren (later Armitage) was a versatile, durable athlete. In addition to her 1980 World Cross appearance, she secured two bronze medals in the SAAA 3000m in 1979 and 1983; won the 1996 Scottish Hill Running championship; ran for Scotland five times in the World Hill Running Cup and once in the European event; was first in the Scottish Indoor 1500m in 2010; and won four World Masters titles – Hill Running (W40 in 2001), Indoor 800m (W45 in 2010) and Indoor 1500m (W45 in 2008 and 2010).

The 1981 International was held in Madrid, at an altitude of 2200. Spanish athletes think that this makes running more difficult! The 4400m course was on a racecourse with a testing switchback section. Certainly, the British did not do well that day. 118 ran. Christine Price (who had switched clubs to Bolton United Harriers) finished 68th (6th Briton), Lynne MacDougall was 75th, Yvonne Murray 79th and Scottish Champion Alison Wright 95th. The team was 19th, in front of Angola. However, the Scots included two sixteen-year olds: Lynne and Yvonne, plus newly 17-year-old Linsey Macdonald.

Lynne MacDougall. Lynne won the Scottish Intermediate XC in 1982 – a year after her Senior World Championship debut! She won the Scottish Senior National XC in 1985. On the track she won Scottish titles at 3000m (twice) and 1500m (five times). In 1984 she ran 1500m for GB at the Olympics and finished 11th in the final. Lynne also competed in the European Indoors twice and in the Commonwealth Games 1500m in 1986 (8th) and 1990 (5th). In 1989 she became UK 1500m champion and was twice second in the AAA Indoor 1500m. Her long career ended in 2002, when she topped the Scottish marathon rankings with a very good 2.36.29.

 Yvonne Murray enjoyed a superb career. Although she shone as a schoolgirl cross country runner and won the Intermediate National in 1981, the track was her best surface. As well as winning five Scottish titles (at distances between 800m and 3000m), Yvonne was AAA champion six times (1500m and 3000m) and UK champion twice (3000m and 5000m). She competed in four Commonwealth Games (winning the 10,000m in 1994); four European Championships (winning the 3000m in 1990); four World Championships; two World Indoor Championships (1993 gold in the 3000m); and two Olympic Games (including a 3000m bronze medal in 1988). Yvonne set many new Scottish records and was a truly great athlete.

Alison Wright had run 800m in the 1978 Commonwealth Games for New Zealand. Then she switched to Scotland and in 1981 won the Senior National XC and the SAAA 1500m.

Linsey Macdonald, it is fair to say, would not have considered cross country her best event. However, she was immensely talented on the track and at 16 years of age ran in the Moscow Olympics 400m (8th in the final) and then helped GB to a bronze medal in the 4x400m Relay. Injuries may have troubled her, but Linsey competed in the 1982 European Championships and Commonwealth Games (making an important contribution to Scotland’s 4x400m bronze). She also took part in the 1986 Commonwealth Games. Linsey was third in the 1982 AAA 400m. Scottish championships were won too: 100m and 200m in 1981; and 400m (1985). In addition, she secured two 800m silver medals in 1987 and 1988, as well as Indoor 800m silver in 1990.

The 1982 World Cross was held in Rome. 109 ran. Christine Price (Scottish champion for the sixth and last time) was first Scot home in 36th place (5th Briton); Yvonne Murray finished 42nd, Kathy Mearns 65th and Jean Lorden 66th. Liz Lynch (of whom much more later) was 71st and Lynne MacDougall 81st. The Scottish team improved considerably to finish 11th from 18 countries, ahead of Sweden, Belgium, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Algeria and Denmark.

Kathy Mearns became SAAA 3000m champion in 1983.

Jean Lorden won the Scottish National XC championship in 1986.

In 1983, the event took place in Gateshead, on the notoriously hilly Riverside course. 111 ran. Scottish champion Fiona McQueen was first Scot in 51st place (6th Briton), with Kathy Mearns 53rd (7th Briton), Elise Lyon 67th and Jean Lorden 77th. The team finished 15th, in front of Wales, Ireland, Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

Elise Lyon became Scottish National XC champion in 1984. The 1984 World XC was held in New Jersey, USA. 109 ran. Fiona McQueen was again first Scot, in 41st place. Elise Lyon was 77th, Christine Whittingham (nee McMeekin) 81st and Kirsty Husband 84th. The team was 16th, in front of Northern Ireland. Andrea Everett (the daughter of the famous Scottish One Mile champion and National XC winner Graham Everett) won the SAAA 3000m in 1984.

In 1985, the IAAF World XC took place in Lisbon. 131 ran. Yvonne Murray was first Scot in 42nd place (fourth Briton); and Elise Lyon finished 84th, Christine Price (back again!) 94th and June Standing 101st. The team was 19th, in front of West Germany, Denmark, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

Karen MacLeod was a very good runner but, despite the fact that she won the 1987 National XC, probably preferred track or road. She won three Scottish titles: 3000m in 1987 and 1988 and 10,000m in 1994. In 1985 she was third in the 1985 AAA 10,000m and won the 1987 AAA Indoor 3000m. In the Commonwealth Games, Karen ran the 1990 10,000m (12th) and the 1994 marathon (4th). She also ran marathons for GB in the 1993 World Championship and the 1996 Olympics.

Lynda Bain’s best surface was the road. She was SAAA marathon champion twice, in 1983 and 1984 (when she also represented GB in Czechoslovakia) and broke the Scottish record with an impressive time of 2.33.38 in the 1985 London Marathon.

(THIS ARTICLE WILL BE COMPLETED IN THE NEXT NEWSLETTER.)

 

MEMORIES: R.A.F. and BRITISH AND IRISH INTERNATIONAL

As I approach my 65th birthday my body is telling me I might also be approaching the time to ‘call it a day’ with regard to competing! For someone who started out as a football playing squash player I feel very honoured and privileged to have achieved what I have done as a runner. How was it all achieved? The love for the sport, dedication and hard work, good coaching and guidance, family support, great team mates, at ALL levels and…….talent!!!! Not sure about that one, I’ve always said that if I had talent I might have made a ‘Big Games’ rather than just dreamt about them.

 As a runner I went through the RAF in the late 70s, 80s and into the 90s, where, when you lined up in a XC race your team mates were all current GB or Home International runners. I’ll give you an example. One year I finished 13th in the RAF XC Championships and ahead of me that day was Jones, Hackney, Goater, Rimmer x 2, Wild, Crabb, Jenkins, Donnelly, McNeilly and Flint, a fine mixture of great talent showing representation from the four Home Countries.

The history of RAF dominance during that period shows a streak of 23 consecutive wins in the Inter-Service XC Championships. The team would be nine strong, there would be five reserves and fringe runners got the opportunity to attend by being listed as, assistant team manager, kit man etc. I attended on a number of occasions doing one of those jobs and also for three years as Junior Team Manager.

I had to wait until I was a veteran before I got the opportunity to compete, and that was a very nerve-wracking experience to say the least, especially the start. I’d run for Scotland and GB in the marathon before but that was nothing to the pressure I felt waiting for the gun to go. Eighteen runners in the race, six from each Service and your team are favourites! The Inter- Service XC would bring the season to a close with the end of season dinner at night……always a night to remember! A few weeks after my second Inter-Service XC as a runner, I left the RAF. I was ready to leave the RAF but I felt perhaps that might be the end of my running at that level.

Quite the reverse really, because, for the last 20 years I’ve gone on to experience a fair degree of success as a ‘Master’. Although running marathons gave me the opportunity to travel world-wide, XC has always been by first love and The British and Irish Masters XC Champs. would become my new ‘Inter-Services’. I have been lucky enough to have competed in this race many times and every race, every venue brings back fond memories.

My first time, I was only a ‘youngster’, a newbie and the race was hosted by Wales. I boarded the team bus outside Glasgow railway station and we set off 11am. We arrived Cardiff 9.30pm, got our hotel room keys and off to bed. Immediately after the race it was a quick visit to Tesco for some food and drink, and then it was back on the bus getting into Glasgow about 1.30am. Talk about the poor relations.

The following year was much the same. A great course at a sports centre in Sunderland, muddy as hell and like the previous year it was back on the bus and straight back to Glasgow.

The next year it was a trip to Dublin and even today I’m still amazed we managed to get there and back in one piece! On the boat the bus developed a fault and for the rest of the trip we had to push the bus to get it started. It was good to experience, Dublin on a Saturday night and to finish off the evening singing and dancing to Joe Dolan and his Band. We had George Sim to thank for that one!

The Kissing Gate at St.Asaph, dining at Barnstaple around the indoor swimming pool and back to Ireland and Navan, Davie’s gold medal, the Flag! Every trip has a special memory.

One thing I particularly remember about those early trips is the first couple of hours after the races had finished. In those days the Rugby 5 Nations were this side of Christmas and many a time was spent in a pub with Archie, Ian and the Editor watching a game while engaging with the locals. The pub selected was usually one that was on Archie or Colin’s list. Their knowledge in that ‘field’ is something to be admired!

But, their knowledge was not just restricted to the U.K. I was lucky enough to accompany them both to the European Non-Stadia Champs in the Czech Republic. The ‘tour’ they took me on in Prague was nothing short of excellent and has been repeated.

My race, in short, was memorable! Archie and Colin both contested the 10K so it was great to have them encourage me in the Half Marathon. I had an inspired run and crossed the line securing a silver medal. Unfortunately, that meant we had to hang about for the medal ceremony. Now, if you think winning a silver medal in a European Championship wasn’t exciting enough it was nothing compared to the ceremony itself. I was presented with my medal by the late Emil’s wife Dana Zatopek. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of that in my scrapbook, since the photographer was dozing in the sun!

Many friendships were formed, not only within your own team but also with runners from the other countries and the meal, presentations and entertainment was always good fun. One year in Northern Ireland I had former RAF team mates all running for the other countries. Put them together and it would have been a winning team. It was always good too to go home with a medal and even better if it was a gold, which I did a couple of times. The best I did individually was, one year, finishing 5th but the success of any team I was in was mainly down to Messrs McLinden and Hurley. I think every time I was selected Andy was also in the team but to be honest there was always a good mix: Archie, Barney and Freddie etc.

Things are a little bit different now thanks to Budget Airlines but personally I don’t think it’s a change for the better. I know there was the odd issue travelling by bus but I do believe back in the early days there was a stronger camaraderie within the team. It was always good fun travelling by bus, Cambuslang slagging off each other; and everyone else on the bus slagging off Cambuslang.

Since I have been involved in organising and managing teams in the past, it cannot be underestimated just how important Davie Fairweather was to the team. A man of few words, the butt of the joke on many an occasion, but totally respected by all.

In this event I’ve competed in all but one of the countries – the one that always eluded me every five years was Scotland. Some things are just not meant to be.

I have a couple of things planned this year; on the ‘bucket list’ is a trip to Oregon for the Prefontaine 10K in September; and hopefully……one last trip to Wales for the XC!

By Doug Cowie

Scottish Masters 3000m Indoors

Eleven 3000 metres races were held on the afternoon of 7th January at the Chris Hoy Stadium, Glasgow. Full results are on the scottishathletics site. A successful event was put on by the Glasgow Athletics Association, the British Milers Club and scottishathletics working together for athletes, coaches and clubs with a view to raising standards. Two Olympic athletes appeared: Laura Muir won the Scottish Senior 3000m title in a fast time; and Eilidh Doyle started her year with a rapid 200m.

Scottish Athletics reported “There was another stunning run by Falkirk Victoria athlete, the incomparable Fiona Matheson. Fiona bettered her own time from this event last year to lower her W55 World Best for 3000m to 10.18.83 with a superb run that surprised her – with her husband, Grant (M55), setting a personal best a bit further back at 10.43. ‘Sometimes you get a performance when you least expect it and I’m really chuffed with this one,’ said Fiona. “To come straight in and run that time surprises me because it’s been difficult training through the Festive period and some tough weather. Grant and I found a hilly field near where we live in Falkirk for one session and then used a cleared mile path at Forth Valley Hospital to do nine x 1 mile reps! He’s getting quicker, now, so I need to watch my back!”

Other Women Masters champions were: Claire Thompson (VP City of Glasgow, who was well clear in the W40 category; Sue Ridley (W50 / EAC) who had a tight battle with Julie Wilson from Inverness and Karen Dobbie (EAC); and Phyllis Hands (W60 / Motherwell.

For the Men, Darrell Hastie (Gala / M35) set the fastest Masters time of the day with 8.51.06; Law’s Darran Muir won the M40 age group; Kerry-Liam Wilson (Cambuslang / M45) posted an impressive 9.02.23 personal best, which for Masters runners, was beaten only by Hastie; Brian Scally (Shettleston / M50) narrowly overcame Cumbernauld’s Howard Elliott; Garscube’s Rob McLennan (M55) won clearly; Allen Marr (P.H. Racing) took the M60 title; Keith’s Ray Aiken secured the M65 championship; and Colin Youngson (Forres H / M70) was content to finish under the standard time for his age group.

SCOTTISH MASTERS INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE CHRIS HOY STADIUM ON 4TH FEBRUARY 2018

Scottish Athletics apologised for scheduling this fixture the day after the (very well-organised) cross-country championships, but really this is, YET AGAIN, simply not good enough. Instead of cramming Masters Track and Field in with young athletes, relays and combined events, why can’t Masters athletes have a meeting on their own? In this particular case, our events could easily have included the 3000m which took place in early January – had it not been for the usual crazy timetabling, which seems to enjoy usually treating older athletes inconsiderately. When SVHC officials complain, they are fobbed off with weak excuses and perhaps some suggestion that the timetabling will be better next time. Should we believe this? Alasdhair Love is the Scottish Athletics spokesman, but who is actually responsible for such dreadful timetabling?

Although some very good Masters athletes took part in this event (many of them from Ireland and England), there is no doubt that the number of Scots entered was disappointing – partly because of the clash with XC.

The Throws and Jumps tended to have only one entrant in each age-group. Fiona Davidson (Aberdeen AAC), who is the current W40 World Masters Triple Jump Champion, was in fine form, winning three W45 events (60 metres, Long Jump and Triple Jump) and setting three Scottish Masters records. The Long Jump performance (5.28 metres) was a British Masters record as well. Sadly, Fiona took one triple jump too many and had to go to A & E with a badly injured Achilles tendon. Let’s hope she makes a full recovery before long.

Gillian Cooke (EAC – W35) won the 60m, Long and Triple Jump titles. David Carson Graham of Shettleston (M40) won both High Jump and Long Jump. James Smith (Motherwell M70) secured Long Jump, Triple Jump, 60 m and 200m gold medals. James Macgregor (Aberdeen AAC – M50) did well to win his High Jump, defeating competitors in younger age groups.

In the Throws, the star was Mhairi Porterfield (W35 – VPGlasgow AC) who achieved an impressive shot putt of 13.15m.

In the Sprints, Dougie Donald (Central – M55) won titles at 60m and 200m; as did his club-mate Cameron Smith (M45); and Martin Leyland (Shetland AAC – M60).

The Middle-Distance events produced some interesting results. Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Vics – W55) actually lost a race! This was the 800m, when Yvonne Crilly (Lothian Running Club) narrowly outsprinted her. However normal service was resumed when Fiona was well clear of her rivals in the 1500m, which she added to her 3000m victory.

Darran Muir (Law & District – M40) was second in the 1500m but won the 800m to go with his 3000m title; Gordon Barrie (DHH – M45) ran exceptionally well to complete the 800m/1500m double; Andy Ronald (FVH – M50) won gold in an extremely competitive battle with Howard Elliott (Cumbernauld AAC, who had previously won his 800m) and Brian Scally (Shettleston). In the M60 800m, Alastair Dunlop (Kirkintilloch) came out top in a tight contest against John Hughes (Motherwell AC). Frank Hurley (Cambuslang – M65), not content with his excellent silver medal in the previous day’s cross-country, showed great resilience by winning gold in the 1500m.

SCOTTISH MASTERS CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS AT KILMARNOCK ON 3rd FEBRUARY 2018

Scottish Athletics reported as follows: “Scotland international hill runner Charlotte Morgan claimed the Women’s gold at the Scottish Masters XC Champs with a dominant performance. And Shettleston’s Jethro Lennox made it two-in-a-row as he followed up his victory at Dundee last year with a repeat success at Dean Castle Country Park.

To say conditions were muddy would be an understatement. There was mud and hills and muddy hills, plus a horses’ field, tree roots to negotiate, paths with mats thereon and, not to forget, a log to hurdle on a steep uphill. It was, as organisers and host club Kilmarnock Harriers had promised, ‘proper cross country’ and a mental as well as physical battle.

Morgan (Carnethy Hill Racing Club) burst clear early on in the Women’s and Men’s V65 race and seemed to relentlessly keep building that advantage. In the end, she romped home in 23.41 – fully 51 seconds ahead of nearest rival, Catriona Morrison of Stirling Triathlon Club. There was a bronze medal for Lesley Chisholm of Garscube Harriers. Gala Harriers women are often prominent on these occasions and 2018 was no different as they took the team golds back to the Borders. Chisholm led Garscube to silvers, with Giffnock North AC landing the bronzes.

Lennox won the men’s V40-60 race over 8k in a time of 30.13 to take it by only a couple of seconds from silver medallist, Iain Reid of Cambuslang Harriers in an exciting finish. In fact, for Jethro it was basically a repeat of last year when he took the title from another Cambuslang athlete – Robert Gilroy. The bronze medal went the way of Tom Ferrington of Corstorphine. Ferrington’s performance helped Corstorphine to the team gold medals with Cambuslang taking silver and Shettleston Harriers bronze.

Tony Martin of Falkland Trail Runners won the M65 race ahead of Frank Hurley of Cambuslang and Andy McLinden of Hamilton Harriers.

Many thanks to host club Kilmarnock Harriers for superb efforts in staging the Masters XC and putting in a lot of work to deliver the event and a tough course. Thanks, too, to Dean Castle Country Park staff and to all the volunteers making a vital contribution as marshals, timekeepers, finish-line video and Results and so on. Your assistance is vital to making events happen.”

A very good report but more should be added. Some would say that the course was too tough for some of the older Masters runners, judging by a number of falls and injuries and general exhaustion……

The W45 contest was won, narrowly, by Karen Kennedy of PH Racing Club (which is based in Dunfermline) from Allie Chong of Giffnock North AC, with Jennifer Forbes (Gala Harriers) close behind.

The battle for W50 medals was also tight, and victory went to Sheila Gollan (East Sutherland AC), in front of Rhona Anderson (Dunbar Running Club) and Jill Morrow (Edinburgh AC).

Pamela McCrossan (Clydesdale Harriers) finished first in the W55 category, not far ahead of PH Racing Club’s Mary Western, with Fiona Carver (Corstorphine AC) third.

The W60 tussle produced a clear win for Isobel Burnett (Carnegie Harriers), from Susan Linklater (Shetland AC) and Innes Bracegirdle (Fife AC).

British and Irish champion W65 Ann White (Garscube Harriers) won easily from her International team-mates – Linden Nicholson (Lasswade AAC) and Jeanette Craig (Springburn Harriers).

Tony Martin’s M65 victory was well-deserved, since he had to defeat stern opposition in Frank Hurley (Cambuslang) and Andy McLinden (Hamilton Harriers).

Alex Sutherland (Inverness Harriers) produced a great run to win the M70 title (not far behind the M65 medallists) and was a very long way in front of Colin Youngson (Forres Harriers) and Phil Smithard (Carnegie Harriers).

M75 Stephen Cromar (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers) added another gold to his impressive medal collection from this annual fixture. Second was George Black (Fife AC) and third Ian Leggett (Lothian Running Club).

First over 80 home was Arnott Kidd; and SVHC stalwart Willie Drysdale (Law & District) soon followed.

The M40-M64 race was packed with impressive ‘young’ athletes!

M45 gold went to William Richardson of Irvine Running Club – he was fifth overall and well clear of Cambuslang’s Justin Carter and Stephen Wylie.

Jim Buchanan (M50 – Dumfries Running Club) had to fight hard to stay a few seconds in front of previous champion Nick Milovsorov (Metro Aberdeen Running Club). Cumbernauld AAC’s Ross McEachern was third.

The next two categories were won by particularly famous Scottish athletes, both from Cambuslang. Colin Donnelly was first in the M55 race, in front of Ted Gourley (Giffnock North AC) and Alick Walkinshaw (Cambuslang). Eddie Stewart became M60 champion but his team-mate Paul Thompson made him work hard and it was good to see Charlie Haskett (DHH) a former multi-surface Scottish International runner, secure the bronze medal.

In the 50-60 Men’s Team Race, Cambuslang won from Shettleston and Corstorphine. The Women’s 40-45 Team medallists were Gala Harriers, Garscube Harriers and Giffnock North AC; and in the 50+ contest, Edinburgh AC, Giffnock North and Fife AC.

There were long queues for showers and also for food and drink; but the medal ceremony was organised very efficiently by Alex Jackson and many colleagues.

Altogether, it was a memorable day and an extremely ‘challenging’ course!

Kilmarnock 2018

There is an apt Gaelic expression for when you encounter an obstacle or obstruction in your path. It’s “cnap staidhre” pronounced with a sneaky but appropriate “r” between the first two letters; literally an annoying or unexpected bump in your progression up some steps or indeed anywhere else where forward movement is affected. One of the pleasures of running with the ‘fast ladies’ is the occasionally shared feminine squeak when a sudden drop or mud slide comes up to meet you – not that they are incapable sometimes of a more robust response.

Anyway, Deans Park, Kilmarnock was not a course for the faint-hearted; no douce Holyrood parkland but a full-blooded, gutsy, mixed-terrain experience providing a continual challenge to find the best foothold, balance and pace adjustment. And that is why those of us who love to get off road can become addicted to cross-country running!

If I go off too quickly I can get the equivalent of travel sickness until the internal bits get used to the jolting, so a good 15-minute warmup confirmed the challenges ahead. Deans Park mud varied between shoe removing suction and sago pudding consistency. Spikes definitely helped on the firmer ground and uphill but how exactly do you run fast downhill in the things with no heel grips? Apply ski technique and just keep leaning forward looking for the turns and open up on the flat? And then there’s the fall-back of imagining you’re playing a good Highland Strathspey on the fiddle or on the dance floor with swoops and checks in rhythm and movement which allow you to soak up and even out the terrain on the musical journey.

So, to return to this race that I’m supposed to be writing about for Colin. It was useful to get a sight of the leaders at the bottom bend and although I’m in another age bracket I’m still racing these guys who have yet to move up to the biblical three score and ten category. Vocal support was good throughout and you could not at any cost let yourself be seen to drop to a walk pace breasting that hill for the second time. The offset log after the muddy drop and hairpin turn was an interesting uphill hurdle challenge which could have spelt disaster but that was claimed by Bobby Young who tripped on one of the rubber mats when almost safely home and proudly wore the local camouflage all the way back to the shower.

And that reminds me of another useful bit of terminology from Orkney. I am told that when you fall off a pier headfirst with a peculiar twisting motion you have “Capswevilled” into the drink. Bobby got an Olympic 9.5!

By Alex Sutherland

 

BRITISH CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS AT FORRES ON 17TH MARCH

2018

Despite the icy wind blowing across Grant Park, it turned out to be a great day for the organisers Forres Harriers and for many Scottish Masters runners. The course wound round bumpy grass, up forest trails and a long, steep, horrible hill, and then along leafy litter (but very little mud), before plunging back down to the park and towards the finish; or into the final lap for non-pensioner men.

Women and old guys raced first, which was only polite. Merely six seconds separated the W40 medallists, with Jennifer MacLean of EAC squeezed into silver medal position by only two seconds.

Sara Green of Gala Harriers won the W35 contest: 5th overall but one place behind the amazing evergreen Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Victoria) who cruised to W55 gold – only a week before she had gained another two British Masters victories (1500m and 3000m) at the Indoor meeting at Lee Valley.

Michelle Slater of Moray Road Runners secured W35 bronze; and Anne Howie (AAAC) W55 silver. W50 bronze medallist was Rachel McCuaig of Nairn Road Runners.

In the W60 category, silver and bronze went to Fife AC runners: Innes Bracegirdle and Margaret Martin.

Linden Nicholson of Lasswade AC enjoyed a tremendous race and became the W65 British Champion by three clear minutes.

Forres Harriers favourite, Anne Docherty, made sure of yet another W70 British Masters title after a close battle with Lesley Bowcott of Wimbledon.

Tony Martin (Falkland Trail Runners), who has kindly sent in an action-packed report, thoroughly deserved his clear M65 victory against very good opposition; Cambuslang’s Frank Hurley sprinted to silver just in front of that durable campaigner Stan Owen from Salford.

Inverness Harrier Alex Sutherland, who is in great form, was clear favourite for the M70 title and won by two minutes. His clubmate Tim Kirk finished third.

A real Scottish Masters stalwart, Pete Cartwright of Clydesdale, ran strongly to win M75 gold.

Then there was a special moment for Les Nicol (Metro Aberdeen RC). He has won Scottish Masters XC titles at M70 and M75; and was M75 bronze medallist in the 2014 British and Irish Masters XC International; but now he achieved a greater triumph, becoming British M80 Champion a minute ahead of Steve James (Southport), who is a past World Champion in several age groups.

In the Second race, Inverness Harrier Donnie Macdonald sped to an impressive overall victory and M35 gold. Robbie Paterson from Moray Road Runners was fourth finisher and secured M35 silver. Just behind him, Leon Johnson (EAC) won M40 bronze.

Justin Carter of Cambuslang sprinted in to win M45 silver, hotly pursued by two age-group rivals.

Steve Cairns, nowadays representing Tyne Bridge Harriers, became M50 champion.

The seemingly indestructible Colin Donnelly (Cambuslang) raced away with the M55 title. (It was long ago, in 1979, when young Colin first made clear his amazing talent and toughness by winning the gruelling Ben Nevis Race.)

In the M60 age group, there were silver and bronze medals for two Scottish athletes: Donald Petrie (Kilbarchan) and Frankie Barton (Cambuslang).

18 individual gold medals were available; and Scots won 9 of them! This was the northernmost venue for the BMAF XC but more than 200 finished and another 50 had entered – a good turnout for this annual event.

Many team prizes also stayed in Scotland. W35: Metro Aberdeen gold; Forres Harriers bronze. W45: Inverness Harriers gold; Edinburgh AC silver. W55: Forres Harriers gold. M35: Inverness gold; EAC silver; Moray Road Runners bronze. M45: Inverness gold. M55: Cambuslang gold. M65: Cambuslang gold; Inverness silver; Clydesdale bronze.

BMAF officials were delighted. Maclean’s range of delicious hot pies prevented hypothermia. Then results arrived and presentations went smoothly. For those not travelling home, celebrations continued into the night. A great day, indeed!

BMAF Masters Cross Country 2018: The Battle for M65 Victory

The Beast from the East Part 2 had started its shenanigans again on Sat morning. Looking out of the window at 6:30 a.m., I could see a small blizzard was blowing in, not a good omen for the 3-hour trip up to Forres for the British Masters XC champs (6K).

However, the weather gods relented and we enjoyed an incident free trip past snow-covered mountains, highlighted with spring sunshine against a blue sky. We arrived in Forres with around 40 minutes to spare before the start of the race – quick number pickup, changed and a jog over to the start – it didn’t give us much time to look at the course – apart from the loop around the park. Met up with a few running friends and rivals, notably my Scottish team mate Frank Hurley and, from way back when I first started running, Salford runner Stan Owen. Stan doesn’t travel to races just to take part.

The fact that it was a British Championship gave us a chance to race against runners from London, Gloucester, Liverpool and other areas from England. Those making the journey hadn’t come all that way just to look at the scenery.

Considering the amount of rain and snow we had over the past weeks, the course was dry underfoot. The route took us around the park over a couple of bumps and up a small hill, cut off to the right and back round the park again. Instead of cutting off right on the small hill, this time we continued up the big hill, up some more, climbed a bit more, but after that it was back down onto the flat and into the finish.

At the start the wind was in our faces. The sun was out but couldn’t compete against the chilly wind. As we lined up, I looked around – Stan was way over to my left. I was as close to the barrier as I could get, on account that the course took a right turn. Frank hovered behind me. I didn’t want to lead out from the start, but from where Stan was it meant he had quite a way to run to get to the corner.

I had no choice, as the gun went, but to go into the lead at a steady pace. Stan caught me and immediately went to the front. “Here we go,” I thought, “He’s going to force it now.” The pace was comfortable and I sat on Stan’s shoulder until we hit a small bump. Then I pushed up, overtook Stan and hit the hill.

As we turned right and headed down to the 2nd loop, Stan came flying past me, putting in a burst onto the flat. Decision time. Do I let him gain a few yards and try to pick him up (if I could) later on? Or go with the pace and hang on? Go with the pace, it’s a championship race.

I got my head down and chased him. Stan slowed down, so I went past, lungs bursting. “Oh, blinking heck!” (substitute your own swear words in here!): he’s now going to sit in with Frank and leave me hanging out at the front. Momentum carried me on, and I gradually pulled away from the pack. I’m assuming that’s what happened, as I wasn’t looking back, too scared about what I might see!

I decided that when we hit the hill, to push really hard. if anyone came past me, fair play to them, they deserved it. The hill was a relentless hard climb, which levelled out to a bend then kicked you in the teeth with another incline – we only did it once but the youngsters had to run it twice.

I had a chance to look down on the path as we twisted our way up. I couldn’t see Frank or Stan below me, so I assumed they were sitting behind, waiting to give me a good kicking. Over the top, and we headed down towards the park again, leaping over a small embankment which caused a few casualties as we landed among the Spring daffodils poking up nervously.

Summoning up my last reserves of energy, I dug in hard around the winding route to the finish, trying to make it difficult for anyone sneaking up behind me to overtake. I crossed the line in 1st place 22:44, 6th overall, happy to note that Frank had passed Stan on the small embankment to secure 2nd place with Stan 3rd.

It may not seem like this to the observer from the sidelines, but the racing in the Vets is just as fierce as you would find in Senior races – only maybe a bit slower. Most of us hail from an era (before the running boom) when road and XC was predominately about racing and not a mass-participation sport. That’s why I enjoy competing in Masters races – you get a good honest race like they used to be! Coupled with a friendly competitive spirit and a chance to catch up with Old friends (literally!). You couldn’t wish for more.

By Tony Martin

 

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2017-2018

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949 MARGARET DALY 24 Strowan Crescent Sandyhills Glasgow G32 9DW Tel. 0141 573 6572

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

April 2018

Sun 1st Tom Scott 10 mile Road Race Water Sports Centre, Strathclyde Park, Motherwell 10:00am

Sat 28th BMAF Road Relay Champs Sutton Park,Birmingham

May 2018

Wed 2nd Snowball 4.8M road race Coatbridge 7:30pm Changing at Lochview Golf Driving Centre

Sun 6th Walter Ross 5m Trail Race, Pollok Park, Cartha Rugby Club 1:30pm

18th – 20th European Masters Non Stadia Championships – Alicante, Spain

Sat 26th Bathgate Weslo Cairnpapple Race 2:30pm Entry fee £3 June 2018

Wed 6th Corstorphine 5 Mile Road Race Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh, 7:30pm

Sun 17th BMAF 5km Championships Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road , Horwich BL6 5PY

Sun 24th BMAF Multi-Terrain Champs Gravesend

Wed 27th SVHC 5K Champs Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, 19:30

July 2018

Sun 8th England Masters Inter-Area T&F Challenge Solihull

Sat 14th SAL Masters T&F Champs, Grangemouth

Sun 22nd BMAF Half Marathon Champs Redhill, Surrey

Fri 27th SAL Masters 5000M Champs, Scotstoun

August 2018 Sun 5th BMAF 10K Champs, Stoke on Trent

Sun 12th Glasgow 800 10km road race Cartha Rugby Club, 1:30pm

September 2018 Sat 15th Masters Cross Country Trials Tollcross Park

Sun 23rd Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness

October 2018

Sun 7th SVHC Half Marathon Champs, Kirkintilloch

Sun 7th BMAF Marathon Champs, Chester

Sun 14th SVHC Track 10,000m. Times TBC Followed by AGM, Date & venue TBC See website for full details

November 2018

Sat 17th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Swansea, Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: AUTUMN 2018

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 12th August 2018

MEMBERS Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

Don Ritchie OBE sadly passed away on 16th June.

Welcome to the 31 new and 6 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 10th Mar 2018. As of 12th August 2018, we have 518 paid up members, including 24 over 80 & 5 Life Members. 87 have either not paid, or underpaid, their subscriptions.

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests can be purchased from Andy Law for £18, including Postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2443 Peter Mackie 10-Mar-18 Glasgow

2444 John Coyle 23-Mar-18 Glasgow

2445 Graeme Ferguson 27-Mar-18 Forth

2446 Michelle Slater 30-Mar-18 Buckie

2447 Chris Gunstone 05-Apr-18 Tyninghame

2448 Mary Senior 11-Apr-18 Clydebank

2449 Mike Houston 11-Apr-18 Chichester

2450 Karen Greasley 26-Apr-18 Reading

2451 Douglas Graham 27-Apr-18 Edinburgh

2452 Sean McGleenan 28-Apr-18 Dumfries

2453 Darrell Hastie 04-May-18 Kelso

2454 Brian Hughes 04-May-18 Glasgow

2455 Patricia Hampton 11-May-18 Balerno

2456 Paul Masterton 14-May-18 Edinburgh

2457 Nick Freer 22-May-18 Edinburgh

2458 Emma Dawson 21-May-18 Ellon

2459 Craig Taylor 22-May-18 Tranent

2460 Julie Hendry 23-May-18 Aberdeen

2461 Brent Broadie 28-May-18 Newton Mearns

2462 Barry Queen 30-May-18 Helensburgh

2463 Stephen Murphy 05-Jun-18 Edinburgh

2464 John Robertson 05-Jun-18 Peterhead

2465 Graeme Gemmell 13-Jun-18 Glasgow

2466 Julie Tuck 13-Jun-18 Peterculter

2467 Paul White 05-Jul-18 Motherwell

2468 Emma Raven 22-Jul-18 Silsden

2469 Gavin McMurray 26-Jul-18 Balerno

2470 Julia Johnstone 26-Jul-18 Morebattle

2471 Claire Reid 30-Jul-18 Coatbridge

2472 Jane Kidd 01-Aug-18 Kenilworth

2473 Gillian Cooke 10-Aug-18 Edinburgh

2202 Chris Creegan 12-Mar-18 Edinburgh

2094 Robert Watson 27-Mar-18 Cumbernauld

1266 Martin Leyland 14-May-18 Shetland

2246 Robert Keenan 30-May-18 Cumbernauld

1534 Alex Parker 20-Jun-18 Clydebank

2205 Graeme Murdoch 09-Aug-18 Galashiels

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

                                                                               DON RITCHIE: VETERAN CHAMPION

After my dear friend Donald died suddenly in June 2018, many impressive tributes and obituaries were published on both sides of the Atlantic. He was rightly celebrated as a modest, friendly, incredibly tough Scotsman who had been the greatest 20th Century ultra-distance runner, certainly in track or road events between 50km and 24 hours indoors. Do check online to learn more about Donald’s peak performances between 1977 and 1979 (when his age was 32-34).

For the SVHC Newsletter, I thought it would be appropriate to mention highlights of his ‘Masters’ running career.

In the M35 category he won important 100km titles, set Track World Records for 40 miles, 50 miles and 200km, ran two sub-2.20 marathons, represented Scotland (aged 39) at that distance and won the Two Bridges 36-mile road race.

Before his retirement from running in 2011, Donald secured another ten Scottish vests (four for marathon and six for 100km) and 17 British vests (eleven 100km and six 24 hours). His last Senior International appearance (aged 56) was in 2000.

His achievements, in Veteran age-groups from M40 to M55, were outstanding. Although he could do no better than 4th in the 1985 Scottish Masters cross-country and first M45 in the 1992 Lochaber/SVHC marathon, as an ultra-runner, Donald reigned supreme.

In the M40 category, he ran the 1985 London Marathon in 2.21.26; won 100km races in Lincolnshire and Turin; triumphed in the 1986 Two Bridges; won overall silver (and M40 gold) in the very first (1987) IAU World Championships 100km in Belgium; and was victorious in the Italian Del Passatorie classic (101.5 km) and the Moray Marathon. In 1988, Donald set 7 Scottish Indoor Track Records (from 40 miles to 144 miles 1009 yards) in the Kelvin Hall 24 hours race. In April 1989, he set a new record for the gruelling John o’Groats to Land’s End solo run: 846.4 miles in 10 days 15 hours 27 minutes.

As an M45, he had a marvellous race in the 1990 Road Runners Club 24 hours indoor event in Milton Keynes, winning the AAA, GB and International titles with a new World Record of 166 miles 425 yards (setting other new marks en route at 100 miles and 200km). Then Donald finished first in several other races: Lochaber Marathon, John Tarrant Memorial 50 miles, Lincolnshire 100km, Two Bridges 36 miles and Santander (Spain) 100km. Unsurprisingly, also in 1990, Donald had no difficulty in becoming the inaugural Scottish 100km track champion, establishing World M45 records. Aged 46, he secured his first GB vest in the IAU World Cup 100km in Duluth, USA.

More M45 achievements followed. Donald was first Veteran in the 1991 Madrid 100km; second GB team counter, contributing to bronze medals, in the Del Passatorie 100km World Cup; finished outright victor in the West Highland Way Race and the Tarrant 50 miles; and first Veteran in the Santander 100km. He became British 24 Hours outdoor track champion with a personal best of 166 miles 1203 yards, which was also an M45 World Best (at 100 miles, 200km and 24 hours).

By 1992, Donald had been awarded all the major Scottish Athletics trophies. That year he won the British 100km championship and retained his AAA 24 hours title. Then he finished first Veteran in the European 100km championships; and won the first Scottish 100km road championships at Riccarton, near Edinburgh. In 1993 he was second in the UK National 100km and also the AAA 100km. 1994 included 3rd place (and first M45) in the West Highland Way.

At M50, Donald continued to run well most of the time. In the 1994 Commonwealth Games demonstration 100km, which took place in Victoria, Canada, he was individual bronze medallist and first M50, contributing to Scottish team silver behind the host nation.  In 1995, he set an M50 record in the Barry 40 miles track race; became European M50 champion over 100km; secured Scottish 100km M50 gold; for GB was first M50 in the IAU World Cup 100km in Holland; and set M50 World Track Records (for 50 miles and 100km) in a 24 Hours race in England.

Then on 5th December 1995, Queen Elizabeth presented Donald Alexander Ferguson Ritchie with the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) for services to Running and Charity.

In 1996, Donald was Scottish Captain for the 100km Anglo-Celtic Plate and won individual and team silver medals. Then diabetes was diagnosed and his running suffered. Nevertheless, he was second M50 in the European 100km.

In 1998, Donald was third M50 in the European 100km; and first GB counter in the IAU European 24 hours. In 1999 he was first M50 in the Speyside Way 50km; and the Scottish 50km championships; as well as running well for Scotland (5th overall) in the Dublin 100km Anglo-Celtic Plate.

In 2000, Donald set an M55 record in the Speyside Way 50km; and was second Veteran in the Scottish 50km. He was first M55 in the Flanders 100km and the Moray Marathon. He became M55 champion in the World Veterans 100km in Holland; and won his age group in the London to Brighton 55 miles road race. Then he was second GB finisher in the European 24 Hours in Holland and contributed to team bronze medals.

In 2001, Donald won his age group in the Barry 40 miles track. In 2002, he was first M55 in the London to Brighton. By the end of that year he was still averaging more than 100 miles training per week. His final win took place in 2003, when he won the Sri Chinmoy Track 24 Hours race in England.

Despite enduring several worsening health problems, Donald kept trying to run until 2011; and then during the last seven years travelled world-wide with his wife Isobel.

Donald Ritchie’s whole career training diaries (1962-2011) cover a thousand pages and note every mile run: an amazing total of 208 thousand 100.8 miles. Truly phenomenal!

SCOTTISH WOMEN IN THE IAAF WORLD CROSS continued

In 1986 the World XC Championship moved to Neuchatel, Switzerland. A record field of 161 competed. Marcella Robertson ran a very fine race to finish 25th and fourth Briton. Yvonne Murray was 38th (6th Briton), consistent Christine Price 57th and Karen MacLeod 101st. The Scottish team did remarkably well to finish twelfth from 28, and beat Australia, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Ireland, Brazil, Wales, Morocco, Netherlands, India, Northern Ireland and Puerto Rico!

Marsela Robertson had a short but successful career in Scotland. She won the 1985 SAAA 1500m and finished ninth in the 3000m at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

Very sadly, and unfairly for Scotland, since the team was definitely worthy of continuing to compete as a separate nation, 1987 was the final year before a harsh IAAF order insisted that only one ‘United Kingdom’ team would be allowed to compete. The event was held in Warsaw – and what a good performance was put on by the Scottish Women!

152 ran. Liz Lynch had improved dramatically and made a bold attempt to race right away from a top-class field of rivals. Doug Gillon of The Glasgow Herald reported that Liz tried so hard to dominate, despite the course involving the freezing muddy wastes of a racecourse, with thirty obstacles to negotiate. Unfortunately, she began to slow towards the finish, slipped momentarily and was overhauled by France’s Annette Sergent only 150 metres from the line. Liz Lynch, defeated by only two seconds, and in front of future champions Ingrid Kristiansen (Norway) and Lynn Jennings (USA), was bitterly disappointed, but her silver medal was a wonderful achievement and by far the finest result for any Scottish Woman since International cross-country championships began for her country in 1935. The team backed their leader very well indeed. Yvonne Murray was 16th and second Briton, Karen MacLeod 64th, and Christine Price (in her tenth and final appearance in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships) a valiant 81st. Scotland finished an excellent ninth from 26, only eleven points behind England and in front of Canada, New Zealand, West Germany, Wales, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Australia, Ethiopia, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Japan, Bulgaria, Brazil, India and Northern Ireland.

Liz McColgan (formerly Liz Lynch) became the best-known Scottish and UK distance runner. Her full profile should be read. A few highlights include the following. Scottish titles at 1500m indoors, 3000m (both indoors and outdoors) and Cross Country (aged 39, in 2004). UK titles at 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m. Taking part in Commonwealth, European and World Championships and three Olympic Games. Two Commonwealth gold medals for 10,000m (in 1986 and 1990). Silver medals in the 1987 World Cross, 1988 Olympic 10,000m and 1989 World Indoor 3000m. Winning the World Championship 10,000m in 1991, simply burning off her rivals with relentless front-running. Being named 1991 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. A World Half Marathon victory in 1991. Winning the New York, Tokyo and London Marathons. Breaking Scottish, British, Commonwealth, European and World records. What a talented, tough athlete; what an amazing career. Dundee, Scotland and Britain should be very proud of Liz McColgan.

SCOTTISH WOMEN IN THE WORLD CROSS 1988-2017

Predictably, English runners have packed most UK teams in the World Cross and Scottish athletes, unable to race cross country for their country, lost some motivation as well as valuable racing experience against the best opposition. However, a number of Scots have been selected and have run well in the three events available: Senior Women Long Course; Senior Women Short Course; and Junior Women.

Senior Women

No Scots, predictably, were selected for the Senior Women’s Long Course Championships between 1988 and 1990. Trials were held in England.

In 1991 at Antwerp, Liz McColgan (nee Lynch) ran with her usual fire to secure the bronze medal, only four seconds behind Lynn Jennings and one second behind future Olympic champion Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia. 126 ran. The UK team was 5th from 20.

The 1992 World Championship was held in Boston, USA. 127 ran. Liz McColgan finished 41st (3rd Briton) and Vikki McPherson 61st (5th Briton). Derartu Tulu did not finish. The UK team was 7th from 21.

Vikki McPherson: In 1992 the Glasgow University student won the British Universities and the Scottish XC titles. She won the Senior National again in 1993 and, running for City of Glasgow AC, in 1995. On the track, Vikki McPherson became AAA 10,000m champion in 1993 and won the UK 10,000m in 1997. She ran that distance in the 1993 World Championships and two Commonwealth Games: 1994 (5th) and 1998 (4th).

Amorbieta, Spain, was the venue in 1993. 148 ran. Liz McColgan produced another excellent performance, finishing 5th in a top-class field. Paula Radcliffe was 18th and Scottish champion Vikki McPherson ran very well to be 38th (third Briton). The UK team finished 7th from 26.

Budapest, Hungary, hosted the 1994 event. 148 ran. Vikki McPherson (now City of Glasgow AC) was selected for the third year in succession and finished 80th (4th Briton).

No Scots were selected in 1995, but in 1996 (Stellenbosch, South Africa) Vikki McPherson finished 49th (and second Briton) behind Paula Radcliffe (19th). 133 ran.

In 1997 the World Cross took place in Turin, Italy. 148 raced. Paula Radcliffe won a silver medal and Hayley Haining, the Scottish XC champion, ran a fine race to finish 22nd (third Briton). The UK team just missed out on medals, finishing 4th from 24 countries. Ethiopia won, with Kenya second and Ireland third, mainly thanks to Catherina McKiernan (7th) and Sonia O’Sullivan (9th).

Hayley Haining was very talented but susceptible to injury. Nevertheless, she achieved many excellent results and carved out a long career. She won the 1985 British Schools Cross-Country international at the age of 13; and later that year won the SWAAA 800m title for her age group. In 1990 and 1991 she ran for the UK in the World Cross Country Championships for Junior Women. Hayley became a Glasgow University team-mate of Vikki McPherson and in 1991 beat her into third place when winning the National Senior XC title. Hayley, representing City of Glasgow AC, won that championship again in 1997 and 2000. In 1995, Hayley secured the Scottish track 5000m title, which she regained in 2000. In 1999 Hayley Haining won the AAA 5000m championship; and in 2008 (running for Kilbarchan AC) finished first in the Scottish 10,000m championship. Apart from Team Bronze in the World Cross Senior Long Course in 1998, her best race was probably in the 2005 World Championship Marathon in Helsinki, when Paula Radcliffe won, Hayley was 25th and GB won World Cup Team Bronze, behind Kenya and Japan but ahead of Ethiopia. In the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon she finished 9th. Then Hayley was unlucky because, after running an excellent 2.29.18 in the London Marathon, she was named only first reserve for the Olympic event. Finally, aged 42, in the 2014 Commonwealth Games marathon, held in her home town of Glasgow, she rounded off a very successful career with 13th place.

In 1998 the World Cross moved to Marrakech. 97 ran. Ten years earlier, the UK had won team silver; and in 2004 finished third. In 1998 it was an excellent third place as well – and between 1988 and 2017, these were the only team medals gained by the UK. In Morocco, Paula Radcliffe won silver. She received strong support from two Scots – Hayley Haining (13th) and Vikki McPherson (25th), as well as Liz Talbot (34th). 15 teams started and only Kenya and Ethiopia were ahead of UK.

No Scots were selected in 1999 but in 2000 the World Cross was held in Vilamoura, Portugal. 104 ran. Paula Radcliffe finished 5th and Scottish champion Hayley Haining was 56th (fifth Briton). The UK team was sixth from 16.

Paula Radcliffe won at last in 2001, alas without Scottish team-mates. She retained the World Cross title in 2002, when the event took place in Dublin, where 88 started. Kathy Butler ran well to finish 18th (third Briton), and the team was fifth from 13.

No Scots were selected in 2003 but Kathy Butler featured again in 2004 (Brussels, 100 starters) finishing an excellent 11th, and leading the UK team to third place from 14 teams, behind the inevitable Ethiopia and Kenya. By now, fewer countries tended to participate, presumably because of predictable African domination.

Kathy Butler had previously competed for Canada in the 1996 Olympic 5000m. However, she had been born in Edinburgh (with English parents). Kathy changed allegiance to the UK in 2000 and she ran well in the 2001 World Cross Short Course event, for which she was selected again in 2003. Scottish 1500m titles were won in 2000 and 2001, when she ran the World Championship 3000m and 5000m. In 2004 she won the AAA 10,000m (a title she retained a year later) and finished 12th in that event at the 2004 Olympics. Kathy Butler specialised in 10.000m and was 12th in the 2006 European Championships and 7th in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

In 2005, when the World Cross moved to St Etienne, France. Kathy Butler started but did not finish.

Fukuoka, Japan, was the 2006 venue and 99 started. Kathy Butler finished 32nd and second Briton but the team was seventh from 15 countries.

No Scot competed in 2007 but in 2008, when the World Cross was held in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh and 99 started, Laura Kenney ran well to finish 38th and third Briton. The team was 6th from 12 nations.

Laura Kenney’s married name was Laura Whittle. Her father was Paul Kenney, who ran well for Scotland in the World Cross at Junior and Senior levels. In 2010 and 2015 she was second in the AAA 5000m (and third in 2008 and 2014). Laura competed internationally for GB and also for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where she ran a fine race to finish sixth.

The 2009 event took place in Amman, Jordan, where 97 started. Steph Twell finished 38th and first Briton. The team was ninth from twelve.

Steph Twell (who had a Scottish mother) was a very promising athlete who enjoyed tremendous early success before suffering a fractured ankle in a 2011 cross country race. Since then she has fought back bravely and has gained GB selection for further major championships. In 2005 and 2006 she ran for UK in the World Cross event for Junior Women; and won the European Junior Cross Country championship three times (2006-2008). Steph won the 2008 World Junior 1500m title. In 2009 she ran 1500m in the World Championships; and a year later finished 7th in the European 1500m. Running for Scotland, Steph Twell won a bronze medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games 1500m and was fourth in the 5000m. She set a new Scottish 5000m record that year. Eventually recovering from that horrible injury, she won the 2013 Scottish 1500m title and ran 5000m in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Championships. In 2015 she won the GB 5000m; and a year later the GB Indoor 3000m. 2016 was a very successful year, since Steph was sixth in the World Indoor 3000m; won bronze in the European 5000m; and competed at that distance in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Two Scots were selected for the 2010 World Cross in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where only 86 started. Steph Twell finished 23rd to lead the UK team, with Freya Murray 37th and 3rd Briton. The UK team was sixth from twelve.

Freya Murray (married name Freya Ross) won the 2001 Scottish under-17 XC title; the 2003 and 2004 under-20 championships; and the Senior National six times (2006, 2007 and 2009-2012). She ran for UK in the 2004 Junior World Cross. Freya won two Scottish track championships: 10,000m in 2009 and 5000m in 2010. In addition she was UK 5000m champion in 2009 and 2010. In the 2010 Commonwealth Games Freya was 7th in the 5000m and 5th in the 10,000m. After running the 2012 London Marathon in an impressive 2.28.12, Freya Murray was selected to compete for GB in the London Olympic Games marathon and did well to finish 44th (first Briton –  2.32.14) in a truly world class field.

No Scot was chosen in 2011 but because from then on the World Cross was to be held every two years, the next event was in 2013, again in Bydgoszcz, Poland. 97 started. Steph Twell finished 40th (third Briton) and the team was seventh from 15.

In 2015 (Guiyang, China) when 83 started, only two British athletes were chosen for the Senior Women’s race. England’s Gemma Steel ran well to finished 18th, as did Scotland’s Rhona Auckland (19th) who was only three seconds behind.

Rhona Auckland was a promising young cross country and track runner from the North East of Scotland. Her victories included: 2011 Celtic Nations XC; 2012 Scottish National 4k XC; 2013 Scottish National XC; 2014 Scottish National Short Course XC. At Under-23 level, Rhona won four European titles: 2013 Cross Country and 10,000m track; 2014 Cross Country; and 2015 10,000m. In 2015 she won the British Universities 5000m, the English Under-23 5000m, and the British Senior 10,000m track championships. Her personal best for 10,000m was a very good 32 minutes 22.79 seconds.

In 2017, no Senior Women competed for UK in Kampala, Uganda. Could the IAAF World Cross Country Championships continue much longer? Why did the UK not send a team? Surely many runners in that country still competed seriously in cross country?

IAAF WORLD CROSS: WOMEN’S SHORT COURSE 1998-2005

This eight-year experiment involve only two Scots.

In Ostend 2001, 118 ran. Kathy Butler (who had been fourth for Canada in 1999) finished 12th (second Briton) and the UK team was fourth from 19 countries.

Both Kathy Butler and Freya Murray were selected to compete in 2003 but neither started the race.

In Brussels 2004, 97 started. Kathy Butler finished 20th (second Briton) and Freya Murray 52nd (fourth Briton). The UK team was 5th from 12 nations.

IAAF WORLD CROSS: JUNIOR WOMEN 1989 onwards

In 1990 at Aix-les-Bains, France, 121 ran, Hayley Haining finished 42nd (4th Briton) and the UK team was fifth from 21 countries.

The venue in 1991 was Antwerp. 127 started. Hayley Haining ran very well to be 7th (first Briton, since Paula Radcliffe was 15th). The UK team was fourth from 20.

1996 (Stellenbosch, South Africa) was the next time a Scot was selected for the UK team. Unfortunately Sheila Fairweather started but did not finish.

Sheila Fairweather (City of Glasgow AC) was a very promising athlete who won the Scottish National XC under 17 title in 1995 and the under 20 championship in 1998. In 1997 she became Scottish track 5000m title holder.

Belfast was where the 1999 Junior World Cross took place. 124 ran. Susan Partridge finished 89th (5th Briton) and the UK team was 13th from 21.

Susan Partridge (Victoria Park City of Glasgow / Leeds City). Her father Alan was a good Scottish middle distance and cross country runner. Susan won the Scottish under 17 XC title in 1996 and 1997. She ran for UK in the 1998 European Junior XC Championships and the 1999 Junior World Cross XC. She won the Senior National XC in 2003 and 2008. In 2003 she finished first in the Scottish track 5000m. Her career as a marathon runner started in 2004 and in 2005 she ran for GB in the World Half Marathon championships, finishing a good 25th. She competed for Scotland in the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon, running well to finish tenth. In the 2010 European marathon she was 16th and the British team won bronze medals in the European Marathon Cup. In the 2011 World Championships marathon she was first Briton in 24th place. Susan Partridge’s best time for the classic distance was 2 hrs 30 minutes 46 seconds.

In 2001 at Ostend, 130 ran. Collette Fagan finished 38th (third Briton) and the UK team did well to be 6th from 23.

Collette Fagan (City of Glasgow AC) won the Scottish under-20 National XC title in 2002; and the Senior National in 2005. She was first in the Scottish 5000m championship in 2004 (when she was third in the AAA as well) and retained the Scottish 5000m title in 2005. Collette ran for Scotland in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 10,000m, finishing twelfth.

In 2002 Freya Murray was selected but did not start.

Brussels was the venue in 2004, when 117 started. Rosie Smith finished 56th (second Briton) and the team was 11th from 17.

Rosie Smith has run for Edinburgh University and Hunter’s Bog Trotters, the most cavalier club in the country. Between 2010 and 2016 she won 3 silver and three bronze medals in the Senior National XC. In 2010 and 2016 Rosie Smith led HBT to the Scottish team title – feats which were doubtless celebrated thoroughly!

St Etienne, France, hosted the event in 2005. 117 started. Steph Twell finished 60th (third Briton) and Morag MacLarty was 71st (4th Briton). The team was 8th from 17.

Morag MacLarty (Central) won the Scottish under 17 National XC in 2002 and 2003, the Junior National in 2005 and the Senior National title in 2017. On the track Morag ran for Scotland in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 1500m; and won the Scottish 1500m title in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2015.

The Junior Women’s race at the 2006 World Cross was held in Fukuoka and there were 78 starters. Steph Twell improved to 30th (2nd Briton) and the team was fifth from twelve.

In 2007 (Mombasa, Kenya) Olivia Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) finished 38th from 87 (fourth Briton), with the UK team fifth from 11. (Although Olivia, like Laura, had a Scottish mother, I am not sure that she followed her sister’s lead by running in or for Scotland.)

The 2010 (Bydgoszcz, Poland) team featured Beth Potter, who finished 36th from 95 and fifth Briton.  UK was fifth from 14.

Beth Potter (Victoria Park City of Glasgow AC) won the Scottish under 17 National XC in 2008 and 2009, the Junior National in 2011 and the Senior National title in 2016. She was third in the GB 5000m in 2011 and second in the GB 10,000m in 2014. In 2014 she ran for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games 5000m (9th) and the 10,000m (5th); she was also 14th in the European Championship 10,000m. Then in 2016 she ran that distance for GB in the Rio Olympics.

In 2017 the World Cross moved to Kampala, Uganda. 104 ran in the Junior Women’s race (for under 20-year-olds). Two Scots did well in difficult conditions, after unpleasant travel injections and a long flight, arriving one day before the event. Gillian Black finished 46th and Anna Macfadyen 48th. They were second and third Britons. Although the UK team was 9th from 16, the other competing European teams – Spain and Italy – were defeated, as well as Morocco, Australia, USA, Peru and Tanzania.

Gillian Black (Victoria Park City of Glasgow AC) has been a good athlete for quite a while. She won the Scottish Schools 1500m (Group B) in 2013; and the 3000m in both 2013 and 2014. As an under 20 runner, in 2015 she was first in the Celtic Games XC; and won the National Short Course XC title. In 2017 she became National XC under 20 champion; and was second to Anna in the English Inter Counties in Loughborough, which ensured selection for Kampala.

Anna Macfadyen (Forres Harriers) is a year younger than Gillian and in 2016 won the National under 17 XC title. She was first in the North District XC championships, won the Scottish Schools XC and ran for Scotland in the Czech Republic, finishing seventh in the International Mountain Running Youth Cup. In 2017 Anna won the Scottish Schools XC title again; was second to Gillian in the under 20 National XC; won the Celtic Games/GB Cross Challenge in Cardiff; and then won the English Inter Counties XC/GB Cross Challenge outright in Loughborough, which ensured selection for Kampala.

Both of those young Scottish women show great promise and, if they remain committed to their sport, and avoid over-training and injury, I can see no reason why they should not enjoy long, successful careers in athletics, emulating the distinguished runners who have been mentioned in this brief history of Scottish Women who have participated in the ICCU or IAAF World Cross Country Championships between 1935 and 2017.

Scottish Senior Women in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Rhona Auckland

Aberdeen AAC (1) 2015 (19)

Lynda Bain

Aberdeen AAC (1) . 1985 (113)

Ann Barrass / Parker

Aldershot F&D (3) 1973 (38) 1975 (56) 1976 (60)

Alison Brown

Greenock Rankin Park (1) 1975 (64)

Kathy Butler

Windsor S and E

Mary Chambers

Blaydon H/EAC (2) 1973 (61) 1976 (61)

Margaret Coomber

Cambridge H (8) 1973 (19) 1974 (39) 1975 (42) 1976 (54) 1977 (52) 1978 (69) 1979 (82) 1980 (88

Andrea Everett

Glasgow AC (1) 1984 (100)

Katie Fitzgibbon

London Olympiades AC (1) 1987 (138)

Palm Gunstone

Dundee HH (3) 1973 (74) 1974 (63) 1975 (67)

Hayley Haining

Glasgow University/City of Glasgow AC (3) 1997 (22) 1998 (13)

Barbara Harvie/Murray

Aberdeen University 2 1980 (79) 1981 (103)

Christine Haskett/Price

Dundee HH/Stretford AC (10) 1973 (27) 1974 (33) 1975 (23) 1976 (23) 1977 (61) 1981 (68) 1982 (36) 1985 (94) 1986 (57) 1987 (81)

Janet Higgins

Glasgow AC (2) 1977 (92) 1978 (87)

Violet Hope/Blair

Central Region AC (2) 1978 (91) 1979 (91)

Kirsty Husband

Edinburgh Southern H (1) 1984 (84)

Gillian Hutcheson

Edinburgh University (1) 1977 (86)

Laura Kenney

Royal Sutton Coldfield (1) 2008 (38)

Liz Lynch/McColgan

Dundee Hawkhill H (2) 1982 (71) 1987 (2) 1991 (3) 1992 (41) 1993 (5).

Jean Lorden

Edinburgh Southern H 3 1982 (66) 1983 (77) 1986 (107)
Elise Lyon Wycombe Phoenix (3) 1983 (67) 1984 (77) 1985 (84)
Linsey Macdonald Pitreavie AC (1) 1981 (110)
Lynne MacDougall Glasgow AC (3) 1981 (75) 1982 (81) 1983 (97)
Karen MacLeod Edinburgh AC (3) 1985 (107) 1986 (101) 1987 (64)
Sonia McLaren Aberdeen AAC (1) 1980 (89)
Christine McMeekin / Whittingham Glasgow AC / WSE (2) 1980 (18) 1984 (81)
Vikki McPherson Glasgow University/ City of Glasgow AC (5) 1992 (61) 1993 (38) 1994 (80) 1996 (49) 1998 (25)
Fiona McQueen Glasgow AC (5) 1978 (79) 1979 (57) 1980 (73) 1983 (51) 1984 (41)
Kathy Mearns Aberdeen AAC (3) 1982 (65) 1983 (53) 1984 (87)
Freya Murray Edinburgh (1) 2010 (37)
Yvonne Murray Edinburgh AC (6) 1981 (79) 1982 (42) 1983 (94) 1985 (42) 1986 (38 1987 (16)
Moira O’Boyle Victoria Park AC (3) 1973 (43) 1974 (43) 1976 (41)
Arlene Pursglove Westbury H (1) 1974 (61)
Marsela Robertson Edinburgh Woollen Mill (1) 1986 (25)
Kerry Robinson Pitreavie AC (3) 1978 (89) 1979 (67) 1980 (99)
Penny Rother Dundee Hawkhill/EAC (1) 1987 (131)
Judith Shepherd Glasgow AC (3) 1977 (65) 1978 (22) 1979 (44)
June Standing Crawley H (2) 1985 (101) 1986 (139)
Mary Stewart Birchfield H (3) 1974 (8th) 1975 (8) 1976 (9)
Elizabeth Trotter Glasgow AC (1) 1979 (93)
Steph Twell Aldershot F&D (3) 2009 (38) 2010 (23) 2013 (40)
Alison Wright Edinburgh Southern H (1) 1981 (95)
Rubina Young Shettleston H (1) 1977 (89)

 

QUESTIONNAIRE

NAME Ann White

CLUBs Garscube Harriers, SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH 13th March 1951

OCCUPATION Retired

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

In an unguarded moment descending Ben Lomond with my daughter, Katie, about 5 years ago, I agreed to do a mountain marathon. Knowing how competitive she is I thought I had better do a bit of training so as not to let her down. So I started running. I have always been reasonably fit and active and was doing a lot of hillwalking and backpacking at the time but I had never really been much of a runner. I was quite enjoying it when Katie sustained a fractured fibula doing the Liverpool marathon (which she went on to win anyway!) and she spent weeks on crutches.  We never did the mountain marathon but I had been bitten by the running bug and carried on regardless, entering my first race, the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon about six months later. My main aim was to finish in less than two hours or not come in last, whichever proved to be more feasible on the day. I was, however, surprised and delighted by my time and started looking for more races. I did several more half marathons and gradually reduced my PB until last year I got a new PB of 1 hour 39 minutes on my 65th birthday. Katie was already a member of Garscube Harriers and she suggested that I join the club so that I could take part in cross country events over the winter. I really enjoy the team aspect of cross country and at Garscube we have the added incentive of home baking at the end of every race.

Whilst the half marathon and cross country are my favourite events I have also done lots of 10Ks, one marathon, one ultramarathon, various other distances such as 10 miles and a few trail races, including the Glentress Half Marathon.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

Being a member of Garscube Harriers has improved my running a lot as there is a great team spirit and everybody is very supportive. The training schedule is very good and keeps me on track with some tough sessions. My daughter, Katie, is my biggest supporter, though, and she often persuades me to do things that I wouldn’t consider, such as doing another marathon (I said I would NEVER do another one and Manchester 2018 is definitely my LAST!). She gave me brilliant support when I did the Kintyre Way Ultra in 2017, providing jam sandwiches at regular intervals and getting me through the last 5 miles.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

Apart from the obvious things such as maintaining cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and bone strength as I get older I like the challenge that running and racing provide: trying for a PB, running longer distances, completing a tough interval session, running up a hill without stopping. Mostly, though, I just love getting out and running on all the wonderful tracks and trails near where I live, enjoying the scenery, the fresh air, the wildlife and the changing seasons.

The social side of being a club member is also important to me and I try to get to as many club events as I can. At Garscube we have a brilliant training weekend when we go away somewhere such as the Isle of Arran or the Borders and just run and enjoy ourselves. And then there is the Christmas Ceilidh!

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

I think that my best performance was being first FV60 in each of the Polaroid 10Ks in 2016. But the performance I am most proud of is the Kintyre Way Ultra in 2017.

Ann White finishing the Kintyre Way Ultra-Marathon Race: Photo: Unknown.

YOUR WORST?

My worst ever experience in a race was at the National Cross Country in Callander Park a couple of years ago when I was on the verge of hypothermia after the race.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

My main ambition is to carry on running as long as I can. I would love to represent Scotland again at the Masters International Cross Country: it would be good to take part in all the competing nations.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

Running does tend to take up a lot of time but I manage to fit in a few other activities. I volunteer with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park as a volunteer ranger and also as a conservation volunteer. The Park provides lots of different opportunities such as taking part in wildlife surveys, repairing footpaths, planting trees, removing invasive species and helping at events in the National Park. I count some of these as cross training e.g. pushing a wheelbarrow full of aggregate up a hill – two birds with one stone.

I also like to travel, I read a fair amount and I enjoy painting using acrylics. And gardening.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

A little pain, a lot of pleasure and many wonderful people.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

I usually follow the Garscube training schedule for interval and tempo sessions. Then I do a long run at the weekend plus another short run: usually about 30 miles a week or so. However, when training for a specific event such as marathon or ultramarathon I find a more specific schedule which seems to be at right level for me and what I want to achieve in the race. After each session I do lots of stretching and rolling about on my foam roller.

I also try to do some core strengthening exercises at least once a week. However, I find that I need one or two days rest and recovery depending on the particular schedule that I am following. I certainly can’t train every day. But I am usually fairly active on the days that I am not training.

QUESTIONNAIRE

NAME Katie White

CLUBs Garscube Harriers

DATE OF BIRTH 6th January 1981

OCCUPATION Medical writer

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT?

I never really intended to get involved in running. I hadn’t really done any running before, but I ran the Buchlyvie 10K in 2011 just to get involved in the village event. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and so I started doing a few runs as I preferred to be outside rather than in the gym. A couple of months later I ran the 10K at the Milngavie highland games and surprised myself, and everyone else, by winning it. The race was organised by Garscube Harriers and while chatting to some of the members after the race they suggested I went along to a training session. The following week I decided to give it a go and before I knew it running became a big part of my life.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE?

As I have more or less been a member of Garscube Harriers since I started running, the club has had a huge impact on my running. When I joined I had no idea about anything to do with running from what to wear, how to train and what races were available. The advice and support from everyone at the club has been invaluable to me. It’s also been great having my mum, Ann, getting involved in running. It’s something we can enjoy doing together and having someone who understands the highs and lows of training and racing and why I want to take my running kit whenever we go away anywhere is a big help.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?

I get so much from running in addition to it being a good way to keep fit and healthy. Having a desk job I look forward to the end of the day when I can get out for a run and have a break from everything else. The constant challenge it provides with new targets to work towards keeps me motivated to continue running. I also love having the freedom of just being able to put on my trainers and go and explore somewhere new wherever I am.

I have also made a lot of friends through running and enjoy training and racing with like-minded people. I think the running community is great with everyone being so encouraging and supportive. It’s good to be part of that and to be able to share everyone’s achievements, whatever they are.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES?

Probably getting a PB and finishing in 6th place of the mass start in the London marathon last year.

YOUR WORST?

A cross country race in the Manchester league a couple of years ago. The only reason I didn’t drop out was that I knew I would at least score some points for the team. For a few months I nearly gave up running completely as it was making me feel so unwell. Luckily, I discovered that it was just because I was anaemic and when I sorted that out I had a huge improvement in my running.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?

My main ambition is just to keep avoiding injuries and enjoying running. I would like to try and improve my marathon time and I enjoyed doing a bit of fell running last year, so maybe a few more fell races.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?

Running takes up most of my spare time and having recently moved to a house that needs a lot of work, DIY and gardening are going to be keeping me busy for a while.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS?

All the people I have met and places I have visited through running.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

I run almost every day, even if it is just a few easy miles. Generally, I do an interval session, tempo run and long run every week. My mileage varies between about 50 and 85 miles a week. I go to the club training sessions when I can, but the majority of my running is on my own. I also go to the gym most mornings for strength and conditioning. 

LES NICOL: HOW HE BECAME M80 BRITISH XC CHAMPION

(Many thanks to Fraser Clyne for two articles about the amazing Metro Aberdeen RRC man’s late-peaking running career, along with an excerpt from ‘Who’s Who of Scottish Distance Running’ on the website scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot)

November 2006

Les Nicol is looking forward to representing Scotland for the first time – at the age of 70.

            The Torry runner has been invited to compete for the Scottish Veteran Harriers select side in next month’s British and Irish masters cross country international at Falkirk.

            Runners will compete in five-year bands from age 35 upwards.

            Les won his place on the team after finishing second in the over-70 age group trial in a 10,000m track race at Coatbridge earlier this month.

            His time of 44min 48sec is one that many runners of half his age would be happy to accept.

            “It’s the first time I’ve ever run on a track,” Les said. “I wasn’t sure how it would go because I didn’t have any spikes, so I ran in my road running shoes.”

            “I was surprised to get such a fast time as I thought I’d be closer to 45 or 46mins.”

            Nicol will invest in spiked shoes before he tackles the cross country international on 18th November.

            “I don’t want to be slipping around on the grass course,” he said.

            Les took up running 15 years ago to keep in shape. “I’d always tried to keep fit by walking to work,” he said. “Then I started going to the gym and began running on a treadmill. It compensated for sitting at a desk all day.”

            “I decided to try some races and the first I did was the Dyce half marathon.”

            “I enjoy 10kms, 10 miles and half marathons, but nothing longer than that.”

            Nicol thrives on exercise. “I run every second day for about six or seven miles at lunch-time,” he said.

            “On the other days I go to the gym and use the rowing machines or tackle some weights. And at the weekends I’ll try to fit in a race.”

            And although he’s well past the normal retirement age, Les continues to schedule his daily fitness regime around his job as an engineer.

            Appropriately, he works for Marathon Oil in Aberdeen.

            “I enjoy running as a way of keeping fit. In races I just try to do my best. I’ve no idea how I’ll get on at Falkirk but I’m sure it’ll be competitive.”

Leslie NICOL, Metro Aberdeen RC

Les came to the sport very late but this cheerfully tough Aberdonian sparrow had real talent and thoroughly enjoyed his success. In the Scottish Masters XC championship, he won the M70 title in 2010. In 2012, 2013 and 2015, Les added three M75 titles. For Scotland, Les ran consistently well in the British and Irish Masters XC International: contributing to three M70 team silver medals, in 2006, 2007 (when he finished 4th individual and first Scot) and 2009. Les won individual bronze (M75) in 2014, leading Walter McCaskey and Bill Murray to team bronze. In 2018, recovering from injuries and race-training over a hilly Aberdeen parkrun, Les triumphed in the British Masters XC championships in Forres, winning a well-deserved M80 title.

March  2018

Les Nicol has won his first British athletics title at the ripe old age of 82.

            The Metro Aberdeen club member showed his rivals a clean pair of heels to strike gold in the British Masters Athletics Federation cross country championships over-80’s age group race at Forres.

            Nicol completed the testing 6km course, which included some undulating woodland trails, in 32min 47secs to finish well ahead of his closest challengers.

            He was delighted to claim the scalps of English athletes Steve James (Southport Waterloo AC), a former World Champion in several age groups, who was runner-up in 33:57, and Walter Ryder (Morpeth Harriers) who took bronze in 36:46.

            Nicol said: “I am chuffed to bits to have won. I just wanted to beat some of the folk who have always beaten me in the past, so I’ve done that now.

            “The guy who finished second has always beaten me but I was well ahead of him, which surprised some people.

            “It’s my first British title although I think I was third in a younger age group a few years ago.”

            Nicol’s success is particularly impressive, given he only returned to running a few months ago after being side-lined with a heel injury for the previous two years.

            He said: “I developed plantar faciitis in one foot and once it cleared up I got it in the other one. I went to physios and did lots of exercises in the gym to get it fixed and to strengthen myself, but it took a long time.

            “It was very frustrating but I started running again towards the end of last year. I began by doing 1km, then progressed to 2km, then 3km.

            “I managed to do a few hilly Hazlehead parkrun 5kms before going to the Masters championships but the Forres race, being 6km, is the furthest I have run so far.”

            Nicol’s running career began when he was in his mid-50s but he had always kept fit by walking and going to the gym.

            He won his first Scotland call-up in 2006 at the age of 70 when he competed in the British and Irish masters international cross-country match at Falkirk.

            Two years later he recorded his best 10km time of 44:46, a performance which many runners half his age would be delighted to achieve.

            Nicol is still employed full-time as an engineer, appropriately with Marathon Oil, and has no difficulty in fitting his family, work and running commitments into a busy schedule.

            He said: “I enjoy it. I run every second day and I’m in the gym most other days. I’m busy at work as well, which is good.

            I’ve no immediate race plans. I just want to work back into it steadily. My Hazlehead parkrun times are getting faster, so that’s encouraging.

            “I might consider doing the BHGE 10km in May but it depends how training goes between now and then. I have no particular ambitions at the moment. I just enjoy being able to take part in races so I’ll see what comes along.”

            He joked: “My wife and family came to Forres with me but I’m not sure what else they might let me go to, so I’ll have to ask permission if I’m going any further.”

Les moving away from his rivals at Forres: Photo by David Aspin.

 

(The one and only time Herb ran in Glasgow, he beat fellow Australian Tony Blue over 1000yds: from Hugh Barrow.)

 HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HERB ELLIOTT (80 years old on February 25th 2018)

By Roger Robinson

 The ultimate achievement in running is to win an Olympic gold medal in world record time. One of the few to attain that exclusive double, and one of only two to do it in the glamour 1500m (the other one was Jack Lovelock of NZ in 1936), reaches his 80th birthday this week – Herb Elliott.

It’s very hard for me to think of Herb Elliott as a man of eighty. Sorry, but my memories of him at his 22-year-old prime remain vivid after almost sixty years. I was in the awe-struck crowd that watched him win the Olympic 1500m in Rome in 1960, where he looked like a modern embodiment of Achilles, the greatest of the warrior athletes of the Greeks. Watch him in slow motion on Youtube if you think I’m exaggerating. Like Achilles, Elliott was a superb natural physique and running talent honed by training of unprecedented intensity, inspired by a spiritual fervour, and powered by a killer competitive drive that has rarely been equalled even in our intensely competitive sport.

To that all-round excellence, add acute intelligence and fearless courage. In Rome, Elliott surged to the front with 600 metres still to run, moved relentlessly away, and looked as if he was accelerating all the way to the tape. He utterly dominated a field that included eight sub-four milers, at a time when breaking four still made you world-class.

His 3:35.6 (equivalent to a 3:52.7 mile) broke his own world record by 0.4 seconds and in the race put him 2.8 seconds ahead of Michel Jazy. To win by nearly three seconds! He has described his inner anxieties and weariness, but from the stands it looked as if he was in a race of his own. Since 1904, only Kip Keino has won the Olympic 1500m by a bigger margin, and that was in the special high-altitude circumstance of Mexico City.

Every time I watch a tedious twenty-first century doddle-and-dash apology for the Olympic 1500m, I long for Herb to show them how a truly great Olympian races.

That tactical courage and invincible spirit gave Elliott another unique credential – he never lost a race at 1500m or the mile; not one, from high school to the Olympic final. True, compared to today’s well-paid professionals, he blazed only briefly. At barely 20, he was double world record holder (1500/mile) and double Empire/Commonwealth Games winner (880/mile), at 22 he was world-record breaking Olympic champion, and at 23 he had retired. Successful academically and in business, he had a career and a family to attend to, and the only possible income from running in 1960 was from shoddy exhibition stuff.

The mouth-watering Elliott versus Snell Olympic final in 1964 never happened.

Two excellent books give well-informed views of Herb Elliott, “The Golden Mile: the Herb Elliott Story as Told to Alan Trengove” (1961) and “The Landy Era. From Nowhere to the Top of the World,” by Len Johnson (2009). In the Trengove book, Herb gives what is still the best account of Percy Cerutty, the flamboyant eccentric coach who inspired him to the top after a phase when he was, by his own account, a lazy cigarette-smoking teenager.

Re-reading those books for Herb’s birthday, he seems to me to have embodied the best of a remarkable and little-known culture, Australia in the 1950s. His childhood was a mix of very good academic schooling, committed religion (as a Catholic), and, crucially, free-ranging outdoors living on the sandhills and beaches of sparsely-populated Perth, with a sports conscious father and a nutrition conscious mother. His adult success was also essentially Aussie, founded on hard work in a natural ocean-side environment (Portsea, near Melbourne) with the important support of good mates, and the coaching inspiration of a devoted, radically-thinking, creative nutcase.

Like New Zealand when I was first there (1968), Australia then was a place so remote that no one waited for the world to visit. You got on and did things well for yourself, building a new nation on home-made excellence, and coaches and runners in Portsea, Owairaka or Greymouth discovered ways to beat the whole world.

Though never outgoing in the traditional Aussie way, and often intently focused, Elliott made good friends everywhere, including Louis Zamperini (of “Unbroken”) and Lazslo Tabori in Los Angeles, the roguish Derek Ibbotson in England, and determined Kiwi Murray Halberg. Elliott liked determination. Watching Vladimir Kuts kill the opposition in the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m in Melbourne when Elliott was 18 was formative in making him commit to running.

Herb’s farewell races were for Cambridge University, which in those years had one of the best student running teams in history. I knew him then, but only slightly, as he was busy with his Masters degree, married life, and a growing family, so he didn’t join our group runs, but he did train quite often with Tim Johnston (eighth, Olympic marathon, 1968). And he fronted up for all the key team races, although his personal commitment was fading. To turn out on an English November afternoon for a muddy cold seven-mile cross-country just to earn points for your college, only three months after you have proved in the sunshine of Rome that you are the greatest middle-distance track runner on earth, showed generosity and a sense of collegiality alongside the famed individualism and competitive drive.

Herb passed me at five miles that day. Despite that tragic memory, my admiration remained undented. I offer this short tribute for Herb Elliott’s 80th birthday – even if in my mind’s eye, he will always be the youthful demigod of the Rome Olympic Stadium.

(Many thanks, yet again, to that great athletics journalist Roger Robinson, for permission to reprint this superb article.)

 ANOTHER BRITISH RECORD FOR FIONA MATHESON

On Friday 20th April at Crownpoint Track, Fiona finished third in the Scottish 10,000 metres, recording 37.05.54. This was another British W55 record for her – it was previously held by Sandra Branney. Fiona has recently recorded British bests at three distances – taking in the Tom Scott 10-Mile Champs (which was a World best) as well as the 4 x 800m Record at Grangemouth and this 10,000m run at Crownpoint.

Cambuslang Harriers ran very well at the BMAF Road Relays held at Birmingham on 28th April. This annual event, which attracts the top masters runners from across the UK, is always fiercely competitive. The Cambuslang M45 quartet of Chris Upson, Justin Carter, Kerry-Liam Wilson and Stevie Wylie worked their way steadily through the field to snatch the lead on the final leg thus ensuring the British gold medals were heading back north of the border.

CambusRelay2018 photo by David Aspin.

RACING ROUND-UP

The European Masters Athletics Championships (Non-Stadia) took place in Alicante, Spain, between 18th and 20th May. SVHC athletes did very well.

Fiona Matheson won the W55 10k title; and, along with Lynne Marr, contributed to team bronze medals for GB in the XC Relay.

Fiona’s husband Grant Matheson featured in two bronze medal-winning GB M55 teams:  10k and XC Relay.

Norman Baillie secured two M70 GB team gold medals for 10k and XC Relay.

The BMAF 10,000m track championship was run in Oxford on 3rd June. Ian Johnston (SVHC) won M50 gold.

The BMAF 5k road championship was held on 17th June at Horwich and Scots won four age-group titles: Darrell Hastie (M35); Kerry-Liam Wilson (M45); Alastair Walker (M60); and Frank Hurley (M65).

A SUCCESSFUL DAY FOR CAMBUSLANG AT THE BMAF 5K

Cambuslang Harriers made their presence felt at the British Masters 5K Road Championships at Horwich with the club lifting 2 team golds and 1 silver along with 2 individual golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze.  All male and female age groups from 35 upwards competed together in a well organised race around a three-lap town centre course.  However, there was some confusion immediately prior to the start when the runners who were lined up across the full width of the road were squeezed into one side of the road where the chip mats were.  This resulted in several of our runners being pushed further back in the line-up.  This is reflected in the wider time differential between gun and chip times for the runners concerned. 

Kerry-Liam Wilson was first Cambuslang runner home in 5th place and first M45 out of a field of nearly 200 competitors.  As well as lifting the M45 title for the 3rd successive year he led team members Stevie Wylie who was just pipped for the individual bronze medal and Justin Carter to a decisive team gold in the M45-54 category ahead of fellow Scottish club Cumbernauld’s trio of David Hogg, Ross McEachern and Howard Elliott   The Cambuslang M55-64 team of Paul Thompson, Brian Hughes and Frankie Barton backed up by Alick Walkinshaw narrowly lost out to a strong Warrington AC squad and had to settle for the silver medals.  There was some consolation for Paul and Brian as they gained individual silver and bronze M60 medals.  The final Cambuslang successes came in the form of team gold for the M65 trio of Frank Hurley, Sandy Eaglesham and Barnie Gough and individual gold for Frank.  Frank and Barnie now have the full set of team medals for this championship event having previously won M50 bronze and silver in 2005 and 2006.  Iain Reid was also representing the club as our sole M40 athlete and finished 5th in his age group despite suffering from a calf injury during the race. 

Cumbernauld continued to fly the Scottish flag by finishing first team in the M35-44 age group thanks to Louis O’Hare, Stephen Allan and Robert Bartley.  There were other individual Scottish successes with Gala’s improving Darrell Hastie winning the race outright and securing the M35 title while former Scottish International Alastair Walker of Teviotdale lifted the M60 gold thus giving Scottish runners a 1, 2, 3 in this age category.  M50 Brian Scally of Shettleston used his track speed to good effect in the dash to the line to overtake 2 rivals and move into the bronze position.  Former HBT runner Steve Cairns, now competing for Tynebridge, added the M50 road gold to his XC victory achieved earlier in the year at Forres.

Cambuslang Harriers would like to thank Walter Hill and the BMAF team for their efficient organisation of the event.

David Cooney

 SCOTTISH MASTERS TRACK AND FIELD REPORT

 Grangemouth was the venue for this fixture on 14th and 15th July. Masters events were crammed in with umpteen Combined events for youngsters and seniors. There were even two open steeplechases – six Masters runners took part BUT WHY WAS THE 5000m PUSHED OUT YET AGAIN, and relegated to evening races weeks later in Glasgow? Very disappointing.

Neverthess, many Masters athletes produced fine performances, with some winning two or more age-group gold medals.

The Scottish Athletics report highlighted Margaret MacRae from North Uist AAC. She won both W35 sprints. Fiona Steel (Motherwell AC) did the same in the W50 category; and Angela Kelly (Giffnock North AAC) completed the W55 double.

Alan Robertson (Motherwell AC) was a clear winner in the M40 100m and 200m; Ronnie Hunter (Corstorphine AAC) was outstanding in the M55 age group, as was Martin Leyland (Shetland AAC) in the M60 section. Other double sprint victors were John McGarry (Irvine AC – M65), James Smith (Motherwell AC – M70) and the evergreen John Ross (M80).

Colin Welsh (Teviotdale Harriers – M35) showed speed and stamina to win not only 400m but also 800m. The redoubtable Hugh McGinlay (Falkirk Victoria Harriers – M90) fought his way to the finish line in both events. Hugh was also featured in the Scottish Athletics report.  

800m/1500m double winners included the following: Stephen Allen (Motherwell AC – M50); Sandy Eaglesham (Cambuslang – M65); and Pete Cartwright (Clydesdale Harriers – M75). Alastair Walker (Teviotdale – M60) added the Scottish Masters 1500m title to his recent win in the BMAF 5k road championship.

Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Victoria Harriers – W55) beat all her younger rivals in the 1500m; as did Yvonne Crilly (Lothian Runners – W55) in the 800m. Phyllis Hands (Motherwell – W60) won both her races.

The Field events produced several good performances (even though some results seem to be missing at present).

Paul Masterton (Corstorphine AAC – M55) won the High Jump. Stephen Leek (Livingston AC – M35) was first in Triple Jump and Long Jump; as was M65 Robert Stevenson (Ayr Seaforth AAC) and M70 James Smith (Motherwell AC) who had also completed a sprint double and ended up with four gold medals!

Heavy event winners included: Mhairi Porterfield (VP-Glasgow AC – W35) who was first in Hammer and Shot Put; her clubmate Claire Cameron (W55 Hammer, Discus and Shot); Jayne Kirkpatrick (Nithsdale – W45 – Javelin and Discus).

Graham Porterfield (Central AC – M35) won Hammer and Shot; M50 Eddie McKenzie (Aberdeen AAC) Javelin and Shot; M60 Alexander McIntosh (Kilmarnock H and AC) Hammer and Discus; and the inevitable Bill Gentleman (Edinburgh AC – M75) Hammer and Discus.

GENERAL DATA PROTECTION RULES  PRIVACY POLICY FOR SVHC

The above regulations came into force in May 2018 and affect organisations such as ourselves. These regulations(GDPR)define data protection rights for each individual member. The main changes refer to the consent of members in holding certain information and accountability in how we use and share this. Due to the nature of our organisation there is an interest in holding certain information in order that those on the committee  can communicate properly with the members in matters such as information on events, team selection, subscriptions and the Newsletter. The information which is held comprises residential address, phone number and email address and date of joining. Where members have supplied this information it will be presumed in the absence of any objection to the contrary that they still consent to that information being used in relation to SVHC matters. The details of members are held securely by the appropriate office bearers and it is the policy of SVHC not to divulge any such information to third parties. Where any bank details are given to the Treasurer  this information will be held securely. It is important to make it clear that any member has the right to withdraw his or her consent to any of this information being held.

SURVEY ON SVHC RACES

The committee organise a number of events throughout the year some of which are well supported, whilst others are less so. In particular races such as the Snowball 5 mile , 10k trail, both in May, the 10k road race in August and the Christmas handicap have been poorly supported in recent years. These events tend to attract an attendance of around 30 out of over 500 members. Clearly a proportion of members are track and field athletes or reside far away from the location of these events.

However the committee require your feedback on this topic and your views will be appreciated. Below are listed some points to consider. Please reply to me at cdjoss2@gmail.com

  1. If you do not participate in the above events please list your reasons
  2. What should SVHC do to make these events more attractive?
  3. What other events would you like SVHC to promote?

Campbell Joss

 

DISTANCE RUNNING HISTORY: AN OVERVIEW

(Maybe this article will intrigue some to read more about the fascinating history of their wonderful sport.)

Pre-History

Primitive Man: Born to Run – nuchal ligament, Achilles tendon, springy foot arch – a ‘weak predator’ that can hunt by distance-running after prey animals until they collapse.

Nowadays, in the rough canyons of the Sierre Madre Occidental, Mexico, the Tarahumara still maintain their tradition of persistence hunting, running down deer and wild turkeys.

Ancient Olympics

Olympia, Greece. The Games began in 776 B.C. Only men were allowed to compete. In 720, the Dolichos, or long foot-race, was added. Less than a Parkrun. Starting and finishing in the stadium, with the race course winding through the Olympic grounds, passing by the statue of Nike, the Goddess of Victory, near the Temple of Zeus. Acanthus of Sparta won the first Dolichos laurel wreath, and his statue was built in Olympia.

Ultra-marathons

490 B.C. The Persian Fleet approaches. (According to the historian Herodotus), Athens sends Pheidippides, a professional long-distance running messenger, to ask Sparta for help. 150 miles over rough hilly country in 30 hours. Immediate aid is refused; so he runs all the way back with bad news (the Spartans actually arrive two days after the battle) and good (the God Pan appeared to the exhausted Pheidippides and promised to help). Athenians are victorious at Marathon and their city is saved from destruction.

In 1983, the first Open International Spartathlon Race took place. The route had been pioneered the previous year by Englishman John Foden and two other R.A.F. officers.

Pedestrianism

In Britain, from the late 17th Century, aristocrats often employed footmen who ran and walked long distances, carrying letters and bringing back replies. Some employers boasted about the speed and stamina of their servants and placed bets on who would prove superior in a race trial.

Foot racing and walking evolved into Pedestrianism: professional distance running.

During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this was a popular betting spectator sport in the British Isles.  Pedestrianism became a fixture at fairs – much like horse racing.

Famous pedestrians included Captain Robert Barclay Allardice, called “The Celebrated Pedestrian”, from Stonehaven. His most impressive feat was to walk 1 mile every hour for 1000 hours, which he achieved between June 1 and July 12 1809. The feat captured the public’s imagination and around 10,000 people came to watch, over the duration of the event. In 1864, Emma Sharp became the first woman to emulate the feat. Ada Anderson was named Champion Lady Walker of the World in April 1878, after covering 1500 miles in 1000 hours – at Leeds, England.

Sir John Astley M.P. founded a “Long Distance Championship of the World” in 1878, staged over six days, which became known as the “Astley Belt Races” (or ‘Wobbles’, because of the erratic progress of knackered runners). These events allowed a wide interpretation of rules, with walking, jogging, and running allowed. The competition was partly inspired by a desire to clean up the perception of the sport as corrupted by gambling interests and led to a push amongst some to codify pedestrianism as an amateur sport. The same process was happening to British track and field athletics and gave rise to the modern Olympic Movement.

Famous Six-Day racers included: Edward Payson Weston, Daniel O’Leary, Charles Rowell and George Littlewood, who in 1888 created a new world record of 623 miles 1,320 yards—a world record that wasn’t beaten for 96 years.

In 1984 Yiannis Kouros from Greece ran over 1,022 km (635 miles) setting a new world record that would stand until 2005, when he improved to 1,036 km (644 miles) at the Cliff Young Australian 6-day race in Colac, Australia.

The women’s world record was broken by Australia’s Dipali Cunningham in 1998 when she covered 504 miles (811 km). In 2001 she improved this to 510 miles (820 km).

  1. a) Middle Distance

W.G. George: Walter Goodall George (1858 –1943) was a runner from Wiltshire who, after setting numerous amateur world records [between one mile and one hour (11 miles 932 yards)], went professional in part to challenge the mile record-holder William Cummings, defeating him in several highly publicised races. On 23 August 1886, he set a mile record (4 minutes 4:12¾ seconds) which was not surpassed for almost 30 years. (In a 1885 handicap race he had run 4:101⁄5 – which was not beaten until 1931.)

 

  1. b) Long Distance

Alfred Shrubb (1879–1964), known as Alfie, was an English middle and long-distance runner from West Sussex. During an amateur career lasting from 1899 to 1905 (when he was barred from amateur competition for receiving payment for running) and a professional career from 1905 to 1912, he won over 1,000 races from about 1,800 started. At the peak of his career he was virtually unbeatable at distances up to 15 miles, often racing against relay teams so that the contest would be more competitive. He won the International Cross-Country Championships in 1903 and 1904. On 4 November 1904, at Ibrox Park, Glasgow, he broke the world record for the one hour run as well as all amateur records from six to eleven miles, and all professional records from eight to eleven miles, running eleven miles, 1137 yards (18.742 km). Altogether he set 28 world records.

  1. c) Scotland: Powderhall

The great annual professional meeting on 1st January, which has taken place every year since 1870, was for many years known simply as Powderhall, since that was where it took place. It is now known mainly as the New Year Sprint and although it is a real festival of sprinting, there have been races at half mile, mile, two miles and long distance. In the era of Open Athletics, amateurs have been permitted to enter since 1993.

Scotland’s greatest ever sprinter George McNeill won the Centenary running of the race in 1970. For the illustrious history of this event, do look up the website: www.newyearsprint.com

You will also find an article about Powderhall under ‘The Games’ in anentscottishrunning.

Cross-Country

“Tom Brown’s Schooldays” by Thomas Hughes, was a very successful novel (published 1857). It is set in the 1830s and includes a marvellous description of a paper-chase cross-country run for senior pupils at a top fee-paying residential public school. Adults do not seem to have competed in this sport until Thames Hare and Hounds (the oldest cross-country club in the world) organised events from 1868. Such a steeplechase involved ‘hares’ starting ahead of the main pack, marking their route with a trail of paper. The pack of runners would then follow the trail, the first to catch the hares being the victor.

In 1879 the use of paper trails was banned in Wimbledon Common. 1883 was the year when the English Cross-Country Association was founded. The Scottish Cross-Country Union followed in 1890.

Before that, many cross-country races had taken place in Scotland. In Carnwath in Lanarkshire, the ‘Red Hose’ XC race dates back to the early 19th C. Public Schools and Universities encouraged cross-country running. Clydesdale Harriers was formed in May 1885; as was Edinburgh Harriers (that September). Colin Shields’ invaluable centenary history of the Scottish Cross Country Union (“Runs Will Take Place Whatever The Weather”) gives fascinating details.

This book, combined with the on-line archive of the Scottish Road Running and Cross Country Commission, anentscottishrunning.com and scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot will tell readers a great deal about top Scottish cross country runners, male and female. The articles (in SDRH) about ‘Women’s Cross Country’ are particularly interesting. Between 1931 and 1957, there were only five International XC matches for Scottish women. The modern era began in 1967. However Scottish National championships were run between 1932 and 1938; and from 1951 onwards. The men were much luckier, since Scottish National Championships started in 1886, and the International Championships in 1903, at Hamilton Park Race Course, Scotland.

The Scottish Veteran Harriers Club began in 1970. Our cross-country champions include the following.

Dale Greig, Janette Stevenson, Tricia Calder, Sandra Branney, Trudi Thomson, Christine Haskett-Price, Liz McColgan, Sonia Armitage, Lynn Harding, Sue Ridley, Jane Waterhouse, Angela Mudge, Fiona Matheson, Melissa Whyte, Joasia Zakrzewski, Lesley Chisholm, Janet Dunbar, Hilary McGrath, Claire Thompson, Betty Gilchrist, Anne Docherty, Ann White, Katie White, Linden Nicholson, Jennifer MacLean

John Emmet Farrell, Gordon Porteous, Davie Morrison, Andy Forbes, Willie Marshall, Tom O’Reilly, Bill McBrinn, Bill Stoddart, Charlie McAlinden, Alastair Wood, Andy Brown, Hugh Gibson, Hugh Rankin, Ian Leggett, Walter McCaskey, John Linaker, Donald Macgregor, Dick Hodelet, Jim Alder, Brian Scobie, Bill Scally, Brian Carty, Allan Adams, Donald Ritchie, Davie Fairweather, Bobby Young, Pete Cartwright, Doug Gemmell, George Mitchell, Archie Duncan, Colin Youngson, George Meredith, Charlie MacDougall, Ian Elliot, George Sim, Brian Emmerson, Archie Jenkins, Brian Kirkwood, Frank Barton, Gerry Gaffney, Fraser Clyne, Keith Varney, Simon Pride, Ed Stewart, Colin Donnelly, John Duffy, Gerry Fairley, Andy McLinden, Brian Gardner, Ian Stewart, Iain Campbell, Neil Thin, Tommy Murray, Bobby Quinn, Kerry-Liam Wilson, Robert Gilroy, Jamie Reid, Andy McLinden, Frank Hurley, Tony Martin, George Black, Paul Thompson, Alex Sutherland, Les Nicol, Stephen Cromar.

Highland Games: Running

The Highland Games probably go back to the 14th century but, in their modern form, are about 150 years old. The ‘boom’ in Highland Games was due to: the development of the railway system in the middle of the 19th Century; and Queen Victoria’s summer residence in Scotland. At first, all the Games were professional; but since 1993 have been open to every athlete. Two of the most famous are Braemar and Ballater, both with hill races.

A series of Amateur Highland Games were introduced eventually – many of them in the Lowlands. Although the ‘Heavy’ Events: caber, hammer, shot put etc are most famous, grass track middle distance races (scratch or handicap) also featured, as well as hill and road races.

For example, Forres Highland Games used to include the finish of the Inverness to Forres Marathon. Nowadays it has a 10k road race and most events have been axed or shortened drastically. Many Games had road races: Strathallan 22 mile; Bute 18; Glenurquhart, the Inverness to Drumnadrochit 15; Glasgow the hilly Drymen to Scotstoun 15; Gourock 14; Dunblane 14; Shotts 14; Carluke 12; Bearsden 10. Kinlochleven had the Mamore Hill Race, with at least a third on the road. Alva had another hill race. Achmony hill race at Glenurquhart is one that survives.

Running those traditional events over non-standard distances was great fun; and the road races were excellent preparation for aspiring serious marathon racers.

Amateur Outdoor Track

From 1865, the Amateur Athletic Club held track and field championships in London. One mile and Four miles races were included. However, entry was restricted to ‘gentleman amateurs’. In 1880 the Amateur Athletic Association took over and the sport was open to anyone who had never been a professional athlete.

The Scottish Amateur Athletic Association was founded in 1883; and the first championships (for men) that year included 880 yards and one mile; ten miles track featured in 1886; and four miles in 1887.

The Scottish Women’s Amateur Athletic Association was formed in 1931: 880 yards was the longest distance run. One mile was added in 1952; and 3000m in 1971.

The Scottish Association of Track Statisticians archive is a superb resource, listing championship winners, statistical profiles of individual athletes, records, Scottish International matches etc.

Scottish Distance Running History and Anent Scottish Running, both contain many more detailed profiles of top Scottish athletes.

Hill Running

Legend has it that King Malcolm III of Scotland, in the 11th century, summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich (overlooking Braemar). Several Highland Games (e.g. Ballater and Braemar) hosted hill races. Nowadays the Scottish Hill Runners online calendar includes over a hundred challenging annual events.

At the beginning of September is the Ben Nevis Race. Britain’s highest mountain tempted athletes to run up and down it from the late 19th Century. William Swan was the first to break 3 hours in 1895. The first race (ascent only) was in 1903; and shortly afterwards Ewen MacKenzie won the first run (in a record 2 hours 10 minutes) from Fort William and back, via the summit. Races took place intermittently until 1951, when the modern era began. The Ben Nevis Race website has all the results right up to 2017. Lots of SVHC members tried it at least once. (The writer, aged 21, a couple of months after completing his first 26 miler, ran the Ben Race in 1969, hated the dangerous downhill and for the next 30 years stuck to safer marathon running!)

Famous Scottish Ben racers include: Jock Petrie, Duncan MacIntyre, Brian Kearney, Eddie Campbell, Jimmy Conn, Pat Moy, Allan MacRae, Bobby Shields, Brian Finlayson, Colin Donnelly, Mark Rigby, David Rodgers and Graeme Bartlett.

Modern Olympic Games

Although the Cotswold Games ‘Olimpicks’ took place from 1612-1852; and the Wenlock Olympian Games (which influenced Olympics reviver Pierre, Baron de Coubertin) from 1850; the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens were inspired, not only by tales of the Ancient Olympics but also by the Amateur Athletics movement. In fact, the AAA Laws for Competition were adopted by the International Olympic Committee (1894) for the first Modern Games. In 1896, the middle-distance races held were: 800m and 1500m, both won by London-born Edwin (Teddy) Flack of Australia (‘The Lion of Athens’) who also led the Marathon for some time but had to drop out three kilometres before the finish. Female athletes were excluded from the Olympics in 1896 but took part from 1900. However, 800m for women was not introduced until 1928; and (very unfairly) not reintroduced until 1960. Sheer male chauvinism.

Marathon

In 1878 the great English poet Robert Browning wrote “Pheidippides”. In a dramatic fashion, he amalgamated two stories about the legendary/mythical Greek runner: Herodotus’s account (written in 450 B.C., 40 years after the Battle of Marathon) of the 300 miles trek to and from Sparta; and, 600 years later in 120 A.D., Plutarch’s tale about Eucles, who (in full armour, just after the battle) was supposed to have run to Athens, gasped out news of the victory and dropped dead.

Browning’s poem includes the lines:

 “‘Rejoice, we conquer!’ Like wine through clay,

Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died – the bliss!”

Roger Robinson wrote: “Presumably it was Browning’s poem that Professeur Michel Breal had in mind, when he wrote to the Athens Olympic Committee in 1894 to propose ‘a race from Marathon’ on the route of ‘the Greek warrior’.

As runners interested in the history of the marathon race will know, the 1896 Olympic event was won by the Greek Spiridon ‘Spyros’ Louis, over a distance of around 40 kilometres (25 miles). The 1908 London Olympic Marathon established the official distance as 26 miles 385 yards (42 kilometres, 195 metres).

Scottish runners completed several ‘marathons’ over a range of distances before the first official Scottish Marathon Championship (for Men) in 1946. (The first Scottish Women’s Marathon Championship did not take place until 1983).  The first two men’s events were won by Donald McNab Robertson, who had been AAA Marathon champion six times between 1932 and 1939; a silver medallist in the 1934 British Empire Games in London; and had finished a valiant 7th in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. (He had also been selected, as AAA champion, for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics but could not go because of work and family commitments).

Second in the 1946 Scottish Marathon was ‘the Daddy of them all’ – Duncan ‘Dunky’ McLeod Wright, who had been AAA champion in 1930 and 1931; 1930 British Empire Games victor in Hamilton, Ontario; and a close fourth in the 1932 Olympics.

The Scottish Marathon Club was founded in 1944, by stalwarts like Dunky Wright, Joe Walker and Jimmy Scott. The SMC helped to organise umpteen road races (often linked to Highland Games); liaised with the SAAA to ensure that the Scottish Marathon championship went well; and to nominate a runner to receive the Donald McNab Robertson Memorial Trophy (for Scottish Road Runner of the Year). Certainly, the SMC helped considerably to raise the standard of road running in Scotland. Our current SVHC President Alastair Macfarlane (1979 Scottish Marathon champion and Robertson Trophy winner) was the last SMC President.

Bill Stoddart, the 1969 Scottish Marathon Champion; won the second SVHC cross country championship in 1972; and was a World Veterans champion and record holder several times, including gold medals in the 1992 M60 10km and 25km in Birmingham.

Aberdeen’s Alastair Wood was Scottish Marathon Champion six times; finished 4th in the 1962 European Marathon at Belgrade; and in 1974 became a runaway M40 World Veterans Marathon winner in Paris, leading SVHC to the World Vets Club gold medals.

In the 1972 Munich Olympics, Donald Macgregor finished an excellent 7th. He was later to win three Scottish Marathon titles; and the 1980 World Veterans Marathon in Glasgow.

Gordon Porteous, a truly great SVHC member, was World Veteran Marathon Champion many times. He won World Veteran Marathon gold medals in Toronto 1975, Coventry 1976, Berlin 1978, Hanover 1979, Glasgow 1980, New Zealand 1981 and Rome 1985. Gordon set World age-group marathon records at: M60 (2.51.17); M65 (2.57.00); M70 (3.11.45); M75 (3.23.12); and M80 (3.47.04).

Scotland’s greatest female marathon runner was Liz McColgan (World and Commonwealth 10,000m champion and winner of the first World Half Marathon championship in 1992.) Liz won marathons in London and Tokyo and, seriously hampered by an insect bite which poisoned her system, finished 16th in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Modern ultra-distance

After professional 6-Day events lost favour in the 1890s, and marathon fever took over, ultras were ignored. Arthur Newton, born in England but in 1922 a 38-year-old South African farmer, is considered the founding father of modern ultra-running. Between 1922 and 1934 he averaged 20 miles a day of running and walking. His victories included four Comrades Marathon wins – this 54 or 56 miles epic remains the world’s leading ultra – and new records for the London to Brighton 52. Newton broke amateur world records at 50 and 100 miles; and, as a professional, covered 152 miles 540 yards in 24 hours – a record which remained unbeaten for 22 years. The 24-hour mark was set in 1931 on a 12-laps-to-the-mile track in the Ice-Hockey Arena at Hamilton, Ontario. The wooden surface was softened by a layer of felt and paper.

A little- known fact is that, on 1st January 1929, the recently professional Newton set a record of 6 hours 39 minutes 50 seconds for running from Glasgow Pavilion to Edinburgh and the Powderhall track (on which he finished by circling four and a half miles). Conditions were atrocious – freezing cold, snowy and slippery in the West and thawing with deep puddles in the East.

In England and Wales, the ultra-marathon scene held many events, encouraged by the London-based Road Runners Club. The RRC also recognised the Tom Scott 10 and the Scottish Marathon, plus the most popular Scottish ultra – The Two Bridges 36, which was run between 1968 and 2005. Many of the best ultra-racers in the world took part and Scottish winners included Alastair Wood (who also won the London to Brighton), Alex Wight, Jim Wight, Don Ritchie, Andy Stirling, Peter Baxter, Colin Hutt, Simon Pride and Alan Reid.

Trudi Thomson finished first woman in the 2 Bridges three times and set an unbeaten women’s record. As well as running for GB in many marathons, she won a silver medal in the World 100km championship. In addition, Trudi won Scottish Marathon titles and the British Veterans Cross-Country Championship.

Then there was the Edinburgh to Glasgow ultra (not the famous 8-man road relay). This 44-mile challenge was run between 1961 and 1972; plus a 50-miler (Meadowbank to George Square) in 1984. Scottish winners included Gordon Eadie, Andy Fleming, Hugh Mitchell, Bill Stoddart, Alex Wight and Jimmy Milne, with Don Ritchie victorious in 1984.

Although these great Scottish races are no more, Scottish Championships have been held over 50km from 1996; and over 100 km since 1992, when the main man mentioned below fittingly became the first champion.

Donald Ritchie of Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland, has undoubtedly been the greatest ultra-distance runner the world has ever seen. This was the verdict in 1995 of Andy Milroy, a journalist who knows more about this branch of athletics than anyone. Milroy compared Don’s achievements with those of past greats like Charles Rowell, George Littlewood and Wally Hayward; and with his contemporaries Yiannis Kouros and Bruce Fordyce. On the basis of the length of his world-class ultra-running career and his amazing accomplishments, Donald Ritchie is considered to have been the very best.

Do read Don’s full profile on Scottish Distance Running History – you can find it by clicking on ‘Marathon Stars’ and then on his name under ‘The Marathon and Beyond’. Better still, buy his autobiography “The Stubborn Scotsman” on amazon uk. No one has ever run harder than Don Ritchie.

Perhaps his finest performance took place on the 28th of October 1978. At the Crystal Palace track, he ran 100 km in 6 hours 10 minutes 20 seconds. Imagine: 62 consecutive miles, averaging almost precisely 6 minutes per mile! Unsurprisingly, this remains the track world record in 2018.

Indoor Track

Peter Lovesey, in his AAA Centenary History, wrote that Indoor Athletics originated in 1863 at the Ashburnham Hall, Chelsea, where the London Rowing Club held their sports indoors by gaslight. Other London venues included Lambeth Baths and the Agricultural Hall, Islington. New York staged America’s first indoor meet in 1868.

Peter Lovesey was also a fine detective novelist. Read ‘Wobble to Death’ for a real insight into corrupt ultra-distance challenges in the Victorian era.

The AAA held Indoor championships from 1935-1939, at the Empire Pool, Wembley. They did not return until 1962 at Wembley and subsequently R.A.F Cosford.

However, amateur indoor track became really popular in the U.S.A, between the First and Second World Wars. ‘Running on the Boards’ featured as Winter and Spring training for college athletes; and the most famous meeting took place at New York’s Madison Square Gardens.

Scottish athletes were successful at AAA Indoors events; but the first SAAA Indoor championships did not take place until 1973-1976. The venue was Bell’s Indoor Sports Centre in Perth: this had a 154 metres long banked track comprising compressed cork with lino strips on a wooden base. Twice Scottish Indoor 1500m winner was Adrian Weatherhead, who later became the fastest Scottish M40 Veteran in 10k road races.

Scottish Indoor Championships were not resumed until 1987 at Ingliston. From then until 2012, the competition was held at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall, where Scottish Veterans and British Masters championships regularly took place. From 2013, the Championships were held at Glasgow’s new indoor venue, the Emirates Arena.

Colin Youngson

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2017-2018

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss2@gmail.com

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

September 2018

Sat 15th Masters Cross Country Trials Tollcross Park. First race 11am.

Sun 23rd Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness

October 2018

Sun 7th SVHC Half Marathon Champs, Kirkintilloch

Sun 7th BMAF Marathon Champs, Chester

Sun 14th SVHC Track 10,000m from 11 a.m., followed by AGM at 2 p.m. At Greenfaulds High School, Cumbernauld.

Sat 27th Lindsays Scottish Athletics National XC Relay Championships Cumbernauld House

Sat 27th Ruby’s Race 5K Kilmarnock

November 2018

Sat 17th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Swansea, Wales December 2018

Sun 16th Xmas Handicap Sea Scouts Hall, Miller Street, Clydebank, from 12.30. Race to start at 13:30

January 2019

Fri 4th Scottish National 3000m Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 27th SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00am

February 2019

Sat 2nd Scottish Masters XC Championships Hawick

Sun 17th Scottish Athletics Indoor Combined Events & Masters Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sat 23rd Scottish Athletics XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk TBC

March 2019

Sun 3rd 10 Mile Road Race (Lasswade AC) TBC Whitehill Welfare FC, Ferguson Park, Carnethie Street, Rosewell Start time, 12:00pm

Sat 9th British Masters Open Cross Country Championships Malone, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sun 24th – Sat 30th World Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships Torun, Poland

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: WINTER 2017

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 22nd NOVEMBER 2017

MEMBERS

Welcome to the 30 new and 11 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 16th August 2017. As of 22nd Nov 2017, we have 545 paid up members, including 21 over 80 & 4 Life Members.

SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE NOW DUE FOR 2017/2018 Standard Membership £20 Non competing Membership £10 Over 80 Membership Free

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather, if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses. Standing order details: Bank of Scotland, Barrhead, Sort Code: 80-05-54, Beneficiary: Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, Account No: 00778540, Reference: (SVHC Membership No. plus Surname). stewart2@ntlworld.com 0141 5780526 By cheque: please make cheque payable to SVHC and send to Ada Stewart, 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF.

CLUB VESTS Vests can be purchased from Andy Law for £18, including Postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2401 Kim Forbes 18-Aug-17 Kirknewton

2402 Tony MacDowall 18-Aug-17 Mitcham

2403 Donald Petrie 25-Aug-17 Houston

2404 Kay Conneff 28-Aug-17 East Kilbride

2405 Allie Chong 30-Aug-17 Newton Mearns

2406 Roger Homyer 31-Aug-17 Kingussie

2407 Martin Fitchie 06-Sep-17 Lenzie

2408 Thomas Wilson 06-Sep-17 Dundee

2409 Sara Green 08-Sep-17 Clovenfords

2410 Scott Brember 13-Sep-17 Stirling

2411 Alex Robertson 13-Sep-17 Penicuik

2412 Iain Whitaker 13-Sep-17 Edinburgh

2413 Francis Gribben 15-Sep-17 Norwich

2414 Karen Dobbie 16-Sep-17 Edinburgh

2415 Allan Cameron 16-Sep-17 Airdrie

2416 Mark Hand 16-Sep-17 Wishaw

2417 William Mitchell 16-Sep-17 Baillieston

2418 Michael Reid 20-Sep-17 Edinburgh

2419 John Oates 28-Sep-17 Glasgow

2420 Brian Thompson 09-Oct-17 Polbeth

2421 Alick Walkinshaw 06-Nov-17 Lanark

2422 Leon Johnson 16-Oct-17 Edinburgh

2423 Colin Welsh 20-Oct-17 Kelso

2424 David Wright 24-Oct-17 North Berwick

2425 Ross MacDonald 01-Nov-17 Tain

2426 Andew Corrigan 01-Nov-17 Edinburgh

2427 Louise Ross 09-Nov-17 Glasgow

2428 Gillian McGale 11-Nov-17 Glasgow

2429 Anthony McGale 11-Nov-17 Glasgow

2430 Gerard McConnell 15-Nov-17 Kirkintilloch

2152 Cris Walsh 08-Sep-17 Glasgow

2174 Fiona Dalgleish 14-Sep-17 Galashiels

1792 Stephen Allen 16-Sep-17 Wishaw

2131 Mark Johnston 16-Sep-17 Linlithgow

1855 Robert Quinn 16-Sep-17 Paisley

187 Brian Kirkwood 28-Sep-17 Bonnyrigg

2209 Andrew Harkins 03-Oct-17 Inverkip

700 Walter Ewing 15-Oct-17 Glasgow

747 Margaret Robertson 07-Nov-17 Broughty Ferry

2080 Anne Howie 10-Nov-17 Turriff

2246 Alastair Beaton 15-Nov-17 Inverness

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

 

BRITISH AND IRISH MASTERS CROSS COUNTRY INTERNATIONAL DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND, 18th NOVEMBER

                                                                   Robert Quinn near the finish line. Photo by Pete Bracegirdle

By means of planes and boats and trains (and buses and hire cars and taxis), Scottish Masters runners arrived eventually in Derry ready to compete in this fixture, which from our winter calendar is surely awarded the ‘Blue Riband’. The weather was cold but pleasant; and the course featured some deep mud, gentle undulations and plenty of mossy, damp grass, which produced strength-sapping racing conditions. Of course, when wearing a Scottish vest, you are meant to run as hard as possible, for your team, country, self-esteem and possibly bragging rights!

Our team managers – John Bell, Ada Stewart, Andy and Ishbel Law – were well-organised and always cheerfully motivating and supportive. The new kit looked splendid; and the hotel was an excellent choice. As usual the opposition, from England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, was formidable but many Scots ran well and we all tried our best on the day. Full results are on the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club website, but here is a summary.

Race One was for all the female athletes plus the older guys. Katie White ran wonderfully well to win the W35 race, and was well supported by Michelle Sandison (4th) and Sara Green (11th). Our team finished second, only two points behind Ireland but in front of the Auld Enemy.

The W40s also shone, with Lesley Chisholm 6th (in the same time as Carol Parsons 7th) backed up by Ann Robin 12th. Team bronze medals were secured.

It was harder for the W45 team, which ended up fourth, led in by Jennifer Forbes (9th).

Sue Ridley, who has enjoyed such a long and distinguished running career, claimed that she was still suffering from an injury incurred three years ago. Poor lady, that would explain why she ‘only’ managed to finish 3rd M50, after outsprinting an Irish athlete for bronze! Her team was fourth.

Now we come to Scotland’s bright star, Fiona Matheson, who currently graces the W55 category. Her victory was overwhelming – 79 seconds clear of the famous Irish runner Niamh O’Sullivan. Not only that: Fiona also outsprinted the legendary Nick Rose, who won the M65 contest. The Scottish team packed beautifully, with Pamela McCrossan, Yvonne Crilly and Anne Howie 8th, 9th and 10th. Another set of bronze medals was won, after an especially close team race.

Scotland was also third in the W60 competition, with Jane Kerridge and Innes Bracegirdle leading the team in 7th and 8th places.

Ann White (the mother of Katie, the W35 gold medallist) was equally successful when victorious in the W65 category, 32 seconds clear of England’s well-known Ros Tabor. With Linden Nicholson 7th and Jeanette Craig 8th, our team tied with England on 16 points – but their last counter was 9th so Scotland secured silver medals!

Liz Corbett ran very well for 3rd in the W70 race. Her team-mates, Margaret Robertson (8th) and Anne Docherty (9th) also raced strongly to ensure another set of bronze medals.

Perhaps our top male team was the M65 outfit, which finished second. However, the English proved impossible to beat, although their winning margin was only three points, due to an excellent silver medal for Tony Martin, and strong backing from Frank Hurley (4th) and Andy McLinden (6th).

The Scottish over-70s included three runners who were loudly worried, due to leg niggles or illness. Norman Baillie, making his first appearance in a Scottish vest, was the healthy, non-whingeing one, and fought to 5th place. Stewart McCrae (the victim of a heavy cold) still shot off as usual but eventually ran out of steam and was caught half a mile from home by more cautious team-mates, who had started slowly then moved through to 9th place (Colin Youngson) and 10th (Bobby ‘Forever’ Young). This ensured surprise team silver medals. Happily, Stewart recovered quickly and joined the others in a few select Derry pubs that afternoon. The incredible Bobby ran the first of these fixtures in 1988 and has now completed a record total of 26 ex 30. Colin told anyone prepared to listen that, in parkrun terms, he had now run for Scotland in every age group from M25 to M70.

In a close battle for bronze medals, our M75 team was squeezed into fourth place. Jim Scobie ran really well to finish 8th. That upbeat character, Ian Leggett (12th) is continuing the longest running career of any current SVHC member, having been a good senior athlete as long ago as 1963.

Race Two was for the M50, M55 and M60 categories. Robert Quinn (trade name: Bobby), who has achieved a tremendous amount and remains a top-class runner, only just missed out on an individual medal when he finished fourth M50. Michael McLoone (11th) and Ross McEachern (13th) backed up well but the team were unlucky to lose bronze on countback (by only two places).

Our M55s had a tough time but battled bravely nevertheless.

The M60 race produced one real surprise, Although there had been rumours that Teviotdale stalwart Alastair ‘Sammy’ Walker, in his youth a consistently successful runner, was very fit, no one was sure how fast, since he had never actually competed as a veteran! Here, in his very first Masters appearance, he came close to winning gold but was very happy to secure an impressive second place. His team-mates closed in admirably. Paul Thompson (6th) and Alex Chisholm (10th) finished second behind Ireland but in front of England.

Race Three featured M35, M40 and M40 age groups. Competition was especially fierce in the events for younger Masters athletes. The M35 men fought hard to fourth team position, with Jozsef Farkas first Scot in 12th place.

Iain Reid (first Scot in this race, just in front of Jozsef and Scott Brember) produced a very good performance for 6th M40, as did Leon Johnson in 9th; and the team won well-deserved. bronze medals.

Our best M45 runner was Scott Brember in a fine 6th place; and the team finished fourth.

The evening banquet was unforgettable, fortunately for good food, drink, social pleasure and well-organised medal presentations; and unfortunately for rambling speeches and an inexplicable lack of result sheets. Nearly all of us enjoyed this trip a great deal, however. The Derry folk were friendly and welcoming and most of the event was very successful, even if no one could actually locate the post-race showers. Roll on Swansea 2018!

MY FAVOURITE RACE: Campbell Joss

After some considerable thought, I have selected the Balloch to Clydebank road race as my choice. For someone of my vintage this refers to the old-style event which was run over a distance of 12.25 miles rather than the modern version, which is a standard half marathon.

Back in the 1970s, and even into the 1980s, point to point races on public roads were commonplace, and the route for this event was mainly on busy roads, finishing near to the Town Hall in Clydebank. The field was smaller than it is now but the runners had to weave their way through traffic and also encountered variable comments from people leaving the local alehouses on the route. The race usually started about 2.00pm on a Saturday afternoon and in these days the pubs closed at 2.30pm.

The standard at the front end of the race tended to be very high and many of the top Scottish distance runners of that era took part.

From my own modest perspective, I enjoyed some fierce competition with other club athletes who were regular rivals on the road and cross-country scene.

In later years, I was able to extrapolate a theoretical time from these efforts, which may have resulted in a half-decent time for 13.1 miles.

I believe there was more camaraderie at events like these, compared with the modern era – and it was usual for many of the competitors, including the elite runners, to retire to the local bar for a couple of beers.

SUE RIDLEY INTERVIEWED

                                                                                                                Sue at Derry

At Glasgow Airport while waiting for the flight to Derry, I took the opportunity to chat to my friend Sue when she was a captive audience in the café! She reminded me that, although in first year at secondary school she was involved in hockey, badminton and pony club events, she started running because there was a two-mile cross-country session on a wet afternoon. She finished first, although the second girl was trained by Johnny Robertson at Inverleithen. Sue joined his group and her long career started then.

She joined Edinburgh Southern Harriers as a sprinter (a skill which may have come in useful the day after we talked – see the Derry report). Then she took part in Scottish Women’s Cross Country Union Championships and particularly remembers a race in snow at Lanark – which she loved!

Sue must be the fittest chartered accountant around, quite defeating any stereotype of that profession. She is married with three children and, when she gets home from work, has to exercise several horses, so she has always been very busy. Consequently, she does not run many miles per week but makes the most of a shorter, more intense, training schedule. This has certainly paid handsomely, especially after 1990 when her coach became Bill Blair.

Ten months later, after a close battle with Sandra Branney, Sue won the UK Inter-Counties 10k Road Race title at Moreton-on-Marsh. She was Scottish Champion twice at 3000m and twice at 10,000m, as well as obtaining two 3000m indoor golds. Then in 1994 she became Scottish Senior National Cross Country Champion at Irvine Beach Park over a famous tough but fair course. Four Senior National team golds were taken between 1992 and 2013. This was during a five-year period when she was never out to the top three. Later that year she ran for Scotland on the track: 3000m in Israel; and 5000m in Istanbul, where although she ran fast, severely hot conditions depleted her immune systems so that she contracted an M.E. type disease which affected her for seven years and, very frustratingly, prevented her from achieving her full potential.

Nevertheless, Sue Ridley has continued to race very well: in Home International cross country matches as a senior and of course a Veteran/ Master. She has represented Scotland on the track, in the country, on the road, and also in the hills! She ran the European and World Mountain Running Trophy championships several times. Sue won the W35 European Masters 10k road title in Portugal and then finished second in the Half Marathon. She was also victorious in the 2009 W40 European Masters cross country championship in Ancona.

Naturally, umpteen Scottish Masters wins have been secured. The British and Irish Masters XC has been a special favourite, which Sue has run successfully on many occasions, including individual W35 gold at Croydon in 2004. She is undoubtedly a tough competitor but is invariably modest, cheerful and friendly.

Sue says that, on the track, her favourite event was 3000m. As a Masters athlete, cross country is enjoyed most. As a favourite race, the annual Lasswade cross country event (which used to be at Bonnyrigg but now takes place in Gorebridge) is nominated. Over many years, Sue has only missed a few of these events, which are run in November. The organisers, competitors and spectators are friendly folk. The course can be muddy, partly flat but otherwise undulating. Sometimes steep climbs and long descents feature. Nowadays, female athletes race 6 k along with under-17 boys.

An accident involving a horse three years ago may have slowed Sue Ridley’s racing speed but, as Derry proved, her success is likely to continue for many years yet!

RONHILL CAMBUSLANG HARRIERS

2010 BMAF Relay M50 gold team: left to right, Iain Campbell, Colin Feechan, Dave Thom, Frankie Barton, Frank Hurley, Archie Jenkins.

Cambuslang Harriers Masters teams have been Scotland’s finest for most of the last twenty years. Many genuine stars have worn the famous red vest and won thoroughly-deserved victories, medals and trophies. I can only marvel at the arduous training regime of top men like Kerry-Liam Wilson and Robert Gilroy – and at the clever effective preparation, involving fewer miles, by extraordinary Eddie Stewart.

However, I also remember being on the receiving end of the Cambuslang juggernaut! Although Aberdeen AAC veterans did well in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Metro Aberdeen RC became my club, we struggled to defeat our powerful rivals, particularly after that classy athlete Frankie Barton (Keith AC) joined Cambuslang second-claim. Metro did win the Scottish Masters XC relay twice, but a long frustrating series of silver medals ensued in the cross-country championships as well as relays. Oh well, it was a long time ago and it has been a pleasure to meet the Cambuslang guys in more recent years!

Below is an excellent article by David Cooney, who has been at the heart of his club’s amazing, sustained success. More photos and race reports will feature in the Spring Newsletter.

CAMBUSLANG HARRIERS MASTERS MEN’S TEAMS 1988 TO 2017

Although the first Scottish Veteran/Masters Cross Country Championship took place in 1972 Cambuslang Harriers did not feature in the M40 medals until taking team bronze in 1988 behind Aberdeen AAC (for whom Colin Youngson won individual gold) and Dumbarton AC. The Cambuslang quartet on that day was Eddie McIvor, Robert Anderson, David Fairweather and Andy Hughes. A second team bronze medal and 4 silver were gained over the next 7 years.

However, in 1996 Cambuslang lost its tag of being the bridesmaid and never the bride when winning the gold award thanks to Charlie McDougall, Archie Jenkins, Frank Hurley and Murray McDonald. The club went on to secure 7 successive team gold medals and from 2003 onwards the Lanarkshire club has only missed out on a team medal on one occasion. Indeed the total medal tally over a 30 year period from 1988 until 2017 reads as 17 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze medals.

During these 3 decades Colin Donnelly and Kerry-Liam Wilson have won 9 medals, Archie Jenkins and Frank Hurley 5 and Frankie Barton and Stevie Wylie 4.

Further team success continued with the introduction of a M50 Team Championship in 2011 with Cambuslang having won the team trophy on 6 out of 7 possible occasions. The medal winning trio in 2011 was Frank Hurley, Frankie Barton and Gerry Reid. Eddie Stewart although he was first M50 and 5th overall in the race did not count for the M50 team as he was recorded as 2nd counter in the gold winning M40 team. However, Eddie has collected 4 M50 gold medals since then with 5 athletes on 2 namely Frank Hurley, Frankie Barton, Colin Feechan, Stan MacKenzie and Chris Upson.

Cambuslang Harriers M40 and 50 teams have enjoyed similar success in the Masters Cross Country Relays first introduced in 1996. Cambuslang finished 2nd in the inaugural event to a strong Metro Aberdeen team including Fraser Clyne and Keith Varney. However, in the following year the Cambuslang quartet of Frank Hurley, Jim Robertson, Jimmy Quinn and Archie Jenkins were victorious over Clydesdale with the B team of David Fairweather, Murray McDonald, Freddy Connor and Peter Ogden taking bronze position.

In the 23 year history of the event Cambuslang has collected 13 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals including 6 consecutive victories between 2011 and 2016.

Also in the 6 year lifetime of the M50 relay 4 gold medals and 1 silver have been won by the club. Dave Thom, Colin Feechan and Iain Campbell were the team members in the inaugural race. The most frequent medal winners in this category have been Colin Feechan with 3 and Dave Thom and Colin Donnelly both on two.

Cambuslang Masters teams have also been very prominent on the Scottish road running scene firstly in the Scottish Veteran Harriers Alloa to Bishopbriggs 8-man relay followed by the 6 man Torrance Relay and then the Scottish Athletics Masters M40 6 man relay introduced in 2005 and the M50 4 man event from 2013. Cambuslang won team gold on the point to point course in 1988 and 89, team silver in 1990 and bronze in 1991 and 92.

When the race was moved in 1993 to the hilly roads around Torrance (although termed a flat course by race organiser Danny Wilmoth) for safety reasons, Cambuslang continued to excel winning silver in that year followed by 8 successive gold medals up to 20002. No race was held in 2001 due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. During that period Charlie McDougall, Archie Jenkins, Frankie Barton, Frank Hurley, Jim Robertson and Ian Williamson proved to be the mainstay of the club’s success.

From 2005 when the event came under the auspices of Scottish Athletics Cambuslang has lifted 11 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze medals with Kerry-Liam Wilson featuring on 7 occasions and Dave Thom and Jamie Reid on 4.

The M50 squad has been unbeaten in its 5 year history and Colin Feechan has been ever present with Dave Thom on 3 medals and Stan MacKenzie and Chris Upson on 2.

Masters teams from Cambuslang Harriers have also made their presence felt in UK events on country and particularly road. Between 1999 and 2004 in the original O40 8-man road relay event Cambuslang won 3 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze with the O50 quartet taking 2 bronze medals in 2002 and 03. The club first experienced the special atmosphere of this event at Sutton Coldfield Birmingham in 1989 when finishing just outside the top 20. The evening before the race Cambuslang and Morpeth runners mingled in the bar listening to the exploits of Morpeth’s Jim Alder, one of the all-time greats of Scottish distance running. Two very respectable 5th places in the mid to late 90s demonstrated the progress made by Cambuslang. However, 1999 was the breakthrough year when the team of Barnie Gough, Dave Dymond, Freddy Connor, Frankie Barton, Charlie McDougall, Eddie Stewart, Frank Hurley and Archie Jenkins upset the apple cart to gain a surprise victory from their more fancied English rivals. This win was very special to the club as it was its first UK team championship medal and it did not go down well with a certain English journalist who considered the Cambuslang runners to be “Scottish raiders” in what was a UK event!

The second victory in 2003 was perhaps just as special as the club set a course record with all 8 runners being inside 16 minutes for the tough 3 mile circuit. No other club had previously managed this but Ian Williamson, Dave Dymond, Dave Thom, Colin Donnelly, Ross Arbuckle, Frankie Barton, Alex Robertson and Jack Brown managed to do so with Alex setting a club record of 14.55. However, his record was short lived as the following year John Cowan recorded the fastest race time and a new club record of 14.51 while Jack Brown equalled the old club record. Both were on the last 2 legs and ensured another team gold. Robert Gilroy later in 2015 reduced the club record to an impressive 14.47.

During that period Frankie Barton and Dave Dymond were ever present with Colin Donnelly making 4 appearances and Archie Jenkins, Frank Hurley, Freddy Connor, Ian Williamson and Dave Thom featuring in 3 of the races.

The M50 sextets added to the club’s celebrations in 2002 and 2003 by securing 2 bronze medals. Archie Jenkins, Freddy Connor, Barnie Gough and Tom McPake appeared in both races.

Although a M35-39 age group was introduced in 2008 Cambuslang did not field a team in this new age group until 2010 when the quartet of Greg Hastie, Charlie Thomson, Kerry-Liam Wilson and Jamie Reid was victorious.

The following year the M35-39 group was incorporated in to a M35-44 with 8 to count and Cambuslang again took gold thanks to Alan Ramage, Johnny MacNamara, Mick O’Hagan, Robert Gilroy, Greg Hastie, Kerry-Liam Wilson, Iain Campbell and Jamie Reid. Silver medals then followed in 2012, 15 and 16. Jamie Reid appeared in 5 of the teams with Kerry-Liam Wilson and Robert Gilroy in 4 and Greg Hastie and Charlie Thomson in 3.

Also in 2010 the M50 team of Colin Feechan, Frankie Barton, Archie Jenkins, Dave Thom, Iain Campbell and Frank Hurley added to the earlier gold medal won by their younger 35-39 team mates. That double victory with the added bonus of fielding a M60 team for the first time of David Fairweather, David Cooney and Robert Anderson was another special day for the club.

There has also been gold and silver success for the M55 team in 2015 and 17 with Colin Feechan and Paul Thompson present in both races.

Elsewhere on the road at UK level the M35, M40 and M50 age groups have won team gold over 5K, 10K and ½ Marathon with silver in the 10 mile event. The M40 team achieved 5K gold in 1999 at Annan thanks to Dave Dymond, Freddy Connor and Barnie Gough. There was further golden success at Horwich in 2003 and 05 with individual silver medallist Jack Brown spearheading the 2003 team and individual bronze medallist Charlie Thomson leading home the 2005 squad. The M50 trio of Charlie McDougall, Terry Dolan and David Cooney lifted bronze in 1999 and there was a further M50 bronze in 2005 by courtesy of Archie Jenkins, Frank Hurley and Barnie Gough. More recently in 2013 Dave Thom, Ian Williamson and Colin Feechan added team silver in the over 45 category.

At 10K the M50 trio of Freddy Connor, Barnie Gough and Ian Gordon secured gold at Bishop Auckland in 2002 which was followed by a silver medal at Motherwell in 2005. Not surprisingly the M40s took gold at Motherwell with Jack Brown first, Charlie Thomson second and Frankie Barton 5th. Again in 2013 on home soil at Pollock Park Cambuslang recorded a golden 10K double thanks to a one, two from Ben Hukins and Kerry-Liam Wilson with Robert Gilroy in support for the M35 team and the closely packed over 45 trio of Dave Thom, Colin Feechan and Ian Williamson.

Earlier in 1998 at Preston M40 10 mile silver medals were won by Frankie Barton, Eddie Stewart and Charlie McDougall.

Finally at the half marathon distance at Kirkintilloch in 2016 first and second placed Robert Gilroy and Kerry-Liam Wilson with back up from Stan MacKenzie were crowned the UK M40 masters champions.

While not attending UK cross country events as regularly as road races due to fixture clashes and the long distances involved the club nevertheless also has an excellent record in that discipline. Cambuslang took advantage of the BMAF Cross Country Championships being held at Irvine in 2003 with Colin Donnelly leading Jack Brown, Dave Dymond and Jimmy Zaple to M40 team gold. The club successfully defended the M40 title the following year at Durham thanks to Alex Robertson, Colin Donnelly, Ross Arbuckle and Dave Dymond. Cambuslang did not contest another Championship until 2014 when the event was staged at Tollcross in Glasgow. Double gold medals were achieved by the M35 and M55 teams with Robert Gilroy, Kerry-Liam Wilson and Jamie Reid representing the younger age group and Colin Feechan, Frankie Barton and Frank Hurley counting for the older group.

The Cambuslang M40 team of Gerry Reid, Dave Dymond, Ronnie Bruce, Colin Donnelly, Frankie Barton and Ross Arbuckle made its debut in a BMAF Cross Country Relay at Darlington in 2001 and scored an emphatic victory after taking the lead on the second leg. The club travelled further south to Croydon the following year with two age group teams. The M40 sextet of David Marshall, Gerry Reid, Colin Donnelly, Ian Williamson, Frankie Barton and Dave Dymond and the M50 quartet of Terry Dolan, Freddy Connor, Archie Jenkins and Barnie Gough picked up silver just losing out on gold on the last leg in their respective races. The Scottish Veteran Harriers hosted the event at Bathgate in 2007 and Cambuslang swept the board in the M35, M40 and M50 events. The M35 representatives were Kerry-Liam Wilson, Greg Hastie, David Rodgers and Stevie Wylie while the M40 runners were Ross Arbuckle, Dave Thom, Benny McLaughlin, Robert Lyon, Gerry Reid and Colin Feechan with Freddy Connor, Archie Jenkins, Frank Hurley and Frankie Barton making up the M50 quartet.

The club was not involved in any further relay competitions until 2016 when Frank Hurley, Dave Thom, Paul Thompson and Colin Donnelly won the M55 title at Long Eaton. Unfortunately the date for the BMAF Relay was switched this year to clash with the Scottish Cross Country Senior and Masters Relays and presented the club with a difficult decision to make. It was agreed to contest both events although this was splitting the club’s forces. The M55 team consisting of Colin Feechan, Dave Thom, Alick Walkinshaw and Colin Donnelly was given the opportunity to defend its title and was accompanied by a M65 squad of Peter Ogden, Barnie Gough and Frank Hurley. Both teams were among the medals with the younger quartet taking silver and the older trio bronze.

Nowadays English officials and runners are accustomed to seeing Cambuslang compete in UK events held out with Scotland and they appreciate the club’s appearance given the long journeys involved.

If pressed on what I consider to be Cambuslang’s Harriers Masters greatest achievement(s) I would chose 3 performances at the BMAF Road Relays held at Sutton Coldfield, the spiritual home of UK road relay running. The first UK victory for the M40 team in 1999 was obviously special as was regaining the title and beating the course record in 2003. However, achieving a double victory for the M35 and M50 teams in 2010 also merits inclusion.

The question of how Cambuslang Harriers Masters Men Section (and indeed the club itself across all the male age groups) has remained so successful for a 30 year period needs to be considered. A variety of factors come into play to explain why a relatively small club with a total membership of no more than 130 athletes has enjoyed such lasting success. Having a number of talented athletes supported by a good core of club runners all sharing a sense of ambition and imbued with a strong club spirit and mindful of club tradition is a very important ingredient. The availability of excellent structured coaching with Mike Johnston at the helm and the positive support and encouragement from committee and club members current and past such as Robert Anderson, Colin Feechan, Dave Thom, Barnie Gough, David Cooney, Owen Reid, Des Yuill, Jim Scarbrough, Cameron Brown, Jim Orr and Ian Gordon are vital too.

The maxim of success breeds success holds true for Cambuslang Harriers. The early masters’ teams from the late 1980s onwards took inspiration and belief from their younger club mates when the under 17 and under 20 teams from the early/mid 1980s and senior teams from 1988 regularly began to strike national gold. Indeed 4 of the senior athletes from the gold winning team of 1988 were later to carry forward their exploits to masters’ level – Colin Donnelly, Eddie Stewart, Ross Arbuckle and Charlie Thomson.

Undoubtedly the club’s growing success at masters’ level and its known ambition to compete at UK level attracted other runners to Cambuslang. Dave Dymond who had lived in Exeter and ran for them in the BMAF Road Relay when Cambuslang had also competed asked to join the club for that very reason when he moved shortly afterwards to Largs. Ian Williamson resident in Shetland but never, once he became a veteran, having a team to support him when on the mainland, was keen to sample team competition and to join a club which would further his running ambition.

Another consideration is the famous or infamous Tuesday night club 8 mile tempo Hampden run where no prisoners were taken. This was instrumental in raising the fitness and fostering the team spirit of the Cambuslang runners. If Alex Gilmour took his teeth out before the run then everyone knew that the pace would be extra hot. While not quite on the same scale as previously, evergreen masters such as Frank Hurley, Dave Thom, Colin Feechan and Paul Thompson along with new M40 and club captain Iain Reid and a group of U20, senior men and women can be found on that Hampden circuit today.

Finally loyalty from athletes to the club cannot be overlooked. Although Eddie Stewart left Scotland in 1993 for Prague where he still lives, he has continued to represent the club whenever he can and has the almost unique record of winning Scottish Masters XC Titles at M40/45/50/55/60. (Greenock’s Bill Stoddart, frequently a World Veteran champion, previously achieved this feat.)

It is possible that Colin Donnelly who also moved from Glasgow to North Wales for a lengthy period but continued to represent Cambuslang may shortly emulate Eddie’s record if he can stay injury free. Colin has so far achieved gold in the M40/45/50/55 age groups.

While every athlete mentioned in the article has played a crucial part in creating and/or sustaining Cambuslang’s incredible team success a number of names have appeared more frequently and/or over a lengthy period of time. The reader will be able to identify them.

While this article has mainly focused on team success it is worth remembering the Cambuslang athletes who have achieved individually at European and or World Level namely Willie Marshall, Kerry-Liam Wilson, Paul Thompson, Colin Donnelly, Archie Jenkins, Jack Brown and Ian Williamson. On a final note the Cambuslang’s Ladies’ Masters’ squad of Jennifer Reid, Bernie O’Neil, Erica Christie and Claire Mennie, who won senior team gold last season in the Scottish 10 Mile Road Championship and bronze in the Scottish Masters Road Relay, also deserve recognition.

By David Cooney

 

LONDON OLYMPIC MARATHON, 1908 continued – by Roger Robinson

 Jack Andrew promptly declared Dorando Pietri the winner, presumably announcing it through that giant megaphone. As a long-time stadium announcer, I’m very grateful I wasn’t working that day. The American team immediately lodged a protest, which of course was upheld. They had already lodged four in four days of the Games, which shows something of the tension between the hosts and their most successful guests.

It started when the American flag was only at half-mast during the opening ceremony. (Well, it really started in 1776. British Imperialism was at its height in 1908, and America represented its one great failure.) In the 400 meters, the race was declared void, one American was disqualified, all four withdrew, and a single Brit (1906 Scottish Champion Wyndham Halswelle, who had broken the Olympic record in the heats) did the re-run final solo.

The American Bishop of Pennsylvania, invited to deliver the Sunday sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in the middle of the Games, tried to defuse the dispute by coining the phrase “the important thing in the Olympic Games is not so much winning as taking part.” Baron Pierre de Coubertin at the post-Games Government banquet, only a few hours after the Hayes/ Pietri drama, quoted that phrase, and it has become enshrined in the Olympic creed.

What Hayes and Pietri thought about it is not recorded. Anyway, Johnny Hayes was the winner. How well was Hayes running during those climactic final seconds? All eyes were (and still are) on Pietri at the tape, but an important question is whether Hayes was charging him down or struggling along in a similar state of near-collapse.

One American spectator said that Hayes “trotted into the stadium as fresh as a daisy,” and Doyle said he was “well within his strength,” but other accounts say things like he “struggled in second, apparently befuddled by strychnine” (Rob Hadgraft, The Little Wonder, p. 220). Jack Andrew also reported that he “assisted Hayes in the same way” as he did Pietri. Why did he need assistance? What shape was he in?

An Italian observer’s sketch reproduced by Martin and Gynn (1979) shows the points where Pietri collapsed, and marks with an X Hayes’s position on the last bend as Pietri reached the tape. Assuming it is accurate (and it fits with Doyle’s and Cook’s accounts), this puts Hayes about 150 yards behind as Pietri reaches the tape (since the full distance on the track was 385 yards). Their finishing times were 2:54:46.4 and 2:55:18.4, a 32 second gap. 150 yards in 32 seconds is 93 second 440 speed, or 6:12 mile pace. (I’m no mathematician so please check). That’s hauling, at the end of a 2:55 marathon, average pace 6:41. So Hayes finished fast, by any standards.

To imagine him at 6-minute mile speed charging in pursuit of the tottering crumpling Pietri is to understand the full frantic drama of that scene. No wonder the crowd was in frenzy. No wonder the officials around Pietri were in a state of near panic. Andrew’s motives in giving Hayes the same “assistance” may not have been as pure as I’d like to think. You don’t need assisting if you can run 6’s. If Hayes “collapsed” or fell down after the line, well, so do plenty of us, and it doesn’t mean we were not running strong. For astute tactics executed with judgment and determination, few Olympic marathon winners have been more deserving than Johnny Hayes.

Next day, after the awards ceremony, he was carried off the track on a table held by six American teammates, with “the Greek trophy” awarded for the Marathon, a statue apparently representing the dying Pheidippides.

Pietri had been carried off on a stretcher. But he did not die. He was taken to a hospital where he recovered quite quickly. The New York Times says he “was almost too weak to answer questions when seen tonight [after the race]”, but the next day he looks quite perky in the picture where he is receiving his big gold cup from Queen Alexandra. The New York Times said he “walked briskly around the track and up the steps,” which is more than I could ever do the day after a marathon. He received “a perfect ovation, the people rising in their seats and cheering him for fifteen minutes.” The American part of the crowd “kept up the demonstration long after the others had quieted down.” (New York Times)

The Brits also took the little Italian to their hearts. He became a symbol of gallantry, and of noble breeding. Conan Doyle pronounced portentously, “No Roman of the prime ever bore himself better than Dorando… The great breed is not yet extinct.” If it seems a bit of a stretch to dress up the sweaty little small-town cake maker in a toga as one of the noblest Romans of them all, well, the Brits in 1908 believed in “great breeds,” especially their own, and saw themselves as inheritors of Rome’s imperial destiny. It’s also possible that some of this spin campaign to apotheosize Pietri as the true winner of the marathon might have been meant to take the smile off the Americans’ faces.

No question that Pietri was amazingly gutsy. To get to your feet once after collapsing with heat exhaustion near the end of a marathon is tough. To do it six times is astonishing. Pietri earned his iconic place as a symbol of courage and endurance. But for my money, as a runner, it takes just as much courage to let the entire field in a major race run away from you at the start, sit sedately back while Brit spectators jeer from up every tree, allow the leaders to go away by nearly ten minutes, and wait till after 15 miles before you begin to make any ground on them. That’s really gutsy. The marathon is a sporting event that tests judgment, as well as stamina and courage. By that full test, Johnny Hayes was emphatically the winner.

Pietri misjudged by probably only two or three minutes. That extra 1 mile, 385 yards indeed sank him. (Even the program said the distance was 26 miles. The official race rules said 40 kilometers.) But Hayes got it dead right, and all credit to him.

The other thing that Pietri came to symbolize is the public’s mixture of horror and fascination with physical exhaustion. This was the appeal of fights to the death in the Rome Coliseum. A hundred years before the Pietri race, in the early 19th century, the big sport was bare-knuckle boxing, which went on till one contestant was smashed to pulp. Some of the greatest fights lasted over 60 rounds.

In the later 1800s, after boxing was regulated, there were still plenty of sporting events where crowds paid well to watch competitors run or walk to exhaustion, as in the six-day “Go as you please” races that have been described in Marathon & Beyond.

Pietri went beyond exhaustion in front of the biggest crowd in history, and for the highest stakes. Knowledge of the causes for exhausted collapse was primitive, and included a good measure of sheer superstition. One doctor who examined Pietri at the hospital pronounced, “His heart was displaced by half an inch.” I have never worked out how he knew exactly where it had been to begin with. It was Pietri’s “supreme will within” that most impressed Conan Doyle. He caught perfectly, in a phrase that deserves to be better known, the appeal of this kind of extreme effort: “It is horrible, and yet fascinating, this struggle between a set purpose and an utterly exhausted frame.” Some find it so horrible that they disapprove. The London Daily News struck a pose of shocked protest. “Nothing more painful or deplorable was ever seen at a public spectacle…It may be questioned whether so great a trial of human endurance should be sanctioned.”

Yet we all love to watch people risk death, even as we fear it, and even though we’re sometimes ashamed of liking it. My brother is a commentator at TT motorcycle racing, and lives every week with a public that is half morbid in its fascination with his sport. I don’t watch Nascar racing but suspect that sometimes there are crashes.

It was this element of near-death danger in the Pietri drama that gave the new sport of the marathon its place in the shared human imagination. However purist we are about marathon running, and however positive in our beliefs about it, we have to acknowledge that element in its popular appeal.

Having just published a book about the marathon, I know that I could not decline to include the stories of Pheidippides, Pietri and Jim Peters. They are intrinsic to marathon culture.

But Pietri’s sufferings were not the whole story. Look at any photo of the 1908 Olympic marathon, and you’ll be struck by the hordes of spectators. One wonderful picture shows dozens of them who have clambered up trees in Windsor Great Park to get a view of the start. People are lined two deep on Windsor’s Castle Hill in the pictures of the athletes walking up towards the start, and then racing downhill on the first half mile. Several photos in the official report show a crowd at Willesden, about 23 miles, as good as those in modern Brooklyn. “The people who lined the course treated us finely, and they were of great assistance in cheering us up and giving a man heart,” Joseph Forshaw told the New York Times. One estimate I have seen put the crowds at 250,000. I’ve no idea how they calculate these figures, but the crowds were evidently bigger than at Athens in 1896, so it seems safe to say the 1908 Olympic marathon was, in terms of public response, the biggest sports event in history.

Why? It was just 56 under-trained, little-known guys doing something repetitive and not specially interesting that we now know can be done very much better. Yet there was huge public interest. Probably the main reasons are the same that bring out the crowds at modern Boston, London, or New York. (1) A race is a race, the purest and best of all sports contests. (2) The marathon has a sense of historical significance that no other event equals. (3) There is the “horrible fascination” of watching apparently ordinary people heroically push themselves to the extreme that marathon runners do, (4) It’s international so gives the buzz of patriotism, and (5) The marathon happens right outside your front door, yet brings contestants from all over to do battle on your street.

With that 1908 race immediately becoming almost mythic, the marathon entered popular culture, and the English language (and other languages, of course). After the inspiring Greek victory of Spiridon Louis in 1896, the phrase “marathon race” (soon just “marathon”) denoted the new sporting event, with added associations of long and heroic effort. After Pietri, it took on the extra meanings of a struggle against exhaustion, or gallantly surviving long-term difficulty. The word was applied outside running for the first time only four months after Pietri’s race, when the London Daily Chronicle reported a potato-peeling contest named “The Murphy Marathon” (Nov 5, 1908). It entered literature the next year, when H.G. Wells was writing his novel The History of Mr. Polly (published 1910). A criminal called Uncle Jim warns Mr. Polly off his patch, appearing one evening while Polly is taking his walk. Wells spares the reader Jim’s more colourful adjectives. Mr. Polly…quickened his pace. “Arf a mo’,” said Uncle Jim, taking his arm. “We ain’t doing a (sanguinary) Marathon. It ain’t a (decorated) cinder track. I want a word with you, mister. See?” If the low-life Uncle Jim, or the non-sporting H.G. Wells, knew about the marathon, it had arrived. (Wells was a keen bicyclist but had no interest in organized sports.)

Such public interest produced a great era of marathons. The rivalry between Pietri and Hayes was too colourful to let go. They were quickly signed by an enterprising New York promoter for a head-to-head race in November 1908. Pietri gave up his amateur status and endorsed Bovril (a beef tea drink) as the cause of his rapid recovery. (Another shaft for the race organizers, who had sponsorship from the rival Oxo, which was “appointed Official Caterers” to the competitors.) Tom Longboat, the Boston record-breaker with the exotic appeal of being a Canadian Onondagan Indian, also declared himself available for prize-money racing. So did England’s Fred Appleby, another star who had suffered a bad day at London. So did an exciting new name to the marathon, multiple world record-holder Alf Shrubb of England, the world’s greatest track and cross-country runner. The official report on the 1908 Olympics grumpily dismissed all this as an “epidemic of ‘Marathon Races’ which attacked the civilized world from Madison Square Garden to the Valley of the Nile.” It was in fact the first great running boom, and one of the most fascinating periods in the whole story of the marathon.

 

MY FAVOURITE RACE: THE EDINBURGH TO GLASGOW ROAD RELAY

(A huge amount has been written about this event, which used to be the ‘Blue Riband’ of the pre-Christmas road racing season. Sadly the last E to G took place in 2002.) First, Brian McAusland’s introductory comments to the extensive E to G section in his excellent website: scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot “The Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay was the best and most prestigious race in the Scottish Athletics Calendar second only to the National Cross-Country Championships of Scotland. Many would say that it was the best bar none. Simply put it was a relay race starting in Edinburgh and finishing in Glasgow. It had eight stages, each of a different length and was held on the third Sunday in November each year. If that’s all it was, then it was nothing special BUT: It had been going since the early 1930’s and that made it unique; It was an invitation only race and limited to twenty clubs.

The clubs started talking about the event from the start of September, club teams were selected from the shorter relays in October and most clubs, when I started running in it, had their own E-G trials which went by the board after the Glasgow University Road Race appeared on the scene and the Allan Scally Relays latterly were also used as trials for the race.

Places were hard fought for and stages were allocated according to arcane rituals – some clubs ran their team weakest first and tried to work their way through the field, some used to run their best men first and fairly often if a club only had one or two good athletes they just ran them first to give them a hard race! I seem to remember Strathclyde University running Frank Clement and Lawrie Spence first and second and then the team finished nowhere. I stand to be corrected on that one.

It was unique in that you were often running blind and could not see the runners ahead of you. Runners were often/always running for their team mates and it was the only really club team contest on the calendar. One of my own best performances was when I picked up four or five places on the fifth stage – but it was all down to Ian Donald on the previous stage running blind all the way and just when he got some runners in his sights, he had to give me the baton.

One of the races of which I was most proud was taking the baton on the seventh stage and picking up from sixteenth to fifteenth (the first fifteen teams were automatically in the race the following year) by switching about the road to get the best line through bends, hiding from the view of the Law runner in front when he looked back and so on.

And it was the grandest affair you could imagine. When I started, it was organised by the News of the World newspaper – the race was also known as ‘The News of the World’ to the older guys – who provided nine buses (one for each stage and one for the stragglers, limousines (I mean Rolls Royces and Bentleys) for the officials and a slap-up meal for one and all in the Ca d’Oro Restaurant in Glasgow after the race.

Oh, aye, and the results of the various stages were available on the day as the race progressed – e.g. the results of the first stage were available at the start of the third, of the second at the start of the fourth and so on. Even when austerity hit the race standards were lowered as little as possible – e.g. buses were reduced in number from nine to four each to cover two stages of the race, when the NoW removed its sponsorship in 1967 the programmes were still well produced, results were available on the day and a meal was served up for the Presentation in the Strathclyde University Staff Club through the good offices of Alex Johnstone.

Latterly sponsorship was by Barr’s of Irn Bru fame, courtesy of Des Yuill, programmes were skimpy in comparison and the meal was a roll, a biscuit and a cup of tea at Crown Point – but THE RACE WAS THE THING.

Times were compared, post mortems were held and traditions were set and maintained for generations of runners. Stories were legion – e.g. every club had a Man Who Walked In The E-G. Vicky Park’s was Albie Smith on the fourth stage, just overwhelmed by the occasion; Clydesdale’s was Norrie Ponsonby (who said on the following Tuesday that he was going to retire from the sport all weekend until he realised that folk would just say “who’s Norrie Ponsonby?”); Greenock Glenpark’s was Ian Hopkins; and the greatest of them all was future Scottish Athletics great John Robson who, when very young and inexperienced, allegedly threw the baton into a garden halfway through the third stage when ESH were leading. The story ran the length of the other clubs who were still racing and wild and inaccurate rumours were rife about various things that might have happened until word came through that he was back in the race, persuaded ‘by four big shot putters from Edinburgh!’. (That was inaccurate too!) Supporters could get so carried away by watching the race that they forgot the runner who had just done his stint and drove away leaving him shivering! A special kind of race.”

By Brian McAusland

 

Next, brief accounts of the 1986 and 1987 E to G races.

1986 was my final really good run in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay. Paul Dugdale (Motherwell) won the first leg and Graham Crawford was once again fastest on Stage Two. However Chris Hall and Simon Axon had given Aberdeen AAC a good start and Jim Doig (British International orienteer and marathon representative) raced into the lead with the second-fastest time on Stage Three, losing only four seconds to Massachusetts Select’s R.Ovian. Although Ray Cresswell lost a little ground on 4 (Craig Hunter fastest for ESH), Graham Laing moved up again (second-fastest to Alastair Walker of Teviotdale, and Fraser Clyne battled back into the lead (ESH’s John Robson fastest). Mike Murray ran really well to extend the lead to 22 seconds (American J. Marinilli fastest).

Although I was worried about my main Stage Eight pursuer being the very talented young star (and last leg record holder) Andy Beattie of Cambuslang, things could hardly have gone better. Being give a special gold baton could have been a jinx, but I took off hard into a definite headwind.

After about three miles, Doug Gillon shouted out “23 seconds and not closing”.

Before long I saw my good friend Jim Doig peering anxiously over my sweaty shoulder and then relaxing to say, “Colin, you’re running brilliantly.” An exaggeration of course, but when a few years later Jim died tragically young of meningitis, I was devastated, but eventually could take a tiny crumb of comfort from having made him proud at least once.

I managed to bash on strongly to the finish, more than a minute clear, setting the fastest time on the stage. Cambuslang Harriers were second and ESH third.

Doug Gillon may well have invented the quote he attributed to ‘a bystander’, which was “If you had cut Colin Youngson’s head off in Alexandra Parade he would still have made it to the finish in George Square”! So, at the age of 39, I still got marks for apparent effort.

1987 was the first triumph in this event for Cambuslang Harriers. Ian Archibald from East Kilbride won the first stage, with Charlie Thomson (Cambus) 6th, one in front of Adrian Weatherhead (EAC). Next the Edinburgh Club’s Ian Hamer zoomed into first place on 2, although Peter McColgan was fastest for Dundee Hawkhill. Calum Murray was 8th for Cambus, handing over to A. McCartney who moved up to 3rd, behind Brian Kirkwood’s fastest time for EAC. Andy Beattie was fastest on 4 and closed the gap to the leaders to 15 seconds. Then on 5 Eddie Stewart was quickest and gave Cambuslang a 35 second lead. Alex Gilmour extended this to almost a minute (with John Robson ESH fastest on 6). Although on 7 (A. McAngus of Bellahouston fastest) Martin Ferguson EAC pulled back thirty seconds on P. McAvoy, Jim Orr with the fastest leg 8 got completely clear of Kenny Mortimer and Cambuslang finished almost 90 seconds in front of EAC.

Meanwhile Aberdeen AAC, starting a lowly 12th, gradually made progress and, now officially a veteran, I was second fastest on the last leg to gain ‘bronze’.”

Finally, my comments at the end of a very long section of E to G personal reminiscences. Between 1966 and 1999 I took part in a record number of 30 races.

How can I sum up the truly important aspects of the late lamented Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay? All your best clubmates battled to get into the team, as the club itself had to fight for the invitation to compete. Just to take part was a privilege and an achievement. Then the challenge was to conquer the weather, your nerves and the opposition to ensure that no energy was left when you handed over and that you had done your very best. Right to the end of each race, club-mates cheered you on to stave off pursuit or overtake those in front. Yes, it was extra exciting if a medal seemed possible, but self-respect or club honour was of paramount importance. The drama, the tension, the emotional and physical intensity, the bantering, the socialising afterwards – all quite unrivalled by other events. Anyone who took part in the E to G should treasure the experience. We were lucky!”

By Colin Youngson  

 Finally, SVHC President Alastair Macfarlane’s E to G memories – My Favourite Event.

“Having suggested that I might wish to provide an article for the Newsletter on my favourite race the Editor has me searching my memory banks. It is now over two decades since I ran a serious race but probably like most people there are still some races which are still fresh in the memory. And there are others which are immediately dispatched to the rubbish bin, so enough of them!

Having competed at every distance from 120 yards to the marathon I suppose I have a wide range from which to choose but I have selected an event rather than a race. The event is the much-missed Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay, probably unknown to many of the current generation of runners. The E to G was a relay race for club teams of 8 runners starting in Edinburgh, running along the A8, passing through such beauty spots as Broxburn, Bathgate, Airdrie and Coatbridge and finishing in George Square Glasgow. The first race in the series was held on the 26th of April 1930 and the final event on November 24th 2002.

My early running career meant that it was 1973 before I was able to get a taste of the E to G and I was fortunate to be able to take part in all the races up to 1983. This was no ordinary relay race and no ordinary club could take part. Participation was by invitation and only the top 20 clubs in the country could take part. So there was great competition among clubs to be involved in the ‘News of the World ‘ as it became known, after the race sponsor.

And there was huge competition within clubs to make the 8 man team, with clubs using races like the Allan Scally Relay, the Glasgow University 5 or club trials to select teams. Having selected the individuals there was then the task of deciding the running order as the legs varied in length from 4.5 miles to 7 miles. The strategies varied but most clubs would turn out their best runners on legs 2 and 6, the two longest stages while leg 3 being the shortest, would go to the weakest man.

The coach and team manager of my Springburn Harriers team, Eddie Sinclair, a former Scottish 3 mile champion always wanted his team to be well up early on so the first leg was given to a solid dependable runner. Having run the first leg several times I can say the pressure and atmosphere is intense in the extreme probably because all the clubs are still closely bunched and aspirations of most clubs are still very high. In fact I would probably say that in over 50 years in the sport I have never experienced pressure and atmosphere quite like it.

Having done reasonably well on the 7th leg in my first outing in 1973 I was given the first leg the following year and did well to finish 4th behind two sub 2.18 marathon runners in Colin Youngson and Willie Day, and Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Jim Alder. And that experience was called on in the 1976 race when I again was given the first leg and was able to produce one of my most satisfying performances to win the leg with Colin Youngson second. I can still remember running along Queensferry Road in the leading group with Colin leading and knowing I would win this!

1976 became known as the John Robson race. John was one of the very finest 1500 metre and cross-country runners Scotland has ever produced but, mainly because at that time he was very young and inexperienced, he chose that day to have possibly his worst ever run. He was handed the short 3rd leg by his club Edinburgh Southern Harriers, who were probably favourites to win the race. He took over in 3rd place, moved smoothly into the lead but then, not having his best day, decided mid race that he had had enough, stopped running, threw the baton into a field and sat down at the side of the road.

This was clearly a major crisis for his club and his team mates who were yet to run. However after a combination of persuading, cajoling and eventually threatening, John was persuaded to retrieve the baton and start running again. His time for the leg is recorded as 32.47 while Lachie Stewart on the same leg ran 22.03. ESH had slumped from 3rd to 19th and it is to their credit that the remainder of the team improved to finish in 8th place.

Having experienced the high of leading in the first leg in 1976 there was a totally different experience for me 3 years later. I ran the 6th leg, the longest at 7 miles from Forestfield to Airdrie. With a weaker team Springburn Harriers weren’t doing so well and I had a long wait for my team mate to appear. I eventually took over in 20th place of 20 teams! I managed to turn a 15 second gap on the 19th team into a 16 second gain as we finished 18th, definitely not one of my favourite memories. My final appearance came in 1983 when I finished 16th on the first leg and the event itself came to an end in 2002 and is still missed by most people who had the pleasure of taking part.

By Alastair Macfarlane

 

RUNNING LITERATURE

(I wonder which more recent running books have inspired younger readers? Please email to recommend them.) Like many of my generation, I own a considerable number of books about athletics. In fact, I read about the topic long before I became a runner myself. Back in the 1950s, I used to get several comics a week, and of course two characters stood out as superstars.

The Great Wilson (of The Wizard) was a mysterious black-clad figure who followed a strict regime of diet and exercise and became a multi-talented world-beater at anything from sprinting and distance running to breaking the long jump record over a pit of fire, flying a Spitfire during the Battle of Britain and climbing Mount Everest. I treasure a rare copy of The Truth about Wilson by W.S.K. Webb, published by D.C. Thomson & Co. Thanks to the invention of charity shops, I have three ‘Hotspur’ annuals, featuring Wilson. If you google britishcomics, you will find several sample adventures to read or print out.

Alf Tupper, The Tough of the Track, was the other figure that nowadays would be termed iconic. Although I was a middle-class lad who went to a state grammar school (non-fee-paying!), somehow I had no difficulty identifying with this determined eccentric who lived off fish and chips, trained very hard after a tiring day’s welding, and time and again managed to defeat a succession of snobbish university runners and poisonous class-conscious officials.

A kind friend lent me his extensive collection of ‘Victor’ comics and I photocopied rather a lot of Alf’s adventures. In addition I obtained a dozen ‘Victor’ annuals; and a complete set of the actual comic saga which finishes with Alf Tupper winning the marathon at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games on the very same day that Ron Hill set a world best time at that same venue! Once again, several tales are available at britishcomics.

In 2006 Brendan Gallagher published Sporting Supermen (The true stories of our childhood comic heroes) and I would urge anyone interested in sporting nostalgia to buy that through amazon.co.uk. Another recommendation is Victor – The Best of Alf Tupper (published in 2012) Indeed quite a number of the books I intend to mention in this article are cheaply available, although others are very hard to track down and far too expensive, even for unrepentant saddos like me!

My first memories of watching (or listening!) to athletics were from 1954: the first four minute mile and Chris Chataway outsprinting Vladimir Kuts at the White City. Naturally, I read Roger Bannister’s First Four Minutes as soon as I was able.

After that, newspaper reports about the 1956 Olympics, Derek Ibbotson’s world record, the 1958 Commonwealth Games and Herb Elliott’s exploits.

Then in the late 50s, while browsing through the stock in Aberdeen Public Library, I came across Knud Lundberg’s The Olympic Hope, a fascinating tale about a fantasy version of the 1996 Olympic 800m, with chapters on the background of each finalist and a metre-by-metre, thought-by-thought account of the final. Years later I found it again and promptly photocopied the lot!

The films of the 1960 Rome Olympics and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (now available on youtube!) were terrific. Neil Allen wrote two very good ‘Olympic Diaries’ about these. Chris Brasher was another wonderful athletics journalist, if rather emotional!

Shortly after Tokyo I began running increasingly seriously and was able to borrow books from Alastair Wood and Mel Edwards. Olympic hero Peter Snell’s No Bugles No Drums was very enjoyable; as was Murray Halberg’s A Clean Pair of Heels; and the incredible Gordon Pirie’s Running Wild. Ron Clarke’s autobiography The Unforgiving Minute was excellent, as was his The Lonely Breed, about great distance runners of the past. Then there was David Hemery’s Another Hurdle.

After the joys of watching every day of the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games I was delighted to pick up a marvellous little book by Derrick Young called The Ten Greatest Races, which started with Ian Stewart’s recent 5000m triumph, and then focused on Wooderson, Zatopek, Bannister, Peters, Chataway, Elliott, Abebe Bikila, Clarke and Ryun.

My interest in the history of running was developed further by Peter Lovesey’s Kings of Distance; and Cordner Nelson’s Track and Field: the Great Ones.

The list goes on nearly for ever. Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order. Zatopek the Marathon Victor by Frantisek Kozik. Tinged by communist propaganda but still a great story about an incredible individual. • Brendan Foster by Brendan, helped by Cliff Temple. • Ovett: An Autobiography by Steve, helped by John Rodda. • Barefoot Runner by Paul Rambali (about Abebe Bikila). • The Marathon Makers and 3.59.4 by John Bryant. • Marathon and Chips by Jim Alder. • The Long Hard Road (two volumes) by Ron Hill. • Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey (a detective novel set in Victorian times, featuring an epic Six Day Race for ‘pedestrians’.) • The Iron in his Soul by Bob Phillips (about Bob Roberts, an outstanding 400m racer). • The Road to Athens by Bill Adcocks. • Four Million Footsteps by Bruce Tulloh. • From Last to First by Charlie Spedding. • Paula: My Story So Far by Paula Radcliffe. • The Universe is Mine by John Emmet Farrell. • Running High by Hugh Symonds • Running my Life by Donald Macgregor. • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. • The Lore of Running by Tim Noakes. • Running by Thor Gotaas (the ultimate history of the sport). • Scottish Athletics by John Keddie (SAAA centenary). • Runs will take place Whatever the Weather by Colin Shields (SCCU centenary).

In addition there are good books on Eric Liddell, Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram etc etc right up to the present day. Since the 1980s running boom (concentrating largely on the marathon) several good American journalist/runners have published interesting work, especially Kenny Moore. It is well worth finding out what is available for free download on the internet.

One novel I particularly like is Once a Runner by John L Parker Jnr, which is based on the author’s experiences while training at the University of Florida with Frank Shorter, who went on to win the 1972 Olympic Marathon. The book is mainly about a miler’s quest to beat a champion who seems suspiciously like John Walker, the 1976 Montreal Olympic gold medallist. Parker also wrote Runners and Other Dreamers and, just last year, Again to Carthage. Both are recommended, although the latter (which is mainly about an attempt to run a very fast marathon) for my taste goes on too much about scuba diving! If you like those books, google the author for an interesting recent interview.

Roger Robinson is one of the finest athletics writers. He was a contemporary of Aberdeen’s Mel Edwards at Cambridge University and went on to run the International cross-country championships, first for England and then New Zealand. He won the masters division of the Boston and New York Marathons; and won world masters championships in cross-country and on the roads in the M40 and M50 sections. Dr Robinson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at Victoria University of Wellington. Roger’s running books, which I recommend unreservedly, are eloquent, intelligent, witty and well-researched. One has just been republished: Heroes and Sparrows: a Celebration of Running. Then there is the beautifully illustrated 26.2 Stories of the Marathon; and the marvellous Running in Literature.

The latter provides for me half of this article! It is about running as described by famous historical figures like Homer, Thomas Hardy and James Joyce; the history of cross-country and marathon running; and finishes with an invaluable list of modern running literature.

One chapter has the title: “Running Novels – The World Championship”. The Semi-finals include thirteen books, mainly focusing on fictitious Olympic Games. I will only mention three. Knud Lundberg’s The Olympic Hope, which I discovered in Aberdeen Library so long ago. Bruce Tuckman’s Long Road to Boston, which I am finding difficult and expensive to buy. I lack the modesty to refrain from mentioning the inclusion of my own Running Shorts – a sequence of stories about the experiences of ‘Scottish runners’ (i.e. me) in youth and age, success and failure, over a variety of surfaces and distances. This text is available to read on scottishdistancerunninghistory.scot

Most of the Finalists are quite cheaply available. 13: Brooks Stannard, The Glow is a quirky, dark thriller. 12: John Owen, The Running Footman (very rare), is set in 18th Century England. 11: Peter Lovesey, Wobble to Death, has been mentioned previously, as has 10: John L Parker Jnr’s Once a Runner. 9: Bill Loader, Staying the Distance is the tale of Tigger Dobson, a working-class Northern English runner who overcomes self-doubt and a social inferiority complex to win an international 5000 metres. (Loader wrote another good book Testament of a Runner about his life and times, mainly as a sprinter in the 1940s.) 8: Paul Christman, The Purple Runner (expensive, unless you want the Kindle download) is set on Hampstead Heath, where so many Londoners train and race. There is a range of interesting runners, including a mysterious fantasy athlete, a cross between Wilson and Steve Prefontaine! 7: Pat Booth, Sprint from the Bell (very rare) is a New Zealand novel about a dedicated runner with an inspiring coach, striving to be the first man to break 3.50 for a mile. 6: James McNeish, Lovelock, is ‘a skilled, highly professional bio-fiction on the life and inner perplexities of Jack Lovelock, who won the 1500m at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in world-record time’. Roger Robinson praises the book, but states that the suggestion that Lovelock later committed suicide is wrong. 5: Tom McNab, Flanagan’s Run is ‘an energetic and engrossing tale of an imagined coast to coast footrace across America in 1931.’ It was a thoroughly justified best-seller – and written by a prominent Scottish coach too! 4: Patricia Nell Warren, The Front Runner features a passionate gay love affair between a track coach and his star athlete, as they prepare for the Olympic 10,000m. 3: Alan Sillitoe, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner is a small masterpiece concerning a troubled seventeen year old Borstal boy who finds release through cross country running but struggles to cope with authority. 2: Brian Glanville, The Olympian is about the rise of a club quarter-miler to the status of Olympic 1500m contender. The book is rated very highly as genuine literature with real insight. 1: Tom McNab: The Fast Men is a story about runners set in the American Wild West. The book has a wonderful variety of historically-based characters and is ‘a novel of vivid imagination and passionate truth about running.’

And of course there’s more. Amazon recently sent me The Runner’s Literary Companion by Garth Battista, which includes top-class excerpts from American writers – and all for £2.69 including postage! I expect to continue reading about running until my eyesight becomes even worse than my legs are now.

By Colin Youngson

 

ATTITUDES TO AFRICAN DISTANCE RUNNERS

Recently I watched the Great North Run Half Marathon on television. The London Marathon winner, Kenya’s Mary Keitany, won clearly in a very fast time, defeating Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and two other Kenyans.

Mo Farah, tired after a long season, had to make a big effort to win the GNR. The Olympic marathon silver medallist, Feyisa Lilesa from Ethiopia, was third, with Japanese and American athletes fifth and sixth. Intriguingly, two New Zealanders, twin brothers Jake and Zane Robertson, were second and fourth. Jake lives and trains in Iten, Kenya, while Zane is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The enthusiastic crowd near the finish in South Shields applauded every runner, regardless of speed or skin colour. When, after the race, Jake Robertson proposed to and was accepted by his Kenyan girlfriend, Magdalyne Masai, who had been fourth in the Women’s contest, the onlookers were ecstatic.

I started thinking about African distance runners and how, until the 1960s, they hardly featured in world class stamina athletics; how they came to dominate so completely; and how, recently, some non-Africans have started to compete strongly with them – such as the marvellous Scottish athlete, Calum Hawkins, who was 9th in the Rio Olympic Marathon and 4th in the London World Championship Marathon.

Back in the early 1990s, Brendan Foster’s company (rather amazingly) persuaded a number of star professional athletes to compete in an annual Road Racing Festival in Aberdeen, over one mile or 5k, round a hilly little tarmac surface in a park; or later on, up and down Union Street. Autographs collected by my sons and myself included: Steve Cram, Peter Elliot, Brendan Foster, John Treacy, Dave Moorcroft, Liz McColgan, Yvonne Murray, Zola Pieterse and Sonia O’Sullivan; and also outstanding Africans like Ismail Kirui, Benson Masya , Khalid Shah and Moses Tanui (the 1991 World 10,000m champion and 1993 Half Marathon World Record Holder with a time of 59.47).

It was Tanui versus Masya (who won the Great North four times) that fascinated me. They were running the 5k and the Duthie Park loop included a nasty steep little hill. Sadistically, I spectated from the top of this obstacle and observed a range of world class competitors panting up the slope. However Tanui simply glided up with no apparent effort before easing away to win in record time. It was running, yes, but not as Aberdonians knew it!

So, what were the origins of African distance running; how did they come to dominate; and what is the situation nowadays? Naturally I checked on what Roger Robinson, a frequent contributor to this publication, had written in his articles for “Running Times”.

 

BEFORE BIKILA: Glimpses of Africa’s early running history Running Times “Footsteps” column, by Roger Robinson, November 2009

I just got home from my first trip to Kenya. For anyone who cares about running, a visit to Kenya is like going to Italy for the art. I met Olympic medallists Catherine Ndereba and Paul Tergat on their home turf, bumped into four-time Boston winner Robert Cheruiyot shopping with his small daughter, and watched an exuberant children’s race that maybe contained some future champions.

African running today is vibrant, but its early history is patchy and little known. So here I offer a first jog over the ground. Running, like human life, began in Africa. The young female fossil from 3.5 million years ago who is famous in anthropology as “Lucy” was a perfect bipedal, her runner legs exactly like ours. Unearthed in 1974 in Ethiopia’s Afar Highlands, at that altitude she would have had great oxygen capacity, too.

In the wild our human stamina compensated for our lack of sheer speed. The stroppy elephant we encountered one dark Kenyan night could have galloped faster than our vehicle could reverse, but our ancestors could jog for days in pursuit of a hunted animal, or run to battle, as the Zulus did when they surprised the British in 1879. Their King Chaka reputedly could run 100 miles in 24 hours.

The first record I have found of a competing African runner is in a London newspaper of 1720. A black servant was narrowly beaten by a “Coffee-House Boy” in a race “three times round St James’s Park” (about 4 miles), for the huge stake of 100 pounds. He is not named, but was precursor of a great tradition.

Next came the two Tswanas, Len Tau and Jan Mashiani, who ran for South Africa in the 1904 Olympic marathon in St Louis. They were in town as performers in a Boer War exhibit at the Louisiana Exposition, but in their first marathon placed ninth and twelfth. The Tswana tribe migrated five hundred years earlier from East Africa, which might explain it. (Floris van der Merwe researched their identities in 1999.)

Some great Africans of the early 20th century are overlooked because they competed in the colors of France, like Algerians Boughera El Ouafi and Alain Mimoun, Olympic marathon champions in 1928 and 1956.

French results in the International Cross-Country Championship are dotted with North African names. Mimoun won four times. The first was A.Arbibi of the Racing Club of Algiers, 12th in 1913, 26th a year later. Arbibi came back to place 6th and help France win in 1923, a remarkable but forgotten career.

The Kenyan phenomenon began not when Kipchoge Keino beat Jim Ryun by the biggest margin in Olympic 1500 history in 1968, as everyone believes, but with another neglected hero, Maiyoro Nyandika, who placed 7th and 6th in the Olympic 5000 finals of 1956 and 1960.

In the 1960s, too, a German-born coach, Walter Abmayr, and an Irish schoolteacher priest, Brother Colm O’Connell, began to foster the astonishing running talent they found in Kenya, with results we now witness every week. “Training is the only excuse I accept for missing Mass,” said Br O’Connell. In 1960, too, came African running’s dramatic emergence from the shadows, as Abebe Bikila (Ethiopia) and Abdesselem Ben Rhadi (Morocco) dueled in the torchlight along Rome’s Appian Way in one of history’s most significant Olympic marathons. Africa had arrived.

The Ethiopia/Kenya Running Phenomenon; How running has responded to East African dominance is a credit to the sport

“Roger on Running,” Running Times, March 19, 2014, by Roger Robinson

The big spring marathons are just ahead – Rome (March 23), Paris (April 6), London (April 13) and Boston (April 21). One absolutely safe prediction is that almost all the top places will go to Ethiopia and Kenya. One small geographical area, about 1/60th of the total of Africa, will be utterly dominant in a major sport practiced ardently all around the globe.

In 2013, there were 149 male marathon performances faster than 2hr 10min. Eighty of those were by Kenyans, 47 by Ethiopians, plus eight by Eritreans and Ugandans, from the same region and similar ethnicity. (My tally includes one Kenyan now a Qatar citizen.) That’s 134 out of 149, and leaves only 15 sub 2:10s done by other runners (including Dathan Ritzenhein).

The same ratio prevails until you go quite deep. In the 2013 merit rankings compiled by All-Athletics.com, only nine of the top 100 men are not East African. From 101 to 200, there are only 14 from other places – Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Mongolia, Italy, and Boulder, Colorado (Jason Hartmann, ranked 194). From 201-300, the ratio is still 69/31. Of the best 300 men in the world today, 246 are East African. With the women, while the ratios are less extreme, they are moving closer to the men’s every year. This may be stating the obvious, but that doesn’t mean the obvious is not worth thinking about. These are statistics without parallel or precedent. No globally popular human activity has ever been so dominated at elite level by people from such a relatively small region. Italians are good at singing, but not 90% of great singers are from Italy. South Americans are good at soccer, but the equivalent to running would be if the final sixteen teams in this year’s World Cup were all South American.

This extraordinary state of affairs has come about in less than fifty years. In the 1964 Boston marathon, the top ten men came from five nations on three continents – Belgium, Finland, Canada, USA and Argentina. In that year’s Olympic marathon, five continents were represented in the top ten finishers. It’s impossible that the 2014 spring season will see any such range in the top placings.

The physiological causes have been investigated, and the coaching cultures that help make these athletes so good; and there has been constructive thought about the competitive implications, what America needs to do to put its developing runners back in the race. I want to ask a new question. How has running responded?

Running has become used to this strange situation, but we’ve had precious little time to reflect on what it means. What is the reaction of our booming global sport/industry/culture/social phenomenon to this sweeping take-over of its most profitable sector, by a seemingly bottomless pool of talent that fifty years ago we didn’t know existed? It’s an important question, in a world that is increasingly globalized but still far from free of racism or exploitation. And the answer is profoundly to the credit of the sport of running. The Kenyans, and more recently Ethiopians, generation after generation of them now, have been accepted entirely on their merits. They have been welcomed, admired, and rewarded, as people who do something that we love (run fast for a long way) better than we ever dreamed.

Every effort has been made in our specialist media to give them the attention they deserve, led by Running Times, with profiles, analysing their training for us all to learn from, and putting a good many on the cover, always striving to present them to our readers as distinct human beings. The account of the working life of Haile Gebreselassie in the March issue is the latest example. If the very talk of African elites makes you switch off – and there are runners for whom these talented and hard-working individuals are only “some Kenyan – well, that has not been the response of the sport as a whole. Even our ordinary citizens in ordinary cities have proved generous. On the streets of the Utica Boilermaker 15km every year, the crowds chant “Africa! Africa!” (as reported by John Pitarresi in the Observer-Dispatch) to cheer runners whose names they don’t know and couldn’t pronounce. Not many sports fans so eagerly encourage visitors who are blitzing the home team Ten-Nil. Once familiar, they are fully embraced. Tegla Loroupe was a loved figure in New York, Catherine Ndereba won the hearts of Maine, and Haile’s happyface smile is world famous.

Among committed runners and people involved in running – coaches, race directors, agents, media, the running-travel business – there has been a huge effort to climb the steep learning curve of knowledge about the African runners, their personalities, training, home environment, social backgrounds, languages, and cultures. Every major running writer I can think of has been to East Africa at least once. Some have become deeply expert. Interviews and conversation in media centres now are of a different order from fifteen years ago.

Has there been exploitation? Yes, probably – see the comments about some agents that I quoted last year from Wesley Korir (The Journey to Gold, Roger on Running Nov 20, 2013). But there are far more positives. Information has been shared. Books and many articles have been written, and films made. Big tour groups go to African races. Real friendships are commonplace. Some Western runners have become bonded with East Africa. Running-based charitable projects have been initiated, like Toby Tanser’s Shoes for Kenya. Events have been collaboratively created, as important as the Great Ethiopian Run, with more than 30,000 finishers in 2013, or the Safaricom Marathon at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, where runners’ entry fees have saved species of rhino and zebra, and enabled local people to give up poaching.

A similar event had its second running on March 15, the Rift Valley Marathon, at Mosoriot, Kenya. RVM was founded by three self-described “crazy but idealistic” Canadian runners calling themselves “RunforLife,” in collaboration with the equally philanthropic Kenyan ex-elite Laban Rotich (fourth in the 1500m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics). One of the founders, broadcaster Paul Kennedy, told me by email, “Groups of Canadian runners came to train in Kenya, and Laban had them digging wells and distributing computers to schools. One night over Tusk beers a few of us had the idea of the race. From its proceeds, RunforLife funds micro-projects by women in the Great Rift Valley. Last year, for example, we funded the construction of a chemical cattle dip that protects cows from deadly insect bites. The women turn the profits into other projects, like a paw-paw plantation.” John Carson, another founder, a former Canadian elite runner, reported from the second running of the RVM last week, “We created a 21km loop that crossed the river valley, making it one of the toughest but most spectacular certified marathons anywhere. With dancers, music, mud, and more, it was a Nandi good time. The funding goes to a women’s poultry operation.”

Last month, a world-class running track was opened in Iten, Kenya, donated and maintained by the VirginMoney London Marathon. For five years, British runners including Mo Farah have been attending a winter endurance altitude training program in Iten, also funded by the London Marathon. They go to Kenya to train with and learn from the world’s best, to test and extend themselves in the Kenyan environment. Now they will have access to a top-class facility, one that is intended also to help Kenyan runners get even better (!), as well as being used by the girls who attend the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy, many from underprivileged backgrounds.

It’s not just a hand-out from rich to poor. It takes no resources out of Kenya. It should help Kenyans and Westerners alike fulfil their running potential, and in the best cases their earning ability. And the initiative comes not from any government or aid charity, but from running, financed from a marathon’s own budget, and intended primarily to help running itself, in Kenya and elsewhere. “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” goes the old adage, and a good many Western runners have been doing just that. Twin brothers Jake and Zane Robertson virtually ran away from home when they graduated from high school in suburban New Zealand in 2007, to live and train in poverty in Iten, Kenya. (‘Jake and Zane Robertson’ by John Gugula, May 6, 2011.) It was a life-changing step for young men who were no more than promising as runners, and they came in for a lot of sceptical criticism. Last week in Sopot, Poland, Zane Robertson, who now lives in Addis Ababa, made the final of the World Indoors championships 3000m, breaking Nick Willis’s New Zealand indoors record with 7:44.16. His brother Jake watched the race on TV in Iten with Scottish runner, Myles Edwards, who has had five extended periods in Kenya since 2011, and contributed insider reports to this column (e.g. Diary from Iten 2, Roger on Running, May 30, 2012). I asked Myles who goes there, and how they benefit.

 “There are about 30 serious Western athletes at any time in Iten, plus some recreational runners. About ten of us are in simple rental houses. You can’t come here for two weeks, live in luxury, and think you’ve cracked the secret of the world’s greatest athletes. You have to train, eat, and sleep like them. And it’s not just the environment and lifestyle, it’s the work ethic. At the end of my last trip, I thought I couldn’t have worked harder. But the attitude here has told me not to accept that, you have to keep pushing new limits. I’ve gained a lot from Jake [Robertson], who picked up a lot from the Kenyans – using their stuff as jigsaw pieces for his own training. You never stop learning.”

Another learning project was when top Ethiopian coach Sentayehu Eshetu was “coach in residence” last year at Shrewsbury School, England, the birthplace of crosscountry (Running Old and New, Roger on Running, Sept 21, 2011). That was a perfect conjunction of the past and present of running. Twelve young Shrewsbury runners then trained in Iten and Bekoji, Ethiopia, in October 2013. With English high school runners in Bekoji, thirty mixed Scots, Kiwis, and others in Iten, all those Canadians digging wells in Mosoriot – how many young Western runners are there, training their brains out this week in Kenya and Ethiopia? That, too, is an extraordinary situation – and entirely new. Unlike most visitors from the first world to the third, they are the ones doing the learning.

Running rightly congratulates itself as a positive force in our society, for its contribution to health, and its transformation of lives. But this response to the phenomenon of East Africa is equally positive and important. Confronted with such an overwhelming incursion when it had only just become a professional sport, running could have been forgiven if it had closed down, or restricted access. Instead, true to its own creativity and inclusiveness, it has recognised East Africa as the greatest energy source in modern running, something to be welcomed and learned from. The world, not just the running world, is better for that response.

Myles Edwards is the son of Aberdeen’s Mel Edwards (a top Scottish cross country, marathon and hill runner who later won the Scottish Veterans M45 cross country title and represented Scottish Vets in the annual five nations XC international.).

Despite some injury problems and partly because of his training trips to Kenya, in 2015 Myles Edwards became Scottish 1500m champion, indoors and outdoors.

However, he was deeply affected by poor living conditions for children in Kenya and co-founded the very successful Charity, The Gathimba Edwards Foundation. On the website, which is well worth investigating, Myles wrote: I never set out in life with the goal of setting up a charity but my parents have always stressed to me the importance of helping others and have set an example themselves in their chosen careers as a Social Worker and Psychotherapist, and a Road Safety Engineer, as well as outwith work in counselling and coaching. My Dad regularly says that if you come across an opportunity to help someone in life, you must do so as the opportunity may not come past a second time.

Gideon Gathimba and I first met racing in a 1 mile running event which was organised for the opening of Aberdeen Sports Village in 2009. We became great friends and I spent many weeks living and training with him in Kenya.

It was there that I visited the Pavilion Village children’s home in Karatina, which at the time was home to 22 children – most of whom have either been abandoned or abused by their biological parents or lost them due to HIV, and run by Gideon’s good friends Pastor John Murage and his Wife, Agnes who both worked tirelessly to provide food, shelter, clothing and education for the children.

This provided the catalyst for us to establish the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity with the overall aim to give disadvantaged children in Kenya the support and opportunities which so many in the developed world take for granted. There is still a huge amount to be done but together I believe we can open doors and create opportunities that will transform the lives of so many children. Thank you for reading, Myles Edwards, Founder.

Gathimba Edwards Foundation was set up to give kids in Kenya a chance. With numerous projects across Kenya our aim is to help disadvantaged children get a start in life, whether it be food, education or shelter and giving them the opportunity to not only live their lives as children but also to develop as adults. Gathimba Edwards Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland. Charity No SC044869 Thanks to our incredible supporters we have managed to build 17 new homes for a total of 66 children. Whilst our initial goal back in 2013 was to get a good quality mattress for each of the children at the Pavilion Village children’s home, we quickly began to realise more needed to be done. We encountered many families living without electricity in shed-like houses which had holes in the roof and walls. Children were sleeping on mud floors, thin pieces of foam or plastic sheets. We wanted to change that and give their families safe housing for generations to come. These are the houses we have managed to build. We also organise volunteer house building trips to Kenya each year.

 

WOMEN RACING IN MUD: The early history of women’s cross-country Running Times “Footsteps” column, by Roger Robinson December 2008

 No one has written the history of women’s cross-country, so I thought I’d start to lay a paper-trail over that unfamiliar ground. I have long loved the early history of harriers and steeplechases, but the stories are all male.

Women’s cross-country did not begin with Tirunesh Dibaba, though her wondrously versatile harrier skills took it to new levels. The first pioneers we know of were Native Americans, whose women as well as men ran long distances, sometimes as part of girls’ initiation rituals, and raced in events like the Tarahumara women’s “hoop races.”

The “smock races” in European village sports were sprints, but in Paris in 1903 a 12k race to Nanterre, mostly on dirt roads, attracted 2,500 shop-girls, a surprising level of enthusiasm. Maybe they got a day off work.

English women track runners used cross-country runs for winter training as early as 1922, but the big discovery for the history of women’s running is that there were official cross-country races, even national championships, as early as the 1920s. A photo from that era shows three women in shorts and long-sleeved jerseys vigorously leaping a muddy ditch.

The French were first to stage a women’s national championship, in 1923, followed by England in 1927. The first women’s international race, between England, France and Belgium at Douai, France, in 1931, was won by Gladys Lunn, leading an England team victory. These races need to be acknowledged alongside the gloomier story of the resistance to women running long distances in track and field and (especially in America) the marathon.

Progress often depended on energetic pioneers. Dale Greig from Scotland, remembered now for her marathon world record in 1964, was also one of ten founders of the Scottish women’s cross-country association. And since there was no local women’s club, the intrepid Greig founded one, naming it after the street she lived on, Tannahill Harriers.

The first US national championship, won by Marie Mulder, was in 1964, ten years before the first US women’s marathon. Soon, America produced one of the most influential of all women runners, Doris Brown Heritage. When women were allowed a semi-official international cross-country championship in 1967, Brown Heritage headed all the elite Europeans across 2.5 miles of muddy Welsh cow paddocks by a massive 33 seconds. She won the title five consecutive years.

Official acceptance still lagged. In 1969, New Zealand had a women’s championship, but declined to send a women’s team alongside the men to the International Cross-Country (as the World Championship was then known). Defiantly, the appropriately named Ladies Pioneer Harriers from Christchurch sold raffles to send a “club” team. They finished second to USA, running in home-made uniforms of a blue so dark that it was indistinguishable (deliberately) from the national all black.

In 1970, things almost fell apart internationally, when two rival women’s championships were held on the same weekend, one in Maryland, the other at Vichy, France. The dispute was resolved when the first IAAF World Cross-Country in 1973 included an official women’s championship. Soon the sheer brilliance of Brown Heritage, Joyce Smith (England), Paula Pigni (Italy), Carmen Valero (Spain), and Grete Waitz (Norway) had made women’s cross-country indisputably a serious international sport. Girls and women today from high school to the world championship run in their muddy but lightly-stepping footsteps.

 

Trial for the British & Irish Masters Cross Country International

It was off to Tollcross Park today to take part in the trials for the British & Irish Masters Cross Country International to be held in Derry in November. The criteria for the V65s were first two home would be selected and then a judgement made about the other team members.

A lot of determined people turned up today with the intention of representing Scotland in Derry. A couple of old ‘adversaries’ with whom I’ve had the pleasure of racing against and been on the same team with – Andy Mclinden and Frank Hurley – turned out to compete, both fast and dogged in a race. This being my first cross country race as a V65, it felt a little strange, only having to do 6K instead of the full course. Normally you get a little time to settle in but with the shorter course it’s more like a 5K race with a bit added on – eyeballs out from the start!

The course was three laps with quite a few lumps and bumps – testing on the first lap but bloody hard on the last! The start was downhill and then a steady climb up. Conditions underfoot were ideal, slightly wet, hardish ground and no mud.

Andy took the lead, setting a fast pace – the first mile was just over 6mins. However he was still recovering from a hamstring injury and was struggling uphill. That’s where I passed him. The injury got the better of him later and he dropped out.

I wasn’t intending to take the lead, but with Andy dropping back I had no other choice, so I pushed on and Frank gradually pulled me back on the 2nd lap. I hadn’t done any speed-work for around 3 months due to a hamstring tear, but I had the endurance and strength on the hills, so we had an interesting race.

Frank gained on the flat between the hills, with me hanging on to him and pushing up the hills to retake the lead. On the last lap I decided that I’d push a bit harder and see if I could open a gap but Frank held on despite my efforts. Then Frank put a burst in towards the 2nd last hill, but I managed to pull him back and ran off the top, with the old legs screaming by now. We had one last incline before rounding the top and dropping into the finish, so I mustered every last ounce and ran as hard as I could, hoping that Frank couldn’t stay with me. He dropped back, so I raced round the top into the finish, with absolutely nothing left. A great, honest race. I managed to come in 1st in 22:14 so hopefully have now got a place on the Scottish Team.

By Tony Martin

 

TRACK AND FIELD RESULTS

For results by Scottish Masters in various T&F Championships the most comprehensive source appears to be the site maintained by Mike Clerihew https://scottishmasterstrackandfield.com/results/

Omitted from the previous Newsletter were two significant results. Bob Douglas won a European Masters gold medal as part of the GB 4x400m Relay team in Denmark. Jim Smith (Motherwell AC) won four M70 titles (100m, 200m, Long jump and Triple jump) in the Scottish Masters Athletics Championships.

ATTENTION ALL ATHLETES – RUNNERS, JUMPERS OR HEAVY EVENTS COMPETITORS – PLEASE EMAIL ARTICLES TO THE EDITOR. Then I will do my utmost to include them in the Newsletter.

 

Run and Become Scotland’s Specialist Running Store

KEEPING THE CAPITAL RUNNING

20 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW 0131 331 5300 edinburgh@runandbecome.com

 

SCOTTISH WOMEN WHO TOOK PART IN THE ICCU CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Colin Youngson (More detailed results can be obtained from two excellent wikipedia sites: for the ICCU Championships; and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships).

Between 1931 and 1938, the International Cross Country Union organised four unofficial Championships for Women. These took place in 1931 (England, France, Belgium); 1932 (England, France); 1935 (England, Scotland); and 1938 (England, France, Belgium).

Four more unofficial Championships were held between 1954 and 1957: these were contests between England and Scotland. For each country, there were up to six women in the team.

Unfortunately, in those five unofficial events between 1935 and 1957, no Scottish woman managed to defeat an English rival, although Aileen Drummond ran consistently well in three races; and Constance Johnson, Jean Tait, Catherine Boyes and Doreen Fulton also shone. Anna Herman won the SAAA 440 three times.

Leading Scots in 1935 included: Constance Johnson (Maryhill H and London Olympiades), who won the Scottish XC title in 1933 and SAAA titles at 440 in 1932 and 880 thrice; Mildred Storrar, who was Scottish Champion four times (1934-36 and 1938) and won the SAAA 880 thrice; and Jean Tait (Scottish Champion in 1937).

The 1935 unofficial International match was held on the Old Golf Links in Morecombe, Lancashire. The distance covered was three km/1.9 miles. The 1954 event took place in Birmingham, on the Bromford Bridge Racecourse; followed by 1955 on Ayr Racecourse; 1956 at Upminster, Essex; and 1957 on Musselburgh Racecourse. In 1954 4 km or 2.5 miles were covered; otherwise it was 3 km/1.9 miles

Scottish Champions between 1954 and 1957 included: Aileen Drummond (1954-1956) – Aileen won SAAA titles at 880 twice and One Mile thrice; and Morag O’Hare (1957).

Dale Greig showed enduring fitness. She ran the International in 1957 and 1968; and won Scottish XC titles in 1960, 1962, 1964 and 1968. Dale was most famous for setting the first World Best Marathon Time for a Woman in 1964.

Mollie Ferguson became Scottish 880 yards champion in 1959 and, as Molly Wilmoth, regained the title in 1961 when she also won the 440.

Senior Women were officially included in the 1967- 1972 ICCU Championships. From 1973 onwards, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships took over; although from 1988 Scots could only compete as part of teams from the United Kingdom. A Junior (under 20) event started in 1989; and a Short Course Championship was held from 1998 to 2005.

The 1967 ICCU Championship was in Barry, Wales. England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland took part. The Scottish team finished third. Margaret MacSherry of Cambridge Harriers had won the Scottish Intermediate (under 17) title and was first scoring Scot in the International, finishing 9th out of 26 participants. Georgena Craig was 11th, Leslie Watson 14th and Margaret Purdon 16th.

Margaret MacSherry (who became Margaret Coomber) was to be one of the most successful Scottish International athletes. She won the Senior National XC title in 1970 and 1972; and, in the ICCU/IAAF XC Championships, represented Scotland an amazing 14 times in succession between 1967 and1980. On the track she won the SAAA 1500m four times and ran for Scotland in the 1970, 1974 and 1978 Commonwealth Games; and for GB in the 1972 Olympics.

Georgena Craig (nee Buchanan), who ran for Maryhill LAC and Western, had a very successful career in athletics. She took part in the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games; won three successive SWAAA 880 yards titles from 1963 to 1965, and won the One Mile event in 1964. In addition she was Senior National XC champion in 1963 and 1965.

Leslie Watson (Maryhill LAC and London Olympiades) was Senior National XC champion in 1966 and 1967. On the track she won the SAAA One Mile in 1966. However her lasting fame was as a marathon (and ultra distance) runner. Leslie was renowned as a graceful athlete who became also one of the most prolific and successful of Scottish marathon and ultra distance runners with 68 career marathon wins in Scotland, England and abroad, as well as victories in the London to Brighton 54 miles race. She set World Best times at 50 km on both road and track; as well as a British 100 km record.

The 1968 International was held in Tunis. England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland took part as well as the United States of America. 30 athletes participated and the Scottish team did well to finish third, beating Ireland and Wales. Doreen King, who had been 1961 SAAA One Mile champion, was first Scot in 12th, with Margaret MacSherry 13th and Scottish champion Dale Greig 14th. Good packing! Leslie Watson was fourth counter in 16th. Rosemary Stirling 17th and Sheena Fitzmaurice 19th.

Rosemary Stirling, who won three SAAA 800m titles, went on to represent Great Britain successfully on the track; and in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh she ran for Scotland and won the gold medal in a particularly close 800 metres.

The 1969 International took place in Scotland, over a hilly 3km course at Dalmuir, Clydebank. 41 runners entered, from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, USA and Canada. Margaret MacSherry was first Scot (18th), backed by Susan Foster (22), Sandra Kirk (25) and Sheena Fitzmaurice (29). The team finished fifth.

In 1970, the Scottish National at Lesmahagow featured a marvellous battle between Margaret MacSherry and 17 year old Christine Haskett of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers. They finished on the same time, with Margaret given first place. Christine led DHH to the team title. This rivalry continued when the International was held in Vichy, France. 34 took part, including runners from Australia, USA and Canada. The Scottish team finished fifth. Margaret MacSherry ran an excellent race to be sixth, but was only four seconds in front of Christine Haskett (8th). The other counters were Sheena Fitzmaurice 26th) and Sandra Kirk (28th).

Christine Haskett (later Christine Price) came from a famous Dundee running clan. She was Scottish National XC champion six times between 1971 and 1982 and won a final silver medal in 1987. Christine ran for Scotland in the ICCU championships three times; and the IAAF ten times. On the track she won multiple SAAA titles at: 1500m (4); 3000m (3); the 5000m (1); 10,000m (1). Christine Haskett ran for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games twice: in Edinburgh1970; and (as Christine Price) in Edinburgh 1986. In the 1971 Senior National, over her home course in Dundee, Christine won quite easily (from Margaret) and led Hawkhill to the team title.

The 1971 International was at San Sebastian and 60 athletes competed, including teams from the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Morocco and New Zealand. Finishing times indicate that the course was much shorter than 4.5 km / 2.8 miles. The Scottish team ended up 8th from 10. Christine Haskett had a marvellous run and finished 6th, only four seconds slower than the silver medallist. Margaret MacSherry finished 28th; Sandra Sutherland 43rd; and Ann Barrass 47th.

Ann Barrass ran very well at 3000m on the track. In 1971 she finished third in the AAA 3000m; and improved to a silver medal in 1972. She was Scottish 3000m champion in 1972 and 1973.

Sandra Sutherland’s best distance was 800m. She represented GB in the 1971 European Championships.

Margaret Coomber gained revenge in the 1972 Senior National, regaining the title from Christine Haskett and Ann Barrass. In the very last ICCU Championship (at Cambridge) Margaret ran brilliantly to finish in 5th place from 44 competitors. With the Scottish Intermediate champion Mary Stewart 17th, Christine Haskett 19th and Ann Barrass 23rd, the Scottish team produced a very good performance to secure bronze medals, behind England and the USA, but in front of four other teams, including Northern Ireland (taking part for the first time).

Mary Stewart was the sister of Scotland and GB stars Peter and Ian. She ran for Scotland between 1972 and 1976, before changing allegiance to England, since she lived in Birmingham. While Scottish, Mary won the SAAA 1500m title in 1973 and the AAA 1500m in 1975. She represented GB: in the 1974 and 1975 European Indoor 1500m races; and the 1976 Olympic 1500m. After switching, she won 1500m titles in the 1977 European Indoors and the 1978 Commonwealth Games.

 

ALL SCOTS IN THE WOMEN’S ICCU CHAMPIONSHIPS

Barbara Anderson Shettleston H (1) 1935 (10)
Ann Barrass Aldershot (2) 1971 (47) 1972 (23)
Catherine Boyes Maryhill H (1) 1955 (7)
Mary Campbell (2) 1956 (12) 1957 (12)
Helen Cherry Bellahouston H (1) 1957 (10)
Georgena Craig Western (2) 1967 (11) 1969 (32)
Aileen Drummond Maryhill H (3) 1954 (7) 1955 (8) 1956 (7)
Agnes Elder (2) 1954 (9) 1955 (12)
Mollie Ferguson Springburn H (3) 1954 (10) 1955 (10) 1956 (10)
Sheena Fitzmaurice Aldershot (3) 1968 (19) 1969 (29) 1970 (26) 1970 (26)
Margaret Fleming ESH (1) 1967 (20)
Susan Foster Aldershot (1) 1969 (22)
Doreen Fulton Springburn H (3) 1955 (11) 1956 (9) 1957 (7)
Dale Greig Bella / Tannahill H (2) 1957 (11) 1968 (14)
Brenda Grinney Thurrock (1) 1971 (48)
Christine Haskett Dundee Hawkhill H (3) 1970 (8) 1971 (6) 1972 (19)
Anne Herman ESH (1 ) 1956 (8)
Constance Johnson Maryhill H (1) 1935 (7)
Sheila Johnstone (1) 1954 (12)
Catherine Kelly Maryhill H (1) 1967 (22)
Doreen King Western (1) 1968 (12)
Sandra Kirk Bury (2) 1969 (25) 1970 (28)
Elizabeth McLeod unatt (1) 1955 (9)
Margaret MacSherry (Coomber) Camb H (6) 1967 (9) 1968 (13) 1969 (18) 1970 (6) 1971 (28) 1972 (5).
Inglis Miller Wellpark (1) 1935 (11)
Betty Moffat Athenian AC (1) 1954 (11)
Rose Murphy Bathgate (1) 1971 (52)
Morag O’Hare Maryhill H (1) 1957 (9)
Margaret Purdon Maryhill H (1) 1967 (16)
Betty Rodger Shotts (1) 1957 (8)
Mary Speedman Maryhill LAC (1) 1972 (29)
Elizabeth Steedman (1) 1956 (11)
Mary Stewart Birchfield (1) 1972 (17)
Rosemary Stirling Wolverhampton (2) 1968 (17) 1972 (27)
Mildred Storrar Dundee H H (1) 1935 (9)
Sandra Sutherland ESH (1) 1971 (43)
Jean Tait Clydesdale H (1) 1935 (8)
Margaret Wadler Athenian AC (1) 1954 (8)
Leslie Watson Maryhill / LOAC (3) 1967 (14) 1968 (16) 1969 (34)

 

                           REVIEW OF ‘THE GREEN MACHINE’ BY ALISTAIR BLAMIRE

This new publication is highly recommended to anyone interested in the history and development of distance running, particularly by serious top-class Scottish amateur athletes in the 1960s and 1970s, an era which produced so many fine performances which remained unequalled by Scots until very recently.

This is mainly ‘The story of Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds 1960-1970’. However, the frame of reference ranges from the 1920s to nowadays, and cites worldwide influences. Simply reading the excellent index is a pleasure, since it lists so many names, events and places which are significant to runners with a keen interest in their sport.

The foreword is by Donald Macgregor (a leading competitor in the 1972 Olympic Marathon), who had often trained with the classy green-vested runners of Edinburgh University – when they included in their number two other Olympians (Fergus Murray and Gareth Bryan-Jones) and athletes who took part in Commonwealth Games, ran for Great Britain and Scotland, broke records and achieved victories in championships and important races in Scotland and other parts of Britain.

Alistair Blamire was one of their stars – he represented Britain in the steeplechase and was often a Scottish international cross-country runner – and writes with elegant precision about the historical context for the great success of EUH&H. A major chapter is about the career of Fergus Murray who, learning from the training ideas of Percy Cerruty and Arthur Lydiard, improved to world class and inspired many clubmates to train very hard and emulate his success.

The book includes fascinating details about prominent Edinburgh Harriers and their individual and team achievements. They poured tremendous energy into training and racing but often found a little more to celebrate afterwards!

Impressive statistics are also provided; as well as forty interesting black and white photographs of teams and races.

The overall effect is a detailed insight into: the end of the amateur period, when Scottish distance runners were highly rated in Europe; and their personalities, rivalries and social lives. Young athletes nowadays will learn a lot about how to improve their running; older, nostalgic readers will appreciate insider anecdotes and Alistair Blamire’s crystal-clear perspective on an important era in Scottish Athletics.

To order a copy of ‘The Green Machine’ please send a cheque for £12, payable to Alistair Blamire, and a note of your full address, to Alistair Blamire, 97/5 East London Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4BF. A copy will be posted to you as soon as possible.

(Review by Colin Youngson, who – at Aberdeen University in the 1960s – was frequently crushed by, and later on – as an Edinburgh Southern Harrier in the 1970s – competed less unsuccessfully with, many of the fine runners honoured in this admirable book.)

 

OFFICE BEARERS SEASON 2017-2018

Honorary President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731 cdjoss@tiscali.co.uk

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Honorary Secretary: JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

Honorary Treasurer: ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig, Argyll PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336 Lawchgair@aol.com

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526 stewart2@ntlworld.com

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416 p.rudzinski@ntlworld.com

Committee Members:

JOHN BELL Flat 3/1, 57 Clouston Street Glasgow G20 8QW Tel. 0141 9466949 MARGARET DALY 24 Strowan Crescent Sandyhills Glasgow G32 9DW Tel. 0141 573 6572

WILLIE DRYSDALE 6 Kintyre Wynd Carluke, ML8 5RW Tel: 01555 771 448

DAVID FAIRWEATHER 12 Powburn Crescent Uddingston, G71 7SS Tel: 01698 810575

EDDIE McKENZIE Little Haremoss, Fortrie, Turriff Aberdeenshire, AB53 4HR Tel: 01464 871430

STEWART McCRAE 17 Woodburn Way, Balloch Cumbernauld G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

PAUL THOMPSON Whitecroft, 5 Gareloch Brae, Shandon, Helensburgh G84 8PJ Tel. 01436 821707

ROBERT YOUNG 4 St Mary’s Road, Bishopbriggs Glasgow G64 2EH Tel. 0141 5633714

BMAF Delegates To be appointed Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM To be appointed

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis

FIXTURES

December 2017

Sun 10th SVHC 5mile Christmas Handicap Sea Scouts Hall, Clydebank from 12.30. Race to start at 1.30

January 2018

Sun 7th GAA Miler Meet (Including Scottish National 3000m Championships) Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Sun 28th SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00

February 2018

Sat 3rd Scottish Masters XC Championships Deans Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock 13:00 Women 40 & over & Men M65 & over 13:45 Men 40 to M60

Sun 4th Scottish Masters Indoor Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

 Sat 24th Scottish Athletics XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk

March 2018

Sun 4th 10 Mile Road Race (Lasswade AC) Whitehill Welfare FC, Ferguson Park, Carnethie Street, Rosewell Start time, 12:00pm

Sat 17th BMAF Cross Country Championships Grant Park, Victoria Road, Forres, Scotland, IV36 3BT

Mon 19th – Sat 24th European Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships Madrid, Spain

May 2018

18th – 20th European Masters Non Stadia Championships – Alicante, Spain

 

 

 

 

 

SVHC NEWSLETTER: AUTUMN 2017

 

MEMBERSHIP NOTES 18th AUGUST 2017

 I regret to report that Christine McLennan passed away on 16th January, aged 85. MEMBERS Welcome to the 19 new and 5 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 28th March 2017. 61 members did not renew their subs this year, & 8 underpaid. 7 members resigned. As of 18th Aug 2017, we have 496 fully paid up members, including 21 over 80 & 4 Life Members.

NEWSLETTER The electronic version of the Newsletter is now the preferred option. Any member who would rather receive a printed Newsletter must contact David Fairweather (djf@ dfairweather.plus.com), if they have not already done so. Please inform David if you add or change your email address.

Please send photos, news, letters, articles, etc for the next issue To: COLIN YOUNGSON TOMLOAN, SANQUHAR ROAD, FORRES, IV36 1DG e-mail: cjyoungson@btinternet.com Tel: 01309 672398

SVHC EVENTS

Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciates all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not competing just turn up and introduce yourselves to the organisers.

STANDING ORDERS

Thank you to the members who have set up standing orders for membership subscriptions. Please remember to update the amount payable, & keep me informed if your membership details change (especially email addresses). If any other member wishes to set up a standing order please contact me.

CLUB VESTS Vests and shorts can be purchased from Andy Law – £18 for vests, including postage and £23 for shorts, including postage. If ordering both together deduct one lot of postage. Or, can be delivered to any of the Club races by arrangement with no postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email lawchgair@aol.com)

NEW MEMBERS

NUMB CHRS SURN JOIN TOWN

2382 Johnny Lawson 07-May-17 Musselburgh

2383 Timothy Kirk 18-May-17 Inverness

2384 Rosemary Hill 23-May-17 Blanefield

2385 Carole Craig 05-Jun-17 Lenzie

2386 Bob Johnson 28-Jun-17 Walkerburn

2387 Grant Noble 15-Jun-17 Johnstone

2388 Stuart Tytler 15-Jun-17 Bishopton

2389 Peter Tucker 15-Jun-17 Dunbar

2390 Paul Clawson 28-Jun-17 Glasgow

2391 Paul Kernohan 28-Jun-17 East Kilbride

2392 Joyce Allardice 05-Jul-17 Carluke

2393 Graham Laing 13-Jul-17 Inverness

2394 Alastair Walker 13-Jul-17 Hawick

2395 Craig Clarke 31-Jul-17 Paisley

2396 Julie Oswald 09-Aug-17 Pencaitland

2397 Colin Simpson 09-Aug-17 Lenzie

2398 Stephen Brown 11-Aug-17 Glasgow

2399 Catherine Connelly 13-Aug-17 Gartcosh

2400 Ron Todd 16-Aug-17 Edinburgh

1413 Brian Colella 09-Jun-17 Minley

2227 Vincent Carroll 28-Jun-17 Cumbernauld

 2137 Angela Carson 28-Jun-17 Paisley

2153 Jennifer Forbes 28-Jun-17 Melrose

2241 Wayne McIntosh 04-Aug-17 Kelso

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary

 SCOTTISH VETERAN HARRIERS RUN and BECOME RACE SERIES 2016/2017 The 2016/2017 Race Series is now well under way with 14 of the events completed at the time of writing. Current leader in the women’s event is Pamela McCrossan with 68.8 points followed by Fiona Matheson with 67.9 and Yana Thandrayen 62.4. Leading in the men’s competition is Andy McLinden with 70.1 pts, Bobby Young 2nd with 69.7 & William Jarvie 3rd with 67.9. For those who are new to this competition, each runner’s best 8 performances from 16 selected races are involved with age grading utilised to allocate points won. For those who complete more than the required 8 races an additional 1 point is awarded.. Over £600 worth of prizes are available along with trophies and competition is always keen. Check the SVHC website for regular updates. The remaining fixtures for 2017 are: 24/09/17 Loch Ness Marathon Inverness 08/10/17 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch

Alastair Macfarlane

Recently, Alastair Macfarlane was pleased to accept an invitation to take on the post of Honorary President of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club.

Many current members will know him as an invaluable club official, hard-working, friendly and encouraging. However older ones respect him even more since he used to be a really good runner, who was always gracious, in victory or defeat. Here is a brief athletic profile.

In 1963, aged 17, Alastair started running at school. Later on, he began to train with an older athlete called Willie Scott, who convinced him to join him in taking part in the professional highland games circuit. At that time people like John Freebairn, Jimmy Bryce, Stuart Hogg, Eric Simpson, Arthur Rowe and the legendary Bill Anderson were all prominent competitors; and Olympics fourth placer Alan Simpson and former world mile record holder Derek Ibbotson were soon to join the pro ranks.

By 1968, Alastair was one of the top competitors in middle distance events. That season he enjoyed mile victories at Hawick and Peebles; a half mile and mile double at Alva Games; and an invitation mile win at Lauder, where he prevailed after a race long battle with professional world mile record holder Michael Glen.

The biggest day of the season though came at the Grasmere Sports in the Lake District where he won his heat of the 880 yards and then the final and also the mile to be awarded the trophy for the athlete of the day, unheard of for a track runner where they take their fell running and wrestling so seriously.

Then, to cap an eventful season, there came the New Year meeting at Powderhall. In the 880 yards he finished fourth in the Final but in the mile the following day he had to work hard to qualify for the final in a distant second place. For the final, though, in spite of a heavy grass track, he was totally focused as he got up to win in the last few strides from the back mark. For his efforts over the season he was awarded the Scottish Games Association’s Athlete of the Year.

His training at that time was mostly track based doing sessions like 20 x 220 yards (pre-metrication) in close to 30 seconds with 30 seconds recovery, 2 x 4 x 220 in 25/26 seconds with two and a half minutes recovery and ten minutes between sets, 6 x 440 in 55/56 with five minutes rest, and he would sometimes do a ‘long run’ of 5 – 7 miles. In addition he did a lot of running at King’s Park Golf Course at Stirling, a lap of about 1.7 miles, very hilly over the first three quarters of a mile, then very fast, flat running to the finish. Ideal running territory!

In 1973 Alastair moved to Lenzie and, feeling that his running could improve as an amateur, after three attempts was eventually reinstated as an amateur, and joined Springburn Harriers. He made his marathon debut at Harlow in 1974, finishing in 2:29:43. In May 1975 he reduced his personal best to 2:25:00 at the AAA race in Stoke, then ran 47:56 for twelfth place in the high quality Brampton to Carlisle 10 Miles with Ron Hill second in 47:02.

Between 1976 and 1981, Alastair ran the Scottish Marathon Championship four times, and won one gold and three bronze medals. He was third in 1976, behind Donald Macgregor and Doug Gunstone. In November that year he won the first stage of the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, beating Colin Youngson. Just after that, he enjoyed another good run at the Brampton 10. Ian Elliot got away in the last 600 metres but Alastair was second in 48.04.

1979 proved to be Alastair Macfarlane’s peak. Here are his own words about that season. “By the time of the Tom Scott 10 I was fit enough to dip under 50 minutes and take fifth place in a race won by Jim Brown. Things were starting to fall into place and by the Clydebank to Helensburgh I won by over a minute. This victory gave me a big boost and two weeks later I won the Lanarkshire 5000 metres title in a personal best of 14:50 from Hugh Wilson. Then it was on to the big one: the Scottish Marathon Championship and although I was very nervous, I couldn’t fail to be confident given my preparation. And my confidence was justified as I took a huge chunk from my pb with 2:18:03 to beat the old masters, Donald and Colin! I never felt in trouble in that race, the least painful marathon experience of my career and I felt sure that I could improve on it. For my efforts that season the SAAA presented me with the Donald MacNab Robertson Trophy for the Outstanding Road Runner of the Year. Sadly, due to injuries I was not able to improve on that time.” The result was first Alastair Macfarlane, relaxed and fresh in 2:18:03, second Donald Macgregor, two months from being a veteran, 2:19:15, third Colin Youngson 2:19:48.

In the1980 Scottish, Alastair finished third behind Graham Laing and Colin; and was third again in 1981, behind Colin and Donald. In October 1981, The Glasgow International Marathon included a match between (in finishing order) Scotland v Wales v Northern Ireland v Eire. For Scotland, Colin Youngson was 4th in 2.19.12, Des Austin 5th in 2.19.19 and Alastair Macfarlane 6th in 2.21.01. All three counters were required. The Scottish team members were presented with specially inscribed SAAA gold medals.

Alastair’s final marathon was at Dundee in 1984, when he was fourth (in a good 2.19.56), behind Donald, Charlie Haskett and Murray McNaught but just in front of Don Ritchie.

Alastair’s training during his road running years over never altered too much: there was a lot of consistent running but never huge mileage. He would try to hit about 70 miles a week with a two hour Sunday run, a session of reps, usually on the track in midweek and a race at the weekend. The rest of the time it was just running, often twice and sometimes three times a day. Track session would include 20 x 200 continuous with a 200 jog recovery, a staple for him, 10 x 600 in 1:42/1:45 with a 200 jog or 6 x 1 miles in 4:50/5:00 minutes with 400 jog.

Brian McAusland, who used to train with Alastair and Doug Gunstone at Lenzie, wrote, “Alastair has also been a first class official who always worked for the athletes – with Springburn Harriers, with the Scottish Marathon Club and now with the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club. In his racing days, he was what might be called a complete endurance runner – his personal best times, from 800 metres up to the full marathon, are very impressive and represent a wider range of talent than most marathon men.” We are very fortunate to have such a distinguished gentleman – and all-round great guy – as our new Honorary President.

Great Scottish Veteran Harriers: WILLIE DRYSDALE

(Willie, who has done a tremendous amount for SVHC, is well known to many club members and still continues to battle round the annual Scottish Masters Cross Country Championship. While I was at Aberdeen University and he was near his peak, I remember racing him in the 1968 Tom Scott 10 miles – Willie beat me by over 20 seconds and received a treasured first class certificate.

His longevity as a runner is amazing – at the end of September 2017 he will have been in Athletics for 70 years, 27 years with Monkland Harriers and 43 with Law & District AAC!) Willie is 81 years young, having been born on the 26th of November 1935.

He joined Monkland Harriers in October 1947. He enjoyed football and swimming but took to running because he thought he could be good. He got involved in the sport because he saw an advert in a pub window to join Monkland Harriers. Competition began in 1951 when he was a Youth (under 17). This was the youngest age group at the time and very few events were available: only 100 yards handicap and the occasional 880 yards handicap. The minimum age to take part in road and cross country was 16.

Willie’s best times were as follows: 880 yards – 2.02.3 (1967); 1 Mile – 4.29 (1967); 6 Miles – 30.09 (1967); 10 Miles Track – 51.50 (1967).

Willie had a fine record in the Scottish 10 Miles Track Championship. He won a bronze medal in 1966 at Seedhill, Paisley, recorded his personal best a year later, and between 1966 and 1969 was high in the annual Scottish rankings: 4th followed by 7th three times.

In the Scottish Senior National Cross Country he was a very respectable 29th at Hamilton Racecourse in 1966; and 39th in 1967, when ten New Zealand team members were allowed to take part as guests.

In the Scottish Masters Cross Country, he was second M40 behind the great Bill Stoddart in 1978; second M70 in 2010; 3rd M75 in 2011; and 3rd M80 in 2016 and 2017.

Willie was known as a good road runner. He took part in several Edinburgh to Glasgow Relays between 1965 and 1980. For Monkland Harriers he took on the most competitive stages (2 and 6); and was in their best teams when they were 9th in 1971 and 10th in 1972, when his team mates included future SVHC stalwart Bill McBrinn and young stars like Jim Brown, Ron MacDonald and Ian Gilmour, who went on to run for Britain.

Between 1974 and 1980, Willie often ran Stage 8 in the E to G for Law and District. The club’s best position was 10th in 1974, when Willie’s fastest team mate was Scottish XC International XC John Myatt.

In November 1966 Willie won the handicap in the traditional Brampton to Carlisle 10 miler; and on the 1st of January 1967 was second in the handicap in the even more famous Morpeth to Newcastle (at least half marathon distance) in a time of 71.51, a personal best by over four minutes. He ran the top Scottish event, the Tom Scott 10 (over the old Law to Motherwell course) in under 51 minutes, finishing 14th.

Willie is a hill walker and also liked hill races and his favourite was the long-established Carnethy event, which he ran twelve times.

Willie Drysdale reckons that his fastest years were between 1967 to 1975, when he was 32 to 40 years old. Normally he trained once a day, 6 days a week, resting on Friday, since races used to be on Saturday. His weekly training distance, up to age fifty, was about 50 or 60 miles. He also used to do weights at Monklands.

As a Veteran and Masters athlete, since March 1997 he has trained off road, due to back and knee problems. However he can still run for 60 to 80 minutes and goes to the gym three days a week. Occasionally he does speedwork – some strides in the football park!

Willie used to train at Corkerhill Stadium (near Bellahouston Park) on Sundays between the early 1960s to mid 1975. The best thing that happened was that Ken, a Senior Lecturer at Jordanhill College, supervised Willie’s weight training between 1963 and 1965. After that, Willie started running personal bests.

His original work training, as a pre-apprentice engineer, was at Coatbridge Technical College; and then he went on to qualify as a turner and fitter. National Service. Between 1957 and 1959 he served with the Royal Scots Greys. He had seven weeks of general and fourteen weeks specific training as a Centurion Tank driver, then stayed at Catterick in Yorkshire for one year. In 1958 the Greys were sent to Munster in West Germany, near the Dutch border. In October 1957 Willie ran a North Yorkshire & South Durham Cross Country League race and finished well up and first home for the Greys. He was asked to run for the league in an interleague match – but his officer said to the selectors that Willie was not good enough! The officer was proved wrong in February 1958 when the Northern Command XC championships were held at Catterick and Willie ran well to finish third; then he was 28th at the Army XC championships at Aldershot but writes that this was a bad run for him.

Between 1966 and 1979 Willie worked as a technician at Strathclyde University. In 1967, through S.U., he got treatment three times a week for a hamstring injury at Caronna Street physiotherapist. However the injury did not clear up properly until 1980. At lunchtimes he ran five to seven miles along Alexander Parade to the golf course and back.

Between 1979 and 1989 he worked as a technician at Wishaw High School – and trained by running five and a half miles there from his home; and back later on. From 1989 to 1997 he worked as a technician at Carluke High School. Willie used the gym when at Carluke and, after retiring in 1997, continued to use the gym.

As for diet, Willie writes that he just eats normally. The GP has given him Adcal-D3 vitamin. He also takes Perindopril (blood pressure) Simvastin. Willie was mostly self coached, although he was supervised at Corkerhill a little. He himself had a coaching qualification from the 1960s onwards. In addition he was Secretary and Treasurer at Monkland Harriers; and, when President, organised the club training.

Since joining Law & District AAC, Willie has been Secretary three times and has been a Life Member since 2009. He helps the club at league matches and compiles the results for the referee. He assists with the organisation of the Tom Scott 10 miles road race at Strathclyde Park. Willie Drysdale was a member of The Scottish Marathon Club; and continues to belong to the Scottish Hill Runners and the Fell Runners Association.

He was President of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club from 1999 to 2001; and was Secretary from 2001 to 2012. He still works for the club in a number of ways.

Willie writes that he has always liked to compete in races to find out if he can improve his performance. Nowadays he just wants to keep on running and intends to take part in the BMAF XC championships at Forres in 2018. Running, he writes, is a great way to meet people and to see other parts of the country. He has competed all over Scotland, in some parts of England, in Spain, Portugal, the USA and Canada. Willie Drysdale has enjoyed it all.

Great Scottish Masters Runners: Eddie Stewart

How did you get involved with the sport?

At the age of fourteen I started running at school, where they had a cross country club. The head music teacher, Bill Wright, was a keen runner and a member of Paisley Harriers. Like most boys I played a lot of football, not very well but I used to run all over the pitch chasing the ball, which annoyed the other lads but I did win my first medal in football when our primary school team won the local school league. So I liked running and, when I realised I would never be much of a football player, it seemed natural to take up running as a sport.

Has any individual or group had a marked influence on your attitude or individual performance?

Probably the first person was Bill Wright who took the running club at school. We used to train on Tuesday and Thursday after school and on a Saturday morning if we didn’t have a race. We had 5 or 6 different routes of different lengths, ranging from 1mile to nearly 10miles. Most of the runs were like races and were all timed, so we could see how fast or slow we had run compared to the previous run over that route. Looking back, it wasn’t the most sophisticated type of training and probably coaches nowadays wouldn’t train young boys that way, but we enjoyed it, and it gave us plenty incentive to beat our own times or the times of the other lads.

After I left school I joined West of Scotland Harriers but then I went to work for the Ordnance Survey in Southampton, where I half-heartedly trained and ran a few races for Southampton and Eastleigh.

After 3 years I left the OS and came back to Glasgow. In the meantime West of Scotland Harriers had folded and I was thinking of joining Bellahouston when Robert Anderson arrived on the doorstep and asked if I wouldn’t like to join Cambuslang Harriers, since they had a young up-and-coming team. The bus connection between Mearns and Cambuslang wasn’t very good so Robert, being the enthusiast that he was and still is, used to pick me up on a Tuesday night and take me to the club and then take me back again after training.

So I was inaugurated into the Cambuslang Tuesday night ‘Hampden Park’ training run’’: 71/2 miles of hell. It always started out at a reasonable tempo with perhaps 20 runners in the group but it was never an easy run, with the likes of Alec Gilmour, Colin Donnelly, Rod Stone and later Jim Orr and Charlie Thompson to name just a few. There was always someone who was feeling good on the night who wanted to push the pace, and if the infamous Jimmy Quinn was there he used to stick the boot in after half a mile. The Tuesday night run was harder than a lot of races although we never admitted it, saying only that it ‘wasn’t bad’ or ‘felt okay’.

The whole squad of Cambuslang runners and officials had a big impact on my running – Robert, Dave Cooney, Des Yuill and Jim Scarborough who organised the club, along with all the runners who never made the first team, but who always kept the pressure on, waiting on a chance if we didn’t perform. None of us in the club were superstars – we were a bunch of lads with a bit of talent and a lot of hard grind, who made an impact on the cross country and road running scene in the 80’s and 90’s, but I doubt I would have had the same running success if it hadn’t been for the team spirit which the club had.

What exactly do you get out of the sport?

I think, like most people who run, that the biggest thing is the feeling of being physically fit, of being able to get your training gear on and just run when and where you want, with no rules or regulations telling you that you must do this or that, and then the cameraderie of other runners. There is very little aggression in the sport because most of your energy is needed just to combat your own feelings of fatigue and tiredness and the battle is with yourself.

What do you consider to be your best ever performance or performances?

I suppose my best performances were in the Scottish cross country championships in 82 and 84 when I was selected for the Scottish team for the World Cross in Rome and New York – not that I ran very well when I got there, but I gave it a go.

Most of my best performances were associated with Cambuslang winning team titles, notably when we won the Scottish cross country relay championships for the first time in Inverness. Clyde Valley AC was the favourite team and, expecting to win again had decorated the cup handles with red and white ribbons, but that didn’t bother us, as Cambuslang also run in red and white.

Another first was winning the Scottish cross country team title at Irvine and then winning gold in the E to G relay which, although I never felt I ran very well in it, was always a great event , and it’s a pity it’s no longer in the race calendar.

Worst?

My worst performance I think was going down to the English Inter-Counties cross country and running like an absolute donkey – the legs didn’t work, the lungs didn’t work, and only the brain was working, telling me to stop. But I carried on and ended up near the rear of the field. Horrible.

What unfulfilled ambitions have you?

I don’t think I’ve any unfullfilled running ambitions – just to keep running and enjoying it.

Other leisure activities?

I like walking, painting and drawing and generally watching nature.

What does running bring you that you would not have wanted to miss?

The main thing running brought me is my wife, who I met at a race in Bolzano in Italy. It was a New Year’s Eve race in 1987, and I was running in the Scottish team with Aidie Callan and Alastair Douglas. My wife-to-be was running for Czechoslovakia as it was then. We wrote letters to each other for about four years before I packed my bags,and I’ve been here in Prague ever since.

In addition I’ve always liked the freedom and the feeling of being physically fit that running gives you. Also the friends I’ve made through the sport, both in Scotland and in the Czech Republic.

Can you give some details of your training? I was never a big mileage man, due to my physical work as a gardener, but I always managed to get by with about 40 miles a week when I was running at my best. I always say that 8 hours gardening work is like steady circuit training – you’re using your whole body and not just your legs. so it gives you good general fitness. I never had a coach for running. For about 2 years I did train with Brian McAusland’s squad on a Wednesday night at Coatbridge, and Brian gave me a few ideas about how I might improve. Just training with that squad improved my general speed, not that I was ever known for my sprinting ability! My main running season was always September to March, usually with a break in April, and then some track and road running during the summer, but the cross country season was my main interest.

A typical week’s training for me in the autumn would have been as follows. Mon. 2mile jog,10 x 200m hills slow jog down recovery, 2mile jog Tues. Club 71/2 miles road hard Wed. Track i.e. 12 x 400 in 69 secs with a diminishing recovery – 45 secs, 30 secs, 15 secs. Thur. Steady 5 miles run on country Fri. Rest Sat. Race or 7 miles over country Sun. Longer steady run over the country 10 miles.

I wasn’t fanatical about my training. If I felt I was tired I would take 2 or 3 days off to rest before starting again. I tended to do most of my training at a fairly good pace, even my longer runs, since I never felt comfortable running at a slower pace than I felt I had the energy for.

During recent years, as a veteran, I try to get out 2 or 3 times a week, and this would include one longer run of say 9 or 10 miles, one interval session 8 x 500 on an undulating track in the woods, and a shorter 4 or 5 mile run on the country. I think that’s enough for me and it gives me a rest day or 2 in between my runs.

(During a long and distinguished running career, Eddie Stewart, such a strong, consistent athlete, produced track bests of: 800m – 1.59; 1500m – 3.55.4; 3000m – 8.16.5; 5000m – 14.11.7; 10,000m – 29.55. On the road he ran a half marathon in 65.14; and, as an afterthought, a marathon – 2.23.47 (aged 39) and 2.26.59 (aged 40). In his favourite Scottish National cross country championships, Eddie was in winning Cambuslang teams an amazing 10 times, between 1988 and 2000. In the Scottish Masters cross country championships, he won the M40 title in 1998 (leading Cambuslang to team victory); M45 in 2004; M50 in 2007; M55 in 2012, 2015 and 2016; and M60 in 2017. The end for Eddie’s superb running is definitely not in sight! In addition, his wife Miriam picked up a bronze medal in the W50 1500m in Korea this year at the World Masters Indoors; and both his son and his daughter Moira run well. In fact Moira has run several times for the Czech team in the European XC championships; and recently finished 7th in the 5000m at the European Under 23 championships in Poland.)

DID YOU DO THE RUN?

A simple question ‘Did you do your run?’ concluded the brief message I recently received from my sister. I thought that I could elaborate on a brief yes/no answer. The run in question was 10,000m on a Glasgow track. There were 4 races in all with about 20 competitors in each race. The winner of the fastest would be crowned the Scottish 10,000m champion for the year. There were also lesser prizes at stake – winners of each 5 year age category from 35 years upwards. Looking at the list of entries I noticed I was in the oldest participating category – the 65 to 69 year olds.

For some time now my ‘achilles heel’ has been my Achilles heel, preventing me from freely running pain-free. I’d replaced my habit of regular runs with injury-free swimming and cycling, still fitting in parkruns where possible especially if the surface was soft and thus kinder to the heel. Quite often I finished the parkrun with a limp but a day or so later was moving with ease again. Not so with my latest parkrun. Several days later and the heel, unhealed, hadn’t come to heel. I took comfort and hope from a walk with my brother along Portrush beach, two days before the Glasgow race. I don’t think I could have run along the beach but a pain-free walk was more than a step in the right direction. Maybe Friday evening’s run was on.

I arrived at the track with plenty of warm-up time, felt a dull pain from the heel, but told myself I’d give it a go after promising that I’d drop out when it seemed sensible to do so. Surely it was the brave thing to start and then sensible drop out before the pain became excruciating. Maturity was knowing when. Surely I was mature by now?

Wearing number 90, I was in the first race, the slowest. The next race after mine was scheduled to start 45 minutes later. We were told races would start on time. No delays. Wasn’t sure that, even if pain-free, I could complete my task in the allotted three quarters of an hour. During my warm-up I did a little maths and set myself the target of running at 7 minutes per mile pace. That would see me finish in 43’ 45’’. It made it easy to check on lap times. One minutes 45 seconds per lap.

Gun goes and while I’m not quickly into my stride I am quickly established in last position. The first lap 1’ 38’’. Seven seconds to spare. Feeling a slight Achilles niggle but nothing to warrant pulling out. By the time I’d reached the mile I was still a few seconds within my target. It’s going okay but maybe I should do the brave thing. Drop out and save the tendon for another day.

Breathing and the sound of feet behind me. The leaders were on the point of lapping me. Moved over to the second lane. Got thanked for doing so by the pacemaker. I was aware of a dull ache in the first 5 laps. I’m not sure what happened between laps 6 and 10 apart from more overtaking or rather being overtaken.

As lap 10 concluded I recall a feeling of freedom from pain. Hmm… there’s still 15 laps to go. Can’t pull out now. No valid excuse. Just a case of motivating myself to keep going as runners lap me more than once.

One of the lap counter judges made sure I knew what I had to do as I completed each lap. ‘Ten to go number 90, nine to go number 90, seven to go number 90’. What happened to ‘eight to go?’ Ah, a mistake as I heard the ‘seven to go’ on completing another lap.

Something similar happened when it came to three laps left. I clearly heard, ‘two to go, number 90’. Now, well under my 7 minutes a mile pace and with plenty of time to think I imagined kindness being extended to an old man. I was being allowed to do one lap less than others. After all, most of them were on their warm-down.

My finishing time was somewhat irrelevant but perhaps they’d add on about two minutes to my 9600m. Ah, no. After completing another lap I was told ‘two to go’ again. No need to add ‘number 90’. There was only one person left in the race.

Coming into the home straight for the last time I got clapped on by the runners on the track, stripped off and waiting to begin race 2. The second race wasn’t going to start exactly on time. The first aid crew were full of praise as well as anxious questioning as to my well being. I was delighted. No pain in the achilles. A Scottish Masters Athletics gold medal. Last and first rolled into one. The only over 65 year old. By Ray Aiken

                                                                                            Ray Aiken

(Ed. While still in the M60 category, Ray Aiken (Keith AC) won Scottish Masters titles at 800m (indoors and outdoors) and 1500m. He was also Northern Irish Masters champion at 400m and 800m. Here is a letter about his running background. If you don’t know how good Eamonn Coghlan and John Treacy were, check wikipedia!)

My running history goes back a long way. My earliest memories involve running behind the trailer as the tractor pulled a load of peat / turf harvested from our 10 acre bog to the farm homestead in North West Ireland. Sometimes I held onto the trailer as the tractor started at a very slow speed and then had to keep moving the feet faster as things quickened or else…. (although, the old grey Ferguson could never be called a fast machine).

My first memory of a competitive run was at the end of either my first or second year at secondary school. I won a trial mile race to represent the school in a triangular schools athletic contest. I think my time was 5 minutes 30 something seconds. In the triangular match I finished second taking about 10 seconds off my previous time. Aged 18 I left home to attend a teaching training college in Buckinghamshire. One of my best runs there was when representing the college at a race promoted by Borough Road PE College around Hyde Park… 3 miles on a very flat surface …in just under 15 minutes. As I write this I’m beginning to question myself….could I have run that fast? While I have a photo of me looking lean and hungry in race action at Hyde Park I haven’t got a written record of the time but that’s what my memory tells me.

Then I joined London Irish AC. Cross-country was never my forte. I was well down the field in Metropolitan league races. I did much better on the track, regularly running both 800m and 1500m. My best times were 1min 54.5secs and 3mins 57secs respectively.

I came to Scotland to set up home in Kirriemuir after marriage in 1981. Track running stopped. I began stepping up my mileage which enabled to do my one and only marathon. Went off too fast and suffered for this in the end. It took me as long to do the last 6 miles as the first 10. Total time 2 hours 55mins.

I moved to Buckie in 1986. I got involved with coaching a school’s athletic group. I took pupils to various track meetings held at places like Inverness and Grangemouth. I made use of the grass track at the school as well as Cullen beach to get back into middle distance training.

As I approached 40 I got excited about doing something useful on the track as a veteran. 1992 was a very successful year. I’ve got a newspaper clipping from that year with the title ‘’The Old Ones are the Best’’. In the article I get a mention as ‘’the dual Scottish veteran champion who tops the 400m (53.4 secs), 800m (2:01.6) and 1500m (4:08) lists’’.

Alas, I presumed that more training would further improve my times. Not so. I became quite ill. Eventually I was diagnosed with ME / Chronic Fatigue. There were days when walking 100m was a real feat. All running stopped.

After some 10 to 15 years I gradually got back to walking reasonable distances and to running again. As I approached 60 there were some similarities to 20 years earlier. I was keen to do something useful on the track now that I could run again and the younger speed merchants weren’t in the same races.

Hopefully I’ve learnt from past mistakes when overdoing training. There is now a greater appreciation of simply being able to run, even at a much reduced pace compared to years of yore.

I’m not sure how to introduce the following as it could be presumed to be too big-headed. It concerns a clipping from the Irish Sunday Independent on July 22, 1979. The previous day I’d taken part in the 800m at the Irish track and field championships in Dublin. On the boat as I was making my way back to England I saw the newspaper with the headline “NOW RAY HAS THE LIMELIGHT’’. There is a photo in which I am leading the pack. Eamonn Coghlan is tucked in behind me. The caption reads: “Eamonn Coghlan is well placed during the first heat of the 800m at Belfield yesterday’’. The following explanation cuts me down to size. Eamonn Coghlan won the heat and the final. I didn’t qualify for the final! The reference to Ray having the limelight was to ‘’Ray Treacy, who has lived in the shadow of his famous brother John, over the last few years, came into his own at blustery Belfield yesterday when he won the 10,000m title in the Yoplait BLE national athletics championships’.”

ATALANTA: WOMAN RUNNER OF MYTH

The founding myth for women’s running

With women runners now the majority in North America, and every race in the world, electric with their zest and commitment, can we find a female equivalent to Pheidippides? Is there a founding myth for women’s running?

No female story of long-distance running has come down from antiquity, and no winner’s name has survived from the ancient Games of Hera. So the best candidate is Atalanta, a heroine, runner, and huntress of classical Greek myth. She was adopted as an icon by the Avon women’s running series, she gave her name to an Italian soccer team (Bergamo), and she has inspired centuries of artists and poets. “Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet. Over the splendour and speed of thy feet” enthused the poet Swinburne.

Unsurpassed in speed, gloriously beautiful, and dangerously skilled with the bow and arrow, Atalanta stars in two of the classical world’s best stories. In one, she helps Jason hunt and kill a giant boar. In the other, she races and beats every man who seeks her hand in marriage – until the guy she truly fancies lines up against her. She has vowed to marry only the man who can beat her in a footrace. That’s a tough assignment, she’s so fast. The challengers she outruns – and there are many of them, since she’s so attractive – get put to death. Melanion is reluctant to risk that fate. But when he sees her run, so svelte and smooth-striding, her hair streaming out behind her bare white back, and wearing little but some alluringly fluttering ribbons, he decides to chance it. (He is named Hippomenes in some versions – it’s an Orlando Bloom role, anyway.)

Melanion astutely visits Aphrodite the goddess of love to ask for pre-race advice. The goddess has a plan. She gives him three golden apples, telling him to drop them one by one as he runs. The poets agree that Atalanta feels sudden love for this latest challenger. For the first time, she cannot bring herself to defeat him in the race. It’s her love, more than greed for the golden apples, that holds her back. Aphrodite got it right – she is the goddess of love, not gold. The distance of the race is never specified, but seems to be about a mile. Short enough anyway to keep the crowd whooping.

Here’s a new narrative of the famous race. I’ve looked at all the best versions of the story, including Ovid (the main source), Laurence Eusden, William Morris, many modern translators, and modern poets like Ted Hughes and Allen Mandelbaum. But it’s a running story, so I present it here in a way that runners will understand, and that would be worthy of our best magazines – like a race report for the late and deeply lamented ‘Running Times’.

“The two runners crouched side by side, waiting for the start. The trumpet blared, and away they raced, so fast that it seemed their flying feet hardly touched the sandy ground. The crowd got behind Mel, up on their feet, yelling: “Now! Go! Give it all you’ve got! Good job, Mel, you can do it!”

Running with silky smoothness, Atalanta privately felt pleased at all the support for her challenger. She could not bear to beat him. At last, this was the man she wanted. Every time she drew level, she gazed across with longing affection into his face, and eased back the pace again. But it was still fast, and the pressure was beginning to tell.

Mel was hitting oxygen debt, his breath heaving, his throat burning, his mouth parched. And the finish was still way off. He pulled out the first golden apple, and rolled it glittering across the course. Atalanta, astonished at its beauty, checked, and scooped it up.

The crowd went crazy as Mel hit the lead, but she powered right back into her full flowing stride, and edged reluctantly ahead again.

The second apple came bouncing by. Again, she pulled up, grabbed it, and had to close the gap and regain the lead. Now they were coming off the last bend with the finish in sight. They were side by side.

Mel gasped a quick prayer to Aphrodite, and threw the last golden apple. It went spinning across Atalanta’s path and off to the side of the course. For a stride she hesitated. An impulse of love sent her after it once more. She slowed, and stooped to gather it. Now she was clutching three apples. She kept slowly jogging. The race was over. Mel jubilantly passed the finish, with the crowd on their feet, cheering and happy.

Weddings are better than funerals. Atalanta crossed the line, trotted over to Mel, slipped the apples into the crook of one arm, and lovingly took him by the hand. The winner led away his prize. That last line is straight from the Latin of Ovid – “duxit sua praemia victor”.

Sometimes in ancient Greece, slave girls were race prizes, according to Homer’s “Iliad”. But this is an equal match. Clearly, Atalanta and Melanion are both happy with the outcome.

Commentators like Robert Graves have suggested that the myth may originally derive from ceremonial tests of manhood, or be an allegory for sexual selection.

Atalanta in part is a variant on Artemis, or Diana in Roman times, the virgin goddess of hunting, and quite often the golden apples story gets attributed to Diana.

Hence also the other Atalanta story, her role as supreme archer in hunting the giant Calydonian boar.

But the story of her race that has come down to us is also founded in recognisable human reality. Even today, it’s a story true to our inclusive sport and running community, where the bond between runners is stronger than any competitive rivalry. It appeals to the many modern couples who meet through running, and whose relationships include supporting each other’s fulfilment as runners (like mine).

That mid-race moment when Atalanta looks lovingly across at Melanion is the key. The forgotten old poet Laurence Eusden caught it perfectly in 1717, with his words “sighed, and dwelt, and languished”: “When a long distance oft she could have gained, She checked her swiftness, and her feet restrained: She sighed, and dwelt, and languished on his face, Then with unwilling speed pursued the race.”

You don’t have to believe in golden apples or crafty goddesses to enjoy the drama of the race, or the glow of the romance. Atalanta the supreme woman runner of myth is not really distracted by shiny gold apples. She decides the result. Hers is the first runners’ love story.

By Roger Robinson

(Ed. Many thanks to Roger for allowing us to publish this article, which appeared in an earlier form in the column “Footsteps” by Roger Robinson, in Running Times online, August 2014. The Atalanta story as a subject in literature is dealt with fully in his highly-recommended book “Running in Literature”.)

                                                                        DISTANCE RUNNERS AND PUBCRAWLS

Back in the early 1990s I wrote a ‘faction’ short story called “Refreshment Stations” about a runners’ pubcrawl in Aberdeen. Now, in my ceaseless search to find any old stuff to pad out the SVHC Newsletter, I have decided to re-use some of the ‘research’ material. However I had to wonder if Scottish distance runners still like pubs and beer nowadays. Maybe you can answer that question.

Cross-country and road runners in the 1950s hardly seem to have drunk any alcohol – after club sessions or races (which were then always on Saturdays) they headed off for scones or pies and cups of tea. The fashionable ones may have chanced dangerous coffee!

These respectable standards were destroyed by immoral ‘Baby Boomers’ like me in the notorious 1960s, and the decline steepened in the 70s and 80s.

During the 21st Century, according to Joggers World (sorry, ‘Runners World’) it all seems much more scientific and health-obsessed, with core fitness gym workouts, radical diets, super-vitamins and stern self-discipline essential if one is to have any chance of breaking 3 hours for the marathon aged 25! My generation used to jeer supportively at anyone (aged 21-35) who couldn’t manage that – and all we did in preparation was run a lot, stretch far too little and drink a lot of beer after races.

Here are a few of the foolish mistakes we enjoyed making. Do not do this at home.

At secondary school, whenever a rival sports team came to visit us the night before a fixture, we used to send our second team out to drink with their first team…… At university, the real trend-setters, between 1965 and 1970 or so, must have been the Edinburgh University Hare & Hounds Club, which not only dominated Scottish and British University distance running, but also won Scottish National cross country team titles and broke the record for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay. Many Scottish and British International athletes featured in their ranks. The standards they set have hardly been bettered to this day – in boozing as well as running!

Older SVHC members may remember former EU men like ‘Hugo’ Stevenson, Dave Logue, Jim Dingwall and Robin ‘YP’ Thomas (the founder of Hunters Bog Trotters). In Aberdeen University we decided that, if we could learn to drink even half as much as EU runners, we might finish slightly less far behind them in races.

Irish Tours were a real joy. Usually in the Christmas holidays, Aberdeen University Hare & Hounds used to travel (by train and later by minibus) to Belfast and Dublin, racing cross-country in both cities, against various Irish universities and sometimes Strathclyde University, whose fine runners could certainly out-drink us too.

‘Scottish’ Guinness tended to be of a lesser quality then, and we used to sample a glass or two: in Aberdeen before we set off; in Glasgow en route to Stranraer; on the ferry; and in Belfast. The point of this experimentation being that the quality of the stout seemed to improve steadily, the nearer we got to Dublin, which of course was the Mecca at the end of the pilgrimage, where the food of the gods was dispensed on O’Connell Street in pint-sized measures.

Although the better runners tended to be the less successful drinkers, unexpected talent was discovered one night when a speed test revealed that Charlie Macaulay (later a 2.23 marathon man), who until then had been considered only a robust teetotal lad from a rural background, had sunk his first pint of Guinness in less than four seconds! When we inquired how he had accomplished this feat, he claimed modestly than it had been quite easy – he had drunk it in his normal way back on the farm, pretending it was fresh milk!

Another Irish tour memory was when Dublin’s Trinity College boys were perfect hosts: they not only lost the race through Phoenix Park (their best runner dropping further and further behind as he politely and breathlessly shouted route instructions to our disappearing lead pack); they also provided accommodation adjacent to their historic quadrangle and three free barrels of best Dublin Guinness. I have never been able to drink vast quantities of beer (normally getting hiccups after five pints) but that night myself and Robin Orr, another comparative non-drinker, staged a contest which we considered a tie at a ‘life-time best’ of ten pints all, not inebriated (in our unreliable opinions) just full up! You will note that Aberdonians tend to indulge freely when the booze is gratis.

Two final memories from those AU days. The only Welsh adventure was a crazy drive on snowbound roads from Aberdeen to Mountain Ash so that we could take part in the famous ‘Nos Galan’ four mile road race (1970-71 edition), all the way from Hogmanay to New Year’s Day. After the unexpected delight of receiving third team awards (me, Don Ritchie – the future ultra-marathon great – and Charlie Macaulay) we slept on the floor that night in a dingy local hall with a roaring fire. I use the word ‘slept’ loosely – since about eight Scots and two Cornishmen drank and sang the night away, much to the fury of the fifty English runners who didn’t celebrate the occasion and were trying and failing to get some rest! At least they got half an hour in at 6 a.m. when some of us tried jogging in a blizzard.

The other anecdote concerns our attempt to make (appropriately enough) the Guinness Book of Records, by running a relay for three days and three nights round the university field at King’s College, Old Aberdeen. An effort of over 600 miles raised quite a lot of sponsor cash for students’ charities and the committee gratefully gave us three barrels of beer. Twenty of us tried to drink it all (about 240 pints). I don’t think we managed but my only memory of the night was Donald Macintosh succeeding in downing several pints while doing a handstand against a wall!

Between 1971 and 1973 I ran for Victoria Park AC in Glasgow during my first two years teaching. Real Ale was making a comeback and Hugh Stevenson (a Fine Arts graduate, no less) led us round mini-pubcrawls, often in ‘heritage’ establishments with traditional interiors, such as The Arlington, The Halt and the Three-In-One; and also The Bon Accord. After the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, his ‘Soup-Teas’ in Crow Road were legendary, due mainly to endless supplies of excellent home-brew.

From 1974 to 1981, I ran for Edinburgh Southern Harriers (Scotland’s top distance club at that time), while teaching in the Capital, which boasted so many remarkable public houses. In the novel ‘Whisky Galore’, Compton McKenzie invented a lengthy list of marvellous-sounding names for brands of malt. They could not echo more evocatively for me than the titles of several Edinburgh Pubs. Think of the ‘magnificent Victorian tiled interior’ of Bennets Bar by the King’s Theatre; and the equally striking Abbotsford and Café Royal in Rose Street.

Perhaps the least forgettable is the ironically-named ‘Athletic Arms’ near Gorgie Road, deep in Hearts territory. This is the famous ‘Gravediggers’ – home in those days to ‘the best pint of heavy in the land’. The Good Beer Guide at the time asserted that ’13 fonts dispense real ale at lightning speed in a raw Scots atmosphere’ and that the pub ‘is dedicated to the art of perpendicular drinking’.

What this meant was that, as you squeezed your way in the door, an ancient but sharp-eyed wee man wearing a wrap-around apron caught your eye and asked a silent question, to which you replied “X pints of 80!” – McEwans 80 shilling ale, of course – emphasising the precise number by a careful show of fingers. The foaming light brown liquid was settling in that indescribably magical manner as you slipped apologetically past bulky maroon-scarved customers en route to the bar. The final top-up was completed, you passed over the cash, and the deep brown beer with the creamy head was your own to sip or pour back as you wished. At its finest, a Diggers pint had no peer for flavour – the perfect blend of sweet and bitter, with a delicate rich texture and a deceptive strength. It positively glided down and you simply HAD to order another.

Surely the Prince of Pub-crawls is the Water of Leith, an adventure which may well be repeated to this day, at haphazard intervals. Having set the date and notified the researchers, who may come (like guest beers) from afar, the procedure is as follows. Wisely free from the taint of drink, at 8 a.m. you board the bus from Edinburgh to Balerno, eight miles away. Having encountered your accomplices, you start by sneaking into the grounds of a lunatic asylum or some similarly appropriate establishment and then changing into running gear and hiding your clothes under a bush.

A survivor (depending on the degree of brain damage suffered) of previous Water of Leith sagas may be able to assist with the navigation as you stravaig up the waterside (or over nearby minor roads) to the source of your stream in the Harperrig reservoir. After a cursory glance at the scenery and, depending on the time available, you meander back along the burn or stride hurriedly via the tarmac. The round trip is about half marathon distance.

Inevitably you arrive back at 10.45 a.m. and rush to change in the bushes or the Balerno public toilet, before heading rapidly for the old-fashioned centre of the village and the door of the Grey Horse Inn.

Here quite often the party splits into sub-groups whose overall task is to ensure that every pub within a hundred yards (on both sides) of the Water of Leith, all the way from Balerno to Leith Docks is visited, and a pint per pub per person polished off (the distance being 16 miles). If there are two groups to share the work, a true drinker may have to down, between 11 a.m. and chucking-out time, about 16 or 17 pints!

I have to admit that, knowing my frailty, I never even attempted the whole expedition, but did either the earlier or the later sessions (before all-day opening, there used to be a two and a half hour halt between 2.30 p.m. and 5 p.m.) Sometimes (what a failure!) I even resorted to half pints.

But it was quite an experience just to associate with the ‘macho men’ who met the challenge and lasted the trip, as they wound their way through Currie to Colinton, halting only in Colinton Dell to engage in a sporting (and necessary) competition involving liquid and horizontal distance (all-time champion – Jim Dingwall). No, not jumping the river.

Even more fascinating for a student of human psychology (and physiology) was to observe from a more sober viewpoint the evening procession following paths and byways through to Warrington Cemetery and thence to Leith Docks themselves, to journey’s end at ‘The Black Swan’ (now ‘Roseleaf’ Café/Bar).

Real drinkers (e.g. Dave Logue, Willie Sheridan, Ron Maughan, Robin Thomas) merely became more and more like their normal selves – but others, formerly Dr Jekylls, might turn into Mr Hydes (now there’s a novel explanation for that famous change of personality in Edinburgh!) For example the mild-mannered Martin Craven (a GB marathon representative) had to be restrained then ejected when refused a final pint near closing time in a pub somewhere in Leith!

Overall, the Water of Leith pubcrawl is an experience never to be forgotten (unless your memory has gone for some inexplicable reason).

The final reminiscence concerning distance runners and marathon beer-drinking was the ‘Double Hundred’. This could be attempted in Arran or more likely in the Isle of Man, which used to have two breweries and inexpensive easy-drinking real ale which was between 3 and 4 per cent ABV – i.e. not too strong. An additional attraction was the annual Manx Easter Festival of Running (and fast pint drinking).

A bunch of distance runners (usually current or ex-university) would have a week’s holiday, during which each contestant would try to run 100 miles in training and racing and drink 100 pints of beer. A fair number of misguided ‘heroes’ managed this feat.

However only one person, ever, succeeded in the ‘Triple Hundred’ challenge – 100 miles and a 100 pints in 100 hours. Work it out – 24 miles and pints per day with four hours left to run four miles and drink four pints. Every pint was observed and noted by scrupulous ‘officials’.

Robin ‘YP’ Thomas, for it was he of course, eventually, with some difficulty, managed to force his 100th pint past his stress-fractured Adam’s Apple with 15 minutes remaining of the 100 hours.

You may well ask, “How did he celebrate?” Of course he ordered another pint – and promptly puked it up with remarkable velocity! If that had happened on his 100th beer, the stupendous (or stupefying) record would not have been set.

No less an athlete (and famed beer drinker) than Dave Bedford (former World XC champion and 10,000m record holder) was very impressed when he heard about Robin’s feat of mad ‘athleticism’.

Improvement in distance running is partly about training hard to improve one’s resistance to physical stress; while at the same time reducing the symptoms of psychological stress. The latter can also be done by beer drinking (within sensible limits). Since that form of alcoholic drink is mainly water, one partial justification is rehydration after exercise!

But although good distance runners must be able to cope with solitary effort, the sport can also involve the pleasure of teamwork and post-event celebration. Lots of running can help one to eat or drink quite freely without negative effects like excess fat or serious hangovers.

Robert Burns summed the whole thing up. Sadly he died while still at the pre-veteran stage, but by all accounts before then he had a lot of fun running around the fields and woods of Ayrshire (in mixed company). And undoubtedly (‘Tam o’Shanter’) knew the joys of drink after ‘exercise’.

Burns proclaimed “Freedom and Whisky gang thegither! Tak’ aff your dram!” and I would assert that Freedom, Beer and Running go together too. So – Down Your Pint! By Colin Youngson

 

                                                                                                 ZATOPEK

(Ed. This article by Doug Gillon, the top Scottish Athletics journalist, first appeared in The Herald newspaper. In an email, Doug kindly added relevant information about a meeting with Ron Clarke, the great Australian runner who was a hero of mine. Zatopek was Clarke’s hero.)

“SPORTING anniversaries have always fascinated me. Last weekend, 63 years to the day after Roger Bannister’s epic first sub-four minutes for the mile, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge covered the marathon distance in 2:00.25. Though the fastest ever, the Kenyan’s time won’t be ratified as a world record because relays of three pacemakers sheltered him, some 20 in all, dropping in and out. Nevertheless, this prodigious feat puts the magical two-hour marathon less than one second per mile away.

And so I got to thinking about the spring of 1954. I was an impressionable seven-year-old and remember my father’s recurring amazement at athletics achievements: Bannister’s mile eclipsed within weeks by Landy; Emil Zatopek breaking the world 5000 metres record and then the six miles and 10,000m marks – Sunday in Paris, then Tuesday in Brussels – all inside 51 hours. On his return home Zatopek insisted his wife, Dana, keep a promise by kow-towing to him in public! “I have saved the pictures, just in case anyone ever tells me that I never achieved anything through running.” That’s what he said in their joint autobiography.

That weekend in 1954, he became the first man in more than 30 years to hold both 5k and 10k records simultaneously. There was no pacemaker in the 5000, and in the 10k he had dropped them by 3000m, becoming the first man under 29 minutes.

In setting his five world 10k records he carved off 41 seconds and won 38 successive races at the distance. He set 18 world bests and won three European titles.

Monday marks another anniversary, that of Zatopek’s first race. I learned about it from the best of three 2016 biographies of the iconic Czech: Quicksilver*, by my good pal and fellow athletics correspondent, Pat Butcher.

Though his daily 100 x 400 metres training (in three sessions) became the stuff of legend, Zatopek was not always obsessively enthusiastic, fighting to avoid his debut race as an adult. It was May 15, 1941, and he was an apprentice at the Bata shoe factory in Zlín. There was a race for the workforce, but Emil knew there were fitter apprentices in his dormitory, so he had no interest. He tried to con a doctor, feigning a knee injury, and went to extremes to avoid competing, but to his great annoyance was rail-roaded to the start. Surprised, he finished second, winning a fountain pen and the approval of his self-serving supervisor who took the credit.

Soon after he ran a 1500m, again finishing second. His time of 4min 21sec was decent for a poorly-nourished teenager in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and he was invited to train with established regional athletes. He was hooked.

As a young man in the army, Zatopek would run 10- 12k in heavy snow, wearing boots, in severe sub zero temperatures. “I wore three pairs of jogging bottoms so that I wouldn’t feel cold,” he said, describing his regime. “After training there was only cold water available; so cold, even, that icicles hung from the taps in the washroom. I would always move the hose into place and tie it so that a huge blast of water shot out into the middle of the washroom. When I jumped into the blast, steam would rise from my skin . . . I was so hot that nothing could cool me down.” Training under bad conditions meant racing would be a relief.

His greatest claim to fame is winning 5000, 10,000 (as defending champion), and marathon gold at the 1952 Olympics. He had never run a marathon before, and introduced himself to world record-holder Jim Peters on the start line. Before half distance he asked Peters if the pace was fast enough. Peters said “no”, and crossed to the other side of the road to discourage further dialogue. Zatopek ran off alone, and was soon chatting to his only companion – a news cameraman recording the race. In one of the great Olympic romantic tales, Dana had won Olympic javelin gold within seconds of his 5000m victory.

Prior to the Helsinki Olympics, Zatopek had risked his life to persuade the authorities to select Stanislav Jungwirth whose father was an anti-Communist activist. Challenging the regime was potentially lethal, as Butcher discovered after his death. “People don’t realise how dangerous it was,” said his wife. “They were executing people.” Emil had been assured Jungwirth would be on the plane to Helsinki. When he was not, Zatopek disembarked, leaving his wife on board, and went to Jungwirth’s home. The pair trained together for the next few days, until the regime capitulated. “I was in tears,” said Dana. “Emil was taking a big chance.”

Zatopek and his wife signed the so-called 2000 Word Manifesto. He was stripped of his army rank (Colonel) and expelled from the Communist party. He worked as a bin man, but on the streets of Prague the public came out to applaud him, and emptied their rubbish into his truck. So he was sent into exile, labouring in a uranium mine and living in a caravan. Cruelly he was obliged to recant support for the liberal manifesto.

Butcher casts fresh light on a legend and debunks some apocryphal tales surrounding one of the sport’s most revered figures. He also recalls how, in one of athletics’ most selfless acts, Zatopek presented one of his Olympic gold medals to Ron Clarke, whose world record-shredding career ended without a championship title. **” *Quicksilver, Pat Butcher (£14.99). Visit www.globerunner.org **

Clarke told me the story from his perspective, in 1982. The Czech invited Clarke to run in Prague, and Clarke loved to recount how Zatopek would park illegally and police would not only turn a blind eye, but would also park his car.

“When I was leaving the country in July 1966, Zatu came on to the plane with me and had a little parcel wrapped in brown paper tied with string. I had the front seat and he handed it to me as we said goodbye. “I didn’t know whether I was smuggling contraband or whatever. I thought I’d better wait until I was through customs in England before I opened it, and if something was discovered I could say I knew nothing about it: that it was just something a friend gave to me. But I lost my nerve.” He went into the toilet, opened the packet, and sat down on the seat and wept when he saw an Olympic gold medal. [I admit I wept when he told me the story]

Clarke received the Order of Australia and MBE, but treasures this medal above all. “I was just incredibly honoured, and it was a story I thought should be shared,” he told me. So the medal is in the Gold Coast Sports Hall of Fame. “I think that’s the best place for it,” he said.

With it is Zatopek’s note which acompanied the package: “Not out of friendship, but because you deserve it.” Which medal was it? “Well I know it’s not the London one,” he said. “It was one of the three from Helsinki, but you can’t tell which. I like to think it’s the one from the 10k.”

By Doug Gillon

 

SCOTTISH MASTERS TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Grangemouth Stadium on 1st July 2017 the main Masters events took place. (The 5000m races were at Scotstoun on Friday 28th July, as part of a GAA meet. Why not at Grangemouth?)

There was no report on the Scottish Athletics website, so a trawl through the results produced the following. Apologies to anyone who feels omitted unfairly – feel free to email in personal reports about this championship or future ones.

Fiona Davidson (Aberdeen AAC) starred as usual by winning W40 titles for 100m, Long Jump and Triple Jump. Fiona Steele (Motherwell AC) ran well to secure the W50 100m and 200m titles, while Angela Kelly (Giffnock North AAC) was the W55 victor in both these races.

The 800m was won by Julie Hendry (W35 – Metro Aberdeen RC) in a time of 2.34.48. Second in 2.35.68 was the incomparable Fiona Matheson (W55 – Falkirk Victoria H). Leslie Chisholm (W40 – Garscube H) was first in the 1500m in 5.01.35, with Fiona Matheson runner-up in 5.09.63.

Jayne Kirkpatrick (Nithsdale AC) won the W45 Javelin, Discus and Shot Put titles. Mary Barrett (Loughrea AC) was W55 champion for Javelin and Shot and also won the High Jump.

The 100m/200m double was achieved by Alastair Beaton (M35 – Inverness H), Alan Robertson (M40 – Motherwell AC) and Stan Walker (M45 – Aberdeen AAC). Stan also won the 400m. Bob Douglas (M60 – Livingston AC) won 100m and 400m.

In the 800m, M45 Gordon Barrie was fastest, beating his younger rivals in 2.09.88. He also won the 1500m title. Brian Scally (M50 – Shettleston H) secured age group titles in 800m and 1500m; while Barney Gough (M65 – Cambuslang H) enjoyed two victorious tussles with Ray Aiken (M65 – Keith and District AC) in the 800m and 1500m. The indefatigable Hugh McGinlay (M90 – Falkirk Victoria H) was first in the 400m and 800m.

Bill Gentleman (M75 – Edinburgh AC) won the Hammer title outright, beating all his younger rivals. Robert Stevenson (M60 – Ayr Seaforth AC) was first overall in the Triple Jump – and also won the Long Jump in his category. Bob Masson (M70 – Aberdeen AAC) won Discus and Pole Vault titles. James Sloan (M75 – Annan and District AC) was first in Discus and Shot. Hugh Ryan (M80 – North East Vets AA) won age group titles for Javelin, Discus, Hammer and Shot.

Friday 28th July: GAA Meeting Scottish Masters 5000m gold medallists

Below are the age-group winners. Obviously Nicola Gauld and Fiona Matheson were outstanding; as well as Robert Gilroy, Kerry-Liam Wilson, Alexander Chisholm and Bobby Young.

Women: V35 Nicola Gauld (Aberdeen) 17.16.32; V40 Yana Thandraya (Portobello) 20.10.84; V50 Sue Ridley (Edinburgh AC) 20.14.95; V55 Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Vics) 18.05.26

Men: V35 Josef Farkas (Stirling University) 15.24.15; V40 Robert Gilroy (Cambuslang) 15.32.95; V45 Kerry-Liam Wilson (Cambuslang) 15.38.64; V50 Scott McDonald (Moorfoot) 17.10; V55 John Hynd (Carnegie) 19.18.64; V60 Alexander Chisholm (Garscube) 18.53.98; V65 Ray Aiken (Keith) 21.48.78; V70 Bobby Young (Clydesdale Harriers) 21.33.59

TWO MORE RECORDS FOR FIONA MATHESON

On the 28th of June at Clydebank, Fiona set a new W55 World Record for 5k Road, in a time of 17.41. Previously, on the 7th of June at Corstorphine, she created a new W55 British Record for 5 Miles Road, in 30.14.

EUROPEAN MASTERS ATHLETICS HIGHLIGHTS

Scottish medal-winners in Aarhus, Denmark included the following. Fiona Davidson won the W40 Triple Jump and was second in the Long Jump. Claire Thompson won the W40 2000m Steeplechase, and was third in both the 5000m and the 4 km Cross Country. Fiona Steele (W50) played her part in the gold medal winning GB 4x100m Relay Team; as did Alan Robertson in the M40 event. Alastair Dunlop finished second in the M60 800. Kerry-Liam Wilson collected three M45 silver medals: second individual 5000m and the Half Marathon, plus GB team silver in the latter race. Congratulations to everyone! (There should be a profile of Claire in the Christmas edition.)

                                                                 REGULAR FEATURE: MY FAVOURITE RACE

Alan Lawson kindly emailed the editor with an excellent idea, encouraging female or male readers to contribute to this SVHC Newsletter – by writing about your favourite race, past or current. A short piece would be fine, although there is plenty of space for longer articles. Where, when, how long, why you liked it, how often did you run it, results, memories? Below is Alan’s contribution. (He also suggests that HBT’s Black Rock Race in Kinghorn should be described and no doubt we could all name several other noteworthy events.)

                                                      MY FAVOURITE RACE THE LAIRIG GHRU HILL RACE

I am sometimes asked to recommend races to overseas runners who are going to visit our shores. Assuming they aren’t 100m specialists but REAL runners, The Lairig Ghru race (which is nowadays organised by the Deeside Runners Club) would be my top pick. It really IS a classic, being a point-to-point – from Braemar to Aviemore – which follows a famous old route / drove road, and is well known to hill-walkers and mountaineers.

Although it’s described as a hill race, it’s not one of those events where you have to ascend and descend vertically like some (old) mountain goat; rather it’s a long-distance trail race, 28miles in total, with some tarmac on the first and last stages, and 640m ascent.

The first 4 miles being on tarmac eases you gently into the race. But for the rest you’re running through some of the highest mountains in the country, and the scenery is spectacular.

Admiring the scenery has to be balanced against watching your footing, though, as the path is narrow and awkward in many places, including the famous boulder-field at the highest point, the Pools of Dee… but you’re probably needing to take it a bit slower by then, being just past half way.

The weather (June) is very important, as it can get seriously hot in the pass. (It can also get seriously wet of course.) Two of my three attempts were in hot conditions: the first time I took on too much water from the many burns and got water-logged; the second time I drank too little, got dehydrated and tired, and took a fall which smashed my dark glasses (which I really need). Times were very poor.

My third – and final – attempt (2006) started ominously, as the sun was melting the pavements when we drove out from Dundee, but as we passed the Glenshee ski centre the weather changed, bringing cloudy conditions and a temperature of only 14C. This time things went well, despite a spectacular flying fall into the heather on the way down, where a large rock made a nasty and long-lasting impression on my chest.

 Although the temperature was rising noticeably by this stage, I carried on okay to finish in 3 hours 54, which I was pretty chuffed with (aged 59). I then had to persuade the race staff to sell me a race T-shirt on tick, as I was locked out of our team car and had no money and no dry clothes! But it’s a very nice shirt and I still wear it.

About 15 years ago the field-size had dropped to only 60 or 70 runners, which was rather low for such a great race, and which increased the chances of having to run on your own for much of the route… a tough gig.

These days things are much healthier, with 220 in the 2017 race, 25% of them women. (Special note for Vets: 60% of the field this year were over 40.)

In summary, this is an event that every long-distance runner in Scotland should do at least once. Even if you don’t get the time that you were hoping for, just to reach the other end seems such an achievement that yo