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