John Blane was a wonderful athlete who won many trophies as a football player, as a long distance cyclist and then as a miler of considerable ability. Blane came from Irvine and had three very good seasons between 1887 and 1890. He only ran in two Scottish Championships: in 1888 he was second in the 880 and first in the One Mile in 4:35.6; he missed the Championships in 1889 but in 1890 he was second in both 880 yards and One Mile. 1888 was his best season when he was one of three men trying to be the first Scot under 4:30 for the Mile. DS Duncan (Edinburgh) started the rush with 4:32.2 early in the season; Blane chopped this to 4:30.2 seconds and the Duncan finally reached the target with 4:28.0 in September 1888. The record stood for several years.
Championships apart he raced a lot and won a lot. In his first season (1887/88) as a comparative novice he had two firsts, four seconds and two thirds but he learned quickly and by 1888 he was as good as anyone in the country. He won the Shield for the Mile at Abercorn Sports in Paisley three times in succession and was given the shield; he won the Empire Exhibition One Mile winning a superb trophy and medal, he won the Mile at St Mirren Sports winning a magnificent silver trophy, he won races all over Ayrshire and his collection of trophies is unique in my experience and testament to a superb career.
The list of items is as follows and is almost complete as far as championships are concerned:
Abercorn Mile Challenge Shield: 16” in diameter, inscribed Abercorn FC Sports 1885 Abercorn Mile Challenge Shield. The former winners named on the shield are J Logan 1885, RC McWalter 1886, WM Thomson 1887, J Blane 1888, J Blane 1889. Although he won it again in 1890 he did not have it engraved. All winners were members of Clydesdale Harriers and the shield is a magnificent object set with several silver medallions illustrating parts of a race..
Abercorn FC Sports 1887: pewter tankard approx 16” tall, inscribed 880 Yards Flat Race H/cap Prize. No winner’s name engraved.
Glasgow International Exhibition Trophy: approximately 15” tall inscribed One Mile Race H’cap, First Prize, John Blane, 1888
Scottish Amateur Athletic Association Medal: inscribed Championship Meeting 1888, 1 Mile Flat Race won by John Blane, time 4 minutes and 35 and 2/5th seconds.
Scottish Amateur Athletics Association Medal: inscribed Championship Meeting 1890, 1 Mile Flat Race.
Clydesdale Harriers Medal: inscribed 1 Mile Record, 4 minutes 30 and 1/5th s, won by John Blane, Maybole Sports, 14th July 1888.
St Mirren FC AA Sports 1887: Teapot inscribed Second Prize 1 mile race, handicap, open. Unfortunately no photograph is available.
All his cycling trophies, one below, and medals, gold and silver are also in the collection. Note the sponsor’s name at the top of this one for a road championship race.