A Year In The Life: 1975


Frank 6

1975 was an interesting year: the year after a Commonwealth Games year when nothing was at stake.   This seemed to be the case when only two Scottish track records were set – David Jenkins over 400m in the USA and Jim Brown’s wonderful run over 10000m in the AAA’s in London which broke Lachie Stewart’s Scottish Native record.   It was in fact a normal summer season in the 1970’s with all the main events taking place between the end of April and the middle of September.

The main events on 4th May were the District Women’s Championships: the West at Westerlands, the East at Pitreavie.   The report in those pre-Gillon days, was by Ron Marshall, and maybe a bit lacking in gallantry.   The report began: “A Lennox corner, a flash of Paul Wilson’s head, and Celtic were back in the lead.   Within seconds the stadium was alight with excitement – Westerlands Stadium that is – and at the Western District women’s athletic championships that proved to be the dramatic high point of the afternoon.    An astute announcer fed the necessary football information from a transistor radio, and we really felt we were in two paces at once.   The crescendos from Hampden Park contrasted with the legato performances being put up by the West of Scotland’s leading female competitors, and under a warm sun, it was all rather pleasant.”   After all these pleasant well-turned phrases  we get around to the athletics where the star turn was Myra Nimmo who won two events – the 100m hurdles and the long jump.   The McMeekin twins won the 800m and the 1500m – Evelyn took the former in 2:13.8 and Christine the latter in 4:58.   Christine Chalk also had a double win in the shot (11.24) and Discus (37.88).   In the East District championships, the headline read “Golden Streak” and there are no prizes for guessing that it referred to Helen Golden who won the 100m and the 200m in 11.4 and 24.2 seconds.   Moira Walls ( entered under the Dunfermline College colours) won the high jump and Meg Ritchie won both shot (37′ 6″) and discus (137′ 6″).   Lots of talent on display.   On the men’s side of things, Chris Black was the star of the week with a Scottish League hammer record at Meadowbank of 216′ 9″.   Shettleston won the match from Edinburgh AC and Edinburgh Southern Harriers.

The following weekend had the first SAAA championship event of the year when Doug Gunstone won the track 10 miles title at Loch Park, Carluke.   In the EAC vest, he won in 48:55.4 from Colin Youngson, in the rival Edinburgh SH colours who was timed at 49:00.8 with Martin Craven – also ESH – third in 49:40.0.   The Scottish Universities knock-out cup competition was held at Meadowbank with Edinburgh winning the men’s competition and Glasgow the women’s.   The stars of the competitions were Myra Nimmo and Roger Jenkins – Myra won the same two events as the previous week with a 6:23 long jump, the longest in Britain at that point in the season.   She won the hurdles from Liz Sutherland by 0.3 seconds in 14.1   Jenkins 48 seconds.   The middle distance events however were won by Lawrie Spence – 3:51.4 in the 1500m and 14:32.4 in the 5000.   Paul Kenny was second in the 5000m, second in the steeplechase and eventually won a ‘consolation’ 1500m.

On Saturday 17th May, the Glasgow Highland Games were held at Scotstoun Showground and Frank Clement was almost inside 4 minutes for the mile with 4:00.3!   Ron Marshall: “His first race in Scotland this season, and he goes within a stride of a four-minute mile – that is the kind of scintillating result we now expect of Frank Clement, and he gave the huge crowd at Scotstoun Showground every reason for applause in the first venture by the new Glasgow District at putting on a Highland Games.   Clement won the city’s invitation mile in 4:00.3 from two other sub-4 minute milers Adrian Weatherhead (Edinburgh AC) and Jim McGuinness  of Northern Ireland.   Their respective times were 4:01.5 and 4:05..4 , and the prize values, it was reassuring to note, made it all worth while for the runners – £30, £20 and £10.   Clement reached the bell a mere fraction outside three minutes and it looked certain we would have a time under four, something which despite the passing of more then 20 years since Bannister first breached that barrier, is still very much a rarity in Scotland.   However it was not to be.   Pursued but hardly troubled by the two others behind him Clement finished seven or eight yards clear, just failing to beat that once mystical time.    His immediate aim is to win the Emsley Carr Mile for the third successive year, something no one has achieved before.   That race will be part of the British Games on May 31 at Crystal Palace and Clement should know who his opponents will be later this week.  

Part of Les Piggott’s satisfaction at winning his twelfth Glasgow sprint title was dulled when he heard the final times given.   Having run 10.6 in his Heat, equalling the best in Scotland this year, Piggott was surely three or four yards clear of Andy Wood at the tape but the times announced were 10.8 and 10.9 for those two suggesting a gap of about a metre between them.   Something went wrong somewhere.”

A day later at Meadowbank, the women’s East v West match as won by the East (255 points to 205).   Helen Golden, Myra Nimmo, Meg Ritchie and Anne Robertson in the 400m delivered the goods as the meeting’s top performers.   Evelyn Mc Meekin had a very good meeting winning the 800m and then pulling in 15 metres on Ann Clarkson in the medley relay and beating her by the same distance.   Myra Nimmo was probably a bit tired however – she had won five events at the Scottish Universities championships at St Andrews the day before, setting championship best performances in the long jump (18′ 11.75″)and sprint hurdles (14,4) and a ground record (12.6) in the 100m.    She also won the 200 and was a member of the winning relay team.   Meanwhile, also on the Sunday, EAC won the second division of the British League with good performances from Peter Hoffman (48.9 in the 400m), Jim Dingwall (14:05.6 in the 5000m), Paul Forbes (9:07.4 in the steeplechase) and Keith Maguire (1.80 in the high jump).

A week later, the main event was the British Women’s League where Edinburgh Southern Harriers were in action in Bristol where they won the first meeting of the new first division.   Top athletes were all out in force and Christine Haskett won not one but two events – 1500m in 4:47.8 and 3000m in 9:24.6.   Other A string winners were Helen Golden (200m in 24.4), Moira Walls (HJ with 1.70m), and Meg Ritchie (discus with 47.96m).   They also won the short relay.    very good team performance from a strong team.

On the least day of the month there were a whole series of meetings to follow – East District Championships at Meadowbank, West District Championship at Westerlands, the British Games at Crystal Palace, and the first meeting of the women’s Scottish & Newcastle League.    The one which took the headlines was at Crystal Palace where  three Scots finished inside four minutes in the Emsley Carr mile but Frank did not manage his third victory.   How did that happen?   The tales is told by Ron Marshall under the headline “SCOTS HAVE A GOOD DAY AT THE PALACE.”   Three Scottish milers well under 4 minutes behind the incomparable Filbert Bayi … Angus McKenzie lifting himself over 7 feet in the high jump … and Myra Nimmo long jumping Olympic qualifying distance on the very day that Olympic standards came into operation … yes, the British Games at Crystal Palace certainly gave Scotland plenty to be pleased about.   The twenty third Emsley Carr Mile always looked a certainty for Bayi, the world record-holder at 3:51.   He took four-and-a-half seconds longer on Saturday but that was still good enough to separate himself from the pack by a good 15 yards.   The man who had been expected to chase Bayi rather more forcibly, Frank Clement, finished fifth in 3:57.9.   Ahead of him in a blanket finish were Ian Stewart  (3:57.4), Bronislav Malinowski (3:57.5) and Adrian Weatherhead (3:57.6).   Yesterday Clement was at home nursing a wheezy throat and a dry bark of a cough but still talking optimistically about his running.   “Some races leave you deflated.   Others act as a spur.   Saturday’s was that kind, I was probably too keen to stay with Bayi and sacrificed what should have been an easy second place.   I didn’t even hear the three others coming up on me at the finish otherwise I might have been able to respond.”   Clement admitted to having been mildly annoyed at the way Bayi kept looking round at him on Saturday – “that’s what forced me to stay as close as I could” – but no amount of determination was likely to upset the Tanzanian.   Stewart came boring through almost as though he had set his sights on second place and just pipped the Pole, Malinowski, on the line.  

Angus McKenzie, a physical education student at Loughborough, had the honour of being the first British athlete to clear 7 feet in the high jump.   Metrically it was 2.14 metres, a quarter of an inch over the once magical figure (Charlie Dumas was first over seven feet nearly 20 years ago!), but within seconds Mike Butterfield from England had also gone clear and he went on to win the event on countback.   Myra Nimmo booked a place in Britain’s team to meet East Germany in Dresden on 21st June when she won the long jump with 6.37 metres (two centimetres better than the Olympic qualifying distance.

Other Scottish performances in London were:-  400 metres  R Jenkins 47.3, P Hoffman 47.8; hammer C Black 219′ 8″; high jump B Burgess 6’8″; Women’s 800m M Coomber 2:06; 400m A Robertson 55.9 sec; 100m hurdles M Nimmo 13.8 (equals Scottish national record).”   

In 1975 we had five Scots inside 4 minutes for the mile, in 2013 we had two.   The other events on on the same day were normally big meetings for all Scottish athletes and in 1975 they were just that for most Scots.   Top men at the West Districts were Lawrie Spence who won the 1500m and 5000m, Ray Baillie from Clyde Valley won both 400m and 800m, while in the Youths age group (Under 17) Cameron Sharp won the 100 in a time only one tenth slower than the Senior winner (11.3to 11.2) and Brian McSloy took the 800m.    In the East Championships, John Robson won the 1500 in 3:50.2 on his own, Paul Buxton won shot, discus and hammer events, Allister Hutton won the 5000m (14:28)  and Jim Dingwall the 10000m (29:22), Tony Tarquini won the 400m hurdles in 55.1 seconds.    It had been a very good week-end for Scottish athletics.

After one month, all the big names had already been in action, names that still mean a lot in the sport, athletes like Meg Ritchie, Myra Nimmo, Ann Clarkson, Evelyn and Christine McMeekin, Moira Walls on the women’s side with all the milers, Dingwall, Gunstone, Hutton, Black, Buxton, McKenzie showing their undoubted ability.   June would lead up to the Scottish championships at Meadowbank.   The month started on the 6th with several meetings catering for all standards – the SWAAA junior and intermediate championship was at Pitreavie, Airdrie Highland Games had Lawrie Spence, Drew Harley and Ann Robertson among the attractions and on the Sunday in the BAL Gold Cup match at Meadowbank, Angus McKenzie again cleared 7 feet.    The event report that follows is of the Airdrie HG partly because it again illustrates what life was like in the days before money was awarded to athletes and when medals were kept for special championship meetings.


August 30th, Stretford: Dave Moorcroft (4), Frank Clement (2), Jim McGuinness (6), Dave McMeekin(7) and Ron McDonald (5)

“Lawrie Spence of Strathclyde University relieved Ian McCafferty of one of his many national records  when he ran the 2000m in 5 min 20.8 sec at Airdrie Highland Games on Saturday.   That shaved a fifth of a second off the time set by McCafferty at Grangemouth five years ago.   Spence finished at least 20 yards ahead of Mark Watt (5:26.8).   In the absence of Les Piggot, who was recovering from enteritis, Gordon Currie (Law and District) took the handicap  100 yards in 10.4 sec off 8.5 metres.   Piggot would have been pressed to concede that mammoth start and win.    Ann Robertson (Central Region) and Drew Harley (Pitreavie), who became engaged at Easter, left the meeting with their bottom drawer well bolstered.   Ann won the handicap 100 and scratch 200 in 12 sec and 25.3 sec, and Drew, having failed to finish in the 100 final, looked a winner all the way in the scratch 200 metres, leading by about 6 yards in a fast 21.9 sec.   Their prize haul – a continental quilt,  a lilo bed and a set of sheets.   Someone on the Games committee gets a prize himself for that kind of selection.”   Pity the poor committee man who is given a lump of money and told to buy prizes which vary in value from race to race, which go from first to third in value and that maybe comes to 60 prizes in all but he is not allowed to just give the athletes the money!   If blame is the game, then aim at the SAAA!   However the prize situation was indeed farcical and I have seen athletes struggling home with prizes ranging from coffee tables, fire screens and wicker chairs down to a set of matching table mats & coasters and small ornamental cannons for the mantelpiece!

In the BAL Pye Gold Cup first round match the winners included Angus McKenzie who equalled his British Games height with a great deal of anxiety at 6′ 8″ which was Crawford Fairbrother’s League record.   Other victors in the days when men’s leagues and women’s leagues were kept completely apart, were Tony Tarquini in the 400 in 50.0, Ronnie Knowles in the 1500 in 3:53, Colin Youngson in the 5000m in 14:37.6, Allister Hutton in the 10000m in 30:16.6, David Wilson in the 110 hurdles in 14.8, Stewart McCallum in the 400m hurdles in a really top class 52.9.   In the field events, Allan Wells won the long jump with 6.38m, McKenzie the high jump, Buxton the shot (15.58) and discus (50.90) and Black the hammer (65.58m).  Colin Youngson would normally be expected to run a bit quicker than the time recorded, but on the day he was tripped and fell on the first lap.  He got up, ran like fury, and overtook the opposition to win the race.  It was a day of many very good performances indeed with several Scottish all-time greats competing – not necessarily in the events for which they became known!

As for the SWAAA meeting there were several who would go on to sparkling careers in the sport.   Val Smith won the 100 and 200m (12.2 and 23.0), Kerry Williams the 400 (56.2),  Kerry Robinson the 800m (2:15.1), C Cameron won the shot (9.30m) in the inters age group and among the Juniors Fay Nixon won the 100 and 200m in 12.3 and 25.0 and Fiona McQueen won the 1500m in 4:51.9.

The main events the following weekend were the Scottish Schools Championships – the boys at Scotstoun – a BAL League meeting, the second of the season, for the men at West London, a Pye Cup qualifier for the women at Meadowbank, and an SWAAA Girls championships at Pitreavie which included the Senior women’s relays.   With a 20 mph wind stirring up the dust at Scotstoun, conditions were not good for the competitors but there were some surprisingly good performances.  eg Ross Hepburn high jumped 5′ 11″ in the 13-15 age group and Cameron Sharp won the 100 and 200m sprints in 10.7 and 22.5 seconds, and Graham Williamson won the 13-15 800 metres in 2:04.5.  Other talents on display were Peter Little (U15 100 and 200 in 11.6 and 22.7),  P Venters from Golspie winning both shot and discus in the 15-17 group, and Derek Easton winning the 17-19 steeplechase.

The performance of the day however came from Meg Ritchie in the Pye Cup in Edinburgh: “One of the few people pleased with the windy conditions at Meadowbank yesterday was Margaret Ritchie (Edinburgh Southern) who connected properly with a discus throw to reach 174′ 11″ – a cup record, the best in Britain this season and 12 feet better than her best this season.”   Among the other winners were Liz Sutherland who won the 100m (12.0) and 100m Hurdles (14.4), Myra Nimmo who won the 200m (24.8) and long jump (6.21m), Ann Clatkson 800m (2:14) and Moira Walls (high jump with 1.69m).   Meg Ritchie also won the shot with a putt of 12.55m   In the men’s league match, Angus McKenzie won the high jump and the 110m hurdles, Chris Black won the hammer with 220′ 8″,  Stewart McCallum the 400m hurdles with 53 seconds and Dave Logue and Allister Hutton were first and second in 14:10 and 14:14.6.


Ann Clarkson

On June 21st, the SAAA age group championships for Juniors, Youths and Senior Boys were held at Meadowbank, the Scottish Schoolgirls championships were held at Pitreavie, David Jenkins set a new 400m record in America and East Germany defeated Great Britain in a two day international in Dresden.    More about these and about the Scottish championships at the end of the month to come.   Paul Buxton dominated the Junior championships with championship records in shot, hammer and discus, the distances being 16.65 metres, 61.30 metres and 52.76 metres.   Brian Burgess cleared 2.05 metres in the high jump and narrowly failed at 2.10.   16 year old Ken Glass ran 49.9 in the 400m – a meeting record by more than a second and faster than the older age group winner.   Drew Harley won the junior 100 (11.3) and 200m (22.1), Cameron Sharp the youth 100 (11.3) and 200 (22.8) and Peter Little the boys events (12.0 and 24.1).   At the Scottish Schools girls championships, in the 15-17 age group Ann Clarkson won the 400m  and Kerry Robinson the 800, while in the Under 15’s Fay Nixon was the sprint double winner although the strong Pitreavie wind made records impossible.   In the US AAU Championships at Eugene, Oregon, David Jenkins at the age of 23 ran 44.93 seconds and, after a protest was upheld, was the new US champion.

The following week was the really big domestic event – the joint SAAA/SWAAA championships at Meadowbank on 28th June.   Although not covered in the Herald report, the men’s marathon was held and won by Colin Youngson in a championship best of  2:16:50 (in the colours of ESH) from fellow Aberdonian Samdy Keith (in the EAC vest) who ran 2:17:58 with Alastair Wood, an Aberdonian running for Aberdeen AAC) in 2:21:14.   Aberdeen was producing lots of top-class marathon runners at the time, probably more than anywhere else in the country, but the standard generally was incredibly high with men like Donald Macgregor, Jim Dingwall, Alastair Macfarlane, Doug Gunstone and company giving as good as they got.   In the track and field championships, Ron Marshall chose Chris Black as the top man – few would quibble given the mighty 227′ 4″ which was an Olympic qualifying distance by a long way and the best in Britain up to that point in 1975.   The women’s 100m hurdles was a very good  race with Liz Sutherland beating Myra Nimmo – both were given 13.8 at the finish which equalled Nimmo’s Scottish record.   Nimmo then won the long jump with 6.19 metres.   The results are below, men in the first table, women in the second.




Winning Performance



S Green (Kent)

L Piggot (Garscube)

11 seconds



D Harley (Pitreavie)

D McMaster (EAC)

22 seconds



P Hoffman (EAC)

H Stewart (Shettleston)

48.7 seconds



J McGuinness (Achilles)

P Lawther (Annadale)




L Spence (Strathclyde U)

R McDonald (Clyde Valley)




D Black (Small Heath)

J Brown (Clyde Valley)



110 hurdles

S McCallum (ESH)

D Wilson (EAC)

14.9 seconds


400 hurdles

A McKenzie (ESH)

S McCallum (ESH)




G Bryan-Jones (ESH)

P Forbes (EAC)



High Jump

A McKenzie (ESH)

B Burgess (EAC)

2.10 m


Long Jump

S Atkins (Wolverhampton)

R Turkington (Wolverhampton)

7.10 m


Triple Jump

W Clarke (ESH)

P Knowles (Thames Valley)

15.25 m


Pole Vault

R Williamson (EAC)

J Johnston (Cupar)

4.10 m


Shot Putt

H Davidson (ESH)

P Buxton (ESH)

16.15 m



C Sutherland (Mitcham)

C Black (ESH)

51.92 m



C Harrison (Luton)

D Birkmyre (VPAAC)

72.10 m



C Black (ESH)

T Campbell (Strathclyde)

60.50 m


Event First Second Winning Performance Comments
100m Helen Golden (ESH) L McCurry (Belfast) 11.7 seconds  
200m Helen Golden (ESH L McCurry 24.2 seconds  
400m A Littlejohn (ESH) A Robertson (Central Region) 54.5 seconds  
800m C McMeekin (Maryhill) A Clarkson (ESH) 2:06.8  
1500m C Haskett (Stretford) M Chambers (Blaydon) 4:21.6  
3000m C Haskett A Cherry (Pitreavie) 9:51  
100m hurdles L Sutherland (ESH) M Nimmo (Maryhill) 13.8 seconds  
400m hurdles S Dyson (Bury) S Livingstone (Pitreavie) 62.2 seconds  
high jump M Walls (Dunfermline CPE) J Thompson (Maryhill) 1.73 m  
long jump M Nimmo V White (Maryhill) 6.19 m  
Shot Putt J Kerr (Mitcham) M Ritchie (ESH) 14.18 m  
Discus M Ritchie J Fielding (Bury) 51.82 m  
Javelin S Brodie (ESH) A Hale  (Birchfield) 44.86  

The men’s championships had always been held on the last Saturday in June and the SWAAA had joined with them after the Games of 1970.   One of the obvious results was that the meeting was lengthened – this one took eight hours and the crowd number was estimated at about 1000.   Ron Marshall commented on the low number that witnessed the excellent women’s sprint hurdles.

June had gone and the first weekend in July (5th/6th) saw Doug Gunstone win the SAAA 10,000 metres championship at Carluke to go with the 10 miles track title that he had won in May.   Run in conjunction with the local highland games, his time was 30:46 which was 100 yards ahead of Alastair Johnstone (VPAAC) who was taking part in his first Scottish championship since his leg was broken by the hammer in1970.   Bill Yate of Maryhill was third.   Also that weekend was the BAL fixture at Meadowbank where ESH only had two track winners – Stewart McCallum in the 400m hurdles (54.1) and Dave Logue in the 5000m (14:10).  In the Division Two meeting at Crystal Palace, Brian Burgess cleared 6′ 9.5″ to win the high jump and establish himself as the third best in Britain behind McKenzie and Butterfield.   EAC were clear favourites to gain promotion and join ESH in Diviaion One in `976.   Maryhill Ladies AC won the new British women’s league fixture at Woodford Green in Essex to lead Division Two after two matches.   The big talking point however was the choices made by the SAAA when the picked their favoured athletes to be taken at SAAA expense to the British championships at Crystal Palace.  The athletes chosen were Roger Jenkins, Peter Hoffman, Jim Brown, Frank Clement, Adrian Weatherhead, David Jenkins, Ian Stewart, Chris Harrison, Angus McKenzie and Chris Black.   All good men and true but three of them lived in England (Harrison, Stewart and David Jenkins) and Scottish champion Stewart McCallum was not, nor was Brian Burgess.   McCallum was not happy about it and said so.   Certainly on his record that summer, he was worth selection.

The weekend 12th/14th July was a big one – an International against Poland, Sweden, USSR, Spain and Bulgaria for the GB men, the Europa Cup in Sofia where the GB women’s team with Helen Golden playing a part qualified for the final, the Scottish Men’s League at Meadowbank where two  records were set.   The sole Scot at Crystal Palace where it was one-per-event was David Jenkins who won the 400m in 45.7 seconds, the 200m in 20.95 and was a member of the 4 x 00m relay team.   For all that, the most encouraging thing was the level of competition in the Scottish Men’s League  match.   The two records were by Ron Fullelove (VPAAC) in the high jump with 2:05m (a League record and 2″ higher than he had previously managed) and Drew Harley in the 200m with 21.6 seconds which was a League record and a Euro Junior qualifying time.   Other results to note were EAC’s S Brodie running 10.5 seconds for the 00, Stewart of Shettleston’s 50.7 in the 400, 1:55.2 in the 800 by McCrone of |Bellahouston, 3:56 by Knowles of EAC in the 1500m, Johnston of Cupar clearing 4.00m in the vault, 14.11 by Paul Buxton (ESH) in the shot, and 62.88 by D Birkmyre (VP) in the javelin.   Division 1 was won by ESH from Shettleston and EAC with Perth Strathtay and Cupar seventh and eighth on the day.

The WAAA Championships were held at Crystal Palace on 19th July and four titles came Scotland’s way – Meg Ritchie, Myra Nimmo, Helen Golden and Mary Stewart all won hard competitive battles.   The ‘Glasgow Herald’ report (from ‘a special correspondent’) read: “Miss Golden regained the 200 metres title last held two years ago and needed to run one tenth of a second faster for this year’s victory in 24.2.   The Edinburgh girl, who had been suffering from a slight hamstring strain, decided not to risk aggravating the trouble by an explosive start in the 100 metres and reserved her energy for the longer race.   A change of acceleration over the last 50 metres carried the Scottish champion past Gladys Taylor and Wendy Clarke, two London girls who came to the meting with their reputations at a zenith.   They now know their weakness.  

Miss Ritchie, a schoolteacher from Dysart, was another  member of Edinburgh Southern to take a well-earned rightful place in British athletics.   The Scottish champion, overlooked in preference of Janet Thomson (Bracknell) for the discus in the Europa Cup semi-final, will certainly be the British selection for the final at Nice next month.   Miss Ritchie won with 1.20m to spare.   Miss Nimmo, ahead from the first round in the long jump and never likely to be overhauled, finished with a best effort of 6.30m.   A finishing burst down the home straight brought Miss Stewart the championship and an Olympic qualifying time in the  1500 metres.   She went below the standard by three tenths of a second, registering 4 minutes 14.7 seconds, and in the dash for the tape outpaced Hillary Hollick (Sale) and South Africa’s Sonia Laxton.   A slight lapse near the finish of the 800 metres cost Christine McMeekin (Maryhill) a higher position.   Apparently believing she had reached safety the young Scottish champion eased but was caught on the blind side by Janet Lawrence (St Helen’s), another teenager, for fourth place.   A tenth of a second separated the athletes with Miss Lawrence clocking 2:7.9.  

The narrow margin might cost the Glasgow girl a place in the British team for a match against Hungary and the Netherlands in Holland next month.   Both girls must be in the reckoning with a Canadian and a Republic of Ireland athlete separating them from the winner, Angela Creamer (Rotherham) who won in 2:05.1.   Liz Sutherland, the Scottish hurdles record holder, missed a medal nut must be a strong candidate for the International match.   The Edinburgh housewife returned 14.3 seconds for for a fourth position in the 100m hurdles to the Canadian Liz Daman , but only Lorna Booth of the British contingent was ahead of Mrs Sutherland. ”

In the post-George Dallas and pre-Doug Gillon days, the Glasgow Herald reported on events at British and World level almost to the exclusion of domestic events.   The issue of 28th July was a good illustration of this trend.   The main  headline was:

“Foster’s Way To Pull In The Crowds”  over a report of the  Gateshead Games as designed by Brendan Foster in which he attempted to break the world record for 5000m, and more than half the coverage was of Brendan, his vision and his running, then there were a mere 17 lines on David Jenkins’ 400 metres win in 45.5 and then 10 lines covering  Ian Stewart’s win in the 3000m in 7:51.4, Dave McMeekin’s second in the 1000m in 2:9.9, Frank Clement’s fifth in the Mile in 4:00.1.   The second headline was “Scots Can See Donna Murray” over an article about an upcoming meeting at Grangemouth.   Then equally big was “Bxton has a golden day” covering the AAA’s Junior Championships at Kirkby, Liverpool.   He won the shot, hammer and the discus.   Other Scots to do well were Peter Hoffman and Brian Burgess, second in 400m and high jump respectively.   Burgess ‘performance had him selected for the British International against France at Warley.   In the BAL matches, ESH finished third overall in Division 1 and EAC won Division 2 to gain promotion to the top tier the next year.

Into August and Ron Fullelove set another Scottish League record for the second meeting in succession at Meadowbank on Sunday, 3rd August, when he cleared 6′  8.75″ which ‘made some amends for his showing at the AAA’s championships where he only cleared 6′ 4.25″.   Paul Buxton also set a League Record in the discus with a throw of 169’ 8″ – ten feet better than his own record.   St the AAA’s championships at Crystal Palace on Saturday, 2nd, Ian Stewart made the headlines when he dropped out of the 5000m at about half distance.   Typically Ian, he made no excuses for it saying he didn’t know why it happened, this was the first time in his career that Stewart had dropped out of a race.  The report read: “I felt rough, my legs were heavy.   There just wasn’t anything there.   I can’t understand it.   I’ve just had one of my best-ever weeks of training.”   This could be the crux of the problem.   The narrowest of barriers separates Stewart’s training and racing pace, and instead of storing his energy for the championship, he must have drained it away.   Indeed, the race tempo was nothing extraordinary, and with the exception of Marty Liquori of America, the  quality was below par.    Liquori took the British crown in a time of 13:32.5.   A late burst carried him from third position over the final 300 metres, and a seven-tenths of a second victory over Titus Mamabola of South Africa.   All hopes of Stewart being included in the Europa Cup final at Nice in a fortnight disappeared when he dropped out.   His rehabilitation will come in the match against the Soviet Union at Crystal Palace on August  23rd.   He will have plenty of time by then to sort out a few training problems.

David Jenkins, of Edinburgh, won the 400 metres for the fifth successive occasion.   He registered 45.9 seconds half a second slower than his championship best  set three years ago, and one second slower than the UK record he collected with the American championship this year.   Jenkins, mature and powerful, detached himself from the challengers that included his brother Roger, of Heriot-Watt.   Jenkins farewell was over the last 200m but the brothers should be together in the British 4 x 400m relay team in the Europa Cup match.   Roger finished fifth, but as the third championship place went to Bevan Smith of New Zealand, it puts young Jenkins in that quartet.   Angus McKenzie, the first British athlete to clear seven feet in the high jump outdoors, will also be in the Nice team.   The Edinburgh champion cleared  6′  10.75″  , the same height as the winner, Reinhard Schiel, the South African record holder, and two other competitors.   McKenzie claimed second place with fewer failures.   Another South African, Danie Malan, deprived Scotland of a title.   He released a last lap of 54.2 seconds in the 1500m which brought him victory over Frank Clement in 3:38.1.   Stewart McCallum, from Edinburgh, was edged into fourth position in the 400m hurdles, but his time of 51.6 equalled the Scottish record.”

There were five meetings reported on in the Scottish press that Monday and the previous one: they covered meetings held in England with the sole exception of a League Meeting in Edinburgh.   There was not a word of the meetings where the bulk of Scottish athletes competed – eg Strathallan HG which was a big meeting with a famous road race, the only one over 20 miles in the country other than the marathon.   There were often enough no detailed results for the big meetings – eg the AAA’s, the SAAA’s – and there was no ‘Sport in Brief’ where these results were listed in those days.

Ron Fullelove was in the news again when was called in to the Scottish team for the international in Cwmbran, Wales, on 9th August, against Wales and Northern Ireland.  Angus McKenzie and Stewart McCallum had called off from the match on Saturday – but turned out for ESH in a BAL Pye Gold Cup match at Kirkby on the Sunday.   Fullelove was moved up to be the A String and he duly won the event with a height of 2.06 metres.     There was anther blow to the Scottish team when it was discovered that the team vests had been left at home which meant team manager Bobby Quinn heading to a local department store to buy some new ones!   As far as the match was concerned, the meeting started with a Scottish win in the 10,000m walk by Alan Buchanan in 47:49.5.   Jim Dingwall won the 3000m in which he was paired with Laurie Reilly, who led for most of the distance.   Passing David Lowes who had tried to make a break a mile from home, Dingwall won in 7:58 fairly comfortably.   Roger Jenkins won the 400m and anchored the winning 4 x 400m relay squad.   Dave McMeekin finished a close second to Pete Browne in the 800m.

In the Gold Cup, McCallum won the 400m hurdles in 51.7, just beating Harry Robinson who had won the international the day before.    Angus McKenzie won the high jump with  6′  8.25″ , Chris Black won the hammer with a throw of 216′ 4″, Gareth Bryan-Jones won the steeplechase and Dave Logue the 10000m.   The club was second to Wolverhampton and qualified for the final.

Leaving the top event of the next weekend – the Europa Cup in Nice – for the moment, the best single result was the victory by Christine McMeekin in the Under-21 Women’s Home Countries International at Teesside in the 800m in 2:08.2.   She was the only Scottish winner in a match won by North of England with Scotland fourth of the six competing teams.   The final Scottish women’s league match was held at Meadowbank and the only record set was a Scottish national record by Fiona McAulay of ESH in the 400m hurdles where she was timed at 61.3 seconds to take 0.7 seconds from the old one.   ESH won the league from EAC with Maryhill LAC third.   In the Nice meeting, David Jenkins was ‘at his uncompromising best’ in the relay where his split was 44.6 on the anchor leg, taking the country to team gold..   He also won the 400m individual race but other Scots were less successful – Helen Golden was ‘unremarkable, when running 24 seconds for seventh in the 200m, and Myra Nimmo was ‘well below her best’ in the long jump with 6.19 m for sixth place.    By far the best part of the article was taken up with Brendan Foster, with coverage of 19 year old Steve Ovett not far behind in terms of space allocated.

On August 22nd/23rd the big meetings were the GB v Russia at Crystal Palace and Edinburgh Highland Games.   In the former Scotland’s representatives were David Jenkins (1st, 45.7), Angus McKenzie (5th, 2.00m), Meg Ritchie (3rd, 54.12m), Myra Nimmo (2nd, 6.35m), Helen Golden (6th, 12.04) and Mary Stewart (4th, 4:17.06).       It was apparently a very windy day which acted against the long jumpers and affected almost every track runner.   Mike Tagg took the headlines however when he won the 10000m with a 54 second last lap.   The day before however the Edinburgh Highland Games were held before a crowd of 16,000.  The entire report follows because there used to be frequent meetings of this calibre with international athletes from all over the world taking part – as well as at the Edinburgh HG, there were big meetings at Rangers Sports, Celtic Sports, the Glasgow Police Sports and others.   Given meetings of this quality, Scots will always turn out to watch.


Edinburgh Highland Games continues to astound with the sheer breadth of its impact.   The magical mix of world-class athletics and traditional Scottish events pulled in a 16,000 crowd at Meadowbank on Saturday and anyone who left dissatisfied is indeed hard to please.   You can look back 29 years of these Games picking out legendary competitors like Fanny Blankers-Koen and Mal Whifield , but the gems on Saturday shone every bit as brightly.   We had Steve Williams (United States) who had the previous day in Berlin run his second 9.9 100 metres; Alan Pascoe, David Jenkins, Don Quarrie, the world 200 metres record holder, and of course John Walker, the man who has broken new territory in the mile.  

Walker, a 23 year old New Zealander, whose employers , an Auckland radio company, clearly allow him generous leave, has had a phenomenal European tour.    On Saturday his performance in the British Caledonian mile could fairly be termed brilliantly competent.   Haunted by a cold and travel fatigue, Walker was unwittingly nursed by the others through slow early stages with the bell reached in 3:07, Walker shot to the front 200 metres from home and that was that.   His time, 3:59.9, was one of his slowest, and it was understandable when he said later “I don’t know who decided on that speed of pace-making but it certainly suited me in my present condition.” 

Williams, showing no such inhibitions, feathered his way to a 102 sprint followed by fellow American, Steve Riddick.   Neither ran in the 200m but Quarrie lent the class here.   Jenkins, the UK record holder, was unable to contain the Jamaican, which was hardly surprising, and he finished three yards down,   20.6 to 20.9.   Pascoe again defeated John Akii-Bua, the Olympic champion, this time over 200m hurdles, after making a decisive thrust two flights from home.   Among a host of other superb results too lengthy to enumerate, Casey Carrigan (United States) vaulted 17′ 8.25″ , a UK all-comers record, and Geoff Capes, as well as putting the shot 66′ 5″ clearly enjoyed himself in the Scottish heavy events, kilt and all.”

The paper’s sports editor must have been extremely stingy with space if he could not go to the extent of simply adding a list of winners in such a meeting.

The annual ultra marathon distance race – the Two Bridges 36 miles from Dunfermline taking in the Kincardine and Forth Road Bridges – was on 28th August.   It was won by one of the great long distance runners of all time, Cavin Woodward of Leamington in 3:26:45 to be followed by Colin Youngson who was timed at 3:29:44 to be the only Scot in the top ten.   There were 52 finishers in the race.   Colin won the Donald Macnab Robertson Trophy for the Scottish Road Runner of the year and he puts this race down as being the deciding factor, although his season’s racing had been very good with his SAAA victory in a championship performance also being an outstanding race.

On 30th August the Enschede Marathon was held in Holland and Sandy Keith was the top Scot when he finished second in 2:18:43 behind Ron Hill’s 2:15:59.   Second Scot was Martin Craven in in thirteenth in 2:27:10.   Staying with the marathon, the Harlow was run much later in the year – October 25th – and  Sandy Keith won in 2:16:15 which was to be his lifetime best.   With this he topped the Scottish rankings and at the end of the year he and his Aberdeen rival and friend Colin Youngson were equal fifth in the GB merit rankings.

In the weekend of 5th and 6th September, ESH men’s and women’s team took part in the Pye Gold Cup and Pye Women’s Cup at Crystal Palace.   The trophy competitions took the form of a knockout competition, open to all clubs in the British Isles, with preliminary rounds being held all over the United Kingdom and each club could only use one athlete per event.   It also covered every event on the programme, including a men’s 10,000 metres.    Edinburgh AC men had also made it through to the final.   The result was a win for both Southern teams.   Meanwhile back at home the Ben Nevis race took place at Fort William, and at the Shotts Highland Games Ron McDonald won the 3000 metres from Jim Brown.

It was Great  Britain  v  Sweden at Meadowbank the following week.   Britain won very comfortably, the women winning every event except one.   Scots competing included David Jenkins who won the 200 in 21.9,  400m in 46.7, Jim Brown who won the 10,000m in 28:54.4, Liz Sutherland who won the invitation 100m in 12 seconds, Rosemary Wright won the 800m and the 1500m in 4:10.4,  Meg Ritchie won the discus, Myra Nimmo who won the long jump, as well as many others who did well – eg Stewart McCallum, Margot Wells, Margaret Coomber.

The last real fixture of the summer was on 21st September when the Scottish Young Athletes League was held at Meadowbank where the star performer was 13 year old high jumper Ross Hepburn who cleared 6′ 2″ to set a British Under 15 record for the event.   His club, Edinburgh AC defeated Shettleston to win the league title.

That was the scene in 1975 when the sport had just started to move from the days when amateurism ruled unquestioningly over the sport to one in which there were queries (to put it mildly) about why it had to be that way, when it was moving more quickly into a sport where sports science started to have a greater influence than before over how athletes trained.    Even in road running such exotica as the Astrand Diet were coming even closer to the everyday athlete.   Two stories: I was running round the perimeter at a famous Glasgow athletic club when a coach from that club said “it used to be that we just got sore legs, now they all get bl**dy injuries!”    Then just before a Scottish marathon championship one of the runners dashed from the changing rooms and returned brandishing a bottle of green stuff – it was lemon juice that he was going to make into a drink to be waiting for him at the feeding stations en route.   “Flavour doesn’t matter, so long as it’s got plenty of sodium ions!”   (Flavour did matter as it turned out, the sharp taste of lemon puckered up his mouth which didn’t help at all.)

Coverage of the sport altered too.   There was probably an effect after the Edinburgh Games of 1970 and a thirst for what the big names were doing.   But to some extent the baby was thrown out with the bath water and domestic events were not at all well covered in the Scottish press: this did not help in the development of the sport.   There were many road races organised by the SMC as well as by local bodies which were either not reported or had only scant coverage.   Established meetings like Gourock Highland Games and Cowal Highland Gathering also suffered.    Some of the early season road results are noted here:

5th  March:   DAAA Balloch to Clydebank Road Race  12 Miles  1st D Gunstone 60:31;  2nd P Dolan  60:46;  3rd E Knox  61:06;  4th D Macgregor 61:19; 5th A Keith 61:22.   50 finished.

26th April:  The SMC Clydebank to Helensburgh Road Race    16 Miles   1st: P Dolan  1:26:25;  2nd  WJ Sharp  1:26:53;   3rd  WA Day  1:27:30;  4th A Macfarlane  1:28:30;   5th G Eadie  1:29:12.   41 finished

7th June:  Airdrie HG Road Race 13 Miles   1st: P Dolan  1:01:44;  2nd  AB Keith  1:02:10;  3rd  DJ Wyper  1:05:52;  4th  GW Brown  1:07:18;  5th  HS Scott  1:07:39.

There were many more – more than one a week at various distances.   But it was a different scene from the 60’s with many of the big meetings now defunct, little opportunity for the man-on-the-terracing to see the stars in action other than at major  Games and the coverage at times bordered on the abysmal.