1970 Commonwealth Games: 25th July

In the photo above, Ian Stewart leads Ian McCafferty over the finish line in the final of the Men’s 5000 metres.   Kip Keino was third.   After Lachie won the 10,000 m earlier in the week, and the marathon men did their bit midweek, and temporary Scotsman Peter Stewart picked up a medal in the 1500m, the Rosemary Stirling won the women’s 800m on the last day, this really made the week for Scottish distance runners.   The day itself was a really good one for the Scots and after the marvellous closing ceremony where the protocol really did break down spontaneously (it’s been too staged at events since then, it was the end of a wonderful part which had happened to include a Games of very high standards athletically indeed.

Then there was the closing ceremony: the details were contained in the programme – see this page after the last race – and it was a formal affair as was the custom then.   The teams marched in and lined up on the infield, the flag was lowered, folded and given to the representative from New Zealand, a speech or two and then the athletes were supposed to march out in formation.   Well, they started to leave in that fashion and then they just broke ranks and the various countries just mixed with each other, they danced, they generally had a good time on their way from the stadium.   Everyone, including the Royal family was delighted – this breaking of ranks and expression of joy and happiness and friendship was to a large extent what gave the Games the title of The Friendly Games.   It was a moment that could never ever be replicated.   To an extent it was following the formalities that went before but it was a marvellous experience for all who were there on the day.   

The pages dealing with the formalities are included on this page after the race details.






1970 Commonwealth Games: 24th July

The penultimate day was short in time – only 4 events taking place – but very high indeed in terms of quality.   For instance the men’s 800m included Ralph Doubell of Australia – coached by Franz Stampfl, he had won the Olympic 800m in Mexico in 1968.   He won his Heat.   The women’s 800m was equally interesting with Sheila Carey, Noreen Braithwaite and Pat Lowe of England lining up with Rosemary Stirling, Georgena Craig and Margaret Speedman of Scotland with others such as Potts of NZ in there as well.

1970 Commonwealth Games: 23rd July

The events of 23rd July will stay with many of us for a long time to come.   The picture above is of the first three in the marathon – It was fast from the start with 10 miles comfortably or not – sub-50 minutes.   All three Scots did well with Jim Alder, the reigning Games champion at the distance finishing second to an inspired Ron Hill.   The photo above shows Alder, Hill and Don Faircloth (third).   The race was basically organised by the Scottish Marathon Club.   Headed by David Bowman, the club provided stewards, virtually all the officials out on the course as well as most time-keepers and judges.   The list of events below indicates that the heats of the 5000m with Ian Stewart, Ian McCafferty and Lachie Stewart all lining up against such as Kip Keino and Joseph Ngeno (Kenya, Dick Quax and Richard Tayler (New Zealand), Allan Rushmer and Dick Taylor (England), Ron Clarke (Australia) and others.   The final of the women’s 1500m was also on the cards and a great afternoon was eagerly anticipated.




1970 Commonwealth Games: 22nd July

This was one of the very best days of the Games.   Look at the names – Don Quarrie and ‘the great Charles Asati’ as both Glasgow Herald and Scotsman referred to him, Raelene Boyle Alice Annum Margaret Critchley, Kip Keino, Brendan Foster, Ben Jipcho  and they were all racing against the runners we saw and ran with most weeks of the year – Helen Golden, Moira McLeish, Liz Sutherland and the rest.   Then there was Ian McCafferty in the final of the 1500m   – when the runners came out of the tunnel those who knew Ian’s running just groaned.   He walked out of the tunnel and sat down.  Everybody else emerged into the daylight and started doing wind sprints or were jogging around and looking purposeful.   Ian just looked listless.   He could only finish sixth in 3:42.2 while runners who should have been well behind him were winning medals.   Mind you, he did have a chance to redeem himself when it came to the 5000m final and his run in that race was wonderful.    Now for thr programme.




1970 Commonwealth Games: Complete Programmes for Every Day

The Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh in 1970 were more than just the first major Games to be held in Scotland, they were the high spot of many sports people’s lives.   The best distance runners from Africa, sprinters from the Caribbean were here in Scotland – and our own runners like Lachie, Ian McCafferty, Les Piggott, Dick Wedlock and others were competing against them.   And these men and women that we rubbed shoulders with at Gourock games, at Babcock’s Sports and in the District Championships did not let us down.   Letters were sent out to all the athletic clubs in the land well before the event with seating plans and ticker prices and order forms.   The people who kept the sport going twelve months of the year were getting first choice of the tickets for their preferred events.  This was before thy went on sale to the general public.   To me a much better way to sell them.   School staff were given a free seat when they brought a specified number of pupils.   They really were special in a way that neither Edinburgh 1986 or Glasgow 2014 could be, although they each had their own charms.   

What these pages attempt to do is follow the running events at the Games as they were printed in the programme  day by day and follow them with the results as published in the official Games Report Book.   Links to the separate days are at the foot of the page.   But first: the calendar of events.

17th July: Athletics Opening Day     18th July   21st July   22nd July    23rd July  .24th July   25th July

The programme for the last day has details of the closing ceremony which went to plan – until the athletes decided not to exit exactly as detailed: they started in orderly ranks and then broke loose, dancing, mixing with athletes from other lands and generally celebrating the end of a wonderful Games.   I would suggest that neither 1986 nor 2014 could match that moment.   Despite the Proclaimers in 2014!


1970 Commonwealth Games: 21st July

Helen Golden – in an unusual strip!

19th July was a Sunday and there were no Games sports of any description held on that day and Monday 20th was a rest day for athletics so the next day to see any action was 21st July.   Lachie’s win was quite unexpected although all who knew him were confident that he would do well  and after he defeated Ron Clarke and the rest we were delirious.  We needed the two days to recover!   


1970 Commonwealth Games: 18th July

.Start of Men’s 10000 metres.

Since we already have the pages dealing with officials, administrators and top brass, as well as conversion tables, we will not duplicate these pages.   We have all the pages dealing with the events held on this, the second day of the Games, and results filled in by Alistair Lawson.   This was the day when Lachie Stewart became a world famous runner: I was there and could not have told anyone what the events after that men’s 10000m was – or indeed if there were any! Results below, but first the cover:



1970 Commonwealth Games:17th July

Athletics at the Games started on 17th July.   Because it was the first day, the entire programme is included here.   It won’t be the case for the other days since there is a lot of duplication – officials listed, conversion tables, etc.   This, and the other programmes, was supplied by Alistair Lawson of Dumbarton AAC and where they are completed, I’ll let the programmes speak for themselves.   He has done a marvellous job of noting the results – every detail noted and with beautiful penmanship too!   I’ve seldom, if ever, seen a programme completely filled and done so neatly to boot!   Thanks Alistair.


British Milers Club

Frank Horwill

The Britis Milers Club was established in 1963 when the fortunes of British miling were decidedly poor.   The origins of the club, as set out by Frank Horwill were as follows:

Back in 1963 there was a lot of criticism of British milers after they had been relegated to 5th place in the European rankings. Frank Horwill had a letter published in AW outlining plans for the formation of a specialist club to stop the miling decline and received 35 letters of support. Soon after, Alf Wilkins, a senior AAA coach and member of NUTS, asked Frank at an athletics meeting, “How many members do you have?” The reply was “You’re the first!”

Wilkins suggested having the first meeting in his accountancy office in London. Out of this the first members included John thresher (Later to become the Executive Director of Athletics Canada), Brian Boulton (Then Kent Mile champion), Wilf Paish (Later to become AAA’s national coach), Maureen Smith (Former WAAA Mile Champion and later SEAA President), Martin Wales (Later to become the police mile champion), Tony Elder, Alf Wilkins and Frank Horwill.

A steering committee was formed and the BMC’s constitution drawn up on one based on one that NUTS were already using. The early decisions made were :
1) The club would be known as the British Milers Club.
2) Entry to the club would be by qualification. The standards of entry were set at

  Senior Men 4:20 / mile   Senior Women 5:20 / Mile
  Junior Men 4:30 / mile
  Youths 4:40 / mile
  Boys 4:50 / mile

Qualified AAA’s coaches and associates would also be admitted.

3) The object of the club would was to raise British Miling to world supremacy and to assist all those interested in this aim.
4) The clubs aims would be executed by appointing regional secretaries who would have to be senior AAA’s coaches. The regions followed the old AAA areas of South West Counties, Southern Counties, Eastern Counties, etc. Each regional secretary would be responsible for

  1. Giving coaching advice to members if requested.
  2. Organising fast, paced mile races.
  3. Organizing quarterly all-club training days

5) A club magazine would be published twice a year.

6) A residential training weekend would be staged twice a year.”

Frank’s entire article can be found at    http://www.britishmilersclub.com/aboutbmc/history.asp

Frank Horwill

It was not so much a club as a grouping of athletes from all sorts of clubs which had a common interest in bettering their performance without leaving their first claim club.   There would be no BMC team in any league at any time: the sole purpose of membership was to raise the standard of individual runners and so raise the standard of national and international miling.   

Runners and coaches are always keen on anything that improves their running – competitively as well as time-wise.   The applications came in and the honour of being British Milers Club member number one went to Scots Miler Hugh Barrow.   Hugh and Frank got on very well together, partly because of Hugh’s attitude that you often had to take the race by the scruff of the neck and force the pace along.   Runners and coaches generally got on well with Frank – it was the administrators, selectors and sometimes race officials who were often in dispute with him and with the club.   The club had several Scottish members who helped build the club right from the beginning: in addition to Hugh, Ian Young and Alistair Blamire who were founder members, most of the top Scots such as Ken Ballantyne and Graham Stark were members and the tradition continued with Mike McLean, Dick Hodelet, Alistair Currie, Adrian Callan and many more.    

The club flourished and more activities were added to the races with the same focus – raising the standard of miling in the country.   The BMC News magazine first appeared in January 1964 as a double sheet of A4, folded to give eight pages of information useful to the runners and coaches.   Publication at first was erratic with May 1965 being the second, May 1966 the third before in 1967 it settled into the current format of two issues per year, one in Spring and one in Autumn.   The nature of the magazine has changed over the news with the current issues being approximately 50 pages in length, printed in full colour, lots of photographs and plenty of information on training, reports on major Games and awards made by the club.      There is the annual two-day AGM and conference which incorporates a training function giving runners more ideas that they can maybe incorporate into their training.   Then there is the Academy for young athletes who have qualified for BMC membership with its own training days/weekends.   It now has a salaried secretary in the form of Pat Fitzgerald, long time member, secretary and coach seriously involved in the club and its welfare.   Another step forward.   It was a blow for the club when Frank died – at one point at an AGM there was a definite proposal to wind it up but Frank stood, almost alone to keep the club in existence and his was the driving personality for many years.   However the strucrures that had been put in place were such that the club has not only continued, but continued to develop new initiatives and the Scots are still playing their part in it.