Maley, Struth and Athletics: 4 1920 to 1939

Eric Liddell winning the 220 yards at Celtic Sports in 1922

When the 1920’s started Maley was the elder statesman who had been around athletics since 1896, been a sports promoter since 1890 and was President of the SAAA as well as being a successful football team manager.   Struth was the coming man: a professional runner up to the age of 32, trainer with Hearts and then with Clyde from 1908 until he joined the Rangers in 1914 and promoter in his own right from 1920.   Both had been officials in meetings – Maley as judge and Clerk of the Course, Struth as starter, a post he must have held at the Clyde Sports simply because he would not have been given the job in his first season at Ibrox had he not been experienced, and Clerk of the Course.    Both clubs had kept the sports going during the war, albeith on a much reduced basis – there were events confined to military men – a stretcher race, a 10 mile marathon confined to the army, etc – and a lot of fund raising for the war effort was done with fairly generous donations made by the clubs.   The first meetings after the war were held in 1918

In 1920 both were well supported by spectators with 30,000 estimated to be at the Celtic meeting, and by the runners with 22 heats of the 100m and 19 of the furlong; while at Ibrox the previous week there were 40,000 in attendance, and there were new Scottish records by McPhee (Scottish native record) and AG Hill (Scottish all-comers’ record) in the invitation 1000 yards.   Both meetings were very successful but there was an almost entirely domestic field in the events.   If anything, Rangers had a slight advantage in the appearance of two or three good English runners with AG Hill the pick of the crop.   And so it continued for the first few years of the decade with respectable attendances (promoters in the 21st century would give their eye teeth for such numbers) but, quality domestic fields containing a few Englishmen, rarely anyone from abroad.   ie: 

In 1921,  Randgers Sports:  Attendance 15,000, top athletes Eric Liddell, Duncan McPhee, AG Hill and American high jumper B Howard Baker;    Celtic Sports: Attendance 18,000, Eric Liddell, D McPhee, AG Hill. 

1922, Rangers Sports:  30, 000, R McGrath (Manchester, D McPhee (against another 141 runners in the mile); Celtic Sports  15,000 (Very wet day) E Liddell, D McPhee.

1923, Rangers Sports:  40,000  WH Calderwood, D McPhee (T Riddell of Glasgow High School almost won Mile); Celtic Sports,  16,000J McIntyre, C Blewitt, D McL Wright.

But 1924 was different for two reasons.   First, it was Olympic year and they were held in Paris between 5th July and 27th July.   Close to Scotland and just after the Games, with expenses to and from Scotland paid, there was every incentive to come along.   Mr Struth must have been convincing because, well see the heading from the Glasgow Herald:

The international stars lived up to their billing with good performances all round.   JV Schols (USA) won the invitation 120 yards, SJM Atkinson (South Africa) won the 120 yards hurdle race, Eric Liddell won the 440 yards and C Griffiths (Wales) won the 880 yards.

Second, the Glasgow Herald was not as complementary to Celtic as it had been in 1923.    Let me quote from the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of August 11th 1924.   “In former years the second Saturday of August saw the last of the big amateur athletic gatherings in Scotland.   Rangers Football Club occupied the first Saturday, Celtic the second; but this year there has been a change, the East-End club giving up their sports in favour of a five-a-side football tournament.   The estimated attendance at Parkhead on Saturday, 15,000, compares badly with the 40,000 or 50,000  that assembled at Ibrox a week previously, but the Rangers offered attractions of an almost unprecedented nature, the competitors including some of the most famous competitors from the Olympic Games in Paris.    Had Celtic followed suit they might have had an equal attendance, but on this occasion they chose to follow a more prudent but less heroic course.   The performances of the Olympic giants at Ibrox were not impressive, and it might not have happened that the glamour had gone off, and that the Parkhead club might have been saddled with the heavy expense of a first class meeting and missed the reward.   Still, the decision to abandon an old-established meeting, and one that has always been held in the highest repute, is to be regretted, and all interested in athletics in Scotland and hope that the meeting will be revived next year.”  If I read that properly, then the reporter insinuates that the Celtic management were afraid of making a big loss.   I would not have thought that such was the Maley style.   It might as easily have been the start of the Scottish football scene exactly seven days later.   Preparation for the opening matches could more easily be included in a football tournament a week in advance than in an open and invitation sports meeting.   Coming when it did, the Celtic Sports would eventually suffer from the situation.   

However the year passed and Struth built upon the previous year and  the Glasgow Herald said

 The results were all of a very high standard: Ray Dodge (USA) was timed at 2 min 13.6 for 1000 yards was a new Scottish all-comers record but also a new British record, the previous British best having been 2:14.5.   This had been a really close race between Dodge and Griffiths with Dodge just getting the verdict.   ‘Existing figures were also beaten in the hurdles and pole jump.   On a day of brilliant weather there was a crowd of approximately 35,000.    The restored Celtic meeting was held the following week and the report read as follows.

Rangers again had a very large crowd the following year when 30,000 went along to see a meeting consisting mainly of home Scots with several very good English athletes and a single athlete from abroad in the form of a French high jumper.   No records but very good sport.   However the football season started on the second Saturday of the month.   What would Celtic do?   Would the meeting be abandoned altogether in view of the fact that the opening matches had been brought back a week by the SFA?   The answer was that it would not be cancelled.   It was a difficult decision to take since almost every Saturday in the summer months was a traditional date for some meeting or another – many by other football clubs, so for 1925 the meeting was held on the Tuesday after the Rangers Sports.   Why then?    Read the following: 


The report on the meeting on Wednesday in the Glasgow Herald read:

Successful by present day standards but the relatively small crowd for a meeting that included a five-a-side tournament four days before the season tells a tale.   Unless they could find a regular Saturday slot for the meeting, the Celtic Sports were doomed.   Incidentally the football final was won by Rangers (Cunningham, McKay, Craig, Archibald and Morton) with 2 goals over Celtic (W McStay, J McStay, Thomson, McGrory and McLean) who had nil.

What happened in 1927 was an attempt to fins another Saturday for their meeting but there were problems.   Their range of alternative dates was circumscribed (a) by all the other regular meetings, and (b) by the lengthening football season – ending later and starting earlier.   Queen’s Park FC Sports were on the first week in June, the Glasgow Police on the third week in June, SAAA Championships a week later, Greenock Glenpark were on the last week in July, Rangers on the first week in August and so on.   It had to be a move back and the second Saturday in July seemed a good choice but – in 1927 it fell on the same day as the English championships.   Nevertheless it went ahead on 27th July although it was not the first big meeting at Parkhead that year – the SAAA Championships had been held there in June.   The Glasgow Herald began its report – “There was a time in the past when Celtic Football Club’s meetings scintillated with most of the stars that shone in the athletic firmament, but this year the bringing forward of the gathering, due to the encroaching of the football season and its consequent coincidence with the AAA championships compelled the management to rely entirely on home talent.  Frankly the absence of the imported element did not affect the afternoon’s sport, so varied and well balanced was the programme. ”   Maley knew his business and continued to host the Celtic Sports every year despite the difficulties.   .   In contrast the Rangers match was held before a crowd of 35,000 and was held to be a tremendous success.   Struth had managed to persuade parties from Polytechnic Harriers and the Achilles Club to come along.   Notables included Douglas Lowe and Lord Burghley – names which would draw crowds on their own – but the top athlete on the day was JWJ Rinkel of the Achilles Club who won the invitation 120 yards handicap from scratch as well as the open 220 yards.   Other events won by the southerners were the invitation 440 yards hurdles by Lord Burghley  (also second in the 129 yards hurdles), JE Webster the eight laps steeplechase, C Ellis the first class open mile (there were two open miles because of the numbers entered – the best runners being in the first class race), and JE London the high jump.   

Problems arose on the new date almost immediately – the triangular international with England and Ireland which had previously been held on the last Saturday in June moved to the second Saturday in July in 1929, and was still there in 1930.   The reason is understandable.   It was the week after the SAAA Championships.   To compete in two such high profile events in successive weeks was not ideal and they were moved.   This left Celtic with another headache.   Almost every Saturday in June and July was taken up with one event or another, some of the major events are listed above but other football clubs such as Partick Thistle and Falkirk had their own dates, and there were meetings all over the country from Golspie to Lockerbi via Aberfeldy, Beith and Catrine.

Rangers Sports in 1928 were another success as is shown by the brief report in the Scotsman on the following Monday.


Americans as well as Englishmen – high jumper Osborn was one of the Americans from Illinois in his second year at Rangers Sports.   It was again an Olympic year and fixtures were all over the place trying to avoid the Olympic period.   Celtic seem to have found the task impossible and the next Celtic Sports appeared in the papers in 1930.   Mreanwhile the Rangers Sports of 1929 had an estimated attendance of about 20,000 who witnessed some very good athletics from some excellent English athletes including the Olympic sprinter Jack London and the One Mile (medley) Relay was won by Birchfield Harriers from Polytechnic Harriers.   

The Rangers Sports of 1930 were held before a crowd of 20,000 and the best performance was that of Tom Riddell who beat John McGough’s Scottish record for the mile with his time of  4:19.6 in the special mile which he won from R Thomson of Bellahouston Harriers.   It was   an entirely domestic field with only a few Englishmen who turned in undistinguished performances.   Celtic held their sports the following Tuesday before a moderate crowd.  The Glasgow Herald report below indicates that it was a good sprts meeting but virtually every race wasbetween domestic athletes althouth there were a couple of Irish competitors also present. 

In contrast, the Ibrox meeting of 1931 showed Struth at his finest.    In the photograph above he is shown welcoming Paavo Nurmi an d his manager to Glasgow for the Rangers Sports of 1931.   Possibly the most famous athlete in the world, the Finn was a great capture for the Rangers Sports and Struth had his picture in the papers on his arrival, during the meeting and made sure that he himself, as representative of the Rangers FC, was in them.   Nurmi wasn’t the only star athlete on display but he was the name on the publicity.   The Herald on the following Monday said –

He ran in two races, the two miles and the four miles, before a crowd of 45,000 spectators who saw during the afternoon four records broken.   Nurmi set an all-comers record of 19:20.4 for the four miles and Cyril Ellis of England set a record of 4:15.2  for the mile.   .Tom Riddell set a native record for the mile of 4:15 and JF Wood set a native record for the four miles of 14:44.2.   It was a total success by any measure – attendance, quality of athletics or just as entertainment.  As for the Celtic, Despite the success of the 1930 meeting there was apparently no follow up meeting in 1931 – at least not on the three dates previously used by the club – second Saturday in July, second Saturday in August or second Tuesday in August.

In 1932, the  triangular international was again on the second Saturday in July and the Tuesday in August which had previously been the club’s alternative date of choice saw most of the regular athletes (Bobby Graham, Walter Calderwood, etc)  in action at the Springburn Harriers meeting at Helenvale.   At Celtic Park, Celtic FC had their final trial before the opening of the football season the following Saturday.   The Saturday before that saw the 46th Rangers Sports with a crowd of 23,000 or 25,000 depending on which paper you read.   The conditions were all against good times as the Glasgow Herald tells us, but the performances were all of a good standard with the first three in the invitation 120 yards hurdles being R Murdoch, M Rousseau (Racing Club de France) and J Bell (Cliftonville  Harriers) to maintain the international aspect of the meeting.   It was only won by a yard but a relatively closer finish was the invitation 1000 yards where Calderwood won by only three yards from RE Clark of Plebeian Harriers.   Wylie of Darlington won the three miles, and in the relay, Maryhill Harriers beat a French Select and Polytechnic Harriers by 18 yards.    There was also a 17 miles road race in which England’s Ernie Harper was second to Donald Robertson with Wilson of Irvine third.   There were even three handicap prizes as well as for the first three.   A big day for the road runners.  All finishers received a certificate, see below, which was another novelty and the certificates were treasured.   Another successful day for Bill Struth’s organising committee.   It was just a pity that the SFA had spoiled the Celtic meetings or the Glasgow (and Scottish) public would have had several wonderful meetings.   

There was a reprise of the road race in 1933 but the headlines were not for the road men at all.   Have a look at this from the ‘Glasgow Herald’

Mr Struth with another star or two at the Rangers Sports.   This time it was Jack Lovelock from New Zealand who was the star draw – and unlike many other top names, he did not disappoint.   He was not the only top notch athlete on parade that afternoon:

  • TH Scrimshaw (Belgrave Harriers) broke the Scottish record for the half mile
  • Don Finlay, AAA’s champion won the hurdles race ina hard fought battle with GUAC runner AS Kitchin
  • Ernie Harper won the 17 miles road race from Dunky Wright and JF Wood who was running in his first ling road race
  • GT Saunders (Poly Harriers) equalled the Scottish record when winning the invitation 100 yards.

But the race of the day had to be the Invitation One Mile in which four quality athletes from four countries – NZ, England, Wales and Scotland all started from the scratch mark..   The ‘Scotsman’ report on the race and the photograph from the same source- 


The Celtic  Sports had already been held – 10th July was the date and there was a good turnout on a windy afternoon at Parkhead.  Riddell ran in an invitation 1000 yards race and there were several very good Scots competing with quality Englishmen.   The report in the Scotsman read:

The Celtic meeting had been a good one, held during the west of Scotland holiday month of July  while the Rangers had been an international meeting after all the holiday trips but while the atmosphere was still high and a tremendous success.   It speaks highly of the desire of Celtic to hold an athletics sports that they should carry on in such difficult circumstances.   Their problems had been accentuated by the SAAA changing the date of the international track match to the second Saturday in July which had looked as though it would be a good date for the club’s sports.   The Football Association had brought back the season’s starting date causing the search to begin with, and then the SAAA had exacerbated it by moving their date forward.    In 1934 the sports were held on Tuesday, 7th August and although the event was covered there was no report on the athletics – the entire report was devoted to the fact that a Celtic player called Crum (we were never told his Christian name by the ‘Glasgow Herald’) had his leg broken when he fell in a tackle by a Clyde player called McPhail during the first five-a-side match.   Five paragraphs were devoted to the event.   There were six races, two cycle races and a five-a-side tournament.   The races were all domestic affairs with not a single big name or champion among them.   

Laurie Lehtinen being give lap times by Borje Strandvall at Ibrox.

The Rangers Sports on the other hand were well covered by most of the quality Scottish papers with a big international cast for the spectators to feast their eyes on.   The name on most lips was that of the Finn Lauri Lehtinen who set new Scottish figures for the three miles of 14:15.4.   There were many Scottish names in the race which were or would become good runners in their own right.   eg Alex Dow of Kirkcaldy and David Brooke of Garscube Harriers who would be a timekeeper at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and other major fixtures.   The special quarter mile was a real battle between Borje Strandvall (Finland), JM Hucker (USA), R Boisset and K Stravisky (both France): they all ran from scratch but the race was won by C France (Bellahouston) who had been given 12 yards.   The high jump was won by CA Scott (Cornell) and another American JM Curran (Princeton) was second in the open 220 yards.   RF Hardy the American inter-collegiate champion entered three sprints but did not survive the heats.   Boisset and Dondelinger (France) both qualified for the final of the open 220.   It had been a really high class match with 13 open events, 4 invitation and a five-a-side tournament.   

The picture below tells us all we need to know about the value of Maley’s Celtic Sports and Struth’s Rangers Sports to Scottish athletics when they were operating at their best.   A Scot running on home soil with a New Zealander and two excellent English runners.  The publlicity gained from running in front of a big crowd and the inspiration passed to the hundreds, literally hundreds of club runners, competing on the day.  Any runner in the open mile, having seen these and others in the invitation mile must have been inspired to greater things and run better on the day.   If you doubt the ‘hundreds of club runners, start with a not-uncommon twenty five heats of the 100 yards with eight men per heat and there are 200 men already, add in 140 plus in the Mile, again not unusual, and we are already up to 340 club runners.   Athletics owed these two organisers a lot.   Had the Celtic Sports been able to continue to the 1960’s as Rangers did, both sports would have been the better of it. 

The meeting highlights are noted in this extract from the Scotsman of the following Monday – and manager Struth is given credit for the standard of the meeting:

The outstanding attraction was of course the invitation mile where Lovelock was well beaten and the race was won by Reeve (25 yards) from Riddell (35 yards) with Wooderson (scratch) third.    In the 5-a-side competition, the Rangers side (Meiklejohn, Brown, Venters, Smith and Gillick) defeated Celtic (McGonagle, McMcDonald, Morrison, Buchan and Delaney) 2 – 1. 

Was Willie Maley still involved in the organisation of the Celtic Sports?   They were increasingly difficult to organise, problems were being created by both football and athletics governing bodies and the Rangers Sports were greatly enhanced in status.   Had he delegated the athletics to another member of the organising committee?   The answer comes in the programmes where the list of officials occupied a prominent position in the opening pages.   The programme for 1935 lists them as –

There he was in the traditional place as Clerk of the Course.   It was a full 24 page programme for the meeting on Tuesday, 6th August 1935.    Just when you thought the event was on its last legs, an excellent meeting came up on Tuesday 6th August 1935.    The headline read: 



The annual sports meeting of Celtic FC was held last night at Celtic Park, Glasgow, in fine weather conditions and before a moderate attendance.   Some excellent sport was witnessed, and in the special invitation race over the three-quarter mile, R Graham set up a new Scottish record of 3 min 4 6-10th sec, this time being 1 6-10th sec faster than that set up by Tom Riddell at the Queen’s Park Sports three years ago.   Graham ran from the scratch mark, instead of the 10 yards as originally intended in the handicap and he was accompanied by J Gifford and JP Laidlaw to both of whom he conceded 10 yards.   He covered his first lap in 61 seconds, but took 63 4-10th for the second.   In his final 300 yards however, he put in a great finish catching the leaders at the last bend went on to win by six yards from W Gunn. “   There were six races, three cycle events and a five-a-side.    

1936 was a year when the Scotsman headline read “FEW THRILLS AT IBROX” before going on to explain.

That was the same story in most papers – “interesting but not exciting.”   The Olympics were not just any Games, but it was 1936 with the ‘Gathering Clouds over Europe’ and Jesse Owens winning in Berlin and a lot of attention was focused in that direction.  There was still a crowd of sizeable proportions (30,000) and interesting athletics.   Celtic suffered likewise from the Olympics and also from a midweek evening date and coverage in both Glasgow Herald and Scotsman was scanty with almost identical content in their brief coverage.  This is from the Herald

1937 was another very good year for the Rangers Sports with very good, if not magnificent, performances studded through the programme with many of the old favourites on view.   The Scotsman photograph below is of one of these, and a Scotsman too.

“SC WOODERSON BREAKS BRITISH RECORD”.   “BRILLIANT PERFORMANCE IN THREE-QUARTER MILE AT IBROX.”   “THREE TENTH OUTSIDE WORLD RECORD FIGURES.”   “ROBIN MURDOCH’S TRIUMPH”   “WIND THWARTS WOODERSON OF FIRST WORLD RECORD.”   These were just some of the headlines over the reports on the Rangers Sports in 1937.    The pictures of Murdoch and Wooderson here are from the Scotsman on the following Monday.   The result of the invitation Races were as follows. 

 Quarter Mile:   1.   RTH Littlejohn (Edinburgh H, 15 yards);  2. W Roberts (Salford H, scr);  3.  FF Wolff (London AC, 10 yards)

120 yards hurdles was  1.  R Murdoch (Atalanta, 1 1/2 yards);  2.  AW Sweeney (Milocarians, scr );  3.  W Rangely (Salford , 1 yard)  1.6 sec

Half Mile:   1.  JW Alford (Roath H, 8 yards);  2.  O Hoel (Field Events Club, 8);  3.   AJ Collyer (Watford H, scr).   1 min 54.2

Three Quarter Mile was: 1.   SC Wooderson (scr); 2.   RH Thomas (RAF and Surrey AC, 10 yards); 3.  RC Eden (Watford H,  12 yards).   3 min 0.9 sec.   Scottish and British all-comers record.   

It was a good well attended meeting where, by universal opinion, the wind deprived Wooderson of a world record. 

In 1937 and 1938, team trials seemed to be the order of the day for the club in the week leading up to the start of the season, and there were no notes of any Celtic FC Annual Sports on the usual dates available to them in the past.   After the SFA brought the start of their season back a week, the search for a new date was thwarted again and again by facts outwith their control and it was a real pity – and a loss to all sportsmen in the country when the Celtic Sports came to an end.

The Rangers event continued – why should it not as long as their date remained available?   The Glasgow Herald headline for 1938 is below.

In front of nearly 70, 000 spectators – yes, SEVENTY THOUSAND – and in ideal conditions, what was one of Struth’s best ever meetings took place.   Four records were broken, including a British and Scottish all-comers record; athletes from Scotland, England, Wales, South Africa,  America and Canada were competing in invitation events and hundreds of Scots club athletes took part in 10 track and field events (including for women and Youths) and a marathon, plus two cycle races and a five-a-side competition in which Partick Thistle defeated Celtic in the Final.   

This is not the place for a full report on the meeting, that would take a page in its own right, but the results of the invitation events can be noted:

Half Mile:  1.  FR Handley (Salford, 6);  2.  RTH Littlejohn (Edinburgh H, 12);  3.  AJ Collyer (Watford).   Collyer’s time of 1:52.8 was a Scottish All-Comers record)

Quarter Mile:   W Fritz (Canada  scr);  2. JW Loaring (Canada  6);  3.  CF Campbell (Springburn 1 7)   48 sec

1500m:  1.  DP Bell (Herne Hill, 30);  2.  SC Wooderson (Blackheath, scr);  3.  AV Reeve (Polytechnic, 42).  3:46.9.   Wooderson’s time was 3:49.0

120 yards: P Walker (USA scr); 2.  JM Cole (Glasgow Police, 5 1/2);  3.  AA Clarke (Dumbarton  5 1/2)  11.7 sec

120 yards hurdles:  1   D Finlay (RAF 2.  J Patterson (USA);  3.  A Tolmach (USA)  14.7 sec.   A Scottish all-comers record.. 

Pole Vault:  1.  DM Hastie (Hillhead HS, 3′ 9″);  2.  H Hood (Edinburgh Police, 2′ 6″);    14′ 7″   Cornelius Warmerdam (USA) vaulted 14′ 3″ to establish British and Scottish all-comers records.   

The marathon race which had started in Gourock  was won by TF Lalande (South Africa) in 2 hours 46 minutes 58 sec , from TA Strachan (Glasgow YMCA) who ran 2:54:12.   

It really was a wonderful meeting and one worth reading about in detail when you are browsing old newspapers.  The picture below is from the Scotsman.



The 1939 Sports were equally good with star athletes from many countries taking part – Scots, English and of course Americans were there , they were joined by quality Finnish and South African runners.   Two new British records, four invitation events, eleven track and field events, a marathon race, two cycle races and a five-a-side competition.   And a crowd of at least 60,000.

Again it was a Finnish distance runner who excited the crowd  most.   Tasto Maki ran in the Three Miles and ‘reeled off lap after lap with effortless ease.’  He had to make all his own pace and although he didn’t catch Bingham, the handicap winner he was 4:37.4 at the mile, 9:26 for two miles and 14:03.4 for the three miles.   The American Charles Beetham was one of three men on the scratch mark for the 1000 yards, the others being the star American Blaine Rideout and AJ Collyer (England).   Collyer took them through the quarter in 57 seconds, at the half mile Beetham was just inside 1:57 and at the finish he was timed at 2 minutes 11 seconds.   

.The results of the invitation events were as follows.

120 yards handicap:  1.  Clyde Jeffrey (USA); R Cochran (USAS, 4); 3.  JM Bone (Bellahouston, 6 1/2)  11.8 seconds

440 yards:  1.  R McGregor (Maryhill,  32);   2.  Erwin Miller (USA, scr);  3.  JAM Robertson (GUAC, 9)  48 seconds

1000 yards:  1.   EA Sears (Essex Beagles 16); Charles Beetham (USA  scr); 3.   J Gifford (Bellahouston, 20)   2:10.9   Beetham’s time was 2 min 11 sec, a new British and Scottish all-comer’s record.   

Three Miles:  1.  M Bingham (Finchley H, 190);   2.  Taisto Maki (Finland, scr);  3.  W Nelson (Maryhill, 360)   13:55.6.   Maki’s time was 13 min 03 2/5th sec, a new British and Scottish all-comers record.   

In addition note these results:   Eight laps steeplechase:  1.  V Iso-Hollo (Finland, scr);  2.  W Wylie (Darlington Harriers, 150),  3.  JSD Nosbet (Gala Harriers, 360).   10 min 22 2/5th sec

Marathon Race:  1.   D McNab Robertson (Maryhill)   2:42:02;   2.  TF lalande (DSouth Africa and Poly Harriers)  2:48:40;  3.  TH Richardson (Mitcham)  2:50:27  


We all know what happened next in Europe but none of that takes away from the history so far of the Rangers and Celtic Sports over the years since Maley and Wilton started the drive for excellence in athletics to set before the Scottish public.   Over the years since then, these two Sports have had competitors from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, from Commonwealth countries like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and other lands such as USA, Canada, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France and Italy.   And there were more than that.   There were Olympians, EWuropean champions, Empirs Games champions and records at one level or another at every track distance as well as pole vault, high jump and most field events.   The story of these game – now, alas, only the Rangers Sports – from the War Years up to 1962 will be taken up nect,




Maley, Struth and Athletics: 3 1920


We have noted Maley’s athletics pedigree and the fact that he was a member of the SAAA Committee right up to and beyond the War and being elected President in 1921/22.  We should look equally at the development of Struth the athlete into Struth the Promoter.    As an indication only of the racing done by Struth, the range of distances and his willingness to travel at a time when transport was a bit more difficult than at present, the following prize winning events around the turn of the century are noted.   There were many others.

Year Date Venue Distance Handicap Place
1898 Jan 1st-3rd Powderhall Mile 135 yards 2nd
1898 Jan 4th-5th Celtic Park Mile 135 yards 2nd
1899 Jan 2nd-3rd Powderhall 880 yards 55 yards 3rd
1900 Jan 1st Hawkhill Grounds 880 yards 55 yards 3rd
1900 Jan 1st-2nd Powderhall 880 yards 50 yards 3rd
1900 May 24th-June 2nd Powderhall 130 yards 15 1/2 yards 2nd
1901 Jan 1st-2nd Powderhall 300 yards 24 yards 3rd
1901 December 28th Powderhall 880 yards 40 yards 3rd
1902 Jan 3rd-4th Royal Gymnasium 300 yards 22 yards 2nd
1902 March 8th Celtic Park 300 yards 20 3rd
1902 June 21st Dundee 300 yards 18 yards 1st

Two more points to make.   

*First, he was still running right up until he started football training and conditioning as the following result at the end of 1907 shows – he was second in a 220 yards on 1st December 1907 off 17 yards almost immediately before he went to Clyde in 1908.   In 1907 he was 32 years old so it was a long career in athletics terms.   

**Second, judging by the results and the handicaps awarded, he was at the very least a very good club standard runner – and maybe a wee bit better than that.   We are told that in 1902 when the great English distance runner Fred Bacon made an attempt on the one hour record on 17th May at Powderhall, his chosen pace-makers were C Thomas, A Patterson and W Struth.    His credentials were impressive both for length of career and standard of performance.      

He had been a pro for a long time, and when he went to Clyde they started up their sports agin.   Clyde FC Sports were different from those at most other grounds in that they were professional games and it was natural that his experience be used to assist with the organisation.  H e was the trainer and Alex Maley the manager and they were responsible for one of the biggest professional meetings in Scotland.    In July 1911,  “Almost everybody who is anybody in football was at the Clyde club’s sports on Saturday.  There were Messrs Wilton (Rangers), W Maley (Celtic), H Low (St Mirren), T Moore (Hamilton), M Dunbar (Celtic), J Kelly (Celtic), James Brownlie (Third Lanark) and Herbert Lock (Rangers.) 

 Two years later and he was getting a name check.   The following is from the Glasgow Herald of 21st July, 1913: 

“The Clyde Football Club are apparently “whole hoggers” as far as professionalism is concerned, and in this respect  they are at least consistent.   Instead of running amateur sports, as so many professional clubs do [amateurism in Scotland is practically subsidised at the expense of Association Football] Clyde are running a purely professional gathering on Saturday first.   Of course football is the trump card, but in addition they are introducing Jack Donaldson, the eminent sprinter, and a runner of his impressive accomplishments should attract many to Shawfield on Saturday.   Largely through the influence of Struth, several of the best professionals in Scotland will take part in the proceedings.   Professional running in Glasgow has been pretty low in the water for years, but the Clyde are serving up in an attractive manner on Saturday, and will no doubt be rewarded for their enterprise. ”   

A year later and he was at Ibrox and under the influence of Wilton.   He had started with Clyde and professional meetings, then went to Ibrox where he learned from a top notch organiser.   We all need a model when starting out.  eg when Maley started the Celtic Sports at the start of the 1890’s the Rangers events were coming up for 20 years of age and they had learned a lot in that period.  At the period we’re talking about William Wilton was the man and no doubt Maley, intelligent and sharp as he was picked up a few things from him.   Similarly Struth probably learned a lot about sports promotion from under studying Wilton and watching Maley.   When Wilton died in 1820, Struth had been part of the friendly and competitive rivalry for six years.    Like Maley, Struth officiated at meetings – note this extract from the 1914 sports where he was the starter.  Other names to note were Maley as a judge, Sam Mussabini (Harold Abrahams’s coach)as a timekeeper, .A Ross Scott as a timekeeper (a time keeper in 1908 Olympics who officiated at the Halswell 400 metres), Fred Lumley (Proprietor of Powderhall) and of course William Wilton as Clerk of the Course.

Struth was now in control of the sports and his first meeting was in August, 1920,  a mere two and a half months after the death of Wilton.   How did it go, and how did it compare with the Celtic version a week later?   The two men were at different stages of their careers as managers and as sports promoters.   Struth with a lot of momentum going and in his first big jobs after a superb learning curve, while Maley had been organising meetings since 1890.   In addition Maley was still involved with the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association.  He was Vice President in 1919/20 and President in 1920/21, and Immediate Past President in 1921/22.   I quote:

Maley was of course a fairly senior member of the SAAA by 1918 and after the War at the SAAA AGM in February 1919 he was elected vice president and on to many sub committees.   He was on the Finance Committee (as was Matthew Dickson), on the International Conference group, on the West District Permits Committee, the Handicapping Board of Control and the Reconstruction Committee.    If ever there were a record of his involvement in athletics, it is in this imposing list of responsibilities.

He presided over a meeting in Edinburgh in 1919 to review the recommendations of the Reconstruction Committee referred to above.   There were seven recommendations to be approved:

  1. Applications for reinstatement from pre-war professionals were to be decided on their merits;  applications from amateurs who may have forfeited their status during the war be viewed sympathetically;
  2. The Scottish Police Force, still outside the Association should be approached with a view to getting them into line with those forces affiliated with the SAAA.
  3. That an endeavour be made to persuade the Executives of Highland Gatherings to hold their sports under SAAA laws.  
  4. To ask clubs to hold events for schoolboys in their sports programmes, and in the case of clubs with grounds of their own to allow for training facilities and to endeavour to get old athletes to attend the leading grounds  to coach boys in field and other events;
  5. Give greater encouragement to field events;
  6. To approach the railway companies with a view to getting reduced fares for competitors at athletic meetings;
  7. To circularise all Higher Grade and Secondary Schools to hold sports wherever practicable and to send a similar circular to clubs whose one time annual sports have been allowed to lapse.

Other recommendations included (a) the setting up of a organisation with a subscribing membership in each county; (b) the promotion of county championships for track and field, cross country, elementary schools championships, secondary schools championships; (c) to form similar organisations in each county and burgh, rural and urban districts; (d) “believing that prizes of large intrinsic value are prejudicial to true amateurism, the Committee recommends that the limit of value for an individual prize shall be £1”: in this respect I quote from the club’s Committee Meeting Minute of 24/2/20, “Mr McGregor reported that he had attended a meeting of the SAAA and that the motion to increase the prize limit from £7:7:0 to £10:10:0 had been passed unanimously”  (e) a manual for the organisation and management of athletics should be prepared for circulation.”

He was a busy man – it was all good work and they couldn’t have found a better.   His involvement in athletics was as strong as ever.

Willie Maley

Struth’s first sports in his own right were on the first Saturday, 1920, less than three months after the death of Wilton.   So how did he do, and how did it compare with the Celtic event seven days later?



Maley, Struth and Athletics: 2 : Willie Maley

We have seen that Willie Maley had a background in athletics, as well as in other sports such as cricket and football it has to be said, but what got him interested in sports promotion?   The picture above is from the ‘Scottish Referee’ of August 1890 when he organised the first Celtic Sports.   From the photographs available he looks a rather burly individual but the drawing indicated a more athletic figuire and a man who could win races.  It was six years before he won the SAAU 100 yards.   Football clubs had been organising amateur athletics meetings in various parts of the country – Kilmarnock, Edinburgh, Ayr, and of course in Glasgow where the Rangers FC Sports was the biggest meeting in the country.   He had written a chapter for ‘Fifty Years of Athletics’, published by the SAAA covering the half centenary of that organisation.   The article was called ‘Memories of a Sports Promoter’ in which he said –

“Tell how I got involved in athletics?   A short story.   Pride of place must be given to the lads of the village – Cathcart the village.  We lads used up all our spare time in athletics.   My strong suits were football, quoiting and running.   I had even a short lived reputation as a cricketer.”

Andrew Dick, his boss in his office, signed him for Clydesdale Harriers and he ran cross-country and track until approached by the Celtic FC representatives,  and  “Celtic the new football club absorbed me and my time ever since.    Why not sports for the new club?   Why not, indeed!   The MacLeans had their own boat, we will have our own sports.   Hard work it was to convince the Committee, but ably backed up by my brother Tom and the late J.H. McLaughlin I succeeded.   Some audacious deed was that.   Our old enclosure at Dalmarnock Street was all right as a football ground, but as a sports holding enclosure it left much to be desired.   Willing workers had made the ground; they did their best to produce a track.   Certainly it did look well – so long as it was not used.   It bore strong kinsmanship to a garden path.   I am mindful of course that there were very few good tracks at that period.   In the Western area, Hampden stood out as the best.”

As he said, other football clubs had their own sports meetings with the best in the west being Rangers, Queen’s Park and Morton while Hearts was the biggest in the east.     But back to the first meeting.   The Scottish Referee said in its issue of 4th August, 1890, 

On Saturday the Celtic Football Club made a beginning at sports holding and a promising one it was.   Next Saturday the by event comes off and Celtic Park will be big-crowded indeed.   The various events have been filled well, and sport will be good, in addition to which it is well to remember that the meeting will be under good management.   Entries can yet be made with Mr William Maley.”

The Rangers had been holding their sports since the 1870’s and 1890’s version had been the week before this first Maley venture.   It was also a bit different from past years, let the Glasgow Herald tell of it.

Celtic on the other hand had the preliminaries for their sports on that very day – 2nd August 1890 – with the following comment in the Scottish Referee:


The events at the ‘preliminaries’ which were confined included the 100 yards heats featuring Willie Maley who won his Heat as well as the Final and Tom Maley who was unplaced in his having been, as they say, handicapped out of it.   There was also a 300 yards and a 220 yards in which they both ran.   Tom was third in the 300 and Willie won the 220.   There was also a 5-a-side tournament with Celtic No 1 playing Celtic No2 with Willie Maley scoring a point for No 1 and they won the match.   

This report from the’ Scottish Referee’ of 11th August says:   “The experiment made by the Celtic FC on Saturday of holding a sports meeting was fully justified by the magnificent success which attended the venture.   We have witnessed all the leading athletic events this season but in point of enthusiasm we must give the palm to this immense gathering.”

The paper even gave three reasons for the triumph:

  1.   The fact that it was the Celts’ debut on the path;
  2.   The excellence of the sporting bill of fare;
  3.   The value of the prizes “which the executive without regard to cost have secured.

Another feature in evidence was an earnest of what was to come while Maley was organising the sports was the appearance of Irish athletes.   For instance Daniel Bulger raced in this meeting.  Daniel Delany Bulger was a multi title winner from Dublin who had won the Gaelic Athletic Association 100 yards in `886, 1887, 1888, 1889 an 1890, and the Irish AAA’s 100 yards in 1888, 1889 and 1890 and the 220 yards, GAA, in 1885, 1886 and 1887, and IAAA in 1885.   He was not the only nor was he the last.   

Cycling was a major draw at all big sports meetings of the day and Celtic supported the sport whole heartedly – note the cartoon for the 1893 sports above.   The second Saturday in August 1893 saw Parkhead occupied by a match between Celtic and Queen’s Park so the Sports were shunted back a week.   Given the standard of athlete promised, they were none the worse of it: the report in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ the following Monday began “The annual sports of the Celtic FC held at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon attracted the largest crowd ever witnessed at an athletic meeting in Scotland, it being estimated that 20,000 spectators were present.   Nearly all the English and Irish cracks were present, and this, combined with the fine weather, no doubt partially accounted for the large attendance.   The arrangements were excellently carried out by Mr William Maley and an able committee.”

The name Maley appeared in meeting previews and reports right from the start and kept on coming.   In 1894 the preview of the 1894 sports in the ‘Scottish Referee’ waxed lyrical: “Celtic are busy completing their arrangements for their Saturday and Monday Carnival.   To the club that has competed such athletic triumphs in the past, nothing is impossible, and, great though their previous records be, we expect from the  labour and enterprise they have devoted to this meeting that it will result in all previous records being bust.   

The grounds and tracks have been magnificently worked up by Master-of-Works McKay and all who are privileged to look upon them on Saturday will pronounce them the finest in Scotland if not in Britain.   Mr W Maley is responsible for the list of attractions which are sufficient to please the daintiest athletic palate.  It is indeed a meeting of the champions of champions, the creme de la creme of the Scottish, English and Irish athletic paths   …..   The arrangements of the secretary, Mr William Maley, were excellent and the sports were an unqualified success.   Representatives from the Queen’s Park, the Rangers and nearly all the leading clubs gave assistance in carrying out the programme. ”      Not only was Willie organising the meeting but borthers Tom and Alex were both running in them by now.   

Celtic had now held five successive and successful sports meetings – the enthusiasm and drive of W Maley had no little part in it but it is good to note the amount of help they received from other football and sports club personnel.   Names like Gow and Vallance appear as officials as well as competitors, Farquhar Matheson and many other members of Clydesdale Harriers officiated every year (the Maley brothers and many others were members of the club before the Celtic FC appeared on the scene), men from Queen’s Park and other clubs were also in evidence. 

“There will be no Irish competitors at the Celtic Sports on Saturday but it is just possible that one or two prominent Irish athletes may figure in the flat events.   They of course run the risk of disqualification if they compete under the rules of an alien Union, but that would seem to have little or no terror for them.   The Celtic, as is well known, have a powerful influence on Irish athletic circles, and from the temperament of the people across the channel all the restrictions in the world will not prevent the men from competing if they make up their mind to do so, and can find the time to travel to Scotland. 

The Irish contingent w-as by 1995 an integral part of the Sports but sports have politics just like other important parts of our lives and the Press reported that year 

“There will be no Irish competitors at the Celtic Sports on Saturday but it is just possible that one or two prominent Irish athletes may figure in the flat events.   They of course run the risk of disqualification if they compete under the rules of an alien Union, but that would seem to have little or no terror for them.   The Celtic, as is well known, have a powerful influence on Irish athletic circles, and from the temperament of the people across the channel all the restrictions in the world will not prevent the men from competing if they make up their mind to do so, and can find the time to travel to Scotland. 

Scottish athletics had its problems – The top club in any sport, whether it be football, athletics or any other will be the subject of criticism and at times unfair discrimination.   In 1895 Clydesdale Harriers was the strongest club in athletics and Celtic was one of the strongest in football.   The Scottish Amateur Athletic Association was in dispute with the Scottish Cyclists Union which was allied to Clydesdale Harriers.   One thing led to another and Clydesdale broke away from the SAAA.   With powerful members of Celtic also members or former members of Clydesdale, eg the Maley brothers, PJ Gallagher, etc, the club left the SAAA and joined the Union.  Many of the bigger Scottish football clubs also signed up for the SAAU.  With the SAAA allied with the AAA in England and the IAAA in Ireland, it meant that no athlete of any club affiliated with these bodies could run at SAAU events without being disciplined by their governing body.   Celtic were outside the SAAA pale and had cast their lot with the SAAU.    Back to Scotland in 1895.   But the sports at Parkhead went ahead and were again a success.   On the day of Rangers Sports Willie was at Strathallan negotiating talent for the CFC Sports while Alex was at Ibrox booking athletes for Parkhead the following week.   When the day came there was a sight seldom seen at any sports meeting: the team manager running in the competition and even winning a prize from a low mark.   Willie Maley was second (scratch) in the first heat of the invitation 100 yards and second in the final, beaten by JB Auld (1 yard) with the first 4 all very close across the line.   Winning time was 10.8 seconds.   Another initiaprovided, it was certain to become and annual event.tive was the re-introduction of the steeplechase to a sports meeting and it was reported that after the amusement and entertainment it would be an essential part of future Sports.

Some competitors from the Celtic Sports, 1896:

SAAU Champion bottom right

That was nothing however compared to his running the following year when he won the SAAU 100 yards championship on 27th June, 1896, from the same JB Auld.   It was almost certainly the first and last time that a Scottish football team manager had won a Scottish national 100 yards title.   He ran in the 130 yards on the Monday supplementary meeting which had 66 runners.   He was the only runner off scratch and although he made the final, he was ultimately unplaced.   He kept on organising and running and on 9th August, 1897, Scottish Referee said “W Maley was at Newcastle on Saturday looking for talent and secured not a few stars.”   The  Glasgow Herald, also of 9th August, started its preview of the event

The sports were on Saturday, 14th August in 1897. as follows.   “Everything the Celtic do, they do well; there are no half measures with them.   Since the institution of their sports it has been a rule with them to introduce eminent athletes from England and Ireland .   Bradley, Bacon, Perry, Wittenberg and Kibblewhite, an others of less note, have all helped to throw lustre over meetings at Parkhead from time to time, and though the amateurs of the present day are made of different stuff from these men, there are several who stand high in public favour, one or two of whom we are to have the pleasure of seeing on Saturday first.”   It went on to name some of them,  starting by saying that Bradley was not a certain starter, FW Cooper ( superb sprinter and Welsh rugby international), W Elliott, AAA quarter mile champion would run in the 300 yards, and W Tysoe would turn out in the 1000 and mile handicaps.  They had invited 12 to 15 men to take part in the mile, including the three prize winners from the Rangers Sports the previous Saturday.   

There was no doubt that he wanted the best available for the meetings – even recruiting competitors the week before the meeting.   Remember that the meeting would have had 15,000 or more even without these late arrivals but the sport was the thing that seemed to move him.   There had always been Irish athletes at the Celtic meeting but in 1899 a special effort was made.

“If records did not fall on Saturday at Parkhead like grouse on a Highland moor, the excellence of the sport was such as has not been equalled at any athletic function in Glasgow this season.   Nor is this surprising when the eminence of some of the competitors is taken into account.   Hitherto the Celts have culled from the rich athletic stores of England, but this season Mr William Maley has directed his attention to the not less wealthy resources of Ireland, several of whose more distinguished athletes accepted the invitation, and their presence more than anything else contributed so largely to the success of Saturday’s meeting.   If there is any place in Scotland where those of Irish nationality are warmly received it is at Parkhead, which overflows with a kind of exile enthusiasm, making Irishmen feel thoroughly at home and inspiring them to lofty achievements.”      The result of this drive, was the appearance of several top class athletes but none quite so celebrated as Denid Horgan.  Horgan won a total 42 shot put titles during his athletic career, including 28 Irish championships, 13 English championships (all for the 16 pound shot) and one American championship.    

Willie Maley

In 1900 the bill of fare at the Celtic Sports had a marvellous spread of international athletes on offer.

Willie Maley had been at the AAA’s Championships and ‘succeeded in inducing AF Duffy the 100 yards champion; W Long, 440 yards champion; John Flanagan, world’s record holder for hammer throwing; and John Bray, Canadian half-mile record holder, to compete at the Celtic Sports meeting on Saturday and Monday next.   This is a big catch, and all interested in athletic science must be indebted to the Celts, and through the Celts to Mr Maley for bringing such an accomplished quartette of athletes to Glasgow.’   There were of course events at the Celtic supplementary meeting the following Monday so, after they had all performed well on the Saturday Mr Maley had a surprise in store:  “At the conclusion of the Celtic FC meeting on Saturday, Mr William Maley, accompanied by the American athletes, journeyed down to Rothesay for the week-end.   They will be back fresh and well for tonight’s meeting, when no doubt they will again accomplish some startling performances, so be sure you do not miss this treat.”   Going to London, signing the top talent, then schmoozing them after the Saturday so that they would perform well on the Monday.   Not many tricks being missed by Maley – and note the upgrading of expectations – a few years earlier he had been at Strathallan signing up Scots, this time it was the White City and American athletes.   The results of these meetings and others between 1900 and 1910 can be found at Celtic Sports: 1900 – 1910 – Anent Scottish Running

1901 was another good one with the Glasgow Herald saying:  “It has been said by one whose opinion in athletic matters is valued highly that the Celtic meeting is the greatest in the country, and with the recollection of many fine gatherings which the club has celebrated, we are not inclined to question the verdict.”    More Americans, more big crowds.   And so it continued and in 1904 there was an attendance estimated at 30,000.    1902 was Coronation year and many events were cancelled because of that but Celtic went ahead with their Saturday and Monday Supplementary meetings as usual.    The Monday evening meeting itself had a very good turnout with runners from England, Ireland and England all taking part along with big numbers of Scottish athletes (eg 18 heats of the 100 yards and 10 of the 220 yards).   With the two major meetings of the year coming so close together (Rangers first Saturday and Celtic second Saturday) it was ever the case that the one would influence the other and the Glasgow Herald of 10th August 1903 started its report as follows:

The Rangers Sports the previous week had been good, very good: the same paper had reported 

William Wilton was the mastermind behind the Rangers sports at that time and he and Maley had a good and friendly rivalry.   At times one suspects that they co-operated to get some major talent to both meetings.   A healthy competition between sports promoters is usually a good thing for the sport with each trying to out do the other in terms of athletic quality (star names, athletes from abroad),  quantity of local athletes (20+ heats of the 100 yards, over 100 in the Mile, etc), big crowds to run before and in the quality of the prizes.   Maley was a master in every department while Wilton would have done the sport proud in any generation.   

There were stars aplenty in 1905 but from all over Britain and of those the brightest was Alfred Shrubb who had been a favourite in Glasgow for some time and particularly after his historic run at Ibrox in 1904.   The field on the Monday evening four miles included such as John McGouch, Sam Stevenson and James Reston.   Shrubb had come north specifically for the Celtic meeting and won the event from the specially selected field where the limit man had over a lap start in 19 minutes 34 seconds from McGough who set a Scottish record of 20:06.2.   The following year – 1906, saw an even bigger star in Scottish eyes when Lt Halswell was the headline performer.       

The Celtic Sports had been a late comer to the ranks of sports promoting clubs but was known a an innovator as far as organising and pleasing the public was concerned.   From the Scottish Referee of 6th August 1906: “The entries for the Celtic Sports promise to be as large as previous years whilst the quality of the sport to be provided looks like being a record.   The Celtic open handicaps have always been the aim of Scotch athletes and this year seems likely to supply very keen racing.   The Celts have led the way in sports promoting, and in the way of special events such as invitation handicaps and scratch races, and have this year no less than eight such special tit-bits.   They have also arranged to take over the Western District SCU championship for quarter mile.”   The SCU was the Scottish Cyclists Union and cycling was a big draw at sports at the time.   On the running side of things, they had Lt Halswell/   He had run disappointingly at the Rangers Sports the previous weekend but he was to race in three events at Parkhead   The report read:  

Lieutenant Halswell was the “magnet” and it goes without saying that he rose to the dignity of the occasion.   He gave no fewer than three very noble turns, all of which were greatly appreciated, though of course the one that caught the fancy most was the 49 sec in the quarter mile, which is three-fifths better than his previous accomplished if we mistake not, in the West of Scotland Harriers June Sports at Ibrox Park.    Halswell on Saturday could have easily given the concessions that proved too severe for him at Ibrox, so full of life was he at the finish.   He was also second in the invitation 100 yards off one and a half yards, and was just defeated in the half-mile scratch by George Butterfield of Darlington Harriers in 2 min”

And Maley was given most of the credit for the continued success of the meeting.   The badge below, which we have courtesy of Hugh Barrow, is from Halswell’s trophy cabinet.    20 years of promoting sports meetings and there were still initiatives and enthusiasm being shown by the managers.


Success followed success for both clubs with Wilton and Maley competing for the public support and, say it quietly, maybe co-operating to bring top sportsmen to Glasgow on successive Saturdays.   What persuaded them to spend a week in Glasgow?   Read this one:

Last week was a memorable one in the sporting history of the city, [reported the Glasgow Herald of 10th August 1908].   On Monday the Rangers FC concluded what from every point of view had been the most successful meeting that they had held for a very long time, while on Saturday Celtic FC added one more to their brilliant list of triumphs.   Both are in the fortunate position of having money to spend, and money judiciously handled will yield, as we have just seen, as big a return from athletics as from most forms of public amusement.   That there was more lavish expenditure this season than previously is frankly acknowledged by the two managements and, without pausing to inquire how this sort of thing squares with official notions, we would merely mention that the Glasgow public has much to be grateful for to the Rangers and Celtic for introducing so many of those who distinguished themselves at the recent Olympic Games.  But for those clubs it is just possible that we might never have had the privilege of seeing Melvin Sheppard, Reginald Walker and others who, by their achievements at the stadium, have enrolled themselves in the lists of the immortals.

The Press was not slow to identify those responsible for the magnificent meetings being held and after the 1910 events, the Glasgow Herald said:  Considering the magnitude of the programme, the arrangements were highly creditable to Mr W Maley who deserves special credit for the triumph which crowned his labours on Saturday.”

1911 was a big one for the club and no effort was spared for the sports and the Glasgow Herald reporter started his article thus:

“Besides FL Ramsdell, HE Gissing and JJ Flanagan of America, several distinguished English athletes and cyclists took part in the annual sports of Celtic FC at Parkhead on Saturday and, as a consequence, competition in many events was very much above the average of what is usually witnessed in the city, celebrated as it is for its rare sporting associations.   The Celtic management spare neither money nor time in connection with their sports, and this season by way of celebrating an interesting epoch in their history, they extended more invitations than they usually do, with the result that Saturday’s meeting in many respects will hold a cherished position in the club’s records.   Large as the attendance was, it it would have been larger still but for the tramway strike.   As it was, the official estimate was 30,000.   The arrangements of Mr Maley were in advance of anything previously witnessed at Parkhead, and when we mention that over and above football there were 53 different events all of which were disposed of in three hours and a half, it will be admitted that there has been nothing better in the way of athletics management seen in the city.   Every item was so rapidly dealt with that there was scarcely any time for reflection.  “

There were at least three Olympians – two of them American – competing and the open handicap events were well supported too.   Maley is mentioned here yet again.   By now he was a fixture on the SAAA General Committee and he would go on to be an honorary life vice-president and and later President of the body.   The sports went on with top runners from all over the world.   1912 was an Olympic year and there were Olympic athletes from America, Ireland and Germany as well as from the UK.   You can read a complete report  at this link.   We have already mentioned that athletes often competed at both venues as Wyndham Halswell had done already.   In Olympic year there were several Olympic athletes, and not a few who had been contenders for a place, who competed in the two meetings, with the half mile being the outstanding example.   At Ibrox on the first Saturday in the month the 880 yards featured Mel Sheppard (USA), Hans Braun (Germany), JL Meredith (USA alongside DF McNicol and George Dallas, the latter being second in the invitation handicap race,  and at Parkhead the first three in the half mile were Sheppard, Braun and Meredith.   There surely must have been some collaboration between both sets of promoters to cover the legitimate travelling and accommodation expenses of these athletes.   The following year the outstanding sprinter W Applegarth ran at both meetings, and in 1914 an even better American middle distance runner ran at both Games – he was Homer Baker who was  “much pleased with the cordiality experienced at Ibrox and Parkhead and the hospitality of the Celtic will remain in his own words “a cherished memory for years.”  

The War started later that year and that changed things a bit – and it was also the year that a former professional runner called Bill Struth arrived at Ibrox as an assistant manager, meanwhile William Wilton remained at the helm of the very successful Rangers Sports.   Maley remained at Celtic of course.    





Some Video Links

The links below were on the old ‘ardbruach’ website but when we moved from that format to the new wordpress site they were, along with some other pages, dropped.   All the most viewed are here!   It’s been a straight transfer.

Over the years there have been many, many videos and films made of running events and running related subjects.    Several have come our way and they will be listed on this page.   It is hoped that anyone out there with a link address will pass it on for the wider public to see   They will be put up in the order that I get them – it is an easy way to do it and it also encourages folk to browse among other races while they search out the one they want. .  The first two below came from Joe Small and the second two from Alex Jackson.  The first is of people who have started jogging: made in the 1970’s at Westerlands it is of great interest to those of us who new, trained and/or raced at the venue which is sadly no longer with us.   A very young Frank Dick does the commentary and is seen giving advice and jogging, Noreen o’Boyle is also there and although she gives Moira a mention, husband Cyril is sadly neglected (!)   Ian Walls by the way is father of Moira Walls a superb Scottish high jumper.   The link is at

The second is of 1970 International Cross-Country with Lachie and Ian McCafferty appearing in some shots.,

The 1980 New York Marathon is next, lots of mentions of John Graham (of England! as Joe Small pointes out

Now one of the the brief anti-smoking commercials done by Lachie Stewart in the early 1970s which gave wee boys in the street a new shout at passing runners in training!    The number of times I’ve heard “You can ….” is great.

Four more from Joe Small

The YouTube video clip of the 1970 Commonwealth Games 5000m race where Ian Stewart and Ian McCafferty had their memorable 1-2 ahead of Kip Keino is worth seeing!


Then in the 1976 Olympics Frank Clement ran superbly well to miss out on a medal by about half a second!   After being shoved on to the grass at 300 to go too!   A bit blurry but it’s at


Alastair Douglas has sent two links to the 1982 National Cross Country.   They both work for me!    They’re all there – as well as Clyne, Muir, Hutton Robson et al, there’s Mole, Colin Martin Phil Dolan, Sandy Cameron, etc, etc.  The first is at

And the second can be found at

Two more from Alex Jackson of the National Cross Country Championships of 1983 and 1984.    Both were won by Nat Muir and Alex tells me they are on the Shettleston Harriers website as well.   Find the 1983 link here:

And for 1984 at

Joe Small has come up with more good links.   The first is of  the 1986 Commonwealth Games Marathon is in four parts with an excellent Antipodean commentary on the race which features John Graham and Fraser Clyne.

Also from Joe are this Dutch film of the Rotterdam marathon with a couple of John Graham’s greatest runs shown early on plus an interview in English at the end – it lasts for over an hour!

A brief clip of the 1978 Commonwealth Games steeplechase with a glimpse of Ian Gilmour at the start and a mention at the finish.

Graham MacIndoe in New York has sent this link to two Steve Ovett races in which Graham Williamson and John Robson feature fairly prominently

More from Joe:

The 1972 Olympic 5000m final with good shots of Ian Stewart and an all too brief one of Ian McCafferty.

From Graham MacIndoe comes this one of Tom Hanlon running cross-country against Steve Ovett, Peter Elli   and others.

Another from Graham of the NYC marathon described by Dave Clark in the Race Report section of this video


1974 Commonwealth Games with Don Macgregor –

Tom McKean in 1986:

Jim McLatchie (see the The Milers page) coached three girls to first, second and third in the State Championships and the race, which is a very good one to watch, can be seen at

More from Joe Small: the Commonwealth Games 1500m with Peter Stewart, John Robson, Frank Clement and Graham Williamson mentioned.

Just received from Graham MacIndoe in New York a link to a site with many Scottish athletes featured, it is at

Graham MacIndoe sent us this link to an interview with Allister Hutton after the London Marathon – it starts exactly four minutes in to the programme

Joe Small sent this link to David McMeekin racing against ‘the boy Ovett’ (David Coleman in the commentary), Byron Dyce, Mark Winzenried, etc

Not really our scene – too short – but the guy’s a legend in Scottish athletics – original footage of Eric Liddell’s gold medal  (from Hugh Barrow)

This one is not remotely Scottish except insofar as many New Zealanders are of Scottish stock, but it is an interesting pair of 8 minute videos of Peter Snell.   If the link doesn’t get the actual video (it sometimes doesn’t!) just go to the ‘most viewed’ and then pick it out!—athlete-1964

Lots of good videos at this YouTube link from Graham MacIndoe

The Montreal Olympics Men’s Marathon is at

From Alex Wilson comes this video of Yvonne Murray in 1990

Sent by Ian Redican in Ireland, this is a Movietone News clip of an international race run in London in 1972.   I get teary-eyed and nostalgic when I see this stuff!

and from the same source, Alex Jackson sends this one of Ian Stewart winning the International Cross-Country in 1972.   No sound unfortunately.

Two more from Graham MacIndoe: the first is the European Marathon in 1986 which Steve Jones won and in which Allister Hutton dropped out.   The second is the site from which it came – several good videos from the 80’s there.

Jim McLatchie was interviewed by on the ‘secrets of success’ and the ten minute interview is at

Hugh’s Gems: 8

More of Hugh Barrow’s collection of photographs with more to come very soon

6th September 1964: Scotland  v  Belgium  v  Ireland

Same Race


One of Trevor Vincent’s

Ron Clark, Betty and Shane Gould

Above: Christine and Evelyn McMeekin in the Glasgow Schools championship at Scotstoun

Below:  A Great Australian  Team – Victoria

Next up is an excellent article where Herb comes across as a normal guy, no sense of entitlement, no arrogance anywhere in the responses he gives.  What it was like when many of us came into the sport.


The first page of race certificates has been well received and fairly popular but there were so many races, good hard races, that issued certificates that we did not have.   We’ll never have them all, mission impossible!   But a large and vacant area was that of hill running.   We now have Denis Bell’s collection which more than fills that gap – and we include others for road races such as the Galloway Marathon too.   What follows are all his.   And they contain lots of interesting features – several have photographs of the runner finishing, some have line drawings of the hill that they are awarded for, some have details of the route run and so on.  There are several ‘doublers – but most have some differences – eg there might be a date one year but none the next and there is even a blank form from one of the Haddington races!   Any comments on the certificate are below the relevant item.


.An interesting one to start with – mainly photograph but note that the race was promoted by Edinburgh Southern Harriers, a club now merged into Edinburgh AC.

No date on this one but the picture was no problem for the race sponsors – Polaroid UK.   There are more from this race but not all identical

Another good marathon race, faster than Edinburgh and this one tells us where the race started but after that – you’re on your own.

First of several for the Ben Nevis race

Simple straightforward certificate – but with a picture of the distillery with the hills behind it.

A blank form for the Haddington ELP races, signed by Denis and sponsored by Joe Forte whol sponsored the race 

A very attractive certificate – artistic, name of the race with appropriate detail in Welsh as well as English. 

The above says it all.


The Karrimor Mountain Marathon is a two man team race: they have to run carrying all that they need to stay out overnight and is run in several classes of which the Elite is the top group for really hardy hill runners.  It is a most attractive certificate and the penmanship adds a touch of class too.





The cycle race was done on this occasion as a running race – The ridge run was a low key event with approx 40 runners.  There is only one certificate = the bottom one has his number reversed to show principal results for the foot race.



Maley, Struth and athletics: 1 Backgrounds

The picture above shows Bill Struth and Willie Maley in Glasgow City Chambers when Struth’s portrait was unveiled at a civic ceremony.   It is not unusual for guests to be invited to these occasions, sometimes they are there more for ‘the look of things’ than because they are well acquainted with the principal guest, but it does not take more than the first glance to show that these two are genuine friends.   Is Willie making some remark to Struth – looks as though his lips are moving!   And yet the two were managerial rivals in the football game, albeit at different stages of their careers: 

Name Club period as manager League championships Scottish Cups League Cups
W Struth Rangers FC 1920 – 54 18 10 2
W Maley Celtic FC 1897 – 1940 16 14

You will note that their careers overlapped for 20 years, from 1920 to 1940, and their success as manager was significant.   They each had a similar attitude to their team which was maybe best encapsulated by Bill Struth’s statement that “To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him.   Our very success, gained you will agree by skill, will draw more people than ever to see it. And that will benefit many more clubs than Rangers. Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us. We will never hide from it. Never fear, inevitably we shall have our years of failure, and when they arrive, we must reveal tolerance and sanity. No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome.”

Maley would probably have said exactly the same of the Celtic tradition.   And yet they were friends – when Celtic won the League, Struth was invited to the raising of the flag at the start of the next season and you have already noted the photograph at the top of the page.     There were two other things that they had in common:

*first they had both been involved in athletics before becoming managers, Maley as a championship winning sprinter (the cutting below is from 1896 SAAU Championships) and Struth as a well respected professional runner over distances from 100 yards to the mile, the clipping below from 1898 is self explanatory,

*and second there was a connection to Clydesdale Harriers.   Maley ran for the club and there had been a close connection between the Rangers and Clydesdale from the very start of amateur athletics.   At the sports held by both clubs, the principal officials were in general from Clydesdale Harriers.  Up until his death in 1920 William Wilton had been the man behind the Rangers meeting and at the 1919 meeting, his last, Maley was one of the track judges.   Struth of course officiated at the Ibrox sports – eg in 1914 he was the official starter there.   

Below we see a result from a Celtic sponsored professional meeting at Parkhead in January 1898.   The club’s sports were always on the second weekend in August but after seeing a very successful meeting at Powderhall at the start of January 1897, Celtic held a meeting of their own with only three professional events which was a success.   Hence the professional meeting with a longer programme.   Struth, a professional athlete from Edinburgh came through for a share of the prize money on offer.

Here’s something to maybe smile about.   When Maley was a member of Clydesdale Harriers the club trained at Ibrox – Maley probably trained at Ibrox; as the cutting above shows, Struth sometimes ran at Celtic Park.   Their careers met and inter-twined quite often and as sports promoters they had a lot in common.   

There was another connection.   Struth started his managerial career with Hearts in Edinburgh and in 1908 he moved to Glasgow to work as trainer at Clyde FC.   While he was there, he worked alongside Alex Maley, the third of the three brothers who had also been a runner who was still winning prizes as an amateur and member of Celtic Harriers.   In 1914 he moved to Rangers as assistant manager becoming manager in 1920.   

Maley had been organising the Celtic Sports for several years before Struth took over the running of the Rangers version and had learned a few tricks along the way.   The ‘Glasgow Herald’ said this about the sports of 1911: 

“The Celtic management spare neither money nor time in connection with their sports, and this season by way of celebrating an interesting epoch in their history, they extended more invitations than they usually do, with the result that Saturday’s meeting in many respects will hold a cherished position in the club’s records.   Large as the attendance was, it it would have been larger still but for the tramway strike.   As it was, the official estimate was 30,000.   The arrangements of Mr Maley were in advance of anything previously witnessed at Parkhead, and when we mention that over and above football there were 53 different events all of which were disposed of in three hours and a half, it will be admitted that there has been nothing better in the way of athletics management seen in the city.   Every item was so rapidly dealt with that there was scarcely any time for reflection.”

The  rivalry had always been there – from the Glasgow Herald of 4th August 1912 – the same issue that reported on the Rangers Sports the previous Saturday -:  “Mr William Maley is well advanced with his arrangements for the great meeting on Saturday first.   His programme contains several novelties that were not in the Rangers”     Both clubs at that time had a supplementary meeting the Monday after the Saturday Sports and Rangers that year had “an interesting programme this evening.   The distances are a departure from orthodox lines, being 120 yards, 300 yards, 1000 yards and a mile and a half, “

The two men were at different stages of their careers in 1920,  but the rivalry begun on the football field continued on the athletics field.  Although the Rangers Sports had been running since the 1870’s, our part of the story begins with Maley starting his sports promoter career in 1890.



Some of John Stark’s Photographs

Some excellent pictures of the 1963 national cross-country from John Stark’s collection and passed on by Graham MacIndoe.

The start

Doug Gunstone, running as an individual, finished 13th

Lachie Stewart, third

285 I Gilmour, Monkland, eighth

Junior race:   Jim Brown, 95, Monkland, first   and   Lawrie Spence, Strathclyde University, second

65 Campbell Joss, Glasgow University, Junior Man, 17th

63T Cole, EAC


Danny McFadzean


Danny McFadzean is not as well known in his native Scotland as he should be.   Mainly a marathon runner he had a series of very good runs 0ver the country and, to a lesser extent, on the track to his credit.   Born on 13th April, 1937, and brought up in Dumfriesshire he began running in the mid-50’s and his best running was done 10 years later while serving in the Royal Navy in Devon.   A look at his Scottish ranked performances in the table below indicates his quality.


Event Time Comment


Marathon 2:31.57 4th ranked Scot


Marathon 2:23:52 Kosice 6th/GB team


Marathon 2:22:06 Boston 9th


6 Miles 30.19.6 Ranked 15


Marathon 2.32.27 Ranked 9


Marathon 2:30:54 Boston 21st/Team 1st


Marathon 2.31.01 Ranked 14

We should go back to the beginning though and follow his career properly.   The person who should probably get the credit for introducing Danny to athletics was a miner in Kirkconnel called Jock Hammond.  He trained a group of youths at the Nithsdale Football Ground in Sanquhar and, even although he was in his 40s, used to race against the youths in the sprints.   There was an annual professional sports meeting in Kirkconnel and the Scottish Professional Athletics Handicapper lived there.  His son was one of the youths being trained by Jock and he was a good half miler but his father had instructed him to enter the 220 yards only in order to work up his handicap and make a betting fortune at some later date.  It was demoralising for the boy and none of the locals ever heard of him making a fortune.  There were many professional meetings in and around Dumfrieshire when Danny was starting out but Danny – fortunately for amateur athletics – never took part in any of these meetings.

 He trained with Kenny Phillips of Beith in the Nithsdale Football Field in Sanquhar in 1957 on Sunday mornings when he was still finding his way in athletics and Kenny persuaded him to join Beith Harriers.   He did not have much speed and concentrated on the mile and half mile.  His mother was a widow with Danny and 4 younger daughters, the pits were closing down and work was hard to find, so  he joined the Navy in 1958, probably as the main breadwinner.   His family lived in Kelloholm, near Kirkconnell.    Beith Harriers had several very good runners at that time but in the marathon Danny had a contemporary called Ian Harris who won the Scottish marathon in 1963.  Ian joined the Parachute Regiment and was also stationed in the south of England and he and Danny were often competitors in the same races.   For instance in the Plymouth to Exeter 10 man Relay in 1967, Ian had the fastest time on the third stage and Danny was fastest man on the ninth.   

There were inevitably gaps in Danny’s domestic competition because of the various postings that servicemen are subject to.   He was in Singapore in 1966 for instance and Kenny Phillips tells us that “On one occasion he came home on leave and, 6 weeks after breaking his leg while doing Navy training with skis in Norway, he won the Beith Harriers 5 miles handicap.  That was the first glimpse of his potential.  I moved to Lancashire in 1960 and we lost touch.”

There are gaps in Danny’s progression mainly because of his profession and the fact that members of the services are always liable to postings – temporary or permanent – and some of these gaps will be evident.   Best known as a marathon runner his first marathon that we know of was on 13th June 1964 when he ran in the Windsor to Chiswick where he finished 27th in 2:31:57.    The race was won by Basil Heatley in 2:13:55 which was a new world best time with Ron Hill second in 2:14:12.   The first Scot was Jim Alder in fourth in 2:17:46.

The Torbay Express of 3rd January, 1966, tells us that Bruce Tulloh won the Devon County Cross-Country title over 7 miles at Paignton where Danny finished fourth in the colours of the winning Devonport AC team.   The report also said that Tulloh was doing 100 miles per week with the European 10,000m and the Empire 6 miles titles his summer goals.    Into February and the big race in the South West of England was the 47 mile relay from Plymouth to Exeter.   A very strong team from the Parachute Regiment was the favourite to win and indeed they led almost all the way – until Danny ran the second last stage. 

 The very good and hard running Gordon Burt of the Parachute Regiment on the eighth leg had gained a 56 second lead over the Devonport squad.    Then Danny took a hand in proceedings: “The Parachute Regiment seemed to be home and dry until Devonport’s Danny McFadzean began to make his presence felt.   He worked to such great effect on the long Haldon Hill stretch that he handed over to the 19 year old Lightfoot with the soldiers’ last runner only 41 seconds ahead ”   The Paras eventually won by only  won by 5 seconds.  An interesting fact – Ian Harris (formerly Beith Harriers) had fastest time on the third stage for the Paras and Danny (a Beith Harrier) had fastest time on the ninth.   One week later, Danny won the Devon Cross-Country League six and a half mile race at Exeter University.   

His first race that summer was on 13th April at Filton where he was second in a 10 mile race in 54:34 and on 15th June he increased the distance by running 15 miles at Bath in 1:20:05 to finish third.   He then tackled two marathons.   First came the Oxfam Marathon at Feltham on 20th August and he won in 2:30:41.   Extract below is from the Middlesex County Times of 26th August.    He was also chosen to run in Europe: in Kosice as part of a British team to run in the famous Kosice Marathon on 2nd October,  and he justified the selection by finishing sixth in 2:23:52

The ‘Torbay Express’ of Wednesday 11th January, 1967,  tells us that Danny had been selected to run for Devon in the  Inter-Counties Cross-Country at Leicester on 21st January in an 8 man team that included Bruce Tulloh.   Running for Devon in a very high class field he was 83rd out of 331 who finished.   The report on the South Western Counties Championship just one week later  tells us that Danny won the title in 50:33.    Another good winter behind him and Danny went into the summer and a trip across the Atlantic.   

He  started the summer however by racing at Plymouth on 4th March over 10 miles and won in 51:04.  Next came the Bampton to Tiverton – the ‘Torbay Express’ of Tuesday, 28th March report includes the following in its report of the race:   “The winner was the Royal Navy’s six mile champion, 29 year old PO Danny McFadzean who overcame a tough battle with team-mate Steve Farley.   McFadzean, who is running in the Boston Marathon next month  on funds raised voluntarily by the Royal Navy, saw Farley’s heels for most of the eight mile route, but took the lead on entering Tiverton and won by six seconds with a time of 38 minutes 28 seconds.”   His club was Devonport AC and, with their leading men  first and second, they won the team race.   He ran in a 15 miles road race at Wigmore on 1st April where he finished fourth in 1:19:58.   That was a 10 miler, then a 15 miler and next was the 20 miles race at Belgrave where he was third in 1:50:36.   He was then off to the USA – to Boston, a race previewed in the cutting below.

Danny went, saw and conquered the distance in what was to be his best ever  marathon time when he was ninth in 2:22:06 which placed him eleventh in Britain for the year.   (The 1966 time of 2:23 had placed him ninth).

Into season 1967-68 and on 4th November 1967 he ran in the Devon League six and a half miles race and won it with Devonport AC in third place.   A week later he turned out in the Bracknell 10 where he was 52:27 in eighth place.   Another week on and on 2nd December, he was a competitor in the Ross Shield six and a quarter mile race which was won by another Scot, Allan Faulds from Stirling who was running for Exeter, in a course record.   Danny was fourth in that race.    

He started 1968 on 27th January in the Devon Cross-Country Championship which he won in a new course record.   This was his third victory in the race and the previous course record had been set by Danny just one year earlier.   On February 3rd he won the Royal Navy Inter-Command Cross-Country Championships at HMS Dryad. As in many of the races in England, there were others with Scots connections in the field.   This time it was Bob Meadows who was second and Terry Baker who was third : both ran in Aberdeen; Terry ran last leg for Aberdeen AAC in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay when they finished second equal.   Then on March 2nd, running for RNAC South, Danny won the Plymouth 10 in 51.25.   Again the Scottish connection – Stirling’s Allan Faulds who was living and working in Exeter and running for Exeter Harriers, was third in 52.31.   On March 8th, in the inter-services match of Army v RAF v Navy Cross-Country at RAF Cranwell, Bob Meadows was third with Danny fifth.

1968, of course, was Olympic year and all eyes were on that.   Danny’s first outing was on 2nd March when he again ran the 10 miles at Plymouth, winning in 51:25 before heading to Boston on 19th April finishing 9th again in 2:32:27.   Back home he went to Paignton where he was  second in a 15 miles race on 22nd June in 1:21:59.   The Olympic trial in 1968, was held in Cwmbran on the 27th July.   There were 110 entered but just 96 started the race on a very hot, sunny afternoon over a very hilly trail with the temperature in the 70’s.  By 20 miles the field was down to 49.   By the end of the race Danny was 31st in 2.43.38.  It was a poor run on the day when he wanted to do well.  His club that day was RNAC and team mate Joe Clare was 14th in 2.24.50.    Tim Johnston,  Bill Adcocks and Jim Alder were the first  three in the race and gained selection.   Two other Scots ran: Alastair Wood was 6th,  Mel Edwards 7th. 

Danny started summer 1969 with the 10 miles at Plymouth which he was second in 52:01.   That was on 22nd March and in April on Patriot’s Day he was racing the Boston race for the third consecutive year.   This time he was part of a Royal Navy team which won the team race with the other runners being Phil Hampton (9th, 2:23:46), Joe Clare (17th, 2:29:16) and Danny (21st, 2:30:54).   On 26th May he was racing 20 miles at Battersea Park in London where he was 39th in 1:53:17.   He continued to race until 1979 but the standard was not what it had been – no doubt service duties had something to do with that and results have been hard to find.   However, we do have the following.

8 August 1970

15 miles Guildford 1:24:29 22nd

18 March

1973 Plymouth 10 miles 54:34 13th

1st November 1975

Camborne 15 miles 1:24:09 2nd

30 October 1976

Camborne 15 miles 1:25:37 2nd

6th June 1977

Yeovil 10 miles 54:51 10th

1st May 1978

Trowbridge 10 miles 54:05 14th

27 October 1979

15 miles 1:26:57 8th



During the period when he was doing this wonderful running, i.e. up to 1970,  he was serving in the Navy and according to the article shown above, he was running 100 miles per week.   This was the practice among distance runners and had been so after Arthur Lydiard’s book “Run to the Top” came out in 1964.   It also said that he ran 12+ miles every weekday lunchtime.   Unfortunately that is all we have about his training.   Dave Francis, who ran with him when he himself was in the navy has this to say about Danny: 

Regarding the time I was with Danny in the Navy 1972-74.We were stationed at Portland and Danny was a Fire Officer.   Bob Pape and himself started a small group of us (7 in total) to run for the Base (HMS Osprey).They took us all over Portland which had steep hills and a variety of places to train and they introduced us into running to and from work as part of the training.    We were a small team but we managed to win the Southern Area Forces League in cross country and also won some other championships. Danny also introduced us to 10-15 mile road races(which started me off with long distance running).   I don’t know if Danny took up coaching when he left the Navy but he would of been one of the best and certainly made you believe in yourself.”

An interesting comment about coaching from a man who is a very good coach himself, but we can finish with Danny’s personal best times, as far as we have them, are as follows:  

6 Miles (track)   30:19.6; 10 miles  51:04; 15 miles  79:58;   20 miles  1:48:57;   Marathon  2:22:06



Who’s who of distance running: the letter F


John FAIRGRIEVE Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh AC

3000m Steeplechase: 9.34.0 (1968)

John was a well-liked and respected athlete who contributed to EAC’s successes on track and cross country. In the Senior National XC they won team bronze in 1969 and silver in 1970; and in the E to G they finished 5th in the 1965 event (to be awarded ‘most improved’ medals) and 4th in 1970. He went on to be a cheerful, supportive and well-organised SAAA official, and a popular manager, for example supervising Scottish team international trips to foreign and home countries marathon contests.

Gerard FAIRLEY (2.10.53) Kilbarchan

5000m: 14.52.8 (1982) 10,000m: 31.09.0 (1984) Marathon: 2.24.33 (1983)

Still sub-32.00 for 10,000m in 1996, aged 42, Gerry won a European Veteran 5000m title. He ran the E to G many times for Kilbarchan, including 1983, when they finished 9th.

David FAIRWEATHER (11.07.44) Law & District, Cambuslang H

Marathon: 2.24.49 (1983); 2.36.02 (1995 – aged 51).

Previously a cyclist, as a senior between 1973 and 1982, Davie ran the E to G for Law & District. Then he became a very successful Scottish international veteran athlete, not only on road but also hill and cross country. He secured British and Scottish titles. Perhaps his finest run was in 2000 at Navan, Ireland, when he won the M55 age group in the annual British and Irish 5 Nations International Masters XC.

Colin FALCONER (26.03.52) Springburn, Coventry Godiva

3000m: 8.23.0 (1973) 5000m: 14.31.6 (1973)

Colin was very talented and most successful when young. In 1970 he won Junior titles in the Midland District and National XC championships before finishing an excellent 5th (and first Scot) in the International Junior. He went on to win two Scottish vests in the International Senior. In the E to G, Colin represented Springburn in 1971, when they finished fourth; and 1973 (7th) when was fastest on the prestigious Stage 2.

Mark FALLOWS (8.02.62) Edinburgh/City of Edinburgh

800m 1.51.86 (1991) 1500m 3.45.96 (1993)

From 1987 onwards, Mark was a promising middle-distance runner, who became a Scottish international athlete, indoors and out. He won a bronze medal in the 1992 Scottish indoors 1500m championship. In the 1990 E to G, he contributed to Edinburgh finishing fourth. Much later he became Track Manager at the Chris Hoy Indoor stadium in Glasgow; and worked for the Glasgow Athletics Association, organising many events for Scottish athletes.

Colin FARQUHARSON Strathclyde University, Clyde Valley AC, Aberdeen AAC, Hunter’s Bog Trotters

5000 14.39.4 (1981)

A cheerful, sociable man, Colin was most successful as a younger athlete, for example playing his part in Strathclyde University winning team gold in the 1979 National Junior XC. Then he joined Clyde Valley AC, and in 1980 National Junior secured team silver. That year Colin was part of the CV outfits that won: National Senior XC Relay gold; and National Senior 6 Stage Relay silver. In the 1981 Senior National XC, his team finished third. After a spell with Aberdeen, Colin, an unconventional guy, fitted in perfectly with the cavalier Trotters. In the E to G, he ran for them eight times between 1990 and 1999, including ‘most improved’ in 1990 and team bronze in 1996 and 1999.


Allan Faulds (34) leading the field at Westerlands

J Emmet FARRELL (Maryhill Harriers) – see full profile

Many athletes had their careers ruined by the outbreak of war in 1939: none more so than Emmet Farrell.   Scottish Cross-Country champion, track champion, cross-country internationalist, he was the complete distance runner.   He won the Cross-Country title again in 1948 – ten years after his first success.   Read the full profile and its attachments and make your own assessment.

Allan FAULDS (30.01.41) Glasgow University, St Modans, Stirling, Exeter, Clydesdale, Perth, Fife) – see full profile

2 Miles 9.20.0 (1968) 3 Miles 14.09.6 (1965) 3000m Steeplechase 9.29.8 (1965) 10,000m 30-54.4 (1970)   

Allan led Glasgow University Hares and Hounds to National Junior team gold in 1962. In the E to G, Glasgow U finished third in 1962 (with Allan on the important 6th Stage) and sixth in 1963.

Peter Faulds  (320)

Peter FAULDS (6.06.62) Falkirk Victoria Harriers

3000m Steeplechase 9.19.69 (1985)

Peter, being cheerful and enthusiastic, fitted well into the marvellous Falkirk Vics squad, masterminded by Jim Dingwall and Willie Day. From 1982 onwards, Peter ran many times in the E to G, as they improved from 7th to 3rd (1985) until, on a famous widely-applauded occasion, they won that great race in 1990. In 1991 he ran the fastest time on Stage Three. The 1982 Six Stage Relay produced silver medals; and the 1985 National Senior XC silver again.

Henry ‘Harry’ I. FENION (2.07.30) Lochwinnoch, Bellahouston Harriers – see full profile

6 Miles 31.04.6 (1959)

The first Scottish Athletics Yearbook was produced in 1959, too late to record the highlights of Harry’s very successful career. In the E to G, Bellahouston Harriers improved from 3rd (1956) to 2nd (1957) to victory in 1958. They were second in both 1959 and 1960 (when Harry was fastest on Stage Three). In the National Senior XC, Harry won individual gold in 1957 (when Bellahouston secured team silver medals, as they did in 1958.) In 1957, Harry also won the Scottish Marathon championship – a unique double triumph. On the track, he finished third in the 1954 6 Miles championship; and third in the 1958 Marathon. Harry Fenion won three Scottish vests in the International XC; and ran for Scotland in the 1958 Commonwealth Games Marathon in Cardiff.

Harry FENION, Jnr  Greenock Glenpark Harriers

Son of the above who was a good solid club runner who represented his club faithfully in road and cross-country events and championships as an individual and team member.


Andrew T. FERGUSON – see full profile

In “Scottish Athletics”, his 1982 Centenary History of the SAAA, John Keddie mentions Andrew Ferguson “a young Scot from Paisley” who had been running well in England. In 1946, he had been impressed by the performances of the great Sydney Wooderson. In the 1950 AAA Championships “he was caught up in a fast Three Miles race won eventually by the Belgian L. Theys, and placed third in a time of 14 minutes 11.6 seconds, which at that time was the fastest by a Scot, and 5th fastest ever by a U.K. athlete. It was also, surprisingly, the only time that a Scot was placed in the first three in the AAA Three Miles before 1967.”

John FERGUSON Ayr Seaforth

3000m Steeplechase 9-32.0 (1970)

In 1968 and 1969, John finished first Junior in the South-Western District XC championship. In 1970 he secured Junior National XC individual silver. His cross-country success continued when he won the Senior title in the 1972 South-Western event; and in January 1973 finished second in the Scottish Inter-Counties XC. When Ayrshire AC qualified for the E to G in 1976 (12th), John was given the classy 2nd Stage.

Martin M. FERGUSON (17.09.64) Edinburgh AC, City of Edinburgh

From 1986 to 2010, Martin was a consistently good, durable runner at distances including: 3000m Steeplechase (9.17.0); 5000m (14.28.07); 10,000m (30.43.6); and marathon (2.26.45). He finished second in the Scottish Marathon championship in 2000 and 2001, as well as third in the 2002 race; and third in the 2001 Scottish 10,000m. Between 1984 and 2002 (the last ever event) Martin missed only two E to G Relays, running 17 in all. He was usually given the responsibility of the toughest Stages: Two or Six. In 1987 Edinburgh won team silver medals; and in 1998 City of Edinburgh were sixth and were awarded the ‘most improved’ prize. In cross-country, Martin was in the team which finished second in the 1983 Junior National Cross-Country championships. In 2003, City of Edinburgh won team silver in the Senior National Cross-Country.

David FERRY, Cambuslang

David contributed to: team gold in the 1983 Junior National Cross-Country, when he finished sixth; and team silver in three 1984 championships – the Senior National Cross-Country, Six Stage Road Relay and E to G.

Brian FINLAYSON, Forth Valley Harriers, Lochaber AC
Brian was a good cross-country runner who became a superb hill runner. In 1970, while still in his early 20s, he finished climbing all the Munros to become the 97th completist. In the gruelling Ben Nevis Race, he finished second three times – 1971, 1972 and 1974. That last year, Brian won the Isle of Jura Fell Race. In 1975, he won Goatfell, Ben Lomond and the Half Nevis, and finished third in the British Fell Running Association awards. In 1977, Brian became North of Scotland cross-country champion.

T FINLAYSON, Hamilton Harriers

Finlayson, described as a ‘lithesome type of runner’ won a race for Under 17’s held in Lanarkshire in 1950 and went on to take the National Youths’ title leading his team into third place.   The following year he won the same title but this time the Hamilton team won the race from Gala Harriers.   In 1952 he moved up to the Junior age group and finished second in the National with the club team fourth.   In ’53 he was again second – behind the outstanding Alex Breckenridge of Victoria Park.   He ran in the Edinburgh to Glasgow in 1951 on the first stage where he finished ninth, in ’52 he ran on the second stage and moved up from 7th to 6th.   

James FINN, Monklands

He won the Scottish National Youth Cross-Country titles in 1960 and 1961; and ran the 1962 International Junior XC Championships for Scotland, finishing in a fine 16th place. He was third counter for the Scottish team and, along with Lachie Stewart (10th) and Alasdair Heron (11th) won prestigious bronze medals behind England and Morocco. 

Eric FISHER (31.05.46) Edinburgh AC – see full profile

Marathon 2.27.03 (1977)

Eric, a friendly reliable, popular man, was a good club runner who improved considerably at his peak. In the E to G, which Eric ran several times, his club went from 5th in 1969 to 2nd in 1977, when he was second-fastest on the 8th and final stage. In the marathon, after setting a personal best in 1977, he won a bronze medal in the 1978 Scottish Marathon championship. Eric Fisher went on to become a successful Coach to many athletes.

Robert G. FITZSIMMONS (16.08.64) Bellahouston, Kilbarchan

800m: 1.52.55   1500m: 3.44.86i   3000m: 8.06.2   5000m: 14.17.62

Between 1985 and 1998, Robert Fitzsimmons achieved a great deal. He won several Scottish championship medals: indoor 3000m gold in 1987, followed by outdoor 1500m bronze; indoor 3000m silver in 1992, and then triumphed in the outdoor 1500m; indoor 3000m gold in 1993, before AAA indoor 3000m bronze. Robert was a Scottish international athlete at 1500m He ran the E to G, first for Bellahouston and later for Kilbarchan, often contesting Stages 2 or 6. Two team medals were secured with Kilbarchan: bronze in 1997 and silver in 1998. Back in 1984 Robert had been in the Bellahouston squad that finished third in the Scottish 6-Stage Relay.

Andrew FLEMING Cambuslang

Marathon 2.32.47 8 (1966)

Andy Fleming wore the Scottish vest in the 1958 International cross-country championships. He also ran the E to G for Cambuslang every year from 1957 to 1960. Then in 1966 he achieved a bronze medal in the Scottish Marathon championship. His team-mate Gordon Eadie, who Andy advised on training and tactics, won the title, so it was an excellent day for Cambuslang.


Motherwell YMCA Harriers

James won the Scottish One Mile title in 1948 and that year became a Scottish 1500m international athlete. In 1949 he represented his country in the International Cross-Country championships.

Peter FLEMING (5.01.61) – see full profile

Bellahouston, Wolverhampton & Bilston, Reebok Racing Club, Racing Club Edinburgh, Mizuno Racing Club, Phoenix Racers

1500m: 3.48.69 3000m: 8.08.5 5000m: 13.51.20 10,000m: 29.03.36 Marathon: 2.13.33

Between 1982 and 2004, Peter Fleming enjoyed a very successful running career. As his personal bests show, he was extremely versatile. He was a Scottish International athlete, on the track (5000m) and in many marathons in Britain and the rest of Europe. Bronze medals were secured in Scottish championship events: 5000m in 1987 and 10,000m in 1990. His first individual marathon victory was in the 1983 Glasgow event, which included an international team contest. In the Scottish annual rankings, he was first in the 10,000m twice and five times in the marathon. In the Scottish Six-Stage Relay, he won team gold with Bellahouston in 1985 and with Racing Club Edinburgh in 1990. Then there was Scottish XC Relay silver with Bellahouston in 1983, and gold medals in 1992 (Reebok RC) and 1995 (Leslie Deans RC). In cross-country, Peter’s Bellahouston team won Junior National bronze in 1981; Senior National silver in 1987; and LDRC won gold in 1996. The E to G brought team silver in 1983.

JC FLOCKHART (Shettleston) – see full profile

Flockhart’s carer was mainly before the War with the victory in the ICCU Cross-Country championship in 1937 the undoubted high spot.  A quiet unassuming man he ran for a short time after the hostilities ended with good results.   In the first two E-G races, he won two gold medals with fastest time on the second leg in April 1949.   In the National he ran in the first four after the War finishing sixth in ’48 and again in ’49, winning a total of three gold medals from four runs.  He also added international vests in 1946, ’47, ’48, 49, finishing seventh in 1948.   An amazing man altogether – read his full profile.

Charles ‘Claude’ W. FOLEY (1940-1997) Pitreavie

6 Miles 31.05.2 (1960) Marathon 2.44.35 (1959) 3000m Steeplechase 10.01.6 (1960)

Claude was a team-mate of the illustrious John Linaker. In 1960 Claude won a bronze medal in the Scottish 3 Miles championship. He was 6th in the 1959 Scottish Marathon championship and ran well in several Scottish Marathon Club road races. Claude also did well in the Ben Nevis Race – his best position was 8th in 1957. In 1959, Pitreavie ‘A’ – John Linaker 2nd, Claude Foley 10th and W. Lindsay 24th, won the Ben Nevis team trophy.


Andy and Chic Forbes middle of the front row for the team that won the English national

Andrew FORBES (9.10.15) Victoria Park  – see full profile

3 Miles 14.34.4 (1959) 6 Miles 31.04.0 (1959) Marathon 2.44.21 (1968)

As his date of birth indicates, Andy Forbes was a veteran athlete when these Scottish ranking performances were recorded. This immaculate, modest, respected and popular gentleman had in fact been one of Scotland’s finest ever runners. His crowning achievement was a silver medal in the 6 Miles race in the 1950 Commonwealth Games, but his Scottish Championship gold medal haul was very impressive indeed. Andy won four Scottish 3 Mile titles; and set two National records at the distance. He was a Scottish International track athlete on several occasions. In the Senior National XC, he won the title twice and Victoria Park won team gold three times. Andy ran for Scotland in the International XC championships six times – and finished first Scot twice. He was in three winning E to G teams. Then he went on to achieve success as a veteran. His full profile really must be read!

Charles ‘Chic’ FORBES (Victoria Park, Irvine AC)

Chick was the younger brother of Andy and was a key member of the great Victoria Park team of the 1950’s winning medals of all colours in the National Cross Country Championship and the Edinburgh to Glasgow. In the Senior National between 1950 and 1961, Chick won eight team medals with Victoria Park AC: 4 gold, two silver and two bronze. In 1952 he finished 5th and was unlucky not to be selected to run for Scotland in the International XC.

In the E to G, between May 1949 and 1962, Chick was in VP teams that won four gold medals, three silver and one bronze. He was fastest on Stage Five (November 1949 and 1951; and fastest on Four in 1952.

Undoubtedly Chick Forbes was a marvellous team stalwart in this, Victoria Park’s most successful distance running era.

The standard of Scottish endurance running in the 50’s is not really appreciated in the 21st century, but Chick would have been a welcome addition to the current Scottish scene.   Latterly he lived in Irvine and joined the local club where his experience and intelligence were well used.   An easy going, mild mannered man, he really was a very good runner indeed.

Paul FORBES (20.11.56) Edinburgh AC – see full profile

400m 47.69 800m 1.45.66 1500m 3.49. 3000m Steeplechase 9.07.4

Between 1974 and 1987, Paul Forbes, an outspoken, unpredictable but very talented runner, enjoyed an excellent career. His total of 22 Scottish international appearances, at 400m, 800m, and 4x400m Relay, is just three short of the all-time record. He was also a full GB international runner. Against stern opposition, Paul won the Scottish 800m title twice (1983 and 1986), was second three times and third once. In addition, he was second in the 1975 Steeplechase championship. He was third in the 1980 AAA 800m; won the 1982 UK title and in that championship also secured silver (1980) and bronze (1978). In the annual Scottish rankings, he was first in the 800m four times and once in the 400m. Paul Forbes took part in the Commonwealth Games in 1978, 1982 and 1986, representing Scotland in 800m (semi-finalist; 8th in the final; and 7th in the final) and 4x400m (6th; 4th; and 4th). In addition, Paul ran for Scotland in the 1975 International Junior XC; and helped EAC to team silver medals in the 1983 Scottish Six-Stage Relay.

Hugh FORGIE (7.04.56) Law & District

800m 1.53.1 (1977) 1500m 3.48.0 (1980) 1 Mile 4.11.7 (1980)

Hugh was a Scottish 1500m international runner; and won silver in the 1979 Scottish 1500m championship.   He also won silver in the British indoor 1500m behind Seb Coe.  In 1976 his team secured silver medals in the Junior National XC; and in 1981 finished third in the Scottish Cross-Country Relay championship. They were a respectable 8th in the 1982 E to G.

Joe FORTE, Haddington and East Lothian Pacemakers
Joe was H.E.L.P.’s most consistent athlete. His best performance was winning the inaugural Dunfermline Half Marathon.   In 1982 he ran a marathon in 2.36.20. Joe ran the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay five times in succession between 1987 and 1991.

John ‘Jackie’ FOSTER Edinburgh Southern Harriers

Marathon 2.32.38 (1959) Marathon 2.34.06 (1979, aged 45)

Jackie was a great character who, at a time when advice was limited, trained ‘long slow distance’ and once tried to remove ‘fear of distance’ by running 20 miles three days before a marathon. Some of his memories are recalled in ‘A Hardy Race’ on this website. Jackie’s finest achievement was winning a bronze medal in the 1959 Scottish marathon championship. He also ran the E to G three times, with his team’s best position being 4th in 1958. Jackie was second in the season-long Scottish Marathon Club championship (1959) and was awarded a rare First Class certificate. 

William B. B. FOTHERGILL (23.06.50) Glasgow University, Victoria Park, Ilford

3000m Steeplechase 9.18.0 (1975)

Willie, a consistently useful steeplechaser (who won the 1974 West District title) and cross-country runner, was a cheerful, sociable young man with an abundance of hair. He and team-mates including the talented but unpredictable Willie Sheridan (who later founded Westerlands AC) celebrated (in style) Glasgow University H & H successes, including three E to G Relays, in which their best position was 7th in 1972.

Hugo FOX (12.01.21-1974) Shettleston – see full profile

In the Scottish Marathon championship, Hugo Fox of Shettleston Harriers won bronze in 1955, silver in 1957, was the winner (and a Cardiff Commonwealth Games representative) in 1958 and retained his title in 1959, when he was ranked first in the inaugural Scottish rankings. Hugo, a very tough and determined man, had been a keen club cyclist but retired from the sport when he married in 1952 – and took up running to keep fit a year later. By the late 1950s, Hugo was working a five-day week in the heat and dust of a foundry, plus two nights a week overtime, as well as training up to 130 miles a week. In the E to G, Shettleston finished third in 1957, when Hugo was fastest on Stage Eight; second in 1958; and won gold medals in 1959, when Hugo maintained their lead on Stage Six. In the Senior National cross-country championships, the team title was won twice in succession (1954-1955).

Peter FOX (22.03.62) Dundee University, Clyde Valley, Motherwell, Dundee Hawkhill 

1500m 3.57.5 (1982) 3000m 8.19.6 (1989) 5000m 14.17.0 (1985) 10,000m 29.54.57 (1988) 3000m Steeplechase 9.32.0 (1984) Marathon 2.31.55 (1992)

For Clyde Valley AC, in the 1980 Junior National XC, Graham Williamson won with Peter Fox second. He ran for Scotland in two International Junior championships. In the 1982 Senior National, CV won team silver medals. They had already been second in the 1980 Scottish Six-Stage Road Relay. In 1986 Peter Fox, running for Motherwell YMCA, won the West District cross country title. With Dundee Hawkhill, in the Scottish Six-Stage Relay, he won bronze in 1989 and gold in 1990. In 1991 Peter’s team finished second in the National Senior XC. The E to G was also a successful event for Peter Fox: team bronze with CV in 1983 (when he was fastest on Stage Four); and gold medals for DHH in 1989, when Peter ensured victory on Stage 8.

Douglas FRAME (22.09.55) Glasgow University, Law & District

1500m 3.58.3 (1977) 3000m 8.15.2 (1980) 5000m 14.06.3 (1985) 10,000m 29.19.50 (1984)

Between 1977 and 1991 Douglas carved out a successful athletic career. He was a Scottish international on track (3000m) and cross country (1983 World XC). In Scottish championships, he was second in the 1984 10,000m (and third in 1980), as well as third in the 1982 5000m. For Law & District, he was in the team which won silver medals in the 1976 Junior National XC. In the E to G, which Douglas ran several times, his club’s best placing was 8th in 1982, when he was fastest on the prestigious Stage Six.

David FRANCIS Cupar & District, Fife AC

Marathon: 2.33.24 (1978) Dave was the friendliest, most enthusiastic man, and a stalwart for Fife AC. Between 1975 and 1982 he featured in the annual Scottish marathon rankings; but was even more successful as a top-class British ultra-distance runner. He won the 1983 Bolton 40 miles; was second in the 1979 Isle of Man 40; third in an English 100km in 1982; fourth in the 1979 London to Brighton 54 miles; fourth in the 1984 Edinburgh to Glasgow 50 miles; and, between 1976 and 1983, ran eight successive Two Bridges 36 miles, including fifth in 1982 (first Scot) and a team win for Fife AC in 1983. 

Cliff FRANKS   Greenock Glenpark Harriers

Cliff was a good runner in all of the endurance surfaces – he ran in the National, on the track where he specialised in the steeplechase and was indeed ranked at national level, and on the roads – before he moved to England.

Charles J. FRASER Edinburgh Eastern Harriers, Edinburgh Southern Harriers

3000m Steeplechase 9.49.2 (1959) 6 Miles 31.59.0 (1964) 2.30.05 (1962)

Charlie Fraser (born November 1932) ran for Edinburgh Eastern Harriers three times in the E to G: in 1956, when they finished sixth and he was given the responsibility of the Second Stage; in 1957; and in 1958, when he was fastest on Stage One. On the track, he achieved a bronze medal in the 1957 Scottish 6 Miles championship. For ESH, Charlie ran the E to G in 1960, when he was second fastest on Stage One; won team silver in 1961, when he contested Stage Six; in 1962 for another silver; and bronze in 1964. Charlie Fraser won two bronze medals in the Scottish Marathon championship, in 1960 and 1962.

David J. FRITH (27.01.51) Aberdeen

3000m Steeplechase 9.15.3

Between 1982 and 1985, David was consistently under 9.20 for this demanding event.