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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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.


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



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.


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.)


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’.”


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



(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 **

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



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


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.


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 you feel entitled to bore your friends with the tale for ages afterwards!

By Alan Lawson

(Mel Edwards from Aberdeen wrote “In 1975, a classic race was born – Eddie Campbell’s Lairig Ghru, 28 miles of the roughest, toughest terrain around. Eddie (a great character who was a legendary Ben Nevis racer) had been telling us about his plan at other hill races.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and thirteen bold heroes lined up outside Braemar police station, just after 11 a.m. on June 19th. Eddie’s race briefing went like this, “Thanks for turning up, lads. Now this is the start, and we’re going to run through the Lairig to Coylumbridge, turn left and finish at Aviemore Police Station. It’s about 28 miles. Ready? GO!”

We all thought, “Hey, wait a minute, what about marshals, drinks, race numbers…” but off we set. Andy Pratt won in 3.12.40 with me a minute behind, and Andy’s time remained a record for almost 20 years.”

The editor adds: In 1986, somewhat miraculously, I actually finished first in this adventure race, despite a) going off course after Derry Lodge and b) hitting the ‘wall’ before Coylumbridge, due to the temperature in the Lairig reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The Police Station in Aviemore was at the far end of town, after a long gradual rise. I plodded painfully slowly up the right hand pavement until opposite the ‘finishing line’ and was so knackered that some kind person had to escort me across the busy road and let me slump over a fence in the shade! I stayed there for some time but, after a couple of pints, recovered….Must have been about half an hour slower than the record, though.”)


Doug Cowie, who is organising this prestigious event along with other Forres Harriers, wrote with the following information. The date for your diary is 17th March 2018 and the venue Grant Park, Forres, Moray. A memento will be given to each finisher. There are ‘fantastic spot prizes’ and free refreshments for all competitors and supporters. Entertainment will be provided by the Forres Pipe Band. A warm Highland Welcome is guaranteed!


(Roger Robinson’s choice for greatest Olympic Marathon)

They started outside Windsor Castle, with the royal family picnicking on the lawn, 26 miles 385 yards from the finish line in White City Stadium. If you ever find a marathon one mile too far, blame British royalty.

Perhaps inspired by the presence of the Princess of Wales, a big group of British runners went out fast, news that delighted the huge crowd waiting in the stadium. But it was too fast, given 1908 training and the day’s hot sun. Two survived to 10 miles, but 56:53 was still suicidal.

Soon it was the big South African Charles Hefferon in front, shaking off the little Italian Dorando Pietri. Behind, the pre-race favourite, Canadian Indian Tom Longboat, attacked hard, raced through to second at 16 miles, but by 17 was walking. To quench his thirst he was given champagne by his bicycle attendant, which probably did not help.

Hefferon led by two minutes at 15 miles, by nearly four at 20 miles. The race was surely his. But those days no one understood how suddenly the tank can go dry in a marathon. Pietri caught Hefferon at 25.

Now began the drama that entered the consciousness of the 20th century. Pietri was heat-exhausted. He collapsed, unseen by the crowd, in the passage into the stadium. Then he entered, to the roar of 100,000 spectators. But he was shuffling, staggering, and confused. Officials had to turn him the right way for the final half circuit of the big (three laps to the mile) track. He floundered a few steps, then crumpled.

Officials and medical attendants ran to help. “It was impossible to leave him there, for it looked as if he might die,” said the official report later. Lifted to his feet, he covered a few more yards, and fell again. The crowd demanded that he be helped.

Twice more he was rubbed and raised, twice more he stuttered a few yards and collapsed. “Surely he is done now,” wrote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, observing from the stand.

Now the next runner appeared, Johnny Hayes of the United States, who had judged the distance perfectly, and (I have calculated) was moving at close to 6-minute miles at the end. As Hayes reached the final bend, Pietri was on his feet once more, and with floppy legs and dazed face, supported at the right elbow by race manager Jack Andrew, he tottered to the tape.

Thus was created one of the iconic sports images of all time. Pietri was hastily declared the winner, there was a protest, Hayes properly replaced him, controversy raged, and the marathon footrace entered the world’s imagination as the ultimate challenge to human endurance.

The Fascinating Struggle, Part 1: Near-death drama at the Great White City (London 1908) “He has gone to the extreme of human endurance…It is horrible, and yet fascinating, this struggle between a set purpose and an utterly exhausted frame.” – Arthur Conan Doyle on Dorando Pietri.

It is the fantasy moment all marathon runners imagine during training runs on cold wet nights – you’re running through a dark tunnel and out into the bright sunlight of the stadium – and then, that sudden swelling roar of acclamation rises from a hundred thousand people. Your blood races at the very thought of it. No other moment in sport, however thrilling, is quite like this one. There are great touchdowns, and soccer goals, and home runs, and sprint finishes to one-mile races; but we watch and analyze the unfolding plays that precede each of those – we are witness to the whole drama.

At the finish of a marathon, the stadium crowd sees only the final minute of a 3-hour narrative. And for the runner the moment of encounter is just as sudden – 26 miles of lonely effort, then this sudden welcoming rapture.

It happens in a second. The crowd has waited, often with limited information. It mutters and shuffles and worries and waits – and then, he’s there, in front of you – he or she, since that iconic emergence into the sunlight by Joan Benoit in 1984.

So much significance is condensed into that first glimpse of the marathon leader – an arrival that is the beginning, not the end, of the drama, a hero completing a journey, on the edge of triumph, yet still not quite there, visibly tired, terribly vulnerable, a tiny figure on a huge arena. Few moments are so expressive of human heroism and human frailty, the aspirations and fears we all share. Even as we roar in praise, we are looking anxiously or eagerly for the next runner.

The runner’s sense of completion is also full of fear. That moment has never been more dramatic than on July 24, 1908, at the Olympic Games marathon in London. Ten minutes earlier, a gun and a megaphone announcement, “The runners are in sight,” had told the crowd that they were near, but gave no names.

“Finally after what seemed to be an intolerable suspense a runner staggered down the incline leading to the track,” wrote the New York Times. Down the sloping ramp and out on to the crunching cinders came a small, slight man in a sodden white tee shirt and baggy kneelength red shorts, a white handkerchief on his head. It was the Italian Dorando Pietri. And the crowd roared.

Earlier bulletins had brought them the welcome news from the course that some of the twelve British runners went out fast into the lead, and that two were still well ahead at 10 miles. Later the announcement was that South African Charles Hefferon was in front by nearly four minutes at 20 miles. For a British crowd, a South African winner born in England was nearly as good as a Briton in 1908, only six years after a bruising war had given Britain that last major colony. Better the South African than the young Canadian Indian Tom Longboat, who was the pre-race favorite following his recordbreaking win at Boston in 1907 – but who was suspected of having taken money for running. Far better Hefferon, most of the crowd thought, than any of the twelve Americans, whose team had won many events and few friends in those conflict-ridden Games.

But when you’re waiting for the marathon leader to appear, nothing is certain. It was not the big white South African but the little dark Italian who by some miracle entered the roaring furnace of the Great White City (as the stadium was known). And the crowd cheered him a welcome from his dreams.

The dream was already a nightmare. At the very moment he appeared and was acclaimed, his frailty was evident. He staggered and shuffled rather than ran. He “reeled as he entered and faced the roar of the applause,” wrote Arthur Conan Doyle (see “The Man With the Armband”). “It was evident at once to everyone that the man was practically delirious,” wrote the New York Times.

He stuttered slowly out on to the cinder track, tried to turn the wrong way, encountered officials bewilderingly shouting and gesticulating at him, stopped in confusion, “afraid that they were trying to deceive him” (New York Times). He finally turned (or was turned) the right way, began to shuffle again. “He staggered along like a man in a dream, his gait being neither a walk nor a run, but simply a flounder, with arms shaking and legs tottering” (New York Times). Wavering from side to side, he covered about twenty yards – and then, to the horror of nearly 100,000 people, his legs crumpled and he fell.

He was directly in front of a huge packed stand, and the people held their breath. Some thought he had died. We might think that the noise or heat of the stadium overcame Pietri, but it is a little known detail that he had already collapsed on the way into the arena.

The marathon medical officer, Dr Michael Bulger, reported, “I was first called to Dorando in the passage leading to the stadium. He was in a state of absolute collapse and quite pulseless. In a short time he recovered sufficiently to enter the stadium.” Now he was down and out in full view of the crowd.

Officials ran to help the stricken runner. Later, Pietri lamented that the runners’ official bicycling attendants were not permitted inside the stadium. “If I had had my attendant to guide me and give me such aid as I was entitled to, I could have finished without falling again,” he said (through his half-brother as interpreter).

“There were wild gesticulations. Men stooped and rose again,” wrote Conan Doyle. All was confusion, and I’m trying to say only what I’m sure from contemporary sources did actually happen. Even eyewitness reports vary wildly. “He had to do one round of the arena [in fact it was half a lap] where unfortunately he was helped up, and so disqualified.” (Lady Metcalfe, letter to the Daily Telegraph, September 1965). “My recollection is that Dorando, on arriving at the track, was followed by a few enthusiasts…who patted him on the back. This no doubt caused his collapse.” (G. Chapman, letter to the Daily Telegraph, August 1965).

Think how hard it is to get agreement on exactly what happened in the Budd/Decker incident in 1984 – and that was televised and recorded on video. The official report probably gets nearest to a clear account. “As it was impossible to leave him there, for it looked as if he might die in the very presence of the Queen and that enormous crowd, the doctors and attendants rushed to his assistance. When he was slightly resuscitated the excitement of his compatriots was so intense that the officials did not put him on an ambulance and send him out, as they no would doubt have done under less agitating circumstances.” (T. A. Cook, Official Report of the Olympic Games of 1908). Pietri now struggled, or more probably was helped, to his feet, tottered along the rest of the long straight, “the little red legs going incoherently,” as Doyle wrote. “Driven by a supreme will within,” he reached the curve, and “there is a groan as he falls once more” (Doyle). “The crowd shouted that he should not be left there, perhaps to expire in front of them all,” said Lord Desborough, the starter and referee, on a 1960s BBC radio program (“Scrapbook for 1908”). Up again – “a cheer as he staggers to his feet” (Doyle) – Pietri covered only a few yards before crumpling at the top of the bend. This time there is a photograph, showing him lying on his back, supported in the arms of the medical officer, Dr Bulger (see “The Case of the Man With the Armband”), with another man touching, perhaps massaging, his leg.

Pietri looks totally out of it – eyes shut, limbs soggy, face shattered. He seems to have passed out. How he got to his feet again I can’t imagine, but he did, almost certainly with plenty of help. He got round the bend, “in the same furious and yet uncertain gait. Then again he collapsed, kind hands saving him from a heavy fall” (Doyle). And again the crowd gasped in horrified sympathy.

Only about sixty yards remained to the white tape stretched across the track in the middle of the straight. But Pietri was down. “Surely he is done now. He cannot rise again,” writes Doyle, with the dramatic immediacy of a commentator on live radio or TV.

And now things became really exciting. The next runner appeared, the striped shield of the USA on his white shirt. It was Johnny Hayes, a New Yorker of Irish parentage. And he was charging – “going gallantly, well within his strength,” wrote Doyle.

Hayes had run a perfectly judged race when everyone else was going bananas. The Brits ran the first mile in 5:01, and 1908 training and 1908 road surfaces simply did not give you a 2:11 marathon. Perhaps they were carried away by the presence of Mary, Princess of Wales at the start (see “Not in the Nursery”). She received a telegraph from Queen Alexandra, and thereupon commanded Lord Desborough to fire the gun. With that royal inspiration two of the Brits reached 10 miles in a still suicidal 56:53.

Hefferon and Pietri were on 57:12 – also much too fast, on that training, on a hot day, on a course that was mostly dirt and stone and crossed cow paddocks at 25 miles. But Hefferon and Pietri had enough in reserve to sweep up the Brits by 14 miles, where Hefferon moved powerfully away – too powerfully. On the fifteenth mile he went ahead by two minutes.

Then Tom Longboat came up fast – too fast. He was in second at 16 miles. At 17 he was walking. He soon gave up. (“A Special Car will follow to carry competitors who abandon the race,” promised the official instructions.) Longboat’s bicycle assistant was plying him with champagne to quench his thirst, which probably did not help. Hayes ran the first few miles well back in the field of 56. Some say dead last, but his teammate Joseph Forshaw of Missouri, who came through to 3rd (4th counting Pietri), told the New York Times that Hayes was always ahead of him. Anyway, he went out slow. At 17 miles, probably running with two teammates, he was still six minutes behind Hefferon the leader – which means he was running perfectly.

One photo taken at 23 miles shows him, now alone, looking composed and resolute, with a firm stride. Pietri in a photo at the same point looks wobbly – his head on one side, down on his hips. At 25 miles, Pietri had caught Hefferon and they were battling for the lead, but it must have been a battle in slow motion. Hayes was coming on strong two minutes or so behind. Soon after Pietri dropped Hefferon, Hayes scooped him up, and was in second.

While Pietri was a crumpled heap on the track, Hayes was powering over the cow tracks across the open space of Wormwood Scrubs towards the ramp into the stadium, running close to 6-minute miles (see below). He appeared. And the crowd roared again – not entirely in acclamation.

How did Pietri ever reach the finish? He got there as Hayes was on the final bend, a mere 150 yards behind, roughly. The famous finish line photo shows Pietri with liquid legs and glazed expression. Clerk of the Course (Race Director in our terms) Jack Andrew is helping him through the tape, with a good grip on Pietri’s right upper arm, holding a huge megaphone in the other hand. Andrew claimed later that he “only caught Dorando as he was falling at the tape,” and Dr Bulger said “I exercised my right in having precautions taken that he should not fall again. Hence the slight assistance rendered by Mr. J.M. Andrew just before the goal was reached.”

The photo does not bear out that interpretation. Andrew is supporting and steering the sagging Italian, and it looks likely that he has had that grip on the arm for some time. Given Doyle’s phrase, “kindly hands saving him from a heavy fall,” Andrew and others were probably alongside him all the way from the second time he fell (within the stadium).

Another retrospective eyewitness account recalled, “local officials couldn’t bear to see Dorando lose, so they picked him up and threw him over the tape” (Major N. Leith-Hay-Clark, letter to the Sunday Times, 1964). That makes it sound a little too like the great Australian pub sport of dwarf tossing, but it gets the spirit of the moment.

That is not to criticize Andrew. “Kind hands” is appropriate. The instinct to help a courageous and dangerously exhausted man is a decent one. Dr Bulger had been right with Pietri since the very first collapse on the ramp into the stadium, and seems properly to have taken responsibility on medical grounds. The huge crowd was noisily pleading for Pietri to be helped. Hayes was coming on fast. The place must have been bedlam.

Andrew promptly declared 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 . . .





President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

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

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


September 2017

Sat 16th Trial Race for International XC Tollcross Park First race 1:00pm

Sat 16th BMAF 10000m Track Championships Monkton Stadium, Dene Terrace, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, NE32 5NJ

Sun 24th Loch Ness Marathon, Inverness

October 2017

Sun 8th SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch 09:00

Sun 8th BMAF Marathon Championships Chester Racecourse, Chester, CH1 2LY Sun 15th SVHC Track 10,000m. Times TBC Followed by AGM at 2:30pm, Grangemouth Stadium See website for full details

Sat 28th Lindsays Scottish Athletics National XC Relay Championships Cumbernauld House

Sat 28th BMAF Cross Country Relays West Park Long Eaton NG10 4AA

November 2017

Sat 18th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Derry, N. Ireland December 2017

Xmas Handicap Details still TBC January 2018

Sun 7th GAA Miler Meet (Including Scottish National 3000m Championships) Emirates Arena, Glasgow

Strathclyde Park Relays Details still TBC

February 2018

Sat 3rd Scottish Masters XC Championships Venue TBC

Sun 4th Scottish Masters Indoor Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

March 2018

Sat 17th BMAF Cross Country Championships Grant Park, Victoria Road, Forres, Scotland, IV36 3BT

Mon 19th – Sat 24th European Masters Indoor Track & F ield Championships Madrid, Spain May 2018

18th – 20th European Masters Non Stadia Championships – Alicante, Spain








I regret to report that Christine McLennan passed away on 16th January, aged 85.

I regret to report that Kenny McVey passed away on 5th March aged 67, and Duncan MacFadyen passed away on 21st March aged 56.

MEMBERS Renewal subs are now due for 2016/2017. Welcome to the 10 new and 7 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 29th November 2016. 80 members have not renewed their subs this year, or have underpaid. 7 members resigned. As of 8th Apr 2017, we have 464 fully paid up members, including 22 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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


The club appreciates all volunteers at SVHC races. We require assistance at races on Wed 3rd May – Snowball Race, Sun 7th May – Trail Race, Wed 28th May – Clydebank 5K & Sun 13th Aug – Glasgow 800. If you are not competing either turn up and introduce yourselves or let us know in advance. Thank you.


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



2372 Roger Sandilands 20-Dec-16 Glasgow

2373 Kevin Newberry 04-Jan-17 Hamilton

2374 Charles Steven 04-Jan-17 East Kilbride

2375 Lindon Taylor 14-Jan-17 Glasgow

2376 Robert Bartley 03-Feb-17 Kirkintilloch

2377 John Martin 07-Feb-17 Falkirk

2378 Jill Smylie 21-Feb-17 Glasgow

2379 Jethro Lennox 01-Mar-17 Glasgow

2380 Sally Condie 03-Mar-17 Cumbernauld

2381 Kenneth Ross 28-Mar-17 Hamburg

1545 David Will 01-Nov-16 East Kilbride

2233 Lorna Coyle 28-Nov-16 Gourock

1277 Pat Kelly 29-Nov-16 Motherwell

1061 Robert Stevenson 18-Jan-17 Irvine

1804 Colin Miller 26-Jan-17 Irvine

1805 Henry Curran 03-Feb-17 Paisley

1572 Ronnie Hunter 22-Feb-17 Glasgow

Ada Stewart Membership Secretary


The Run and Become Race Series is now well under way with 6 of the events completed at the time of writing.

Current leader in the women’s event is Shirley MacNab with 33.1 points followed by Ada Stewart with 32.0 and Pamela McCrossan 26.2.

 Leading in the men’s competition is Andy McLinden 42.3, with Neil Robbins 2nd 32.2 and Stuart Waugh 3rd 30.2.

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:

 09/04/17 Round the Houses 10km RR Grangemouth

28/06/17 SVHC 5km Champs Clydebank

03/05/17 Snowball Race 4.8 Coatbridge TBC

SAL Masters Track & Field 3km/5km TBC

07/05/17 SVHC Walter Ross 5mile Trail Race Cartha

13/08/17 SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha

27/05/17 WesLo Cairnpapple Road Race Bathgate TBC

Moray Marathon TBC Elgin

07/06/17 Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Edinburgh

??/10/17 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch

OBITUARY: Kenny McVey 1949 – 2017

Victoria Park A.C. received the sad news that Kenny McVey had passed away on the 5th of March after a short illness.

Kenny was born in Glasgow in 1949 and attended school in Scotstoun before he sought employment on the Clyde. He qualified as a marine engineer and worked for most of his career at Yarrows in Scotstoun. He married his wife Kathy in Paisley in 1970 and their only child Kenneth was born in 1974.

Kenny’s first contact with Victoria Park A.C occurred in 1990 when he brought his 15 year old son Kenneth along to Scotstoun to start a successful athletic career. Kenny soon followed his son into the club, tried some track running and was hooked, trying anything from sprints up to middle distance, cross country and road running.

He took part enthusiastically in confined club events, winning trophies on several occasions, such as the Knightswood Shield (handicap road races) in 1992, 96 and 98, Crawford Shield (scratch road races) in 2006 and 09, the coveted Jamie McClure Trophy (Christmas handicap) in 1997, 99 and 2004, and had a share in the George Munro trophy (handicap sprints) in 1997.

He represented the club countless times in cross country and road events, was very proud of his unbroken participation in the MacAndrew Relay (possibly a club record) and even gained selection for the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow relay shortly before it was disbanded.

When he attained veteran status he branched out and took up other events so that he could participate in pentathlons and heptathlons, indoor and out, and won several national age group medals.

Ever a faithful club supporter, he was prepared to turn out in league matches to earn valuable points at times when we were short in certain events. On one memorable occasion in Division 4 of the Men’s League at Scotstoun in 1999 he took part in six events, three of them one after the other (400 hurdles, 800 and 100), helping to ensure our promotion as champions.

As age kicked in Kenny concentrated on longer distances, some of his favourite events being the Polaroid 10k series, the Paisley 10k, Alloa half marathon and, being a proud Renfrewshire resident, the Neilston Pad. He also greatly enjoyed the comradeship and variety of events organised by the Scottish Veteran Harriers.

In addition to training and competition, Kenny was also of great value to the club in coaching and committee work. He became a qualified UK coach in middle distance, and his most notable success came when Andy Young (now respected as coach of Laura Muir) won the World Schools 800m in Cyprus.

His favourite training sessions were the Sunday morning pack runs from the Allander Sports Centre at Milngavie, from where prodigious distances were racked up, all in a spirit of sporting camaraderie. Many a young athlete was introduced to the concept of ultra-distance at these sessions, of which Kenny became a lynchpin.

As a marine engineer with Yarrows and BAE Systems on the Clyde, where he was involved with the interior fitting out of new ships, Kenny sometimes had to spend time off shore during trials, but he did not let that interfere with his running. He would pad round the deck if he could safely find room, then adjourn to the small multi gym set up for use of the crew so that on his return to shore he was fit enough to take part in his next 10k or pack run.

In recent years Kenny was our men’s cross country and road running convenor, doing sterling service in managing and entering teams for championship events. This was not always an easy task, given the problems caused by injury and unavailability which beset all running clubs, but people like Kenny are vital to the health of the sport and its continuing prosperity. When success came, as it surely did on many occasions, both athletes and Kenny were able to celebrate together.

Kenny’s wife Kathy said that he had three passions in his life, fishing, athletics and eating biscuits. The latter he successfully kept secret from his leg-pulling club mates.

Kenny will be greatly missed by everyone at the club, he had many friends and was always popular with the youngsters. He was notorious for tormenting the younger athletes which endeared him to them greatly. He was almost as popular as his doppelganger Santa Claus. The club have sent their deepest sympathy to his wife Kathy and his son Kenneth.

By Hugh Stevenson and Gordon Innes


OBITUARY: Ed Whitlock (CANADA) born 06 March 1931, died 13 March 2017

It is sad news indeed to learn of Ed Whitlock’s passing from prostrate cancer. There is not sufficient space to detail all of Ed’s amazing accomplishments.

He dominated the 70+ age divisions, setting standards that may never be surpassed from 3000m to the marathon.

Marathon – age group records for V70, V75, V80, and V85. Twelve single age records- aged 68/85

30 km road – age group records for V60, V65 and V70. Six single age records 63/73

25 km road – single age record at 63.

Half Marathon – age group records for V70, V75, V80, and V85. Ten single age records- aged 68/85

10 miles road – age group records for V65 and V70. Six single age records- ages 64/72

15 km road – age group records for V65, V70, V75, V80, and V85. Thirteen single age records- ages 66/85 12 km road – age group record for V65. Two single age records- ages 67 and 68

10 km road – age group records for V70, V75, and V80. Ten single age records- ages 63/84

8 km road – age group records for V65 and V70. Eight single age records- ages 63-70

4 miles road – age group record for V65. Four single age records- ages 65/72 5 km road – age group records for V65, V70, and V75. Nine single age records- ages 65/75

10,000m track – age group records for V70, V75, V80, and V85. Six single age records- ages 70/85

5000m track – age group records for V75, V80, and V85. Seven single age records- ages 67/85

3000m track – age group record for V80. One single age record- age 80

3000m indoor track – age group records for V70, V75, V80, and V85. Thirteen single age records- ages 68/85

Totals are 40 world age group records and 108 world single age records.

This does not include his records at distances less than 3000m.

By Ken Young, Association of Road Running Statisticians (

While at school and university in England, Ed Whitlock was a serious junior runner, primarily at cross country but also at track and road relays. He was the winner of the Ranelagh Harriers and South London Harriers inter schools cross country races in consecutive years, 1948 and 1949. He was the University of London champion at cross country and 3 miles on the track.

He stopped running after arriving in Canada. Whitlock did not start running again until he was 41, concentrating on middle distance running, and after several years recorded best times of 1:59.9 for 800 metres and 4:02.5 for 1500 metres.

Whitlock, who ran as a teenager and took up the sport again in his forties, first became the oldest person to run a marathon in less than 3 hours in 2000 at the age of 69, with a time of 2:52:47. He later extended this record, running a time of 2:58:40 at the age of 74.

At 73, he set a world record in the marathon for men 70 to 74, running a 2:54:48, his fastest time after turning 70. According to an article in The New York Times, if age-graded, this time would be equivalent to a 20-year-old running 2:03:57 and which would have been the fastest marathon ever run in 2010.

At the time of his death, Whitlock was known to be the only person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. At age 85, he became the oldest person to run a marathon in less than four hours at 3 hours, 56 minutes 34 seconds at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October 2016. In 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, making him the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon. In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature. SEE WIKIPEDIA for times in shorter events in several age-groups.

Great Scottish Masters Runners: Walter McCaskey

That fine Scottish sports journalist, Doug Gillon, wrote an article about Walter in January 2015; and here are several excerpts.

In the Scottish Masters Cross-Country Championships at Kilmarnock, one of the “hardy stalwarts is Walter McCaskey, making his first appearance in the over-80 age group for which three men line up.

He began by accident, running the 1982 Edinburgh Marathon to help raise funds for an exercise pool. ‘I trained for four months,’ he recalls, ‘and finished in four hours four minutes.’ ‘I didn’t think 26 miles sounded a lot, but it was a long way on a wet, cold day and there was no chance of stopping. You just kept going. But I enjoyed it and got the bug.’

 ‘I have now run more than 50 marathons, but none for the last few years. I was advised not to because of osteoarthritis in my left knee. I did Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow, with just a fortnight between each. It was just about having fun.’

 ‘I only started pushing it at 70, started training with a pal. We did the 10k together and had a real tussle. I managed to win the Scottish Veterans Championship, and then the British. I’m amazed. I never thought I was any good at running.’

His best marathon time was in Glasgow aged 53 (2.59). ‘But now I focus on cross country and shorter stuff.’

 Today he defends the Scottish Masters title he won 12 months ago at Hawick, and he completed the 12k course of the Scottish National at Falkirk last year (first in his age group) in a very creditable 67.12. He was sixth in the British and Irish Masters International cross country at Nottingham in November, second Scot as they won team bronze.

He says he has no sporting pedigree or history. ‘I played a little football when I was younger, in the street, up the park, and perhaps a wee bit in the Army in Hong Kong.’ He tried bowls, but in a reversal of the perceived norm, chucked it for running. ‘I am really hooked on it. I only do about 20 miles a week now since I have stopped marathons, but I go down to the gym and I swim a bit.’ ‘If anyone tells me I’m getting on a bit, I just ignore it. Obviously you know you’re getting older – you’re not running as fast – but I don’t dwell on the subject. Get on with life, enjoy yourself.’

The mud threatens to be difficult today, but having spent a chunk of his life working with bulldozers and other plant machinery, Walter says he is prepared.”

(Ed. An inspection of sporting records reveals that Walter won Scottish Masters XC medals at M60: bronze in 1996 and silver in 1998. He won his first titles at M65 in 2001 and 2003, plus a silver medal in 2004 and bronze in 2000. There ensued four successive M70 golds between 2005 and 2008; and he was second in 2009. In the M75 category, he won in 2010, 2011 and 2014; and was second in 2013. Naturally he won the M80 titles in 2015 and 2016! Walter is an inspiration to all SVHC members!)


                                             Walter on his way to winning the M80 British 5k title in 2016

Walter McCaskey (born 11th August 1934).

Club: City of Edinburgh A.C. I began running in 1982. It was at my daughter’s wedding and, after a few drinks, I promised to raise some money for charity by joining my brothers, who were training for the Edinburgh Youngers Tartan Marathon. Little did I know what I had let myself in for. After marathons at Aberdeen and Glasgow, in the 1984 Black Isle Marathon I came first M50. After setting my fastest time in the 1986 Glasgow event I did not improve, probably because I was doing so many races and using them as social events, just going away for long weekends.

It was about this time that I joined EAC and started doing cross country. Alex McEwan got me thinking about how I was running. He told me that I had too much energy left at the finish of races! The next event I tried much harder and won gold at Aberdeen. It was Bert McFall that got me to join the Scottish Veteran Harriers and it was the start of a great friendship. We had some really good training sessions and the rest is history. I made it into the Scottish Masters team, thanks to Bert and, along with the rest of the age-group team, we had several good races.

I really enjoy running. It has given me the chance to make so many good friends and has really helped me to get on with my life

[Ed. In the annual British and Irish Masters International XC, Walter has represented Scotland at least nine times since 2004, winning individual M70 silver in 2005 to improve on bronze the previous year. His M70 team won silver medals four times, including one loss to the Auld Enemy by a single point. Then in 2014, aged 80, he contributed to M70 team bronze! In M75 contests Walter’s team won silver medals in both 2015 and 2016 (when he was 82). Amazing!]

I can say that the best races that come to mind are firstly the 2005 Scottish Masters XC Championships at Bellahouston Park, when I came in first M70 only two seconds in front of Bert McFall. It was a great contest and Bill McBrinn reckoned it was the finest contest of the day. The only thing I did not like about it was having to beat my friend Bert!

Secondly, the following week I travelled to Bangor and came in first M70 in the British Masters XC Championships.

The worst race was rushing to catch the bus in Glasgow to join the Scottish team! By the time I reached it I was really done in.

I have only one ambition and that is to keep on running. As for my other activities, I bike to the gym and do some work on the rowing machine and the cross trainer. I do some speedwork on the treadmill and then finish with a little swim.

My training is a mixture of road and grass running. I do hill reps in the park. Each week I run 15 to 20 miles and probably a little bit more when building up for a race. Running has made me a more responsible person, and given me time to think about other people and the good they do. By joining SVHC I gained one big family of friends.

Great Scottish Masters Runners: George Sim


NAME George Sim

CLUBs Moray Roadrunners/Scottish Veteran Harriers Club DATE OF BIRTH 23 January 1950


HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? There was a local 3 mile race taking part in a nearby village and myself and my brother in law decided to give it go. I went for 3 training runs before the race and won it with my brother in law coming 2nd. I then heard about a running group that the council had set up trying to get the community active so went along. This is where my enjoyment of running through the woods started at the age of 35 and Moray Roadrunners were formed.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? No, I just enjoyed the company and started to enjoy the improvement of my own running.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? The feeling of fitness, racing and the camaraderie of other runners and supporters. I then started coaching juniors and this helped improve my own performances and gave a great sense of satisfaction.

 WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? My most memorable best performances are winning 3 British Track Masters Golds in MV50 one weekend in July 2000 in Bedford. The first gold came in the Saturday in the 1500m in a time of 4.27 followed by the 5k in 16.20. Then the 10,000m on the Sunday winning in 33.18.

Also in 28 degrees in Riccione Italy, in the World Vets Track in September 2007, I was 5th in the MV55 5k in a time of 16.57, 4 days after I took the Silver medal in the 10,000m in a time of 35.10.

All my Scottish and British Masters X Country medals but always behind Mike Hager (England). I was also pleased that in September 2006 at the age of 56 I ran 33.37 in the Dyke 10k and a week later did 75.44 in the Great North run.

Personal Best performances: 5k 15.32 aged 45 10k 31.45 aged 45 10mile 52.06 aged 45 Half Marathon 69.53 aged 41 Marathon 2.32 aged 40

YOUR WORST? I cannot remember ever having a really bad race. I only get out of the racing what I have put into the training.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? I don’t really have any. I just want to be able to keep running and remain injury free.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? I thoroughly enjoy my golf now that I have retired, trying to reduce my handicap which is currently 16. I also enjoy a bit of coaching, travelling and gardening.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? Lots of lasting friendships, fitness and enjoying watching friends/athletes in various competitions.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? Typical training week aged 40 – 45 Monday. – 1hour steady in woods Tuesday – track, 4x4x 400m in 70 sec, 50sec recovery. 3min between sets Wednesday – steady wood run 50/60 mins Thursday – 6x 1000m in 3.10, 200m jog rec Friday – rest/golf Saturday – 3x4x400m in 66sec, 1 min rec, 3 mins between sets Sunday – steady 14-16 miles. (Week before my 31.45 I did 20 mile run on Saturday and GTV League on Sunday – 3000m in 9.20!)

Typical week aged 50 before BMVTrack – 3 golds Monday – steady wood run 60 mins Tuesday – 8x400s in 70, going every 2 mins. 6min jog x 2 sets Wednesday – club run usually eyeballs out with great training group Thursday – 16x200s in 31/32sec walk back rec Friday – rest/golf Saturday – steady wood run 60mins Sunday – 12/14 miles steady

Typical week training aged 55 Monday – steady 45/60 mins Tuesday – 2×4 600s in 1.52 4mins rec, 8mins between sets Wednesday – club night usually hard run 50/60 mins Thursday – steady 59 min wood run Friday – rest / golf Saturday – rest Sunday – Tom Scott 10 mile race 1st M55 vet, 4th vet overall – 55.36

Nowadays I’m happy if I can get out and just run! Injury has prevented me from proper training over the last 3 years so training is not as serious as it was 10 years ago. The body is not quite willing any more. There is no set pattern to my training now. These days it consists of runs in the local woods that I have run in for 33 years. Usually 6/7miles steady. Fartlek and speed sessions with the MRR. I also try to fit in dreaded hills reps that I know have to be done!

The Editor added the following. George Sim is renowned for being an elegant, graceful athlete who makes nearly all of the rest of us look bad by comparison! He has a great deal of talent and, as his training above shows, worked hard and intelligently to carve out a very successful running career.

In addition, he has always been modest and extremely casual about his many successes. When we first met in 1990, before the Scottish Veterans Cross Country Championships in Dumfries, I knew that my Aberdeen AAC clubmate Graham Milne (a former Scottish marathon international) had been training with George and rated him as extremely promising. Graham lived in Elgin and had convinced George, a near neighbour, to join AAAC since we had a good veteran team. George made an immediate impact by finishing 7th and we won team gold medals for the third year in a row. George had just turned 40, having started running five years earlier.

I was running quite well by 15 and so for a while, due to more background, had the edge on my new clubmate, who is more than two years less old. However his improvement was rapid – in fact it took him little more than three years to relegate me to the also-rans.

A few significant races illustrate this process: a ‘Veterans’ Mile’ in July 1991 on the posh Aberdeen track, when George was right behind me with half a lap to go but I tried extra hard while he glided in just behind my 4.38.8; a month later he thumped me in the Aberdeen Half Marathon; then the 1992 Scottish Vets Cross Country in Troon when I got some revenge by finishing second to his fourth and AAAC won the team title again; the 1992 Alloa to Twechar 8-Man Relay when team victory was almost assured because George rolled right away from Fife AC on Stage Six (the great Don Macgregor was impressed, saying ‘A classy runner’); in late 1992 I finished a couple of places ahead in the Forres 6. The last time I managed to beat him was in August 1993 when I almost gave myself a heart attack in the Aberdeen Half Marathon, eventually finishing five seconds ahead of George, with Shetland’s Bill Adams another seven seconds down. This three-way battle was for the SAF veteran gold medal at that distance.

By 1994 the contest was over for me: George Sim was different class. I could only admire the stylish supremacy of such an athlete and make the most of races when he was in a younger age group or running elsewhere!

In his answers to the questionnaire, George did not mention title successes in the Scottish Masters XC: gold medals at M45 (1996), M50 (2003), M55 (2007) and M60 (2010). He did not run the British and Irish International until 1995 in Dublin, when he was 5th M45. By 2016 he had run for Scotland nine times in this most prestigious of events; winning many team medals (including M55 gold in Belfast 2007); plus individual M50 bronze in 2002; three silver (M50 in 2000, M55 in 2005 and 2007) and two fourth places as well. Yes, England’s Mike Hager (a frequent record-breaking World Veteran champion, after all) often had a slight edge on him but justice was served when, in Falkirk 2006, George Sim won the M55 age group.

It was good that, despite many injuries, George was fit enough to be part of our M65 outfit in the 2016 Glasgow International, contributing to team bronze. Hopefully he will regain full fitness and go on to further fully-deserved successes.


Athletically and psychologically, you’re in prime condition – healthy, fit, agile, keen and resilient. Now that winter has been survived, being outside seems even more wonderful. You need to exercise, to compete, to play with speed and stamina.

Naturally, eating and sleeping are both essential for recovery. Sometimes you are part of a group – of friends or even rivals, wearing bright or plain oufits – but often you operate as an individual or in a pair. On a good day, you absolutely fly – racing around, almost without effort but so powerfully. What a sensation! It could make you burst out in song!

A middle or long-distance runner (dedicated and addicted) will remember with nostalgia those peak sensations, on the rare days before injury and age affected ease, pace and strength. But the previous paragraph is not really about runners – it is about wild birds and why, now that I am an old jogger, they fascinate me increasingly.

I was a fairly decent runner by the age of 15, set good ‘lifetime bests’ by 28, kept going well to 45 and not too badly until 57. Since then, leg and back niggles have slowed me considerably.

Now I am 69 and have seldom ‘run’ well for the last two years. In fact most efforts are deeply unimpressive: but, if possible, I still yearn to exercise every day – and jogging nearly always seems preferable to cycling or walking. Eventually I have learned that going hard and fast should certainly not be the only aim or pleasurable result of such a session.

One of the few advantages of being uncompetitive is that, when training, you can actually notice what Swedes call ‘The Nature’. In the past I used to concentrate on effort and was usually going too fast to focus on mere surroundings. Trees, flowers, crops and the occasional animal can be interesting of course – but wild birds are a constant source of joy.

As the start of this short article suggested, they are superb athletes, usually in great shape, and capable of amazing feats of speed and style. Fighters, hunters, lovers, escape artists, show-offs; bold, shy, furtive or secretive; their feathers drab, distinctive or positively psychedelic. No matter their size, I like seeing all of them.

My list of favourites in the lovely riverside, arable or wooded landscape around Forres is lengthening – I used to have a top five, then ten, now at least twenty. Who couldn’t admire Robin (cocky and bright, even in Winter)? Wren – tiny and indomitable, with such a thrilling loud song?

In Summer, there are soaring, swooping, skimming, diving Swallows, Martins and Swifts. Goldfinches are small but gorgeous multi-coloured delights; Long-tailed Tits improbably petite and soft-spoken; Yellowhammers unafraid and handsome; Great Spotted Woodpeckers cheep, tap and climb; Great, Blue and Coal Tits hang upside down from branches; ‘Ordinary’ Sparrows are gregarious and feisty; Lapwings, flapping, plaintive, worried parents; fearless Dippers cling to waterfalls; elegant Grey Wagtails frisk in streams; busy Whitethroats chitter, fly up then dive for cover ; pairs of Mute Swans grace ponds or lochs; and who does not relish the sight and sound of a hovering, operatic Skylark?

Then in Autumn, those ultra-distance champions, Wild Geese, honk triumphantly as they complete another epic challenge. There is nothing wrong with thriving species: Blackbirds, Thrushes, Crows, Pigeons, Mallards, Chaffinches, Pheasants, Oystercatchers, Buzzards and Gulls.

More unusual birds glimpsed include Waxwings, Jays, Red Kites, a Black Pheasant, Siskins, Treecreepers, Puffins, Goosanders, Crossbills, Goldcrests, Kingfishers, Egrets, a Capercaillie and, on past Munro-climbing days, Golden Eagles.

Every habitat has its own avian residents, which a cross-country jogger may delight in observing.

Although a ‘new’ bird is undoubtedly good to spot, I am no ‘Twitcher’, only ticking off unusual varieties. Instead, to view any bird is a pleasure, with favourites providing frequent, life-enhancing moments of happiness. Birdsong, familiar or unfamiliar, is a bonus. To me, they are fellow mortals and ‘wild pets’: I wish them freedom and good luck.

Nowadays, we are advised to ‘live in the moment’; and mobile bird-watching is certainly a multi-sensory experience. Even IKEA adverts refer to ‘the Wonderful Everyday’! As a child, I may not have been claustrophobic but, after becoming a serious runner, certainly disliked total darkness and confined spaces. Unsurprisingly, daylight, fresh air and unhindered movement was treasured!

Watching top athletes is always amazing, from Mo Farah to the leading male or female runners in the 35-49 age groups in the annual British and Irish Masters International Cross-Country Championships. Gazelles, every one!

Thrilling displays of speed, style and stamina are also part of jog-birding. You might no longer be a speedy athlete, but the sight (and sound) of fantastic wild birds provides not only pure but also vicarious pleasure. Imagine that you can ‘fly’ once more!

By Colin Youngson

LETTERS PAGE (for all sorts of contributions)

HOW I STARTED RUNNING….. (From Alex Sutherland)

It might be better to start with my brother’s tale of how he started running. We used to describe his faithful canine companion as a ‘borderline collie’, a dog which had retained all the instincts of its majority parentage.

Over time however walks in the local park began to be marked by a desire to round up passing runners and bring them into a manageable flock. Clearly such behaviour couldn’t be allowed to continue, so, being resident on ‘the other side of the pond’ a visit to a dog psychiatrist seemed to be in order. This individual examined the culprit and Django was duly fitted with a collar which would administer a mild electric shock on depression of a button.

So, sporting the new collar, down they went to the park for a trial of the corrective apparatus. A small Korean lady in a pink tracksuit obligingly hove into view and the dog set off in pursuit, the button was firmly depressed once, twice and again with no visible results. My brother set off in pursuit of pet and quarry, catching up with them at the edge of a pond. Frustrated, he booted his dog into the water, the zapper went off, the dog became terrified of water – and my brother took up jogging!

To continue with my own experience, I took up running aged 34, following the deaths of four climbing companions within a fairly short time and, after a few narrow escapes and with a young family, came to the conclusion that pleasure in being among the hills didn’t necessarily have to involve taking so many risks. Plus it was possible to achieve the state of being just as physically tired and mentally relaxed in a much shorter time.

However I still think that kicking and hacking your way up a winter ice-filled gully in heavy clothing and pack, blowing spindrift and diminishing daylight is probably some of the hardest training I’ve ever done. I always liked the writing of Geoffrey Winthrop Young, who gave us the great quotation “For what is there in all this world but what I hold and see and what remains of all I see and hold if I let go.”

Three months after I started running, as you did at that time, I took part in a marathon, clocking 2.54. However, this rapid transition from mountaineer to runner led to predictable knee pain. Our local G.P. operated a surgery in his home, in a room behind the kitchen. After we’d gone over some of the background to my visit, he suggested (predictably) a bit of a break from the running lifestyle, and that I should perhaps check out some less strenuous activities for a time. We kicked around a few alternatives and I happened to mention taking up the guitar again but, just as an aside, said that I’d always wanted to play a fiddle. At this he got up from his desk, disappearing into the nether regions of the house and returned with a polished wooden box containing my first ever fiddle! From one obsession to another: probably the most unforgiving musical instrument to take up; but what a running companion – reels, jigs and Strathspeys bouncing around your skull providing a rhythm to cover the ground. No need for earphones when the musical accompaniment is inboard and, happily, running and music are now both back in place. And just suppose the N.H.S. could send you away from the surgery with a flute, viola or tambourine instead of pills or liniment!

**In an attempt to convince readers of this Newsletter to prevent the Editor from writing most of the material, and to send in reports, articles and letters, what about emailing in ‘HOW I STARTED RUNNING’ or similar memories of your career?**

For example, here is how I started.

I was a skinny young boy who really enjoyed all sorts of sport. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, genuine sprinting speed, robustness and agility were lacking – so I was rubbish at football (a natural hacker) and too fragile for rugby. Never mind. Every opportunity was taken to rush down to the park and charge around enthusiastically with my friends.

At weekends or in the school holidays, apart from running home for lunch, before hurrying back to the park, it could be virtually non-stop from dawn to dusk. Cricket, rounders, football, tennis, putting. What else? Table tennis, hockey, golf, cycling, climbing hills. Everyone walked or cycled everywhere. No lifts from parental taxis in the self-reliant, unafraid 1950s.

Pity I never did well in the annual school sports. Dad said that he had enjoyed some success in mile races before the war and afterwards in cycle time-trials. He was even thinner than me, with boundless energy. So I made a real effort to impress in the primary school hundred yards, clawing the air desperately as everyone else sprinted away from me. Too slow, alas.

Then, one summer, boys from my street were taking on lads from another in what, nowadays, might be termed a multi-events challenge. After hours of competition, the score was tied at three-all. What trial could be devised to decide the champion street? Someone suggested a ‘marathon’ – running TWICE round the outside of the park, an enormous, ridiculous distance! (In retrospect, maybe one and a half miles.)

Everyone had to start and whoever finished first would clinch the glory for his team. They zoomed away as usual, while I trotted along behind. Then something mysterious happened – they all slowed down and, keeping the same steady pace, I passed every single one. In fact the second lap was a solo performance and my mates shouted, “Well done!” or “You must be mad!” as the imaginary tape was broken.

I had never heard of genetic inheritance but, at nine years of age, I certainly had something to think about. After all, at Secondary School, there would be not only sprints but also one mile track races and even longer cross country contests!


(Donald Ritchie ran several Scottish Veterans Cross Country Championships in the 1980s. He never finished better than fourth M40 on the mud; but broke many World Masters Records at Ultra-Distance events. Incredibly, he represented GB Senior teams after his 50th Birthday! Ed.)

                                                             DONALD RITCHIE: PER ARDUA AD ASTRA

If his 1970 interview with the RAF had gone better, Donald Ritchie might well have been a fighter pilot. He had a licence to fly small planes and indeed practised aerobatics! As a runner, it was clear that he was brave and tactically bold. However, he might have been (physically) better suited to long-haul flights or indeed solo round-the-world record attempts.

I have known Don Ritchie since 1968, as a good friend and sometime rival (but only up to the ‘mere sprint’ marathon distance). Although I was well aware that, even in his mid-twenties, he trained hard and ran what seemed to me a ridiculous number of weekly miles, when he suddenly became a world-class ultra-distance athlete, I wasn’t sure exactly how he had become so good. Now that I have read his autobiography (‘THE STUBBORN SCOTSMAN’’) which is selling very well on the reasons for his success have become crystal-clear.

Recently, on a train journey, I spent ten minutes writing down a series of words I associated with Donald’s personality and running career. Quiet, modest, calm, charitable, friendly but private. Self-motivated, determined, dedicated, ambitious. Stoical, masochistic, amazingly tolerant of pain, resilient. Obsessed, addicted to training and racing. Seldom allowing time for rest or recovery. Secretly passionate, foolishly optimistic, occasionally crazy. (I did wonder whether a title for this article might be ‘Hero or Madman?’!)

Having started running (as a 440 yard man!) in 1962, Donald served a long ‘apprenticeship’ on track, road and cross-country, became a decent marathoner and finally, in 1977 at the age of 33, realised that his true strength lay in the ultra-distances. Yet despite producing many wonderful performances, he endured a process of trial and error for years, not infrequently making serious mistakes connected with over-racing, lack of recuperation, inappropriate diet, injuries and illnesses.

By the mid-1980s, he had developed a greater ability to analyse reasons for disappointing races; and thereafter made fewer errors in preparation, nutrition and recovery. Yet the very nature of ultra training and especially racing is essentially gruelling. The champions have learned to suffer greatly and to push on regardless. Agonies, injuries and infections are part of the game. To fight through these extreme difficulties and win must be tremendously satisfying.

Donald Ritchie M.B.E. broke world records for distances including: 50 km, 40 miles, 50 miles, 100 km, 150 km, 100 miles, 200 km and 24 Hours Indoor, and also set many new age-group standards. He won most of the classic ultra races in Britain and Europe; and was also victorious in America.

Lesser mortals talk about striving to achieve their potential. Despite starting off with reasonable talent, speed and natural stamina – he was a sub-2.20 marathoner – Don must be the most over-achieving runner ever!

‘Per Ardua’ translates as ‘through hard work or struggle or adversity’. During his running career, and indeed most of his life, as so many admirers would agree, Don Ritchie has been the ultimate trier, and has undoubtedly succeeded in adding his own bright star to the athletics universe.

Experts voted him the greatest ultra-distance runner of the 20th Century. Donald’s autobiography covers, in considerable detail, his early life, running apprenticeship, peak performances and Masters highlights. Blood, sweat, pain and triumph, but no tears from this most uncomplaining of Scotsmen. Buy a copy now – and marvel!

And here, to make you want to read more, is an excerpt from the book, describing Don Ritchie’s very first ultramarathon triumph, in the 1977 London to Brighton Road Race. He had only just lost a close encounter with his rival Cavin Woodward, in Scotland’s Two Bridges 36 miles Road Race.)

 “On the 29th of August, school resumed and I got back into my routine, but altered my Wednesday sessions. In the morning I ran to school by the 8 miles route. At night I ran back by the 12 miles course and incorporated a pyramid session of: 2 X 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 5, 4, minutes efforts with equal time easy running recoveries. I planned to peak for the London to Brighton race and built my training up with weeks of 107, 138, 150 and 145 miles, while maintaining my effort sessions.

I was a little lax in applying for an entry for the race, so the Road Runners Club entries secretary Mike Tomlins wrote: ‘I fear you may have missed the boat’, but he would accept my entry if it arrived by first post on Tuesday the 6th of September.

This was 19 days before the race date, but I suppose this was for organisational reasons. I received confirmation that my entry had been accepted, much to my relief. On the week of the ‘Brighton’ I did a glycogen depletion run of 22 miles on Tuesday after school and maintained a low carbohydrate diet for the next 2 days. I ran to and from school by the 12 miles route on Wednesday, 8 miles to work on Thursday morning and felt remarkably well despite being on the ‘diet’, plus 8 miles at night with Donnie and Graham. On Friday morning I ran 10 miles at an easy pace and then began eating carbohydrates at breakfast before going to school. On Saturday I travelled by train all day down to London.


On race day morning, Sunday the 25th of September, I was up early since my accommodation was 3 miles from the changing rooms. Unfortunately I had underestimated the time that it would take for me to walk there. Consequently I arrived in an agitated state, having had to jog part of the way, and quickly got changed, declared, and headed off to Westminster Bridge just in time for the 7am start. Fortunately, a fellow with a Ford van volunteered to be my Second and dispense my drinks along the route, an offer I gladly accepted. I started quite quickly because of pre-race tension, but soon eased off. I let Bob (or Rab) Heron (ex Dundee Hawkhill Harriers and Aberdeen AAC) go ahead, and later let Norman Wilson go past as well, since I gambled that they were running at too fast a pace to maintain and that I could catch them later. I continued running at an easy pace with Cavin Woodward, Mick Orton and Mike Kearns and passed 5 miles in 28-31 in joint 3rd. By 10 miles reached in 56-58 I was 5th, 54 seconds behind Bob and at 20 miles I was 4th, 63 seconds behind Bob as I passed this point in 1-58-13.

Bob was over 7 minutes ahead of me at one point, but when I decided to start a push for home at 30 miles I began to pull him back. Only Mike Kearns tried to come with me and held a constant gap for a while, but gradually he dropped back and I moved into 3rd.

At about 37 miles I saw Norman Wilson and gradually caught him and moved to 2nd place, and at Bonley (39 miles 179 yards) I was just over 3 minutes behind Bob. Soon after that I caught sight of Bob Heron, who seemed a long way off and I had doubts about catching him. However, I was encouraged by the fact that I was pulling him back, and I caught and passed him on Dale Hill at about 46 miles and pushed on.

After the top of Dale Hill I began to get cramp in my quads and calf muscles, which occurred every 20 metres or so. I had to try to run with straight legs and the finish seemed to take an eternity to come. I felt fine in my upper body, but my legs were in a bad way.

I was absolutely delighted to win this ‘Classic’ 52 miles plus race, especially on my Mother’s birthday. My condition was fairly good after finishing, which was encouraging. I had no serious blisters from my Karhu racer shoes. I realised that I had finally found an event, really long distance running, that suited me.

I went for a walk along the Prom and had a couple of pints of beer courtesy of a newspaper reporter who had requested an interview with me. Weather conditions in the race were not great with a headwind part of the way and some very heavy rain showers.

My time of 5-16-05 was 4th fastest of all time. Bob Heron was 2nd in 5-19-47, with Cavin Woodward 3rd in 5-23-36. Later at the tea and presentations I was delighted to receive the ‘Arthur Newton Cup’ and the ‘Ernest Neville gold medal’.

I arrived back in Elgin at 09:22 on Monday after travelling on an overnight train from London to Inverness and then on to Elgin. I had very little sleep as I had the ‘Arthur Newton Cup’ with me concealed in a black bin bag, which was quite a responsibility, so I was very tired while teaching that day.”

Scottish Masters International Team Jackets

£49 including Post and Package. Please order before October 14th to guarantee arrival before the cross country international in November. Email orders to: Include name, address, email and size (small, medium or large options only). Most of the men`s team members order medium. The jackets are embroidered on order and are not “off the shelf”. They are normally sent out as a bulk delivery order and not per individual order. Cheques for £49.00 payable to A Jenkins. 8 Meadow Riggs, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1AP Normally a small order is always necessary post-event.


Run and Become

Become and Run

Scotland’s Specialist Running Store


20 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW

0131 331 5300



The 3000m races took place, as part of a GAA promotion, on 4th January 2017 at the Emirates Stadium Glasgow.

For Scottish Masters athletes, the premier performance was by Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Victoria) whose 10.21.52 took a considerable fourteen seconds off the previous World Masters W55 3000m Indoors record. Fiona wrote that most races had a rather large number of runners on the track, which did not make it that easy, especially at the start. However she was very pleased to clock up her second World Record (after setting a new 10k road best last October) in this age category. (Subsequently, Fiona was back at Emirates on 14th January for an indoor 800m and 1500m. Her main objective was to use these races as training for the Scottish Masters and BMAF indoors in March. Although Fiona had only ever done two 800m events before, she clocked a PB in 2 30.80 and mused that one strategy might be to do distances seldom attempted previously and grab easier personal bests! The 1500m went even better, since she recorded an excellent 4 59.18, which set a new W55 U.K. Record!) Then on 28th January, in the Scottish Senior Indoors, she broke the World W55 1500m record with a splendid time: 4.56.51. What a season she is enjoying!)

Kerry-Liam Wilson (Cambuslang) ran very well indeed to clock an impressive 9.02.65, easily win the M45 gold medal and beat the M40s. (In March, Kerry-Liam went on to win the British Masters M45 3000m title.) David Henderson (Inverclyde) was first M35, dipping under the 9 minute barrier in 8.59.69, with Gordon Robertson (Cambuslang) second in 9.02.63. Robert Gilroy was first M40 in 9.19.18.

North-East Englishman Guy Bracken, a frequent visitor to Glasgow, broke the British M55 record with an outstanding 9.04.33. Chris Upson of Cambuslang won the M50 medal after a close battle with Gary McKendrick of Inverclyde.

Female athletes who secured gold medals included: Jacqueline Etherington W35; Claire Thompson W40; Julie Wilson W45; Sharyn Ramage W50 and Phyllis Hands W60.

On 5th March, the other Scottish Masters indoor events were contested. Some of the outstanding performances were as follows. Athletes named Fiona broke five championship records, so change your first name now, if you hope to succeed! Aberdeen AAC’s Fiona Davidson set three new W40 marks: 60m (8.41 secs); Long Jump (4.64 metres); and Triple Jump (10.51 metres). Falkirk Victoria’s Fiona Matheson set two new records: 800m (2.33.04); and 1500m (5.04.41).

Jacqueline Etherington (Cambuslang W35) won two gold medals: 800m (2.27.73 championship best); and 1500m (5.07.55).

Several new championship bests were also set by male athletes. Iain Robertson (Clydesdale M35) won the 800m in 2.06.72 and Gordon Barrie (Dundee Hawkhill M40) the 800m (2.10.11). (Gordon also won the 1500m in 4.33.16.) Chris Upson (Cambuslang M50) set a new mark in the 800m (2.20.25), as did Benjamin Hands (Motherwell M55) when he ran 2.23.44. Gary McKendrick (Inverclyde AC M50) was a clear winner, when he set a new record in the 1500m (4.38.46). Kirkintilloch’s Alastair Dunlop starred as usual, winning two M60 titles: 800m (2.28.47) and 1500m (5.04.27). In fact I wonder whether the new 800m/1500m ‘championship records’ in younger age groups might still belong to Alastair, set some years ago at the Kelvinhall arena!)

Evergreen Bobby Young (Clydesdale M70) ran well to win the 1500m in 5.57.09. Alan Robertson (Motherwell AC M35) broke the record in the 60m (7.25) and also won the 200m (23.35). His team-mate James Smith set a new M70 mark in the 200m with 30.40.Finally a frequent visitor, Guy Bracken (North Shields) ran with his usual brilliance to set a new record in the 1500m (4.16.69).


On the 28th of January, record fields contested the Scottish Masters XC Champs at Camperdown Park, Dundee. Many thanks to Scottish Athletics and Ron Morrison for an excellent report and to Pete Bracegirdle for the photos.

 “Dave Hanlon and his army of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers are to be thanked for hosting the event. They were rewarded with a total number of finishers of 446 which is a record by about 150. The weather was not so kind varying between dry spells and showers but the snow did not start until the last runner crossed the line. Surprisingly given the low temperature the day before, the underfoot conditions were soft to good.” (although the course was undulating and testing, with many tree-roots to negotiate.)

“The Championships got underway with the Women’s race of 6km that is run in conjunction with the Men’s over 65 age group races. Immediately Jennifer MacLean, EAC, who has won this Championship twice when there was a W35 category, decided to test her competitors by opening up a 20m gap. However defending champion Lesley Chisholm, Garscube, also had eyes on the win and they were closely followed by ultra specialist Joasia Zakrzewski, Dumfries RC, and triathlon specialist Catriona Morrison, Stirling Tri Club, who has won individual medals from the National Cross Country.

By the end of the 1st lap, the leaders were clear with Lesley and Dianne Lauder having a 5m advantage of Joasia and Jennifer and Catriona a further 10m in arrears. It took a determined sprint finish from Lesley to retain her title winning by six seconds from Dianne and a closing Joasia only one second further back.

The W45 championship was won by Karen Kennedy, PH Racing Club, in their first championship, from far-travelled Karen Lyons, Highland HR, and Fiona Dalgleish, Gala Harriers.

Last year’s W45 champion Veronique Oldham, Aberdeen AAC, triumphed again in the W50 race winning by some distance from the multiple Masters and National medallist Susan Ridley, EAC, who was closely followed by her team-mate Jill Morrow.

A very tight finish in the W55 race saw Lynne Stephens, Fife AC, take her first title by two seconds from last year’s champion Sonia Armitage, Aberdeen AAC, with Fiona Carver, Corstorphine just six seconds behind that.

The 2015-6 W55 runner up, Isobel Burnett, Carnegie H eased to the W60 title this year followed by the Fife AC pair Innes Bracegirdle and Margaret Martin.

Deirdre Hoyle, Bellahouston H was the only finisher in the W65 race and thereby became champion.

Anne Docherty, Forres H, out-paced Elizabeth Gilchrist, Ferranti AAC, to retain her W70 title.

Jane Askey, Fife AC the W65 runner up in 2008-9 became the first ever W75 title holder.

The Women’s open team title was retained by Gala H with Dianne Lauder, Fiona Dalgleish and Anya Campbell with a total of 28 points, with Edinburgh AC second with 38 points and Fife AC third with 86 points.

After removing W40 and W45 athletes and open team medallists and rescoring the W50+ team results showed a win for Carnegie H with 50 points from EAC with 51 points and Dundee RR with 61 points.

The most amazing aspect of the Men’s O65 race was the number of medals presented. Three medals were awarded at the M80 level for the 3rd year is a row with James Pittillo, Teviotdale H, who has been 2nd for the last two years moving up to the champion’s spot from Arnott Kidd and William Drysdale, Law & District AAC.

Multiple champion Stephen Cromar gave Dundee Hawkhill H their well-deserved title of the day in the M75 category.

The perennial Robert Young, Clydesdale, regained the M70 from Patrick Kelly, Law & District AAC and Gibson Fleming, Westerlands XC Club.

In the M65 category, there was a win for Hamilton’s Andrew McLinden from second-placed Alex Sutherland, Highland HR, and third-placed Tom Scott of Fife AC.

The men’s 8km championship was just as exciting as the Women’s race with the result in doubt until the last moment. A small group consisting of Jethro Lennox, Shettleston H, Don Naylor, Hunters Bog T, Neil Smith, Anster Haddies and Michael Carroll, Perth RR contested the lead early on with Ruairidh Campbell, Montrose and District and Robert Gilroy, Cambuslang H looking as if they were playing a waiting game. Close up was four-time National Cross Country champion Bobby Quinn, Kilbarchan AAC, who was bidding for the M50 title to go with his previous M40 and M45 titles.

By the end of the first lap, Robert had moved up to the shoulder of Jethro while Ruairidh was gaining ground on the others contesting third place. Emerging from the woods at the top of the hill with about 1km to go it was clear there was a battle royal developing between Jethro and Robert. Jethro kept surging in the last long straight and eventually broke Robert by three seconds with Ruairidh well clear in third position and winning the M45 championship from Don Naylor, who was fourth overall. Fifth-placed Neil Smith took the M40 bronze medal and Michael Carroll the M45 bronze. Bobby Quinn achieved his goal of adding the M50 title to his previous M40 and M45 ones, winning from the 2016 champion Nick Milovsorov, Metro Aberdeen RC, and Stan MacKenzie, Cambuslang.

The M55 race was won by another perennial victor, Cambuslang’s Colin Donnelly, with Patrick O’Kane, Strathearn, in second and William Jarvie, Portobello, in third. The M60 race looked like a club trial with all three medallists Ed Stewart, Paul Thompson and Frank Hurley in that order representing Cambuslang.

The open team race was no less exciting with Cambuslang continuing to dominate but this time only just. Corstorphine AAC the only team to beat Cambuslang in this event in the last 10 years equalled the Cambuslang total of 60 points but lost on the count back. Hunters Bog Trotters were third with 99 points.

After rescoring and removing M40s and M45 and multiple medallists Cambuslang H took the M50+ title from Strathearn H with 41 points and Fife AC in 3rd with 91 points. The popularity of the event was emphasised by the fact that 31 M45-M50 teams and 21 M50+ teams finished.”


Paul Thompson continued his successful assault on M60 World Masters medals. David Fairweather sent three emails about Paul’s progress. “Paul Thompson came agonisingly close to being World Masters Cross Country Champion this morning in Daegu, being outkicked in the last 40m of the 8km race, losing by less than half a second to take the silver medal. Another gutsy run saw Paul sit with the leading group over the first half of the race until deciding to stretch them out over the third lap. Reducing the group to four in the final lap, Paul managed to gain a 20m gap coming into the last 100m. However the Pole, who had started his charge, had the momentum as they both rounded the last sharp bend. Unfortunately by the time Paul realised the Pole was there he had run out of straight to hold on. Paul can still be pleased with his run, going two places better than in Perth last year. He also added another Bronze medal to his ever growing collection in the Team competition.

“Paul Thompson has added another Silver medal at the World Indoor Masters Championships in Daegu this morning. Paul finished second in a time of 10:38.68, just under 4 secs behind an Irishman. Just as he was winning another medal he unfortunately had to hand his bronze medal back from the Cross Country Team event after an error had been made with the Italian team results. Paul will look to make it a trio of medals in the Half Marathon on Sunday.”

“It was Gold at the third time of asking this week for Paul Thompson in the M60s Half Marathon this morning at the World Masters Championships in Daegu. With a determined display of running, annihilating the field, Paul won in a time of 79mins 52secs to add to the title he won in Perth last year. He also helped his team to Bronze medals. This takes Paul’s tally for the week to four medals: one Gold, two Silvers and a Bronze, not a bad week’s work for Paul.”

Scottish Athletics reported: “In fact, it was a hugely successful championships for the contingent from Scottish Veteran Harriers Club with a number of good performances helping land 21 medals in total. Among those to land more than one medal were Paul Thompson, Lynne Marr, Janet Fellowes, Brian Scally and Sharyn Ramage. Here’s a list of the Daegu haul: Gold – Paul Thompson M60 Half Marathon; Sharyn Ramage W55 Cross Country Team; Lynne Marr W55 Cross Country Team; Janet Fellowes W60 Cross Country Team; Brian Scally M50 Cross Country Team. Silver – Paul Thomson M60 Cross Country Individual; Paul Thompson M60 3000m; Claire Cameron W55 Discus; Janet Fellowes W60 Half Marathon Team Bronze – Janet Fellowes W60 3000m; Brian Scally M50 3000m; Jozsef Farakas M35 3000m; William Lonsdale M65 Pentathlon; Janet Fellowes W60 Half Marathon; Claire Cameron W55 Shot Putt; Brian Scally M50 1500m; Dean Kane M35 Cross Country Team; Tony Golabek M35 Cross Country Team; Paul Thompson M60 Half Marathon Team; Sharyn Ramage W45 4x200m Relay; Lynn Marr W45 4x200m Relay.”






President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

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

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


MAY 2017

Wed 3rd Snowball Race 4.8 miles Changing & entries at Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre. Start: 19:30 Drumpellier Park

Sun 7th SVHC Walter Ross 5m Trail race , Pollok Park Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30 Sat 20th BMAF Road Relay Championships Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield Birmingham B74 2YT

Sat 27th West Lothian Highland Games Cairnpapple Road Race Free entry to Games for competitors. Entries & changing inside pavilion in Meadow Park, Glasgow Rd, Bathgate Start: 2:30pm

JUNE 2017

Wed 7th Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh, 7:30pm.

Sun 18th BMAF 5km Championships Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road Horwich BL6 5PY

Sat 24th – Sun 25th BMAF Track & Field Championships Alexander Stadium Walsall Rd Perry Barr Birmingham B42 2LR

Wed 28th SVHC 5km road race. New venue Clydebank Leisure Centre, 7:30pm.

JULY 2017

Sat 1st July Scottish Athletics National Masters Championships Grangemouth AUGUST 2017

 Sun 13th Glasgow 800 10 km Road Race Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30


 Sun 13th Glasgow 800 10 km Road Race Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30


Sat 16th Trial Race for International XC Tollcross Park

October 2017

Sun 15th SVHC Track 10K. Followed by AGM , Grangemouth Times TBC NOVEMBER 2017

Sat 18th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Derry, N. Ireland





MEMBERSHIP NOTES 29th November 2016

 Ada Stewart and John Softley have replaced David Fairweather and Alastair Macfarlane as Membership Secretary and SVHC Secretary following the AGM on 16th October.

I regret to announce that Willie Marshall passed away on 30 Sep 2016 aged 88.


Renewal subs are now due for 2016/2017. Welcome to the 46 new and 8 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 15th July 2016. 37 members did not renew their subs last year. As of 29th Nov 2016, we have 536 paid up members, including 20 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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


Stewards/marshals are required for club races. The club appreciate all members & friends who volunteer to act as stewards/marshals. If you are not compe


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



2323 Debbie Savage 08-Aug-16 Perth

2324 John Hynd 08-Aug-16 Dunfermline

2325 Malcolm Lang 08-Aug-16 Bathgate

2326 Robert Lindsay 08-Aug-16 Kilmarnock

2327 Iain Williams 08-Aug-16 Jedburgh

2328 Robert McCulloch 11-Aug-16 Paisley

2329 Jim Scobie 08-Aug-16 St Andrews

2330 Ron Stuart 12-Aug-16 Leeds

2331 Brendan Lynch 12-Aug-16 Linlithgow

2332 Gordon McInally 15-Aug-16 East Kilbride

2333 Ann Robin 15-Aug-16 Glasgow

2334 Susan Linklater 17-Aug-16 Levenwick

2335 David Carpenter 18-Aug-16 Kilwinning

2336 Stuart Tite 18-Aug-16 Burntisland

2337 Innes Bracegirdle 22-Aug-16 Newport-on-Tay

2338 Louise Potter 23-Aug-16 Lochgilphead

2339 Mark Simpson 23-Aug-16 Wembley Downs

2340 Bryan Mackie 25-Aug-16 Edinburgh

2341 Frank McMahon 25-Aug-16 Skelmorlie

2342 Marie Baxter 01-Sep-16 Aberdeen

2343 Craig Mattocks 01-Sep-16 Peebles

 2344 Ann White 03-Sep-16 Stirling

 2345 Scott McDonald 06-Sep-16 Peebles

2346 Chris Mooney 07-Sep-16 Gourock

2347 Margaret Martin 07-Sep-16 Ceres

2348 Graham Crawford 07-Sep-16 Glasgow

2349 Alan Robertson 08-Sep-16 Coleford

2350 Roger Clark 09-Sep-16 Crieff

 2351 Grant Baillie 09-Sep-16 East Kilbride

2352 Katie White 09-Sep-16 Glasgow

2353 Anne Macfarlane 10-Sep-16 Dumfries

 2354 Mary Western 13-Sep-16 Dunfermline

2355 Daniel Doherty 13-Sep-16 Port Glasgow

2356 Graham Bennison 20-Sep-16 Cupar

2357 Ed Norton 20-Sep-16 Dunfermline

2358 David Eckersley 20-Sep-16 Balfron

2359 Luke Chamberlain 27-Sep-16 Glasgow

 2360 Gillian Palmer 28-Sep-16 Edinburgh

2361 Carol Parsons 07-Oct-16 Chester

 2362 Iain Reid 13-Oct-16 Glasgow

2363 William Macrae 27-Oct-16 Gairloch

2364 Liz Corbett 28-Oct-16 Glasgow

2365 Charlotte Black 14-Nov-16 Dunrossness

 2366 Colin Watson 16-Nov-16 Kirkintilloch

2367 David Graham 16-Nov-16 Glasgow

2368 Colin Young 17-Nov-16 Sorn

2369 Steve Oliver 24-Nov-16 Winchester

 2370 David Stirling 24-Nov-16 Glasgow

 2371 Mike Lieberman 29-Nov-16 Edinburgh

 2083 Lorraine Brown 15-Aug-16 Kirkcaldy

 2109 William Skinner 23-Aug-16 Aberdeen

2236 Andrew Campbell 03-Sep-16 Barrhead

1946 Paul Rogan 06-Sep-16 Forres

2220 Gary Hester 14-Sep-16 Glasgow

2147 Gareth Jenkins 17-Sep-16 Elgin

2062 Dianne Lauder 27-Sep-16 Hawick

 2247 Sean Casey 03-Oct-16 Cumbernauld

David Fairweather Membership Secretary


OBITUARY: WILLIAM MARSHALL 12/12/1927 – 30/9/2016

I am sad to report that Willie Marshall passed away on Friday 30th September. Our thoughts at this time go out to his family – his son David and daughter Carol and their respective spouses Fiona and Brian, grandchildren Lauren and Grant and great grandson Noah.

Willie was very much a family man. His wife Mary, until her death in 2007, fully supported his running career.

When not racing he enjoyed going to the football with David to support their beloved Motherwell FC.

Willie had a long and prolific running career particularly from the age of 50 onwards at Scottish, UK, European and World level. He won at least 10 Scottish Veteran track titles, 11 Scottish Veteran Cross Country titles along with 1 silver and 1 bronze, 14 UK Veteran track titles and 4 road titles, 4 European Veteran and 4 World Veteran titles while breaking 4 Veteran World records in addition to Scottish and UK Veteran records.

What an incredible and often unheralded list of achievements for such a quiet and unassuming man! No one who saw him shuffling at a slow pace around the streets of Hamilton would have imagined the running stature of this elderly frail looking gentleman. Willie may have looked frail but in running terms he was strong and determined and was a totally different athlete racing than when training. He was a difficult man to drop and once he was in top gear he did not falter. His maxim was to train slowly but to race regularly which clearly worked for him.

Willie represented Motherwell YMCA, Clyde Valley and Cambuslang Harriers from 1994 onwards. His son David also took up running with Clyde Valley and later Cambuslang. David posted the very respectable times of 8.42, 15.06 and 31.40 for 3/5/10K before his running career was cut short by injury.

Willie and David made Scottish Athletics history when they became the first father and son to compete in the same team in the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow road relay in the 1982 event. Willie’s grandson Grant Sheldon has recently shown that he has inherited his grandfather’s genes by winning this year’s World Students Triathlon Championship and gaining a bronze medal in the European under 23 Triathlon. Grant also competed for Scotland in the 2014 Commonwealth Triathlon Event and won the 2011 Scottish Cross Country Under17 Cross Country Championship when competing for Cambuslang Harriers.

I first became aware of Willie when competing in the 1973 Clydebank to Helensburgh 16 mile road race. This was my first attempt at the distance and I was surprised to be overtaken at the halfway stage by an apparently frail older runner wearing black plimsolls. However, there was nothing I could do but let him disappear into the distance.

When he moved house in 1980 to near where I stayed we started training together on a Sunday and were accompanied by David, Tom Ulliott, Kevin Newberry and Donald Burt. This continued for over a decade. I also sometimes took Willie to races as he did not drive.

We were competing in the 1981 Sanquhar 11 mile road race which weaved its way from the splendid starting point of Drumlanrig Castle along quiet country roads into Sanquhar playing fields. We ran the race together and the tranquil atmosphere of the day was abruptly shattered on entering the track for the run in. We suddenly heard loud animated voices urging both of us on. Naturally Jim Brown and Peter Fox of Clyde Valley who had finished 1st and 4th were shouting Willie on as he was their 3rd and final counter for the team race. I was the only competitor for Cambuslang that day but I found myself being roared on by the Springburn trio of Graham Crawford, Doug Gunstone and Alastair MacFarlane who had finished in 5th, 6th and 7th place. Springburn were sitting on 18 points and would clinch the team title by 1 point if I finished ahead of Willie. I duly beat Willie by 3 seconds much to the delight of the Springburn team who jokingly offered me an honorary membership of their club. Willie was content to win the first veteran prize. Coincidentally Graham was reminding me of this incident earlier this year when we met at a cross country event.

During all the time I knew Willie he never had a bad word to say about anyone and he was extremely modest about his superb achievements. Although he retired from competition in the early 2000s due to eye and leg problems, he continued light running.

In recent years he was not able to train but he was still out walking and could at times be seen breaking into his shuffling running style to catch a bus. He took great pride in seeing Grant compete for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and on his recent European and World Triathlon successes.

Only a month ago he was delighted to receive a copy of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Magazine in which Colin Youngson, in collaboration with Willie’s son David, had written an excellent article on his remarkable running career. This article serves as a most fitting and well-deserved tribute to a Scottish running stalwart.

David Cooney (Cambuslang Harriers)



                                                                                                     George in the Tour of Fife

Name: George Black.

Clubs: Fife AC – Scottish Vets – Glasgow Nightingale Cycling.

Date of Birth: 23rd November 1939. Occupation: Retired.

How did you get involved in the sport? Could not afford a bike!

Has any individual had a marked influence on your attitude or individual performance? Very many, including Bill Stoddart, Bill Scally, Willie McBrinn, Jimmy Moore, Max Jones, Jim Dingwall, Steve James, Emmet Farrell, Gordon Porteous, Davie Morrison, Bobby Young, Pete Cartwright and Davie Fairweather.

What exactly do you get out of the sport? Fun and friendship.

What do you consider your best ever performances? Winning the European Duathlon Championships in 2007. Running a 2.30 marathon only 15 months after my first run.

Your worst? I try to forget them.

What unfulfilled ambitions do you have? To win individual gold at the Veterans International XC. Set 100 year old best time for the marathon.

Other leisure activities? Cycling. Sleeping.

What does running bring you that you would not have wanted to miss? Friendships. You get to know a person’s character during long hard training sessions together.

Can you give some details of your training? This has varied according to age and target race etc. Everything from 13 weeks averaging 128 miles a week, to long spells of short high-intensity runs with an average of 19 miles a week. The latter might include 20x400m with 15 seconds ‘recovery’. My record week totalled 196 and a half miles – and I almost went out again to reach the 200!

Currently I run between 30 and 40 miles per week, with nothing too severe so that I might avoid injury.

Below is a long letter from George about his unusual and very successful athletic history. “Until I began working shifts aged 21, I was a good club racing cyclist. My cycling at the time was mainly track and time trials. Aged 20 I managed 12th in the Scottish Best All Rounder competition, over distances of 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours. I realised I had good endurance: my 12 hours distance was 248 miles – still a club record.

At 22 I stopped cycling, got married, we had two children and I took no exercise other than occasional rounds of golf. I weighed 14 stone 12 pounds at one point, but mainly 12 stone 12 pounds.

Aged 42 I went out for a jog with a friend, hated it and was happy I caught a cold after a second run and had an excuse to stop – this was November 1981.

In January 1982 I decided to try again but struggled to cover half a mile in a local park. A friend, Gordon Campbell was a Clydesdale Harrier, and told me about the Scottish Veteran Harriers. I went to Woolworth, bought a pair of ‘training shoes’ for £4 and began training at night. Gordon encouraged me and soon I was running up to 14 miles in the morning, several days a week.

I learned that the Vets Marathon Championships was being held in Glasgow on 21st March 1982 so thought I would give it a go. The Thursday before this event I went for a run in East Kilbride and met the wonderful Jimmy Moore, who caught up and slowed down to encourage me. He told me he was going over to Bellahouston to watch the race and agreed to give advice.

This was my first ever running race – a bloody marathon! When I heard there were ‘feeding stations’ I thought I would be receiving bananas etc but of course discovered it was only water. Jimmy introduced me to three old guys and told me to stay with them and I would be okay – Davie Morrison, Gordon Porteous and Emmet Farrell (a legendary trio of World Veteran Champions). What an introduction to the sport!

The marathon took place on a lovely day and I had an enjoyable run in great company, finishing in 3 hours 19 minutes. The winner was Bill Stoddart in 2.30, after a hard-fought contest with Andy Brown. I was hooked but my right hip was sore so I had a week off and bought a pair of New Balance 660, which cost over £30.

Next I began training with East Kilbride AC under Jimmy Moore’s guidance and improved rapidly. In July I won the North Tyneside Peoples Marathon in Whitley Bay. This was for runners who had not broken 2.50. My time was 2.46. I could not understand why a runner I caught with half a mile to go was trying so hard to beat me, as I thought we were outside the top ten. Obviously, he knew we were racing for the win.

In August I managed 2.44 in the Inverclyde Marathon; and in September had my first track race – the Vets 10,000m at Coatbridge (3rd in 34.30). Bill Scally won in 33.33 from Dick Hodelet. The first official Glasgow Marathon took place in October and I finished 60th in 2.36. I had no idea how high up I was, and in fact estimated somewhere inside the top 500, since masses had sprinted off and disappeared up the High Street at the start.

During Winter 1982/1983 I trained with a group of friends. I averaged 128 miles a week for 13 weeks, including ‘double headers’ at weekends with Charlie McDougall, another former cyclist. We ran over the Glasgow Bellahouston marathon course on four successive Sundays, all of them under 2 hours 50 minutes. This was after a long run the previous day.

In March 1983 I returned to the Vets Marathon Championship at Bellahouston and won by 12 minutes on a very windy day by in 2 hours 30 minutes. Willie McBrinn ran two laps of the three lap course with me before I discovered he was using it as training for the London Marathon and only intended doing the two laps. Thanks, Willie! Willie duly went to London and set the current British over 55 marathon record. After he turned 60, he also broke the British record for that age group at the Lochaber Marathon.

A change of jobs meant more responsibility and travel but in July 1985, at the age of 45, I managed to run a 71 minute half marathon at Musselburgh. The best part of that day was beating Peter McGregor and getting my name added to the ‘book’ he kept of people that had beaten him. Yes – a result!

My job took me south in 1988 and I joined the Leeds Valley Striders in identical circumstances to when I joined East Kilbride. I told my wife I was going out for a run and would look for another runner to find out about local trails. I met Max Jones who took me under his wing and introduced me to his club.

Probably my best year was 1995, when I was 55 years old. That February I ran an out and back road ten miles in a very good 56.36. In March I contested the Hull 20, finishing in 1.58.06, which is still the British age group record. My five mile splits were 29.12, 29.11, 30.23 and 29.20. I ran with Jim Dingwall who was living in Hull. I did not realise it at the time but sadly it was the last occasion I would meet this fine man. (Back in October 1982 I took part in the Scottish Vets half marathon at Grangemouth and was amazed to see Jim marshalling a Vets race out in the wilds. That year he had finished the London Marathon 5th in 2.11 and yet was still willing to help out at a Vets event!)

In March 1995 I was second in the over 55 British Vets XC Championships, behind Steve James, which was no disgrace. That October in the British Vets XC Relay I was fastest M50 individual, recording 19.21 for 6k.

Other achievements included the following. Two wins (M50 and M70) at British Vets half marathons. Three individual silver medals for Scottish Masters in the British and Irish XC International. First places in Scottish Vets Marathons; and in Cross Country Championships.

My best age-graded performance was in December 1996 at the Abbey Dash in Leeds. At the age of 57 I ran 10km in 34.49 which was rated at 91%. The course was remeasured later and found to be 50 metres too long.

I was a member of the British Masters gold medal team at the 1991 World Championship marathon in Turku, Finland. Other fast age group times included one mile road in 4.54 at 45; 2 miles road in 9.59 at 46; 3km track in 10.13 at 47; 4 miles road in 21.36 at 53; 5km road in 16.48 at 55; and 5 miles road in 28.28 at 57. Another race I remember well was the 1983 Piccadilly Radio Marathon in Manchester, when I finished first M40 in 2.36.

In Cycling, I won the over 60 Scottish Road Race and also the Series. In the British over 60 road race I finished third. In addition I was age graded winner of the Lennon Trophy and the Boomerang Trophy.

In Duathlon, I won the 2007 over 65 European Championship. In the 2010 World Championships I was second over 70. I enjoyed numerous British and Scottish age group wins from over 60 to over 75. In fact in these championships I was only beaten once since I learning about such events and making my debut in 1999.

Why not try Triathlon? I’d probably drown.

After having a heart attack in January 2014, I had a stent fitted. Many veteran athletes have had the same operation and I call us the Stenturions! I was told to continue training and racing. Would we have survived had we not been so fit?“

 [After this setback, George Black was second M75 in the 2015 British and Irish XC International, only four seconds behind the age group winner. Then in March 2016 in the East Hull 20, George set a new British M75 20 miles road record, and was also first M70 by just 23 seconds. His official time was 2.50.12, which beat the previous record, set a week earlier, by 11 minutes 48 seconds. This means that he currently holds the British records for 20 miles aged 55 (1.58.06) and M75. Amazing durability! (Ed.)]

[On 29 October at the St Andrews Park Run, with a time of 21:46, George recorded the first sub-22 minute Parkrun recorded by a 75+ in Britain. Thirty minutes earlier in England, Roger Wilson had established the previous record! However in November at the 2016 Masters XC International in Glasgow, Roger got his revenge by winning the age category, with George a meritorious second yet again. George wrote “I was more pleased with the team silver, which none of us expected. What can you say about the wonderful M80 Walter McCaskey!”]


1998: St Asaph, Wales. Team awards for M55, M65, W45 and W55 were introduced. The event took place in North Wales and Davie’s report said “The course was a fell-runner’s dream, with a long steep descent followed by a strength-sapping climb – with a rest at the top while you queued to get through a kissing gate!”

Trudi Thompson, so consistent, gained W40 silver and her team (Trudi, Lynn Harding 7th, Sonia Armitage 8th and Anne-Marie Hughes 17th) finished first.

Bobby Young was an excellent second in the M55 race; and Archie Jenkins won M45 bronze again, leading his team (John Hanratty 11th, Andy McLinden 12th and Barney Gough 13th) to silver medals.

In the M40s, Keith Varney was 9th, Gerry Gaffney 10th, Brian Gardner 11th and Ian Stewart 13th. George Meredith was first M50 Scot in 8th place. Bert McFall was 9th M60.

1999: Bideford, England. GB international marathon runner Trudi Thompson won the W40 title in fine style, by 34 seconds.

Elaine McBrinn was 8th W35; Patricia Affleck 9th W40; and Jane Waterhouse 10th W45.

The Scots also had an individual gold medallist: hill runner extraordinaire Colin Donnelly (M40), who led his team (Keith Varney 4th, Gerry Gaffney 9th, Dave Dymond 14th, Brian Gardner 15th and Ian Stewart 17th) to silver medals.

For the second time in succession, Bobby Young won individual M55 silver; and his team (Davie Fairweather 7th, Pete Cartwright 8th and Brian Campbell 9th) was second.

Ian Leggett finished 9th M60. The Scottish M65 team (Bert McFall 4th, Hugh Gibson 6th, Tom O’Reilly 8th and Henry Morrison 9th) also won silver.

2000: Navan, Eire, Dalgan Park. Despite the course being tough, with glue-like mud, World W50 10,000m record-holder (and also 1999 World Masters 5000m and 10,000m champion) Janette Stevenson ran away with the W50 title. Her W50 team won silver.

Jackie Byng was 3rd W55. Sue Ridley did well to finish third W35. Sue Ridley wrote: “My first ever British & Irish XC Masters International in 2000 still stays fresh in my mind. I can remember clearly phoning David Fairweather asking him if it was OK to bring my 14 month old daughter on the bus journey to Navan! He clearly was full of apprehension (probably horror) at the thought of a long, tiring bus journey through Ireland with a screaming toddler! Thankfully we were allowed to go and Amy was as good as gold for the whole weekend (never cried once). She had a great time with all the attention she was given, being held by different people and made such a fuss of. Everyone was very friendly and made you feel so welcome. I met some very nice people, some of whom are still very close friends. Staying at a convent was different but made for a great team spirit. Everyone was so supportive of their team-mates and colleagues in every age group and that happy atmosphere has stayed with me. The weather wasn’t particularly nice and the course was tough but I still remember managing to sprint to the line overtaking an old rival from my senior days to take bronze in the W35 event. It was a fantastic experience. What is also so nice about this event is the number of people you befriend from each country who you often meet year after year.”

First Scot home in the men’s race was Colin Donnelly (3rd M40). However, the Scottish men’s performance of the day was by Davie Fairweather, who triumphed in the M55 category; and led his team (including Bobby Young and Brian Campbell) to gold medals. Davie wrote later: “I had enjoyed a good build-up, with 78:28 in the Helensburgh ½ Marathon, 2:48:39 2 weeks later in the Glasgow Marathon, and 78:48 3 weeks later in the Inverclyde ½ Marathon. By the time I got to Navan, I was well-prepared, but fell flat on my face in the warm-up, which didn’t augur well for a good race performance. I’m never very good at judging my position in cross country races, and I didn’t see any M55 numbers, so just assumed that all the good runners were out of sight in front. Then, on the last lap, I passed Archie Jenkins (who was in the M45 team), and suddenly I was on Colin Youngson’s heels (in the M50 team) but he wasn’t going to let me beat him this time, and I crossed the line 3 sec behind him to win M55 gold. Frank Reilly came in 12 sec behind me, with Graham Patton 3rd a further 6 sec behind. With Bobby Young 4th and Brian Campbell 10th we won team gold as well.”

The M50 team [George Sim (individual silver), Charlie McDougall, George Meredith and Colin Youngson] finished a very close second; as did the M65 outfit (Bert McFall, Jim Irvine and Henry Morrison).

2001: Falkirk, Callendar Park. David Fairweather reported: “In the Ladies’ race, Anne Keenan-Buckley (Eire), for the 3rd year in a row, completely dominated the race from the off. She appeared to just float over the ground to win by over 1½ minutes in a 16 minute race. Tricia Affleck ran the race of her life to finish 3rd overall and 2nd W40. Just like me last year, she had no idea she was so far up and couldn’t believe she’d won silver. Trudi Thomson (6th W40) showed that she is only human and can no longer head the field just 2 weeks after running the Dublin marathon (well she is training for the Commonwealth Games Marathon after all). She had to pull out all the stops to hold off the determined onslaught of Janette Stevenson, who repeated last year’s W50 gold medal performance, and Susan Finch who was 5th placed W35.

Addi Gerard finished 7th W40 to secure team silver. Sue Ridley was 8th W35.

According to the usual biased reporting in Athletics Weekly, four Englishmen were favourites for the M40 title. However, GB international and Multi-Scottish champion, Tommy Murray, had other ideas and went on to win by 26 seconds. Then, 45 minutes later, Tommy finished first in the Open Race too ‘because I was good enough.’ (In 2003 Tommy and Julian Critchlow (England) had a closer battle at Beach Park, Irvine, before the Scot won the British Masters XC championship. Shortly afterwards, aged 42, he retired.)

Colin Donnelly started very cautiously and had to work his way up from the low 50’s to a final sprint for 3rd M40. All the Scotland M40s (Murray, Donnelly, Ross Arbuckle, Colin Meek, Dave Dymond and Ian Stewart) had excellent runs, but the tight packing of England in 2, 4, 5 and 6 was too much to beat and we had to settle for silver.

However, it was a different matter for the M45s, with Keith Varney coming in 2nd, Gerry Gaffney 4th, Brian Gardner 5th, and Nicol Maltman 10th (plus Archie Jenkins) to beat England by 5 points to win team gold. (Did any other readers hear Brian’s mother phone in to Radio Clyde on Sunday morning and mention that her son had been running the veterans international at Falkirk?)

George Sim (4th M50) failed narrowly to win a medal this year, but with Andy McLinden 9th, Brian Emmerson 13th and Charles Noble 16th they won team silver.

In the M60s, Ian Leggett pulled through to 5th, George Black finished 7th and, with support from last-minute replacement and team newcomer Robert Daly, they won team silver.

The M65s were led by Bert McFall in 7th. This is the 1st time that every team in the Men’s race has finished in the top 3. All the runners I spoke to were unanimous in their praise for the excellent course.”

2002: Ballymena, Sentry Park again. The same hilly, muddy loop had to be negotiated several times. In the women’s race, Sonia Armitage was top Scot (4th W40), just in front of Elaine McBrinn (6th W35) and Frances Florence (5th W40). Hazel Bradley finished 5th W50.

In Tommy Murray’s absence, Julian Critchlow won the 40-49 race, with Colin Donnelly first Scot (fifth M40). The Scottish M45 team (Mike Simpson, Ian Stewart, Gerry Gaffney and Dave Dymond) secured silver medals. George Sim ran his usual fast race to be third in the M50 category, and was well-supported by Andy McLinden and Archie Jenkins in fifth and sixth. Fred Connor was fourth counter and the M50 team finished second. Colin Youngson managed 3rd M55, just in front of Bobby Young (4th). Terry Dolan was third counter and that team too won silver. Ian Leggett ran well to finish fifth M60.

Hugh Gibson produced the best individual performance by a Scottish man, with second place in the M70 age group. Bill McBrinn was 6th.

2003: Cardiff, Bute Park. “Race day was cold and grey; and the course flat, twisting grass. In the Women’s race, Eileen Lang ran boldly and hung on bravely to finish 4th overall and win a bronze W35 medal. Sue Ridley and Suzanne Carson contributed to an excellent team silver. Susan Finch was 5th W40; and Jane Waterhouse 5th W50.

Bobby Young (M60) moved through strongly mid-race to secure an individual bronze medal. Unfortunately, even very good team packing by Pete Cartwright (5th) and Brian Campbell (6th) led to a heartbreaking one point defeat by the inevitable English.

Hugh Gibson (M70) maintained his excellent record with a fine silver medal. He and his team-mates Tom O’Reilly (8th) and Willie Hamill (10th) clinched second place too. Keith Farquhar (M40), running smoothly and rhythmically, was first Scot in the 40-49 race, with Ian Williamson (from Shetland but a Cambuslang athlete) not far behind. Tom Anderson (M45 was next), followed by Gerry Gaffney (M45).

Doug Cowie (recently M50 silver medallist in the European Masters Half Marathon) was first Scot in his category. With Archie Jenkins, Campbell Joss and Jim White, the M50 team won silver.

Gentleman George Mitchell, tall, tanned, bearded and quietly determined was our first M55.”

2004: Croydon, Lloyd Park. “After an arduous 400 miles bus journey from Glasgow, we reached the hotel in Croydon about 8:30, it was a relief to find that Ann Nally had volunteered to distribute numbers and provide assistance to the team. Saturday morning dawned cold and grey, but it didn’t look too bad as Ann guided us through Croydon on a walk/jog to Lloyd Park. However, just as we reached the park we saw the odd flake of snow, and the weather went downhill from there.

The course consisted of 1 small loop, followed by a 3km loop that went out to the extremity of the park, so it wasn’t good for spectating. M40-69 ran 2 full 4km laps, while the women and M70+ ran a figure of 8, before disappearing onto the large loop to make up 6km.

Ann Keenan-Buckley wasn’t running this year, but fellow Irish International Niamh O’Sullivan proved an able successor. Mountain runner Sonia Armitage led the field up the first hill and round the starting loop, with Niamh in close attendance. BMAF and SAL W35 cross country champion Sue Ridley was not far behind, followed by W45 Tricia Affleck, W35 Janet Laing and SAL W40 cc champion Hazel Dean.

The M70s were led through by Brian Ashwell (Eng), but Walter McCaskey came through in 2nd followed by Bert McFall, with Tom O’Reilly and Hugh Gibson not far behind. We then had to wait while the field negotiated the muddy, undulating large loop.

Niamh O’Sullivan appeared with an 80m lead over Margaret Deasy (W40, Eng), closely followed by 1st W35 Sue Ridley. Hazel Dean was next Scot to finish 12th overall, followed by Sonia Armitage 14th and Tricia Affleck 22nd. Jacqui Thomson, who is actually W40, ran superbly for the W35 team to finish 23rd overall.

With good performances by all team members the women won silver medals for W50 (Jane Waterhouse, Hazel Bradley & Liz Bowers).

In the M70s, positions were reversed at the finish with Bert 2nd and Walter 3rd. Tom finished 7th, closely followed by Hugh Gibson, to win team silver just 1 pt behind England.

Sue Ridley wrote: “I seem to do the opposite of most people – instead of winning when going into a new age group, I wait until I’m about to move up! The W35 International victory in Croydon came off the back of winning the British Masters Cross-Country overall earlier in the year at Durham.

I remember Sonia Armitage taking the race out up the first hill and leading round the first small loop. The course was pretty muddy and undulating. The leading group were fairly close packed but after the large loop Niamh O’Sullivan (Ireland) proved the stronger and pulled away from Margaret Deasy (England) and myself who had managed to break clear of Claire Pauzers to clinch victory in the W35 age group as the first two were W40s.”

The next race was for M55 – 69. Unfortunately, the M55 and M65 teams were not in medal contention, but Pete Cartwright (M60) kept close to the leading M60 England runners and managed to split them up to win bronze. Bobby Young, David Fairweather and Gibson Fleming followed in 5th, 7th and 9th places to win team silver.

George Mitchell again led the M55 team home in 9thplace, while Steve Cromar was 7th in the M65 race.

By the start of the M40 – 54 race the temperature was just above freezing, and the ground was badly churned up. Not many of us hung around to provide support, preferring to retreat to the changing rooms for a hot drink.

Brian Gardner ran the race of his life to win M45 gold and finish 5th overall. Tom Anderson and Ian Stewart were neck and neck throughout the race, with Tom just sprinting clear at the finish in 8th place. John Simpson ran a spirited debut international race to finish 15th and help secure team silver.

Steven McCloone was first Scot home in the M40 race in 15th place, and Andy McLinden, who flew down to Luton on Sat morning, was first Scot M50 in 8th place. Despite strong team support they weren’t in contention for team medals.

Brian Gardner wrote: “The build up to the race couldn’t have been better for me: I was winning cross country races outright and setting lifetime pbs on the road. I had planned and trained to the best of my ability and this was the most important race. Although I’d never finished higher than 12th overall before, I knew that if I concentrated and held my nerve, this could be my time. We were held up in the sleet at the start while the organisers found a 1st aider (!) It was difficult to keep warm but I made a cautious start and then threaded my way through the field. With about a mile to go, I knew I was the leading M45 and first Scot overall but England’s Jon Cordingley was trying to get past me. I surged to hold him off several times until I sprinted clear in the home straight. Crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life. And it was only after finishing that I learned that I was 5th overall; I had no idea that I’d moved so far up. The support from team mates was heart warming. I had planned and trained for that win; and had finally run as well as I possibly could.”

The Dinner and Presentation, at the HSBC Sports & Social Club in New Beckenham, was rather disappointing. There was a free bus service, but the bus was due to return to our hotel before the end of the dance. We were so tightly packed in the hall that the staff had difficulty serving the meal and, despite an effort to shorten the medal presentation, the dance was just starting as our bus was ready to depart.

The homeward bus journey took about 10 hours in spite of Jamie’s sterling efforts. He took his life into his hands when he leapt out of the bus in Birmingham to move some cones, so that he could switch lanes and gain access to the toll road, thus avoiding a long delay on the M6.”

2005: Dublin, Santry Demesne. Report by Davie Fairweather. In the Women’s Race, first Scot home was Ann McPhail (12th overall and 5th W35), one second in front of Sue Ridley (6th W40).

Janette Stevenson won the W55 event by 32 seconds, leading her team (Hazel Bradley 7th and Phyllis Lemoncello 11th) to team silver. Fiona Matheson was 8th W40 and Sonia Armitage 4th W45.

The M55-M69 race was dominated by England’s Mike Hager, but he was bravely chased by George Sim, who won the M55 silver medal.

Meanwhile Bobby Young was having the run of his life to win the M60 title by shaking off reluctant England runner Willie Allan, who is actually Scottish and used to run for Edinburgh University but lives in Tadcaster. Gibson Fleming was 7th M60 and Brian Campbell 12th. The M60 team only lost second place on countback.

Ian Leggett had a fine run to finish 3rd M65 (Steve Cromar was 9th). Walter McCaskey came through to secure M70 silver, leading his team (Tom O’Reilly 5th, Bert McFall 6th and Willie Hamill 8th) to second place medals.

The Scotland team for the M40-54 race was sadly depleted by injuries but Jack Brown finished 6th M40 and Andy Little 8th. Ian Stewart was first Scottish M45 in 10th; and Andy McLinden 9th M50.

2006: Falkirk, Callendar Park. The superb Janette Stevenson retained the W55 title, no less than one minute 25 seconds in front of second place in this age group! Her team (Hazel Bradley 5th, Kate Todd 7th) won silver medals.

First Scot home was Fiona Matheson (8th overall and second W45). Susan Finch (4th W40) was two seconds behind her. Fiona’s W45 team (Sonia Armitage 5th and Pam McKay 11th) finished second. Janet Dunbar was 7th W35.

In the M40-64 race, Andy Little finished 8th M40, with Jack Brown 9th. Neil Thin ran very well to end up 4th M45. Brian Gardner was 6th M50 and Alastair Dunlop 9th.

George Mitchell (4th M60) led his team (Graham Smith 6th and Frank Yeoman 10th) to silver medals.

However, the Scottish male star was elegant George Sim who improved one place from the previous year to win the M55 title. Andy McLinden was 9th and Charlie Noble 10th. Ian Leggett was 8th M65. The M70 team (Walter McCaskey 5th, Les Nicol 6th and Alistair Shaw 8th) finished second behind England.

2007: Belfast, Stormont Estate. The course featured a narrow, muddy start, but then several laps of fine parkland, before a hill and a tricky, slippery finish. Bobby Quinn, a multi-Scottish champion, ran brilliantly to finish first in the 35-49 race and secure the M40 title. With support from Andy Little 6th, Roger Alsop and James Snodgrass, Robert’s team won second team medals.

Second Scot home was Neil Thin, who had a fine run to win M45 individual silver, with Ross Arbuckle 9th.

In the M50-64 event, Ian Stewart raced very well to be second M50. His team [Brian Gardner 3rd, Alastair Dunlop 8th and Colin Miller) won silver.

The M55 Scots did even better by winning the team title [George Sim second (to Mike Hager of England), Andy McLinden third, plus Archie Jenkins 7th and Ewan Patterson 8th].

In the M60 age group, Scotland won team silver [Archie Duncan a splendid individual silver medal, and support from consistently strong George Mitchell (4th), Colin Youngson and Frank Yeoman].

It was second again for the M65 team (Pete Cartwright winning an excellent individual silver, with backing from Ian Leggett, Rab Daly and Steve Cromar).

The M70s matched that team result, due to Les Nicol 4th, Alistair Shaw 6th and Walter McCaskey 7th.

In the women’s race, W45s Susan Finch (6th) and Sonia Armitage (7th) were the first Scots home. Clare Gemmell (10th W35), Julia Henderson (12th W35) and Michelle Heatherington (6th W40) were the next Scottish finishers. Jane Waterhouse (7th W50) and Hazel Bradley (5th W55) also ran well.

2008: Swansea, Singleton Park. The first race was 6km for W35 – W65 plus M65 and M70. England’s Debby Walters W40 was 1st, followed by Ireland’s Donna Mahon W35. Megan Wright (3rd W35) was first Scot 7th overall, finishing just in front of Ireland’s Niamh O’Sullivan W45. Julia Henderson (10th W35), Sonia Armitage (5th W45) and Hazel Dean (7th W45) were the next Scottish finishers. Jane Waterhouse and Liz Bowers (4th & 5th W55) also ran well in their age-group, with Jane finishing 21 sec behind winner Zina Marchant. Hazel Bradley was 10th W55, which meant that the Scottish team won silver medals.

On a severely undulating, damp, lap course, Walter McCaskey was 7th M70 and Alistair Shaw 8th. Brian Campbell (6th M65) assisted by Bobby Young (7th), Pete Cartwright (8th) and Ian Leggett (9th), secured team silver.

Next race was 8km for M50 – M60. George Mitchell was 4th M60 and Archie Duncan 6th. George Sim (4th M55), Andy McLinden (6th), Ewan Patterson and Archie Jenkins finished second team. Brian Gardner finished 5th M50 and, with Iain Stewart (7th), Jeff Farquhar and Colin Miller, the team won silver.

By the final international race for M35 – M45 conditions were more sticky and slippery, which made the race more interesting. The best performance on the day by a Scottish man was certainly produced by Bobby Quinn, who was second M40 behind England’s Tim Hartley. They both outpaced all the M35s. Lewis Lawson finished 9th M45.

2009: Birmingham, Perry Park. What would have been a flat, fast course was hit by a thunderstorm just before the start of the race, so that mud became a challenge, particularly on corners.

In the women’s race, Sue Ridley (10th W40) was first Scot home; Sonia Armitage was 9th W45; Phyllis Hands 10th W50.

However, the finest Scottish performance was achieved by ultra-consistent Jane Waterhouse, who fought off three English rivals to win the W60 title. Jane wrote later that, athletically, it was her finest hour! Liz Bowers and Liz McGarry helped her to secure team silver as well.

Ian Leggett (4th M70), assisted by Les Nicol (6th) and Hugh Rankin (7th) made sure that the Scots finished second team. Davie Fairweather, Pete Cartwright and Bobby Young were 5th, 6th and 7th in the M65 contest, to win silver as well. George Mitchell was 5th M60; Andy McLinden 4th M55, with Doug Cowie 7th; and Jeff Farquhar ran especially well to win individual M50 silver, with Ian Stewart 8th.

In the M35-49 race, first Scot was Neil Wilkinson (8th M40). Iain Campbell finished 7th M45.

2010: Dublin, Santry Demesne. On a deceptively tough, increasingly muddy lap course near the Billy Morton Stadium, Melissa Whyte was the Scottish star, with 3rd overall in the women’s race and 1st W45.

Sue Ridley ran well to be 5th in that age group. The ultra-consistent Jane Waterhouse was 4th W55, with Liz Bowers 9th. Hazel Bradley ran her usual good race for 5th W60, with Kate Todd 7th. Steve Wylie did very well to finish 5th M35.

Dave Gardiner excelled with 4th M40. Iain Campbell was 6th M50; Alastair Dunlop 8th M55; Robert Marshall 6th M60; Davie Fairweather 9th M65; and Walter McCaskey 7th M70.

2011: Glasgow, Bellahouston Park. Report by Davie Fairweather. The race was two weeks later than usual, on 26th November. The weather forecast was poor, but we didn’t get snow and ice, just rain and gales, which made the course very heavy, slippery and treacherous. Nevertheless the Scottish teams had some good results.

In the 6 km race for Women and Men aged 65 upwards, there was a tremendous battle between Lesley Chisholm W35, Melissa Whyte W45 and Fiona Matheson W50, who eventually finished 3rd, 4th and 5th overall respectively. Lesley was second W35 but Melissa Whyte and Fiona Matheson both won age-group titles.

The W35 team (including Dianne Lauder 4th, Julia Henderson 7th and Paula Wilson) finished second, as did the W45 outfit (Sue Ridley 5th, Kirsty Husband 8th and Hilary McGrath 8th). Sheila Gollan was 6th W40; Jane Waterhouse 5th W55, with Erica Christie 9th and Phillis Hands 10th; and Kate Todd was 7th W60, with Beth McLafferty 10th. Betty Gilchrist (W65) ran extremely well to secure individual silver.

Totally reliable George Mitchell finished third M65, and with backing from Stewart McCrae (8th), Pete Cartwright and Davie Fairweather, his team was second.

Ian Leggett 6th, Watson Jones 8th and Walter McCaskey 11th did well in the M70 age group.

In the M35-64 race, the M35 team (Jamie Reid an excellent 2nd, David Millar 4th, Robert Gilroy 7th and Joe McKnight 17th) finished second. Stuart Kerr was 7th M40; and Neil Thin won M50 individual bronze, with Iain Campbell 6th. The M55 team packed well (Brian Gardner 3rd, Paul Thompson 5th, Alastair Dunlop 6th and Alex Chisholm 8th) to make sure of silver medals. Andy McLinden ran very well to finish 2nd M60.

2012: Belfast, Queen’s University Playing Fields. Fiona Matheson gave a first class performance to retain her W50 title. Sue Ridley ran well, as usual, to achieve W45 individual bronze, as did Liz Bowers (W60). Joasia Zakrzewski was 7th W35; Jacqui Thomson 6th W45; Pamela McCrossan 8th W50; and Hazel Bradley 8th W60.

Pete Cartwright excelled again to win M70 bronze. George Mitchell produced another fine run to win M65 bronze, and led his team [Colin Youngson (7th), Stewart McCrae and Hamish Cameron] to silver medals.

In Race Two, Ian Stewart (M55) and Andy McLinden (M60) both secured individual silver. Neil Thin (M50), Brian Gardner (M55) and Tony Martin (M60) all finished fifth in their categories. The M55 squad (Stewart, Gardner, Gerry Gaffney and Alastair Dunlop) was second.

In Race Three, Kerry-Liam Wilson (M40) and Charlie Thomson both tried extremely hard and achieved 5th places in their age groups.

After the races but before the banquet, for some Scots there was a particularly memorable hour, celebrating in the nearby heritage pub The Barton Arms, which was actually hosting a real ale festival at that time. Forres Harriers trio Paul Rogan, Doug Cowie and Colin Youngson, plus Archie Jenkins and (kind abstemious driver) Lynne Marr drank fast. Only one of them consumed slightly more strong ale than was entirely sensible! 2013:

Cardiff, Bute Park. The course was flat as a pancake, dry and firm; and the weather calm and quite mild. The amazing Fiona Matheson was first Scot in the women’s race and won the W50 title, for the third year in a row, in emphatic style, as well as leading her team [Hilary McGrath (5th), Beryl Junnier and Pamela McCrossan] to silver medals. A few seconds behind Fiona, Lesley Chisholm ran well to finish 5th W35.

Jane Waterhouse excelled to win W60 individual silver, and led her team (Liz Bowers, Hazel Bradley and Linden Nicholson) to second place.

Robert Marshall was fourth M65; and Bobby Young also ran well to win individual bronze (M70). Stan Mackenzie (5th M50) was first Scot in the M50-64 race; and Paul Thompson won a fine individual bronze medal (M55).

In the 35-49 event, Kerry-Liam Wilson had a good run to be first Scot and 3rd M40.

2014: Nottingham, Wollaton Park. “We assembled in good time on the steps of Wollaton Hall for the photoshoot. Once again we were blessed with good weather: it was very mild, calm, and almost remained dry. The course was more testing than last year, but was ideal for runners and spectators.

In Race One, Megan Wright and Fiona Matheson came up the hill on the first of three laps in good positions, closely followed by Hilary McGrath and Beryl Junnier. Martin McEvilly ROI & Martin Ford ENG were also well up the field. Fiona was being challenged by Clare Elms ENG as the race progressed, and (2nd W50) was just pipped on the line. She was closely followed by Melissa Wylie, who had moved up to 4th W45 and Megan 7th W40. Hilary McGrath (5) and Beryl Junnier (9) helped Fiona to win W50 team silver medals.

Meanwhile Isobel Burnett finished 8th W55. Jane Waterhouse was 5th W60, and with support from Liz Bowers (6) and Hazel Bradley (9) won another team silver. Then Betty Gilchrist (1st W70) came through with a commanding lead of 1:37 over Brigid Quinn NI, and in front of all 3 Scottish W65 runners.

Alex Sutherland (6) was the first M65 Scot to finish. Bobby Young improved one place on last year to win M70 silver. Pete Cartwright 5th M70 and Gibson Fleming (11) ensured that their team won silver medals. Les Nicol was 3rd M75, and led 80 years young Walter McCaskey (6), and Bill Murray (13) to team bronze medals.

In Race Two, Stan MacKenzie finished 8th M50. Paul Thompson and Colin Feechan worked well together to end up 5th and 6th M55.

 Frank Hurley and Andy McLinden ran very well to secure individual silver and bronze M60 medals.Tony Martin (8) and Doug Cowie ensured M60 team gold for Scotland.

In Race Three, Robert Gilroy had a cracking run, finishing 2nd M35.

Overall, Scotland won one gold, four silver, and two bronze individual medals; and one gold, three silver and five bronze team medals, our best result since 2011.

2015: Dublin, Santry Demesne. The race was held on almost the same course as previously, but some minor changes were made because of the water-logged conditions. However. the team did a lot better than 5 years ago, finishing 3rd Women’s team, 3rd Men’s team and 3rd overall out of the 5 competing countries; and won 4 silver and 8 bronze team medals. There were 4 individual silver medallists & 1 bronze medallist, but unfortunately no gold medals.

In Race One, Joasia Zakrzewski finished 3rd W35, behind Anne-Marie McGlynn & Natasha Adams IRL, followed 32sec later by 2nd W50 Fiona Matheson, who was once again pipped in the finishing straight by Claire Elms ENG. With help from Beryl Junnier , Pamela McCrossan and Rhona Anderson, the W50 team won silver medals. Sharon Muir and Alison Dargie were 7th and 8th W40.

Betty Gilchrist again finished clear of Brigid Quinn, but was pushed into 2nd place by new W70 Dot Fellows ENG. Isobel Burnett 6th W55, Jane Kerridge 5th W60, Hazel Bradley 4th W65 and Anne Docherty 6th W70 all deserve special mention.

Alex Sutherland was first Scots male, finishing 7th M65, 2 sec ahead of 1st M70 Peter Giles ENG. Bob Young and Stewart McCrae finished 5th and 6th M70, and Pete Cartwright made sure that the team was second.

George Black put in a brave run, with the aid of permitted painkillers, to finish 2nd M75 just 4 sec behind Peter Covey ENG and 1min ahead of 6th placed Watson Jones. 81 year old Walter McCaskey was 8th M75, 2 min behind Watson, ensuring that the M75 plus team won silver.

In Race Two, Neil Thin ran extremely well to finish 2nd M55, 23sec behind Tommy Payne IRL. Colin Feechan was 5th M55. Robert McLennan and Paul Thompson also contributed to team silver. Andy McLinden and Alastair Dunlop were 7th and 8th M60.

In Race 3 Martin Williams 7th M35 was first Scots finisher, followed by 7th M40, Kenny Campbell. Kerry-Liam Wilson was 7th M45.

David Fairweather, Men’s Team Manager for a very long time, who has written so many reports on the British and Irish International, decided to step down from the post. Alastair Macfarlane declared that it would take more than one man to fill Davie’s shoes – and indeed two men will share the job in 2016.

Davie wrote: “I want to pass on the responsibility of being Team Manager to younger members. Although it has been a fantastic 23 years, and I’ve made so many friends, I have found the last 2 events particularly stressful, with the increased number of competitors, and I’m also feeling the effects of the advancing years!”


(Encouraged by former ultra-distance man Geoff Stott’s recent contribution, I decided to submit an article to ‘Roadrunner’, the magazine of the Road Runners Club. This was published in Spring 2016. Ed.)

Long ago, while at Aberdeen University, I first became aware of the RRC when I took part in one of Scotland’s most famous road races: The Tom Scott Memorial Ten Miles, from Law to Motherwell. The distance may well have been accurate, but the first mile was steeply downhill, and Scotland’s best runners often participated, so times were always fast. In 1968, at the age of 20, I finished 24th in 53.22 and discovered that this was only just outside the “1st Class Standard” of 53 minutes.

Older Aberdeen AAC runners, like Alastair Wood and Donald Ritchie, who both went on to win the London to Brighton in very fast times, and who also tended to ‘murder’ me on long Sunday runs, talked about the RRC; and I must have joined not long thereafter. My membership number is 3882 and, since then, I have continued to pay my subscription every year. I did so, motivated by the RRC Standards Scheme (and of course the excellent magazine). Yes, there were not many races in Scotland that were recognised, but to gain a First Class Certificate, by achieving this standard at three different distances in a single year, was definitely possible, if I continued to train hard and mature into a decent senior athlete.

Road was definitely my best surface during peak years, since I lacked the gymnastic and mud-skipping skills to succeed in cross-country and did not have enough middle distance speed to excel.

In 1969, although the Tom Scott results sheet showed me scraping under 1st Class Standard with 52.44, my race certificate stated only 2nd Class! Unfinished business, then. Later that year, aged 21, I ran my first marathon – Inverness to Forres – in 2.41.13, so maybe I had potential at longer distances.

Eventually, in 1972, representing Victoria Park AAC in Glasgow, since I had started work there as a teacher of English, but also Aberdeen AAC second claim, I obtained a treasured RRC First Class Certificate: second in the Scottish Track Ten Miles in 50.15; the Morpeth to Newcastle 13 and a half in 1.09.11; and third in the Scottish Marathon in 2.26.45 (after striking a very large ‘wall’ about 23!) Alastair Wood, who I had kept up with for 16 miles, easily won his sixth title, fully five minutes in front.

Earlier in 1972 I had taken part in Aberdeen AAC’s attempt to break the record for the ten-man John o’Groats to Land’s End Relay. We failed by half an hour; but succeeded a year later by running one hour faster. It was educational to plumb new depths of exhaustion while continuing to do my best; but truly inspiring to watch in action amazing team-mates like our charismatic but sarcastic guru Alastair Wood, Steve Taylor, Sandy Keith, Rob Heron and Joe Clare. Some very good marathon and ultra runners there!

In 1982 we took another hour and three quarters off this mark, with stars like Graham Laing and Fraser Clyne, as well as the almost indefatigable Wood and legendary Ritchie. 850 miles in 77 hours 24 minutes and 8 seconds.

My own best ever run was my first Scottish Marathon win in 1975, when a new Championship record was set: 2.16.50, with Sandy Keith a minute behind. Max Coleby (Gateshead Harriers) and I (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) represented GB in the Berchem International Marathon in Antwerp that autumn, and won the team race, beating Eire and all the continentals.

In the Two Bridges 36, I was three minutes behind the great Cavin Woodward at ten miles, but had clawed back a few seconds by the finish, securing second place in 3.29.44 – this was my first venture beyond the marathon.

 Although I managed to break 2.20 another eight times over the next ten years, and ran quite frequently for Scotland, mainly in Home Countries Marathon Internationals (my team even beat the other three plus Eire in Glasgow 1983) I seldom dared to attempt an ultra. Yes, I paid close attention to RRC Standard Times at other distances (especially after reaching veteran status and then continuing through the age-groups), but sadly never took part in RRC Championships, despite racing more than fifty marathons all over Europe, including the Marathon to Athens, plus Boston, USA.

One exception was in October 1980, when I finally summoned up the nerve to attempt the most famous RRC race of them all: the London to Brighton Road Race (that year, a daunting 54 and a quarter miles in length). On the Westminster Bridge start-line, I introduced myself to Gloucester AAC’s future 24 hour world record breaker Dave Dowdle, and ran with him and his team-mate Ken Leyshon at a sensible speed for a very long time. At 40 miles, having missed a drinks station (where I was looking forward to a glucose-based potion plus a plastic bag of dates!) I began to hit the proverbial, but soldiered on, better up Dale Hill than down, due to knackered quads.

I had been warned that ‘Welcome to Brighton’ meant six miles to go! Eventually I plodded over the finish line, my legs wobbled and I had to be helped into the famous Baths, which had individual cubicles. The water there proved to be not far off boiling – scream!

However, the heat helped tired muscles and sipping cool water started recovery. The afternoon was spent eating ice cream, drinking coke and chatting to other survivors. Former European and Commonwealth Marathon Champion Ian Thompson had smashed the average time per mile record, and was 37 minutes faster than my 7th place in 5.52.04, but even that was 35 minutes inside First Class. My award was the smallest medal ever but, for me, one of the most important. At last I could claim to be a true RRC member.

In 1984 I was a struggling third, a very long way behind my old friend Don Ritchie in the 50 miles Edinburgh to Glasgow solo road race, which went from Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, to George Square, Glasgow. Donald and I (Aberdeen AAC) won the team prize. That was almost the end of ultras for me, although I had finished fourth in the 1980 Two Bridges, and went on to win the 1986 28 Mile Lairig Ghru Race and perform reasonably well in a couple of Speyside Way 50km races in the mid 1990s.

After I hit 50, due to weaker legs which could no longer pound out adequate mileage, marathons gave me up (although I did win one British Veterans M45 title at the 1993 Flying Fox event in Stone, Staffs.); and since then my better age-group efforts have been in the annual British and Irish Masters International XC or on the track.

Nowadays, daily jogging seems almost enough, in the pleasant wooded environment of Forres, Moray. However, it is pleasant to look back on distant memories of good competitive road-racing, when I met world-class athletes as well as enjoying the friendliness of so many fellow runners.

Credit must be given for the initial impetus provided by that motivating organisation, the Road Runners Club.

By Colin Youngson


The Arduous Joy of Racing

By Roger Robinson

(A valediction for “Running Times,” the American magazine which so richly served performance-seeking runners of all levels and ages. Many thanks to the author, one of the very finest athletics journalists, for permission to reprint this article.)

It’s magic—that moment in a race when suddenly, unexpectedly, you think you might beat the rival who has broken away from you. It was almost two miles into the 8K race when Rob caught an unexpected glimpse of Joel’s red shirt, bobbing among the crowd of runners ahead. There he is! It’s him! Is he coming back? Am I closing? Maybe, maybe! Yes! There he is again! Rob was suddenly refocused.

From the gun, Joel had powered confidently away, soon out of sight in the surging river of runners. Rob, his pace stretched close to the edge, had given away hope of the age-group win. That was as expected. Joel was a minute faster on recent times. But suddenly, unexpectedly, the race was on again. Rob checked the gap. He’s closer! About 18 seconds. Must have gone out too fast, and he’s paying for it. There’s a chance. Don’t blow it. Catch him slowly. Slowly! Yes, good, down to 15 seconds. Get it right. Twelve seconds. Now he’s within range. Get with him and wait.

Between two and three miles Rob angled across through the moving crowd to take up position a step behind Joel. The pace seemed a shade slower. Following is always easier. Wait! Wait! This is good! Get it right! Wait till he’s at his lowest! Between three and four is the place to break him. When you wait like that, there’s a build-up of potential energy. You’re near full stretch but the battery is recharging. At every stride the mind is assessing how you feel and how he looks.

At three miles Rob began to sense the moment. He moved alongside. Later Joel said, “You looked so smooth, and I was leaking oil.” It wasn’t quite time to attack, but to share, to test, to put just a little pressure on—getting ready. Rob wanted a good break by four miles. The course’s last half-mile is downhill, so with his restricted downhill speed he needed a gap before that point.

After three minutes side by side, with the four-mile marker due soon, it was time. Rob surged—not too hard, not tilting over into oxygen debt, but enough to change the rhythm. He got the break, worked hard after four to keep it, and held it down the hill to the river. The finish-line felt like a triumph.

Rob is me. Joel is Joe Philpott, top senior age-group runner in Virginia. The race was the HCA Virginia 8K, part of the excellent Richmond Marathon festival on November 14, 2015. Joe and I are aged 72 and 76.

For the race narrative above, I changed our names and concealed our ages, otherwise no reader under 50 would have got past the first sentence, or believed that such doddering old antiques could possibly have a race worth taking seriously. But it is so. Believe me. It’s been more than 25 years since I experienced a race as totally absorbing and ultimately successful as that one.

That race demanded the same hard and carefully structured hours of training, the same intense commitment—mental as well as physical—and the same sequence of precise tactical decisions, as when I was racing 29 minutes for 10K, 50 years ago. In age group terms Joe and I ran well, national class: 36:01 for me, 36:28 for Joe.

But this, my last “Roger on Running” column for Running Times, is not about age. It is dedicated to the thing that has distinguished Running Times, and made it so true to running as it evolved from 1977 to 2015—the recognition that competition, runner-to-runner contest, aspiration, totally committed personal effort, are still of the essence, even in the ascendance of the “complete, not compete” mass fun-run culture.

“Why don’t you just have fun?” friends sometimes ask me. But I do have fun, I say, nothing is more fun for me than the drama and challenge of a hard tactical race. I love it, win or lose. It’s like a great novel or play, but you’re one of the characters, you’re in the midst of the action, and you don’t know how it’s going to end. Are you the hero or a minor face in the crowd? Only the race will tell. Nothing is more fun than that, or the months of hard structured training with a friend or team-mates, all focused on improvement.

Thirty years ago, in Heroes and Sparrows, my first running book, I described my famously rigorous interval training as “purposeful fun.” That was the truth. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. Young, rambunctious, and intently focused, we jested and mocked our way through miles of unremitting effort.

I’m uncomfortable with the insistence that unpurposeful “fun” is the be-all and end-all of human choice about how to use our disposable time. I enjoy my cakes and ale as much as anyone, but I grew up in the aftermath of a devastating war, on a literature that values the deep rewards of duty, moral honesty, and strenuous personal effort to make the most of your talents. For the ancient Greeks—not a bad cultural role model—it was through competition that humanity could best fulfill our potential and approach nearest to the gods. Racing to your best was a religious commitment. Their word for competition was “agon”, from which we take “agony,” our word for extreme pain, and also our word for active participation, as “protagonists.” Not just being there, but contesting, striving to achieve your best possible.

The athletes lived and trained before the Games in sacred sanctuaries. “The sanctuaries’ spiritual task was to teach that it was only through the contest, the sporting competition, that humanity could succeed in becoming free from the ‘bestial life,’ in awakening and developing the inexhaustible mental and physical powers with which nature has endowed us…The Games laid the foundation for the ideal of noble rivalry.” (Nicolaos Yalouris, The Eternal Olympics, 1976) “Noble rivalry” gets it well.

Nothing forges a friendship better than a hard race, or a hard training session, because you feel such total respect for someone who has pushed to her or his limits and made you push to yours. I’d never met Joe Philpott before, but quickly found he is a substantial, engaging, and literate man. And a terrific runner and competitor. He reports that he went right back to the drawing board, revised the intervals component in his training, analyzed his over-ambitious first mile, and he will no doubt be after my guts next time we met.

He’s not the only one. Harry Carter, 79, whom I beat in Boston in June, told me later through Facebook, “I’m working on recovering my marathon qualifying time and so far am staying healthy.” Then there’s Bill Mayle, Ron Maston, Roland Comrie, and others.

This year was my best racing year for three decades. But next year, for me, begins to look like the Gunfight at OK Corral. We love it, creaky old pensioners though we are. The harder, the better. Don’t tell us we’re not having fun. There’s nothing elitist or exclusive about this. It’s true in every age group. We don’t interfere with all the non-competitive runners who are there for their own kind of fun. Our sport is huge, and generously inclusive.

I do smile, however, at all those—pretty much every runner on the planet—who claim to be running “only to finish,” yet go into ecstasies when they hear they got a personal record. No one is immune to the pleasure of improvement (“developing their mental and physical powers,” as the Greeks put it). The heroes and the sparrows, I wrote 30 years ago, truly are equal.

But at this sad moment in running’s history, with the demise of the magazine that so richly served racing runners of all levels and ages, it’s appropriate to take a last opportunity to celebrate pure racing—and its “arduous joy.” It’s admirable, and of great benefit to society, that so many runners join our sport because they want to take charge of their health, lose weight, eat well, claim private time, transform their lives, raise money for a good cause, be part of a community, and many other excellent reasons.

I am putting a word in here for another group, those of us who may share those motives, but more than anything simply love to race. We love the process, the way of the competitive runner’s life, the sharpness of mind and emotional joy it gives us, and the welcoming community of fellow racing runners it admits us to.

“Life has no happiness as pure, or as fully deserved, as winning the race by your own speed and strength, achieving it through determined preparation and focused courage on the day.” That’s the Greek poet Pindar, about 2,490 years ago. We may lose our magazine but we won’t lose the happiness of competition.


The Scottish Master Marathoner Award

Introduction We know that many Masters athletes commit huge amounts of time, talent and commitment to training for their competitive programme each year and that the recognition afforded to them is less than might be seen in some other sports. The Scottish Veteran Harriers Club (SVHC) is now going to do something about that for the segment of our membership for whom running a good marathon is a particular target.

The Award

  • Will be presented annually to the best age-graded performance (using WMA Tables) recognised by the SVHC Committee in a Scottish Athletics permitted marathon run in Scotland by a member of SVHC over the age of 35.
  • For the purposes of this Award the year will be 1st October to 30th September.
  • To be considered for the Award athletes will require to have been in fully paid membership of the SVHC on the date of competition.
  • Winners of the Award will receive a commemorative medal and a cash prize of 100 guineas (£105) and have their race success featured in the Club magazine.

While the Committee of the SVHC will keep a watching brief on race results it will also be in the gift of individual athletes to bring their performance to the notice of the Club’s handicapper for ratification.

The decision of the SVHC Committee in deciding on the Award will be final.

While the SVHC will underwrite the Award for at least 20 years, this will not preclude us seeking sponsorship for it to support Masters Athletics in Scotland.

Background The genesis of the Award came from discussions following a £2,000 legacy left to the Club in 2015 by Bob Donald, late Honorary Life President. Bob was a keen marathoner and long-time supporter of Masters Athletics and the SVHC felt it fitting to recognise one outstanding performance annually in an event which is sometimes focused on big city marathons to the detriment of other races.

Andy Law



Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Victoria Harriers and SVHC) produced yet another marvellous performance in the Great Scottish Run 10k on the 2nd of October. Ken Young of the Association of Road Running Statisticians, which is the leading authority on the sport (do check their marvellous website has confirmed that Fiona’s time (adjusted to 36.16 since her 36.14 was a net time for joggers!) set a new W55 World Record, taking two seconds off the German athlete Silke Schmidt’s previous mark set in Utrecht, Netherlands in 2015.

(Many congratulations to Fiona, a truly great Masters athlete. Ed.)



Kerry-Liam Wilson was the deserved winner of the Scottish Masters Athlete of the Year Award, at the Scottish Athletics Awards Ceremony on 29th October, for his multi success on road, country and track at Scottish, UK and European level.

On the road he won Scottish M40 gold at 5K, 10 miles and at the half marathon, UK gold at 5K and European M45 silver in the half marathon. He also secured M45 gold in the Scottish 3K indoors along with Scottish and UK M45 5K gold medals as well as setting M45 age group bests for 5 and 10K. Kerry-Liam further demonstrated his versatility by winning the Scottish M45 Cross Country title. In addition, he was a vital team member in helping Cambuslang win all of last season’s M40 Scottish team titles on road and country and to achieve UK team silver in the UK O35 6 man road relay championships in Birmingham. (from the Cambuslang Harriers website)

(We would all wish to add our congratulation to Kerry-Liam on this achievement, which is thoroughly deserved for his fantastic dedication, hard but thoughtful training and racing consistency. May his success continue for many years! Ed.)



There was a medal rush from the Scots in the final day of the Championships in Perth with the stars of the show being Gold Medallists Claire Thompson (Victoria Park Glasgow) and Paul Thompson (Cambuslang).

Claire, following her PB in yesterdays “warm-up” 1500m, claimed her first World Title, winning the W40 2,000m Steeplechase with a time of 7mins 25.49secs to beat the top Australians by a massive 24secs. Perth proved to be an excellent hunting ground for Claire, leaving with a Gold and Silver medal.

Paul added the title of M60 World Half Marathon Champion to the 5,000m which he won earlier in the week. He also led his team to Gold medals in the team race, taking his tally of medals to four for the championships. Paul finished the half with a time of 83 mins 00secs.

Moving back to the track, Julie Wilson (Inverness), running in her first chase over the distance, also picked up her first World medal, running a very courageous race in the W45 2,000m Steeplechase, finishing 3rd with a time of 8mins 10.23secs.

Summary of Medallists Gold – Paul Thompson M60 5000m Gold – Paul Thompson M60 Half Marathon Gold – Paul Thompson M60 Half Marathon Team Gold – Claire Thompson W40 2,000m Steeplechase Gold – Sue Ridley W50 Cross Country Team Gold – Alex Sutherland M65 Cross Country Team Gold – Janette Stevenson W65 Cross Country Team Gold – Jan Fellowes

W60 Half Marathon Team Silver – Janette Stevenson W65 Cross Country Individual Silver – Janette Stevenson W65 4x400m Relay Silver – Ian Williams M35 Cross Country Team Silver – Colin Feechan M55 Cross Country Team Silver – Colin Feechan M55 Half Marathon Team Silver – Claire Thompson W35

Cross Country Team Bronze – Jane Scott W35 100m Hurdles Bronze – Janette Stevenson W65 5,000m Bronze – Julie Wilson W45 2,000m Steeplechase Bronze – Paul Thompson M60 Cross Country Team Bronze – Caroline Lawless W55 Cross Country Team Bronze – Jan Fellowes W60 Cross Country Team Bronze – Bob Douglas M60 4x400m Relay Bronze – Debbie Savage W40 Marathon Team Bronze – Michael Craig M50 Half Marathon Team Bronze – Mark Simpson M45 Half Marathon Team Bronze – Ian Williams M40 Half Marathon Team


British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Sat 12th November 2016, Tollcross Park, Glasgow

 This year the race returned to Scotland, and the Committee decided in 2014 that they would use the same course at Tollcross Park that had been successfully used for the BMAF Cross Country championship. It was all go from then for John Bell, Campbell Joss, Andy Law, Alastair Macfarlane, Ada Stewart and other helpers, to get the race organized for 2016.

The Committee decided to hold a Selection Race on the course in September, with the first 2 finishers in each age-group gaining automatic selection for the International team. This race was very successful, and provided a good opportunity to get the feel of the course. Another innovation was a team get-together in October, with another chance to train on the course, and an opportunity to obtain numbers, vests and function tickets

England’s population advantage always makes them favourites in most races at this event but in certain age groups, with five-year brackets, Ireland and Scotland also secured team golds.

Three Scottish women’s teams took gold medals with the W35s setting the tone thanks to Gillian Palmer (2), Michelle Sandison (3) and Dianne Lauder (4). Dianne is actually W40 but was an invaluable addition to the W35 team.

The other winning women’s teams were at W65 via Ann White (2), Jeanette Craig (3) and Hazel Bradley (6) as well as the trio at W70 of Elizabeth Gilchrist (4), Liz Corbett (5) and Anne Docherty (6).

By an impressively clear margin, Fiona Matheson took individual gold in the W55 category (18th overall); and Lesley Chisholm bronze in the W40 (9th overall).

The competition was intense in the men’s age brackets as Robert Gilroy took a hard-earned bronze at M40 and Neil Thin likewise at M55.

Andy McLinden was a silver medallist at M65 while there was a bronze for Stewart McCrae at M70 and a silver for George Black at M75.

With a number of the Scotland teams picking up silvers and bronzes, the overall competition ended in a win for England, with Ireland second and the hosts in third – ahead of visitors Wales and Northern Ireland.

Race 1: 6km for Women and M65+

W35: 1 SCOTLAND Gillian Palmer 2, 20:29, Michelle Sandison 3, 20:53, Dianne Lauder 4, 20:57, Katie White 7, 21:09.

W40: 2 SCOTLAND Lesley Chisholm 3, 21:02, Joasia Zakrzewski 6, 21:30, Sharon Muir 8, 21:50, Jennifer MacLean 10, 21:52.

W45: 3 SCOTLAND Karen Kennedy 5, 22:11, Fiona Dalgleish 9, 22:21, Jennifer Forbes 12, 22:38, Lindsey Currie 14, 23:32.

W50: 2 SCOTLAND Hilary McGrath 4, 22:30, Susan Ridley 8, 23:11, Mary Western 11, 23:39, Rhona Anderson 16, 24:30.

W55: 2 SCOTLAND Fiona Matheson 1, 21:24, Pamela McCrossan 5, 23:57, Isobel Burnett 7, 24:14, Lorna Coyle 12, 26:02.

W60: 3 SCOTLAND Jane Kerridge 7, 25:30, Innes Bracegirdle 8, 25:40, Margaret Martin 11, 26:11, Linden Nicholson 16, 27:17.

W65: 1 SCOTLAND Ann White 2, 24:23, Jeanette Craig 3, 25:41, Hazel Bradley 6, 26:27, Beth McLafferty 9, 28:42.

W70: 1 SCOTLAND Betty Gilchrist 4, 30:07, Liz Corbett 5, 30:11, Anne Docherty 6, 30:15.

M65: 3 SCOTLAND Andy McLinden 2, 22:00, George Sim 9, 23:21, Alex Sutherland 10, 23:43, Robert Marshall 16, 25:12.

M70: 3 SCOTLAND Stewart McCrae 3, 24:25, Bob Young 6, 24:38, Pete Cartwright 13, 26:40, David Fairweather 17, 28:36.

M75: 2 SCOTLAND George Black 2, 26:47, Watson Jones 8, 28:51, Walter McCaskey 10, 30:04, Jim Scobie 12, 33:42.

Race 2: 8km for M50 – M60.

M50: 5 SCOTLAND Stan Mackenzie 15, 27:08, Jim Buchanan 17, 27:31, Alan Derrick 18, 27:44, Denis Williams 25, 28:25, Steve Worsley 28, 29:14, Robert McCulloch 30, 30:18.

M55: 3 SCOTLAND Neil Thin 3, 26:31, James Gallacher 9, 27:55, Dave Thom 14, 28:32, Jeff Farquhar 19, 29:48.

M60: 2 SCOTLAND Frank Hurley 4, 28:35, Paul Thompson 6, 28:42, Alastair Dunlop 8, 28:59, Frankie Barton 15, 29:53.

Race 3: 8km for M35 – M45:

M35: 3 SCOTLAND Iain Reid 8, 24:58, Grant Baillie 11, 25:09, Chris Devine 14, 25:27, Colin Thomas 17, 25:48, David Henderson 19, 25:53, Richard Mair 20, 25:59. M40: 3 SCOTLAND Robert Gilroy 3, 24:39, Jamie Reid 7, 25:33, Chris Walsh 13, 26:09, Graeme Paterson 17, 26:25, Justin Carter 20, 26:43, Stephen Allan 24, 27:18. M45: 4 SCOTLAND, Graham McCabe 13, 26:40, Ian Johnston 14, 26:41, Gareth Jenkins 16, 26:46, Paul Monaghan 21, 26:54, Russell Whittington 22, 27:04, Roger Clark 25, 28:03.

Next year’s race is Sat 18th November 2017 at Derry, Northern Ireland. David Fairweather


Reflections on Tollcross

It was a mixture of relief and satisfaction when the dinner and disco concluded early on Sunday morning after all the action at the park. The event was 2 years in the making and the core team of organisers finally saw all their efforts culminate in a very successful weekend according to all the post-race feedback. This was only made possible by a large group of volunteers to whom grateful thanks are due.

In September a trial was held over the course and many runners thought this was a good innovation. Not only did it help the selectors but it seemed to engender a healthy team spirit for the actual event. It may become a regular fixture.

Looking at the results featured elsewhere it may also have assisted in improving our overall tally of medals. Congratulations to all the medal winners.

Scotland finished in joint second place overall with Ireland which I believe is better than most recent years.

Many favourable comments were received about the course layout. The function at the Crowne Plaza seemed to be a resounding success. The video footage of the races during the meal was very popular and was followed by all the prize winners being featured on the big screen. Lachie Stewart was our special guest and presented the medals with genuine enthusiasm. It was a great privilege to share a meal and memories of his wonderful running career.

Next year it is on to Derry and judging by the slick presentation by the very enthusiastic lady from Northern Ireland it should be a popular venue.

Campbell Joss, SVHC President



After 16 races spread over 11 months the Jackie Gourlay Trophy for the winner of the Men’s event goes this year to Colin Feechan with 70.4 points, followed by Bobby Young 2nd on 69.0 and Connell Drummond 3rd, 64.7. Stuart Waugh & Robert Rogerson made up the top five, covered by 7.3 points.

The Dale Greig Trophy for the winner of the Women’s event goes to Pamela McCrossan 68.8 points, followed by Phyllis Hands with 64.1, and Marina McCallum 53.7. Shirley MacNab & Lesley Chisholm made up the top five, covered by 34.8 points.

The best performances over the series came from Colin Feechan and Bobby Young with 9.0 points at the Xmas Handicap.

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 draft list for 2016/17 is –

17/10/16 SVHC 10K Track Champs Coatbridge

??/05/17 SVHC Walter Ross 10K Road Race Cartha

30/10/16 Ruby’s Race 5K Kilmarnock

??/05/17 Bathgate Hill Race Bathgate

11/12/16 SVHC 5 mile Xmas Handicap Clydebank

 07/06/17 Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Edinburgh

25/02/17 SAL Cross Country Champs Falkirk

tbc SAL Masters Track & Field 3km/5km

??//03/17 Lasswade 10 miles Road Race Lasswade

??/06/17 SVHC 5km Champs Clydebank

02/04/17 Tom Scott 10 miles Road Race Strathclyde Pk

??/08/17 SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha

 ??/04/17 Round the Houses 10K Grangemouth

tbc Marathon Moray??

03/05/17 Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge

??/10/17 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch


Run and Become Become and Run Scotland’s Specialist Running Store KEEPING THE CAPITAL RUNNING 20 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW 0131 331 5300




President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

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

Membership Secretary: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 5780526

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


December 2016

 Sun 11th SVHC 5mile Christmas Handicap Playdrome, Clydebank 2pm

January 2017

 Sun 22nd SVHC Open Masters Road Relays Strathclyde Park, 11:00

Sat 28th SA Masters XC, Camperdown Park, Dundee Entry via 1st claim club February 2017

Sat 25th SA XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk

Sun 26th BMAF 10 Mile Championships, Netherhall School, Netherhall Road Maryport, Cumbria CA15 6NT

March 2017

Sun 5th SA Masters Indoors Champs Emirates Arena Glasgow

Sun 5th Lasswade 10 miles Road Race

Sat 11th – Sun 12th BMAF Indoor Track & Field Champs Lee Valley Athletics Centre Sat 18th BMAF Cross Country Champs, Liverpool

April 2017

Sun 2nd Tom Scott 10 mile road race West Dist Champs Strathclyde Park

Sun 9th Round the Houses 10K Grangemouth

May 2017

Wed 3rd Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, 19:30

Sat 20th BMAF Road Relay Championships Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield Birmingham B74 2YT

Date tbc SVHC Walter Ross 10K RR Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30

Date tbc Bathgate Hill Race, Meadow Park, Bathgate

June 2017

Wed 7th Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh, 7:30pm.

Sun 18th BMAF 5km Championships Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road Horwich BL6 5PY

Sat 24th – Sun 25th BMAF Track & Field Championships Alexander Stadium Walsall Rd Perry Barr Birmingham B42 2LR

Wed 29th ? SVHC 5km road race. Playdrome, Clydebank, 7:30pm.

October 2017

Sun 15th SVHC Track 10K 11:30 & 13:00. AGM 14:00, Grangemouth TBC November 2017

Sat 18th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International – Derry, N. Ireland




I am standing down as Membership Secretary and Alastair Macfarlane is standing down as SVHC Secretary in October 2016. Ada Stewart and John Softley have very kindly volunteered to take over from us, subject to approval at the AGM on 16th October.


Welcome to the 24 new and 4 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 17th March 2016. 40 members did not renew their subs this year, & 1 resigned. As of 24th July 2016, we have 478 paid up members, including 19 over 80, & 4 Life Members.

I regret to report the deaths of 2 ex-members. Jim Robertson from Cathcart tragically died in the Cairngorms on 2 March, 2 days before his 61st birthday. Alex Stevenson from Kilwinning died on 2nd June, aged 81.


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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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



Arlene Lewis 01-Apr-16 2299 Partick

Jane Scott 07-Apr-16 2300 Stirling

Jeanette Craig 20-Apr-16 2301 Blantyre

Graeme Clark 23-Apr-16 2302 Fraserburgh

Chris Devine 01-May-16 2303 Loughbrickland

Patricia Allen 05-May-162304 Wishaw

Anne Marie McGregor 05-May-16 2305 Kirkintilloch

Edward McLoone 05-May-16 2306 Glasgow

Julie Wilson 12-May-162307 Inverness

Tony Golabek 01-Jun-16 2308 Alness

William Goldie 01-Jun-16 2309 Balloch

Scott Bradley 03-Jun-16 2310 Kilsyth

Richard Mair 03-Jun-16 2311 Irvine

Brian Scally 09-Jun-16 2312 Glasgow

Garry Mathew 15-Jun-16 2313 Bearsden

Alex McIntosh 15-Jun-16 2314 Kilmarnock

Kate Jenkins 20-Jun-16 2315 Peebles

Linzie Marsh 25-Jun-16 2316 Dunfermline

Nicholas Gemmell 27-Jun-16 2317 Glasgow

Scott Hyslop 28-Jun-16 2318 Philpstoun

Ian Ellis 28-Jun-162319 Dumbarton

Stuart McGeachy 29-Jun-16 2320 Campbeltown

Ross McEachern 04-Jul-16 2321 Dullatur

John Reid 14-Jul-16 2322 Eyemouth

Alex Hay 01-Apr-16 1913 Lanark

David Geddes 05-Apr-16 603 Glasgow

Jamie Reid 01-Jun-16 2038 Glasgow

Julia Henderson 29-Jun-16 1852 Helensburgh

 David Fairweather Membership Secretary




(Fiona Matheson has been the most successful Scottish Veteran Harrier for several years – although one of her inspirations – Janette Stevenson – is performing equally well at present. I will sum up Fiona’s career achievements after she has answered the Questionnaire. Ed.)

Fiona Matheson battling with Joasia Zakrzewski in the 2013 Tom Scott Ten Fiona went on to win the race and also set a new W50 World Record of 58.08

NAMEFiona Matheson

CLUBs:    Falkirk Victoria Harriers

DATE OF BIRTH:    25.04.1961

OCCUPATION:   Administrator NHS


My journey into running began with Jog Scotland. It’s a brilliant initiative and starter point for people of all ages, shapes, sizes to be introduced to jogging and then, depending on your goals, running and perhaps joining a local club. 

One of Jog Scotland’s mottos is walk before you jog and jog before you run. You do not need to hire any expensive facilities and it requires very little specialist equipment, just some comfy clothing and a pair of trainers. Which reminds me, on the first night of Jog Scotland I wore my old lounging about the house joggy bottoms and a pair of cross trainers that had been at the back of my wardrobe for a number of years.  I did not want to go to any expense in case I did not take to it. After four weeks however I was no longer worried about not taking to it.  I even treated myself to a new pair of joggers and a new pair of trainers.  I loved the ‘at your own pace theme’ of Jog Scotland and of course the boost to my self-esteem, the social aspects and not to mention the huge health benefits.   


A number of individuals but mainly Masters are my inspiration/influence and so many to name and apologies to the many awesome Masters out there I have not name checked, you know who you are, but in particular Janette Stevenson, Caroline Lawless, Andy Ronald, Robin McNelis, Joasia Zakrzewski, Berly Junnier, Laura Mahady, Melissa Whyte, Betty Gilchrist, Walter McCaskey and of course my husband Grant. If he had not started running a few years before me, I might not have even considered running as a hobby. Plus of course all the encouragement/help in planning for races my good friend Jim Munn has given me throughout the years.


So many things. Top of the list, as mentioned above, the huge health benefit, plus definitely meeting so many wonderful like-minded and inspiring people throughout the UK and Ireland.  Visiting places that I might not have got around to if there hadn’t been a race on in that town/city.


It has still got to be my first ever 10K – Round the Houses in Grangemouth. My main aims/goals at that time were to complete this in under an hour, taking out the walking part and jogging all the way, which I did and was absolutely delighted. I remember coming over the finish line, and you would have thought I had won the race, never mind position, whatever it was (which was not important) but in my mind I was a winner, as I had achieved my goals that day! Plus the added bonus of getting a spot prize from Janette Stevenson when I came over the line made it a memory I will never forget.  


I am not a fan of the cold. Therefore if it is extremely cold, which is normal in XC Events, I unfortunately have a bit of a negative head on to start with! Therefore there have been a few XC Events that I have been a little disappointed with.


Perhaps to maybe run an Ultra event, although I have no plans at the moment.


Spending time with my family/friends especially my Grandson Jack.


The discipline you get from the training, planning your events and setting yourself specific goals in life. If you achieve these goals, great, but if not, to continue to work hard to achieve specific goals, by exploring other ways to train by listening to others, tweaking training methods and nutrition, as there is always something that you can learn. The saying “Every day is a School Day” comes to mind, especially for my running. It has also got to be a big advantage to be able to treat yourself food/beverage wise a bit more than if you didn’t run!!


My Running Group RTC Falkirk Victoria Harriers train on a Tuesday, Thursday evening and a Saturday morning. I usually make the Tuesday and Saturday Session and our dedicated, encouraging Coaches David Murray and Gordon Mitchell cater for a variety of different distances, as the Group consists of different age ranges, and individuals targeting different goals, so the training is very well structured and thought out throughout the year.  On the other days of the week I run to and from my work, depending on the time factor in the morning i.e. when I manage to get out of my bed, as I am afraid I’m not someone that can bounce out of bed!  I have a 4, 5 or 7 mile route to choose from, which can take me along the canal, roads or trail.  On a Sunday I have a long run and the mileage depends on what I am training for at the time. Just now (February 2016) I am training for a 10 miler, and therefore my training on Sundays at the moment can be anything between 10-14 miles, depending on what the group training session has been on the Saturday. 

Fiona going for a 10k personal best despite a Stirling downpour 

(Such is Fiona’s modesty, no one reading her answers, above, would have any idea just how good she has been! Following are a few clues…. Ed.)

Fiona Matheson’s running career is remarkable. A late starter, and at first delighted merely that she was able to jog, considerable improvement came amazingly fast.

Despite being in the W40 age-group, Fiona was first overall in the 2005 Scottish Half Marathon in Dunfermline. Other Senior Scottish titles were won in 2010 (Half Marathon again) and 2013 (Ten Miles). She has secured other individual Senior medals in the Scottish 5k and 10k Championships.

As for Scottish Masters titles, you name it, she’s won it, in three age groups, on track (indoors and outdoors) road and country, over distances from 1500m to the marathon! Since most of us rate the Masters Cross-Country very highly, it must be stated that Fiona Matheson has been very successful, despite her self-confessed dislike of cold racing conditions. She led Falkirk Victoria Harriers to three successive team titles (2005-2007); and also won the SWCC and RRA Vets Cup, for the outright winner, in 2006. In 2007 she annexed the W45 title; in 2012, the W50 one; and in January 2016, aged 54, W50 again. Fiona has a tremendous record, when representing Scottish Masters in the annual British and Irish XC International: winning the W50 title in 2012 and 2013; and achieving individual W50 silver in 2014 and 2015.

Back in 2005, Fiona finished first in the Scottish Masters Marathon at Lochaber. In 2006 she won Lochaber again; and in 2007, the Edinburgh Marathon; as well as being first W45 in the Great North Run Half Marathon and the Great Scottish Run 10k.

Since then, Fiona has not gone back to the marathon but has concentrated on shorter distances. Between 2010 and 2014, as her power of 10 profile makes clear, she raced a fantastic amount! British Masters titles were won. In the W45 age group: 5000m (twice); and 5k. In 2011 she ventured abroad to Thionville, France, and won two W45 European non-stadia Championships: 10k and Half Marathon.

In the W50 age group Fiona Matheson has done even better. 2012 saw her win BMAF 1500m and 5000m gold medals in Derby; plus the Scottish East District Senior 3000m. In 2013, in addition to victory in the British Masters 10k in Glasgow, she triumphed again in the BMAF track championships, this time in Birmingham, winning 1500m and 5000m.

2014 was when Fiona Matheson secured perhaps her most prestigious medal. On the 25th of March, in Budapest, Hungary, taking part in the World Masters Championships, she won the W50 Cross Country title. Two days later, she was second in the World Indoors 1500m; and three days after that, second in the 3000m. A World Masters gold medal plus two silver medals in five days!

Fiona has started 2016 with a parkrun, W50 gold in the Scottish Masters XC at Forres, and first in her age group in the Senior National XC at Falkirk where at, the age of 54, she finished a meritorious 30th overall (and fourth Master, with only three W40s in front of her).

We all look forward to future triumphs (in the next age group) for Phenomenal Fiona Matheson!




(Willie Marshall had phenomenal success as a runner, especially between the ages of 50 and 70. When I won my first Scottish Vets XC title in 1988, Willie became M60 champion. We became nodding acquaintances, but he didn’t say much and, although he was well respected, I did not understand just how good he was. Well I sure do now; and can only marvel at the times he set and the titles he won. It is a real pleasure to profile him properly here. Ed.)

CLUBs:  Motherwell YMCA, Clyde Valley and Cambuslang.

DATE OF BIRTH: 12.12.1927.

OCCUPATION:  Invoice clerk –retired.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? I saw the local Harriers at Motherwell out and about and thought I would like to do that.


WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT?  I am no longer running due to health issues. However I did enjoy the fellowship, the travelling and the winning!!!

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? Winning my first World titles in Canada in 1994 at 10k and 25k on the road.

YOUR WORST?  Anything that involved heavy cross country courses !!!!


OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? As well as travelling to races, I used to enjoy many family holidays.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?  Long slow distance on the road – 50-60 miles per week. Raced every second week and that gave me the speed required.

(These answers provide interesting clues to Willie’s career but far too little detail.)

The first mention I can find of William Marshall in the records is in November 1949, when he ran the First Stage of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay. He wore the vest of Motherwell YMCA, and it is fair to say that the club struggled at that time. In the 1956 Relay, Willie ran (his favourite) Stage Five, and Motherwell improved to 12th. Marshall ran Five again, every year from 1957 to 1962 – and his club recorded the following placings: 10th, 6th, 5th, 3rd and 1st! YMCA stars included Andy Brown and his brother Alec, Bert McKay, Tom Scott, Davie Simpson and, later on, John Linaker, Ian McCafferty and Dick Wedlock. No wonder they became the top club in Scotland. During their first victory in 1962, Willie Marshall ran Stage Three and gained five places. Motherwell YMCA won again in 1963 and 1964 (with Willie running 3); and in 1965, when Willie ran Five, ended up second to the superb Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds team, led by Fergus Murray. YMCA were third in 1966 (Willie on Three). However by 1967 the bubble had burst, and they finished 16th (with Willie on Four); and in 1968 could only manage 19th, when he ran the First Stage at the age of 40. Nevertheless, William Marshall must have been very proud to have played a stalwart part in the rise and fall of such a splendid club; and to have won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the wonderful E to G.

Although Willie Marshall was in no doubt that road was his favourite surface; followed by track; and only then country (especially mud), he did finish 58th in the 1964 Senior National, which made him Motherwell’s fifth counter and helped to secure team bronze.

William Marshall must have continued training and racing into the 1970s. The SVHC held their first cross-country championships in 1971, when runners aged 40-49 competed in the same race and there was no M45 category. He must have looked forward to turning 50; and once this had happened, twenty years of greater success began.

In the 1978 Scottish Veterans Cross-Country Championships, William Marshall (running for Clyde Valley AC) won his first title at M50. The following year he lost a close battle with Hugh Mitchell of Shettleston. However Willie returned to the gold standard in 1980 and was champion again in 1981.

When he turned 60, for four years he had no close rival, and (representing Motherwell YMCA once more) won four successive Scottish Veterans XC championships (1988-1991). Between 1993 and 1996 (running for Cambuslang) Willie reigned supreme and won another four titles, in the M65 age group. In total, he had collected an amazing 11 individual gold medals in this prestigious fixture!

An unusual race participation for William Marshall took place in November 1993 at Lord Trehearne’s Estate outside Cardiff, when he ran for Scottish Veterans in the annual Five Nations International Cross-Country. The Scottish M60 team: Hugh Gibson, Willie Marshall and Pat Keenan (who packed well in 5th, 6th and 8th) won silver medals.

David Marshall, Willie’s son wrote:

“My Dad had been successful before M50, picking up prizes in many events. However after this, more momentum was gained.

Between the age of 50 and 55, he won medals at Scottish and British level, especially on the road and track.

An even greater change was in 1984, when he became European M55 10k road champion in Switzerland. The same year he won the British M55 1500m.

In 1985, he won the British Vets M55 5000m title.

Other highlights included the following.

1988: he won the M60 British Veterans cross-country at Irvine, after a close battle with Bob Belford (a World Vets 5000m bronze medallist). Then he was first in the Scottish Vets track M60 800m (2.33.0) and 1500m (4.55.3). Other victories included the British M60 road 10k and track 5000m championships.

1989: he broke M60 World Indoor records for 1500m (4.49.5) and 3000m (10.18.6), while winning British Indoor titles. The same year he won the European M60 10k on the road; as well as the British Vets 5000m and 10,000m on the track; and 10 miles on the road.

1990: he was first in the British M60 10 miles road, 5000m and 10,000m track.

1993: he set another World record (M65) in winning the Scottish Vets 3000 Indoor in 10.32.28. He also won the British 5000m, setting a British record. Then he was first in the M65 European 10k Road championship in the Czech Republic; as well as winning the Half Marathon the following day!!!!!

1994: he won the World Vets M65 10k and 25k titles in Canada. In addition he was first in the British Vets indoor 3000m.

1995: he was first in the M65 European 10k in Spain (37.14); and also victorious in the Half Marathon (1.23.37), again on the following day. Earlier that year, he had won the M65 British cross-country title at Irvine.

1998: he won the World M70 10k road in Japan; and broke the World record in the British indoor 3000m. In addition he was first in the Scottish M70 Indoor 1500m and 3000m; and the Outdoor 5000m.

1999: in the British Vets track, he won M70 titles at 5000m and 10,000m

2000: he won the M70 World 10k road title in Spain (39.57).

(Willie winning the 2000 M70 10k Road title in Spain.)

(As anyone who has competed from M50 to M70 will be only too aware, Willie Marshall’s list of titles and very fast times will be almost impossible to match. What an inspiration and formidable challenge for future Masters athletes in those age-groups! His development is interesting: from a club member who trained lightly; to a good club runner who avoided too much mileage but raced frequently for speed-work; to a brilliant veteran, who continued to train steadily and also to race at all distances from 800m to 25km. ‘Train, Don’t Strain’ was the philosophy behind Long Slow Distance. Not a bad notion for anyone wishing to run well after 50?)

Bert McKay, who was a very important influence on the success of Motherwell YMCA, said: “Willie seemed to be a very light trainer but took part regularly in fast pack runs at the club on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He was a nice man, quiet and apparently frail but obviously much tougher than he looked. I remember one particular 5 mile road run I had with Willie just a week before one E to G. I was in good form but could not drop Willie at any time during the run! He was a lot better than he showed when he was younger.”

Peter Duffy (who was a good hill-runner and also won a medal in the Scottish Marathon) said: “I was a team-mate of Willie’s at Motherwell YMCA. On the road he was too fast for me and had a beautifully smooth, flowing style. When I was a club member, he only trained on his own and did not run at all on Sundays, due to strong Christian beliefs. He was respected for this and his fine running in the E to G.”

 George Black (who has recently broken the British M75 20 miles record) wrote:

“I remember Willie Marshall well. When I started running he was my target.

Remember first time I beat him was a 2 mile at Glasgow Green I was please although 11 years older than me!

One small anecdote. I was competing in a Yorkshire Vets 5K track championship when that fine runner, Gerry Spinks of Bingley, approached a group of us and asked for our assistance in his attempt to better the British Record for the event.

I asked who held the record and he replied, “some Scots guy.”

I correctly suspected it was Willie Marshall so my response was less than cordial.

He failed in his attempt. I think it likely that Willie still holds the British Road 10k record for M70 (which he set at Grangemouth).

I don’t suppose he will remember me but convey my regards.”

 David Fairweather wrote:

“I knew Willie quite well. He was always quiet and unassuming, and seemed to train very slowly, but still produced the speed when it was needed in races.

I remember asking him if he would run at the 1993 Masters Cross Country International in Cardiff. He said he wasn’t a XC runner, and didn’t think he was good enough! However I persuaded him to run and (at the age of 65) he finished 6th M60, a few seconds behind Hugh Gibson and two places in front of Pat Keenan, helping the team to win silver medals.”


                                                Memories are……


I was given a kaleidoscope for Christmas. One of those great childhood toys that resembles an old fashioned telescope. When you hold it against the light and rotate the tubes, coloured plastic or glass fragments arrange themselves randomly in as many different patterns as snowflakes under a magnifying glass. Perhaps the subject matter of dreams and memories arise from similar random electrical stimulation inside the brain.


I’m sure that I’m not the only runner to experience the arrival of these unannounced and intense flashbacks of training runs and races, liable to replay at any moment throughout the day or night. But why should some experiences recur so vividly, and often be so enjoyable?


Any important race is usually preceded by a period of planning and living the training schedule. Fear and anticipation, sometimes with interrupted sleep patterns, can vary in intensity right up to the moment the gun is fired or klaxon sounded. Apart from morale-sapping injury or colds, that part of the experience is fairly uniform, but then comes the stuff that might stay with you for years afterwards.


That initial rush and jockeying for position, trying to find your place among the expanding rush of bodies, and to view the action taking place around you. An early connection with a rival or training partner may establish the pattern for the whole race. The duel may begin early, or be one of those long episodes of slip-streaming attrition right up to the line, or the epic last effort sprint to the tape, summoning unknown resources.


I haven’t run many track races, so running on varied surfaces – narrow paths, tracks, hills, streams or ditches – usually provides a large part of my own memory backdrop. Shoe-grabbing mud or sand, twisting forest trails, exposed tree roots, flailing branches, bracken, briars, nettles, hills that reduce you to a walk with hands on knees for upward progress, finally deteriorating to clutching heather, grass and branches, anything to maintain upward progress. And then there was the famous Glen Nevis cross country race which led through a sheep fank and involved jumping over a very dead curly-horned tup.

Then there is that moment when you run out of hill and start levelling out or begin a long sweeping descent. One pressure is off but another one is turned on. The need to lengthen stride, to read the terrain further ahead, judge turns and skids, all of the anticipation and judgement required of a downhill ski racer. That awful occasion knowing you are falling face forward, with no chance of recovery but impact and pain, miraculously avoided by a forward roll back, on to feet, leaving no more than gravel rash in the small of your back! Or striving to complete a long trail run against a setting sun dipping behind an enclosing mountain ridge, with advancing twilight creeping over your shoulder.


You hit level road after a leaping and twisting downward descent, when sudden gravity and terra firma still the rush and energy seeps back into tired legs. The ditch or stream when dry feet are irrevocably sacrificed, as wet slush and mud come shin high, the first snow chilling inside your shoe, while you try to circumvent water ice.

Of course minimalist or light weight clothing allows skin to meet rain, hailstones, wind and sun, and also subtle changes in temperature through hollows and under trees. Perceptions can be heightened even more, while running in the dark with scents of wood smoke, peat or coal combining with alarming sounds from deer or livestock on quiet country roads. All seem to contribute to the runner’s sensory palette – or should that be palate?

I suppose that the ability to move freely across the surface of the planet is one of those basic human rights that we all cherish, alongside freedom of speech and freedom of worship. Running is the ancient and original way to exercise that freedom, and to connect with terrain, without depending on the relentless crutch of mechanical interference. Perhaps one explanation for this visceral enjoyment is even its ability to awaken the primitive pursuit animal within us all and to enjoy the sociable interaction of running in a hunting pack?

But of course all these can be normal everyday events but then, somehow, the intensity and effort generated by running seems to heightens every sensory experience. So, at the end of the day, perhaps that is why they all add up and conspire to form the rich pool of images, which so often steal unbidden into our dreams and day-time musings.

By Alex Sutherland.



1991: Aberdeen, Balgownie Playing Fields.The event was run on 3rd November, over a smooth, grassy, undulating course. A committee, led by Mel Edwards, secured funding from Hydrasun. Consequently, free Scottish vests were given to Scottish runners; and two formal meals were supplied, the night before Sunday’s race; and afterwards, when prizes were presented.

The four nations were allowed to run not only A but B teams. This experiment was never repeated. England’s Sally Young was first woman home and the W35 gold medallist. Christine Price finished first Scot and was second W35. She had support from Janet McColl (5th W35) and Rose McAleese (11th W35), so that the Scottish team finished second to England. There was a very tight finish in the W40 race, with Janette Stevenson 3rd (W40 silver) only four seconds behind the victor, Pat Gallagher of England. The Scottish W35 team won silver.

Roy Bailey (England B) achieved a surprise victory over his own A team; and prevented runner-up Tony Simmons from winning for a fourth successive time. Brian Emmerson (Teviotdale H) was first Scot in 5th, with his team-mate Ian Elliot 8th. Scotland A finished third, behind the two English outfits. The Scottish M60 team was second, led by frequent World Veterans champion Bill Stoddart (individual silver).

1992: the event took place in Northern Ireland for the first time, at the Valley Leisure Centre, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, outside Belfast, on 31st October. The Republic of Ireland ran as Guests, which was to cause controversy later, when M45 team positions were calculated!

A report in ‘Athletics Weekly’ stated that “143 men and 58 women faced a challenging course, consisting of a number of small hills and several soft muddy areas caused by recent heavy rain.” During the races, cold winds blew and more rain fell.

England’s Ann Turrington won the women’s race.  Sandra Branney was first Scot in fifth, and with Janet McColl 8th and Rose McAleese 9th, the Scottish W35 team won silver medals.

Bob Treadwell (England) defeated Tony Simmons (Wales). The first Scot to win an age group in this prestigious fixture, former Scottish marathon champion Colin Youngson (Aberdeen AAC), had his best-ever run as a veteran to finish sixth overall and first M45 (by 63 seconds). Cameron Spence (M40) was ninth and Archie Jenkins 11th so that, along with George Meredith and Brian Howie, the team won M40 team silver.

The Scottish M45 team (Youngson, Terry Dolan, Colin Martin and Bill Adams) won gold by one point, from Wales and England. The event organiser, Jim Harris, was very happy to hand the medals over to fellow Celts. However the excitable English team manager, distraught that England had only won all six of the other age-groups, asserted repeatedly that, if Eire had been taken out of the results, then England would have won by a single point! Nevertheless, the four Scots still possess those treasured medals. Colin Y and Archie J celebrated with Guinness in a famous Victorian gin palace: the Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast. That weekend, opportunist Colin also sold 80 copies of his book “Running Shorts”.

Colin Youngson wrote: “Having been second five times in M40 British Veterans events, I wanted to try extra hard to win something at M45. So far, 1992 had been fairly successful for me: second in the Scottish Vets cross-country; and winning Scottish M40 titles at the Lochaber Marathon and Tom Scott 10. Training did not go over 60 miles per week but usually included time-trials and pushing very hard up road hills. I raced quite frequently, including 1500m (4.17), 3k (8.59), 5k (15.33), 10k (32) and half marathon (71). The last two weeks before Belfast I eased down and refrained from ‘celebrating’ my 45th birthday. During the race, along with my old rival Cammy Spence, I stayed near the back of the leading pack then, up the last hill into a headwind, ‘sat’ on the previous year’s overall winner, Roy Bailey, before somehow managing to out-kick him downhill – and was absolutely delighted to perform well in an important event. It was the only time I ever punched the air as I crossed the finish line! Later I was to win British M45 titles at 10k, marathon and cross-country.”

Archie Jenkins wrote: “I have been involved in this wonderful event since 1992, twenty-one times as a competitor, and on the other occasions as a reserve – and once as the announcer. Not only is it special competitively, involving quality fields, but also socially, involving team camaraderie, and annually meeting up with friends, old and new, from each of the five competing countries. Sadly, in the case of English runners Jimmy Bell and Ken Moss, with whom I had many a battle in my age group, they are no longer with us.

Socially, memories spring to mind of: Andy McLinden`s hangovers; acting as translator to the English for the legend Bobby Young; and having to follow, okay voluntarily, Colin Youngson on his post-race real ale pub crawls (although Doug Cowie may be less happy about those memories).

Over the years it has been great to see Scotland team stalwarts such as Ian Stewart, Brian Gardner, Andy McLinden, Pete Cartwright and Jane Waterhouse (apologies to the others not mentioned) who all persevered over the years to eventually and regularly pick up individual medals. On the ladies` side, Hazel Bradley for one always makes herself available for selection. I also appreciate the hard work of team managers, initially Danny Wilmoth, then Davie Fairweather.

Personally, with the M65 age group looming in the not too distant future, it would be great to continue the feat of competing in every age group from M35 up. Admittedly the M35 was a fluke in Dublin 2010, stepping in as a spare reserve! Physically, however, this is going to take a lot of effort, including a loss of old age weight.

My own competitive memories, include finishing 8th in the M40s in my first run (wearing a Grimplex Scottish vest) at Newtonabbey in Northern Ireland and first Scot in the age group, initially after looking like I was only going to be a reserve. This started a long unbroken series of selection. In the 1992 run, I was in fact third Scot behind M45 winner Colin Youngson and Cameron Spence. My purple patch was the first two years as a M45, placing 3rd in Ballymena in 1998 and retaining this 3rd position one year later in the infamous St Asaph`s race in Wales, where if you were not involved in the leading group, you were held up queuing at a kissing gate – fortunately I was in the top ten throughout! Post-race, Trudi Thompson knocked on my hotel room door to join her for a five mile run – that would have been the better option, instead of listening to my football team get well and truly gubbed. Over the years, nine team medals were won, including the special gold ones in 2001 and 2007, beating the English. Long may this tremendous race continue and hopefully, in the future, Scottish Athletics may provide the team kit, just like most of the other countries do, and non SVHC club members may decide to join and make Scottish teams even stronger.”

Doug Cowie wrote:

“My honest opinion is that I enjoyed my earlier ones the best. Most of us travelled by coach, which I felt made for a better team spirit – apart from my first selection in 1993. The bus travelled all the way to Cardiff, arriving at 9pm. 30 minutes after the end of the race (and a visit to the supermarket for 4 cans of Murphy’s stout) we were on our way home, to arrive back in Glasgow at 1.30am! All the way, there and back, I really felt like an outsider! The only people I remember giving me the time of day were Andy McLinden and his Hamilton team mate Hughie Gibson. In 1994 we travelled to Sunderland by bus, but I felt better, since I had George Sim and Graham Milne for company. 

In 1995 we were off to Dublin in a bus that we had to push-start every time. We even had to push it off the boat. It was a thrill that year to meet (and beat) Tony Simmons.

Doug with the great Tony Simmons

George, Graham and I gave the night ‘do’ a miss, opting to go into town! The taxi driver who took us in said he would pick us up at 11pm, at the same place he dropped us off – and he was as good as his word. On our return to our hotel in Malahide we were invited to join the Irish Cycling function which was taking place. George’s wife’s cousin Alistair McClennan was head coach!!! Joe Dolan was performing, which was a great end to the day.

For me Wales, England and Ireland was repeated in each age group – I never ran in Scotland or N Ireland, since they were at the wrong end of age group for me.

I particularly enjoyed the two or three hours after the race in the company of Colin Y, Archie J and Ian Stewart, either watching a 5/6 Nations rugby match or sussing out a new ale! We should be ever indebted to Lynn Marr for her taxi duties.

I remember being in a pub in Navan, watching Ireland against England, and the locals being quite amused by the guy in a Scottish tracksuit wearing his newly swapped Irish vest!”

Ian Leggett wrote: “After the demise of the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relays this annual event in November is a must goal for us old codgers. The fixture is circulated around each different participating country and this year it will be organised in Scotland.

My first introduction was in 1988 with only three home countries taking place; now, with the two Irish countries added, it has become more International.

I’ve been fortunate enough to formulate life-long friendships from this event, as normally the circulation of personnel through the age groups has been constant, with the exception of the English teams who, with their greater depth in numbers, seem to be able to change their line-up regularly.

The Scottish team’s kit always seemed to be inferior to that of the other nations, maybe because of the 50 shades of Blue, which is dark compared to the bright Green of the Irish, the radiant Red of Welsh and the White of England ( who by the way receive sponsorship from Sport England).

It doesn’t mean that the Scottish teams haven’t performed well, because we have had some very notable victories in the past and will have in the future.

I would like to remark on two memorable events that have stuck for ever in my memory and both, coincidentally, were in Ireland.

The first event was in NAVAN in Southern Ireland, in 2000. We had a long trip by bus and arrived in the middle of a rain storm at 10 o’clock at night. The bus stopped in the dark outside this ivy-covered Country Manor stuck in the middle of nowhere. The arched wooden entrance door looked as if was out of the Rocky Horror Show or the Addams Family and, with the torrential rain belting down, all that was missing was the forked lightning as the door creaked open and we were ushered into the main reception area.

This was an old fashioned library of old dark oak shelves up to the ceiling. The lighting was pretty dim and the heating consisted of a one-bar electric fire. Our beds were in dormitory style, as this used to be a Convent at one time. It was certainly very Spartan but we managed to put out a sterling performance in the race.

The second experience I want to relate to was in NEWTONABBEY just outside Belfast in 1992. It was during the times of the unrest In Ireland and the security forces were still operational in Northern Ireland.

Our accommodation was in the centre of Belfast, in the Europa Hotel and, as we slept in our rooms, suddenly in the middle of the night we had a helicopter with searchlights scanning our hotel and, as the bright lights swept across our window, we wondered what was coming next. Thankfully it passed on.

In the morning we had a warm-up run planned and, while running through the streets of Belfast at that time in the early morning we encountered British soldiers crouching in doorways, with their guns at the ready, and also on side streets complete with combat gear. Black cabs were everywhere: they were the only way to get around as no buses were allowed into the centre of town. We encountered the barricades and every store had its own security guards prominent outside its doors.

The races themselves were all well organised and the Northern Ireland contingent were full of the best Irish hospitality. I returned home with admiration for their bravery and fortitude in face of the situation they were in.

These are just memories for me personally. Others will have many stories and memories attached to this event and long may it continue. I am always proud to pull on the Scotland Vest whenever I can.”

1993: The course was outside Cardiff in Lord Trehearne’s Estate, on dry grass and featured a short but very stiff hill. Archie Jenkins remembers the ‘Saga bus trip on the way down from Glasgow’, with older team members requiring relief at every service station.

Doug Cowie, Andy McLinden, Gerry Fairley, Ian Seggie, Bob Young, Steve Dempsey, Chris Price, Archie Jenkins, George Meredith, Allan Adams, Margaret Robertson, Ian Donnelly, Ron Smith, Bob Guthrie, Brian Campbell, Andy Stirling.

The top Scottish performance was by Christine Price (formerly Chris Haskett, of the famous Dundee running family). This experienced international athlete won the W40 title. (She first represented Scotland, aged 17, at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.) All of the Scottish women had good runs, with very close packing, and special mention should go to: Janet McColl (3rd W35), Sue Roger (2nd W50), Margaret Robertson (11th W40), Rose McAleese (9th W35), Ann Nally (6th W50) and Irene Gibson (8th W50). (Irene’s father was the great John Suttie Smith). The W50 team won silver medals.

Christine Price working for her W40 gold medal

In the men’s race, Gerry Fairley started fast but eventually Archie Jenkins came past to finish first Scot (8th M40) with Gerry 11th. Ian Seggie was 13th M45; Bob Guthrie and Bobby Young 7th and 9th M50; and Hugh Gibson, Willie Marshall and Pat Keenan 5th, 6th and 8th in the M60 race – finishing second team.

1994: Silksworth, Sunderland. The course was very muddy. Since the Scottish team arrived shortly before the start, the women had to change on the bus. Janette Stevenson was 2nd W40. With Sandra Branney third and Rose McAleese fifth, the Scottish W40 team won gold medals. Jackie Byng was 3rd W50 and her team (Mary Chambers and Ann Nally) won silver.

The Men did less well on this occasion. Archie Jenkins was first Scot (tenth M40). Allan Adams was ninth M50, with Bobby Young tenth and Bernie McMonagle 11th. In the M60s, Hugh Gibson was fifth and Stuart Lawson tenth.

1995: Dublin, Malahide Castle. “We met at Queen Street Station for the journey by coach to Stranraer for the ferry. In Malahide accommodation was at the Grand Hotel, which was old-fashioned and rambling but pleasant and comfortable.”

On race day the weather was cool and the course flat, firm and fast. In the Open Race, Team Manager David Fairweather was first M50 and Tom O’Reilly first M60.

In the Women’s Race, Maggie Sinclair was 8th W40, Kate Todd 8th W45 and Jackie Byng 4th W50.

The Men’s Race featured a contest between Eire’s Gerry Kiernan and England’s Nigel Gates, which the latter won clearly. First Scot home was Charlie McDougall (3rd M45); closely followed by George Sim (5th M45); then Jim Robertson (16th M40); and Archie Jenkins (18th M40). Next was Archie Duncan, who ran a stormer to finish 2nd M50, ahead of such notable M45 runners as Harry Matthews and Tony Simmons. Bobby Young was 6th M50.

A battle went on, between Peter McGregor (M45), George Black (M55) and Hugh Rankin (M60). George came through to win that little contest and secure M55 silver; Hugh did even better to win the M60 race. He was supported by Jim Irvine (6th) and Henry Morrison (7th) to win M60 team gold, beating England on count-back.

Archie Jenkins recalls that it was a lovely day and, afterwards, the Guinness was very refreshing. An excellent dinner dance was the first evening function since Aberdeen.

1996: Irvine, Beach Park. This tough, undulating grassy course had been used for several Scottish XC championships as well as the 1995 British Veterans one. Former GB marathon international Lynn Harding ran brilliantly to win the W35 title and lead the Scottish team to gold. Sonia Armitage did really well to place 4th. With Trudi Thompson 9th, the Scottish W35 team beat England to win gold medals. Consistent Jackie Byng was 6th W50.

In the Men’s race, Gerry Gaffney was first Scot (6th M40). He was backed by Keith Varney, Archie Jenkins and Brian Gardner, to win team silver. Colin Youngson finished 5th M45, but was slower than the superb Dougie Gemmell (third Scot home and M50 individual silver medallist). George Black did very well to be third M55. Hugh Rankin won M60 silver, and his team (John Gormley and Henry Morrison) also finished second.

1997: Ballymena, Sentry Park. The night before the races, the hotel dance went on until one a.m. and then drunks bellowed in the car park. It was important not to be upset by lack of sleep. There was a one-mile loop to be circled, undulating and rather muddy on bends. Trudi Thompson, GB ultra-marathon runner, was first Scottish woman, in a fine second place overall. Jackie Byng ran well to be 6th W50.

In the Men’s race, teams from the five countries lined up in pens, waiting for a countdown to the start. The hooter caught everyone by surprise. Everyone rushed downhill to the first sharp right-hand corner. Some idiot running in bare feet skidded straight on and was never seen again! Athletes charged on recklessly, as the course twisted and turned, rose and fell. The big hill felt harder on the second lap – and for the men there were five to get round. Keith Varney was first Scot; Archie Jenkins 3rd M45; and Colin Youngson third M50 with his team (including Bobby Young, Dougie Gemmell and Davie Fairweather) winning silver medals. The banquet was very good, followed by a demo of Irish dancing and lots of Guinness. The legendary 1972 Olympic Pentathlon champion, Mary Peters, handed out the prizes.



President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


 August 2016

Sun 14th BMAF Marathon Championships Ballacloan Stadium, North Shore Road, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM8 3DX

Sun 21st SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30

September 2016

Sun 4th Glen Moray Marathon Glen Moray Distillery, Elgin, 09:30

Sat 17th Trial Race for International XC Tollcross Park

Sat/Sun 17th /18th BMAF Open Track & Field Champs Alexander Stadium Birmingham B42 2LR

October 2016

Sun 9th Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon Kirkintilloch, Inc.BMAF & SVHC Champs

Sun 16th SVHC Track 10K 11:30 & 13:00. AGM 14:00, Venue Grangemouth

26th Oct – 06th Nov World Masters Track & Field Champs Perth, Australia November 2016

Sat 12th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International, Tollcross Park, Glasgow January 2017

Sat 28th SA Masters XC, Dundee TBC February 2017

Sat 25th SA XC Champs, Callendar Park, Falkirk



MEMBERSHIP NOTES 8th March, 2016

I am standing down as Membership Secretary and Alastair Macfarlane is standing down as SVHC Secretary in October 2016. Ada Stewart and John Softley have very kindly volunteered to take over from us, subject to approval at the AGM on 16th October.


 I regret to report that 1 of our members Bert McFall. passed away on 3rd January, aged 83. He had been a member of SVHC since 1997.

Welcome to the 13 new and 1 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 4th December 2015. (Ed note: Apologies to Gary Mitchell, who was actually reinstated on 18 Oct 2015)

50 members have not yet renewed their subs this year

As of 8th March 2016, we have 440 paid up members, including 19 over 80, & 4 Life Members.

For those who have not already paid or set up standing orders, subscription renewals are overdue now for 2015/16.

It was agreed at the AGM to change the annual subscription as follows: £20 for ordinary members, £10 for non-competing members and zero for all aged 80 or over. Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.

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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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



Sandison 08-Dec-15 2286 Glasgow

MacRae 31-Dec-15 2287 Inverness

McCutcheon 06-Jan-16 2288 Blantyre

Shepherd 15-Jan-16 2289 Galashiels

Johnson 15-Jan-16 2290 Cults

Cole 28-Jan-16 2291 Croy

Murphy 01-Feb-16 2292 Strathaven

Dodson 04-Feb-16 2293 Lanark

Bruce 05-Feb-16 2294 Cardenden

Steele 18-Feb-16 2295 Douglas

McGowan 19-Feb-16 2296 Stirling

Jardine 29-Feb-16 2297 Glasgow

Farkas 07-Mar-16 2298 Stirling

Mitchell 18-Oct-15 2054 Moodiesburn

David Fairweather Membership Secretary


BERT McFall, December 5, 1932 – January 4, 2016

BERT McFall, who has died aged 83, was a popular and respected figure in Scotland’s athletics community for whom running was not so much a sport as a way of life. He had a deep and enduring passion for it from childhood days till a hip operation seven years ago brought an end to a long and successful career.

During that time he won medals at district and national level on the track, on the road and over the country, enjoying particular success latterly as a veteran or masters athlete. He was accomplished over a wide range of distances from the mile to half marathon and represented Edinburgh Southern Harriers, latterly Edinburgh Athletic Club, with distinction.

In 1961 he was ranked fourth in Scotland at 3,000m steeplechase while in 1963 he won the East of Scotland title at that event and over several years figured prominently in the national ranking lists as well as for the mile.

While he enjoyed track, his favourite disciplines were cross country and road. One of the highlights of his cross country career was being a member of the Edinburgh Southern Harriers team which won the National Cross Country Championship for the first time in 1964. This was a highly sought after title and one which had hitherto eluded the Edinburgh club in their 67-year existence. In the individual race Bert finished a highly creditable 16th out of a high calibre field of more than 300. He also assisted his team-mates to silver and bronze medals in the championships on four other occasions while achieving very respectable finishes in the individual event.

On the road he enjoyed success in the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow relay race, again for the Harriers. In 1961 and ’62 he helped win silver medals and bronze in 1964. He always ran the third leg, over his ‘home’ territory, collecting the baton at the east end of Broxburn and running through Uphall to Wester Dechmont where he handed it on. This was a demanding, hilly four and a half mile stretch, McFall being the fastest over this leg in the 1962 race.

As a veteran/masters athlete he achieved numerous distinctions. He won the Scottish cross country title several times and often represented Scottish Veteran Harriers in the British and Irish championships, assisting the team to silver and bronze medals while once earning an individual silver and finishing first Scot frequently. On the track he was 1st M65 in the Andy Forbes Memorial 10km race in 2000 with a time of 41:56. Well into his 60s, he ran excellent times for the half marathon.

Although very competitive, above all he loved running for its own sake. He particularly enjoyed going for ten-mile runs in the Bathgate Hills near his home, taking in Cairnpapple, Cockleroi and Binny Craig en route. Another favourite venue was Almondell Park where the steps up to the viaduct provided testing training.

After his hip operation, he turned his attention to the gym, becoming a regular visitor to Broxburn Sports Centre where his competitive streak continued. A few years ago the gym hosted an open competition replicating the Empire State Building Challenge, a run up its 102 levels, on a ‘Stairmaster’ machine. Much to everyone’s astonishment Bert, in his late 70s, won. Aged 80, under monitored conditions there, he completed 10 km on an exercise bike at an average speed of about 22mph.

Born and brought up at Roman Camp near Uphall, where his Irish-born father worked in the shale industry, he enjoyed a happy childhood. Running to school in Broxburn nurtured his love of the sport, which would play such a huge part in his life.

Initially he worked as an engineer with Wimpey Construction before and after national service in the RAF Regiment in Germany, later joining Parson and Peebles in Broxburn. Aged 30 he changed career, becoming an insurance agent for Pearl Assurance company in the Broxburn/Uphall area. In this role he was well known, highly trusted and much liked in the local community, often referred to affectionately as ‘Bert the insurance man’, with many clients becoming friends.

Thanks to his social conscience, some years ago he set up a successful ‘It’s a Knock Out’ series of competitions in Broxburn, based on the idea of the successful TV programme of that name, to give local youngsters an activity and keep them off the streets. A man of strong religious faith, he regularly attended his local Roman Catholic church.

Away from running he had a number of interests including gardening, growing tomatoes, jam-making, cooking and fine wines. He was a man of immense energy and goodwill and, according to his widow Nancy, filled every second of every day. “He was always positive and saw the best in everyone,” she said. Former Scottish marathon champion Colin Youngson described him as “A real gentleman, interesting company and a very good and respected athlete.”

His first marriage ended in divorce. In 1982 he married Nancy Comiskey, with whom he enjoyed over 33 happy years. He is survived by her, children Stephen, Vivienne and Elizabeth from his first marriage, stepson Kevin and four grandchildren.


I knew Bert from 1997, when he joined SVHC. He was a keen cross country runner, and started competing in the Scottish Athletics Veterans/Masters Championships in 1996. He finished 2nd M60 behind Tom O’Reilly in 96 and 97. In 1998 Bert moved up to the M65 age group and won his category in the 98 and 99 races, in front of Hugh Gibson and Tom O’Reilly respectively. He then missed a few years and made a come-back in 2003, finishing 2nd M70 behind Hugh Gibson. In 2004 He won M70 in front of Tom O’Reilly, then in 2005 he was 2nd just 2 seconds behind his good friend Walter McCaskey.

 From 1998 to 2005 Bert competed for the SVHC team in the annual British & Irish Veterans/Masters Cross Country Champs, only missing 1 year (2003 at Cardiff). At St Asaph in 1998, although over 65, he finished 1st M60 Scot and 9th overall, helping the team to bronze medals. At Bideford in 1999 he finished 1st M65 Scot and 4th overall, leading the team to silver medals. He repeated this performance at Navan in 2000. At Falkirk in 2001 and Ballymena in 2002 he again led the Scottish M65 team to bronze medals. Then in 2004, after missing the 2003 race, Bert went to Croydon in superb form, winning an individual M70 silver medal and leading the team to silver medals. In 2005 at Santry, Bert was 6th M70. With Walter 2nd and Tom 5th, they again won team silver.

 Bert also had some good road and track results, notably in 2000 1st M65 in the Andy Forbes Memorial 10,000m race in 41:56, less than 2 months before his 68th birthday. 

 Unfortunately Bert was having worsening knee problems, and had to give up running after 2005, though he still kept very active in other sports.





(Bill Stoddart with the British Veterans Cross Country Trophy. He defeated England’s Arthur Walsham by thirty seconds)

The very first SVHC Cross Country Championships took place on Saturday 20th March 1971. The venue was Pollok Estate, Glasgow. 33 ran and 32 finished the course.

Willie Russell won, followed by Hugh Mitchell, Willie Marshall, Tom Stevenson, Willie Armour, Chick Forbes, Jack McLean and Andy Forbes, who won the Over 50 title from Tommy Harrison and Walter Ross. John Emmet Farrell was first Over 60, in front of Harry Haughie and Roddy Devon. Shettleston Harriers won the Team Award.

The second Championship, this time officially recognised by the Scottish Cross Country Union, was on 4th March 1972, at Clydebank, Dunbartonshire. The course was five miles (or eight kilometres) long. The SVHC organised the event, assisted by Clydesdale Harriers.

Bill Stoddart (Greenock Wellpark H) won easily, from Hugh Mitchell (Shettleston H) and Moir Logie (East Kilbride AAC). M50 champion was Andy Forbes (Victoria Park AAC), in front of Tommy Harrison (Maryhill H) and Walter Ross (Garscube H). Emmet Farrell (Maryhill H) retained his M60 title from Ron Smith (SVHC) and George Taylor (Shettleston H). Greenock Wellpark Harriers won the Team Award.

In the programme, Walter Ross, the SVHC Secretary, and a very important figure in the development of Scottish Veteran Athletics, published a poem (written many years earlier by an anonymous Clydesdale Harrier). Walter suggested it could be retitled ‘To a Veteran’.

To a Harrier

Some fellow men seem lucky, yet

I yearn to change with few,

But from my heart this afternoon,

I needs must envy you,

Mud-splattered runners, light of foot,

Who on this dismal day

With rhythmic stride and heads upheld

Go swinging on your way.

A dismal day? A foolish word;

I would not, years ago,

Despite the drizzle and the chill,

Have ever thought it so;

For then I might have been with you

Your rich reward to gain:

That glow beneath the freshened skin,

O runners through the rain.

All weather is a friend to you:

Rain, sunshine, snow or sleet.

The changing course – road, grass or plough –

You pass on flying feet.

No crowds you need to urge you on;

No cheers your efforts wake.

Yours is the sportsman’s purest joy –

you run for running’s sake.

O games are good – manoeuvres shared

To make the team’s success,

The practised skill, the guiding brain,

The trained unselfishness.

But there’s no game men ever played

That gives the zest you find

In using limbs and heart and lungs

To leave long miles behind.

I’ll dream that I am with you now

To win my second wind,

To feel my fitness like a flame,

The pack already thinned.

The turf is soft beneath my feet,

The drizzle’s in my face,

And in my spirit there is pride,

for I can stand the pace.

(Editor adds: a romantic view of cross-country, no doubt, but perhaps how we all feel, briefly, on a very good day! The first SVHC championship took place in 1971: no less than 45 years ago. We owe those pioneers a great deal.)



Fiona Davidson (born Fiona Watt) has had a long and versatile athletics career. At fifteen years of age, her events ranged from 100m to 400m Hurdles. Until 1992 Fiona concentrated on 100H as well as 400H. Then in 1993, Long and Triple Jumps make an appearance. Within a year she was ranked third in Scotland for Triple Jump; and in 1995 reached a peak when she won the Scottish Indoor Triple Jump title with 12 metres 15 centimetres – which is still 14th on the Scottish All-Time TJ rankings. In all, indoors and outdoors, in Scottish Senior Triple Jump Championships, Fiona has won one gold medal plus three silver and one bronze.

After marrying, in 1996, Aberdeen AAC’s 1990 Commonwealth Games 400H athlete and Scottish Champion Mark Davidson, (who was the 2014 British Masters Indoors M45 200m Champion), Fiona competed less frequently, since her children were born in 1999 and 2002. Nevertheless, in 2001 and 2004, she was still ranked 5th best Triple Jumper in Scotland. Having reached the W35 age group, Fiona Davidson quickly secured victory in the 2008 Scottish Masters Long Jump and Triple Jump, both Indoors and Outdoors. She repeated this feat in 2010, adding the 60 metres Indoors and also finishing a meritorious fourth in the Scottish Senior Championship TJ.

In 2011 Fiona won even more Scottish Masters titles: Indoors 60m, LJ, TJ and Shot Putt, plus first place (as a guest) in the Scottish Universities Triple Jump. 2012 to 2015 saw a considerable increase in competing. Highlights included victories in: several more Scottish Masters LJ and TJ; British Masters TJ wins in 2012 and 2013; a British Masters W40 Indoors LJ and TJ double in 2014, plus third in the Budapest World Masters TJ.

2015 has been extra special for Fiona Davidson. Scottish Masters titles plus silver (TJ) and bronze (LJ) in the European Masters Indoors in Poland. Then, in Lyon on 15th August 2015, a gold medal in the World Masters Triple Jump, with a distance of 11.35m. Long may similar successes continue for this exceptional, dedicated, resilient athlete!

NAME            Fiona Davidson

CLUBs           Aberdeen AAAC/Scottish Veteran Harriers Club

DATE OF BIRTH      29/01/1973

OCCUPATION         PT Sales Administrator

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? I was always winning the school sports day at primary school so my mum suggested going along to the local athletics club. I went along to Coatbridge outdoor sports centre to train with Shettleston Harriers. I was looked after by Bob and Dora Stephens who coached and ran the club.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? I loved my years with Shettleston Harriers, training with Bob Stephens, fun times going away to British Leagues with older athletes and being part of one big team. Latterly, before moving to Aberdeen, I trained at Coatbridge with Roger Harkins and a group of people who brought out the best in me. They made me train hard and gave me the belief that you can do whatever you put your mind to. This made me even more competitive than I already was.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? Lots of things: discipline, structure, satisfaction. Most of all, fun and enjoyment. I have met lots of friends along the way. It’s funny that we all go along nowadays to competitions to watch our children compete. I still keep trying to get them all back training and joining the Masters’ circuit. They don’t seem too keen.


I always remember when I won the Scottish Seniors indoor triple jump title at Kelvin Hall  in 1995 and, at the time, set a new Scottish Native record, so that was pretty memorable. More recently must be my performances in 2015.  Winning 2 medals at the European Masters and then following it up with a World title was pretty special. I was actually surprised with my distances as I never thought that I would jump that far again. I haven’t jumped that far for over 10 years. The distance ranked me 5th in Scotland. Nice to be competitive with the young ones.

YOUR WORST? I don’t really remember anything in particular. However, when I competed for Scotland in Turkey in 1994, I didn’t jump well at all.   In fact I jumped further in Lyon last year – that sums up how bad it was.   

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE?  When I was younger I was a multi-eventer and moved into 300mH/400mH. I did well in those events and competed for Scottish Schools/Scottish Juniors.  Sometimes I feel I had unfinished business at 400mH, but kids came along so I found it easier to stick to triple jump.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES?  To be honest I don’t really have the time for much else. I train and compete myself, as well as the kids (Callum 16 and Jane 13) competing too. I am also quite well involved with Aberdeen Athletics Club. I team manage the girls’ side so, from April through to August/September, that takes up most of my time.  Breathe, Eat and Sleep Athletics!


Achievements. I can look back and say that I competed for Scotland, held Scottish Records and was a World Champion.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? I am currently recovering from a knee operation but a typical week in the winter months would be as follows.

Monday – Circuits AM – Easy running PM

Tuesday – Weights

Wednesday – Jumping/Sprinting

Thursday – Weights

Saturday – Circuits or Running

Sunday – Stretching or Short Hills

Fiona added the following:

Mark and I met in May 1994 at a Scottish Senior International in Turkey.  Mark was hurdling and I was triple jumping. I always say he fell at my feet as he fell over the last hurdle.  Shame though, as that put him out for the rest of the season or I am sure he would have made the 1994 games too.

I then moved to Aberdeen in January 1996 and we got married in September that year. All quite quick I suppose. Saved on train fares.

We both encouraged each other in our training and it worked well when we started going out. When I came up to Aberdeen I just trained with Bob Masson (Mark’s coach at the time) who already coached Mark’s sister Linda for jumps. Then, when Mark came to Coatbridge, he fitted in well with my training group, as he knew Roger Harkins and Davie Mulheron from Scottish Internationals previously.

When I eventually moved to Aberdeen, I just slotted into Bob Masson’s group no problem.

My son Callum (16) is an U17 – he is just like Mark, with long legs, so he will be more suited eventually to 400m but is currently sticking to 100m/200m to get him quicker.

My daughter Jane (13) is an U15 – she is currently doing multi events but, coming from a gymnastic background, she is already showing signs that hurdles will be her thing.

I think I have progressed more in the last couple of years as I started to have a different outlook on my training.  I focused more on strength and conditioning. I joined a gym in Aberdeen, called Barry Stephen Personal Training (advert in AAAC yearbook) where I work with Rory Annand, who has helped me get conditioned and able to cope with jumping at my age – ha ha.   I still do technical work with Bob.



Back in Spring 1995, ‘Veteran Athletics’ featured an article, written by Alastair Aitken, entitled ‘Hugh Rankin in Top Form’.

(Photo by Ben Bickerton)

“Kilmarnock’s Hugh Rankin, who was 60 in December, showed his class in the BVAF Cross Country Championships in Irvine in March. He finished 18th out of 94 finishers in the over -50 race and won the M60 group by a margin of nearly two and a half minutes. He confessed, however, to ‘nearly jacking it in’ just before the end of the first lap. He commented, ‘To be fair to myself, I was not 100 per cent as I was running with a chill. My friends round the course were telling me that I was so far in front in my age group. This kept me going. I believe that I would have packed it in if any of the others had been close to me, but I felt much better by the time I started on the third lap.’

Rankin, a hospital porter in Kilmarnock, has other results to be proud of. In 1990, when he reached 55, he set a World Indoors M55 record of 9 minutes 37 seconds for the 3000 metres at the Kelvin Hall. The same year he did the M55 double in the prestigious Bruges Veterans Grand Prix, winning the 10k in 34.29 and the 25k in 1.31.36. He also gained representative honours when selected for Scotland in the Home Countries Cross Country International at Ampthill, near Bedford.

Hugh, who has only ever belonged to one club, joined Kilmarnock Harriers about forty years ago. As a teenager, cycling was his main interest. Called up for National Service, he took his bicycle with him but, when posted to Benghazi, he had to leave it behind so took up running. Although he produced some good performances in his younger days, he did not find the time to train consistently, and so never achieved his true potential. With a family of five children to raise, training became haphazard. ‘I could have trained harder and I should have done. It was just one of those things,’ he said. Rankin did get chosen for a Scottish Select team at this time but could not run because of illness.

He has been more successful as a veteran, although an operation on his knee at the age of 50 held him back for some time. In recent years he has found more time to train and is now running up to 70 miles per week. This, and the fact that he did not train hard when young, he gives as the reasons for his successes in recent years. ‘I did not burn myself out in my younger days. You cannot run high mileages all your life. The younger runners, who are covering 100 miles a week now, will not be performing well when they reach middle age,’ he declared.

Hugh Rankin’s most immediate athletic priority is to produce good performances in the European Road Championships in Valladolid, Spain, in May, when he will be competing in both the 10k and the Half Marathon.”

Hugh Rankin was born on the 18th of December 1934. In 1956 he took part in the Scottish Senior National Cross Country Championships; and soon became Kilmarnock’s first finisher in the annual event. He was in the top fifty several times, including a good 33rd position in 1964.

In the Scottish Masters Cross Country Championships, Hugh won the M55 title in both 1990 and 1992. When, in 1990, Johnny Walker Kilmarnock Harriers finally took part in the marvellous Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, Hugh, aged 55, was one of their team. A truly outstanding performance for this fine athlete was when he triumphed in the annual British and Irish Masters Cross Country International Championships at Dublin in 1995, by winning the M60 race.

In 2009, aged 74, he ran the fast time of 44.16 to win his age group in the SVHC 10k. In 2014, Scottish Athletics magazine ‘PB’ had an article on Kilmarnock Harriers, saying that the club “paid tribute to Hugh Rankin – one of their oldest, most long-serving and successful members, in a double celebration to mark his 80th birthday and his 60th year as a member.

The club chose to mark the occasion with a torchlight run from the Ayrshire Athletics area, accompanied by rousing music, a light show and fireworks. The club’s best-kept secret was a total surprise to Hugh, and he loved every minute of it. Following the run there was a presentation in the indoor area, where those present were reminded of Hugh’s contribution as an athlete, a coach and as a volunteer helper. In honour of this contribution he was presented with a hand-embroidered club pennant, produced by the East Ayrshire textile group, and a substantial sum of money that he promised to donate to a charity of his choice. In addition, on behalf of Provost Jim Todd, he was given a ‘Luath’ limited edition book of Robert Burns’ poems, which was much appreciated.”

On 30th June, 2014, the Queen’s Baton Relay before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games reached Ayrshire Athletics Arena. Team Scotland coach Chick Hamilton had the honour of carrying the baton, before passing it to Kilmarnock Harrier stalwart Hugh Rankin. His old team-mate from the 1950s, Jim Young, was also a baton bearer that day.

Ian Gebbie, who is the Event Organiser for Kilmarnock Harriers and AC, writes: “Hugh is my main support – still marshalling and setting up every race, clearing the cross country course etc, etc. He coaches our disabled section on a Wednesday night; is a jog leader Tuesday and Thursday; and still manages to give me and Kate Todd a fair run for our money on Mondays and Fridays. Not bad at 81. He has just recently signed up to do our new 10k – the “Roon the Toon 10K”. The attached photo is from our launch event.”



Allan Adams (born 3rd January 1944) enjoyed a long running career, achieving most success after the age of 40, when he not only ran marathons for Scotland but also won many age-group titles as a Veteran. Dumbarton AAC was his only club and he served them extremely well. His son, Allan Adams (Junior) also became a prominent Scottish athlete and represented his country internationally. In 1997 he won silver medals in Scottish 10,000 metres Championship and Half Marathon; and secured bronze in the 2001 10k. In 2004 Allan Junior won the Scottish 10k title.

By 1966, Allan (Senior) was representing DAAC in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, moving up three places on Stage Three. He took part in the event again in 1972, 1976 and 1983. Allan’s clubmates during this period included International runners Graeme Grant and Colin Martin, as well as steeplechasers Hugh Elder and Bill Cairns. Tough guy Alastair Lawson also featured: he specialised in hill and trail races; but no one trained harder than Allan Adams.

His frequent training partner, Colin Martin, started off as a talented young track specialist but in 1988 won the Scottish Marathon Championship, outkicking Donald Ritchie, the ultra-distance legend. Before this triumph (aged 41) Colin and Allan had been doing 90 to 100 miles per week, with Tuesdays and Thursdays devoted to 400, 800 or even mile repetitions with Lachie Stewart and his promising son Glen (later a GB track representative). The Saturday session might be 22 miles on the road; with Sundays an hour and a half over country trails. Both men became extremely fit, due to this arduous schedule.

Back in 1979, Allan Adams appeared in the Scottish ranking lists with a marathon time of 2.32.27. By 1984 (aged 41) he had improved to 2.25.48; and then in 1986 produced an outstanding 2.23.03. He was still running 2.26.32 in 1989 and signed off with 2.31.37 (aged 47) in 1991. Apart from World Veteran champions Donald Macgregor, Dave Clark, Alastair Wood and Bill Stoddart, plus ultra-distance legend Don Ritchie, hardly any Scottish Veterans have covered the classic distance so fast.

1986 was his peak as a marathon runner. In April he was 1st M40 in the famous Tom Scott Memorial 10 Mile Road Race, finishing in the outstanding time of 49.12. After that, he set a record for the Cairnpapple/SVHC Hill Race. In May, at the Aberdeen International Marathon, Allan Adams ran for Scotland in the match against the ‘Auld Enemy’. English team runners were the first three home. Aberdeen AAC’s Colin Youngson was first Scot, only a minute ahead of the fast-finishing Adams, who was fifth (and 1st Veteran) in 2.29.10 on a long, hilly course. Then in September, representing his country again in the Glasgow International Marathon, Allan was second team counter (and 1st Veteran) in his fastest-ever time of 2.23.03.

[Allan Adams (number 65) in the Tom Scott 10, 1985. Photo by Graham MacIndoe.]

Further highlights were to come for this Tough of the Road. In April 1989 at the Lochaber Marathon, Allan had a real battle with Colin Youngson for the Scottish Veterans marathon title. There was snow on Ben Nevis behind the runners, as a pack of seven battled into a strong headwind on the way out to halfway. Naturally, Adams showed his strength by leading into the gale, while Youngson loitered in shelter behind the others. After the turn, the pace suddenly increased by about a minute a mile! Colin gained fifty yards but Allan hung on. Every time the leader passed Allan’s wife (who kept overtaking the pair in a car) Colin tried to look fresh, but in reality he was tiring. Eventually he threw everything into the last couple of miles and, exhausted, won in 2.29.40 while Allan secured the M45 title in 2.30.09. Then, in October 1989, Allan Adams became British Veterans M45 Marathon Champion in the Flying Fox event in Stone, Staffordshire. In actual fact, Allan became the only Scot ever to win this event outright, defeating all the M40 runners too! He was timed at 2.29.32, with his Dumbarton team-mate Colin Martin 2nd M45 in 2.33.03.

In Masters Cross-Country, Allan was outstanding, representing Scotland five times in the annual Five Nations British and Irish International fixture: with his best performance being 3rd Individual M45 at Ampthill, Bedford in 1989, when his team won silver medals.

Allan Adams won no fewer than six Scottish titles. In 1985 Allan finished second M40 (only three seconds behind Greenock Glenpark Harrier Dick Hodelet); and in 1986 he was second again, this time to Maryhill Harrier Brian Scobie.

1989 brought Allan Adams’ first M45 Scottish CC gold medal; and he retained this title in 1990, 1991 and 1992. After M45 silver behind Youngson in 1993, Allan continued age-group domination with M50 gold in 1994 and 1995, before injuries brought his career to a halt.

In 2012 a reunion was organised at Drymen by Clydesdale Harrier Brian McAusland. This was attended mainly by old runners from the West of Scotland, plus a few from the East or North. Allan Adams, cheerful and vibrant, looked as strong and energetic as ever!


My Favourite Events: by Davie Fairweather

[Editor. One aspect of being over 65, and slowing drastically, but still meeting younger Masters runners, is that they have no idea that you used to be quite fast at their age! For many years, Davie Fairweather has done a tremendous amount for SVHC, including the onerous task of being our team manager at the annual British and Irish cross country international. Here are some details of his successful running (and cycling) career.]

3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race.

When I was a lad, I was a keen racing cyclist, but my favourite sport was cyclo-cross, and in the 70s the highlight of the year for me was the annual 3 Peaks Race held on the last Sunday in September. This was a 25 mile race, open to amateurs & professionals, with about 20–22 miles rideable and 3–5 miles running/ walking/ staggering/ falling, dependent on individual ability & prevailing conditions. It included 5000’ of climbing and descending. The race started at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, proceeding on road to Ribblehead Viaduct, then by tracks up and down Whernside 2419’, with a road stretch through Chapel-le-Dale then left onto the track to Ingleborough 2373’. It was possible to cycle across the plateau at the top, then there was a steep descent  before joining a rideable track to Selside, back along the road to Horton and left up a rough track for the final climb up Pen-y-Ghent 2273’. Most of this was rideable, with a hair-raising descent to the finish in Horton.

I completed the race 7 times between 1970 and 1977, with 5 finishing places between 4th and 8th.  In 1975, my wife Theresa, with Claire almost 3 and Catherine 7 months, managed to get to Ribblehead Viaduct with spare wheels. I punctured just before the viaduct, and dropped from 1st to last place before I got my wheel changed, but without Theresa’s help I’d have been out of the race. I managed to get back up to 2nd place at the top of Whernside, and was still 3rd at the top of Ingleborough, but the chase had taken too much out of me and I finished 6th in 3:07:10, 15 minutes behind the winner. My best ever time was 2:56:15 in 1972, and I helped Keighley St Christophers/Bronte Wheelers win the team prize 5 times.

In those days the race field was restricted, though 100 finished my last event in 1977. The event has now been extended to 38 miles, and 536 finished in 2015!

In 1978 I decided to try the 3 Peaks running race instead. As Mel Edwards said in his article, conditions were atrocious. The course differed from the cycling route, and visibility was near zero on top of Ingleborough. I lost sight of the runner in front, and couldn’t find the path down to Selside. However I could see a clear descent to Clapham, so I ran down there with 2 other runners, even though I knew it was miles off-course. I managed to scrounge a beer at the pub and then hitched a lift to Settle. I don’t know what the other 2 did. I ran back from Settle to Horton and managed to get clocked in as a finisher in 4 hours 1 min. Like Mel I was dismayed to find out later that a runner had died, and thankful I’d decided to make a safe descent. Theresa wouldn’t ever hear of me doing the race again!

1977 was my last cycle race until 2006, when I started doing duathlons and time trials.

Inverclyde & Lochaber Marathons

After these endurance events, it was a natural progression through half marathons to the marathon, and my favourite race was the Inverclyde Marathon. After ‘hitting the wall’ in the first event in 1981 (2:36:04, 13th), won by 50 year old Bill Stoddart in 2:27:43, I swore “Never again!”, but I ran the race 10 times all told, & a total of 40 marathons between 1981 & 2000.

1983 was my best year, starting with London, running in Greta Waitz’s group for 19 miles, before dropping back & finishing in 2:29:05.

4 weeks later I ran at Motherwell, finishing 2nd in 2:29:38. It was great having a police motor cyclist escorting me over the last few miles, and all the family cheering me at the finish.

Then I had 3 months recovery before returning to the Inverclyde Marathon, finishing in 4th place with a PB of 2:24:49 at age 39, 2:24 behind winner John Stephens & 1:27 in front of Brian Carty.

By then I had the marathon bug, and I ran Glasgow 2 weeks later in 2:31, followed 2 weeks later by the Humber Bridge Marathon, where I finished 6th in 2:31:42.

All of these races were just preparation for a charity marathon relay starting at 6am on Sat 8th Oct 1983, when a team of 14 runners from Organon Laboratories Ltd (where I worked for 30 years) ran from Newhouse, Lanarkshire to the Organon HQ in Cambridge. Organon UK was celebrating 50 years in healthcare, and we decided to do this 376 mile relay in 14 stages to collect money for The Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust. As the most experienced runner, I volunteered to run the hilly 4th stage from Jedburgh over Carter Bar to Otterburn. We were blessed with perfect running conditions, and I managed 26.7 miles in 2:47. After my run I was given overnight accommodation in Darlington, with a family, which had a child with cystic fibrosis. Then one of our support vehicles took me to Lincolnshire. On Sun evening we were relaxing in a pub near Lincoln, and I was on my 3rd pint, when the call came that our 11th stage runner was in difficulty, so I was pressed back into action to complete 7 or 8 miles of the stage through Lincoln. The beer must have given me wings, because I got to the changeover point, before the next runner was ready! I just kept running till the support vehicle got him up to me, then I was driven down to Histon, where all 14 runners (including the 14th stage runner) completed a final 4 mile jog to Cambridge Science Park, finishing at 13:31 on Mon 10th Oct.  We collected over £5000 for our efforts, which Organon made up to £10,000, and it was a memorable team-bonding experience.

I returned to Inverclyde in 1984 as a veteran and finished 3rd overall in 2:26:57, but was beaten by the indomitable Allan Adams, who finished 69 seconds in front. Allan beat me again in 1985, with 2:26:10 to my 2:27:24, when we were 1st & 2nd in the Scottish Veterans Championship. Brian Carty was 3rd vet in 2:29:28. John Stephens won again in 2:23:13.

In 1990 I finished 3rd, & 1st vet, in 2:30:03. The absence of Allan & Brian made it a bit easier.

In 1991 the race incorporated the Scottish Marathon Championship for the first time. I was feeling good and hoping to beat Charlie McDougall, but suffered a torn hamstring at the Inverkip turn. I didn’t fancy walking 7 miles, so started running again after walking briefly & managed to finish in 4th place, 2:23 behind Charlie. To add insult to injury, Charlie & I both had to undergo a drugs test after the race! I think we were allowed some beer to help us produce samples. First 4 finishers were T Mitchell (Fife) 2:24:50; J Stephens (Low Fell) 2:27:10; C McDougall (Calderglen) 2:35:51; D Fairweather (Cambuslang)  2:38:14, 1st Veteran.

In 1992 I decided to try the Lochaber Marathon, which was the Vets Championship for many years. It was an inauspicious start, as I hit the wall after 15 miles & finished 13th, 11min behind Colin Youngson (2:36:23). I ran at Lochaber 8 times & it took 3 attempts before I got a grip on it, In 1995 I finished 4th & 1st Vet in 2:36:02, which I think was an M50 course record. John Duffy won in 2:31:19.

In 1998 it was the BMAF Championship, and I had a memorable duel with Colin Youngson. After the turn I started putting in short spurts to try to open a gap on Colin, who finally gave up at 17 miles gasping “On you go you wee b—–!” I think it’s the only time I’ve beaten Colin in any race. Meanwhile Bobby Young had been watching us from behind, and started chasing me. I only just managed to keep going, & finished in 2:43:37 for my 2nd BMAF M50 title, with Bobby 2nd M50 in 2:43:58. M40 Mike Girvan won in 2:30:36.

Although I had several disastrous marathons, where I hit the wall, I did manage to win 1 marathon from the front, without any problems. In June 1988 I ran the last Galloway Marathon. Although it was quite a strong field, I thought the pace was too slow, & everyone was watching me and nearly tripping me up, so I broke away after just 3 miles. I felt good & just kept going, finishing in 2:32:06, almost 5 minutes in front of Colin Kinnear from Dumfries, & broke the Vets’ course record by 13 minutes!

Cross Country Races

I’ve enjoyed cross-country races since my Uni days, & initially used them as training for cyclo-cross, but I never had a decent run in a major event until the SCCU Veterans Cross Country Champs at Musselburgh in 1987. Up till then I’d always been an also-ran, but that winter I had a week off work when our factory site was closed by snow. I took advantage of the break to do hard runs every day in the snow, & by 8th Feb I was at my peak…Brian Scobie led from the start, & it was a race for 2nd place between me & Brian Carty. I clung to him like a leech & we opened up a gap on the rest of the field. I knew I couldn’t outsprint Brian but I hung on till the last 200 metres & finished 10 sec behind Brian C & 38 sec behind Brian S. I claimed numerous scalps, including Archie Duncan, Colin Martin & Allan Adams. It was a 1-off performance & I never got any other medal in the Scottish Veteran Championships.

Similarly, in the British & Irish Veterans/Masters Cross Country International, I’d managed to get a few team medals, & I did win an Open Race M50 prize at Malahide in 1995, but I was never near winning an individual medal until Navan in Nov 2000.  I suppose I had a good build up, with 78:28 in the Helensburgh ½ Marathon, 2:48:39  2 weeks later in the Glasgow Marathon, & 78:48  3 weeks later in the Inverclyde ½ Marathon! Anyway, by the time I got to Navan, Eire, I was well-prepared, but I fell flat on my face in the warm-up, which didn’t augur well for a good race performance.  I’m never very good at judging my position in cross country races, and I didn’t see any M55 numbers, so just assumed that all the good runners were out of sight in front. Then on the last lap I passed Archie Jenkins (who was in the M45 team!), and suddenly I was on Colin Youngson’s heels (in the M50 team!) but he wasn’t going to let me beat him this time, & I crossed the line 3 sec behind him to win M55 gold. Frank Reilly came in 12 sec behind me, with Graham Patton 3rd a further 6 sec behind. With Bobby Young 4th & Brian Campbell 10th we won team gold as well. I’ve managed a few more team medals since then, but been nowhere near another individual medal.



(Peter McGregor was for many years a respected club runner with Victoria Park AAC. Below is a summarised version of a long article he has written. Nowadays, Peter is a mature sports student at the West of Scotland University.)


My best race was in the 1981 Glasgow International Marathon, when I ran 2 hours 26 minutes 47 seconds. This was my third marathon of the year. In 1980 I completed four, including a 2.28.49.

In 1981 I was ranked 21st in Scotland and 204th in the UK. 176 Scottish male club runners registered times between 2.20 and 2.30.

In 1982 I ran 2.30.20 in the Glasgow People’s Marathon; and was ranked 409th in the UK. This highlights the strong depth of marathon performance then at club level.

However in 2012 only 23 British marathon runners ran under 2.25.

Training and Racing Development: Peter McGregor

Between 1969 and 1989, I ran on the Highland Games circuit during the summer, racing 800m and 1500m handicaps, 3000m and 5000m events on uneven ash or grass tracks. Many competitors took part, including International athletes like Lachie Stewart, Ian McCafferty, Jim Brown, Jim Dingwall and Hugh Barrow.

Over three years I achieved personal track bests at 3k (9mins 6secs), 5k and 10k (34.07). In addition I ran many road races (between 10 and 21 miles), all over Central Scotland. Thus speed and stamina were both improved.

1981 Build-Up to My Fastest Marathon

In preparation for the Scottish Marathon Championship on 20th June in Edinburgh, I completed four road races (between 12 and 21 miles in distance). Training averaged over 110 miles per week (maximum 129), with two weeks of 75 before the Scottish Marathon. During the last week I was on a low carbohydrate diet between Sunday and Tuesday evening; and then high carbo until the race on Saturday. I finished tenth in 2.33.45.

Peter finishing the 1981 Scottish Marathon.

Quickly recovering, I began training for the Inverclyde Marathon on 30th August, and managed to average 108 mpw for seven weeks, including one week of 132 and four road races (between 10 and 14 miles). Then a taper week of 44 miles (low carbo only on Wednesday, then high carbo to the Sunday race). This marathon was completed  in 2.30.47.

In the seven weeks before the Glasgow International Marathon on 14th October, I reduced training slightly, averaging just under 100 mpw. On Saturdays and Sundays I ran twice; and at Club Nights included two weekly repetition sessions over distances like 150m or 400m. In addition seven road races were completed, over distances ranging from 14 miles to 3 miles (road relay stage). The taper week was 44 miles (including low carbo on Wednesday then high carbo to the Sunday race. I was delighted to finish the marathon in a Personal Best 2.26.47.

I worked full-time from 7.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Morning runs Mon-Fri were at 5.30 a.m.; Evening runs 5 p.m. Saturday runs 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday runs 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Apart from Club Nights I always ran alone. Club training took place Mon and Wed between 7 p.m. and 8.30 p.m.

Reasons why club marathon times have declined?

I think that one reason is that club runners nowadays usually aim for high profile mass town or city 10 races; and coaches encourage training mainly for that purpose. However track 10,000m races are seldom available – and these used to be invaluable speed-work, in a tough, tactical, competitive event, for aspiring club marathon racers.

Another Scottish Championship event used to be Ten Miles Track. The majority of participants went on to race well (2.13 to 2.30) in marathons. Again, this was an extremely testing, competitive event which developed speed as well as stamina. The same could be said for One Hour Track races.

Sadly, quite a number of Highland Games road races have also disappeared, especially the ones longer than half marathon, which used to help runners ‘bridge the gap’ between half and full marathons. Merely training over, say, 18 or 21 miles, is not as effective as racing over these distances, especially against prominent Scottish International athletes, who used to take part in these events.


To run a marathon in under two hours thirty minutes is quite possible for a good club runner nowadays.

However, planning a road racing programme, which is part of a runner’s marathon training development, is so different compared to in the past.

Surely administrators and coaches should organise more 10,000m track races during the year. Could Scottish District and National Standard  Track times be reintroduced, such as sub-33 minutes or sub-31 minutes for 10,000m? This would provide targets to motive athlete improvement. Female athletes, who frequently race 10k on the road, should have similar track times to aim for – perhaps sub-36 or sub-34. This would improve speed endurance.

There is an argument for reintroducing similar standards for at least one Ten Mile Track and/or a One Hour race every year. Could road race organisers offer one or two 18 mile races? These would develop mental strength and be physical stepping stones towards a serious attempt at achieving a good marathon time.

Since the 1970s, Sports Coaching, Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning, and High Altitude Training have advanced dramatically. Yet good club marathon performances have become much slower in recent years. Surely this trend can, and should, be reversed?

[Editor adds. Peter was a team-mate of mine in the early 1970s at Vicky Park, a top Scottish road running club. He may not have had immense talent, but he surely worked very hard and thoroughly deserved to achieve a good marathon best. I agree with most of his conclusions above, but it is notable that he covered fewer miles before his 2.26 and also included faster work. My own theory is that a club runner with reasonable talent, aged 25-35, should duck below 2.30 (or even head down for 2.20) on about 70 or 80 miles per week, including a long run (10-20 miles), a midweek hardish ten, a competitive club pack run – maybe including longer efforts – and some two minute, not-too-steep road hill repetitions, plus recovery jogging. Other sessions which might be included in a fortnightly programme are: five times approximately four minutes on tarmac or grass, with a three minute recovery; and a time trial over a distance like 3k or 5k. Racing should include 5k, 10k, half marathon and if possible a hard 18 to 20 miler. Six weeks of marathon build-up (from a generally fit base) should be followed by two weeks tapering, with the last week no more than 30 miles. Young veterans (35-45) could perhaps aim for sub-2.30 and certainly sub-2.40, on about 60 to 70 miles per week. Email if you would like specific advice on pre-marathon race diet.]


GB or not GB?

The 2014 independence referendum created many unanswered questions about the Economy, Defence and Industry. But another issue is Athletics, and
hitherto the quandary whether an athlete (born in Scotland) would prefer to
compete for Scotland or Great Britain.

Prior to September 14 there was a lot of scaremongering about funding for
Athletics and competing as an independent Nation but thankfully common sense has prevailed and dialogue is actually underway.

Scottish Athletics has recently contacted the Smith Commission and, indeed,
Seb Coe has been petitioned  to ask for more Scottish involvement in
European and World Athletics competitions. Possibly this has been galvanised by the success of Scottish Athletes during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Ironically, this is the sole competition in which athletes can compete for
Scotland and, as it only occurs every four years, there is a renewed hunger for more frequent participation.

Scotland competed at the World Cross Country Championships from its inception until 1987 before, inexplicably, only a GB select was entered. This is one competition that Scottish Athletics highlights as being potentially reinvigorating to our sport, if Scotland was allowed to compete as a separate team.

With the right funding and support, Scottish athletes have proved they can
mix it with the best. We brought home thirteen of the sixty five medals won at the London Olympics: almost 20%, which was not bad for a wee Nation.

If we evaluate the recent Commonwealth Games, admittedly held on home turf, Scotland’s athletes more than held their own with a 4th place finish: 53
medals in total, including 19 gold and 4 medals in Athletics.

Ironically the “No vote” has not deterred the growing belief that Scotland
should compete more in major athletic competitions.

How does this affect Veteran athletes? We have our yearly good-humoured
battles against the rest of the Home Nations in the Masters Cross Country.

Imagine, however, Auckland 2017: the World Masters Track and Field. You’re on the start line with the dark blue vest of Scotland and the lion rampant on your breast, going into battle as a Scot or as part of a winning Scottish relay
team. Would that not be a little bit more special? Could you push harder to gain a vital couple of metres more?

I have spoken to several athletes about their thoughts on Scottish athletes
competing for Scotland and, obviously not everybody will agree, but I think
the wise words of Andrew Lemoncello resonate with me.

“Being able to compete for Scotland last year in the Commonwealth Games on home soil was the highlight of my career. When someone asks me where I’m from, I don’t say I’m British. I say I’m Scottish as that’s the country I
feel truly tied to. I’m not anti-British – I just love the country that I grew up in. Being able to compete for them more often would be a phenomenal way to
ride out the last few years of my running career.”

Sunday 3rd January 2016, Emirates Arena

“There were Scottish Masters Indoor 3000m medals up for grabs during this lengthy meeting, with golds for (among others) the likes of Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers duo Robert Gilroy (M35) and Kerry-Liam Wilson (M45); Gordon Barrie (M40) of Dundee Hawkhill; Garscube’s Lesley Chisholm (W40) and Rob McLennan (M55); and Melissa Wylie (W45) of Dumbarton.” Thus stated the Scottish Athletics website report.

Unfortunately the fields were chaotic, with youngsters and seniors mixed in with Masters. Consequently, Scottish Masters 3000m titles had to be decided on fastest times, rather than true-run races. Furthermore, the date was ridiculously early in the year and suited only to runners from the Central Belt. Why was the 3000m not held with the rest of the Masters Indoors on 14th February? This is the second year in succession that Scottish Athletics has insisted on such an entirely unsuitable date!

 Josephine Moultrie and M35 Robert Gilroy – both collected golds in the same race

Photo by Bobby Gavin

“Josephine Moultrie (VP-Glasgow) always looked favourite for the Scottish Women’s Senior 3000m gold and she duly raced to a fine time of 8.57.14. That is sixth best on the all-time list and there are now only five illustrious names ahead of Jo – via McColgan (Liz and Eilish), Yvonne Murray, Laura Muir and Kathy Butler.”

3000m  Masters Indoor Best Performances at the end of 2015

M35 Robert Gilroy 9-09.77 2015
M40 Archie Jenkins 8-49.90 1997
M45 Archie Jenkins 8-58.34 1999
M50 Guy Bracken 8-59.96 2013
M55 Hugh Rankin 9-37.9 1990
M60 Andy Brown 9-54.02 1993
M65 Willie Marshall 10-32.28 1993
M70 Jimmy Todd 11-17.99 1993
M75 Hugh McGinlay 13-46.60 2001
W35 Susan Ridley 10-22.30 2001
W40 Susan Ridley 10-23.62 2008
W45 Susan Ridley 10-36.32 2011
W50 Fiona Matheson 10-06.02 2013
W55 Phyllis Hands 13-13.18 2012



M35 Robert Gilroy (RCH) 9.06.71 (Championship record)

M40 Gordon Barrie (DHH) 9.17.48

M45 Kerry-Liam Wilson (RCH) 9.16.90

M50 Guy Bracken (North Shields Poly) 9.06.37

M55 Rob McLennan (Garscube) 9.59.80

M60 Alastair Dunlop (Stornoway) 10.22.28

M65 David Cooney (RCH) 12.56.45

M70 Bobby Young (Clydesdale) 12.07.36

W35 Jacqueline Etherington (SVHC) 11.08.46

W40 Lesley Chisholm (Garscube) 10.13.52 (Championship record)

W45 Melissa Wyllie (Dumbarton) 10.52.77

W50 Sue Ridley (EAC) 11.55.04

W60 Phyllis Hands (Motherwell) 13.33.26


The programme for this competition was even more chaotic, with Masters events squeezed in amongst multi-events. It seems likely that Scottish Athletics is not keen on making things easy for older age group indoors athletes, in spite of the website report including the throwaway comment: “The Masters Indoors Champs attracted around 175 entries, with those involved determined to once again prove that athletics is for life.”

Last year, the editor was taken to task for not reporting on the whole range of track and field at this championship. He tried to make amends when writing about the (well-organised, Masters-friendly) 2015 summer track and field. However this year, the results on the Scottish Athletics website are utterly impossible and remarkably complicated. Please look them up if you were a participant or are an interested fan.

The Scottish Athletics website report noted: “Philippa Millage has already achieved a Scottish age record at W35 for 800m during the indoor season and added to that success with championship bests at 400m and 800m with 57.10 and 2.08.51. Lesley Chisholm was again an impressive performer in the W40 1500m as she came home in 4.46.65.

English athlete Guy Bracken set remarkable M50 times in both the 800m and 1500m – and in the latter race it was great to see Pete Cartwright, with 5.56.90 at the age of 73, and Alastair Dunlop (M60 – 4.57.84) in good form.”

Other highlights included the following. Melissa Wylie (W45) won the 1500m in a rapid 5.08.48. Sonia Armitage (W55) won the 800m in a fast time (2.35.12); and also finished first in the 1500m (5.2644).  Darren Scott ran well to record 22.99 in the M45 200m. Gordon Barrie (M40) added another gold medal to his recent collection in the 1500m (4.23.89). Apparently not a highlight was the Men’s Shot Put contest, which included competitors aged between 35 to 81. Were the age groups in separate competitions; or was it simply one big confusing chuck-fest? The results shed no light on the matter.



Report by Ron Morrison

While the weather ravaged the west and centre of Scotland, those who chose to make the journey to Forres were presented with almost perfect cross country under foot conditions, weather and near record fields.

The women’s championship saw Lesley Chisholm (Garscube H), who has been in great form already in 2016, successfully defended her title of last year after a strong initial challenge from Edel Mooney (Lothian RC).

Just as exciting was the W45 championship where Veronique Oldham (Aberdeen AAC) got the better of tiring Shona Robertson (Shettleston H) in the latter stages. Not far behind, Fiona Matheson (Falkirk Victoria H) dominated the W50 championship winning from North District athlete Sheila Gollan (East Sutherland AC).

Sonia Armitage (Aberdeen AAC) took the W55 title from Isobel Burnett (Carnegie H) with near local Jane Kerridge (Deeside R) taking the W60 title from Linden Nicholson (Lasswade AAC) and the far travelled Susan Linklater (Shetland AC).

Janette Stevenson (Falkirk Victoria H), the 1991-2 and 1992-3 overall champion and multiple 5-year age group champion, outstripped the W65 field winning from another multiple title holder and 2012-3 champion Phyllis Lemoncello (Fife AC), who of course lives in Nairn.

Perhaps the biggest cheer of the day went to Anne Docherty of the home club Forres H when she crossed the line first in the W70 championship. The team race was won by some margin by the holders Gala H with Carnegie H beating Corstorphine AAC by 1 point for the minor places.

Over the same 6K course as the women, Alex Sutherland (Highland Hill R) took the M65 title from Charles Noble (Fraserburgh RC) and Alan Lawson (Dundee Hawkhill H).

Timothy Kirk (Inverness H) took the M70 title from the never missing Robert Young (Clydesdale H) and Gibson Fleming (Westerlands XCC). Watson Jones (Clydesdale H) captured the M75 title.

For the second year in a row, three over 80 athletes completed the course with Walter McCaskey (Edinburgh AC) defending his title from James Pittillo (Teviotdale H) and the ever–present Willie Drysdale (Law & District AAC).

The men’s 40-60 championships produced a number of exciting duels. In the early stages four runners moved away from the pack and finished close to one another.

In the end, Kenneth Campbell (Ronhill Cambuslang H) prevailed to win the gold in 29.15 from new M45 champion Kerry–Liam Wilson (Ronhill Cambuslang H) in 29.24 with Jamie Reid (Ronhill Cambuslang H) in 29.26 and Jim Tole (Metro Aberdeen) in 29.28 taking the minor M40 places.

The minor M45 places behind Wilson were hotly contested by local runners Paul Miller (Inverness H) in 30.14 and Gareth Jenkins (Moray RR) in 30.18.

The M50 championship was well won by Nick Milovsorov (Metro Aberdeen RC) from Jim Buchanan (Dumfries RC). The 1997-8 overall champion and multiple medal winner Ed Stewart (Ronhill Cambuslang H) defended his M55 title with a remarkable run in 20th place overall. David Weir (Forres H) took the silver with another great run.

The perennial Frankie Barton (Ronhill Cambuslang H) won the M60 title from the event co–convener Doug Cowie (Forres H) with a fast finishing Alex Chisholm (Garscube H) in the bronze medal position.

The men’s team races were dominated once again by Ronhill Cambuslang H taking the M40-60 Teviotdale Harriers Shield Trophy for the 8th time in 9 years with 20 points from Corstorphine AAC with 86 and Metro Aberdeen 3rd with 104.

Many thanks to Forres Harriers who were hosting the event for the fourth time and in particular co–conveners Paul Rogan (16th on the day) and Doug Cowie (silver medal in the M60 championship).




President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


March 2016

Sat 12th Sun 13th British Masters Indoor Track & Field Champs Lee Valley Athletic Centre

Sun 13th BMAF Cross Country Championships Bath University Claverton Down Rd BA2 7AY

Tue 29th Mar – Sun 3rd Apr European Masters Indoor Championships – Ancona, Italy

April 2016

Sat 2nd BMAF & VAC 10k Championships Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, E20 3ST

Sun 10th Tom Scott 10 mile road race Strathclyde Park

Sun 10th 50th Round the Houses 10km RR Grangemouth

May 2016

Wed 4th Snowball 4.8m RR Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, 19:30

Sat 14th BMAF Road Relay Championships Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield B74 2YT

Fri 20th –Sun 22nd European Masters Non-Stadia Championships – Vila Real de Santo Antonio Algarve Portugal.

Sat 28th TBC Cairnpapple Hill Race, Meadow Park, Bathgate

June 2016

Wed 1st June Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race 7:30 pm. Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh

Sun 19th BMAF Open Pentathlon Championships Horspath Athletics Ground Oxford Rd Horspath Oxford OX4 2RR

Sun 19th BMAF 5k Championships Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road Horwich BL6 5PY

Wed 29th SVHC 5K Champs Playdrome, Clydebank, 19:30

July 2016

Sun 3rd Scottish National Masters T&F Championships, Aberdeen

Sun 17th EAMA Inter-Area Track & Field Challenge Norman Green Sports Centre Solihull B91 1NB

Sat/Sun 30th /31st BMAF Open Decathlon/Heptathlon/ Weight Pentathlon/10K Run+Walks/ Summer Classics Alexander Stadium, Birmingham B42 2LR

August 2016

Sun 14th BMAF Marathon Championships Ballacloan Stadium, North Shore Road, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM8 3DX

Sun 21st SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30 September 2016

Sat 17th Trial Race for International XC Tollcross Park

Sat/Sun 17th /18th BMAF Open Track & Field Champs Alexander Stadium Birmingham B42 2LR

October 2016

Sun 9th Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon Kirkintilloch, Inc.BMAF & SVHC Champs

Sun 16th SVHC Track 10K 11:30 & 13:00. AGM 14:00. Venue TBC

26th Oct – 06th Nov World Masters Track & Field Champs Perth, Australia November 2016 Sat 12th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Tollcross Park, Glasgow



MEMBERSHIP NOTES 4th December, 2015

I will be standing down as Membership Secretary in October 2016. Ada Stewart has very kindly volunteered to take over from me if approved at the next AGM. Alastair Macfarlane has also announced that he’ll be standing down as SVHC Secretary, so we’ll be looking for a volunteer to replace him before the AGM.


I regret to report that 1 of our members has died recently. Brian Campbell passed away on 26th August, aged 71. He had been a member of SVHC since 1997.

Welcome to the 14 new and 6 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 19th August 2015. 55 members did not renew their subs last year and 4 have resigned. As of 4th December 2015, we have 488 paid up members .

For those who have not already paid or set up standing orders, subscription renewals are due now for 2015/16. It was agreed at the AGM to change the annual subscription as follows: £20 for ordinary members, £10 for non-competing members and zero for all aged 80 or over. Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.

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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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



Neil Smith 28-Aug-15 2272 East Grinstead

Grant Wooler 28-Aug-15 2273 Perth

Brian McGarrity 02-Sep-15 2274 Glasgow

Deborah Roe 04-Sep-15 2275 Glasgow

Colin Hutcheon 08-Sep-15 2276 Linlithgow

Norman Baillie 13-Sep-15 2277 Glasgow

Sheila Lewis 10-Oct-15 2278 Glasgow

Rory Campbell 21-Oct-15 2279 Galashiels

Alex Wood 02-Nov-15 2280 Linlithgow

Billy Gibson 04-Nov-15 2281 Dundee

Paul Monaghan 09-Nov-15 2282 Glasgow

David Cross 10-Nov-15 2283 Edinburgh

Kenneth White 18-Nov-15 2284 Helensburgh

Philippa Millage 24-Nov-15 2285 Glasgow

Jane Kerridge 02-Sep-15 1705 Banchory

Greg Hastie 04-Sep-15 2064 Glasgow

George Black 10-Sep-15 26 Kingskettle

Phyllis Lemoncello 08-Oct-15 1069 Nairn

James Breen 18-Oct-15 2041 Glasgow

Edward Dickson 20-Oct-15 1176 Bishopbriggs

 David Fairweather Membership Secretary



After 16 races spread over 11 months the Jackie Gourlay Trophy for the winner of the Men’s event goes this year to Andy McLinden with 73.5 points, with Colin Feechan 2nd on 69.6 and Willie Jarvie 3rd, 68.4. Andy Law & Neil Robbins made up the top five, covered by 6.9 points.

The Dale Greig Trophy for the winner of the Women’s event goes to Frances Maxwell 61.7 points, with Ada Stewart 58.8, Pamela McCrossan 51.2, and Shirley MacNab 49.1 taking the minor prizes.

The best performance over the series came from Andy McLinden with 9.3 points at both the Clydebank 5km & the Neil McCover ½ Marathon. David Millar scored 9.3 points and Kerry-Liam Wilson 9.2 at the Tom Scott 10mile race.

For those who are new to this competition, each runner’s best 8 performances from the 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 draft list for 2015/16 is –

18/10/15 SVHC 10K Track Champ Coatbridge

25/10/15 Ruby’s Race 5K Kilmarnock

12/12/15 SVHC Xmas Handicap Clydebank

27/02/16 SAL Cross Country Champs Falkirk

06/03/16 Lasswade 10 miles Road Race Lasswade

tbc Lost Trails Race Falkland

10/04/16 Tom Scott 10 mile road race Motherwell

10/04/16 50th Round the Houses 10km RR Grangemouth

08/05/16 SVHC Walter Ross 10km RR Cartha

04/05/16 Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge

tbc Bathgate Hill Race Bathgate

01/06/16 Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Edinburgh

tbc SAL Masters Track & Field 3km/5km tbc

29/06/16 SVHC 5km Champs Clydebank

tbc SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha

tbc Moray Marathon Elgin

02/10/16 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch

Alastair Macfarlane


 OBITUARY: BRIAN CAMPBELL 6th October 1943 – 26th November 2015

 Brian’s clubmate Brian McAusland wrote the following:

Probably the most successful Clydesdale Harriers men’s team the club has ever had, in terms of winning British titles, is the group known as the Three Amigos who went everywhere as a team in the M60 Age Grouping and won just about every British Team Championship they entered, whether on the road or over the country, whether 5000 metres or 10,000 metres, whether straight race or relay race between 2002 and 2008. In that period they won thirteen titles and medalled in four others – quite remarkable!

Each was a very good athlete in his own right but if ever there was evidence of the total being greater than the sum of the parts, this was it. Brian Campbell started out as a school football player after attending a school in Lanarkshire where the heroes were Billy McNeill and Bobby Murdoch. By fifth year he was captain of the school first eleven and, as was usual, played for the school on the Saturday morning and for an amateur team in the afternoon, thereafter repairing to the pub or the dancing for a couple of pints.

He had what he called the ‘dubious pleasure’ of playing against Jimmy Johnstone when he played outside right for St Columba’s Boys Guild and Brian was left back for St John’s!

Athletics became a career purely by chance. At the age of thirty six he had to give up weekly five a side football ‘due to several injuries – broken ankle, dislocated shoulder, broken fingers, fed up wife…’ By the age of forty he had gone up to 11.5 stones in weight and at New Year 1984 his resolution was to get back some fitness.

By January he had started easy runs with some other ‘potential geriatrics’. By April he was running in the Galloway Marathon in 3:26:00 and then three weeks later he ran the Motherwell Marathon in 3:22:00. In his first year he ran four marathons in all – not to be recommended he said!

In 1985 he joined his local club Hamilton Harriers and as his children grew he introduced them to athletics taking three of them to the club twice a week and to League Meetings at the weekend.

In 1986 he went to Inverclyde on a coaching course where he shared a room with one of his heroes, Commonwealth 10,000 metres champion Lachie Stewart, and did some coaching at the club.

!987/88 saw him try some triathlons with a bit of success winning the vets prize at East Kilbride and Cumbernauld. The training demands of three distinct schedules were ultimately too much physically and time-wise and so he went back to road running where he picked up various age group prizes at a variety of distances and venues.

His best performances as a Veteran were: Marathon: 2:49:55; Half Marathon: 74:52; 10 Miles: 54:25; 10K: 33:50.

Brian had known Bobby Young and Pete Cartwright through road and cross country racing plus as members of the SVHC. It was actually at one of the Vets Races in 2003 that he got talking with Pete and the upshot was that he joined Clydesdale Harriers as there were no other over 60s at his club to make up a team.

Like the others Brian had many individual and team successes over the period in question – for example in 2006 he won both 1500 metres and 3000 metres at the Scottish Vets Indoor Championships in Kelvin Hall. In addition, he ran frequently for Scottish Masters in the annual British and Irish Masters Cross Country International.

One of the main ingredients of the success of the trio was that they were indeed The Three Amigos who delighted in each other’s company. Indeed in 2009 they spent six weeks together in Australia and New Zealand: you don’t do that and not fall out if there is not something special in the relationship.

Brian’s great friend Bobby Young added the following: For many years Brian was well known to me and Pete as a fellow runner. From the early 1980s we competed as rivals on many occasions. Brian was a good runner and a very hard man to beat. He was very friendly and always good company. Many a good story, several beers and funny jokes were shared after races.

Towards the end of 2003, as we both approached the new M60 age group, we discussed the potential success Clydesdale Harriers would have on the Masters competitions. Together with Pete Cartwright, we would be a formidable team especially at British Masters level. We had all been successful on occasions individually but together we would be more than the sum of the parts.

So in 2004 we entered the British Masters XC Championships in Durham and won Silver behind Bingley Harriers. Next was the Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park, Birmingham. During the race Brian damaged a calf muscle but typically he struggled on to hand over to myself and we managed to secure Bronze behind Bingley Harriers.

When Brian was fit again we set off into the 2005 campaign in which we entered six British Masters events and won them all, earning the title “The Border Raiders” down South and, at home “The Three Amigos”.

Quite a few more titles followed after that. We spent a lot of time together over the next few years, especially the six weeks touring Australia and New Zealand in January-February 2009.

Brian was a great guy to spend time with, knowledgeable, well read, with a great sense of humour. A constant supply of jokes and funny stories flowed by email. He had a great passion for seeking out and consuming Real Ales, with which I was very sympathetic and helped as much as possible.

After a race in 2014 in Maryport, every pub was checked out for suitable ales, but none passed muster. So off we went north to Lancaster which provided two Wetherspoons establishments which satisfied Brian’s high standards.

Brian was a lovely man who will be sadly missed by family, friends and fellow runners. On behalf of myself, Peter Cartwright and fellow Scottish Veteran Harriers, I would send our deepest sympathies to Jo, the children and grandchildren. He was extremely proud of them and loved them deeply.


(The Maryhill Harriers team which won the 1939 Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, with Andy Coogan in the back row, third from the right. Can you spot other famous Scottish runners: Donald McNab Robertson, Emmet Farrell and Gordon Porteous? Photo courtesy of the Coogan family.)

Andy Coogan’s friend James Munn reports that Sir Chris Hoy’s great-uncle (and inspiration) celebrated his 98th birthday in April 2015.

Andy’s autobiography (‘Tomorrow You Die’) was published 2012, and is a marvellous tale of resilience and survival, especially during three and a half years suffering in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Andy Coogan was a very talented middle-distance runner, not only before his military service, but also many years later, once the Veteran Athletics movement was established.

His first club was the famous Maryhill Harriers, which he joined as a youth, and then had considerable success, particularly in the mile and half mile, but also in longer races, including cross country. In 1938 Andy won the Police Mile at Hampden; and then the Empire Exhibition Mile at Ibrox.

He was 21 when the Second World War broke out in 1939, and was called up to serve in the Lanarkshire Yeomanry. In November 1939 Maryhill Harriers led all the way to win the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay, with Andy coming in first on Stage One.

In 1940, before embarking for Cape Town, Bombay and Poona, Andy was invited by Bill Struth, the manager of Rangers FC, to take part in an international sports day at Ibrox. In a handicap mile, he was to race against the legendary Sydney Wooderson (the world mile record holder) in front of a crowd of 90,000! Before the event, Andy met Wooderson, who turned out to be an absolute gentleman, happy to chat with the young Glaswegian.

There were eight starters. In “Tomorrow You Die” there is a fine description of the race. “Right from the start, there was a tremendous noise from the crowd. With a lap to go, there were three runners ahead of me. At about 150 yards, I overtook Ian Stokoe of Edinburgh University, the British Universities mile champion. I was excited because I knew that Stokoe was very good. The other athletes were well behind us by this time. The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing. I wasn’t sure where Wooderson was, but I knew he was coming up, by the way the crowd were roaring. I wasn’t racing, using the head; I was just desperate to get to the finish. With about ten yards to go, Wooderson came level, then passed me. I was happy to be in second place and, to tell the truth, just happy to be in the race, as it was a great honour to run against Wooderson……… Afterwards, he was very encouraging. He told me that I had a good future in athletics and gave me his pins and his numbers as souvenirs……That night I allowed myself to dream of running for Scotland and maybe ultimately the Olympics.”

Although Andy Coogan also won a half mile and a mile in Poona, that was to be the end of his senior running career, since despite brave fighting in Malaya, he and his surviving comrades were captured by the Japanese after the surrender of Singapore.

Details of the agonies endured during imprisonment are vividly described in the book. Yet eventually, the war did end and emaciated, starving men were freed. Andy Coogan’s incredible spirit, positive philosophy and inner toughness shines through the narration.

Back in Scotland, after a long period of convalescence, during which he was helped back to fitness by Maryhill Harriers, Andy met his wife-to-be Myra. In 1948 they moved to Carnoustie and Andy founded Tayside Amateur Athletics Club.

As well as coaching and encouraging everyone in the community to participate in sport, he also took part in Veteran Athletics. In 1987 he was pictured leading the World Veterans 800m in Melbourne, in front of Shettleston’s Davie Morrison. Andy won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Vets 800m at the age of 75 and kept running well into his eighties. Aged 82, in the 1999 British Veterans Athletics Championships at Meadowbank, he won the M80 200 metres! Gordon Porteous, Emmet Farrell and Davie Morrison also competed that day.

Andy says that veteran meetings were great fun, although deadly serious! Scottish Masters Track and Field presents annually ‘The Andy Coogan Trophy’ for the best age-graded performance (Indoors or Outdoors) in 800m by any male SVHC member.

In 2012, Andy had a well-deserved honour when he carried the Olympic torch in Dundee. He wrote that he was very moved by the turnout of friends, family and former runners with Tayside Amateur Athletics Club. James Munn reports that, nowadays, this amazing character has good general health at 98, and is an alert, articulate speaker, who lives alone but is supported by regular visits from his daughters.


                                                                           PROFILE OF KERRY-LIAM WILSON

                                                         K-L nearing the finish of the 2015 World Masters Marathon in Lyon

Kerry-Liam Wilson has been the outstanding M35/M40 Scottish Veteran Harrier for several years. Only his M35 Ronhill Cambuslang clubmate Robert Gilroy seems likely to rival K-L’s achievements.

Kerry has won: five BMAF titles (two cross-country, ten miles, 10k and 5k); 22 Scottish Masters championships; and nine SVHC.

On August 16th 2015, he contested the World Masters marathon in Lyon, France, finishing fourth overall (3rd M40) after a truly valiant effort. He was first Briton and helped GB to team silver. Now, as he has entered the M45 age-group, he is motivated to train for future European and World Masters events.

Both Cambuslang stars run huge mileages in training. Kerry –Liam’s programme before Lyon was especially gruelling: three months hard, including six runs of twenty miles plus, and seven weeks of over 100 miles, with a maximum 131! Possibly a bit too much, even for an extremely fit 44-year-old. Once he takes just a little more care not to overdo it, and improves nutrition before and during a marathon, it seems very likely that a World or European Masters gold M45 medal is possible. No one could deserve it more.


NAME Kerry-Liam Wilson

CLUBs Ronhill Cambuslang and Scottish Veteran Harriers Club

DATE OF BIRTH Some time during the 1970s but not exactly sure. Being born in Singapore, a birth certificate isn’t something they gave out in those days. OCCUPATION Production Line Operative

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? Youngest son Caine-Liam went along to the local football club under 7’s. However through time he just became a number, as the club got cliquey and, after I approached the coaches, I was basically told if I wasn’t happy then Caine wasn’t going to get a game.

After that incident we were out a family walk and met Nat Taylor of Girvan AAC and, after he was told the above story his words were “no matter how good or bad you’re at running, everyone gets a number” and invited us along to a training night.

At first I was going along basically to keep an eye on Caine, as I didn’t want him doing anything wrong, and also wanted to see him happy after the football incident. A few sessions passed and I was asked if I fancied joining in with the seniors so, after a bit of juggling with Caine and his wee brother Kalle who was two at this time, when Kate worked a back shift, I went out with the seniors on a Tuesday and Thursday and enjoyed it. Whatever route we did on those days I would reverse it on a Saturday before finally getting more involved.


At Girvan AAC I would say it has to be Nat Taylor and Jack Maxwell, two coaches who went to races a lot and took me along and showed me the ropes. Did a lot of Sunday runs with Jack too and picked his brains when out on those runs. Caine would come along too if he wasn’t racing. Jack’s wife Eileen would look after him, usually in a coffee shop, before supporting us on the home straight of the races.

At Ronhill Cambuslang it has to be everyone! There’s a good team camaraderie, which is a vital part of becoming and staying a winning club. At first it was Stevie Wylie. Jamie Reid and Michael Johnston later on, plus David Cooney, Colin Feechan, James Orr, Owen Reid and Robert Anderson.

Stevie moved to Girvan when he bought a house, and we would do sessions and runs together all the time before his job went onto shifts, but we travelled regularly to races and, not long after that, I switched clubs from Girvan to Ronhill Cambuslang. On training runs again I would pick Stevie’s brains about running, training, diet etc, and then, after meeting Jamie Reid, would delve into his knowledge. Michael is another knowledgeable individual and I have learned a lot from him. Getting lifts from Michael after he spent a day working with athletes, he still gave me the time to answer questions I was concerned about.


When I’m training or racing it gives me time to search for things in life that I’ve never had. Gives me a focus and a meaning to be here! I get the chance to mature, be myself and be in a place I want to be, rather than somewhere worse where I have been before. Since I have been let down by many people throughout my life, running helps me to block out those dark times. Growing up without a father has made me more determined to succeed so that my boys can be proud of me. Anger can be channelled into races.


Probably the Scottish Athletics Masters XC win at Kilmarnock in 2012 was my best win, with the way the race turned around at the front many times, before I made the break on the last uphill section. The only time I got my photo in Athletics Weekly.

Also becoming the first person ever to do the clean sweep of all FIVE Scottish Athletics Masters National title wins during the Scottish Athletics Grand Prix Series in that same year, 2012. Winning the 5k, 10k, 10 mile, Half and Full marathons with PBs at 5k, 10 mile and half marathon. I was nominated twice for the Scottish Athletics Master of the Year Award.

YOUR WORST? Hard to pick one out because, if you think you’ve had a bad one, there is usually a positive in there that can help you towards the next race. I’m one of the most negative thinking people you’ll find and always look at the worst possible outcome. Anything better on race day is a bonus.

FIVE people help me tremendously, whether it’s during a meeting, before a race or by email/text conversation. They will remain anonymous but I think of them as: The Boss, The Champ, The Chauffeur, The Coach and The Gaffer. Without them I’d be the first to admit my performances at races would most definitely not have been what they were! I’ve the utmost respect, and owe them dearly for helping me, not only to get where I’m at in my running, but also to help me stay there.


Just happy to be putting one foot in front of the other!


Don’t do any other sports. Gave up cycling to/from work after consistently having ITB issues. Most strenuous “away from running” thing I do is a walk in and around Culzean Castle Country Park with the family, but after training has been completed for that day.


Spending time with family. At first when the boys were young I was travelling the night before and sleeping at friends’ or family’s houses, but through time, with Kate changing jobs and getting a driver’s licence, we now go to races together, meaning not many nights away, unless it’s with the Masters squad for the International XC.

One thing I’ve found that running has brought me is the friendliness of everyone, whether they’re from the same club or another club, although from time to time I still get questioned about why I left Girvan AAC to join Ronhill Cambuslang.

Before I took up running I followed football home and away in Scotland and throughout Europe with my club and International team, causing mayhem and destruction to the body through alcohol. Once the boys came along this was curtailed dramatically, as the money I used to have pre-kids was now being spent on much more important things. During that time I was often hassled for wearing football club colours, but at running THAT will never happen, so I feel there’s a more secure feeling amongst the running network. It is excellent that I get best wishes and congratulations from other clubs, before and after races. Even during races the amount of people that spur you on is great to see. The National XC for example. CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING?

I work from Sunday to Saturday for my week’s training. At my job I’m currently on a day shift/back shift rota with hours of 06:00- 1400 or 14:00-2200 hours, so my training is around those hours of employment.

Day shift week: Sunday will be the long run day. Depending if I’m racing the following weekend it can go between 16 – 20 miles. Normally around 1.45 – 2.10, again depending on race commitments and the route I choose. If in full marathon training I try and do 2 x 25 mile runs in my training schedule. Nowadays these are done on my own, depending how I’m feeling. If I’m feeling sluggish to begin with, and pick up during the run, I’ll turn it into a progressive session. Other long runs I’ll do 2 miles normal pace then do 1 x mile fast, 1 x mile steady x 8 then 2 miles normal giving me 20 for the day and try and have that in or around the 2 hours. Monday 05:00 hrs = 30 minutes to work, anywhere between 4.20 – 4.80 miles in length. Monday 14:00 hrs = 8, 10, 12 miles home in 50-52, 62-64 or 73-75 minutes Tuesday the same. Wednesday a.m. run the same, but the run home is a speed session, either a pyramid session or another type of interval workout. 5 x sets of 1 x 100,200,300,400,500 metres, all with 100 metres run through recovery in a pyramid style. 10 x 800 metres, 20 x 1 minute, 16 x 400 metres, 5 or 6 times a mile. Thursday and Friday the same as Monday/Tuesday. Saturday, if not working overtime, will be another session or easy run of 6 or 8 miles, normally, if racing on the Sunday. Sunday again will again be dependent on racing, but if I have not got anything on the radar, then another 16-20 will be run. Sometimes I might do a 22-24 mile run, just for the sake of it.

Back shift week I’ll start the Monday with 11 miles at 09:00 10pm is the 30 minutes run home from work. Tuesday : 12 noon = 8, 10 or 12 miles with similar times to the day shift week. Wednesday : either a session as stated above or the same as Tuesday. Thursday/Friday: same as Tuesday but, if racing, I tend to taper ever so slightly, with just 30 minutes to and from work. Saturday the same as last Saturday and again, if racing, an easy paced effort. Mileage can be around 75-100 miles but again, as stated, it’s all race dependent. In saying that, I’ve run 100+ mile weeks and been very close to my PB for that race distance.

I’m like most people who work full-time, and who have to fit in training around the job, as it’s the job that pays the bills, not the running which, after all, is “just a hobby, really” – but a serious one!

(After months of intensive training, Kerry-Liam ran the World Masters marathon in Lyon. He emailed his reactions not long after the race.)

A good performance (2.31.01) on a hot day, although under 4 minutes slower than my PB. Mike said afterwards that the results looked good from where he was as, in an ideal situation, I’d have gone out at least five days before the competition to acclimatise. My splits were as follows: 5.21 5.23 5.26 5.25 5.29 5.31 5.27 5.33 5.39 5.34 5.36 5.36 5.40 5.33 5.33 5.35 5.36 5.44 5.46 5.37 5.48 5.52 6.03 6.18 6.34 6.36 2.30 Took fourth overall but third M40 and GB won Team Silver. Two medals in my first ever Worlds can’t be bad, even if it didn’t quite go to plan. Winner was 2.28:42; second was M45 in 3.30:07; third, second M40, was 2.30:33.

The M45 lad, I was with him from about mile 1 to mile 22. I took the lead at mile 24, but this was short-lived, for 300 metres, before winner and the M45 passed me. Was overtaken in the last 300 metres by the second M40, to leave me third.

After first lap I was 20 seconds adrift, second lap 39 seconds adrift, third lap just one second adrift whilst working well with the M45.

Stitch came from nowhere but in saying that, I took the lead during that period. Short-lived, as previously stated. Then the legs just got heavier and heavier with very little leg lift. What I did notice was the three guys all had energy drinks and the M45 had gels. I only had water from the official stations to use, in paper cups which wasn’t ideal. I remember missing the first water station too. Maybe a lesson learned there!

The second M40 passed me and at that time the legs were getting heavier by the second and I knew he was closing me down but couldn’t respond at all. Lost toe nail again, same one as before. Legs stiff but I’ve been worse after previous marathons.

Not doing any other ones this year and won’t make a decision until New Year about a Spring one. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and already thinking of Portugal for the Non-Stadia ones, 10k or half there. Following year it’s the Stadia ones in Aarhus; then the Worlds again in Malaga in 2018.

As for diet, I ate pasta the evening before. Didn’t have any at all in the week leading. Had chicken, tuna on the Friday night. Breakfast was three small bread rolls and two bananas. Energy drink and an SIS bar. Stomach sore with the stitch and I remember during Edinburgh the same happened. I feel fine over 10k or a half but, as in Edinburgh it hurt from 20-23 mile mark. Something again to ponder. Legs feel tight but not planning to run for a few days

One thing that was going through my mind while other guys were going to the feed tables was Nutrition! My psychologist does triathlons and she happened to ask if I took any nutrition on board during the race. At Belfast I just stuck to water. At Lochaber I had three coffees during breakfast to race start time, then Lucozade during the race. Warm conditions that day too but ended up with excruciating stomach pains almost forcing me to stop.

I really enjoyed the whole experience in Lyon, even though it was just three days. I intend still do the Scottish and British races but will possibly aim for European or World Masters Championships as my “A” races throughout the year.


MEMORIES OF LYON 2015 by Colin Feechan

 (Colin ran very well to win M55 team gold for GB in cross-country and team silver in the half marathon.)

 I was asked to write some comments on my trip to Lyon for the World T&F champs in August and thought it may be appropriate to focus on what it might be like for others who have thought or are thinking about possible future events, whether they be indoor or outdoor, European or World, as there is always at least one event per year. Whilst some athletes are very comfortable when arranging to travel abroad, for others they may think it’s a step too far, or they have a few concerns.

The first point to make is that all of these championship events are all inclusive with respect to ability, whilst the guys and girls at the front are top quality athletes, there is the usual mix of all abilities that you see back home. As an example I saw one lady being lapped in an 800m race, but she received the biggest applause when she did finish and almost went on a lap of honour!

2014 was my first overseas event, the European Track & Field champs in Izmir, Turkey, and my wife Beth and I shared accommodation with Alan & Sharyn Ramage, who have experienced many of these races, and they guided us through the week, pointing out all of the known characters and their foibles.

Although you can use an approved BMAF travel agent and their hotels etc, most people book up themselves. With Sharyn’s attendance in doubt due to injury, we booked an apartment via, which is a very reputable world-wide site for renting out homes, apartments etc, at a price that suits your budget. We also booked our flights separately.

We made sure our apartment had Internet wi-fi, was close to the ½ marathon start (as it was a 7am start), and had a washing machine. The washing machine meant we did not have to worry about exceeding baggage allowances, and I thought it would also help my wife feel at home!

Scott Martin of Kilmarnock Harriers was coming over for the ½ marathon only and was going to sleep on the sofa bed for the last 4 days. This worked out well as the dishes were beginning to pile up by this time (well the wife was on holiday as well!), and he had to pay his way one way or another! I even picked him up at the train station to help him get his bearings and took him immediately to the apartment!

Unfortunately, the location for the ½ marathon was changed after we booked our apartment, which meant an even earlier rise, but the metro system was so efficient in Lyon, even on a Sunday, that it did not overly bother us on the day of the race.

As with all new locations, it takes a day or so to familiarise yourself to new surroundings, so I would advise to arrive at least 1 day before your first event. We arrived late Saturday evening / early Sunday morning, with my first race being the cross county on the Tuesday. Archie Jenkins and Lynne Marr usually attend these events and are a goldmine of useful info, but they didn’t make this trip. The Scots and Brits tend to stick together and build up some great camaraderie throughout these events, and we were lucky to meet up with Andy Ronald and Caroline Lawless who were on the same flight out, and again their previous experience was very helpful. Mind you, we did go on some unplanned sightseeing one day when Andy directed us off the bus quite a few stops too early!

Lyon is a wonderful city, with a very efficient public transport system, and we found the Lyonaisse very nice and approachable.

With around 8,000 competitors, around 2,000 of those were from the host country France, it would have been difficult to pick a country that was not represented. As we were competing under the GB&NI banner, all of our athletes had to wear the GB vest, some also bought the tracksuit. This did provide a sense of identity and helped you to mix with other GB&NI athletes, as well as attracting support during the races.

 I competed in three events spread over 13 days (XC, 10,000m and 1/2M) so no heats required. We combined the racing with a bit of sunbathing and sightseeing. We ate out in the evenings and sampled the local cuisine, with only sometimes not knowing what we were eating, but that’s all part of the experience. Sometime we ate on our own and sometimes we met up with other Scots athletes. I even took Beth out on an evening cruise up and down the Rhone and Saone rivers, with a lovely dinner thrown in, the weather was a wee bit warmer than you usually get with a cruise “Doon the Watter”!

By all accounts the results service this year was not up to the usual standard. Once again Alan Ramage provided excellent reporting with a day by day update on all competing Scots via the SVHC’s page on Facebook. He also provided most of the photos which captured the effort and essence of the championships, all of this without media access. SVHC should make representation to BMAF to ensure that Alan is given media access for future events, which will surely help SVHC representation and reporting.

So, for anyone who is contemplating attendance at future events I would highly recommend it. Some of the events last only a few days, some last up to a fortnight, you are sure to find an event suitable for your needs, and will likely visit a city you would never otherwise see. Details of the international events coming up can usually be found on under “Fixtures”


LYON WORLD MASTERS 2015 by Alex Sutherland

 (Alex showed speed and endurance to win M65 team silver for GB in the cross-country and made the top ten in this event, as well as 5000m and 10,000m.)

 I thought I’d better share and pass on this experience while the memories are still fresh and for anyone else who might like to give it a try.

First, Lyon is the second largest city in France and has four fully equipped sports stadiums, any one of which casts the Queens Park in Inverness in a modest light. In fact our politicians would probably close three of the French ones under the guise of improvement!

The city played host to more than 8000 competitors from 97 different countries and they ranged from 35 to 95 plus. The organization I experienced was superb and the support and camaraderie between the athletes was excellent although language could be a problem. At one stage a Chilean and I somehow arrived at a misunderstanding that we were both Turkish, and I would love to have seen the 95 year old pole vaulter in action and been able to communicate more effectively with some of the great Russians who took part in my races.

On day one someone said that the most difficult part of the whole business was getting to Lyon, working out the public transport system (incidentally very good metro and integrated tramways), registering, finding your accommodation, and getting to the start line. Running the race was the easiest part!

My big fear was always going to be the heat, which was expected to be in the mid to upper 20s, but fortunately for the first and my main cross country event at 8 in the morning, it was probably just under 20 degrees and very runnable. The terrain was flat and dry, wood and parkland with tree roots and tight corners, not unlike the Inverness park run but 8 K. I started cautiously and then began to enjoy racing and moving up the field. The first results showed me 9th. and first Briton, but then when the chip info came in I was 8th. equal with a Russian who I didn’t see at the end but he must have been behind in the big mass start. We also got the silver team medal behind a Russian gold but in front of Germany which won bronze.

The medal ceremony was pure theatrics with the Russian national anthem, flags, and podiums which rose about 2 feet into the air as you were announced, but the silver one was catching under the edge of the gold, tipping it over, so you were in danger of being decanted onto the lower stage, plus by this time I had got changed but fortunately managed to borrow someone’s track suit top. No doubt there will be a photo somewhere.

Two days later it was the 5000 metres, only my second on a track, so I wore my new spiked shoes but was the only one to do so, everyone else was in racing flats. [For the 10,000 I used my lighter cross country studs.] I knew it was going to be hot, and it was at 39 degrees so they played a hose across the track in two places and you ran through the water every 200 metres which was some relief. I managed 10th. and third Brit on that one in 20 min 09 secs, which was slower than my last two park runs and the Grangemouth race, but probably to be expected given the conditions on the day.

My last race on the was the 10,000 metres on the same track and fortunately the temperature had dropped back again to the upper 20s. Ran it strategically and managed 8th, again in 42 17, two minutes slower than the recent Inverness 10 K, but very glad to reach the end, despite some confusion over the bell ringing for the last lap. I thought I’d finished twice and then had to go back and cross the pad again as I’d veered off too soon to the refreshment stall! The joys of track running. These things don’t happen on the hills and trails where my heart really is!

Anyway, it was all a great experience and one I can thoroughly recommend. I also have to thank Ian Johnstone and the late George Mitchell for their encouragement to try bigger competitions, Stratherrick and Foyers Community Trust for their financial help, and of course my family who came to lend such great support along with all the French and their cries of Allez! Allez! which are still ringing in my ears.

Soon after returning from France I needed to take things a bit easier (but managed to fit in the Pollok Park 10K, and a 4th place in the 10 mile Glenurquhart Games trail race) so joined my sister and 30 odd horse runners to run about 85 miles across Wales over 4 days. Lots of rolling hill country, time spent opening and closing gates for the riders and in return I did take a lift on a horse to get across the infant river Severn!

We slept in barns and had a chow wagon following behind, providing great support, and of course it was an opportunity to use ancient tracks and trails on a huge variety of surfaces.

At one point the route was completely blocked by a tangle of wind blown conifers, and the horses had to make a long detour, while I crawled over and under the obstacles and made up 2 hours on the riders.

The highlight on the last day was reaching the 4 or 5 mile stretch of beach at Borth on the West Coast, and running along the wide open sand on the edge of the tide. Looking back over your shoulder and seeing a posse of riders making up ground was the closest thing to being in a Spaghetti Western I’m ever likely to experience!

So what does the rest of the running year look like? I guess staying ahead of injuries, some more study of Chi running, the anorak ambition of trying to get the Park Run time down to 19.47 (my birth year), the Tarbert/Rhenagadal hill race in Harris and of course the cross country season with the Scottish Masters in Forres and the International in Dublin, and I guess whatever other adventures, places and friends that running so often provides.



(David en route to winning the 2015 M45 Scottish Masters title at Kilmarnock. Back in 2008 he was first M35. Recently he was first M45 in the Tom Scott 10 miles, beating all the M40 runners.)

NAME David Millar

CLUB Irvine (was Athletic Club, now Running Club)


OCCUPATION Investment Analyst

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? I initially just started running as way to keep fit in my late 20s. I think I’d made a comment to my brother that a half marathon would be “easy” and signed up for the Glasgow Half when he challenged me to prove that.

Thereafter, in 1997 I started going down to the club in Irvine. For the first couple of years I was also doing some post graduate studying alongside my normal work so was not running as seriously. However, after finishing my studies I was able to start to up my training and get involved in all the races at club level etc

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? Yes, I think the group at Irvine AC (I’ll always think of it as AC) were most influential – they helped me serve my apprenticeship in the running world. We had a great group of experienced and quality club runners and that helped me build up my knowledge of the history of the sport and all the events plus training methods.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? Firstly, the fitness and health benefits. However, there is a tremendous social side and I’ve met a lot of good friends and indeed my fiancée through the sport. I enjoy the racing and competition as well – although I’ve always loved training so will always run even when I lose the competitive edge. Living in Ayrshire, it’s always easy to get out into the country or to the seaside and running enables you to get out and enjoy being outdoors in a nice part of the world.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? I think I’ve been pretty consistent over the years and I’ve won loads of races and titles. It’s difficult to rank preferences but in particular I’ve really enjoyed some of our team successes. Running with a relatively small unfashionable club, we really punched above our weight at times. Some great performances in the old (and much missed Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay) including the Meritorious Award, silver in the West District Cross Country Relay and silver in the National 6 Stage Relays. I remember having watched the top guys in previous years coming flying up the final hill at Livingstone and it was a great feeling to replicate that, coming up in first place after my leg.

I’m pretty proud of my consistent record over the years, my pb at the Glasgow Half in 2007 was a good memory (67’01 and second UK athlete) but looking back and seeing a series of road races where I’m hardly ever out of the top 3 over a sustained period of years is pleasing – I like to think that I always raced hard and gained the respect of my fellow racers in that way.

YOUR WORST? Thankfully I’ve been fairly consistent and not had too many bad runs – for years I was almost metronomic in my 10ks and could almost set my watch by when I would finish! I can’t think of any real disasters, although my only marathon (back in 2000 when I was only really playing about with running) was a bit of an eye opener. I completely hit the wall, finished in 2.45 but that must have been about 20 minutes for the last two miles with rubber legs!

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? As I said I’ve done fairly well and achieved a fair bit both individually and as a team. I’ve always been driven by times and tried to run as fast as I can – I suppose the only unfulfilled ambition is more of a lingering doubt as to whether I might have been able to go faster if I had started younger. Having said that, starting later has maybe helped longevity. So although acknowledging the passage of time, I’ll still be trying to run as fast as I can and maybe it will be season’s bests as opposed to personal bests that I will have to start aiming for!

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? I enjoy being outdoors and do plenty of walking (does that count as added training?). I also like cycling but that does play second fiddle to running and tends to be neglected when I’m fit – mind you a year of cycling when I missed all of 2013 with Achilles problems was a great way to keep fit and also a good way of reminding myself how great running is.

In terms of other sports, many of my fellow runners will know I have a weakness in my support for the team representing the blue half of Glasgow.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? As I mentioned health and fitness and the social side. Also, it’s a great way to get out and about and you end up seeing a lot of places, from an industrial estate in Clydebank to the West Highland Way (and that’s just this year) – you see it all. I enjoy being part of the running community and have met some great friends.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? And then I’d have to kill you! Seriously though, as I have a fairly lengthy commute to my work in Glasgow, I have always tended more towards the quality rather than quantity. So I aim to get plenty of bang for my buck in training – as my club mates will tell you I’ve still to learn about the concept of the “slow run”. So pretty unscientific really.



 (David ran his first Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay in 1998, when I took part in my 29th and second-last. Here are brief insights into two earlier ones, especially 1983, when the pressure of this great race weighed heavily on my narrow shoulders. Editor.)

November 1966. A skinny teenager waited nervously for changeover at the beginning of the last stage of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay. My first major senior competition. Earlier I’d been glued to a bus window, trying to put faces to famous names in the programme – especially the record-breaking Edinburgh University team. Once the cold metal baton was in my hand, I quite enjoyed the run – only a ‘jogger’ to pass and no need for heroics. My team, Aberdeen University Hare & Hounds, finished 12th. I didn’t envy my exact contemporary, Innis Mitchell, Scottish Schoolboys’ Cross-Country Champion, and Aberdeen AAC’s last man. He was handed a precarious second place and, due to inexperience, bad luck and lack of local knowledge, was squeezed out of the medals in the last hundred yards. In his place, I doubt whether I could have managed to run in a straight line, let alone fast!

November 1983. A gnarled, cynical old-timer lounged casually against a wall, waiting confidently for changeover on the final leg of the E to G. No way! I was very worried, despite this being my 17th run in the event. It was much worse than 1966 – I knew that Aberdeen AAC had yet to win a ‘Scottish team title’ at senior level, although many international athletes had represented the club, such as Alastair Wood, Steve Taylor, Mel Edwards, Bill Ewing, and even a couple of very classy ‘Anglos’ called Peter and Ian Stewart. Our best results included a second place in 1968 (3 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds); and the heartbreak of losing first place in the 1967 ‘National’ ON THE COUNTBACK!

We had a very good team this time and I felt that, when Mike Murray handed me a valuable but uncomfortable lead, I had better not ruin this chance of victory, or I might not get a lift home from Glasgow in the team bus – and goodness knows what the outspoken Wood might snarl at me!

The fact that the ‘Best Man’ at my wedding, Dave Logue (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) was 30 seconds behind, and Peter Fleming (Bellahouston), the recent winner of the Glasgow Marathon, 53 seconds, didn’t increase my confidence.

The tactics are traditional in these circumstances – the person in the lead must go off hard, but not quite flat out (to avoid blowing up) and the pursuers have to charge off as if they were running a race half the distance, hoping to catch the leader, gather their energies, and surge past.

A mile into the stage, cheers from a small group of Aberdeen fans had died away, to be replaced by the Bella Bawlers and the Southern Shouters. My former team-mate, Jackie White of ESH (the guy who blew a bugle) gave a blast as I approached. I assumed that he was trying to encourage Dave Logue, so waved a reduced number of fingers at him. As I passed, he looked shocked and muttered reproachfully, “It was for YOU!”

The Bella supporters narrowed their eyes, pressed their stopwatches and said nothing. They were watching the figure of Peter Fleming, rapidly hurtling closer. (My unfortunate friend Dave had pulled a muscle – thank goodness.) Neutrals and East-Coasters seemed to be cheering for Aberdeen, and their comments quickly changed from “Fine, Colin! Keep it going like that!” to “Push it, Lad! He’s catching you!” and “You’ll really have to FIGHT now!” The most worrying yell was from a rabid Bella fan “’At’s MAGIC, Pe’er! Ye’re only 20 secs doon! Ye’ve GOAT him – he’s DEID!”

Just when I was beginning to believe him, a couple of uphill sections appeared (my favourite at that time) and I started to pull away again. Doug Gillon, the Glasgow Herald journalist, drove past telling me to “Slow down – relax! All you’ve got to do is stand up to win!”

Easier said than done on my wobbly legs, but it was into the last half-mile and, after an awkward piece of dodging through a traffic jam, I flopped over the line. What a relief! Thanks to a tailwind, we recorded 3.35.30, the second fastest ever, and 40 seconds up on Bellahouston. In the end, it was a really great day for Aberdeen AAC.



 NAME Rhona Anderson CLUB Dunbar Running Club

DATE OF BIRTH 25/01/64 OCCUPATION Marketing & Business Development (Veterinary medicines)

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? I started running in my early twenties when some workmates decided to run the local half marathon, the Wycombe Half (I lived in Bucks at the time) and I decided to join them. It wasn`t as bad as I had imagined! I then joined Wycombe Phoenix Harriers and have been involved with running ever since.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? My brother in law (Alan Robson – a former Scottish half marathon champion) inspired me to compete and improve in road races – although it would be hard to be as competitive as he was! Also my training partners and friends Rob McGrath (in Bucks), Michelle Beneteau (when I lived and ran in the Paris) and Megan Wright (all better runners than me!) have kept me focussed on training and racing over the years.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? Keeping fit and the challenge/satisfaction and frustrations of racing and trying to chase down PBs!

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? Getting my PB of 1h25 in the Jersey Half Marathon some time ago now. More recently – very happy to win the W50 category in the 2015 Scottish Masters Cross Country Championships at Kilmarnock this year. (Along with Fiona Matheson, Beryl Junnier and Pamela McCrossan, Rhona went on to win W50 team silver for Scotland in the 2015 British and Irish Masters International Cross Country in Dublin. Ed.)

YOUR WORST? I had a disappointing run at the Paris marathon last year – I really suffered in the last few miles. Also being out sprinted and losing the team prize as a result in a cross country in France many years ago!

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? I would love to have got closer to 3 hours for a marathon (my PB is 3h08) but should have started running them before I was a vet!

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? Coaching junior athletics, camping, ski-ing and socialising with family & friends.

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? I’ve made some great friends through running and visited all sorts of places. Always having a race to aim for keeps you focussed.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? When training for a marathon I run 6 days a week (50-60 miles per week) which includes one long run of 15-20 miles, a 10-11 mile run and a hill or speedwork session. It’s less structured outside of marathon training. I train with Dunbar Running Club on a Tuesday.




(By Allan Stirling, who was a successful Veteran sprinter from Ayrshire, a former coaching co-ordinator for Aberdeen AAC and 400m club runner. His athletic highlights were: coming second to the legendary professional George McNeill in the 100m; gold for GB in the World Championships (M55) 4x400m in 3.53.02; silver in the South American Championships (M60) 800m in 2.31; and South American Champion (M65) in single sculls. Lives in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro.)

It often comes as a surprise on encountering old acquaintances to find either that they have changed completely or followed a path not too dissimilar to oneself. The formative years at school, I guess, play a part in shaping our attitudes and having a PE teacher of the old school variety did little to foster a love of running for myself at least, and most likely for the subject of this article, Mr Alf Howie, runner, ultramarathoner and record breaker.

As a classmate of Alfie Howie at Ardrossan Academy in the 60`s neither of us were I believe particularly interested in running, however by some bizarre twist it was decided that we should run the half mile handicap, just for a laugh, and accordingly gave ourselves a more than generous handicap. The honours went to me, however this was a pyrrhic victory as I had to suffer the wrath of the sixth formers for a considerable period of time.

Alfie won the race the next year as I remember, with ease by all accounts. Al (or Alf) Howie, as he is better known in North America, took up running to rid himself of his heavy smoking habit in his late 20s and found something which he clearly enjoyed doing, not for the pleasure of winning, although that would come later, but for the sheer joy of running as he was able to run to and from races with relative ease.

For me Alf Howie epitomises the `Alf Tupper` character, the Tough of the Track, and to finish a race or during meal stops with a pint and fish supper seemed like the natural thing to do. Something that Hash House Harriers have been doing for years. Sir John Walker (Great NZ Miler) was partial to a fish supper I understand. Alf`s feats are the stuff of legends and as a result he is no stranger to the Guinness Book of Records. The SVHC Newsletter is too short to list all his achievements which are well recorded on Wikipedia or in the distance running website both of which make interesting reading.

He is of course best known for his win in the Trans Canada Highway run from Newfoundland to Victoria`s Mile Zero in a time of 72 days, 10 hrs and 23 minutes (coast to coast) a record which looks to be unbeatable, imagine 100km a day for 72 days. His charity efforts from this race raised $7500 for the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for children with special needs, which speaks volumes.

Other interesting records include: the longest non-stop run, 4 days and nights round a track, covering 1422 laps in 104.5 hrs, solely to publicise the Commonwealth Games; and completing the Sri Chinmoy 1300 mile event in a world record time.

In these ultras Alf Howie set the bar sufficiently high for mere mortals to only dream of, and, while a couple of individuals have bettered a few of the records, no single person has put his or her stamp on ultra distance running quite like Alf Howie.

Always a fighter, he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour behind his ear and, instead of submitting to the surgeon`s knife and chemotherapy, he sought alternative medicine, and with the help of a clinic in Vancouver cured the condition in a few months, with a healthy macrobiotic diet free of preservatives and regular shiatsu massage.

In a Trans USA Run he ran across the Mojave Desert but was forced to withdraw due to severe blistering of his feet as he did not have the correct heat-dissipating insoles in his shoes. This he believes led to the onset of Type1 Diabetes some years later. Did this affliction stop him from running? Not one bit. To him it was just another challenge to be met and overcome somehow. The paraphernalia that accompanies diabetes treatment became an everyday part of his kit bag.

Three years after his diagnosis of diabetes he had regained his ultra form once more and won 4 out of 5 races. His last being the 72 hour Across the Years event which started on December 29th and finished on New Year’s Day in Phoenix, a race which he won.

Now 70 years of age, Alf lives in Duncan, Vancouver, and is receiving treatment for diabetes. Whilst Alf Howie has been feted in Canada, he is sadly largely unknown in the UK except in distance running circles. The former pupils society in his old school condenses his profile to a few lines but does, however, make reference to the Guinness Book of Records.

My attempts at raising awareness of Alf`s accomplishments with the local running club in Saltcoats, something which never existed in the 60s, seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Who knows, perhaps I will get a retort from an SVHC member from there, which would be cool.

I do believe that this bairn of ‘Jock Tamson’ is deserving of some recognition in old Scotia. Running side apart, the man is a legend in Vancouver, not only for the running records, but also his views on life, respect for the environment, and willingness to help out charities when the need arises. If there was a Scottish equivalent of the Legion d`Honneur I believe he would have been a recipient years ago, alongside the likes of R.L. Stevenson, another enlightened expat.


 (This is a 2007 article, posted on planetultramarathon)

Al Howie’s thick mustache and Scots brogue remain intact. He’s still lean and sinewy, not far off the 135 pounds he weighed in his prime 15 years ago, when he was the greatest ultramarathoner on Earth. But he’s 61 now and wears thick glasses, his vision hampered by diabetes, and his hands quiver. “I’m sorry I’m not in better shape,” he says quietly, in the Duncan group home where he lives today. “But I guess we all have our problems.” Meeting him under these circumstances, it’s hard to believe he once held several Guinness world records — but then again, so many things about Al Howie’s life have been unlikely.

Born in a tough port town near Glasgow (ED: actually, Ardrossan and Saltcoats are more like seaside resorts) he spent all of his 20s as a vagabond hippie, got married twice, fathered two children, and didn’t start running until he was nearly 30 and living in Toronto, trying to work off the aggression from quitting a three-pack-a-day smoking habit.

After he moved to Vancouver Island with his son, his hobby became an obsession; he started entering races, and though he did well in marathons, he found that if he ran in longer contests, he was always way out in front.

To finance his races, he worked as a tree planter; for a while he had a job at a copper mine near Port Hardy and ran to and from work, 12 miles each way.

On the racing circuit, he became famous as much for his unusual style as his victories. Wearing a “Tartan Spartan” T-shirt, he lived on a steady diet of beer and fish and chips — sometimes even during a race. “It drove people crazy. They’d see me knocking back a beer while they were stretching, and the next time they’d see me would be up on the podium.”

On top of that, to keep expenses down, he’d often run to races in other cities, putting his bags on the bus to a distant town, catching up to them and changing clothes, then sending them on to the next stop.

He ran from a marathon in Edmonton to one in Victoria. He ran from B.C. to California for a race, and from England to Italy. And when he reached his destinations, he often won.

But after Howie was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 1985 — which he claimed to cure by switching to a macrobiotic diet — he got serious, and set a series of astonishing long-distance records.

At UVic in 1987 he jogged 580 km nonstop in 104.5 hours, the world’s longest continuous run. In 1988 he ran the 1,400-km length of Britain in 11 days. In 1989 he became the first person to finish the Sri Chinmoy 1,300-mile race in New York, beating its 18-day time limit. And on September 1, 1991, he arrived in Victoria, finishing the fastest-ever run across Canada, in 72 days — averaging 103 km, the equivalent of two-and-a-half marathons, every single day.

Why do it? “People walk long distances, and running’s more entertaining,” he replies bluntly. “You see more.” Plus there’s the satisfaction of setting a seemingly impossible goal, planning, focusing, and then achieving it.

Howie’s never talked much about the zen of running, but he did once say his sport was a way of escaping from the materialism of everyday life, from “earning or spending, buying or selling.”

 “I’m in my element when I’m doing it,” he told a reporter in 1998. “All that matters is that you cover ground, eat right. You stop worrying about Saddam Hussein, or that the rent’s due back home.”

But the material world caught up with him. Though he loved talking to people while running, he never cashed in as a motivational speaker. Though he raised thousands of dollars for charities, he often lived in bitter poverty.

As he wrote in a letter to Monday in 1987, during a round-trip run to the Queen Charlottes for the United Way, “Sometimes I run on adrenalin …. more often, I run on resentment, angrily pounding the blacktop. Why must I run on empty? Why do I get no support from my hometown? Mostly, I plod on because I have committed myself to this asphalt insanity and I simply don’t know how to quit.”

His personal life has suffered, too. He’s no longer with his third wife, and lost contact with his son, who was deported back to Scotland after a marijuana arrest. In 1992 Howie realized he had Type 1 diabetes, and though he managed it carefully, in 2001 he suddenly lost his motivation to compete, and started being treated for depression, a common condition for insulin-dependent diabetics. “The talent’s still there,” he says. “But I didn’t deserve quite that amount of bad luck.”

Near the end of this weekend’s Royal Victoria Marathon, runners will pass the statue of Terry Fox, and the sign for Fonyo Beach. But they’ll actually have to stop and look closely at Mile Zero to see the small plaque there, commemorating Al Howie’s own incredible run across Canada. His other records have been topped, but at least he can get some satisfaction knowing that one is literally set in stone. “I don’t think anyone’ll ever beat it,” he says, and he’s probably right.


Scottish Veteran Harriers Club AGM 18th October 2015

As usual this year’s meeting was preceded by the 10km Track Championships which were well supported. For a change the slightly slower runners along with the hardy walkers started earlier in a separate race followed later by the sub 40 competitors This seemed to work quite well with less cluttered fields although Hugh McGinlay caused some concern when he collapsed halfway through, Thankfully he recovered quickly .

Some people from the race could not wait for the excitement of the AGM whilst others collected their Run and Become awards before scuttling off. In truth it is not the most riveting event of the year but it is a shame more don’t stay.

Those who did heard reports from the previous year, which included easier to read accounts. These showed the club to be in reasonably good financial health but it was agreed to increase the annual subscriptions for the first time in many years. This will help to support future teams in international or other representative events.

2016 will be a busy year for club members. Apart from the usual fixtures there is a possibility of teams competing in inter area track matches and a new international 10km road race. In November we host the International cross country at Tollcross Park and a special sub committee is already actively planning for this. Hopefully we shall put in a strong performance as it is important for the host nation to do well.

By Campbell Joss




Hi Colin, How’s this for a fairy tale? Two and a half years, several injuries, three operations, and one retirement from athletics after last winning a medal in a Scottish Masters Championship (M55 cross country silver), I win M55 silver in the Scottish Masters Open Water swimming Championships. Unfortunately, that’s all it is: a fairy tale. What actually happened was that I failed to finish the swim, had to call in the rescue boat and spent half an hour in the ambulance with near-hypothermia.

However, although my experiment in championship swimming – which is non-wetsuit – didn’t work, I did have some success in a wetsuit and have loved my first season of open water season.

Here are ten reflections on the similarities and differences between cross country running and open water swimming:

  1. Open water swimming is to pool swimming what cross country running is to track 2. For a skinny, ex-Scottish Veteran Harrier, swimming without a wetsuit is like running a cross country race naked and barefoot
  2. I felt great running out of the water (see pic) in a triathlon relay (my son cycled and my daughter ran) but half way up the 400m hill towards the transition area I remembered why I had given up running to take up swimming
  3. Even after 40 years of running, a year of swimming can change body shape
  4. Night Swimming is like nothing else on land or water – amazing!
  5. You can make huge improvements in competition swims with small changes to technique in training – my best swims were in July, August and early September (see attachment 4); I like to think that this was down to good coaching and planning as well as warmer water!
  6. Swimming with the tide or current e.g. Bournemouth Pier to Pier is like running downhill, wind-assisted
  7. Results aren’t everything: some are unofficial and some don’t really matter e.g. my final swim – the Night Swim – was my slowest of the year but the most enjoyable
  8. Although I’m competing at a lower level than I used to do as a runner, I’m having more fun: my wife tells me that I come out of the water elated, like a wee boy, unlike many disappointments after running like a donkey
  9. There is life after running: you’re never too old to try something new and if you stick at it the rewards can be wonderful Yes, I’m still as thoughtful as ever!

Best wishes, Brian Gardner.

Date Competition Type Venue Distance Position M55 Time


1 Sat  18th April Swimathon Pool Calne  LC 5000m (1) (1) 1:35:29nws 2

Wed  29th April KimOswim  series  1 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 1500m (4) (1) 25:59


3 Wed  13th May KimOswim  series  2 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 1500m (3) (1) 25:25sb 4

Sat  31st May Small  Fry Lake Reading 1500m 4 (1) 25:51


5 Wed  10th June KimOswim  series  3 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 750m (2) (1) 11:55pb 6 Sat  13th June Events  Logic Lake (62) Cotswolds 1500m 7 (1) 25:38 7

Sun  21st June Wiltshire  ASA Lake  (32) Cotswolds 1500m  nws 24 1  (2nd M41) 27.35nws 8

Sun  28th June South  West  ASA Sea Weymouth 1500m  nws 36 (1) 32:34nws


 9 Sat  4th July Big  Cotswold  Swim Lake  (32) Cotswolds 1  mile 12 1  (1st M50) 26:11

10 Sat  11th July Triathlon  Relay Lake Bowood 750m (1) (1) (11:13)pb 11 Wed  22nd July KimOswim  series  4 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 1500m (2) (1) 23:50pb 12 Sat  25th July Big  Swim Lake Nottingham 1500m   24 1  (1st M50) 24:04


 13 Sun  2nd August ASA  National  Masters Lake Sheffield 1500m  nws 30 4 29:39nws 14

Sun  9th August Pier  to  Pier Sea Bournemouth 1.4  miles (19) (1) (32:02) 15 Sat  15th August Scottish  ASA Loch Callander 2000m  nws DNF -­‐ -­‐ 16

Wed  19th August KimOswim series  5 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 1500m (3) (1) 23:44pb


17 Sat    5th September Create  Swim Lake Bradley  Stoke (2600m) 5 (1) 41:43 18 Wed  9th September KimOswim  series  6 Lake  (31) Cotswolds 750m (1) (1) 12:08 19 Sun  13th September Triathlon Relay Lake  (62) Cotswolds 1500m (7) (1) (23:17)pb 20

 Sat 19th September Big  Cotswold  Swim  2 Lake  (32) Cotswolds 1  mile 17 1  (1st M50) 26:23


21 Sun  4th  October Lido  Challenge Pool Cheltenham 2000m (1) (1) (33:37) 22 Sat  10th October Night  Swim Lake Oxford 1500m 26 (1) 26:54

British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Santry, Dublin – Saturday 14th November 2015

 This year we returned to Santry Demesne, where the race was held in 2005 & 2010. Most runners chose to fly to Dublin Airport, where free bus transfers were available to the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Travelodge. Travel arrangements were difficult for several runners because of the effects of Storm Abigail, but everyone managed to get there eventually.

Pat Timmons provided us with race numbers, reception tickets and programmes on Friday afternoon, which Archie, Lynne & Colin started distributing before the Team Managers’ meeting.

The race was held on almost the same course as previously, but some minor changes were made because of the waterlogged conditions. In spite of invaluable assistance from Alastair Macfarlane, Ada Stewart Archie Jenkins, #andy Law & Colin Feechan, my Scottish Team Manager’s job was even harder than usual, as our team had several potential medal winners unable to attend & 2 or 3 late call-offs.

However, the team did a lot better than 5 years ago finishing 3rd Women’s team, 3rd Men’s team & 3rd overall out of the 5 competing countries and won 4 silver & 8 bronze team medals. There were 4 individual silver medallists & 1 bronze medallist, but unfortunately no gold medals.

In Race 1, Joasia Zakrzewski finished 3rd W35, behind AnneMarie McGlynn & Natasha Adams IRL, followed 32sec later by 2nd W50 Fiona Matheson, who was once again pipped in the finishing straight by Claire Elms ENG. Sharon Muir, Alison Dargie & Megan Wright were next Scots finishers, 7th, 8th & 10th W40s.

Betty Gilchrist again finished clear of Brigid Quinn, but was pushed into 2nd place by new W70 Dot Fellows ENG, who had a commanding lead of nearly 3min!

Melissa Wylie 8th W45, Isobel Burnett 6th W55, Jane Kerridge 5th W60, Hazel Bradley 4th W65 & Anne Docherty 6th W70 all deserve special mention.

Alex Sutherland was first Scots male, finishing 7th M65, 2sec ahead of 1st M70 Peter Giles ENG. Bob Young & Stewart McCrae finished 5th & 6th M70.

George Black put in a brave run, with the aid of permitted painkillers, to finish 2nd M75 just 4sec behind Peter Covey ENG & 1min ahead of 6th placed Watson Jones. 81 year old Walter McCaskey was 8th M75, 2 min behind Watson.

In Race 2, Neil Thin finished 2nd M55. 23sec behind Tommy Payne IRL. Jim Buchanan 12th M50 was next Scot finisher, followed by 5th M55 Colin Feechan. Andy McLinden & Alastair Dunlop were 7th & 8th M60.

In Race 3 Martin Williams 7th M35 was first Scots finisher, followed by 7th M40, Kenny Campbell. Kerry-Liam Wilson was 7th M45


W35: 3 SCOTLAND Joasia Zakrzewski 3, 22:26, Jennifer Forbes 12, 23:59, Fiona Dalgleish 16, 24:23, Claire Thomson 20, 26:03.

W40: 3 SCOTLAND, Sharon Muir 7, 23:12, Alison Dargie 8, 23:30, Megan Wright 10, 23:37, Gillian Sangster 19, 24:46.

 W45: 5 SCOTLAND Melissa Wylie 8, 23:54, Anya Campbell 16, 24:44, Bernadette O’Neill 18, 25:46, Julia Harris 20, 26:23.

W50: 2 SCOTLAND, Fiona Matheson 2, 22:58, Beryl Junnier 9, 24:54, Pamela McCrossan 11, 25:19, Rhona Anderson 12, 25:49.

W55: 3 SCOTLAND Isobel Burnett 6, 25:08, Sonia Armitage 9, 25:37, Phyllis O’Brien 11, 26:16, Morag Taggart 15, 27:17.

W60: 3 SCOTLAND, Jane Kerridge 5, 27:27, Liz Bowers 7, 28:21, Linden Nicholson 13, 29:51. Jan Fellowes 14, 30:21.

W65: 4 SCOTLAND, Hazel Bradley 4, 28:13, Phyllis Lemoncello 12, 33:47, Ann Bath 13, 34:11.

W70: SCOTLAND, Betty Gilchrist 2, 32:03, Anne Docherty 6. 32:53.

M65: 3 SCOTLAND Alex Sutherland 7, 24:54, Robert Marshall 11, 25:33, Colin Youngson 14, 26:39, Hamish Cameron 20, 28:29.

M70: 2 SCOTLAND Bob Young 5. 26:27, Stewart McCrae 6, 26:36, Pete Cartwright 9, 27:12, Gibson Fleming 13, 28:56.

M75: 2 SCOTLAND George Black 2, 28:51, Watson Jones 6, 29:55, Walter McCaskey 8, 31:56, Bill Murray 14, 34:31

RACE 2: 8KM FOR M50 – M60.

M50: 5 SCOTLAND James Buchanan 12, 28:51, Ted Gourley 21, 29:54, Alan Derrick 24, 30:05, Chris Upson 26, 30:44, Duncan MacFadyen 29. 32:12.

M55: 2 SCOTLAND Neil Thin 2, 28:41, Colin Feechan 5, 29:16, Robert McLennan116, 30:03, Paul Thompson 17, 30:27.

M60: 3 SCOTLAND Andy McLinden 7, 31:06, Alastair Dunlop 8, 31:15, Tony Martin 11, 31:41, Andy Law 14, 32:03.

RACE 3: 8KM FOR M35 – M45:

M35: 3 SCOTLAND Martin Williams 7, 26:34, Colin Thomas 13, 27:33, Brian McGarrity 15, 27:42, David Henderson 17, 28:06, Andrew Harkins 20, 28:38, .

M40: 3 SCOTLAND Kenny Campbell 7, 27:18, Chris Greenhalgh 14, 28:27, Gordon Barrie 18, 28:48, Stephen Allan 19, 28:49, Stephen Campbell 20, 28:53, Louis O’Hare 24, 29:32.

M45: 4 SCOTLAND, Kerry Wilson 7, 27:40, Kenny MacPherson 20, 29:16. Greg Hastie 21, 29:22, David Hogg, 22, 29:30, Ian Johnston 24, 29:41. Howard Elliott 25, 30:12


 England Ireland Scotland Wales N.I.

Overall Points:  75 68 46 31 27

Total Overall Position:  1 2 3 4 5

 Next year’s race is Sat 12th November 2016 at Tollcross Park, Glasgow. The Reception and the main accommodation will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near the SECC.

After serving 23 years as Team Manager I want to pass on the responsibility to younger members. Although it has been a fantastic 23 years, and I’ve made so many friends I have found the last 2 events particularly stressful, with the increased number of competitors, and I’m also feeling the effects of the advancing years!

By David Fairweather



Masters Athletics Magazine All BMAF members will be able to view the new publication and some previous editions during next month via the BMAF website. Remember to first renew your SVHC membership if it is not up to date. You can still receive a printed copy.

The reason we had to cease production of “Masters Athletics” for all members earlier this year was due to the escalation of costs to more than £20,000 a year. This level of expenditure could not continue. It was therefore decided at the BMAF AGM to go online, with an option for members to purchase a printed copy.

You have two choices in order to receive a printed copy of the magazine for 12 months (4 editions), either • Go to and choose Member Login • Follow the instructions to access your membership data • If your membership of the BMAF is confirmed, select the option to receive a printed copy and pay £10 via debit/ credit card or • Print a copy of this message and post it with a cheque for £10 made payable to BMAF to the address of Paul Smith the new BMAF Production Editor: BMAF Magazine, 79a Cotton Road, Bangor BT19 7QH Paul will hold back printing of the December edition until everyone has had a chance to make their decision but if you are too late you will still be able to read the magazine online and your payment will give you 12 months of magazines starting with the following edition. The deadline for printing the December edition is currently 6 January 2016 but this may be extended by a few days – see the BMAF website Urgent News” for any change.

Change of BMAF entry Procedure from AREG to OpenTrack The BMAF is moving its membership management and competition entries over the next few months from AREG to a new system called OpenTrack. This system is being developed by the company Reportlab, which was set up in 2000 to deliver automated document generation facilities to a few very large corporations but has extended its mission to provide systems for managing client data, including meeting the requirements for entry to Surrey county track & field athletics and cross country competitions. This will be used by the members of all BMAF area clubs for management of their member data.

The full scope of the system is as follows: • A database with BMAF member personal details and athletics interests • An online membership system for BMAF area clubs and registration system for open/overseas competitors • A database of UKA athletics clubs and any others to which BMAF members belong • A competition entry system for both BMAF national and area club events • A competition management system for both BMAF national and area club events • A payment mechanism for members subscribing to printed copies of a magazine • A mechanism for automated email communications with members/competitors • A database of records and rankings, including tracking of records ratification • An online help facility and user guide for the software covering the functionality and its usage by each type of user Online payments will be provided by the Stripe service under the control of OpenTrack.

However, payments for SVHC membership and SVHC competition entries will continue to be via existing methods for now. Not all of the above functionality will be introduced immediately. It will take some considerable time for the full scope to be delivered by Reportlab, but they will all be there in some limited form during the first half of 2016

The timetable for the changeover is: Now until 06 Dec 2015: AREG continues to be used for • member registration and member detail update (All BMAF area club members) • Open competitors registration • membership payments (VAC, SCVAC and MMAC members or athletes wishing to join these clubs) • BMAF, MMAC, SCVAC and VAC competition entry and viewing competition entries 07 Dec 2015 – 01 January 2016: OpenTrack accessible to BMAF members and open competitors progressively to: • review their member data in parallel with AREG • update their member data in parallel with AREG • to read online copies of Masters Athletics magazine (Members only) • to subscribe to printed copy of Masters Athletics magazine AREG continues to be used for all its existing purposes but any member data updates will be transferred to OpenTrack on behalf of the members 02 – 03 January 2016 AREG unavailable whilst final changes to AREG data and current competition entries are loaded into OpenTrack 04

January 2016 onwards: OpenTrack to be used for all existing functions of AREG but new functions will be progressively introduced during 2016 for the benefit of members, membership secretaries and competition organisers SVHC Membership queries should continue to go to Ada Stewart and myself. Other assistance will be provided by the BMAF support team Peter Kennedy/Alex Rowe via the email address

When you wish to use OpenTrack go to the BMAF website MEMBER LOGIN and follow instructions shown there. We recommend that you try out the access to OpenTrack, when it is available so that you can see how simple the access is, and review the accuracy of your data which has been provided by me.

David Fairweather



President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


December 2015

Sat 12th SVHC Xmas Handicap 1:30pm. Playdrome, Clydebank. G81 1PA

January 2016

Sun 24th LSK Relays Strathclyde Park 11.00 am

Sat 30th SAL Masters Cross Country Championships Forres Moray

February 2016

Sun 14th National Indoor Masters Championships Emirates Arena

Sun 14th BMAF 10 Mile Championships Lytchett Minster, BH16 6JD

Sat 27th National XC Championships Callendar Park

March 2016

Sun 6th Lasswade AC 10 Mile Road Race Rosewell, Midlothian

Sat 12th Sun 13th British Masters Indoor Track & Field Champs Lee Valley Athletic Centre

Sun 13th BMAF Cross Country Championships Bath University Claverton Down Rd BA2 7AY

Tue 29th Mar –Sun 3rd Apr European Masters Indoor Championships – Ancona, Italy April 2016

Sun 10th Tom Scott 10 mile road race Strathclyde Park

Sun 10th 50th Round the Houses 10km RR Grangemouth

May 2016

Wed 4th Snowball 4.8m RR Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, 19:30

Sat 14th BMAF Road Relay Championships Sutton Park Sutton Coldfield B74 2YT Fri 20th –Sun 22nd European Masters Non-Stadia Championships – Vila Real de Santo Antonio Algarve Portugal.

Sat 28th? Bathgate Hill Race, Meadow Park, Bathgate

June 2016

Wed 1st June Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race 7:30 pm. Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh Sun 19th BMAF 5k Championships Horwich Leisure Centre Victoria Road Horwich BL6 5PY

October 2016 26th Oct – 06th Nov World Masters Track & Field Champs Perth, Australia

November 2016 Sat 12th British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Tollcross Park, Glasgow



MEMBERSHIP NOTES 10th August 2015


 I regret to report that 2 of our life members have died recently. Bill Stoddart passed away on 10th August, aged 84. He had been a member of SVHC since 1971 and was made an honorary life member in 2003. Bill was profiled in our April 2014 Newsletter. We send our sympathy to his wife Betty, their son Donald, daughter-in-law Josephine and grandsons Jack and Tom.

Our Hon Life President Bob Donald passed away on 16th August, aged 88. He was 1 of the original SVHC Members.

Welcome to the 29 new and 9 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 10th March 2015. 57 members did not renew their subs. As of 20th August 2015, we have 473 paid up members .

For those who have not already paid or set up standing orders, subscription renewals are due in October for 2015/16.

Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.

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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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.

Please ensure, if possible, that the next payment date is set for 10Nov2015, and annually thereafter.


Vests can be purchased from Andy Law for £18, including postage. (Tel: 01546 605336. or email



Alastair Beaton 13-May-15 2246 Inverness

Suzanne Boyle 28-Jun-15 2256 Glasgow

Anya Campbell 18-Jul-15 2263 Galashiels

Justin Carter 21-Jul-15 2264 Glasgow

Sean Casey 13-May-15 2247 Cumbernauld

Alison Dargie 12-Aug-15 2270 Gosforth

Anne Douglas 26-May-15 2251 Balerno

Cameron Douglas 24-Mar-15 2244 Dumfries

Brian Douglas 16-Aug-15 2271 Glasgow

Agnes Ellis 31-May-15 2250 Glasgow

Mark Gallacher 15-Jul-15 2262 Motherwell

Deirdre Hoyle 22-Jul-15 2266 Glasgow

Robert Keenan 13-May-15 2248 Cumbernauld

Margaret Keenan 24-Jun-15 2254 Cumbernauld

Karen Kennedy 07-Aug-15 2269 Dunfermline

Stephen Leek 25-Jul-15 2258 Livingston

John Macaskill 10-Jul-15 2261 Isle of Harris

Kevan McCartney 24-Jun-15 2255 Inverkip

Eddie McKenzie 21-Jul-15 2265 Turriff

Sharon Muir 29-Jun-15 2257 Glasgow

David Nightingale 23-Jul-15 2267 Galashiels

Jennifer Reid 24-Jun-15 2253 Campbeltown

Gordon Reid 13-May-15 2249 Coylton

Graeme Scott 14-Apr-15 2245 Wemyss Bay

James Smith 14-Mar-15 2243 Motherwell

Hylda Stewart 27-Jul-15 2268 Newton Abbot

Colin Thomas 08-Jul-15 2260 Glasgow

Neil Walker 05-Jul-15 2259 Kilmaurs

Neil Young 28-May-15 2252 Leven

Michael Dunn 16-Aug-15 2155 Greenock

Jim Hogg 22-Jun-15 1997 Renfrew

Craig Johnston 01-Jun-15 1973 Falkirk

Peter Laing 13-May-15 1692 Prestwick

Craig McBurney 25-Mar-15 1887 Edinburgh

Gwen McFarlane 07-Jun-15 868 Ayr

Danny McLaughlin 16-Aug-15 2166 Greenock

Robert Porteous 12-Jul-15 1138 Glasgow

Charles Thomson 06-Aug-15 1756 Clydebank

David Fairweather Membership Secretary



The Run and Become Race Series is nearing completion, with just 2 events to go.

Current leader in the women’s event is Frances Maxwell 60.3 points followed by Ada Stewart,58.8 and Pamela McCrossan, 51.2.

Leading the men’s competition is Andy McLinden 72.9, with Colin Feechan 2nd on 69.6 and Willie Jarvie, 68.0.

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 2 remaining races are: –

06/09/2015 Moray Marathon Elgin

04/10/2015 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch

Alastair Macfarlane



Donald Macgregor (born 23rd July 1939) is one of Scotland’s most distinguished athletes. He won five Scottish titles (6 and 10 miles on the track and three marathons), ran for Scotland in the International Cross Country Championships, and represented GB with distinction in several important marathons, including Kosice (Czechoslovakia), Karl-Marx Stadt (East Germany) and Fukuoka (Japan).

Donald ran for Scotland in two Commonwealth Games marathons; Edinburgh 1970 (8th) and Christchurch 1974 (6th in his fastest-ever

In 1970 he ran 23 miles 971 yards in two hours on the Pitreavie track – only 100 yards less than Jim Alder’s World Record.

However his finest achievement was (aged 33) in the Munich Olympic marathon in 1972. In preparation for the Maxol Marathon British trial, as well as averaging ninety miles per week, he tried two consecutive 120 mile weeks, a month before the race. In addition, this was his second attempt at the carbohydrate depletion/loading pre-marathon diet. In Manchester it worked perfectly – he passed thirteen International athletes during the second half and finished third (second Briton) in 2.15.06 to secure a surprise place in the British Team.

Having recovered quickly, he managed ten 100 mile weeks, mainly at 5.30 per mile, and spent three weeks at altitude in St Moritz, coming down to sea level ten days before the Olympic Marathon.

In Munich on Sunday September 10th, he paced himself very well and came through fast, moving from 30th at 5k to 8th at 40k. Ron Hill wrote in “The Long Hard Road”: “I glance round and get the shock of my life: there, head on one side (the left), black-rimmed spectacles, grimacing face, it’s Macgregor … He’s ungainly but Christ he’s travelling, he’s like a man possessed.” They passed Jack Foster of New Zealand; then Hill’s desperate sprint on the Olympic track left Donald to cross the line 7th in 2.16.34 – a very fine achievement and one of which the modest Macgregor is rightly proud.

While Donald’s excellent record as a senior athlete thoroughly deserves much more than the above summary, this article will focus on his career after he became a Veteran runner at the age of 40.

In 2010 Donald published a fascinating autobiography “Running My Life” and he has kindly permitted me to select material from this book.

His first target was the 1979 IGAL World Veterans (nowadays Masters) track and field championships, which included a marathon, in Hannover, Germany.

In the 10,000 metres “I covered the first 5000 in 15.10 or so. By that time I had a clear lead, and sped up gradually, finishing 53 seconds clear of Aldelagala (Portugal) in 30.04.2, my best for fifteen years.” In 2015, as far as I am aware, Donald’s time remains a Scottish Masters record.

“In the marathon a few days later (2nd August), I decided to take it reasonably easy, and coasted along in the leading bunch for about 10 km, then headed off by myself. No one came with me, and I waited for John Robinson (NZ) who had been far behind me in the 10,000m and whom I had last seen before the Christchurch CG marathon in 1974.

We ran along happily, and as we got into the last few miles I suggested that we should just run in together. I thought he had agreed, so was a little disgruntled when he took off with about 100 metres to go and sprinted to the tape, subsequently denying that we had agreed to anything. I wasn’t very annoyed as I had my gold medal and had no problem with them being shared out. However, I swore that in 1980 in Glasgow, where the IGAL road 10km and Marathon championships were to be held, I would have his guts for garters. The newspapers back home printed the story about my having lost out in the marathon (we only ran 2.22.50), with a photo of Robinson and me. My superior effort in the 10,000 was ignored.”

 “A year went by, and I prepared carefully for this ‘grudge match’.” On race day “It was a bright sunny morning. I went through the routine of a very short jog, then lay down to talk myself into a positive frame of mind – in my imagination I was back in Tentsmuir forest, coasting along with not a care in the world. I wanted to run. I was here to do my best. Then I got up, jogged around a little and went to the start (at 8 a.m. on 20th August.)”

“The race was over a pretty flat lap which we had to cover three times. We lined up in wide Bellahouston Road, and would finish in Pollok Estate. I’m not sure how many starters there were – in the hundreds perhaps – but there was a group of very evenly matched contenders for the title, including Derek Fernee (England) and the winner from Hannover, John Robinson.

A leading group of 12 formed early on, and stayed together till around halfway. I was always in or around the front, but about 32 km Robinson got away and built up a lead of 100m.

I thought I had lost it but, encouraged by the shouts of supporters – many of them friends and rivals from the past decades – I pulled myself together and ate away at his lead. It was hard work, but after a few kilometres the lead was clearly diminishing, and when we left the streets and entered Pollok Estate with about 3 km to go, I was at his back and accelerated to pass him.

He fell away a little, and I crossed the line in 2.19.23, just 13 seconds up, absolutely delighted to have won – on home soil, and against the man who had sneaked the win in 1980.

He said afterwards that he had developed a sore leg with a few miles to go, but who listens to excuses? Derek Fernee was 3rd in 2.19.41, a mere 3 seconds behind the New Zealander.”

“On the podium, I was presented with the trophy by a Glasgow bailie, accompanied by organiser Bob Dalgleish. I was also handed a bottle of champagne, and in true Grand Prix style I shook it up and sprayed it over all those around, though I don’t think Bob Dalgleish liked it falling on his blazer!”

Donald mentions that “The world champion tag got me some kudos in Scottish veteran running circles” and mentions Davie Morrison and Bill Scally particularly enjoying his win.

Almost three years (and seven marathons) later, on April 24th 1983, Donald lined up for the inaugural Dundee Peoples Health Marathon. He was determined to do well in the race and had trained seriously – averaging 70 miles per week over the late Winter and Spring.

“Bang! A group of a dozen rapidly formed, going at quite a good pace – all the predicted favourites. I stayed in the group for five miles, taking it cautiously, then Richie Barrie and I found ourselves breaking away from Terry Mitchell, Sam Graves, Murray McNaught, Rab Heron, Craig Ross and the rest. Richie told me he would keep going till 15 miles and in fact kept up his helpful pacemaking role as far as 16, when he drew to a halt.

Then I was on my own and had ten miles of mental concentration to go. I don’t think runners who are aiming to run four or five hours for a marathon realise how great is the concentration required to run under three hours, let alone 2.20. You have to stay focussed all the way. It’s possible to exchange remarks for a second or two, but best not to stop. Better to take sponges and drinks on the run, snatching a cup of water or juice and in some cases a special drink from the tables, and pour the water – but not the juice – over your head, wiping head, neck, face, arms and thighs with a well-filled sponge or two.

I got to the top of the big hill at 21 miles with an effort, but after that my cadence became more fluent; I was able somehow to run more smoothly and on the downhill my stride lengthened. Gradually the lead over Terry Mitchell, who had moved into second and had been catching me, increased. At the finish it was over three minutes.

On the video of the race, made by members of Dundee Road Runners, I look to be flying down from Lochee past the Dundee Royal Infirmary entrance, round the roundabout and round the shops into the finishing straight. The crowds had been out in force round nearly all the route except the areas north of the Kingsway, and thousands thronged the last 300m behind the barriers. A colleague, art teacher Sandy Cuthbert, told me he couldn’t believe I had run 26 miles at that speed. I hadn’t, but the pace over the last five or six miles was close to 12 miles per hour.

The photo-finish under the gantry was crossed at between 2.17.23 and 2.17.24, the latter being the official time. It was the fastest time by a veteran in the UK that year. Terry was 2nd in 2.20.50, Rab Heron 3rd in 2.21.26.”

Donald Macgregor’s time remains the fastest by a Scottish Veteran. Only Aberdonian Dave Clark (who moved to Southern England after leaving Aberdeen University) can compare, with his 2.17.30 as 1st Master in the 1983 New York Marathon and a win in the 1985 World Masters 25k road race.

Macgregor continued to run very well for several years, winning Dundee again in 1984 and the Loch Rannoch event in 1985. He completed an impressive 21 marathons as a veteran, and of course was 1st Master in nearly all of them, including Glasgow, Aberdeen, Road Runners Club, Wolverhampton, Essonne (France) and Westland (Holland).

Donald, as is well known, holds the Scottish record for running marathons faster than 2 hours 20 minutes. He completed 24 in all; seven as a veteran, including two after the age of 45.

In 2015, his 2.17.24 is sixth in the runbritain all-time M40 marathon rankings; and the 2.19.01 (achieved when 6th in the 1984 Glasgow Marathon) is top of the M45 lists – four minutes faster than the second man!

In cross-country, Donald won the Scottish Veterans M40 title in 1980 and 1983, M45 in 1985 and M50 in 1991 and 1993 – the latter event taking place in his home town of St Andrews and featuring a battle with old rival Mel Edwards.

He kept on running, jogging and occasionally competing until very recently – but is still engaged in coaching with his beloved Fife A.C.

Back in the early 1980s, Donald Macgregor was President of the Scottish Cross Country Union and then SAAA event coach for the marathon: younger runners were very lucky to benefit from the friendly, crystal-clear advice of this intelligent, droll, self-deprecating man, who had so many years of top-class experience.



[Betty (W70) achieved clear victories in both the 2014 British and Irish Masters Cross Country International at Nottingham; and the 2015 Scottish Masters CC at Kilmarnock.]

CLUB: Ferranti AAC (a friendly and supportive club).

DATE OF BIRTH: 20 -9-44.


HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN SPORT: I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 20 years and met Ian Wilson who invited me to join his group.


Ian was a fantastic coach who really encouraged us and is still coaching very successfully in Ireland.


Keeps you fit and you meet some friendly people at races – and living in Edinburgh we have great running routes on our doorstep – hills, river paths, canal paths or along the shore.


Hard question but my favourite five races would be: Bahrain Marathon Relay; Brampton to Carlisle; Midnight Sun; Porty New Year’s Day; and of course Parkrun (great for us older runners).

YOUR WORST? Haddington Half.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? To run a decent time at Haddington!!! (4th time lucky.)



Friends around the world.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? Don’t really do any speed sessions any more. Simply go out and run. I had a bad foot injury about two years ago, and later that year had a hernia operation, so mileage and speed have dropped but I am still happy to be out there.

Monday – 3 miles + gym. Tuesday – 5 miles fartlek + gym. Wednesday – 5 miles off-road. Thursday – 5 miles with hills + gym. Friday – 7 miles tempo for me (= steady for my running partner). Saturday – Parkrun or race. Sunday – 90 to 105 minutes Time On Your Feet; or race.

(As one of her five favourite races, Betty names The Bahrain Marathon Relay. Below is some information about this unusual event.)

The Bahrain Marathon Relay, the largest race in the Middle East, takes place at the end of October, and starts at 10 a.m. at the Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Temperatures soar to the mid to high 30s by early afternoon. The 50 km event is undoubtedly an exhausting challenge, given desert conditions, with heat and humidity. There are 16 stages, each approximately 3 km in length. There are eight runners in a team. Each athlete will run either one, two or three legs of the relay. There may be 150 teams competing.

Ian and Teresa Wilson spent over 30 years working in Saudi Arabia and, through their positive coaching methods, succeeded in training seemingly ordinary athletes up to both Olympic and World Championships levels. Teresa is originally from Stillorgan in Co. Dublin. Ian is originally from Sunderland. Eventually, they decided to retire and settle in Co. Laois, Eire, at the end of 2013. Their company is Nuparc Wellness, a business established to assess health and wellbeing of individuals in large corporations. Ian is a UK Level 4 endurance coach; and Teresa a UK Level 2 endurance coach. Even in semi-retirement, they have taken Irish teams to Bahrain.

The Bahrain Marathon Relay, for which the Wilsons have prepared many teams, was first run in 1981 and has grown to the point where the event attracts a large number of teams and athletes ranging from Olympic standard to those who just enjoy a healthy jog and the camaraderie of taking part. It has become an important highlight not only for Bahrain and its neighbouring countries but also for countless runners who fly in from all over the world to compete. There is a good deal of corporate sponsorship and almost two million dollars has been raised for charity, during the 27 years of the relay.

Roads through the desert, camel trains, extreme heat, rainstorms, sudden hot head- or tail-winds – all these aspects add to the uniqueness of this event. The full history of each race makes fascinating reading.

Scottish athletes who have taken part include Phyllis O’Brien (HBT); Ivie Rennie and Gordon Reid (Kilmarnock AC); Janice Madsen, former British Marathon International Lynn Harding, and David, Betty Gilchrist’s son. Betty herself holds the record for most appearances by a woman in the Bahrain Marathon Relay, having run 22 stages. Teresa Wilson and Jackie Newton tie with 18.



(Ian Leggett, pictured in a 1960s Nigel Barge road race, is one of our most durable SVHC runners. He made his debut for Clydesdale Harriers in 1963 as a senior and quickly became a first team runner. Clydesdale won team gold medals in Dunbartonshire Cross-Country relay championships.

Between 1966 and 1969, Ian emigrated to Australia but returned to run Stage Six of the Edinburgh to Glasgow in the latter year.

From then up to 1973 he was at his fastest, running particularly well in the Midland (West) District CC (4th) and the National (31st).

In the 1969 Scottish Inter-Counties CC he had perhaps his best-ever race, finishing second to international athlete John Linaker.

In addition he ran well on the track, won long road races and tackled severe challenges like the Mamore Hill Race and Ben Nevis.

Of course, he was awarded several Clydesdale Harriers championships, for example the 3 and 6 miles track events, and other club trophies.

Ian Leggett raced a great deal more than nearly all athletes nowadays.

As a Veteran/Masters runner, Ian won Scottish middle distance track titles and ran for Scottish Veterans in the annual British and Irish CC International, winning team medals.

His long fight to win a Scottish Masters CC title seemed to be making progress in 1986 when he was second M45 behind the aforementioned John Linaker. It was the same one-two (M50 this time) in 1990. Ian picked up two more silver medals (M60); and a silver and bronze in M65.

At last, in 2011, Ian Leggett won a very well-deserved gold medal in the M70 category, and followed that with, guess what, a silver the following year.

As the article below makes clear, he is not only a role model for ageing SVHC members, but also quite a character!)



By Ian Leggett

 I don’t usually reply to questionnaires as they usually result in cold calls about PPI or more questionnaires but in this case I felt I was safe enough.

My Name is Ian Leggett, appropriately enough for a runner born and raised in Maryhill, Glasgow, where my allegiance to the famous Partick Thistle (JAGS) was formed. Married to Cathy for 52 years and blessed with 7 sons and 3 daughters (before we purchased a television set).

CLUBS currently Lothian Running club, prior clubs Livingston, Clydesdale, Whyalla Harriers South Australia.

AGE 76

OCCUPATIONS Ex Postman and admin worker.

HOW DID I GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? During National Service played football and was drafted into athletic involvement – anything to dodge drilling and cookhouse duties.


My first connection with athletics came as a result of following the Jags around the Glasgow Sports at Ibrox. In those days 5 a side football tournaments were highly contested summer events, but the highlight of that day was an Aberdeen runner by the name of Alastair Wood in the 3 mile race – left the other runners in the field for dead and made a lasting impression on me. He went on to win marathons but probably his finest achievement came in winning the famous London to Brighton race in 1972 and breaking the record.

 Another was Brian McAusland and the Clydesdale Harriers team of the 70s. We had great team camaraderie and absolutely fantastic changing facilities down in the basement of Clydebank Baths, with heated pipes and showers, where many a Bothy ballad rung out on a cold winter night after a training session.

Martin Hyman and the Livingston club of the 80s was another group which kept my momentum going in the sport.


Lots of friends, healthy wellbeing and, through Masters events, travelling to many places around the world I would probably have missed i.e. Finland, Denmark, France, Italy, Slovenia, Australia – and even England.


The last race I ran.


Undoubtedly, as a novice runner, running the second leg of the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay. I was completely unprepared for this type of contest. The second leg usually featured the cream of the best runners and I ended up shell-shocked at the end of the leg and almost called it a day there and then.


To run overseas in a Scotland vest, instead of having to run as Team GB.


My 13 grand children help me fill up my time outside the sport.

TRAINING DETAILS? No secret! Arthur Lydiard processed the ultimate training schedules. It’s just adjusting your lifestyle to suit whatever your personal ambitions are.

Group therapy suited me best, with the old version of pack runs, adjusting to the season of either track, country or roads – we were all very versatile in those days. There weren’t as many races on the calendar as there are today. When there was a free weekend without a race, there was a culture of going visiting other clubs to have a run and buffet afterwards.

I remember one trip in particular as Clydesdale visited Greenock Wellpark but we had a lot of call-offs on the day. The buffet was enormous, with more than enough Scotch Pies, and we were obliged to eat more than our fair share so as not to offend our hosts. I never thought I would be sick of the sight of a Scotch Pie in my life but that day was pretty close.


Respect your body, because injury is the hardest obstacle to overcome.




One was a race organised by the notorious Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow to raise funds for HIV testing units within the prison. We arrived at the main gate and were ushered into our changing room which was, the warden who escorted us took great pleasure in pointing out, where the last hanging had taken place.

The race itself consisted of 5 laps inside the prison. The head warden, who was a 6 foot 6inches Texan, started the race with a klaxon (no gun).

A few personalities, including Terry Butcher, a couple of Celtic second-string players, a well-known Glasgow boxer and some privileged prisoners, helped to make up the 50 starters.

The privileged prisoners were conspicuous by their orange plimsolls, white tops and black shorts. At the start we were surprised by a few of the orange plimsolls flying off around the first corner. Then, at the second corner they were leaning against the wall, having a fag.

As the rest of us raced round we were greeted by the rattling of tin mugs against the bars of the windows – it was like a Japanese prisoner of war movie.

After the race we were given a slap-up meal with the prisoners and enjoyed their company. It was an enlightening experience but I gave a sigh of relief as the big double doors slammed shut with me safely outside.

Another race for the archives was in Broxburn, organised by BELL’S distillery, not so much the race itself but the finishing drinks were thimbles of whisky and the prizes consisted of bottles of the amber nectar. Can’t say if it was beneficial to after-race recovery but certainly an enjoyable warm down! By today’s drink -drive regulations we would have been very close to the limit.

Similarly the Broughton Brewery race at the New Year where the first prize was a crate of the local ale, second was half a crate and 3rd was 6 of the best; and a bottle to each finisher warmed the cockles of each heart.

My club was fortunate enough to finish 3rd in a prominent Glasgow road relay and the prize was 4 trouser presses. Not long afterwards, at the annual club Christmas handicap race, nicely wrapped up, were 4 very distinctive trouser presses.

If any readers would like to share details of any race that they found quirky, just send the information to Colin on the back of a twenty pound note!


(Ian’s friend and former Clydesdale Harrier team-mate Brian McAusland added the following. “On a two-hour plus Saturday afternoon run down through Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven and back home via The Boule – going out through Dumbarton he switched on his transistor radio (for the Thistle result later on), and there was Victor Sylvester’s music, so he grabbed me round the waist and ballroom-danced me for fifty or sixty yards up the High Street. Wasn’t even legal at the time!

At a Scottish Marathon Club dinner in Glasgow the first course was served, the staff scattered around the room waiting to clear the tables. When they got the nod from the heid bummer, they swung into action immaculately. Leggett grabbed the table numbers from our table and the one beside it, held them up and called out ‘Seven point six!’ a la ice dancing, gymnastics etc.”)



By Brian Gardner

 (Brian has enjoyed considerable success in Masters’ contests – on track and road but especially country. He is a deep thinker about the sport, as the following advice on training will prove. Hopefully, the article will provide inspiration for readers keen to represent Scottish Veterans in mid-November in Dublin!)


What’s the point of training? Is it to maintain health and fitness and to remain competitive in later life? Or is there more to it than that? Do we want to be the best that we can be, given our limitations? If so, when do we want to be the best that we can be? And that’s the point of this article. It’s a personal view of how Masters cross country runners can plan effectively to peak at the right time.

Planning the Year

It’s a well known planning technique to start with your most important competitions and work backwards. But which competitions are the most important? Serious masters could have the Scottish or Regional Masters Cross County Championship in February, the British equivalent in March and maybe the European or World Championships, too. So, that’s simple, isn’t it? Work backwards from March.

But wait a minute, the British and Irish Cross Country (Home International) event is in November. How can we be at our peak at the beginning of the season?

But is it the beginning of the season? Not if we divide our year into three seasons:

Cross Country 1: peak for the Home International in November and/or the National cross country relays and, in Scotland, the short course championship; work backwards – start training in August 2.

Cross Country 2: peak for the National (or Regional) championships in February and/or March plus possibly the Europeans or Worlds; work backwards – take a short break after Cross Country 1 and start training again in mid-late December.

Track: peak for the British championships in July, taking in the Scottish or Regional championships along the way; work backwards – take a break at the end of Cross Country 2 and start training again in late March/early April

Objectives An old swimming coach introduced tiered objectives: rather than set a goal which is too high and end up disappointed, or set one which is so easy that we don’t stretch ourselves, set objectives in three tiers:

  1. Should – get the training done and we should achieve this objective e.g. top 20 in our most important race
  2. Could – put the extra effort in, stay focused and we could achieve this e.g. top 10 3. Just might – in a perfect race this is the dream outcome e.g. get a medal

This way we aim high but it’s not ‘all or nothing’: we have alternative goals to fall back on and can still feel proud of our achievements.

Progression To give us the best chance of achieving our objectives at the right time, the training has to be progressive. And that’s not always about increasing mileage, although that’s important, too.

We want our running to be of the highest possible quality in the most important races. So, we need to improve quality throughout the season.

How? If our most important races are cross country, then our most important training sessions should also be cross country.

And now we come to my own favourite session: cross country reps. Find some fields, preferably with hills, twists, turns and mud: just what you’d expect to find in a race. Try out a lap and estimate the distance e.g. one mile; the exact distance is not important as long as you repeat the same distance on each rep.

At the beginning of the season we might run 4 reps with 90 seconds recovery. The next session in a couple of weeks’ time could be 5 reps with the same recovery or 4 reps with a shorter recovery i.e. alter only one variable at a time.

Approaching the climax of the season we could be running 6 reps with 45 seconds recovery.

Getting really close to the peak race we’ll taper e.g. 3 reps with 2 minutes recovery. Time taken to run each rep should be about the same within a single session but our times might get slower from session to session as conditions worsen throughout the winter. It’s the effort that really counts.

It’s a good idea to have about three different settings for our reps sessions: the courses in our races will vary, so our training routes should vary, too. The above principle applies equally to hill reps.

Weekly Schedule A typical week could look like this: Monday: steady/recovery Tuesday: cross country reps Wednesday: steady/recovery Thursday: cross country reps or hill reps Friday: rest Saturday: race Sunday: long cross country run

An ‘intermediate’ session such as a fartlek (speed play), a wind up run (multiple laps with no recovery, gradually winding up the pace) or a differential run (out steady/back fast or steady/fast/steady) could replace one of the steady runs.

The confusingly named ‘cross training’ could also play a part e.g. swimming or cycling; as could resistance training such as weights, circuits or core stability, all of which should also be progressive. But that’s a subject for an article quite different from this one…

Variation So, that’s Cross Country 1. Cross Country 2 is similar but it’s a shorter period of time, so how do we keep it fresh, rather than regurgitating Cross Country 1?

Well, the pace varies in cross country races, and there are many ways to replicate this in training: a) Vary the distance of the rep e.g. half-mile x2, 1 mile x2, half-mile x2 b) Vary the recovery, even when the rep distance is constant e.g. 90 seconds after rep 1, 75sec after rep 2, 60sec after rep 3, 45sec after rep 4; 30sec after rep 5; stop half way through rep 6, take 10sec rest and complete the second half flat out – it’s different! c) Hill reps are always followed by a long recovery jog back down – right? Not necessarily: why not stop for a short recovery at the top of the hill then run down fast? We can make up a lot of ground in races by descending quickly, so let’s practise it in training. We could also run ‘ladders’ or ‘up the clock’ on a long hill: running further up (and down) the hill with each successive rep. d) Combine cross country reps and hill reps e.g. 3 x (5min rep/90sec recovery/ 3min rep/ 90sec recovery/6x20sec hill/ jog back) x 90 seconds e) And a variation of (d) is: 4x30sec hill in set 1, 6x20sec in set 2 and 8x15sec in set 3

Although this article is about cross country, there are of course many road races including championships, with dates that are not always the same from year to year.

With three peaks throughout the year, there’s a good chance that we’ll be at our best when some of them come around. And then there’s a track season, but that’s another story…

Summary So, there you have it: purposeful (or masterful) cross-country training. We began by questioning what we’re running for. Assuming we are targeting important races at different parts of the year, we worked backwards from them. We split the year into three seasons and planned sessions which are progressive in quality throughout each season, ending with a taper in the final period before the Big Race.

This article is based on personal experience and, to paraphrase ‘How They Train’ from Athletics Weekly, it won’t suit everyone. But I hope it’s been interesting. Your comments via the editor are welcome. Enjoy your cross country training and racing!



 (Chris has of course run for Scotland in the Annual British and Irish Masters Cross Country International; is currently racing better than ever; and has a long, distinguished history as a dedicated hill-runner.)

CLUBs. Ronhill Cambuslang (previously Westerlands 2000-2014).

DATE OF BIRTH. 08/08/1963.

OCCUPATION. Naval Engineering at BAE Systems.


Very gradually… From 5 years old I knew I wanted to run on the hills and explore wild places. Teenage years were spent exploring the English Lake District on foot and bike. Mid 1980s I caught the Munro-bagging bug, and have since climbed all the Scottish Munros and Corbetts. In 1989 I had a near fatal climbing accident that broke my ankle and crushed a lumbar vertebra. In 1990 I came back more determined and climbed Mont Blanc, then Elbrus in Russia in 1993.

I then spent 10 years rock climbing around Britain, Europe and the United States, before thinking about trying a couple of hill races in 2000 with Glen Rosa and Borrowdale.

Since then I’ve completed more than 800 races, plus visiting Nepal 6 times and hiking across the Pyrenees 2 and half times. Races have ranged from 800 metres at the Emirates, to the 10-stage Everest Sky Race in Nepal.


Recently, the stalwart veterans at Ronhill Cambuslang and SVHC Masters have inspired me to keep working hard. Uncompromising runners like Paul Thompson, Colin Feechan and John Thomson show that you can still perform at a high level as a V55. I guess that growing up in the 1970s I’m inspired by keeping things simple, and remembering the importance of physical discomfort.


A sense of belonging. A sense of purpose.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE? Best performance: 1st M50 at Scottish Masters Cross Country at Kilmarnock in January 2015.

YOUR WORST? I don’t remember any worst performances. I think all performances are part of the learning process.


Sub 2:50 marathon. Possibly a World Masters track medal.


Playing violin. Playing with my 3-year old son Benjamin.


That gut-churning sense of excitement before every race. The sense of relief and peace after the race.


Quite ad hoc. At present, just lunchtime runs and weekend races. Occasionally more structure leading up to a marathon.

Career Highlights in hill-running. Won the FRA Long Distance Award in 2003 for Lakes24, a new route in the Lake District that bagged 24 Marilyns in 24 hours.

Favourite Races. My favourite race of recent years is Defi de l’Oisans in France.

My favourite Scottish races are probably Two Breweries and Pentland Skyline.

MOST MEMORABLE RACE Inter Lacs 2003. Restonica Valley, Corsica. 2-Stage event. Very rugged spectacular scenery. Ben Nevis is the most challenging and memorable Scottish race.

OTHER INTERESTS. I also occasionally take photos for the Geograph project; and sometimes play my violin with the Glasgow Chamber Orchestra.



 [Aberdeen’s Mel Edwards (M.B.E) is a local legend. He was a top class runner in cross-country, track and marathon; then spent many years racing on the hills; and also became a successful veteran athlete and coach. Here he recalls events which took place long before Chris Upson took part in similar events. Chris reckons that “although the Scottish hills will be much the same, I imagine the flavour of the sport has changed a fair bit, especially over the last ten years. There has been an explosion in popularity of some of the key hill races.” Look up the website for lots of fascinating detail on the current scene.]



It was on 13 July 1985 (at the age of 42) that I, Dave Armitage and Phil Kammer attempted this epic with the aim of completing it in less than half a day!

We set off from Glenmore Lodge at 7am. Good conditions.

Our first stop was at 1 hour 30 at Faindouran Lodge where Eddie Butler had food and water for us.

Then off along the good track along Glen Avon to the footbridge immediately north of Ben Avon. The ascent of Ben Avon was very heathery and we reached the summit at 3 hours, then ran most of the way over to Beinn a Bhuird (3 hours 45).

Then it was back down to Glen Avon, across the river and along the track to Fords of Avon hut where Eddie, his wife Kath and my wife Kareen were waiting. I didn’t feel like eating, and paid for it shortly after with a touch of glycogen depletion.

We reached the top of Cairngorm at 5 hours 45 for another stop (Steve and Sheena Wallace).

Then it was across the Macdui plateau, where I began to perk up a bit, and we reached the summit of Ben Macdui at 6 hours 45.

Then down the Taillear Burn which was quite tricky, to the Lairig Ghru. (Keith Adams).

I had some Nestle’s milk and a banana here and was quite strong most of the way up Cairn Toul (8 hours 35) helped by pumping Dextrosol!.

At Braeriach (9 hours 35) Willie Munro was waiting and this was our final stop. I began to feel strong on the descent, and up the horrendously rough Chalamain Gap.

Then it was on to Glenmore Lodge. The final steep hill up to the lawn was tough but I managed to jog it through sheer determination. 11 hours 39 minutes and 4 seconds. Yes!! Under half a day.

So, a summary. An extremely tough test of endurance, and I have to admit I was the weakest of the three of us physically but I couldn’t fault my mental approach. The glycogen depletion was almost certainly due my inability to eat much when running. Next day was a rest day!!

(With this performance, Mel, Phil and Dave broke the record for this particularly arduous route. In 1999 Alex Keith of Inverness finally set a new mark. For more history, see the website shr. long distance records.)



In 1983 I was chasing points for the British Vets hill running championship and on 6th August headed for Keswick to try to get “long one” points. I was accompanied by wife Kareen and my mother Joy. My father had passed away suddenly at the age of 80 two weeks previously and Kareen and I thought the break would be good for Joy.

I had been having muscle problems for a couple of weeks so decided to take it easy and just finish. The race was quite uneventful and of the 328 starters I finished in the top 25% in 3 hours 53 minutes.

However, the drama came on the way home. After these long ones I was unable to hold down food or fluid until breakfast the next day, and was prone to stopping the car in a lay-by and lying flat on my back. I did just that and Joy was aghast, thinking she was going to lose the second member of her family in a fortnight. However Kareen put her at ease by saying quite calmly “He always does this. It’s called a lay-by lie-down”.



This was one of my favourite long hill races ( 23 miles and 5250 feet ascent ).

Starting at Horton in Ribblesdale it takes in Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

In April 1978 the conditions were horrendous. As I reached the summit of Ingleborough I was with a Blackheath and Bromley Harrier, easily recognised by the black vest. I turned at the top to descend towards the finish and noticed he was no longer there.

I finished 150th in 3.44 and on the drive home reflected on what I deemed to be a poor performance.

The following day this was put in its true perspective when I read that Ted Pepper of Blackheath had been found dead from exposure. As I left Ingleborough’s summit he must have taken the wrong route, tired and succumbed to the weather.

In 1979 I finished 17th in 3.09 and fully appreciated how lucky I was to still be around.



The Sierre Zinal race in Switzerland is one of the most famous mountain races in Europe. It starts in the town of Sierre, in the Rhone valley and finishes in the small village of Zinal which sits below some impressive mountains.

The course is a good test of all-round mountain running ability with a tough climb for the first 10km, followed by around 15km of faster running and then a steep descent into Zinal. In total the race is 31km with 2100m of ascent and around 800m of descent.

One of the best things about the race is the view of the mountains; you can see five of the Alpine 4000m peaks from the course. It is held each August and starts at 08.30.

I have done the event on 4 occasions, 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1988. In those 12 years the number of starters increased by 60% to 1530.

My positions have been:- 1977 99th in 3.22 (won by Chuck Smead of America)

1978 64th in 3.12 (Fraser Clyne finished 57th in 3.10)

1981 109th in 3.16 (won by Craig Virgil of America)

1988 454th in 3.54 (won by Pierre-Andre Gobet of Switzerland).



[The classic Cairngorms outing is the round of all four 4000ers (Cairngorm, Ben Macdui, Cairn Toul, Braeriach), starting and finishing at Glenmore Lodge (25 miles / 7600 feet of ascent).

Eric Beard made his mark with an impressive time of 4 hours 41 minutes in 1963.

This record was beaten by Mel Edwards on 9th July 1979 with a time of 4 hours 34 minutes 8 seconds.

Edwards’ 22 year record was broken by Dan Whitehead of Cosmics on 13th October 2001. He completed the course in 4 hours 31 minutes 21 seconds.]

Mel remembers: “I had great navigational help from Dave Armitage. Near the end, I was so psyched up, that my spectating father was shocked by my oaths of excitement with two miles to go, as I realized that I was going to take the record!”

Mel went on to advise Kath Butler when she set an inaugural women’s record in 1988. Her husband Eddie ran with her, along with Mel, as she followed the same route as he had, from Glenmore Lodge via the Chalamain Gap to Braeriach, then Cairntoul, a 2400 feet descent to Lairig Ghru, across the Dee, then up the gully of Tailors’ Burn to the summit of Ben Macdui, before continuing to Cairngorm. Her time was 6 hours 45 minutes.



Congratulations are due this year to Scottish Athletics organisers and officials, since this one-day event was the best Masters track and field championships for some time. Not only was the programme cleverly set out, but also all events were completed by 4 p.m., allowing everyone to travel home at a sensible time, with no need for the expense of overnight accommodation. The weather was good too – warm at times, but not excessively so, and with no more than a medium strength breeze for middle-distance athletes to cope with. The re-laid Commonwealth Games track felt very comfortable underfoot. Long may such Masters-friendly organisation continue! Hopefully the Indoors will not be on 3rd January again; or clashing with the Cross Country……

In the Women’s events, several athletes performed particularly well. In the 100 metres, the fastest competitor in any age group was Aberdeen AAC stalwart Kathleen Madigan (W45 – 13.78). However, in the 200 metres she was second to Jacqui Hodgson (Durham City – 28.43), who also finished first in the 400 metres.

The outstanding middle-distance runner on show was Hilary McGrath (W50) of Law and District, who won both 1500 metres (5.10.23) and 3000 metres (10.58.94) in fast times.

Claire Reid (W35 Airdrie H) was victorious in Shot, Discus, Javelin and Hammer. Claire Cameron (W60 Ayr Seaforth) was first in the Shot, Discus and Hammer; Jayne Kirkpartick (W40 Nithsdale AC) Shot, Discus and Javelin; and Gwen McFarlane (W60 Ayr Seaforth AC) Shot, Discus and Javelin. Patricia Elaine Phillips (W50 Kilbarchan AC) won both Shot and Discus. Fiona Davidson (W40 Aberdeen AAC) was first in both Long and Triple Jumps.

In the Men’s events, Bob Douglas (M60 Harmeny AC), James Smith (M70 Motherwell AC) and Walter Douglas (M75) won not only the 100m but also 200m and 400m.

Double winners included 100/200 for Mike Tarnawsky (M40 Dundee Hawkhill H), Ronald Hunter (M50 Corstorphine AAC) and Dougie Donald (M55 Midland Vets); 400/800 for Alan Fulton (M 65 Aberdeen AAC); and the incredible M85 Hugh McGinlay (also 400/800).

Steven Wright (M40 Forres Harriers) ran an excellent 800m in 2.03.83; although in a separate race M35 Colin Garrett (Ayr Seaforth AC) was slightly quicker in 2.02.76. Thomas Brannon (M45 North Shield) completed the 800/1500 double. Gordon Barrie (M40 Dundee Hawkhill H) produced the best 1500m performance (4.18.36).

In the 5000 metres, Robert Gilroy (M35 Ron Hill Cambuslang H), who is currently Scotland’s fastest Masters cross-country runner, achieved the clearest of victories in the very good time of 15.29.52. However, on the age-graded tables, Guy Bracken (M50 North Shield) produced the time of the day with 15.40.35. Colin Feechan (M55 RHCH) won his race easily in 17.34.14. Craig Ross (M60 Dundee Hawkhill H) recorded 19.06.70, in front of Robert Wilson (M60 Greenock Glenpark H, who went on to win the 1500m. Alex Sutherland (M65 Highland Hillrunners) found that his new spikes helped him to a fine 19.35.99; and the indefatigable Bobby Young (M70 Clydesdale H) finished in 21.07.20.

Pick of the hurdlers was probably Andrew Webb (M65 North Shield) who ran 100mH in 20.06.

Alan Robertson (M35 Motherwell AC) won the Long Jump (6.09) in front of David Carson Graham (Shettleston H) who was first in the High Jump (1.73). David Carpenter (M45 North Ayrshire AC) won his LJ age-group in 5.90. M55 Steve Wallace (Pitreavie AC) did the LJ/TJ double; and Trevor Madigan (M70 Aberdeen AAC) won both High and Long Jumps.

Star thrower was probably M60 Jim Hogg who won Shot, Discus and Hammer. Stuart Ryan (M50 Gateshead H) was first in Javelin and Shot. Rene Rogers (M40 Dundee Hawkhill H) did the Discus/Hammer double. Bob Masson (M65 Aberdeen AAC) won Discus and Javelin, as did Pete Eddy (M70 DHH). Alexander MacIntosh (M55 Kilmarnock H and AC) finished first in Discus, Hammer and Javelin. Bill Gentleman (M75 Edinburgh AC) won Hammer, Shot and Discus. The M80 throws featured close battles between Hugh Ryan, who won Discus, Hammer and Javelin; and Robin Sykes (Bellahouston H) who was second in Discus and Javelin but defeated his rival in the Shot.



By Alan Ramage

 36 SVHC members made the short trip across the channel to Lyon to take part in the World Masters Championships at the beginning of August, leaving behind the chill of the Scottish summer to enter a heatwave that was moving across Europe.

The star of the show was Fiona Davidson (F40), SVHC’s only Gold Medallist from the thirteen days of competition. Fiona had entered both the Long Jump and Triple Jump however made the decision to skip the Long Jump and put all her eggs into the one basket. It proved to be the correct decision as she excelled in a hard battle with a Ukrainian jumper, taking the Gold Medal by a mere centimetre with a jump of 11m 35cm.

As the Scots waited for another individual medal, it was like waiting for buses, another arrived shortly afterwards courtesy of Susan Young (W35) in the 400m. Similar to Fiona, Susan, having been in the habit of doing the 100m and 200m at previous championships, skipped the shorter events this year and duly added a bronze medal to the silver she won in Brazil in 2013 with a time of 59.07 secs.

We had to wait to the final day of the championships, and the longest event, to win our third and final individual medal. Kerry-Liam Wilson (M40), going into the Marathon with the third fastest time, was hoping to upset the apple cart, and set off at a ridiculously early time of 7.30am with only one colour of medal in mind.

Having reached half way in second place, some 40 secs down, he steadily worked back to the Canadian leader and actually led the race at 24 miles.

However, catching the Canadian only fuelled the Canadian and he found a second wind, and having worked hard to get to him it was a psychological blow for Kerry who suffered over the last few miles and allowed the Frenchman to pass him just before entering the track to finish.

Having left everything out on the course, Kerry can be pleased with his Bronze medal in a time of 2.31:01.

Grant Ramsay (M40), making his debut at the championships, finishing 16th in 2.48:31, teaming up with Kerry and a fellow Brit to pick up silver in the team competition.

The Championships started off with the Decathlon where Ian Paget (M40), Derek Glasgow (M50) and Ken Moncrieff (M55) forced their bodies through the 10 events in what were very difficult conditions. Although it has to be said, that Ken only managed three events before having an altercation with the High Jump bar, and as expected came off second best, bringing his competition to an abrupt end.

Given the inadequacies of the results service the final positions for Ian and Derek were not published but both had creditable performances.

The sprints were pretty sparse of SVHC members. However, Bob Douglas (M60) had a very good championships, reaching the 200m semi-final where he finished 7th in a time of 27.53 and then went on to finish 5th in the 400m, narrowly missing out on the final with a new PB of 60.20.

In the 100m, Neil Young (M55) finished 6th in his heat with a time of 14.82. In the 80m Hurdles, Lorna Rogers (W40) made the final where she finished 7th with a time of 12.58. A regular on the International scene, Francis Cannon (M65) ran 62.5 to finish 5th in his 400m heat.

The middle distance events proved to be rather disappointing and frustrating for the Scots with only two finalists in the 800m and none in the 1500m, proving that the hardest thing at this age is staying injury and illness free in the build up to the Championships.

Pride of place goes to debutant, Yvonne Crilley (W50) who, having qualified from the heats after her daughters raced to the other side of Lyon to pick up her numbers to ensure she could run, finished a creditable 7th in a time of 2.37:32, a tremendous performance at this level.

Alastair Dunlop (M60), having won a medal at every World Championships he has competed in, failed on this occasion, finishing 8th in a time of 2.19:36.

There was encouraging performances from debutants Claire Barr (W40), Dean Kane (M40), Craig Johnson (M45) and Gerrard Starrs (M55) however there was disappointing and under par performances due to various reasons, and compared to previous championships, for a number of reasons from Andrew Ronald (M45), Alex Bryce (M55), John Thomson (M55), Francis Cannon (M65), Sharyn Ramage (W50) and Caroline Lawless (W55).

The distance events kicked off with the Cross Country with Colin Feechan (M55) running a fantastic race to finish 14th however finished second GB athlete and helped them to Gold in the team event. Colin then went on to finish 10th in the 10,000m in a time of 36.44:97, with Alan Hill (M55) finishing 51st in a time of 23.45:63.

Alex Sutherland (M60) also helped the GB team to silver medal in the Cross Country, finishing 9th in a time of 33.02 before embarking on a gruelling six days where he finished 10th in the 5,000m and then 8th in the 10,000m.

The Cross Country saw Sharyn Ramage (W50), Caroline Lawless (W55), Andrew Ronald (M45) and John Denholm (M60) finish 20th, 21st, 31st and 45th respectively.

In the 5,000m Walk, Andrew Fraser (M45) made his debut, finishing 13th in a time of 30.30:27.

The final day saw new girl, Claire Thomson (W35) flew directly in from her holiday in Crete to finish 10th in the 2,000m Steeplechase with a time of 8.13:35.

In the field events, Cameron Douglas (M65) finished 18th in the Long Jump qualifying round whilst the experienced Claire Cameron (W55) finished a creditable 5th in the Discus final with a throw of 29.36 before finishing 15th in the qualifying round of the Shot Putt later the same day. Finally, Rene Rogers finished 15th in the Weight Pentathlon on the final day of the championships.

The championships ended with the Relays and the Half Marathon. In the 4x100m, Susan Young (W35) won her second Bronze medal whilst Bob Douglas (M60) dropped down an age group to also win a Bronze medal in the 4x400m.

Fiona Davidson (W40) and Lorna Rogers (W40) made up half the 4x100m team with Sharyn Ramage (W50) dropping down to compete in the W40 4x400m team.

The Half Marathon was run alongside the Marathon and although no individuals medals were won in the Half Marathon, Colin Feechan (M55) added a silver team medal to that already won in the Team Cross Country at the beginning of the championships. Colin struggled a bit today after having already done the Cross Country and 10,000m but still finished first Brit in 8th place with a time of 1:21.04.

Also in the M55 race, Les Hill ran a solid race to finish in 30th place with a time of 1:37.49.

Moving on to the M60s, John Denholm, competing in his third race of the championships finished 37th in a time of 1:42.58, with Les’ older brother Alan, finishing 40th in a time of 1:45.33.

Going back to the younger age groups, debutant Scott Martin (M45) narrowly missed out in a team medal by 23 secs, finishing 4th Brit in 23rd place with a time of 1:18.40.

 In the M50s race, Chris Upson, also making his debut, finished first Brit in 19th place with a time of 1:21.38.

Finally, our only woman runner saw Anne Douglas (W60) finish a creditable 17th in a time of 1:53.54.

To summarise the SVHC Medals –

Fiona Davidson – Gold – W40 Triple Jump

Colin Feechan – Gold – M55 Cross Country Team

Colin Feechan – Silver – M55 Half Marathon Team

Grant Ramsay – Silver – M40 Marathon Team

Alex Sutherland – Silver – M65 Cross Country Team

Kerry-Liam Wilson – Silver – M40 Marathon Team

Kerry-Liam Wilson – Bronze – M40 Marathon

Susan Young – Bronze – W35 400m

Susan Young – Bronze – W35 4x100m Relay

Bob Douglas – Bronze – M55 4x400m Relay

So as the championships closed for another year, it was great to see a number of athletes make their debut, and some old faces returning. I would urge anyone to give it a go and show the rest of the athletic fraternity how good the Masters are and I am sure if you spoke to any of the debutants they would agree that the atmosphere, camaraderie and friendship cannot be beaten.

There is room for everyone, and I will leave you with this thought as we look ahead to Perth Australia for next year’s championships …….there were three over 95 year olds competing in the Pole Vault here in Lyon and the Men’s M90 200m finished in a dead heat !!!!

Who says competition is dead in the Masters scene??


LETTER TO THE EDITOR (More wanted, please!)

A Tale of Two Jaffa Cakes

 In mid-March I was running quite well e.g. 21:30 for 5k parkrun. Then on 26th March I flew off on holiday to Auckland NZ to visit Big Sister. I was also looking forward to running the Cornwall parkrun in Auckland as I thought the M70 record was a bit soft. Maybe it was hilly or maybe the Kiwis weren’t so fast.

On the Saturday I drove off from the suburbs on the freeway, in a strange car in the dark at 6.30am. In Australia and New Zealand the parkruns start at 8am. Found Cornwall Park (wrong end) so had a warm-up running across a large park looking for runners. The course was quite hilly but I managed to take 44 sec off the M70 record in 23:42.

After a week or so it was off to Adelaide in South Australia to visit my daughter, who was graduating on May 1st. No records there. Last year I ran 21:21 but Adelaide is home to Peter Sandery, world-renowned distance runner. Peter, now 73, had run 19:26 as a M70! I did manage 21:23.

Another 4 weeks holidaying, with lots of eating and drinking, and it was off home.

Even though I had kept running, it was frustrating that I couldn’t get down to 22 minutes until, after the SVHC 5k at Clydebank, a ‘helpful’ friend suggested I had enjoyed the holiday a bit too much! Nonsense! But a visit to the scales indicated there were 7lbs more of me! The culprits were beer and biscuits! I would have to do something about those biscuits.

So, although my wife dutifully stocked the biscuit tin with Penguins, Kit Kats and Wagon Wheels, they remained untouched. I was off to the shops. Numerous boxes of Jacob’s Jaffa Cakes were stuffed in the rucksack.

As you well know, frequent cups of tea require chocolate biscuits. Now each cup of tea had to make do with just two Jaffa cakes (only 49 calories each).

Two and a half weeks later – and 5lbs lighter – a 5000m in 21:07 was recorded at the Scottish Masters Championships at Grangemouth, followed by 21:11 and 21:10 at parkruns.

Surely the Jaffa Cake Diet represents a breakthrough in Masters Athletic Training Techniques?

By Bobby Young, Clydesdale Harriers.



Outdoor Sports Centre, Langloan Street, Coatbridge, ML5 1ER Sunday, October 18th.

Start Time(s) – Predicted finishing time 40:00 or slower, and walkers 11:30am.

Predicted finishing time sub 40:00 1:00pm.

 The Track 10,000 metres Club Championship is one of the most popular events on the SVHC fixture list. Last year 26 runners and 7 walkers finished the race.

 With this popularity comes a problem for the organizers: that of recording laps.

In order to reduce the problems on the day there will be two races this year; those with a predicted finishing time of 40:00 or slower, and walkers, will start at 11:30am and those with a predicted time of sub 40:00 will start at 1:00 pm. it will be necessary to enter in advance.

In addition we would ask for volunteers to come along and assist as lap scorers. If you intend to run please bring someone along with you to help. No special skills are required, just the ability to count to 25! Entries by email to Alastair Macfarlane, with predicted finishing time, to arrive no later than Thursday 15th October.

The entry fee is £2 but that will be collected on the day.

 This will be the first race in the 2015 / 2016 Run and Become Series.

Please note that the club AGM will be held immediately after this event at approximately 2:00pm.

If you are interested in the future of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, please make an effort to attend.

By Alastair Macfarlane



President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis



September 2015

Sun 6th BMAF Half Marathon Championships – Oxborough, Norfolk

Moray Marathon, Elgin

Sat 12th World Masters Mountain Running Championships – Betws-y-Coed, Wales Sat/Sun 19th/20th British Masters Decathlon/Hept./Throws Pentathlon/ 10K Track + Walks Champs

October 2015

Sun 4th Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon Inc. SVHC Champs Kirkintilloch

Sun 18th SVHC Track 10K 11:30 & 13:00. AGM 14:00. Outdoor Sports Centre, Coatbridge

November 2015

Sun 1st BMAF Marathon Championships – Newcastle

Sat 14th British & Irish Masters Cross Country Champs Santry, Dublin

December 2015

Sat 12th SVHC Xmas Handicap 1:30pm. Playdrome, Clydebank. G81 1PA See entry form page 17

January 2016

Sun 24th LSK Relays Strathclyde Park 11.00 am

Sat 30th SAL Masters Cross Country Championships Forres Moray

March 2016

Tue 29th Mar –Sun 3rd Apr European Masters Indoor Championships – Ancona, Italy May 2016

Fri 20th –Sun 22nd European Masters Non-Stadia Championships – Vila Real de Santo Antonio Algarve Portugal.




MEMBERSHIP NOTES 10th March, 2015


Welcome to the 18 new and 2 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 27th November 2014. 6 members have resigned and 63 have not renewed their subs. As of 10th March 2015, we have 431 paid up members . For those who have not already paid or set up standing orders, subscription renewals are now overdue for 2014/15.

Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.

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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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.

Please ensure, if possible, that the next payment date is set for 10Nov2015, and annually thereafter.


 Molly Wilmoth is no longer selling SVHC running vests. The Club would like to express their appreciation to Molly for her assistance. Andy Law has offered to take over this task. Vests can be purchased from Andy for £17 (Tel: 01546 605336. or email



Andrew Campbell 07-Jan-15 2236 Barrhead

Kenneth Campbell 10-Jan-15 2237 Campbeltown

Vincent Carroll 03-Dec-14 2227 Cumbernauld

Lorna Coyle 05-Jan-15 2233 Gourock

Brian Graham 01-Jan-15 2232 Paisley

David Henderson 12-Jan-15 2238 Gourock

 Elaine Hogg 03-Dec-14 2225 Moodiesburn

David Hogg 03-Dec-14 2226 Moodiesburn

Lorna Mahoney 16-Dec-14 2229 Balloch

Marc Malone 17-Dec-14 2231 Edinburgh

Derek Martin 26-Jan-15 2239 Craigmarloch

Graham McCabe 07-Jan-15 2235 Craigmarloch

Wayne McIntosh 26-Jan-15 2241 Kelso

Robert McLennan 26-Jan-15 2240 Glasgow

John Mill 16-Dec-14 2230 City Quay

Morag Taggart 06-Jan-15 2234 Broughty Ferry

David Tamburini 16-Feb-15 2242 Gourock

Anthony Weir 06-Dec-14 2228 Edinburgh

John Sinclair 05-Dec-14 1996 Falkirk

Joasia Zakrzewski 13-Feb-15 2045 Dumfries

David Fairweather Membership Secretary



 The Run and Become Race Series is now well under way with 5 of the events completed at the time of writing.

Current leader in the women’s event is Ada Stewart with 21.1 points followed by Shirley MacNab,17.7 and Betty Gilchrist, 16.3.

Leading in the men’s competition is Andy McLinden 34.2, with Colin Feechan second on 25.4 and Willie Jarvie, 24.6.

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 races are: –

22/03/2015 Lost Trails Race Falkland

11/07/2015 SAL Masters Track & Field Champs Grangemouth

05/04/2015 Tom Scott 10 mile road race Motherwell

24/06/2015 SVHC 5K Champs Clydebank

03/05/2015 SVHC Walter Ross 10K RR Cartha

16/08/2015 SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha

Alastair Macfarlane




 At the battle of Loos on the 13th of October 1915, Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley, only twenty years old, was killed in action. As the centenary of his death approaches, and because there has been a great deal of media commemoration of the war, it seems appropriate to celebrate the achievements of his short life.

He is generally considered to have been an English War poet; but in fact he was born in Aberdeen, became an enthusiastic cross-country runner and, had he been spared, might even have qualified to run for Scotland in the International Championships.

Charles was the son of the Professor of Moral Philosophy at Aberdeen University and seems to have moved south at the age of five. He won a scholarship to Marlborough College, which he attended between 1908 and 1913.


Roger Robinson wrote movingly about Sorley in his highly-recommended book “Running in Literature” and adapted those comments in “The Poetry of Running”, which was published in Runner’s World magazine in January 2004.

With Roger’s permission, I intend to quote extensively from his critical essay on Sorley’s very well known poem:

“The Song of the Ungirt Runners”.

We swing ungirded hips

And lighten’d are our eyes,

The rain is on our lips,

We do not run for prize

We know not whom we trust

Nor whitherward we fare,

But we run because we must

Through the great wide air.


The waters of the seas

Are troubled as by storm.

The tempest strips the trees

And does not leave them warm.

Does the tearing tempest pause?

Do the tree-tops ask it why?

So we run without a cause

‘Neath the big bare sky.


 The rain is on our lips,

We do not run for prize.

But the storm the water whips

And the wave howls to the skies.

The winds arise and strike it

And scatter it like sand,

And we run because we like it

Through the broad bright land.

“During his high-school years, Charles Sorley loved to walk and run on the hills around the town, and as an aspiring young poet he wrote several poems, impressive for such a young writer, about these outings. The weather in the poems is often wet and windy, because on these days regular sports like rugby were cancelled, and to Sorley’s delight the students were sent out on cross-country runs that they called “sweats”.”

 “When World War One was declared only a few months after he left school, Sorley volunteered for training as a junior officer. “The Song of the Ungirt Runners” was written during this period of training early in 1915.

When he reached the front line later that year, he had time only to write a few powerful poems that angrily condemn the slaughter of the trenches.

“Ungirt Runners” is not a war poem in this direct way, yet it is full of the tumult of catastrophe, the storm, and the tearing tempest of that time. With its images of troubled, stormy nature and disoriented, distrustful humans, it catches perfectly the sense of anxiety, doubt and doom suffered by that unlucky generation of young men who came to adulthood between the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and marching up the line to death in the trenches after 1914.”

 “Yet through the storm and howling waves and troubled weather, the swinging rhythm of the runners pulses onward. They run forward through the tearing tempest lightly, determinedly, and almost joyfully, without purpose other than the compulsion to run. The opening of the movie Chariots of Fire, with the athletes loping along the seashore in wind and spray, was perhaps inspired by Sorley’s words. The poem affirms that running is an act of nature, and like other acts of nature it needs no motive or explanation.”

 “It is, for a soldier, a poem defiant of authority and reward. They do not run for cause or prize, in a war not their making, but to find freedom, contact with nature, release from that world of strife and loss, and some personal pleasure in a time of imposed control.

And why ‘ungirt’? The British army then wore coarse heavy khaki, encumbered with belts and cross straps, and bound their legs in tight wrap-around ‘putees’. Runners hate such cumbersome binding. Sorley wrote from the front a few weeks later to his old school principal: “O for a pair of shorts and my long loose coloured jersey… once again.” The poem expresses the defiant joy of moving ‘ungirt’, free, instead of marching all day in uniform and in step to someone else’s shouted commands.

The repeated ‘We’ also expresses a human bond among the runners at a deeper level than the world of cause and prizes can forge. The troops in training were encouraged to play sports, with running especially important. Sorley, with his background as a good schoolboy runner, helped train the men of his Suffolk Regiment, mostly farm workers. He prepared them especially for the divisional cross country championship in Kent against other regiments. The favourites were a formidable Royal Fusiliers team that contained (Sorley wrote in a letter) several experienced runners (“exharriers”).

There were 400 starters and 12 teams. Afterwards the young officer/coach reported with glee that “on a heavy course over the rich Kentish soil…..The Suffolks came in an easy first. This has been one of many triumphs.”

It’s good to know that a poem that has been taken to be about runners in a remote and idealised world in fact derived from real training for a particular race, when his guys got up and beat the favourites. It is no stretch of the imagination that a 19-year-old who loved running so much, and who was well liked by his men, would run with them in training instead of just holding the watch. The poem’s “We” surely includes the poet. It expresses a group unity more fundamental than the military separation between lieutenant and infantrymen.

So “The Song of the Ungirt Runners” is both timeless and very much of its time – as the best poems are. It affirms the elemental, its runners swinging through a nature of primordial power, yet it also reflects on its moment in history. Its condemnation is implied, not spelled out. But imagine writing of men who were about to be ordered to march into the dark pit of the trench that: “We run because we like it / Through the broad bright land.”

Charles Sorley was killed by a sniper’s bullet a few weeks after arriving at the front in France. In his pack was found the draft of a poem that has become his most famous, beginning with the lines: “When you see millions of the mouthless dead / Across your dreams in pale battalions go…..”

Within days of writing these lines, this talented young poet was himself among the mouthless dead. It is some consolation that he found pleasure in his last months by running and had time to put that pleasure into life-affirming words that still retain their resonant simplicity.”

Roger Robinson concludes his excellent article by saying “there is a crossing of two foot-tracks high on the Marlborough Downs, about three miles from the town and the College. It is a spot mentioned in one of Sorley’s poems, and thanks to one of the school’s English teachers, is now marked by a memorial stone, inscribed with the initials “C.H.S.” and the dates of his short life. One September I ran there, with my wife and two English running friends, Bruce and Sue Tulloh. After quietly paying our respects, we ran together back across the Downs to the Tullohs’ home, not for cause or prize, but running because we like it, through the broad bright land.”



 (Doug Cowie continues to enjoy a long and successful running career. Nowadays, due to dedicated and varied cross-training, all-round he is the fittest over-60 that the editor knows! At Forres Harriers, he is an inspiration. This profile was written before the 2014 British and Irish Masters Cross Country International at Nottingham, when Doug, along with Frank Hurley, Andy McLinden and Tony Martin, won thoroughly deserved team gold.)

NAME Douglas Cowie

CLUBs Forres Harriers/SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH 16/02/1953

OCCUPATION Leisure Supervisor

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? A friend and ex- RAF runner David Parsons who is still competing for Oxford City converted me from football to running in 1971.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? Bob Wallis, my coach for nine years. He was also coach to Steve Jones and a host of other RAF and club runners. Without his guidance especially in the early days I am sure I would not have achieved as much as I have. Donald Macgregor, Gerry Stevens (Reading AC) and Mick Woods (AFD) were all major influences at different stages of my running career.

Being involved with the RAF CX team through the 70/80s was an honour and a privilege for the ‘mere mortal’. During that period I was lining up in races with the best runners in the country never mind the RAF. There was Wild, Goater and Crabb from England, Jones, Jenkins and Hackney from Wales, Dion McNeilly was a regular with Northern Ireland and from Scotland there was Gordon and Steve Rimmer and Colin Donnelly.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? Personal satisfaction of achieving goals set. Health and Social benefits.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? Winning the RAF Germany XC Championships when I wasn’t even considered a top 5 finisher. Winning a European Masters Half Marathon silver medal and receiving it from Mrs Zatopek. Winning SVHC XC Championship in my home town. Winning European Duathlon gold medal in 2011.

YOUR WORST? 2ATAF XC Championships 1980. We were competing against the Belgian, German, Dutch and American Air Forces, I was expected to be first scorer for the RAF but had a disaster and finished 9th scorer out of 9!

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? Steve Prefontaine was my first running hero and I would like to visit Coos Bay, Oregon.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? I cycle quite a lot, swim twice a week and enjoy walking with my wife.

 WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? Through running I have had the good fortune to have travelled the world. In 2004 I was an escort runner when the Olympic Flame went on its global relay. In 2007 I took part in a similar event travelling to 42 cities in Brazil prior to the start of the Pan-Am Games and in 2012 I was involved with the Olympic Torch relay.

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? For 30 years I ran an average of 80mpw, as did most decent club runners of that era but now my training is geared to staying fit and healthy.

Sunday Easy 3 hour cycle or 60-75 minute easy running. Monday 2 hour cycle with a bit more effort. Tuesday Early morning swim and Harrier session in the evening. Wednesday Easy 2 hour cycle/ Water Pilates. Thursday Harrier session. Friday Early morning swim/Thighs Bums ‘n Tums exercise class. Saturday Running or cycling efforts. That’s the gist of it.

As the winter approaches I will do less cycling and more jogging. The best thing I have done in recent years is to cross train, supplement running with swimming and cycling – exercising but recovering at the same time. Pilates and core strength workouts have also proved beneficial.

My Favourite Race. My first serious race was a Services XC league race in November 1971. From that day many races have been run, over many different surfaces and over many different distances. Although I specialised in the marathon XC was always my favourite discipline and my favourite race was the RAF XC championships. I was always taught it was not how you performed in December or January that mattered, more importantly how you performed in the Championships in February. I first contested the RAFs in 1971 finishing in 235th position. The following year I was 68th then 32nd. I did it 21 times, my best position being 13th. That day I was 8 seconds off 8th place with the top 8 being current internationals. My final appearance came when aged 41 when I finished in 25th place.

Marathon Memories My first attempt could have been my last. 1974 Inverness to Forres, got knocked down after 9 miles and woke up in hospital with the doctor sewing my arm up.

Next attempt – 1975, 2.40, was a member of the RAF Kinloss team that won the RAF Team Championship.

1981, Boston! A must for any marathon runner. 7000 runners all had to qualify unlike the London marathon which has turned into the biggest ‘Fun Run’ in the world. I did 2.31 for 372nd place and my friend who did 2.39 was 960th!

1983, RAF Championships, 1st in 2.23, a breakthrough after running 2.30/2.31 five times.

1985, Paris 2.21.14 my pb. 1985,

Aberdeen, 2.26 – represented the ‘Rest of the World’!

1986, Aberdeen, my first Scottish selection.

1987/88, Marine Corp Marathon, Washington DC. 14,000 runners both years and I finished 8th and 9th in 2.27 both years and at the 20 mile mark there was a pipe band playing Scotland the Brave – both years!

1988, GB vest, Singapore. Did 2.30 but considering the heat and humidity was pleased to finish 30th out of 3000+.

2001, Moray marathon, Scottish Masters Champion.

2003, Chicago. My 50th marathon in my 50th year. Did 2.47 which was good enough for an age group silver.

50 marathons of which 34 were run overseas. A pb of 2.21 and a slowest time of 2.47 and 19 times below 2.30.

Favourites; Swinderby 1983 – RAF Champion.

Boston – an unforgettable experience. Marine Corp Washington DC – very well organised and the best road surface, they call it the marathon of the monuments. Singapore – first GB vest. Race was a week or so before Christmas – magical. Frankfurt Marathon – I’ve always said you can’t beat German organisation. 14,000 runners all got hot showers, 14,000 runners and their families all got hot food! Chicago – my last. It was preceded by a week in Boulder Colorado staying with Steve Jones and while there I met former Olympic champion Frank Shorter and former World champion Mark Platjes. The race itself had probably the best atmosphere of them all.


                                                                                     SANDRA BRANNEY ON TRAINING


                                         Sandra winning the World Masters W50 10,000m in Riccione, Italy

(Sandra Branney is extremely modest about her many achievements over the years. However, the editor feels that he must add the following brief but very impressive summary. She took up serious distance running aged 31 in the 1985 Glasgow Marathon, recording 2.45. Thereafter she won Senior Scottish titles on indoor and outdoor track, road and over the country, as well as enjoying team wins with City of Glasgow AC. Sandra was victorious at all distances from 1500m to the marathon (personal best 2.35.03 at London 1989). She was the 1988 UK 10 miles champion and ran for GB in the 1987 World Cup marathon. Her success in Masters Athletics has been amazing: Scottish CC champion at W35 and W40; British, European and World titles from 1500m to 10,000m. Her best run might well be the W55 3000m World Record (10.13.8) which was rated on the age-graded tables as 103.2%!)

When Colin asked me to write an article about my training, I had a look back through my old training diaries to see if I could find anything significant. They go back to 1986 so there was a lot to go through but what I did notice was that for 1989 and 2009 I had a full set of times from 1500 to 10000 and with the 20 year interval, thought I could do a comparison to see if I could find anything interesting. One thing I did notice was that my training was very similar although in 2009 being 20 years older, I was obviously running a bit slower.

In 1989, the year I was 35, over the Winter I was training for the London Marathon. My mileage averaged about 65-70 miles a week. I could never ever manage any more than that. It was made up of a long run (about 20 miles), two interval sessions of a set of road miles and a shorter track session typically 400s or 300s. The rest of my training was made up of steady runs mainly between home and work. I tried also to fit in two short sessions in the weights room and one swim. In the Summer I cut down to about 50 miles, basically the same but with two track sessions.

In 2009, the year I was 55, over the Winter, my training was much the same as 1989 but a much lower mileage of around 50 miles per week. The Summer was almost identical to 1989 in terms of mileage and content.

In 2009 my sessions were a bit different from those in 1989 because I was training with a different group so can’t do a comparison but from looking at the data, in 1989 I was running 400m sessions at about 73 seconds but by 2009 I had slowed to 78 seconds.

For both years, I had times for 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, and 10000m and I thought I would take a more detailed look. The chart shows a comparison of my average lap times for each. (This compared her lap speed – over 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m – at age 35 compared to age 55. 1500m increased from 73 seconds to 79; 3000m from 76 to 82; 5000m from 77 to 85; and 10,000m from 80 to 89.)

Given that I had a five second fall-off in my 400m rep time, these results are probably consistent with this. I never had the real speed needed for 1500 so the six second difference in both 1500 and 3000 times isn’t unexpected. What I think my 10,000 times do show is that in 2009, I didn’t quite have the endurance that I had in 1989 when I had come off a Winter of marathon training.

I then thought it might be interesting look up the age grade of my best times from 1989 and 2009 and plotted the following graph

From this graph my (1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m) age-graded performance over the 20 years has increased from about 90% to 100%.

Without data from other athletes, it is difficult to give a reason for this but my own interpretation would be that very few athletes who were competing in the late 80s were still competing 20 years later. I can’t think of anyone who was ahead of me in the UK rankings in 1989 who ran against me in a Masters event in 2009 so if this effect was repeated globally this would give a reasonable explanation.

Further to this, my 1989 5000m (16.08) was at the time a UK W35 Masters record. This lasted until 2006 when it was broken by Kate Ramsey (16.04). It has since been totally re-written and now stands at 15.02 to Jo Pavey.

The former Irish Olympian, Monica Joyce has an unratified W50 5000m time of 16.19 with the ratified world record being held by another former Olympian Gitte Karlshoj at 16.51. Looking through the WMA records, there are some former world class athletes who were still able to produce quite outstanding performances well into their 40s and 50s. It makes me think that if more world class athletes were able to train at a reasonable level into their 50s, the records could fall quite dramatically. I slowed by about 9% in these twenty years. Jo Pavey at 35 ran 15.02 and up to now she isn’t showing any signs of slowing. However if she did slow at a similar or more likely a slower rate than I did, at 55 an estimate of what she could run for 5000m is around 16.10 which is substantially faster than the current W55 record of 17.52. The challenge though is to keep injury free so as to maintain a good level of training.



By Alastair Macfarlane


 White-vested Alastair Macfarlane poised to overtake and hopefully surge to victory at the 1968 Braemar Highland Games. After regaining amateur status he had a long and distinguished road running career, representing Scotland and becoming Scottish Marathon Champion in 1979, by recording 2.18.03. Our Past President continues to do a tremendous amount for SVHC.


The editor, obviously pretty desperate for some words to fill an empty page, has looked in my direction to ask me to reflect on the early days of my running career, especially during a period that couldn’t happen today.

I started running at school in Stirling and was soon invited to join the local club, St Modans AAC, a club no longer in existence but nevertheless a club of some standing in the sixties and early seventies. Club colleagues during my period in membership included Mike Ryan who was to go on and win Olympic and Commonwealth medals in the marathon while representing New Zealand, George McLachlan, a GB decathlon international and Scottish Steeplechase champion Charlie Meldrum.

The adventure began at Hamilton Racecourse, the venue for the National Cross Country Championships in 1963. In dreadful, frozen underfoot conditions I picked up a National silver medal in my very first race. Okay it was a team medal and I was fourth counter in a race won by future Commonwealth silver medallist Ian McCafferty, but I wonder how many people can say they won a National medal in their first race.

Over the next couple of years as I moved into my late teens, being the weakest in my age group, and not making much progress I became a bit disillusioned. Sensing this, a chap called Willie Scott who trained with the club but was a professional runner took me under his wing and advised me to become a professional.

Many people in the sport today won’t understand what this meant in the sixties. Unlike today there was a clear distinction between the amateur and professional codes. There was a huge and thriving circuit of Games, mostly in Fife, the Borders and the Lake District where money prizes were on offer.

Anyone who took part in any these of these meetings was deemed by the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association, the then governing body of the sport in Scotland, and the IAAF, to be a professional and not allowed to be a member of a club in SAAA membership.

And this exclusion even extended to those who had earned money from other sporting pursuits; many people will have heard of John Tarrant, ‘the Ghost Runner’ who had earned a few pounds in a boxing booth. Rangers’ players Willie Johnston and Sandy Jardine were decent sprinters on the pro circuit while Hibs and Stirling Albion winger George McNeill was possibly the fastest man ever produced by Scotland. All of these athletes were denied the opportunity to compete in amateur athletics and in McNeill’s case to represent his country.

However, having decided to start competing on the professional circuit I was in for a bit of a culture shock. Highland and Border Games were mostly track and field competitions and perhaps 90% were held on a handicap basis. Handicap running produces a mind-set in some people where they will try less than their best in the smaller events in an attempt to build a good handicap then having built a good handicap will pounce to win a big money race. So deceiving the handicapper in order to build a better handicap almost becomes a sport in itself. In addition betting was not only allowed but was a major part of meetings. Although many meetings offered big money prizes, especially in the sprints, the real money was to be made from the bookies.

As a naive 19 year old newcomer to all this, I certainly found it a new world. My amateur club background along with my natural competitive spirit meant that I went into every race trying to do my best regardless of any future loss of handicap.

There wasn’t a lot of money at stake in my early days; in my first race at Blackford Highland Games I finished third in the mile to win £2 and a couple of weeks later at Pitlessie, I took home 12/6 (62.5p) for third in the half mile. (Note the pre metric race distances).

After a couple of seasons of doing reasonably well and picking up some prize money, but much more importantly, picking up valuable experience in how to race on the track, I started to make a bigger impact in 1968, going to some of the biggest meetings at places like Hawick, Jedburgh, Peebles and Selkirk and winning.

A new face appearing on the scene that year was GB International Alan Simpson, Britain’s top miler who had finished 4th in the 1964 Olympic 1500metres and was silver medallist behind Kenya’s Kip Keino in the 1966 Commonwealth Games. We became friends, trained together and stayed at each other’s house. Another ‘name’ to show up was former world mile record holder Derek Ibbotson but by this time he was well past his best and was never a serious threat in races.

But the highlight of the pro runner’s season is undoubtedly the New Year Gala, nowadays held at Musselburgh Racecourse but in my time still held at the charismatic Powderhall Stadium in Edinburgh. This is the big one; the meeting for which most runners try to preserve a decent handicap, because of the big prizes on offer.

Having had a good season during the previous summer I was back marker in the mile at the New Year meeting of 1969. Having only just qualified for the final after finishing a distant 2nd in the heat, I managed to get up in the last few strides to win and take the £80 first prize.

That effectively was the end of my career as a professional runner, the next couple of years taken up with getting married and moving house a couple of times.

I had never lost touch with the amateur club scene and started training with Springburn Harriers, whose club Coach was Eddie Sinclair, a former Scottish 3 mile Champion, against whom I had raced on the pro circuit, and decided to see how far I could go in the sport by attempting to be re-instated as an amateur. This had been achieved only once previously to my knowledge, by John Robson, later to become a star at 1500 metres on the International stage.

However, for me that proved to be no easy task. My applications for reinstatement were rejected on two occasions and it was only after two years of trying that I was given the green light and I was officially an amateur again. How times have changed over the last 40 years with people now able to make fortunes from the sport!

I was reinstated initially as a ‘National’ amateur, meaning I was unable to compete in International competition, a condition somehow overlooked when, having reached a decent standard, I was selected to represent Scotland in an International marathon in Tullamore, Ireland.

I suppose this indicates that incompetence from our governing body is not a new phenomenon! However, after I had pointed out their error the SAAA made application to the IAAF on my behalf and I was reinstated internationally and went on to represent Scotland a few times.

My time as a professional runner brought few regrets and many happy memories; I had the pleasure of competing at the same time as and seeing at close quarters people like George McNeill, Stuart Hogg, later to become a fitness coach to some of the country’s top football teams, the multi-talented John Freebairn, for many years for many years a member of the SVHC committee, and John Steede, still a member of SVHC and in his day an awesome sight as he hit top speed!

After reinstatement a whole new chapter opened up for me as I turned from track racing to the roads and competed against some of the best endurance runners Scotland has produced, people like the late Jim Dingwall, our Newsletter editor Colin Youngson and Olympian Donald Macgregor, but that’s maybe a story for another day.




 Dirrans Sports, early 1960’s. Hugh Mitchell (53), Charlie McAlinden (138), Pat McAtier (52), Bobby Calderwood (-4) and Davie Simpson (51)

 Charles McAlinden was born on the 31st of October 1932. By 1956 he had become Irish half-mile champion; and in 1959 appeared in the Scottish Athletics Yearbook with one mile in 4.20.3. His club was Babcock & Wilcox, Paisley.

For the earlier part of his running career, Charlie concentrated on shorter track races, and avoided running three and six mile events. However, he was encouraged by Harry Fenion, the 1957 Scottish Marathon Champion, to try the 26 mile classic distance.

In both 1964 and 1965 Charlie finished third in the Scottish Marathon, improving from 2.39.22 to 2.25.45 when finishing a meritorious fifth in the AAA Marathon at Port Talbot, when Bill Adcocks was the winner, followed by Brian Kilby, Juan Taylor and Alastair Wood.

Consequently, when he lined up for the 1966 Scottish Marathon, Charlie McAlinden had hopes of running fast enough to be selected by Ireland to compete in that year’s European Championships. Certainly, he was a much-improved athlete and, on form, was capable of a very good run. However, it would not be easy.

The course was an undulating out and back route: from Westerlands in Glasgow, out to Vale of Leven and back. The weather was sunny and hot. Gordon Eadie of Cambuslang, the 1960 winner, was also competing, along with his clubmate Andy Fleming. Newcomers included Donald Ritchie (Aberdeen AAC) who was attempting his second marathon and only beginning his illustrious distance running career (especially as a world-class exponent of ultramarathon racing). Another novice that day was Jack MacLean (Bellahouston Harriers), who took part in sixteen Scottish Marathon Championships in succession, starting with this one!

After a few miles, the leaders began to stretch the field as they maintained a good pace. Hugh Mitchell (Shettleston) had been told before the race that sub 2.25 would be considered for the Scottish team in the 1966 Jamaica Commonwealth Games Marathon, so he moved ahead, accompanied by Charlie McAlinden. Further back, Gordon Eadie was running in a group containing Donald Ritchie.

There was little change in the positions as Singers Industrial Estate, the half-way point, was reached. The runners completed a circuit of the grounds before returning to the roads. After keeping up 2.23 pace to twenty miles, Hugh Mitchell had to drop back, leaving Charlie on his own and feeling ‘hunted’.

An extra problem he had to deal with was that he did not drink at all on this especially hot day. His friend Tony McManus was meant to hand him a special drink at twenty miles, but the officials of that era followed very strict rules about water stations, and Charlie had to carry on without refreshment. At 24 miles, Hugh Mitchell dropped out.

Gordon made an effort to close the gap on the leader and chased hard through 20 and 23 miles. He moved into second behind Charlie McAlinden. However, the strain of racing fast in hot conditions was forcing some runners to give up, and even the leaders were slowing down.

Gordon could not manage to take the lead from a struggling Charlie, who found some strength in the last two miles to move away and win the battle in 2.26.31. Gordon Eadie finished in 2.28.19 and Andy Fleming, his Cambuslang clubmate and advisor, came third in 2.32.47.

The 1966 European Marathon in Budapest was indeed won by an Irish athlete – Jim Hogan, running for Britain! Although the Irish selectors sent home-based athletes to the European Championships, and ignored Glasgow domiciled Charlie McAlinden, he did not give up.

After he turned 40 years of age and became a veteran, he had a great deal of success, racing for Paisley Harriers and winning Scottish titles at 5000m, 10,000m, ten miles and marathon. In addition, although in the 1973 Scottish Veterans Cross-Country Championship he finished second, behind the great Bill Stoddart, Charlie went on to win that prestigious title three years in succession (1974-1976).

In 1974 the World Veterans Marathon Championship was held on the outskirts of Paris near Versailles, on a very awkward course, involving a network of cross-country paths. The clear winner (and first home for the Scottish team) was Alastair Wood (Aberdeen AAC), who reckoned that he did well to record 2.28.40. When a vehicle carrying the film crew got too close to the irritable leader, Alastair remembered that he waved vigorously and yelled, “Allez! Allez!” to make them retreat to a reasonable distance!

Wood was supported by his Scottish team-mates: Charlie McAlinden, who must have been pleased to finish well up in ninth position; and another Aberdeen runner, Charlie Greenlees. The Scottish team finished first and won World Veteran Championship gold medals.

Charlie McAlinden returned to the Scottish marathon rankings in 1980 (2.32.25), 1981 (2.33.59) and, at nearly fifty years of age, in 1982 (2.34.15). Nowadays, these would still be considered very impressive Masters times.

After retirement, Charlie retired to Aviemore, and enjoyed hillwalking.

(This profile is reprinted with the kind permission of Brian McAusland from the ‘Veterans’ section of



By Colin Youngson

(Colin leading in the 1985 Aberdeen International Marathon. He finished second to Englishman Dave Catlow (number 04).)

[I had reached my marathon peak back in 1975 (2.16.50) so, when I was picked for a three-man Scottish team to take part in the Home Countries International contest during the 1983 Glasgow Marathon, at the age of 35 I did not feel too optimistic. The following account was written shortly after the event.]

Pre-race nerves had been worse than usual: swallowing regularly to check if I had a sore throat; worrying instead of sleeping; wobbly ankles; hot flushes. (Some symptoms must have been because I was half-a-stone overweight after doing ‘the diet’ – it can’t all have been because of old age.)

However, once I settled into the plush Skean Dhu Hotel, just off Sauchiehall Street, and met my old rivals in the Welsh and Northern Irish teams, I started feeling calmer.

The Scottish team manager, John Fairgrieve, was very helpful, let me avoid the pasta party and half the civic reception, organised breakfast for 6 a.m., convinced me I’d better stick to just one pint, and packed me off to bed!

Up at 5.30 a.m. on 11th September 1983, I sorted out my gear, shoved down a white bread marmalade sandwich, then went down for cornflakes, tea and some more toast and jam.

Then back to bed for an hour’s doze, interrupted by some steady drinking (glucose drink) and five visits to the loo.

 At 8 a.m., racing shoes and vest etc safely in the kitbag, I took a seat in the ‘invited athletes’ bus. The Southern Irish were last out. An hour before the start we arrived at the council offices, fifty yards from the first rows of runners. A ‘jobsworth’ janitor wasn’t keen to let twenty skinny characters in tracksuits into his domain, but was eventually convinced that we were genuine.

Jimmy Savile warmed up smoking a cigar – and chatting up everyone – male and female.

After drinking my black coffee (no sugar), I jogged round the block, trying some strides when no one was looking, halting only for stretching, digestion control and shoe-tightening exercises. The sight of Jim Brown and George Braidwood already in the front rank of ‘ordinary plebs’ didn’t make the ‘stars’ feel too confident when we lined up with five minutes to go.

The gun was inaudible, but with a nervous rush I avoided being crushed underfoot by 9600 pairs of shoes and quickly settled down behind the 200 metres specialists.

The next three miles, at a nice steady pace, involved a fair amount of manoeuvring at the front. Several runners (including me) were anxious to wave at their mums (the whole race was televised and I still have the VHS tape!) However as soon as we hit Byres Road, and a headwind, I hid in the pack, just before Brendan Foster, during his commentary, uttered the opinion that only foolish inexperienced athletes were leading so soon.

A group of 18 stuck together and negotiated the twisting, undulating course – sometimes moving uncomfortably fast, sometimes coming to a virtual halt on windwept sections. My left hamstring started cramping up in the chilly air, after only eight miles, and I thought I was in for a bad race, but a few ‘stretching’ motions (on the run) seemed to settle it down.

Some of my opponents tired themselves by putting in a fast burst at every drink station – they seemed to have a desperate thirst for such a cool day. The drinks attendants were so inexperienced that each station turned into a cursing, shoving, rugby scrum of heaving bodies and flying elbows and cups. I plodded up the middle of the road and saved my energy.

Over the Clyde and onto the cobbles, into the second half of the race. Just before Bellahouston Park, Andy Daly and Peter Fleming surged ahead to greet the local fans. I hung on through the hilly little park, cutting corners like mad. The bunch was down to nine as we passed the exit gates.

Then Peter Fleming made his break, and the struggle to the finish really began. George Braidwood, who had been second in the National Cross-Country Championships in February, was the last to drop, but he paid for his effort, losing eight places.

Unfortunately I lacked the speed to hold on to my wonderfully talented young team-mate, but stuck in behind the nearest shelter (a big Englishman) down the wind tunnel of Barrhead Road, and waited until after the tiring paths of Pollok Estate, before making one last effort to break clear of gritty Andy Daly and become the second counter in the Scottish team.

About the 25 mile mark, fighting on grimly, my dazed brain noticed a procession of lightly-clad individuals almost jogging on the spot across the other side of the road. They were heading in the opposite direction from me, and I wondered vaguely what they were doing – until I realised they were also striving to complete the Glasgow Marathon and were twelve miles behind.

Over the cobbles, past the blare of a pipe band, and into Glasgow Green with half a mile to go. I knew that a wee Welshman was closing like a rocket, but managed to raise a last canter to make it to the line in fourth place, two seconds in front of him.

The next five minutes weren’t much fun, but I was on the road to recovery after a cup of water.

Scotland had defeated England (a rare, treasured victory), Wales, Eire and Northern Ireland, so I was left knackered but satisfied that I had run a sensible race, as hard as I could on the day. This event was the first time that the SAAA had obtained kit sponsorship, which allowed each athlete to receive and keep a tracksuit as well as a Scottish vest. After a shower, I donned my new Scotland top and, a happy man, went down to the bar for a slow, reflective pint.

1 Peter Fleming (Scotland/Bellahouston H) 2.17.48

2 Bill Domoney (England) 2.18.16

3 Dic Evans (Wales) 2.18.26

4 Colin Youngson (Scotland/Aberdeen AAC) 2.19.18

5 Mick Crowell (Wales) 2.19.20

6 Andy Daly (Scotland/Bellahouston H) 2.19.30

7 Donald Macgregor (Fife AC – First Veteran) 2.19.34

8 Malcolm McBride (Northern Ireland) 2.19.50

9600 started. 9000 finished.



 2015 has not started well, as far as the organisation of Scottish Masters Championships is concerned. Not only did the main Indoor event take place on the same day as the Cross Country (scottishathletics did apologise), but also the 3000 metres races took place along with a separate meeting on 3rd January. One can only hope that the Summer Track and Field on 7th June at Kilmarnock (again?) will not produce more justified complaints from Masters athletes. Maybe it is time to revert to SVHC organisation, albeit with inferior medals?

The main Indoor Championships were on 31st January at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow. Since this is the Scottish Veteran Harriers Newsletter, I will concentrate on middle distance races. Full results are available on the scottishathletics website.

The 800m produced a close battle between two W50 runners, when Yvonne Crilly (Lothian) narrowly defeated Sonia Armitage (Aberdeen AAC). The winner’s time was 2.31.71.

The fastest time produced by the men was 2.7.02 by Stephen Allen (Law). The indefatigable M55 John Thomson (Fife AC) was well clear in 2.17.52 (and also won the 400m). Alastair Dunlop (M60, Stornoway) recorded a fine 2.26.58.

In the 1500m, Sonia Armitage (W50, 5.18.28) pipped Catherine Ferry (W40, Edinburgh AC, 5.18.94).

Guy Bracken (M50, North Shields), who had won his 800m in 2.10.59) also finished first, with the fastest Masters time of the day (4.16.38), in the longer race.

Gordon Barrie (Dundee Hawkhill) won M40; Stephen Allen M45; Stephen Smith (Preston H) M55; and Ian Johnstone (Inverness H) M60.

Pete Cartwright (Clydesdale H) succeeded in doing his usual M70 800m/1500m double.

The 3000m winners included familiar names from the main meeting: Guy Bracken M50 was fastest with an excellent 9.06.15; Robert Gilroy (Ronhill Cambuslang H) first M35; Gordon Barrie M40; Stephen Allen M45; John Thomson M55 (not far in front of rapid age-group rivals Rob McLennan (Garscube) and Stephen Smith); Ian Johnstone M60; and David Cooney (RCH) M65. Pete Cartwright defeated his M70 friend and clubmate Bobby Young.



 This event took place at Kilmarnock on 31st January. Unlike in Hawick last year, the weather was mainly sunny and the course featured a range of surfaces including mud, sand, gravel, ice and snow.

The overall winners, both well clear, were Lesley Chisholm (W40, Garscube H) and Keith Hood (M40, Corstorphine AAC).

Betty Gilchrist (Ferranti AAC), last year’s W65 champion, this time won the over-70 title, to add to her outstanding first place in last November’s British and Irish CC International.

The W60 winner was Ann White of Garscube Harriers; W55 Phyllis O’Brien (Hunter’s Bogtrotters); W50 Rhona Anderson (Dunbar AC) after a close battle with Hazel Dean (Central AC) and Mary Western (Carnegie H). The W45 victor, also far in front of age-group rivals and third overall, was Melissa Wylie (Dumbarton AAC).

As has been reported, Lesley Chisholm won W40 gold, with previous W35 title winner Jennifer MacLean (Edinburgh AC) second.

Gala Harriers won team gold, with HBT second and EAC third.

Walter McCaskey (EAC), previously age-group winner in M65, M70 (four times) and M75 (thrice) won M80 this time, in front of his M75 rival Les Nicol (Metro Aberdeen RC), who picked up his own third title.

M70 winner was the redoubtable Bobby Young (Clydesdale H), who has in the past finished first M55, M60 (twice) and M65. [There is little doubt that Bobby has won more Scottish Masters titles, (on indoor and outdoor track, road and cross country) than any other SVHC runner in the club’s history.]

There was an exciting battle for M65 gold this time, with Alex Sutherland (Highland Hillrunners – the winner in 2013) repeating the feat, but only four seconds in front of Andy Rennie (Irvine AC) who landed M60 gold back in 2011.

The main men’s race featured a very clear M60 win for Tony Martin (Fife AC). M55 champion was Ed Stewart (RCH), in front of clubmate and previous winner Colin Feechan. Ed has previously won M40, M45 and two M50 titles.

Chris Upson (RCH) was first M50, twenty seconds clear of Duncan Macfadyen (Inverclyde AC). David Millar of Irvine Running Club was well ahead of age-group rivals to win the M45 category. And second to M40 champion Keith Hood was that most consistent of athletes, Kerry-Liam Wilson (RCH), who has previously won gold medals at M35 and M40 four times – roll on the M45 age-group later this year!

Unsurprisingly, Ronhill Cambuslang Harriers won both the M40 and M50 team races, the former in front of Corstorphine AAC and Greenock Glenpark Harriers.


Masters 35-39 Age Grouping

In 2013 Scottish Athletics decided to change road and cross-country events by dropping the 35-39 age group.

Although there was some consultation with clubs they did not contact SVHC at the time for our views. This situation creates various anomalies such as being out of line with IAAF rules and 35-39 masters being able to compete in the BMAF Cross-Country Championships but not in the Scottish Masters.

However, they could compete on the same day this season in the indoor championships as these still include this age group.

It is also unhelpful to our International team as athletes in this age group cannot compete in their own national event.

Alastair Macfarlane and myself met with two member of the Road and Cross-Country Commission last year and, leaving aside all the details of this meeting, it was made clear that Scottish Athletics would only reconsider this matter if it was shown that there was large support to reverse this decision.

As a starting point the views of members are sought and the committee can decide if it is worthwhile pursuing this matter. You are therefore urged to make your opinion known either by emailing myself or posting a comment on our facebook page. Unless there is a sizeable response it is unlikely much can be done to remedy this situation. Campbell Joss



Honorary President: Robert Donald

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis



March 2015

Sun 22nd Lost Trails 8km race Village Hall, Back Wynd, Falkland, Fife

Mon 23rd –Sat 28th European Veterans Indoor Championships with outdoor events – Torun, Poland

April 2015

Sun 5th Tom Scott 10mile Road Race Strathclyde Park

Sun 26th BMAF 20km Road Walk Championships Downham Market, Norfolk

May 2015

Sun 3rd SVHC Walter Ross 10K RR Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30

Wed 6th Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, 19:30

Sat 16th BMAF Road Relay Champs Sutton Park,Birmingham

Fri 15th – Sun 17th European Non-Stadia Championships – Grossetto, Italy

Sat 30th Cairnpapple Hill Race, Meadow Park, Bathgate

June 2015

Wed 3rd Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race 7:30 pm. Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh

Sat 14th BMAF 5K Champs. Horwich

Sat 21st British Masters Outdoor Pentathlon Championships /One Hour Races – Horspath,Oxford

Wed 24th SVHC 5K Champs Playdrome, Clydebank, 19:30

July 2015

Sun 5th BMAF Multi terrain Championships – Bewl Water,East Sussex

Sat 11th Scottish National Masters Championships Grangemouth Stadium

Sun 19th EAMA Outdoor Track & Field Inter Area Challenge – Solihull

Sat/Sun 25th/26th British Masters Main Outdoor Championships Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

Sun 26th BMAF 10km Road Race Championships – Magor, South Wales

August 2015

Tues 4th – Sun 16th World Masters Track & Field Championships – Lyon, France Sun 16th SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30

September 2015

Sun 6th BMAF Half Marathon Championships – Oxborough, Norfolk

TBC Moray Marathon, Elgin

Sat/Sun 19th/20th British Masters Decathlon/Hept./Throws Pentathlon/ 10K Track + Walks Champs

October 2015

Sun 4th Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon Inc. SVHC Champs Kirkintilloch

Sun 18th SVHC Track 10K 1pm. AGM 2pm. Outdoor Sports Centre, Coatbridge November 2015

Sun 1st BMAF Marathon Championships – Newcastle

Sat 14th British & Irish Masters Cross Country Champs Santry, Dublin.




Welcome to the 7 new and 3 reinstated members who have joined or re-joined since 19th August 2014. 2 members have resigned and 53 have not renewed their subs.

 I regret to announce the death of George Mitchell, and send our condolences to his family.

We have 481 members paid up to 27Nov 2014. For those who have not already paid or set up standing orders, subscription renewals are now due for 2014/15. As of 27Nov, subject to checking our next Bank Statement, we have 246 paid up members, including 130 who have standing orders payable in Nov

Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.

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@, 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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.

Please ensure, if possible, that the next payment date is set for 10Nov2015, and annually thereafter.


 SVHC running vests can be purchased from Molly Wilmoth for £17 (Tel: 0141 7764941).



Yvonne Crilly 14-Nov-14 2224 Deans

Gerrard Farrell 17-Sep-14 2219 Glasgow

Gary Hester 11-Oct-14 2220 Duke Street

Dean Kane 22-Aug-14 2218 Culloden Moor

James MacGregor 12-Nov-14 2223 Inverurie

Colin Stewart 11-Nov-14 2221 Halfway

Steven Worsley 12-Nov-14 2222 Inverness

Alex Chalmers 06-Oct-14 1860 Bearsden

Hugh Rankin 01-Nov-14 1027 Hurlford

Stephen Wylie 10-Nov-14 2002 Blantyre

David Fairweather Membership Secretary



It may have seemed like something of a marathon in itself to some people but the 2013/2014 version of the SVHC/RUN and BECOME RACE SERIES finally came to an end with the Neil McCover Half Marathon at Kirkintilloch on 5th October.

After 13 races spread over 11 months the Jackie Gourlay Trophy for the winner of the Men’s event goes this year to Frank Hurley who produced probably his best run of the season in the final race to pip Colin Feechan by a single point, as the long time leader John Gilhooly slipped back in the later stages. Willie Jarvie, Bobby Young and Andy Law made up the top five, covered by only 5 points.

The Dale Greig Trophy which goes to the winning woman was retained by Phyllis Hands, winner by a massive 14 points with Pamela McCrossan, Ada Stewart, Frances Maxwell and Shirley MacNab taking the minor prizes.

The best performance over the series came from Hilary McGrath with 9.4 points at the SAL 3000 metre track championship while Fiona Matheson and Paul Thompson (twice) registered 9.3.

The series continues to be very popular and carries an extensive prize list.

There are some changes to the 2014 /2015 Series as we extend it to take in 16 races but retaining the number of scoring events at 8. The demise of the Lochaber Marathon is a great pity but we have included the Moray Marathon, and there are some totally new races to the Series.

The full list is –

19/10/2014 SVHC 10K Track Champ Coatbridge

06/05/2015 Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge

26/10/2014 Ruby’s Race 5K Kilmarnock

30/05/2015 Bathgate Hill Race Bathgate

14/12/2014 SVHC Xmas Handicap Clydebank

03/06/2015 Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race Edinburgh

22/02/2015 SAL Cross Country Champs Falkirk

–/06/2015 SAL Masters Track & Field Champs

01//03/2015 Lasswade 10 miles Road Race Lasswade

24/06/2015 SVHC 5K Champs Clydebank

22/03/2015 Lost Trails Race Falkland

16/08/2015 SVHC Glasgow 800 10k Champs Cartha

05/04/2015 Tom Scott 10 mile road race Motherwell

–/09/2015 Moray Marathon Elgin

03/05/2015 SVHC Walter Ross 10K RR Cartha

–/10/2015 SVHC Half Marathon Champs Kirkintilloch

Alastair Macfarlane


                               OBITUARY: GEORGE MITCHELL

Sadly, George Mitchell died of cancer on 1th September 2014, less than two months short of his 69th birthday.

George (Inverness Harriers and SVHC) was an invaluable member of the Scottish team in the annual British and Irish Masters Cross Country International. Between his M55 debut in Cardiff (2003) and Belfast (2012), when he was in the M65 age group, he never missed a race: ten in succession, a tremendous record and a testament to George’s consistency and ability to peak for each year’s most important fixture.

George watched the Glasgow Marathon in 1983 and, at 37, was inspired to take part the following year. His training was typically dedicated and meticulous and he made an impressive marathon debut in a good time under the three hour barrier.

After that, he was frequently successful in 10k contests and the North District Cross Country League (three M50 Supervet titles).

He first won a Scottish Masters CC Championship medal (M50 bronze) in 1996. His initial gold medal triumph (M55) was at Forres in 2003, when he stayed not far behind Colin Youngson until three hundred metres from the finish, before launching a tremendous sprint, to which his shocked rival (who had foolishly assumed he was well clear) could not respond. It has to be admitted that Youngson was a bad loser and moaned loudly to anyone within earshot. However, once he had eventually calmed down, the guilty Aberdonian made several humble apologies to George, who was magnanimous enough to accept them. Justifiably, George liked to tease Colin about the incident.

Although Youngson gained revenge in the 2004 championship at Cupar, when George Mitchell was third, this was the last time that Colin managed to finish in front of his rival, team-mate and now friend, who was truly a cross country specialist.

In George’s age groups, the only Scot who had much success against him was Archie Duncan of Pitreavie AAC.

Overall, between 1996 and 2013, George Mitchell won four titles [M55 (2003), M60 (2006 and 2009) and M65 (2012)] plus five silver and three bronze medals.

George’s record in the International was perhaps even more impressive, considering that he was racing against the best from the four home countries, plus Eire. In ten races, he was first Scot to finish seven times, and won eight team medals (four silver and four bronze).

Between 2006 and 2009, he finished fourth three times and fifth once, agonisingly close to securing an individual award in this most prestigious event. Then, having turned 65, he finally won bronze at Glasgow in 2010, defeating England’s redoubtable athlete, Martin Ford. In 2012 at Belfast, George ended up third once again, 25 seconds in front of Colin (7th place), who was proud to have been that close to his leader and, along with Stewart McCrae and Hamish Cameron, to be in the Scottish M65 team that came second to the Auld Enemy but in front of the other three nations.

When George emailed the selectors to state that he was not fit enough to run the International in 2013, he wrote “First one missed in ten years. I cannot complain.”

George was a friendly, popular, respected man with a dry wit. One story involves a training companion and close rival who intended to race against George in a long road race. Before the start George gave him some friendly advice about sensible tactics. Then Coach Mitchell wrote on the race number pinned to his own back: “If your name is Danny, and you’re close enough to read this, you’re going too fast”!

Another anecdote is that, when George won the Scottish Masters M65 title, he claimed to be ‘the fastest pensioner in Scotland’!

He trained hard and cleverly, peaked well, was tactically brilliant and could endure a lot of discomfort in races before producing a very fast finish.

In addition, he contributed greatly to Inverness Harriers: committee work, advising and inspiring younger team-mates, and helping to organise training and races, including marking out the course.

He held age-group Parkrun records in both Inverness and Aberdeen.

Before a North District CC League race at Elgin back in 2010, George was chatting to Colin when a younger runner looked at the two white-haired ageing runners and laughingly exclaimed “Jack and Victor!” He referred to the two pensioner friends from the great Scottish television comedy series “Still Game”. Colin (a year or so younger) used to think that he was the one who ought to be compared to Greg Hemphill’s junior character. However, George Mitchell was in so many ways a genuine victor and will be remembered and missed very much by many who were privileged to know him. We send sincere condolences to his family.



Brian Gardner responded to the questionnaire with typical thoughtfulness. Although injury has now forced him to retire from running, he has found another outlet for his unquenched desire to train and race.

As you will read below, despite numerous operations, he has achieved a great deal during his athletic career. Successes he chose not to mention include: Scottish Masters CC titles at M45 and M50; Scottish Masters track wins at 1500, 3000 and 5000; International CC bronze medals in M50 and M55 to go with his M45 triumph; and first places in BMAF M45 10,000m and M50 ten miles. Before all that, he won the British Masters Modern Triathlon (swimming, running and shooting)! For many years he was an invaluable part of the Scottish Masters team in the annual 5 Nations International Cross Country. At Falkirk in 2001, along with Keith Varney, Gerry Gaffney, Archie Jenkins and Nicol Maltman, he was part of the M45 team that won gold medals. In this fixture Brian also contributed to four team silver medals and one bronze in three different age groups. We wish him the very best of luck in his new sport.

CLUBs Swindon Harriers and SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH 25/03/56

OCCUPATION Active Lifestyles Team Leader, South Gloucestershire Council

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT I always liked running around as a child but when I was invited to trial for my primary school’s area sports team, I was too shy to join in! It wasn’t until I ran cross country for my Boys’ Brigade team that I finally plucked up the courage to join Airdrie Harriers just before my 17th birthday.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? In my last year at Airdrie Academy, my PE teacher, Bobby MacLean, a former Shettleston Harrier, coached me and helped me believe in myself.

When I left school, Airdrie Harriers amalgamated with others to form Clyde Valley and I joined Tommy Boyle’s group. Under Tommy’s coaching my 800m time came down to 1:57 and I won my only senior Scottish Championship medals: silver and bronze at 4x400m – by age 20, when I left Scotland to study and work in England and became a cross-country specialist.

I’ve been self-coached ever since, although I’ve been influenced by club stalwarts and leaders such as: the late Keith Scott (“You’ll never run faster until you run faster”) of Newbury; Pete Molloy (a World Champion who cited me as an influence in his recent comeback); Howard Moscrop (another World Champion, who also took Swindon into the British League) at Swindon; and SVHC’s Archie Jenkins (always up for it), Colin Youngson (always eloquent) and Davie Fairweather (always there).

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? In my job I should say health, wellbeing and an active lifestyle but it’s none of those! It’s planning and training to the best of your ability – given your limitations – to race as well as you possibly can in the most important competitions. It’s that proud feeling when you go into work on a Monday knowing that you ran a good race at the weekend, and you keep that feeling to yourself because it’s special to you.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? Only one contender: winning the ‘home’ international cross country (M45) at Croydon in 2004.

The build up to the race couldn’t have been better for me: I was winning cross country races outright and setting lifetime pbs on the road. I had planned and trained to the best of my ability and this was the most important race. Although I’d never finished higher than 12th overall before, I knew that if I concentrated and held my nerve, this could be my time.

We were held up in the sleet at the start while the organisers found a 1st aider (!) It was difficult to keep warm but I made a cautious start and then threaded my way through the field. With about a mile to go, I knew I was the leading M45 and first Scot overall but England’s Jon Cordingley was trying to get past me. I surged to hold him off several times until I sprinted clear in the home straight. Crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life. And it was only after finishing that I learned that I was 5th overall; I had no idea that I’d moved so far up. The support from team mates was heart warming. I’d planned and trained for that win and finally ran as well as I possibly could.

 YOUR WORST? Too many contenders! For every performance I was proud of there were at least twice as many that were a disappointment; sometimes because of injury or surgery but mostly because I ran like a donkey.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? I never won a World Championship. But I didn’t win many national titles, either, so maybe I had ideas above my station.

The same season that I won the ‘home’ international I went on to win a poorly supported European Cross Country Championship in Sweden. I felt that I was on a roll and really wanted to try and win something at the next level.

I didn’t run overseas again until 2008, when I was 5th (M50) in the World Cross Country Championships in France. That’s the closest I got.

And I suppose that your last pbs are all unfulfilled ambitions: for instance, in 1984 my 5,000m time came down from 15:09 to 14:58 to 14:53 to 14:44 and I was dreaming about how much more I could improve. But I missed the next four seasons and never ran any quicker.

Track pbs: 1:57 (800m), 3:57 (1500m), 8:28 (3,000m), 14:44 (5,000m), 30:58 (10,000m) – all age 28

Road pbs: 15:52 (5K – age 48), 25:43 (5M – age 48), 32:51 (10K – age 44), 72:01 (HM – age 48) and then there was a doubtful 50:45 for the Tom Scott ‘10’, aged 23, on the old Law to Motherwell course, back in the day when road race measurements were more creative. In the tea bar after the race that day I overheard this comment: “They keep saying that the course must be short but every time it’s measured it comes out as a good, solid nine and a three quarters.”

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? Swimming; Game of Thrones; walking the dogs (two Springer Spaniels); English Literature; big Rugby League fan; occasional gigs e.g. My Ruin, Wednesday 13, Queens of the Stone Age; lifelong supporter of Airdrieonians…

WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? Team mates, exploring the countryside and mainly the training and competition.

I’ve had to miss a lot of that over the years, having had ten operations. The latest was in May, 2014 and that was the third in just over a year. I’ve had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra but this time – for the sake of the future health of my joints – I’m finally calling it a day… permanently.

However, I have found a new sport: open water swimming! Just six weeks after handing back my leg brace and crutches and buying my first wet suit, I swam my first race in a lake. And did okay! So, I still have team mates, exploring the countryside, training and competition. And I’ve made another comeback, with a difference! There is life after running!

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? During the cross country season I followed a staple diet of cross country reps, steady runs and a long run on Sundays.

The training was always progressive e.g. adding a rep or reducing the recovery and working towards a peak for the major championships. The track season was similar except the reps would be shorter and at 3-5 different paces e.g. 800m/1500m/3,000m. These sessions were usually on grass rather than on the track. At various times of the year I’d run hill reps, build-ups and differential runs.

During the past twenty-five years or so, I incorporated cycling and swimming, as I could no longer sustain relatively high mileage.

Much of my running has been on the Wiltshire Downs.

There are two training runs I remember most of all. One day, I was on top of Cherhill hill in dazzling sunshine, looking down on a blanket of fluffy clouds with the odd tree or church spire poking up here and there. And I thought: all the non-runners are down there in the fog; you have to run up here under your own steam to See the Light.

Another day, on another hill, I came across a group of people flying model aeroplanes and I asked them: “Spot of flying? Me, too!”

These days I swim 10km per week in five sessions made up of various sets, mostly in a pool but also in a lake.

I also do five or six core stability sessions of around twenty minutes each; these were originally rehabilitation exercises and have developed into an almost daily habit. I wear a pedometer twice a week – once during the week and one day at the weekend – and make sure I walk at least 10,000 steps on each of those days. And I have one rest day per week.

Now that I’ve had a taste of open water competition, I’ll be getting some coaching in the pool this winter with a view to maintaining good health and tackling a full season next summer. I might come back home to swim a race in a loch. Wish me luck!



 NAME Anne Docherty

CLUBs Forres Harriers and SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH 11 March 1945

OCCUPATION Retired College Lecturer

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE SPORT? I had never been a runner – just couldn’t do it. But I have always been a swimmer of sorts. My husband and I used to regularly walk in the hills and had quite a few Munros under our belts. However, he broke his ankle and it never repaired very well, also he now has 2 new hips, so our hill walking days sadly are over.

I tried the gym for a while, but I am never happy being inside.

With great fear and trepidation one day I stood at the front door, clad in my hill walking gear with old trainers on – heart beating rapidly before I had even started – and I set off for a trial “run” in the woods behind our house. Once out of sight of any one I found I could sort of gently run. I decided that as I was nearly 60 (10 years ago) and retired from lecturing, this could be my challenge, and started to “run” about 3 times a week for about 30 minutes around what is now my “cosy woodland route”. Two neighbours whom I did not know very well, Fran and Jackie, eventually persuaded me to join the Forres Harriers, running slowly and patiently with me.

HAS ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP HAD A MARKED INFLUENCE ON YOUR ATTITUDE OR INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE? I could not run to the extent that I do without the support of my husband – who is always there to encourage me. Also my family and grandchildren. There is nothing more thrilling than hearing them call “Come on Nanna”, waving their home made banners. Also of course my two friends and neighbours, as above, who are great supporters. However, without the support and friendship of my fellow Forres Harriers and Club Captain Susan, I would be just another old grannie! I am certain that I would not have achieved so much without belonging to the Harriers.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU GET OUT OF THE SPORT? An opportunity to get out into the fresh air and explore new places. I am now very brave, and have discovered all kinds of exciting places when running in unfamiliar areas on my own. I also get a feeling of freedom, a sense of identity and fitness.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BEST EVER PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCES? Probably winning the Loch Ness Baxters 10K for F60+ this year. It was my pb and just felt good all the way – topped by a most unexpected win on a perfect day. Also I am very pleased with my recent performance in the Speyside Duathlon, which was just about my toughest challenge so far! Winning this year’s BMAF 65 Ladies Cross Country was just amazing as I am not at all a confident Cross Country runner as I fall over a lot!

YOUR WORST? I always do my best, and therefore don’t ever feel I have a “worst” experience even if times are slow.

WHAT UNFULFILLED AMBITIONS DO YOU HAVE? None. I just take each day/challenge as it comes.

OTHER LEISURE ACTIVITIES? Swimming and cycling. Triathlon. Quilting. Walking. WHAT DOES RUNNING BRING YOU THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED TO MISS? The friendship of fellow runners. A sense of fitness which without running would have been difficult to achieve. Exploring both local and new areas. I am never afraid to stop to enjoy the view or experience!

CAN YOU GIVE SOME DETAILS OF YOUR TRAINING? It depends on what I am training for. I always run about 5 days a week. For a marathon up to about 50 miles a week – including one day hills and one day speed. I always follow a training plan as much as I can.

If I am also training for a triathlon I include swimming and cycling as well, fitting everything in as much as possible. I do find that when I fit in swimming and cycling with marathon training, I feel on top form.

I am doing that just now. I hope to run in the Thanet Marathon , my 16th marathon, near Margate in September, and the week after that to take part in the Grantown on Spey triathlon.

 When I am not training for a marathon, I probably run about 30 miles a week.

                                        Anne after the race receiving her British Masters Marathon gold medal

(Shortly after completing this questionnaire, Anne reported as follows. “Have had a great two weeks! Won the W65 gold medal in the BMAF Marathon Championships and was also first W60 in the Thanet Marathon. It was really hot and hilly – probably the hardest marathon I have run, as I just wasn’t expecting such testing conditions. But very well organised and a lovely atmosphere. In the Grantown Triathlon I was first Female over 65, and knocked over two minutes off my previous best – that was the fourth time I have done it. Again I found it hard and hadn’t realised that I had done much better than before.”)

Many congratulations, Anne!



At Hampden on the 22nd of November, Scottish Athletics staged the annual awards event. John Thomson of Fife AC won the ‘Masters Athlete of the Year’, from the other nominees – Jo Butterfield, Hayley Haining and Joasia Zakrzewski.

John Thomson has had a great deal of success in 2014. As well as winning M55 Scottish and British Masters titles at Indoor 800m and 1500m, he finished second in the World Masters Indoor 1500m in Budapest. Then In August he became European Masters Outdoor 1500m Champion in Izmir, Turkey. In the 800m, outdoors John is ranked fourth in Europe and indoors first. In the 1500m outdoors he is ranked third in the World (first in Europe), and indoors second in the World (first in Europe).

As well as representing Scotland in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Marathon, Joasia Zakrzewski has run brilliantly in the ultra-distances. In November she tackled two races in Doha. First, she won a silver medal in the IAU 50km World Trophy and then, only three weeks later, finished third in the IAU 100km World Championship. Along with winner Ellie Greenwood and fourth-placer Jo Meek, Joasia won team gold for GB. To cap it all, Joasia became World Masters 100km Champion too.



New SVHC President Campbell Joss writes: “If you look at the list of committee members in this newsletter, you may notice a number of changes.

After eight years serving as your president, Alastair Macfarlane is retiring from this position, but will not be lost to the committee as he takes over as general secretary. Alastair has undertaken an immense amount of work for the club during this period which I hope members have appreciated.

In taking over as president I shall have a hard act to follow. Andy Law is taking over as treasurer and this is always a challenging task in keeping our books in order. Andy has been on the committee for the last two years so he has a good idea of the work involved.

There are three new members of the committee. Margaret Daly has been a loyal supporter and helper during many SVHC events and will bring to the table this experience and that of her position on the Track and Cross Country Commission with Scottish Athletics.

Bobby Young has been an outstandingly successful veteran athlete for three decades, with so many international appearances.

Ken Moncrieff’s main interest is in track and field, especially in multi-events.

I hope to attend most of the events organised by SVHC and shall always be happy to speak to anyone about any issue affecting Masters Athletics.

Although we have over 450 members, this only represents about 10% of Scottish Athletics registered athletes over the age of 35. In addition, there are of course many unregistered.

The committee will continue to look at ways to develop better contacts with Scottish Athletics and better recognition of our organisation.



AAA Marathon and Olympic trial.

27 July 1968 One of the toughest, but most satisfying races of my distance running career was the !968 Olympic trial marathon, held in Cwmbran near Newport in Wales.

I had won my first marathon (Harlow, 2.18.24) the previous October, and finished second in the Poly (Windsor to Chiswick) 6 weeks prior to the Trial. That was in 2.19.32 and I was 4 minutes 17 secs behind Kenji Kimihara of Japan, who was to take the silver medal a few months later at the Olympics.

                                                      Mel winning in Harlow in 1967  in 2:18:25 – his first marathon. 

I was working in Southampton at the time and took the train to Newport the previous evening then stayed in a guest house with Alastair Wood and Jim Alder.

At 8 am on the morning of the race I went for a 20 minute run with Alastair and had to hold him back because as usual before a big race the adrenaline was flowing through him!

The course was a hilly 3 lapper and the temperature 22 degrees. The temptation to stop at 2 laps was so great that of the 91 starters, 42 dropped out.

Come the start we had to do 2 laps of the running track and I took the lead.

Just before we left the stadium Ron Hill, Ron Grove and Jim Hogan went past, and a second group formed behind them including Jim Alder, Bill Adcocks and myself. However those two, Tim Johnston and John Linaker pulled away.

The group passed Brian Kilby at 4 miles and I was feeling good and running with John Newsome, Tony Moore, Martin Craven, Eric Austin and Colin Kirkham.

At 7 Miles John came right back.

At 10 miles I (unusually) took a drink, dropping about 30 metres behind Martin, Eric and Colin. However, I felt refreshed after the drink and soon caught them.

Moore was in front at this stage and Kilby came up strongly at 12 miles and passed me. I was hanging on for a bit here but got over it and started to do some pushing. We caught Moore at 17 miles, and Colin and I began to draw away a bit from the rest.

At this point we were in 7th place, and heard Jim Hogan had dropped out. Could there be a chance of making the team with various permutations possible up front with the 10,000m places?

As we passed the stadium at 2 laps, with about 8 miles to go, I drew away from Colin but my legs began to go. Kilby was in sight up front but I wasn’t going strongly enough to try to aim for him. It was a struggle from here on, but it came and went a bit. Coming up to 20 miles Ron Grove was slowing and I began to go a bit better.

At 21 miles I got a rhythm going, but the strength had gone.

At 23 miles my constant training partner Alastair passed. Now we are speaking about the middle of the Welsh countryside, clearly no spectators, not even any sheep in the fields. And he passed without saying a word!! I thought, “You ***.” Now in 7th place. He didn’t get more than 30 metres ahead.

I perked up from 23-24 miles and thought I could get him at 24 but I was slowly failing, and at 25 (2.13.30) I took a quick drink and then began to die.

However, my last mile and 385 yards in 7.38 wasn’t too bad considering that the winner (in 2.15.26) Tim Johnston took 7.06.

Round the track to the end and stopped, absolutely done. 7th. (2.21.09).

After a minute or so I went over to Alistair who had finished 6th, 40 seconds ahead of me, and was speaking to a group.

I said “Well done, but you might have said something when you passed”.

The never-to-be-forgotten response…”Listen, Edwards. If anybody from Aberdeen was going to make the Olympics it was going to be ME, not YOU”. And he walked away, the adrenaline still flowing through his veins despite the 26 miles.

One of the group said to me in astonishment, “Who’s that??” I replied, “A friend?”

I am indebted to Alastair (who passed away a few days short of his 70th birthday in 2003) for his companionship and advice over the years during some cruel training sessions (including 60 x 200 metres).

He lost count during the session and I had to make him do the exact 60. After he said, “Your problem Edwards is that you’re too rigid. What would it have mattered if we’d done 59?”

I replied, “That’s not the point.” He said, “Then what is the point?” I replied, “The point is you can’t count!” Being a highly intelligent individual, that grated and he didn’t speak to me for a week after! He was a tough cookie and was fastest in the world in 1966.

We finished 1968 ranked 6th and 7th. So, no Olympics. During the Games I was fitter than ever before and doing 115-120 miles a week. I recall a colleague saying to me during a session in Aberdeen, “Right time but wrong place!” Happy days. We are so fortunate to be runners.



(This profile is by Brian McAusland and borrowed, with his permission, from the Veteran section of his excellent website:

I was lucky enough to know the original Three Amigos – John Emmet Farrell, Gordon Porteous and David Morrison. They were great characters, genuine role models and wonderful examples of health and fitness in old age.

I first really met David Morrison when I was convener of the SAAA Decathlon Championship at Coatbridge in the mid-70’s. When setting up the organising committee I was strongly advised to ask him to be the Field Events Referee. He had the advantage of living just along the road at Airdrie but that was not why he was recommended: he was a very good, experienced official with a personality that enabled him to get on well with the athletes as well as with the other officials.

He filled the same post when I convened the next two decathlons at Grangemouth and then again in Coatbridge.

We will come back to his officiating but it is as a veteran runner that we will start the profile of this remarkable man.

David was born in Hamilton, his father a miner, on 19th December 1913 and left school at 14. He owned a newsagent’s and later a hardware store in the Alexandra Parade in Glasgow. He held other jobs – a production engineer and locksmith who helped the police out when they had difficulty getting into safes.

 When David joined Shettleston Harriers in 1933 he thought he was a long jumper but soon discovered that he most enjoyed running.

The Shettleston Harriers official centenary history – ‘One Hundred Years of Shettleston Harriers: An East End Odyssey – says: ‘In 1933 19 year old Davie Morrison lived in Shettleston Road and was a member of the Physical Culture Club in Fenella Street. Two of his pals at the club. Jimmy Allan and John Broadfoot, were in the Harriers and it was they who persuaded him to sign on at Gartocher Road.’

One of the Shettleston seniors at the time was Jimmy Flockhart who was the 1937 international cross-country champion and he proved a real inspiration to young David.

His first National medal was won in the 1936 National Novice Championships over the Hamilton Racecourse trail. Unfortunately, he lost the medal in the tram on the way home: he may have lost the medal, but he didn’t lose the pride in the achievement of leading the team home in 14th place.

A year later he made the club team for the National Championship which won silver.

After this race, Jimmy Flockhart gave him one of his own gold medals saying that he had run poorly and that the David’s team medal should have been for first place not second. That was his last national medal until he started running as a veteran athlete.

In 1955 he went to work in Kuwait as a radio engineer and became fluent in Arabic. While there he won the Al Madi Magwa road race when the temperature was over 100 degrees.

He gave up competing for 19 years only coming back as a runner in 1974 at the age of 61. That was the start of a long international career that took him all over the world and won him many medals at championships from national to world level.

Just how good was he as a veteran? I was given a booklet of World Masters Track & Field Records from 1990, produced in America, which gave the world record for every age in every event. Only two Scots appeared and David was there no fewer than six times. They are in the table below.

(Note: The listed times for 3 and 6 miles are the actual times for 5000m and 10000m and should be noted as about 30 and 60 seconds faster respectively.)

Event Age Time Date

3000m 68 11:25 27/6/82

3 Miles 75 20:36.0M 9/9/89

5000m 75 20:36.0 9/9/89

6 Miles 75 42:03.4M 9/9/89

10,000m 75 42:03.4 9/9/89 73 42:52.4 29/11/87

His better known friends John Emmet Farrell, Andy Forbes and Gordon Porteous do not feature in this booklet.

They were part of a very well known group of veterans who trained often together and raced together and travelled the world together. They called themselves ‘the geriatric rat pack’ and the tale is told of one of them falling in a track race – the others stopped and then they all started again in the positions they had when the stumble occurred!

His best race was the one that appears four times in the table above. At Coatbridge on 9th September 1989 in a 10,000m race he set the world over 75 best as well as setting a world best at 5000m en route.

A wonderful run but Doug Gillon, writing in the ‘Herald’ said that although this was his finest moment, “he was perhaps proudest when called on two years ago last month to present his club with the Scottish six-stage relay trophy in their centenary year. He applauded with a justifiably moist eye as they won, then handed over the silverware wearing his Shettleston track suit and a ski hat from circa 1950, knitted in their distinctive blue and gold.”

The reference to Shettleston Harriers is significant. Having joined the club in 1933, he was still a club member when he died in 2006. He was one of a generation of men across the sport who believed in ‘one man, one club’.

Loyalty mattered a great deal to all of them and Shettleston was blessed with a fine group of such men – David, Eddie Taylor, Willie Laing and others all started out as runners but believing that you do what your club needs you to do, they all turned their hand to coaching field events, to administration and to officiating.

At the events mentioned above, David educated me in the ways of the decathlon. Two examples. First, I had been warned not to let the first day run on too long – the previous year it had gone on until after 7:00 pm and everyone was exhausted before the second day.

So I pushed the athletes along from one event to the next until David came along and said quietly, away from everybody else, that ‘we’ were maybe rushing things and that the athletes needed some time between the individual competitions. I had forgotten about the needs of the athletes!

Second, There were two pools for the high jump and for the pole vault. David took one look and said firmly that one landing area for the pole vault was unsatisfactory: there was no cover mat on the beds and any limb going between them could be really badly injured. The stewards setting the equipment out should have known that but I should have known to look.

He had been the chief field event judge at the excellent 1970 Commonwealth Games and would go on to hold the same position at the 1986 Commonwealth Games.

He judged and refereed at national and district championships, and even on the Highland Games circuit. Having started as a long jumper and having coached all the throws – hammer, discus and shot in particular- he was in an excellent position to officiate.

As an administrator and club official he was Honorary President of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club from 1993 – 2006 having held various other posts including secretary, at Shettleston he was Treasurer from 1970 – 73, and from 1978 – 81. He was also President from 1949 – 51 and Honorary President in 2006.

His sterling service to the sport was recognised by Scottish Athletics who made him an Honorary Life Member.

Among his other excellent races two in particular should be noted. In the Dundee Marathon at the age of 71 in 1985 he recorded a marvellous time of 3:21 but expressed himself mildly disappointed because the world record was held by his pal Gordon Porteous with 3:06!

Then in 1991 in the Kelvin Hall, he broke the World Indoor 3000m record (you can add that to the six in the table above, compiled in 1990!) The report in the ‘Scotsman’ read, “No one present that March day in Glasgow will forget the slight figure in glasses comfortably reeling off 15 laps of the 200 metre track, nor the frantic support yelled by everyone as the possibility of a new world record grew into a probability then an actuality.”

 Some more of David’s highlights: Scottish Championships • 1938 Second Team, National Cross Country • 1981 1st M60 Cross-Country • 1987 1st M70 Cross-Country • 1989 1st M75 Cross-Country British Championships • 1985 1st M70 10K 41:04 (Record) • 1989 1st M85 800m track World Championships • 1980 Glasgow 1st M65 10K road • 1985 Lytham St Anne’s 1st M70 10K road, 2nd 25K road • 1986 Vancouver 2nd M70 10K road • 1987 Melbourne 2nd M70, 1500 (5:36.10), 10000 track (42:52.38), 3rd 800 track (2:47.31)

His Personal Best performances were

Event Time Year

400m 115.13 1999 400m 85.0 1989

800m 2:47. 1987

1500m 5:36.10 1987

5000m 20:36.0 1989

10,000m 41:07 1985

TJ 5.98m 1989

As an indicator of how his performances compare competitively, the Power of 10 Rankings for David on the All-Time List are as follows: • 400m V85 2nd, V75 25th; • 800m V85 2nd, V75 2nd, V80i 9th; V80 18th; • 1500m V85 2nd, V75 4th, V70 13th; • 5000m V75 4th • 10000m V70 5th, V75 3rd • TJ 15th

Note that these are all time rankings as listed at 25/7/13. In 2003 he completed the Great Scottish Run 10K despite having had a kidney and part of his liver removed.

In Shettleston’s Centenary Year of 2004 he completed his final race, the club Christmas Handicap. As he made his way round the course, he was accompanied by Norrie Foster and Eddie Coyle, two athletes that he had coached in the 1980’s.

He died on 16th May 2006 aged 92

Doug Gillon again, “his children, including St Andrews’ computing professor Ron Morrison, gave him a personal computer for his 70th birthday. He defied family predictions, took night classes and mastered the new technology. He was secretary of the Scottish Veteran Harriers and put all their files and records on his database. …

Professor Morrison and his sister Jean discussed how their father would like to go. “So we’ve dressed him in his Shettleston vest and Scotland tracksuit. There might be a race where he’s going…” He is survived by daughter Jean and sons Ron and David.”


[Roger Robinson is, in the editor’s opinion, the finest writer about running. He is a close friend of Aberdeen’s Mel Edwards, who he met at Cambridge University back in the 1960s. Roger ran the World Cross Country Championships for England and subsequently New Zealand, where he went to work as a university lecturer in English (and eventually as a professor). He was a world champion veteran athlete and now has homes in New York and Wellington, NZ. Many thanks to him for kindly allowing us to reprint this article from his column in the American edition of Runners World/Running Times. Google ‘Roger Robinson running’ and you should find a wealth of fascinating and thought-provoking articles.]

A Racehorse, a Rock Band, a Mountain and an Asteroid: Runners’ names in popular culture

Here’s a Holiday season quiz for snowed-in runners:

Which famous runners have a racehorse named after them?

Identify a mountain, a rock, and a rock band named after runners. And a cookie, a doll, a pub, a post office, and an asteroid?

Which runners have had songs written for them?

Which runners have had their face on banknotes or coins?

Which runners have become proverbial in their home countries?

I started to explore the internet for runners whose names have gone out into the world beyond running. Then I had the inspired idea of sending Christmas greetings to some wise men, a selection of my most learned international running friends, to ask if they knew of things in their own countries – horses, streets, parks – named after famous runners.

Not things within the sport, I said, not apparel lines, or races (the Zatopek 10,000m in Melbourne, the Gary Bjorklund Half-Marathon, Grete’s Great Gallop), not track meets (Prefontaine Classic, Harry Jerome, Ivo van Damme) not tracks, stadia and running trails (Lovelock Track, Stade Alain Mimoun, Pre’s Trail), but things outside running’s own culture.

For runners to be honored in that way might show what kind of impact our sport has on society at large. How are we valued? Do our heroes cut it in the wider world? I had opened up a treasure house. Has no one thought of this before?

In the festive spirit, here are some celebrations of great runners that I collected, to put under your tree. They are mainly from the English-speaking world, but there are dozens of Stades Alain Mimoun around France, and I haven’t started on Scandinavia, Africa, or Asia.

OK, the quiz.

  1. Which famous runners have a racehorse named after them? Racehorse: Millie Sampson (NZ marathon runner who broke the women’s world record with 3.19.33 in 1964), and several decades ago, Brasher, a steeplechaser in Britain named after Chris Brasher, 3000m steeplechase gold medalist in the 1956 Olympics.
  2. Identify a mountain, a rock, and a rock band named after runners. Mount Terry Fox is in the Canadian Rockies, named after the young man who lost one leg to cancer, and inspired the nation by his attempt to run across Canada for cancer research. Pre’s Rock is at the spot near Eugene where Steve Prefontaine died in a car crash in 1975. Rosa Mota was a 1990s London rock band. Was one of the band a marathon fan? Or did they simply like the sound of the name of the Portuguese 1988 Olympic champion? Describing one of her races, I once wrote simply, “Rosa motored.”
  3. And a cookie, a doll, a pub, a post office, and an asteroid? Ron Clarke cookies were a non-cholesterol health cookie produced in Australia, named for the 1960s multiple record breaker, who often confesses to being addicted to sweet foods as well as world records. The Flo Jo fashion doll, wearing flashy purple one-leg tights, was produced in 1989, after Florence Griffiths Joyner became famous for her outfits as Olympic 100/200m gold medallist. The Lovelock Sports Bar is in Wellington, New Zealand, named for the light-stepping winner of the 1936 Olympic 1500m in a world record. The oldest pub named for a runner is The Only Running Footman in Mayfair, London, where the gentry’s running messengers used to gather in the early 1700s. The Jesse C. Owens Post Office is on Woodland Avenue, Cleveland, OH, one of many memorials to the great 1930s sprinter worldwide. And not just worldwide. Asteroid 6758 Jesseowens was discovered and named in 1980. Beat that, Usain.
  4. Which runners have had songs written for them? The first commercial song for a runner (leaving out ancient Greek odes) was Dorando, in which a stageItalian barber laments that he gambled his whole business on Dorando Pietri’s indoor marathon against Tom Longboat at Madison Square Garden in December 1908. “Dorando, he’s a-drop! Goodbye, poor old barber’s shop!” The composer was a young immigrant musician from Russia who soon after took the name Irving Berlin. A reggae song was written to celebrate Jamaican sprinter Don Quarrie, by Joe Gibbs, performed by The Guerillas. And Rod Stewart wrote and sang “Never give up on a dream” for Terry Fox.
  5. Which runners have had their face on banknotes or coins? Paavo Nurmi is on a Finnish banknote, and Terry Fox on a Canadian dollar coin.
  6. Which runners have become proverbial in their home countries?

Sayings: In Greece, you still hear parents say “Egine Louis!” (“Go like Louis!”) to encourage children, and the phrase has wider meaning as “take off” or “succeed,” as Spiridon Louis did, in winning the first Olympic marathon in 1896. The Greek economy sure needs to go like Louis.

In Jamaica, Don Quarrie is still in common conversational use as the paragon of speed (“I run for the bus like Don Quarrie, man!”). It will be interesting to see if Usain Bolt displaces him.

It took decades for small boys in England to shout something at runners other than “Up two-threefour, come on, Roger Bannister!”

In parts of Kenya, “Run like Tegla!” is a common encouragement, especially among women, after Tegla Loroupe, who won the New York City Marathon in 1994 and 1995.

In matters like naming, there’s the official and the unofficial. I’ll offer a sampling of both.

High Schools are perhaps the blue-ribbon evidence of official endorsement. 1960s sprinter Wilma Rudolph and Jesse Owens have schools named after them in Germany, there’s a Don Quarrie High School in Kingston, Jamaica, and a Bill Crothers Secondary School in Markham, Ontario – though Crothers doubly qualifies, as chair of the York Region School Board as well as Olympic 800m silver medalist in 1984.

Parks named for runners include Glenn Cunningham Park in Elkhart, Kansas (1930s world mile record breaker); Donovan Bailey Park, Oakville, Ontario (Olympic 100m gold, 1996); Edwin Flack Reserve, Berwick, Victoria, Australia (Olympic 800/1500m gold, 1896); and Porritt Park in Christchurch, New Zealand (Arthur Porritt, Olympic 100m bronze, behind Harold Abrahams, as in Chariots of Fire). Paula Radcliffe has her own bridge, in her home town of Bedford, England; Aussie miler Merv Lincoln goes one better with a causeway, linking Victoria with New South Wales, from Wodonga to Albury; Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame, Olympic 400m gold medallist in 1924, has a community centre in Edinburgh; Wilma Rudolph has a residence center at Tennessee State University; Roger Bannister recently acquired a lecture theatre in St Mary’s Hospital, where he was a medical student at the time of the first four-minute mile in 1954; and Steve Prefontaine has a gallery within the Coos Bay, Oregon, Art Museum. Jim Thorpe, the 1912 Olympic decathlon champion and sprinter, has a whole town named for him in Pennsylvania, a complicated story that is currently a matter of some dispute. Tom Longboat, to break my own rule about keeping outside our sport, has a highly active club named after him in Toronto, the Longboat Roadrunners. And there’s a Lydiard Athletic Club, not in New Zealand, but Johannesburg, South Africa, promoting the great coach’s methods.

Streets, like stamps, make almost too big a subject for this preliminary global jog. But here goes. Additions welcome. Don’t beat on me about omissions. This is just to get the discussion going. In USA, Derek Adkins Lane, W.Hempstead, NY (400m hurdles gold medalist, 1996); Jesse Owens Way, Cleveland, OH; Prefontaine Drive, Coos Bay; Ted Corbitt Way, and Fred Lebow Way, New York City; Wilma Rudolph Way on US Route 79, Clarksville, TN. In England, Paula Radcliffe Way, Bedford; Bannister Close, Oxford. (There are three other Bannister Closes in England, but I don’t know for sure that they’re named after the miler.) In Australia, Melbourne alone has (Raelene) Boyle Crescent, (Ron) Clarke Court, (Betty) Cuthbert Court, (Ralph) Doubell Close, (Debbie) Flintoff Court, (Pam) Kilborn Court, (John) Landy Court, and (Shirley) Strickland Drive. In Canada, Longboat Avenue in Toronto (for Tom, the 1907 Boston winner and later professional marathon star), and Terry Fox Way in Vancouver. In New Zealand, John Walker Drive in Auckland. (Another John Walker Drive, in Scotland, is I suspect named after the Scotch whisky, not the Kiwi miler.) The Christchurch suburb of Dallington, sadly damaged in the 2011 earthquake, has a whole cluster of athlete streets, all near Porritt Park: Halberg Street, Landy Street, Lovelock Street, Porritt Place, Snell Place. How Aussie John Landy snuck in there is a bit of a mystery. Maybe some city councillor thought he was a Kiwi. Or confused him with Arthur Lydiard. Or perhaps it was the usual generous sporting harmony between the two countries. And in Kuopio, Finland, there’s a street named after Hannes Kolehmainen, Olympic 5000/10,000m/crosscountry champion, 1912.

But let’s end with the informal. I have over the years named cats as Bannister, Yifter, Ngugi and Pawla. When I told Sir Roger Bannister that I had named my cat after him, he seemed much less impressed than I thought he should be. In the 1980s a Kiwi woman marathoner had a pet sheep named Grete, after her heroine Grete Waitz, and I still wear the hat she knitted from Grete’s wool. The original Grete was much amused. Another friend had a tortoise called Bikila. But he was a 1960s British Olympic marathon runner who hoped the name-magic might slow Abebe Bikila down.

Oh, and in rural New Paltz, New York, our graceful resident does are Lornah and Linet (Kiplagat and Masai) and the speedy chipmunk who races with such zest across the drive is Usain.


British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Sat 22nd November 2014, Wollaton Park, Nottingham – Reporter David Fairweather

 This was the first year with W70 & M75 teams, which made the organisation even more complicated.

We started selecting our team in mid-September, and had our usual problems with call-offs, including two in the week before the event. Unfortunately, Ada was taken ill, and she also was unable to travel to the event. We all appreciate the hard work she had put in to get the Women’s team organised. We still managed to field complete teams apart from W55, W65 and W70. 5 genuine M35 runners were recruited this year, with just 1 M40 runner needed to complete the team. There was good representation from all parts of Scotland, plus a few England domiciles.

We had booked a 51-seater Park’s coach, and at first it looked like we wouldn’t have enough seats, until a few runners decided to make their own way to Nottingham.

 We had arranged to meet the coach in Glasgow at 11am, to make it easier for runners to get there in time, but Ian Leggett and Stan MacKenzie both had last-minute train cancellations. Stan was decanted onto a coach from Inverness to Stirling, where he then managed to get a train to Glasgow. He did well to join us by 11:30.

We made good time to Gretna, where we picked up 3 more runners, and had 1 more stop near Wetherby before reaching the Holiday Inn, Nottingham about 6:30pm.

The team managers had their usual 9pm Friday meeting, and I must thank Hazel, Lynne & Theresa for dealing with distribution of numbers and Function tickets while we were away.

Our coach driver was able to take most of the team to Wollaton Park, and we got assembled in good time on the steps of Wollaton Hall for the photo-shoot.

Once again we were blessed with good weather; it was very mild, calm, and almost remained dry. The course was more testing than last year, but was ideal for runners and spectators.

In Race 1 Megan Wright & Fiona Matheson came up the hill on the 1st of 3 laps in good positions, closely followed by Hilary McGrath & Beryl Junnier. Martin McEvilly ROI & Martin Ford ENG were also well up the field. Fiona was being challenged by Clare Elms ENG as the race progressed, and was just pipped on the line. She was closely followed by Melissa Wylie, who had moved up to 4th W45, & Megan 7th W40. Hilary McGrath (5) and Beryl Junnier (9) helped to win W50 silver medals, while Gillian Sangster (13) & Lindsey Currie (15) helped secure bronze W40 medals.

Meanwhile Isobel Burnett finished 8th W55; Jane Waterhouse finished 5th W60, and with support from Liz Bowers (6) and Hazel Bradley (9) won another team silver.

Then Betty Gilchrist W70 came through with a commanding lead of 1:37 over Brigid Quinn NI, and in front of all 3 Scottish W65 runners.

                                                                                          Betty with her gold medal

Alex Sutherland (6) was the first M65 Scot to finish, followed by Robert Marshall (12), who finished 2 sec in front of Bobby Young, who improved 1 place on last year to win M70 silver. Pete Cartwright 5th M70 and Gibson Fleming (11) ensured that their team won silver medals. Les Nicol was 3rd M75, and led 80 years young Walter McCaskey (6), and Bill Murray (13) to team bronze medals.

In Race 2, Stan MacKenzie (8), Chris Upson (11), Peter Buchanan (15) & new recruit Ted Gourley (21) led our M50 team to bronze medals. Paul Thompson & Colin Feechan worked well together, finishing 5th & 6th M55, and also won team bronze with Willie Jarvie (12). Frank Hurley & Andy McLinden came in just behind Willie to win individual silver & bronze M60 medals, with Tony Martin (8) securing team gold for Scotland.

In Race 3, Robert Gilroy had a cracking run, finishing 2nd M35. With support from Martin Williams (9), Graeme Murdoch (17) and Andrew Harkins (19) they won team bronze. Stephen Allan (16) and Ian Johnston (15) were our highest placed M40 & M50 runners.

Overall, Scotland won 1 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze individual medals, and 1 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze team medals, our best result since 2011.


Race 1: 6km for Women (all age groups) and M65+,

W35: 4 SCOTLAND, 5 Claire Thompson 23:24, 11 Fiona Dalgleish 23:30, 14 Lindsay McMahon 23:42, 16 Claire McArthur 24:04.

W40: 3 SCOTLAND, 7 Megan Wright 22:37, 13 Gillian Sangster 23:07, 15 Lindsey Currie 23:30, 17 Jennifer Forbes 24:07.

W45: 4 SCOTLAND, 4 Melissa Wylie 22:33, 12 Mary McCutcheon 24:24, 17 Sonia Armitage 25:19, 20 Barbara Knox 29:45.

W50: 2 SCOTLAND, 2 Fiona Matheson 22:21, 5 Hilary McGrath 23:45, 9 Beryl Junnier 24:03, 10 Rhona Anderson 24:23.

W55: 4 SCOTLAND, 8 Isobel Burnett 25:12 11 Phyllis O’Brien 26:02, 17 Jan Fellowes 28:07.

W60: 2 SCOTLAND, 5 Jane Waterhouse 26:58, 6 Liz Bowers 27:11, 9 Hazel Bradley 28:03, 11 Linden Nicholson 29:12.

W65: 4 SCOTLAND, 13 Anne Docherty 32:12, 14 Ann Bath 32:53, 15 Sheila Fleming 34:20 W70: 1 Betty Gilchrist 30:49


M65: 4 SCOTLAND, 6 Alex Sutherland 24:23, 12 Robert Marshall 25:13, 15 Stewart McCrae 26:02, 20 Hamish Cameron 28:45

M70: 2 SCOTLAND, 2 Robert Young 25:15, 5 Pete Cartwright 25:49, 11 Gibson Fleming 27:37. 17 Watson Jones 30:00.

M75: 3 SCOTLAND, 3 Les Nicol 28:21, 6 Walter McCaskey 29:57, 13 Bill Murray 33:38. 14 Ian Leggett 34:06.

Race 2: 8km for M50, M55 & M60:

M50: 3 SCOTLAND, 8 Stan MacKenzie 27:52, 11 Chris Upson 28:13, 15 Peter Buchanan 28:37, 21 Ted Gourley 29:09, 22 Michael McLoone 29:23, 26 Neil Robbins 29:48.

M55: 3 SCOTLAND, 5 Paul Thompson 28:40, 6 Colin Feechan 28:42, 12 Willie Jarvie 29:18, 15 Ian Stewart 29:47.

M60: 1 SCOTLAND, 2 Frank Hurley 29:21, 3 Andy McLinden 29:40, 8 Tony Martin 29:56, 12 Douglas Cowie 31:27.

Race 3: 8km for M35, M40 & M45:

M35: 3 SCOTLAND, 2 Robert Gilroy 25:08, 9 Martin Williams 25:44, 17 Graeme Murdoch 26:45 19 Andrew Harkins 27:11, 20 Gordon Barrie (M40) 27:28, 27 Darran Muir 29:23.

M40: 4 SCOTLAND, 16 Stephen Allan 27:17, 17 Chris Greenhalgh 27:20. 19 Stephen Campbell 27:44, 21 Greig Glendinning 28:15, 23 Cris Walsh 28:33, 24 Russell Whittington 28:46.

M45: 5 SCOTLAND, 15 Ian Johnston 27:45, 17 David Gardiner 27:54, 23 Alex Chalmers 28:32, 25 Scott Martin 28:48, 26 Paul Carroll 28:49, 27 Kenny MacPherson 29:08.

With racing over, it was time to enjoy the Dinner Dance and medal presentations at the Nottingham Trent Conference Centre. Unfortunately, there was a split level layout, which affected the acoustics, and it was very difficult to follow the medal presentations.

The dancing was also spoilt by the bad acoustics, so most of us were happy to catch our coach back at 11:30.

Our coach driver, Walter, gave us excellent service throughout the weekend, and we got back to Glasgow about 5:30pm on Sunday evening.

Next year’s race is Sat 14th November 2015 at Santry Demesne, Dublin. The race was held there in 2005 and 2010, and was notable for the proximity of the course to the accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.



The Scottish Veteran Harriers Club (and in particular the irrepressible Danny Wilmoth) organised the Alloa to Bishopbriggs in late March between 1984 and 1991. The route changed in 1992 to Alloa to Twechar. In 1993 the event was taken onto traffic-free roads at Torrance. Eventually the SVHC relay became a six-stage affair which is now held in Strathclyde Park.

However, the original Alloa to Bishopbriggs (or to Twechar) was undoubtedly considered better than the comparatively tame six-stager. A to B was the Vet equivalent of the legendary Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay (which also featured 8-man teams). The E to G invited around 20 teams; but the A to B allowed free entry and could cater for up to 50! So many runners on narrower roads with closer traffic whizzing past!

To participate in the Alloa to Bishopbriggs 8-Stage Road Relay was a real adventure: dramatic, scary, and (at the front) extremely competitive, yet probably more fun than the E to G, since there was less pressure to succeed. A wide age-range produced widely-varying speed and fitness. But what an experience for all! N.B. A minor miracle: absolutely no injuries were caused by motor vehicles!


1st 2nd 3rd

1984 Shettleston H. Clyde Valley A.C. Bellahouston H. 3.45.30 3.51.50 3.53.32

1985 Shettleston H. Bellahouston H. Victoria Park A.A.C. 3.47.07 3.48.21 3.48.36

1986 Bellahouston H. Shettleston H. Victoria Park A.A.C. 3.59.14 4.00.02 4.00.58

1987 Shettleston H. Bellahouston H. Pitreavie A.A.C. 3.46.35 3.48.12 3.48.33

1988 Cambuslang H. Shettleston H. Victoria Park A.A.C. 3.49.30 3.53.17 3.54.50 1989 Cambuslang H. Fife A.A.C. Livingston A.A.C. 3.54.44 3.58.50 4.00.46

1990 Fife A.A.C. Cambuslang H. Aberdeen A.A.C. (46 secs down) (another 8 secs down)

1991 Aberdeen A.A.C. Fife A.A.C. Cambuslang H. 3.29.29 3.34.53 3.36.43

1992 Aberdeen A.A.C Fife A.A.C. Cambuslang H. (Twechar) 3.21.39 3.26.43 3.27.15

As can be seen the results above, big clubs from the West of Scotland dominated until a few from the East (or indeed North-East) began to make an impact.

However once the race shifted to Torrance on closed roads, and then became only Six-Stage, Cambuslang regained superiority (although Metro Aberdeen R.C. came second a couple of times).

 I only have two results sheets. In 1989, the fastest stage times were set by: Brian Carty (Shettleston); Stuart Asher (Fife); Tony Ross (Fife); Ian Seggie (Livingston); Peter Marshall (Haddington); Ian Briggs (Livingston); Ian Leggett (Livingston); and Ian Stark (Springburn).

The 1990 information sheet sets out the route from Alloa to Bishopbriggs.

START Alloa Municipal Building 10.30 a.m.

1ST CHANGE Fergait Petrol Station on the A977 5 miles

2ND CHANGE The “P” Parking Place on the straight between South Kersie and Dunmore 5 miles

3RD CHANGE Left turn before Caledonian Cattle Market on the A91 By-Pass 5.2 miles

4TH CHANGE A872 just beyond Easterton Service Station at the Parking Bay 5.2 miles

5TH CHANGE Domestic Appliance Premises, Banknock 5 miles

6TH CHANGE Industrial Estate Cash & Carry, Kilsyth 5.2 miles

7TH CHANGE Industrial Estate, Kilsyth Road, Kirkintilloch 4.7 miles

FINISH Alongside the Forth & Clyde Canal opposite Bishopbriggs Sports Centre 4.7 miles

TOTAL: 40 MILES THE ROUTE: A907 out of Alloa, turn right onto A977, turn right on A88 across Kincardine Bridge, turn right onto A905, via Airth, Dunmore, turn left (South) on A91 Coupar-Stirling By-Pass, continue on the A872, turn right on the A803, via Kilsyth, Kirkintilloch, crossing to the West side of the road to the last changeover at Industrial Estate, Kirkintilloch, continue on the West side of the A803 and turn onto the Forth & Clyde Canal footway at the “Stables Inn” (next to the Glasgow Bridge), thence along the footway to the finish. Follow that (and signpost the junctions) if you can!

The Alloa to Twechar route was as follows.

1st Leg Alloa District Offices to behind Fersait Petrol Station, Kincardine 5 miles

2nd Leg Kincardine to Dunmore Road Sign 5 miles

3rd Leg Dunmore to Fallin 4.5 miles

4th Leg Fallin to one mile beyond Bannockburn Hospital on A( at Airth/Falkirk Junction) 4.5 miles

5th Leg To Commercial Public House Car Park, Larbert 5 miles

6th Leg Larbert to Denny Loanhead Railway Inn 5.5 miles

7th Leg To Lennox Colzium Entrance at Kilsyth 5.5 miles

8th Leg Colzium to Twechar 4.6 miles


The programme for this 1992 race added: “All runners must obey instructions regarding running on the correct side of road – otherwise their team will be disqualified.”

But were you meant to run on the right, facing oncoming traffic, or on the left, in the direction that traffic was moving? Or did it vary? My own memory is of daring manoeuvres made in the heat of competitive zeal and flat-out effort. Maybe drivers simply avoided such obvious lunatics!


In 1990 we sent down a decent squad, but perhaps not all of the first team. (After all, AAAC had won team gold medals in the Scottish Veterans Cross-Country Championships three years in succession – 1988-90.)

At the end of Stage One, Graham Milne came in third; Jim Morrison, Francis Duguid, Ben Preece and Davie Grubb maintained our position; with the fastest time on the stage, I moved up to second; and then Ken Hogg and Rod McFarquhar finished a highly respectable third, less than a minute off victory.

My diary notes: “Next year we’ll bring the FIRST team! Apart from running, I drove three different cars! The whole relay was flat-out into a headwind and definitely hilly. Good enough performance but hard. Enjoyed last leg spectator jog, the Stables Bar and peanuts. A decent trip. On the way back we passed the sign for Gleneagles and I promised that if we won the relay next year, I would stand everyone a drink at the posh 5 star hotel.”

After the 1991 A-B, I wrote the following race report – and ‘poem’ for the club magazine!

Aberdeen Veterans had a golden day at this event. The First Team broke the course record by 16 minutes 1 second, beating Fife (last year’s winners) by more than five minutes.

Our Second Team also broke the old record and finished seventh of the 42 teams entered. Every Aberdeen runner went well. Perhaps a particular hero was Bill Adams, who not only gave us an excellent start but also endured a tortuous and lengthy itinerary to get from Shetland to the race and home again in 36 hours. George Sim was speedy and stylish in breaking Fife hearts and also the Stage Six record (by 54 seconds). And Francis Duguid was the star on the same stage for the Second Team. A day to remember!

(First Team was: Bill Adams, Colin Youngson, Charlie Noble, Eddie Butler, Dave Armitage, George Sim, Mel Edwards and Rod McFarquhar.

Second Team was: Ian Fraser, Ken Hogg, Bill Scullion, Ewen Rennie, Davie Grubb, Francis Duguid, George Swanson and Jim Morrison.)


‘Twas 6 a.m. on Sunday morn when Aberdeen set out

 with sixteen eager veterans all keen to run no doubt

 from Alloa to Bishopbriggs an eight-man relay race

 – an early start and long-round trip was what we had to face.


Yet all arrived and on Stage One Macgregor starred for Fife

while Aberdeen’s Bill Adams clung to third for his dear life.

Our Postie Bill’s a Viking brave – real tough if middling old

 – he runs his round on winged feet and wins medals of gold!


Then Captain Colin took the lead but couldn’t get away

from Stuart Asher – left the rest behind at least, they say.

When Noble, Charlie tried to stick with flying Graham, Tom

 – he ran so fast, that Charlie moaned, “That guy went like a bomb!”


Now relay four is mountainous, just right for Hillman Ed

who overtook the Fifer and once more our heroes led!

“We’re pretty sure that Eddie B was fastest,” Dons’ fans yelp

 – “He must have raced much faster than a chap called Smith from H.E.L.P.!”


 Next gritty Dave, the orienteer, took over on fifth stage

 – he sprinted hard up all the hills – Fife thought him underage.

George Sim ignored his hangover – gave Fife the coup de grace

 – he chopped the Stage Six record. Macgregor gasped, “He’s class!”


With total dedication the enthusiastic Mel

 picked up th’invisible baton and then belted off like, well …..

He handed on to Roddy who, with supercool control,

just eased his way to victory And we achieved our goal.

The relay record was destroyed – no wonder that we smile

 – without exaggeration we had won it by a mile!


First Team were Scottish Champions! Team B were 7th and

Ian, Ken, Bill, Ewen, Davie, Francis, George and Jim all joined

The record-smashing band.

The Captain of the Second Team Was dauntless Davie Grubb

Who led the celebrations in Gleneagles Hotel ‘pub’!


[I remember that, after the race, when our cars drew up outside Gleneagles, we were all suddenly aware that our garb could hardly be described as formal evening dress.

The other fifteen, many of them my senior, pushed me (as captain) to the front, to ask the ‘superior’ doorman if we would be allowed to buy some alcoholic refreshment.

He indicated politely that the so-called ‘American Bar’ would be the only appropriate venue for customers such as ourselves, said they did not serve draught ale (too common?), but permitted us to purchase sixteen bottles of the most expensive beer we had ever bought.

(Mel split the round with me; then others bought a second one. So much for Aberdonian meanness.)

This venture added class and amusement to a great day.]

In 1992, the Alloa to Twechar was also an exciting contest between Fife and Aberdeen. The former held a narrow lead on Aberdeen for the first five legs.

Then, on Stage Six, George Sim did it again, I extended the lead on the next leg and Francie Duguid brought us home 5.04 clear of Fife.

There were two sets of the results. The second (correct?) version noted fastest stage times from: Charlie MacDougall (Calderglen), Cameron Spence (Spango), Tom Graham (Fife) and Graham Milne (equal), Tony Martin (Fife), Ian Burke (Bellahouston), Jim Dingwall (Falkirk, probably the best run of the day), me (only 13 seconds better than Falkirk’s Dougie McKenzie) and Bobby Young (Clydesdale).

Our First Team was: Bill Adams, Eddie Butler, Graham Milne, Charlie Noble, Ben Preece, George Sim, Colin Youngson and Francis Duguid.

The Second Team achieved a most meritorious sixth from 47 teams. They were: Chris Simpson, Ken Hogg, Davie Grubb, A. McDonald, Kerr Walker, Ewen Rennie, John Ballantine and Mel Edwards.

We reckoned that, if we had shifted a first team runner to the second team and vice versa, we might have finished first and second – but such brinkmanship had to be resisted, since it might also have left us second and third.

A peak performance, one of the last for AAAC veterans and we celebrated this time in Twechar’s own Quarry Inn, which dispensed Maclay’s marvellous 60 and 70 shilling real ales.

(Sadly, both pub and brewery are no more.)

(The photo shows a tired man, who went too fast for the first twenty minutes, bashing away as hard as he can on Stage Seven in 1992.)



Honorary President: ROBERT DONALD

President: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Immediate Past President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE

Vice-President: ADA STEWART 30 Earlsburn Road, Lenzie, G66 5PF Tel: 0141 578 0526

Honorary Secretary: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

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

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

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

KEN MONCRIEFF 25 Princes Street Stirling FK8 1HQ Tel. 01786 474978

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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 Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis



December 2014

Sun 14th SVHC Xmas Handicap 2:00pm. Abbotsford Parish Church, near Playdrome, Clydebank. G81 1PA

January 2015

Sat 3rd National Masters 3000m Championships Emirates Arena. Glasgow entry on-line SAL website

Sun 25th SVHC Relays Strathclyde Park 11.00 am

Sat 31st SAL Masters Cross Country Championships Kilmarnock entry via 1st claim club or SAL website

Sat 31st National Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow entry on-line SAL website

February 2015

Sun 15th British Masters Indoor Pentathlon/ South of England/EVAC/VAC – Lee Valley

Sun 22nd Scottish National XC Championships Callendar Park, Falkirk entry via 1st claim club or SAL

March 2015

Sun 1st Lasswade 10mile Road Race Whitehill Welfare FC, Rosewell

Sat/Sun 7th/8th British Masters Main Indoors and Winter Throws – Lee Valley

Sun 8th BMAF 10 Mile Champs, Sidcup

Sat 14th BMAF Cross-Country Championships – Ruthin, North Wales

Sat/Sun 14th/15th National Indoor Combined Events Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow entry on-line SAL website

Sun 22nd Lost Trails 8km race Village Hall, Back Wynd, Falkland, Fife

Mon 23rd –Sat 28th European Veterans Indoor Championships with outdoor events – Torun, Poland

April 2015

Sun 5th Tom Scott 10mile Road Race Strathclyde Park

May 2015

Sun 3rd SVHC Walter Ross 10K RR Cartha Rugby Club, 13:30

Wed 6th Snowball Race 4.8 miles Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, 19:30

Sat 16th BMAF Road Relay Champs Sutton Park,Birmingham

Sat 30th Cairnpapple Hill Race, Meadow Park, Bathgate

June 2015

Wed 3rd Corstorphine 5 miles Road Race 7:30 pm. Turnhouse Rd, Edinburgh

Sat 14th BMAF 5K Champs. Horwich

Wed 24th SVHC 5K Champs Playdrome, Clydebank, 19:30















Welcome to the 1 reinstated and 12 new members who have joined or re-joined since 19th March 2014. 5 members have resigned and 57 have not renewed their subs. We now have 473 paid up members.

Any member not wishing to renew their membership should send me a resignation letter by post or email.


 The massive increase in postal charges has forced us to change to an electronic version of the Newsletter as the preferred option. Any member who wishes to continue receiving a printed Newsletter must contact me, if they have not already done so. Please inform me 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: Tel: 01309 672398


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


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.

Please ensure, if possible, that the next payment date is set for 10Nov2015, and annually thereafter.


 SVHC running vests can be purchased from Molly Wilmoth for £17 (Tel: 0141 7764941).



 Augustine Cairney 01-Jul-14 2213 Renfrew

Stephen Crane 19-Aug-14 2217 Edinburgh

Andrew Harkins 01-Jul-14 2209 Inverkip

Julia Harris 03-Aug-14 2215 Bishopton

Stuart Irvine 06-May-14 2208 Giffnock

Don Lawless 19-Aug-14 2216 Ashford

Paul O’Hare 30-Jun-14 2210 Lenzie

Karen Robertson 07-Apr-14 2206 Kilmarnock

Jim Scott 26-Jul-14 2214 Edinburgh

Yana Thandrayen 10-Apr-14 2207 Edinburgh

Rhonda White 30-Jun-14 2212 Greenock

Andrew White 30-Jun-14 2211 Greenock

Stan Walker 01-Jul-14 1963 Bridge of Don

David Fairweather Membership Secretary



With only one race of the 2013 / 2014 SVHC RUN and BECOME RACE SERIES remaining as I write, there are a number of awards still to be decided.

In the women’s event Phyllis Hands looks uncatchable, just reward for her consistent performances as she aims to clinch the title for the second year in a row. It’s very close for second with Pamela McCrossan and Ada Stewart fighting it out while either Shirley McNab or Frances Maxwell could claim fourth place. With awards for the first five there is still a lot to play for.

The Men’s competition has seen long time leader John Gilhooly, looking to repeat last season’s victory, slip to seventh place while Colin Feechan leads.

The leading seven competitors have now completed the maximum 8 races but with one additional point available for completing a ninth race Frank Hurley could overtake Colin for the title while Willie Jarvie could still leap from 8th to 3rd with a good run in the final race, the Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon at Kirkintilloch on 5th October.

With trophies to the winner of each 5 year age group there are still plenty of awards to be decided. Two weeks later the 2014 / 2015 Series gets under way with the SVHC Track 10,000 metres at Coatbridge on 19th October. The full list of fixtures is not yet available but will follow familiar lines and will be published shortly.

Alastair Macfarlane



Jo was delighted to receive a late call-up to compete for Scotland in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Marathon. Many thanks to Douglas Brown and Dumfries Running Club for permission to use the excellent photograph.

Actually, although Jo ran for Scottish Veterans in the 2012 British and Irish Cross-Country International (over 6km) and in 2013 won the British Masters 10k title, and the SVHC marathon championship, 26 miles is not her best distance.

The doctor from Dumfries is Scottish 100km record holder (silver medal for GB in the 2011 World Championships), has finished fourth on two occasions in the world-famous Comrades Marathon, was also fourth in the 2013 World Trail Event (GB team bronze) and is the 2014 Scottish Ultra Trail Champion.

 Commonwealth Marathon day was rather wet but, after a steady start, Jo moved up the select field of 21 runners to finish a thoroughly respectable 14th in a time of 2.45.29, only one place behind Scottish team-mate Hayley Haining. Susan Partridge ran very well to finish sixth.

The Dumfries club website states “Jo thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and was amazed (and deafened at times) by the level of support shown by everyone en route – family, friends, clubmates and people she’d never even met, cheering and encouraging her on. Most photos from the race picture Jo running with a smile on her face, showing what an amazing time she was having, enjoying the atmosphere…..and she says that it will be an experience she will remember for a long time to come.”



James Munn kindly contributed two historical postcards, showing two of the greatest Scottish Veteran Harriers in their youth: Emmet in Dunoon, leading a six mile road race in 1938; and Gordon taking Maryhill Harriers home to victory in the 1939 Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay.

As so many of us are aware, once these two sadly-missed characters reached veteran status, they proceeded to win an amazing amount of World Veteran titles in several age groups, at distances from 1500m to the marathon.

Please go to and click on ‘Marathon Stars’ for profiles of both athletes. Then go to Brian McAusland’s other superb website – – for Farrell’s fascinating autobiography ‘The Universe is Mine’.

James Munn emphasised that several of our late, great Harriers – Farrell, Porteous, David Morrison, Jenny Wood Allen, Andy Coogan and many others, were fit and active into their eighties and nineties – perhaps there is hope for us all!

Archie Jenkins states that Scotland Team Jackets should be ordered from him before October 1st. A cheque for £46 (including p & p) should be sent to: A. Jenkins, 8 Meadow Riggs, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 1AP, with name address, email address and size (small, medium or large). The men usually order medium.

The jackets will be sent out in one batch in November in time for the International Cross Country. Orders received after October 1st cannot guarantee delivery, since they are embroidered to order and not off the shelf.

Archie Jenkins has also written a book about Athletics in the North-East of England between 1914-1918. It is called “Rainbow Led”. I have already ordered my copy. It costs £6.99 (or £9.50 including post and package). To order, contact Archie Jenkins:


NAME  Robert Marshall

CLUBs          Morpeth Harriers and SVHC

DATE OF BIRTH 29th July 1948

OCCUPATION Retired Director, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.


In my penultimate year at Strathclyde University I was talked into joining the cross country team. The prospect of free travel to various university venues, followed by convivial drinking evenings was too much to miss out on.

I did little more than make up the numbers, however I did master the skill of standing on my head and drinking a pint of beer.


 I have to give thanks to Innis Mitchell for his encouragement in those early days.

On leaving university I joined Bellahouston Harriers and ran most of the time with Jimmy Irvine. Although I never thought of it as such, I guess Jimmy was my first ever coach, and along with Jim Alder (Morpeth) they have been the two most influential people in my running career.

At that time (early ‘70s) I occasionally ran with a group of “super vets”, on a Saturday afternoon. The group included some of the greats of Scottish athletics……….Gordon Porteous, John Emmet Farrell, Andy Forbes and the irrepressible Jack McLean. The pace was pleasant, quite undemanding, however the conversation was inspiring.

It would have been impossible not to have been influenced by the successes of these three and by the total enthusiasm that exuded from Jack.

Serendipity.  In 1975 my wife and I decided to go and work in central Africa, on the border of Zambia and Zaire. By pure chance there were two other expat runners living in the same town.

One was a runner called Dave Camp, a Morpeth Harrier who had represented UK at the steeplechase. The previous year he had beaten Malanowski (the Polish Olympic champion) in a Europa Cup match.

Through Dave I learned what hard training was all about, especially interval training, and the discipline of running twice a day.

There was no track, we measured out a grassy field, ran mostly barefoot and watched out for snakes. Hippos left big footprints that you could turn an ankle on, but they only came out of the water at night so that was okay.

I returned to the UK a much improved runner.

More luck.  I got a job in the pharmaceutical industry and was based at Morpeth. Early on I met Jim Alder and a young lad called Archie Jenkins (who always seemed to finish just a few seconds in front of me).

At this time, late 70’s and throughout the 80s the north east of England was a great place to be for running. Just about every race was contested by athletes who were truly world class (Alder, Foster, McLeod, Spedding, Cram et al.). They all seemed keen to turn out for the local races. To be merely a good club runner meant that you had to be close to international standard.

Jim Alder and Morpeth Harriers pulled it all together………..I owe them such a debt of gratitude.


The thrill of still being able to run, to compete and to meet interesting and inspiring people. In fact as I’ve got older it’s become even better.

The fun of it all and the memories.


I’m a big fan of the Parkruns. Accessible to all, with an element of competition if you so choose. The volunteers are heroes

Parkruns publish age graded performance, and as you get older it provides an opportunity to make comparisons. Interestingly when I put my PBs, done in the 70/80s, into the age graded calculator on the internet and compare them with now they’re not so different (85-90%). So, I’ve managed to be quite consistent overall, nothing too flash.

So far as individual performances are concerned I’d have to break it down into 3 categories:

Cross Country.

I don’t do mud (see later). To compete in a multi lap, firm course, suits me just fine and with that in mind I think that in this category I’d have to nominate the British Masters over 65 XC, this year.

The race was made easier for me by the hard work of Beryl Junnier and Jenny Forbes. I got some shelter from the gale by hiding behind them (although there’s not too much flesh to hide behind!!). It became a hard fartlek session, attack the hills and glide down the other side, the three of us just stayed together. Thanks ladies.

On the Roads

On time alone I suppose my best would be the Brampton “10” in 50:00….I think of it as a 49:60.

In 1986 I finished 3rd in the Scottish marathon. I chased Don McGregor all the way up from Leith to Meadowbank and the gap never changed from 28 secs.

On the track.

In 1980 I turned out for Morpeth at Gateshead stadium in a GRE Cup match. I won the 10000m in the morning in 31:30 and then ran the 5000m for additional points in the afternoon in 15:22.  Neither run was a PB but it was a satisfying, unusual, double.


The potential is there any time I put spikes on country.

 I finished about 300th+ in the Northern XC once, at a place called Pity Me, Co. Durham. Oh how appropriate was that name and how merciless were the gang at Morpeth in mocking me. I’m no fan of muddy cross country (Pity Me probably scarred me for life!).

Worst injury.

 Maybe not the worst, but certainly the most memorable. Somebody ran into my side just as I was going over to the start line at Tollcross this year. I never gave it a second thought during or after the race, but whilst driving home, on the Edinburgh bypass, I experienced an exquisite pain at the top left of my chest. It transpired that I had a cracked rib, although at the time I endured a more worrying self diagnosis


I enjoy road racing, and most of all road relays. And at the top of the pile has to be the   National 12 man relay at Sutton Coldfield. Despite running for a great club we never achieved medals, such was the standard. Once again, everybody turned out for their clubs and it was a real who’s who of British athletics.

So, the last ambition is to run for an over 65s team and gain a medal at Sutton Park.


I play occasional golf, but it’s just too time consuming (and I’m not very good!).

From about age 45 to 60, because of business commitments, I had less time to commit to serious running. However, I did keep “jogging fit” and to create a challenge I completed the Munros. Every now and then I get a bit twitchy and think about embarking on the Corbetts.

I’m interested in quantum physics. Even the most unlikely event has a probability of occurrence……….a bit like winning a medal at XC!


The people, the characters, the training and the competition. It contributes to good health and fantastic memories.

Despite my aversion to mud I have to admit that the Masters’ International is the highlight of my year. It’s just like being a student again…..a hard race, followed by a night of over indulgence and laughter (and you even get expenses from Davie!).


 It is appropriate now to measure my “mileage” in kilometres, the rationale being that it takes just about as long in training to run a km as it used to run a mile.

In the 70/80s at Morpeth we did quite high mileage, 100 was not exceptional. 80-90 was about average.

I now do about 90-100km per week, some of which is twice a day (4 or 5 times a week). My morning run is a slow 7 km, mostly round the local golf course. I tend to regard the benefit more for injury management.

Training fits into different phases:

Sometimes I’ll just do slow distance runs for a while.

More often, if not racing, I fit in 3 sessions a week, comprising:

A long run of 15-20 kms, a fartlek run of 10k and finally an anaerobic threshold run of about 25 mins at my half marathon pace. The latter is often done on a treadmill, again at age 65 it’s a bit about injury management and prevention.

If more race specific then I replace the threshold run with an interval session of 10 times 2 or 3mins with a 1 minute recovery. I can’t maintain this phase for too long (ca. one month), and I always do one of the two (interval or threshold) on a treadmill.

Any other runs are then done on the roads at a steady pace, not too fast.

Only since I‘ve got older have I bothered with stretching. Now I do about 3 sessions a week (calfs, quads, hamstrings and IT band).  I’m not sure of the benefit, but some people swear by it.


It was at this point that I sent off a draft response to Colin Youngson. In typical pedantic ex schoolteacher mode (our very own Ichabod Crane!), he informed me that my grammar and spelling were okay, but the narrative needed more substance.  “Do not feel constrained by the questions”……… here we go:


The ageing process. I mentioned that I got back into racing proper, following a 15 year sabbatical, at age 60. Having made the decision to race I decided to try a few “fast” runs. I measured out a mile using my car and attempted an “eyeballs out” run. I did about 6min 10 seconds. Thinking the distance must be wrong I remeasured it with the car. Still a mile.

So, the car must be wrong, I bought a GPS watch………….the car was proved correct, I had aged. Oh dear, and worse still it actually felt like 4:45 pace.

Running in the 60-64 age group is really tough. No matter how well you run you’re likely to be close to the back of the field (especially in the international). Not good for the ego, and it requires much more of a time trial mentality, a very different mindset.

Moving into the 65+ has been refreshing, it feels like racing again.

Running against the ladies, a privilege afforded to the over 65s.

 I am well accepting of defeat now; however I can recall the first time I was beaten by a woman. The Great North Run in the 1980s. Inside the final mile she just ran away from me, amazing pace. The lady was Rosa Mota, she was most impressive and did win Olympic and European golds.

 This was the start of a slippery slope. Since then I’ve been beaten by Batman and Superman, but never yet a gorilla nor a banana.

On the subject of impressive runs I think the one that made the biggest impression on me was seeing Ian Stewart (of Tipton) running second leg in the E to G, for Aberdeen AC (1972). I believe that Colin has already mentioned this in a previous edition of the newsletter. It really was very special to watch. He was doing about four and a half minute miles and by comparison everybody else just looked pedestrian.

Training.  I’ve seen lots and copied many.

Fundamental to them all seemed to be a high volume of miles; the quality within appeared more varied. Yet from the permutation of approaches there was a standard, lasting over about 3 decades, which we can only reflect upon but no longer witness. Were it not for the times set, and by so many, it could just be put down to the reminiscences of an aged generation.

Many races are now won around Scotland in times that would have been little more than a hard training run.

Try as I might I could never get inside 2:20 for a marathon. Our very own Colin Youngson and Alastair Macfarlane were comfortably inhabiting the region of 2:16 to 2:20, as were another 100 plus runners throughout the UK. And then there was another league of runners probably 30 to 50 (or more?) who could do 2:10-2:15.

It would be churlish to demean many hard training youngsters who are willing to pound the roads, tracks and trails in all sorts of weather, all credit to them. But I am bemused as to how the overall standard has slipped.

                                                                          QUESTIONNAIRE: SUE RIDLEY



DATE OF BIRTH     25/10/65



In my first year at high school, I was first home in a cross-country and one of the girls said I should join her training group at Innerleithen coached by the late Johnny Robertson.  I did and never looked back.


Both my parents were a great support, especially my dad (until his sudden death when I was 18).  But it is Bill Blair, my former coach, that I owe my successful career to (and the great training group he had).


I love running.   I have been lucky enough to have competed all over the world (often accompanied by my family) and met some terrific people many of whom are now great friends.   Nothing beats going out for a run in the countryside, whatever the weather!   I have also had the honour of carrying the Scottish flag at the World Mountain Running Championships in Sauze d’Ouze in 2004 and the honour of reading the Athletes’ Oath at the Opening Ceremony of the European Masters Mountain Running Championships in Nowa Ruda in 2014.


Winning the National Cross-Country Championships in 1994 at Irvine was special.   This was during a 5 year period where I had a top 3 placing.   Also, winning the UK Inter-Counties 10km Road Race Championships (after a battle with Sandra Branney) nine months after I took running up seriously and teamed up with Bill and his group.


Not listening to the advice of my coach Bill Blair when he advised me not to compete for Scotland in a 5km at an international athletics meeting in Turkey in 1994.  I thought I may never run for Scotland again if I turned it down so did run finishing just behind Hayley Nash of Wales in extreme temperatures.   I came back with an ME related illness which took about 7 years to overcome and I believe stopped me from fulfilling my potential.


If I could spend more time training, I’d love to run the West Highland Way or an ultra but most of all I’d love to be able to keep running for as long as I can.


Looking after my 2 horses, riding, walking, gardening, cooking, DIY, coaching my daughters’ primary school’s running club and any activity involving my family.   I am also treasurer for a local organisation helping people with disabilities take part in music and drama.


Meeting top class athletes when I competed as a senior and latterly as a vet, former Olympians eg Willlie Banks and a chance to race Zola Budd.   Exciting and challenging races that pushed you to your limits.   The very many happy memories I have of the places I’ve been to and the people I’ve met.   I love the camaraderie and the great sportsmanship shown (especially in masters athletics) but most of all watching people of all ages trying to do their best and enjoying themselves showing that age is no barrier to achievement.


Due to my busy lifestyle and resulting time constraints, I only manage about 25 to 30 miles per week.   I try to do a long run (approx. 45-50 minutes), a shorter run about 30 minutes 4 or 5 times a week in which I try to incorporate a time-based interval session on 2 of these days and a rest day!   As a senior, I averaged around 50 miles a week incorporating a long run, 3 interval sessions (one based on longer reps eg reps of any distance from 600m up to a mile; one based on shorter reps eg reps of any distance from 200m to 500m; hill reps (mainly in winter) or a speed endurance type session); tempo run (winter) and easy runs.  I still played senior hockey which involved weekly league matches and tournaments.


I’ve had many great races battling against Sonia Armitage in a 1500m but I think the Scottish Masters Indoor at Kelvin Hall in 2009 (I think) was the most exciting with me making my move on the final lap and having to fight every step of the way to hold Sonia off.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and really enjoy racing her.

The 5000m in the Senior Championships at Pitreavie in 2009 also holds happy memories.   Benita Johnson was running and I had been carrying a hamstring injury so was near the back of a group of about 7.  With around 550m to go I just took off as I could sense Benita was getting close and reached the bell just ahead of her.  I continued my run expecting some of my younger rivals to come past me in the closing stages but remarkably they didn’t and I came third with only Emma Raven and I not having been lapped!   At the end, Benita came up to me and said “congratulations, that was phenomenal!”   I still treasure the photo that was taken of Benita, Emma and I.

Another of my favourite moments was during the European Masters Cross-Country Championships in Ancona in 2009 where I had won the W40 cross country and after being presented with my medal, my 3 daughters were invited onto the podium too.

I have competed in some extreme weather from -12 degrees to over 40 degrees, but I think the worst conditions I have ever run in were those encountered at this year’s  Scottish Masters Cross-Country championships in Hawick – I have never been so cold and suffered so much before, during and after a race!



(by Colin Youngson)


Instructions were strict. At all times runners must obey Police Officers! White shorts must be worn by all runners and escorts, though club vests may be worn! Girl Guides may wear uniform! On our section, we saw neither Police, Escorts nor Girl Guides!

The Scottish Association of Boys’ Clubs organised the relay. Several formal letters were sent out to ensure it all went smoothly and to thank us afterwards. On Wednesday 15th July 1970, Aberdeen University Amateur Athletic Club runners were assigned a stretch from Holburn Street at Ruthrieston Road, past Aberdeen City Boundary to Balquharn Dairy, before Boys’ Brigade, Sea Cadets and Aberdeen AAC carried on to Montrose, en route for Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh on Thursday the 16th of July, when the Games were to open. I was 22 years young.

We were to take over at precisely 14.16 hours and maintain seven-minute miles for five miles. Easy!

Someone took eight photos of our participation. Bob Masson, Ian Hughes (the driver) and I posing in AUAAC gear, displaying a split-new Commonwealth Games kitbag. Taking over from stern-looking runners from a boxing club. Bob, Mike Partridge and I running along, brandishing the beautiful shining silver baton, a streamlined stylised thistle. Staging a hand-over at walking pace. Me grinning as I dodge up a side-street and pretend to abscond with the baton, unscrew it and steal the Queen’s message. Mike laughing as he watches me disappear off-route. More immature giggling as I pass the baton to him. After the next volunteers took over, the three of us (wearing regulation white shorts) getting our breath back while leaning on Ian’s car. If only all the relay runners had such fun!

My friend Innis Mitchell tells me that he ran with the 1970 baton for Victoria Park AAC, along a remote stretch of road in the West of Scotland. Apparently the schedule was really demanding and he remembers that one of his faster team-mates suggested that a slower colleague should only be allowed to carry the baton very briefly indeed, in order to avoid the disgrace of arriving late for the handover to the next relay squad!

Right after my relay contribution, in time to watch nearly all the athletics, Donald Ritchie and I travelled down from Aberdeen on the train and stayed with a former team-mate in the AU Hare & Hounds Club, Paul Binns, and his wife Ceri. They lived in Corstorphine, so Donald and I took the bus right across the Edinburgh to Meadowbank every day.

I have a first-day cover with the three ‘British Commonwealth Games’ stamps, featuring running, swimming and cycling. My cheap camera took only three action photos of the Commonwealth Games athletics: a distant shot of some race; Mike Bull’s winning pole vault; and the joyously chaotic closing ceremony, when athletes of all nations mingled and celebrated together. All the way round the track, spectators could get very close to the action. Tickets were inexpensive and we could often get into the grandstand. I do not remember any officious types or security killjoys.

Every day, fresh programmes in booklet form were on sale. I still have three and must have seen lots of events, since the results are handwritten. Most Scottish fans had the same highlights. Lachie Stewart’s victory in the 10,000 metres [as the last lap bell rang, I just knew that his famous (only in Scotland!) fast finish would ensure a gold medal for his country, although my heart sank for my hero Ron Clarke, who had achieved so much throughout his career, but was always to be denied first place in a major championship.] The 5000m: incredible that Kip Keino should be beaten; the wonderful sight of two Scots battling for supremacy (but once again, I was secretly supporting the second man, Ian McCafferty – could he not have maintained his sprint rather than, apparently, easing over the line behind the skinhead Anglo-Scot, Ian Stewart, who battled every step of the way to victory?) The marathon: Ron Hill’s white string vest ‘miles’ in front, setting a European Record, topping the 1970 world rankings and probably running the fastest marathon ever, over a properly-measured course. But what I remember most is the head-shaking exhaustion of our Scottish hero, defending champion Jim Alder, as he struggled for breath and forced himself round the track to salvage a silver medal, while young Don Faircloth of England swiftly pursued him to finish only fifteen seconds behind and win bronze. However I also possess a copy of ‘The Victor’ comic, which was published at the very same time, to read that the winner of the CG marathon in Edinburgh was actually Alf Tupper, who set a new British record after eating a big bag of chips at half-way!

There were only cheers for every competitor from every corner of the Commonwealth – no insults or booing. It was friendly, enthusiastic and the greatest of occasions for spectators. Athletes who were determined to take part and tried to fight through injury received only support and sympathy. Rainbow memories. Although I have been a spectator at one European Indoor Athletics Championship (1974, in Gothenburg, Sweden) and the three International or World Cross-Country Championships held in Scotland (1969 Clydebank; 1978 Glasgow; and 2008 Edinburgh) I have never bothered to travel to the Olympics. Too much hassle; better on television; and anyway, it could never compare to Edinburgh 1970!


My son Stuart nominated me to be a “batonbearer” and I was accepted, possibly because I had been a “running role model” for many years in Aberdeenshire, as a fairly successful Scottish distance runner and a secondary school teacher who had advised young athletes. The whole nature of the event had changed drastically (as had society, during the previous 44 years). Now the relay was meant to be a way of giving towns and cities across Scotland a taste of the Commonwealth Games and celebrating local folk who had contributed to their communities in a variety of ways. Most of the 4000 selected had been long-time coaches or charity workers, and as a selfish old runner, I felt rather unworthy.

A package arrived, containing my uniform – a tasteful white, blue and yellow tee-shirt and startlingly bright ‘heritage blue’ trousers – plus detailed instructions. On Sunday the 29th of June I should report to Duff House, Banff, at 1 p.m., bringing my passport to confirm identity. The short stretch of path assigned to me would be just before Duff House (nothing to do with Homer Simpson’s favourite beer, but a lovely Georgian building set in parkland).

The organisation seemed terribly complicated: officials, security people, shuttle buses, police motorcyclists and even a media bus. The “Factsheet” contained a marvellously exaggerated article, all about the excitement of this “experience of a lifetime”. As the previous runner approaches “you feel the anticipation building – your hands meet – you are now holding the baton! This is your moment in history.” Crowds will be waving and cheering and taking photos as you jog or walk towards “the next batonbearer nervously waiting for you to handover the baton. You greet them warmly and cheer them on their way as they set off for their own time in the spotlight.” Afterwards, assuredly, you will want “this feeling of exhilaration and achievement to last forever.”

Hmm! Hard not to be just slightly cynical. So how did it pan out for me? Well I must say that every QBR team member I met was cheerful, helpful and friendly. The other three batonbearers in my shuttle bus were the same, and we had a good laugh as we waited for the convoy to arrive from Turriff – 20 minutes late. I was concerned to notice that my companions were wearing box-fresh pure-white trainers, whereas I had only shoved on my favourite old running shoes – just as well these had been sprayed with deodorant! Motivating music boomed out, including Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’ and the Proclaimers ‘500 miles’ – ironic or what? Our section was heavily wooded, which made the live BBC coverage fail to transmit at times. The previous runner had to negotiate quite a few speed-bumps, which I was glad to avoid, because of my dangerously ground-scraping shuffle. I was delighted that Stuart and Andrew, two of my three sons (the other one having the thin excuse of living in Sydney) had driven up from Aberdeen, along with our friend Alex, and plenty of photos were taken, along with a rather funny shaky mini-video of me plodding slowly but happily along for an arduous minute over what was barely 150 metres. There was a bit of a crowd, that seemed to be enjoying the odd spectacle, and Duff House made a splendid backdrop as I passed the baton to the next man. In fact, the brief Batonbearer experience was indeed fun and will make a pleasant, humorous family memory.

                                                            Left to right: Stuart, Colin and Andrew Youngson



Well the SAL Masters 3000 metres and 5000 metres Championships did eventually take place! These are events which should be among the highlights of the seasons for Masters athletes, and indeed should be promoted as such by Scottish Athletics, but were totally devalued this year by the failure of SAL to stage the races on the advertised date (for which they had earlier accepted entries).

When the races were run, three weeks later, some of the original entrants were unable to take part but there were nonetheless some excellent performances.

In the Women’s 3000 metres, BMAF Cross Country Champion Lesley Chisholm, just a few months away from moving  into the W40 age group, didn’t have things all her own way, as Hillary McGrath clung on to remain within striking distance until two laps to go. Lesley eventually won in 10.24.0, an improvement of seven seconds on her time when last winning this title in 2011. Hillary’s reward for a fine run in second place was a personal best of 10.35.5.

The Men’s 5000 metres race was also won by a reigning BMAF Cross Country Champion as Robert Gilroy continued his remarkable year by going into the lead at the gun and lapping all but clubmate Jamie Reid in an outstanding personal best of 15.19.2.

W 35-39 3000 metres

1 Lesley Chisholm (Garscube Harriers) 10.23.98

2 Claire Thompson (VP Glasgow AC) 11.06.86


1 Catherine Ferry (Edinburgh AC) 11.19.14


1 Hillary McGrath (Law & District AAC) 10.35.47


1 Phyllis Hands (Motherwell AC) 13.08.72


M35-39 5000 metres

1 Robert Gilroy (Ron Hill Cambuslang) 15.19.19


1 Jamie Reid (RHC) 16.27.68

2 Stephen Allan (Kirkintilloch) 17.04.83


1 James Healy (RHC) 17.52.19

2 Daniel Newman (Fife AC) 18.01.26


1 John Mill (Dundee RR) 18.14.05

2 Benjamin Hands (Motherwell AC) 18.35.75

3 Ken Mortimer (Edinburgh AC) 19.02.84


1 Colin Feechan (RHC) 17.30.43

2 John Gilhooly (Bellahouston) 19.42.27

3 Tom Ord (VP Glasgow AC) 19.52.11

4 Matthew Newham (Edinburgh AC) 20.40.69

5 Edward McQuillan (Law & District AAC) 21.12.25


1 Francis Hurley (RHC) 18.01.33

 By Alastair Macfarlane

N.B. Results of the Glasgow 800 10k are now on the SVHC website.



Every time I receive my copy of the Vets Newsletter, I am greatly impressed by the times and achievements of the various elite athletes who grace its pages. I have only won one race outright in my career, as opposed to an age category win, and that was a few years back at the Vets Xmas Handicap, thanks to that inspired handicapper Peter Rudzinski. In a two-lapper at Pollock Park I remember leading at the end of the first lap, expecting to be swallowed up by the thundering footsteps of the baying herd behind me and then, unbelievably, completing the second lap without being passed. As that wise philosopher, Tommy O’Reilly, said to me later, knowing the handicapper, “Enjoy it now for it will never happen again.”

When my wife, after a fourteen year gap, decided to become pregnant again, I felt I had to do something to avoid yet again the drudgery of nappy changing, bottle feeding and burping, so decided to take up running. I was 43 years old at the time and that is now 30 years ago. Running per se did not really appeal to me, but I have a competitive nature, so I took up road running which was then becoming popular, due to the start of the mass marathon boom and, over the years, I completed ten of them.

It is difficult for me to identify a favourite race as I calculate that a conservative estimate of ten races a year would give me 300 races. Since now I can’t remember sometimes what day it is, it would be difficult to delve into the past and pick a favourite. Some, however, mean more than others. May I bore you with them?

Pride of place must go to the seven International Cross Country vests I have achieved. Well, actually only one as mein gruppenfuhrer Fairweather dictated that, once given one, it has to be worn to destruction. The seven occasions have been unevenly spread among three in Scotland, three in Ireland and on in Croydon. This is because on a cyclical basis the terrible trio of Cartwright, Young and Campbell move into my age group, allied to the ability of my nemesis Ian Leggett, who I have never beaten, means I am not selected for that particular year. This combined with the new kid on the block’s arrival in the shape of Watson Jones means the game’s a bogey for me.

I would say my next favourite event was the Sri Chinmoy series of races in the summer at The Meadows in Edinburgh. There are medals for the first six in the main category, but this reduces in the older age groups until in the over-70s only the first receives a medal. This, I have achieved on several occasions – hollow victories since I have been the only competitor! Being a natural hoarder, the year before last I counted my Sri Chinmoy medals, found 48 and became determined to collect 50. This I managed last year. Flushed with success I checked my diary for when I won these medals and found some dates missing. I took all 50 to Run and Become, who sponsor the event, and  they kindly offered to match the dates to the medals. This they did early this year, only to tell me that one the medals was for a 10k event at which every participant received one, and therefore I only had 49 medals on merit!

Of the many times that I competed at The Meadows, the most memorable were when the late great Jackie Gourley competed in my age group. He was in a class of his own.

Another series of races I enjoyed was in Haddington, organised by H.E.L.P. under the guidance of the redoubtable Henry Muchamore. I remember at the prize giving at one of the events that Henry was so miffed by people not returning their trophies from the previous year that he announced that in the current year after trophies were distributed, they were to be returned to him for safekeeping but that, during the course of the year, anyone wishing to see theirs would only have to contact him and they would be available. This must have impressed those winners from the West.

I also enjoyed the Vets 10k on the track, although lack of diligence on the part of the lap counters made life difficult. I remember one year having to do an extra lap with the result that I was ‘beaten’ by a fellow Portobello runner – the ignominy was that this was a woman. I also took part in the famous run when Gordon Porteous broke the M90 10,000m world record in the presence of Doug Gillon of The Herald and a photographer. It was unfortunate that the photo that appeared in The Herald on the Monday showed Gordon, whom I was about to lap, ahead of me, and the photo was blown up and pinned to the Portobello RC noticeboard by a supposed friend, with the caption “Murray beaten by a 90 year old”.

Well, that’s nearly it – but what about my claims to fame? In a 10k race in my home town of Paisley, having just reached the M60 age group, I managed to beat the legendary Willie Armour; and in the Ainster Haddies 10k in Anstruther, with an eyeballs-out burst to the finishing line, I beat former Olympian Don Macgregor!

By Bill Murray (Portobello Running Club)

                                                                          LETTER FROM HUGH McGINLAY

The editor received one of Hugh’s idiosyncratic missives, which began, without apologies to Dylan Thomas “Old age should rant and rage at close of day, rave, rave against the dying of the light, do not go quietly into that long dark night, so here goes.”

He commented on the need to wear SVHC club vests at club events; and for award winners to turn up at presentations. Race Walking is welcomed. Advice is given on how to improve the Newsletter.

Fiona Matheson was again Falkirk Vet of the Year and Hugh himself was recognised for National Service to Sport, although he thought that another recipient, Andy Ronald, was even more worthy of this honour. Hugh is temporarily out of action, racing-wise, but is helping with cross country races and the Round the Houses 10k. However he enjoys over-65 table tennis, which is ‘a tremendous participation sport’.

Hugh sent a copy of a famous poem by one of the countless Scottish victims of the First World War: Charles Hamilton Sorley (1895-1915). He may be best known for a bleak sonnet from the Trenches (“When you see millions of the mouthless dead”) but also left behind some wonderful lines about the joys of cross country running. “The Song of the Ungirt Runners”, is well worth finding on-line.



The annual SVHC 10,000 metres Championship will take place on the 19th of October at Coatbridge Outdoor Sports Centre, Langloan Street, Coatbridge ML5 1ER. The start time for race walkers is 12.45; and 13.00 for runners.

Entries, with predicted finishing time, should be sent by email to Alastair Macfarlane (, to arrive no later than Friday 17th October. Entry fee is £2 to be paid on the day.

The SVHC Christmas Handicap will take place on 14th December at Clydebank.



Cameron Spence has sent a lengthy account of the annual Easter trip to the sun.

This year sixteen (SVHC members and partners) travelled to the resort Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. Unfortunately, there is only room for a summary and excerpts in this edition of the Newsletter but the whole saga is on the SVHC website.

Shortly after arrival at the hotel “A training run was quickly arranged for 5.30 p.m. It started off at a brisk pace with John B, Hugh, Pamela, Peter and myself. Peter had checked out possible 5k routes on Google before we has come out. He was the leading runner and after half a mile we came across our first hill. It was steepish and it went on and on. Peter said that the course did look flat on-line – hmmmm! We carried on and finally got to the top and headed down. But it was only gradual.

There were a couple of local women out walking their six dogs. We thought “Oh naw!” They were okay, I’m glad to say. So we plodded on, and plod’s the word after that first hill. I was having my doubts that we were going in the right direction.

Heading north, I thought. I said we should be turning back, since we had covered 3k by this point. Peter said, in the words of George Michael “You’ve got to have faith” and we kept going to our left. The hotel would be there, surely.

At this time, Hugh and Pamela had fallen slightly behind as they were feeling the pace and the heat. Onwards we went and at last we made the outskirts of the town. We reached a dual carriageway as we came off the dirt track. It was one of those roads that you see all over the Canaries, the road to nowhere. The last two miles were tough, for me anyway. There were a couple of mountains, okay, inclines, to get over. Hugh and Pamela had caught up with us. At last we could see our hotel. And guess what, there was a sprint up the last hill into the hotel. See runners!

Call that 5k? Glad to say that the Garmins made it nearer five miles – my longest run in two years (I know, I’m getting lazy). Peter admitted it was a wee bit hard and too long. But the last two miles was a possible course for the 5k race. It would be checked out next day.

As is the traditional way of celebrating our arrival in the Canaries after the first run, we met up with the rest of the group in the nearest bar to the hotel entrance. The first swalley was most enjoyable. After dinner it was down to the Disco bar and a show. Nice way to finish our first day.”

Days 2 and 3 included morning and/or afternoon runs, a darts competition, the pool, sunbathing, a few shandies, Bingo, hotel entertainment and dancing. Day 4 was the day of the 5k race.

“The morning had cloudy skies but more importantly the wind had died down. If it had been blowing, it would have been, in the words of Lachie Stewart “a hinging-in day” – in other words, tuck in behind someone taller or wider! All’s fair in love and running.”

“At 11 o’clock precisely, the eleven runners headed off along the road to nowhere. The pre-race favourite Jude, who is now a true vet at 40, fairly flew off. Hugh, who was another one expected to be up at the front, was caught sleeping at the start when the gun went off. He only managed to get past me after 100 metres. And I start slowly those days.

Within 800 metres the first three had sorted themselves out. Jude, Hugh and the first lady, Pamela. Last year’s over-60 winner, Peter, was being tracked by Christine, with John B, Colin and myself a few metres further back”

“There were a couple of tough climbs on the way back. The first one was steepish while the second one wasn’t that steep but finished about 150 metres from the finish, just as the wheels were coming off. The order of the runners didn’t change over the last half of the course. Negative splits were not possible on this course! So Jude retained the title once more, for about the third or fourth time. Same with Pamela and the ladies’ title.”

The fun continued until the return flight on day 8. Highlights included flumes at the Water Park, a music quiz, a lot more running, climbing a volcano, a barbecue, cycling, dancing and of course more sunbathing.

“So it was another brilliant holiday down in the Canaries. My thanks to Peter for all the hard work in organising. And thanks to Jude and Hazel who were the perfect hosts at the Villa Boulton for their barbecue. And to everyone who went on this year’s trip, thanks for making it such a tiring and enjoyable week. Roll on next year!”

The Scottish Vets 5k Road Race, Playa Blanca, March 11th 2014.

  • Jude Boulton 18.14 M40
  • Hugh Laverty 19.37 M55
  • Pamela McCrossan 20.30 F50
  • Cameron Spence 22.49 M60
  • Christine Duncanson 23.05 F50
  • John Bannister 23.25 M50
  • Peter Rudzinski 23.25 M60
  • Colin Gray 24.44 M45
  • Hazel Boulton 27.03 F40
  • Helen Spence 32.30 F60
  • Janet Bannister 34.40 F50

Lady Walkers

  • Shirley Rudzinski 42.05
  • Janette Robson 43.55
  • Briege Gray 45.05

                                                                                    FAVOURITE RACES

 (SVHC members are encouraged to contribute their own memories – boozy or teetotal – of current or past favourite events – if only to prevent the Editor from having to fill blank spaces in each Newsletter with even more personal reminiscences …..)

 One classic road race beloved of Scottish distance runners was in England! (No, not just the London Marathon, which only started in 1981.) This was the Morpeth to Newcastle Road Race, which always took place on 1st of January, New Year’s Day.

This caused a logistical problem for the drouthier runners – how could they endure a temperate Hogmanay? Some restricted themselves to a couple of drams but some carried on as ‘normal’ and used the event as a hangover cure. However many simply deferred the pagan celebrations until after the race. The best arrangement was to drive down the day before and spend two nights in Newcastle……..

The Morpeth was the oldest road running event in the UK. It began in 1904 and attracted serious competition from all over the country. Originally the distance covered was 13.6 miles but this was later changed to 14.1 miles in 1983. Only as late as 2002 was it standardised as a half-marathon. Sadly, finance for safety precautions (i.e. the cost of policing) became a serious issue for the host club Morpeth Harriers. Tragically, the last Morpeth was run in its centenary year of 2004. There had been 90 runnings. Scots had a lot of success in the event. The most victories (seven) were recorded by Dunky Wright. Local hero Jim Alder won five times. Other notable Scottish winners were Donald Robertson, Fergus Murray, Jim Wight, Allister Hutton (the record-holder for the 14.1 mile course in 1.05.38) and Fraser Clyne.

I first competed in this famous race in 1972, running for Victoria Park AAC. We travelled down by train. I remember reading the big build-up for the favourite Jim Alder, the Geordie Scot, in the local newspaper ‘The Journal’. There was an enormous field (for that era) of 209 runners, who had to be entered by 9th December. Most of us took the free bus from Central Station, Newcastle, out to the start, and then we left our kitbags in a van which departed for the finish, leaving us ‘warming up’ in the rain. The race started at 1.45 p.m. Once the fast men shot off, the rest of us struggled along as well as possible. My training diary noted: “Raining throughout and quite cold. Not 100% effort but legs and feet sore. Tried fairly hard. A reasonable run, considering my fitness.” Jim Wight from EAC outsprinted Jim Alder by seven seconds to win in 1.05.47. My team-mate Alastair Johnston was an excellent third in 1.05.56. I ended up 16th (1.09.11) and Willie MacDonald was 45th (1.13.23), well under the standard medal time of 1.14.30. Vicky Park finished third team and each of us won a frying pan worth £1! What I remember most is that the great Jim Alder, Commonwealth Marathon gold and silver medallist, modest, tough, honest and generous, actually walked his fellow Scots more than a mile to the train station, chatting away in his inimitable relentless fashion.

My next participation was in 1988. I had just become a veteran and fancied having a go at making some sort of a mark on the famous race. Aberdeen AAC sent down a decent team of Fraser Clyne, Graham Milne and myself. The start was at 1 p.m. and the route went from Castle Square, uphill along Clifton Bank, through Stanington, up the notoriously long hill of Blagdon Bank, through Gosforth and down to Town Moor, before turning in to the Civic Centre. There were 1400 starters. The leading pack soon receded into the distance, leaving me hanging on to the second group. A real problem was trying to work out if there were any other veterans in the vicinity! I spent many miles trying to spot potential rivals and eventually thought that one guy in a Derby and County vest had significant wrinkles at the back of his neck. When speeding up during the last mile, I made sure that he was behind me. Right enough, he turned out to be Anglo-Scot Alasdair Kean, a former 2.16.51 marathon runner with a PB one second slower than mine! I was delighted to finish first veteran in 19th place (1.14.40) with Alasdair second vet, one place and ten seconds back. The Road Runners Club 1st Class Standard was 1 hour 16 minutes, so we both won gold medals. The winner in 1.08.33 was Paul Davies-Hale from Cannock Chase, a 25 year-old Olympic steeplechaser. Fraser Clyne was tenth in 1.10.39 and Graham Milne 40th in 1.17.42 (fifth vet). Aberdeen AAAC was pipped by four points for the team title by Bridgend Harriers. On this occasion the value of the prizes (for both 1st Vet and 2nd team) had gone up, compared to 1972, to £35!

Unsurprisingly, since I love Hogmanay, I did not return to the Morpeth until 1993, having entered the M45 category. I stayed in Newcastle the night before with Jimmy Bell, a friendly M45 rival from Elswick Harriers. 1071 took part. We made a cautious start into a cold headwind and attached ourselves to the third group. Dave Hill, the M40 25k World Vets 25k champion, was well ahead, and Jimmy and I assumed that we would not see him again until Newcastle. However unknown to us he had stayed up drinking until 5 a.m., got a ‘stitch’ and we passed him on the big hill at seven miles! After 13 miles I tried to surge but could not drop Jimmy. The pace increased during the last three-quarters of a mile, I got a few yards on him, made two left turns and gasped over the finish line, three seconds up. Not only 1st M45 but 1st veteran again! My place was 16th, in a gold medal time of 1.15.25. Mark Hudspith of Morpeth Harriers had won the race in 1.10.24. Afterwards I enjoyed a great real ale crawl in Byker at the Ship Inn and the Cumberland Arms, with Archie Jenkins, Gordon Bell, Robin Thomas and Steve Beattie.

In 1995 I was less successful, finishing outside the first class standard in 1.16.50, fourth veteran and only second M45. However the Byker pubs allowed me to drown any fleeting regret in excellent beer.

My last Morpeth to Newcastle was in 1998. The day before I had driven down from Kemnay, near Aberdeen and had a couple of pints at The Keelman and The Bodega with my host Jimmy Bell. On race day I had a good chat with Jim Alder and then took the bus to Morpeth. 750 took part. It was important to start fast up the hill, since there was a very strong headwind in our faces the whole way. In a press photo, my Metro Aberdeen RC vest can be seen, straining to keep up with the fast men! We turned into the gale at one mile and I rested in the shelter of the second pack. Our pace was pretty slow for six miles, although it seemed tough to hang on at roundabouts and on Blagdon Bank. Only two from the group managed to escape. The final mile turned into a big tactical sprint-out, as we took turns to ‘play at Kenyans’. I finished two seconds behind Archie Jenkins (1st M45) in 15th place (1.21.23), but only seven seconds behind tenth place, so I was very pleased despite the slow time. 1st M50 and fourth veteran overall. The winner was Brian Rushworth of Sunderland in 1.15.30. At the presentation, the great Jim Alder called me ‘his old mate’ before handing over my prize! Afterwards, predictably, it was off with Archie and the usual crew to Byker – The Ship, The Free Trade and the Cumberland Arms. The lasting joys of distance running!



Honorary President: ROBERT DONALD

President: ALASTAIR MACFARLANE 7 Andrew Avenue, Lenzie, G66 5HF Tel: 0141 5781611

Immediate Past President: PETER OGDEN 16 Springhill Road Glasgow, G69 6HH Tel: 0141 7711950

Honorary Secretary: CAMPBELL JOSS 25 Speirs Road Bearsden, G61 2LX Tel: 0141 9420731

Honorary Treasurer: STEWART MCCRAE 17 Woodburn Way Balloch Cumbernauld. G68 9BJ Tel: 01236 728783

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

Handicapper: PETER RUDZINSKI 106 Braes Avenue Clydebank. G81 1DP Tel.0141 5623416

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

PHYLLIS HANDS 39 Albany Drive Lanark ML11 9AF Tel. 01698 252498

ANDY LAW Euphian, Kilduskland Road Ardrishaig Argyll. PA30 8EH Tel. 01546 605336

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

JOHN SOFTLEY 6 Cathkinview Road, Mount Florida Glasgow G42 8EH Tel. 0141 5701896

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

BMAF Delegates Alastair Macfarlane Ada Stewart

SAL West District Delegate Willie Drysdale

SAL Delegate at AGM Ken Moncrieff

Website Ada Stewart

Auditor George Inglis


September 2014

Sun 7th BMAF Marathon Championships – Thanet Marathon, Margate

Sun 7th BMAF 10km Road Walk – Leicester

Sat/Sun 20th/21st BMAF Decathlon/Heptathlon Championships – Alexander Stadium, Birmingham

October 2014

Sun 5th Neil McCover Half Marathon (inc. SVHC Champs) 9am Kirkintilloch

Sun 19th BMAF Half Marathon Champs Salisbury

Sun 19th SVHC Track 10K 13:00 and AGM 14:00 Outdoor Sports Centre, Langloan Street, Coatbridge, ML5 1ER Entries to A Macfarlane

Sat 25th BMAF Cross-Country Relays – Moorways Stadium, Derby

November 2014

Sat 22nd British & Irish Masters Cross Country International Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Sat 29th BMAF 20km Road Walk – Hayes cycle circuit, Hillingdon

December 2014

Sun 14th SVHC Xmas Handicap 2:00pm. Abbotsford Parish Church, near Playdrome, Clydebank. G81 1PA See enclosed entry form

January 2015

Sun 25th LSK Relays Strathclyde Park 11.00 am

Sat 31st SAL Masters Cross Country Championships Kilmarnock

February 2015

Sun 15th British Masters Indoor Pentathlon/South of England/EVAC/VAC – Lee Valley

Sat 28th Feb/ Sun 1st Mar SAL Masters Indoor and Combined Events Championships Emirates Arena, Glasgow

March 2015

Sat/Sun 7th/8th British Masters Main Indoors and Winter Throws – Lee Valley

Sat 14th BMAF Cross-Country Championships – Ruthin, North Wales

Mon 23rd –Sat 28th European Veterans Indoor Championships with outdoor events – Torun, Poland

April 2015

Sun 5th Tom Scott 10mile Road Race Strathclyde Park