Edinburgh to Glasgow: Stage Eight

1957: Chic Forbes finishes for Victoria Park

1958: Black finishes for Bellahouston

1960: Tom Malone finishes for Shettleston Harriers

1961: Wotherspoon finishes for Shettleston

1964: John Poulton finishes for Motherwell YMCA

John McAllister, East Kilbride AAC, 1987 



Gerry Fairley, Kilbarchan, finishing and handing the baton to Harry Quinn, in Crown Point arena, 2001


Colin Youngson, final stage, 1986


Edinburgh to Glasgow: VPAAC Win 1951

Shettleston Harriers won two Edinburgh to Glasgow races on the trot before Victoria Park took over to become the dominant force in the race for the 1950’s.   With seven wins in eight years plus one second and two thirds in a decade when Scottish club running was at a real high with VPAAC, Shettleston, Bellahouston and Edinburgh Southern all operating at a high level their feat in the eight-man relay – four man teams were the norm with six men required for the District and National championships – showing gnuined strength in depth.   This was their first victory of many.

Ian Binnie to Jim Ellis at the end of stage one

Ellis to Ronnie Kane at the end of the second stage

Johnny Stirling to Chic Forbes at the end of the fourth stage

Andy Forbes to Syd Ellis at the end of the long sixth stage

Ellis gives Alex Breckenridge a lead of over 3 minutes at the start of the last leg.

The club went on to win in 1950, 1951, ’52, ’53, ’54, ’56 and ’57 with second place in 1955 and thirds in 1958 and ’59 

Edinburgh to Glasgow: Stage Five

Many runners, clubmen and supporters concentrated on the long leg (six), the champions leg (two) and maybe four – but then the first stage was vital if you were gpoing to be a contestant, and three was one where a lot of ground could be lost on what was the shortest leg of the race – very few looked at five in any detail.  The fifth stage was fairly long (5 miles plus) but was without any doubt the most exposed of them all.   If there was a wind, you got it all the way, and in one year there was a bit of a gale blowing and I remember getting in to the bus at the end of the stage followed by a student from one of the university teams gasping, “That wind!   Oh!   That wind.   What a wind.   Oh that wind!”   When it snowed, as it did at least once, the leg was one of the toughest any of us had experienced.

1957: the Armadale changeover, B4 being the Irvine YMCA runner

1959: George Meikle to John Hamilton for Teviotdale

Henry Summerhill to Graham Everett (Shettleston) in 1960

Roden to Moody for Teviotdale in 1961


Davie Simpson, Law and District in 1975

Chic Forbes (VPAAC) to Ian Binnie at the end of Stage 5


Edinburgh to Glasgow: Stage Seven

1957: Harry Fenion, Bellahouston, to Jim Irvine

1958: Joe Connolly, Bellahouston, to Des Dickson

1959: Hugo Fox to Robert Wotherspoon for Shettleston

Gordon, Bellahouston, to Black in 1960

Douglas to Meikle for Teviotdale in 1964

Henderson, EAC, to Prior at Airdrie in 1964

Dundee Hawkhill and Springburn side by side at the changeover in 1964

Graeme Grant (Dumbarton AAC) in 1967

Graeme Haddow, East Kilbride, 1987

M Johnston (Edinburgh Athletic Club) in 1994

Bobby Young, Clydesdale Harriers, from Ian Taylor, Carnegie


Edinburgh to Glasgow: On the Cover

For all that the race was a genuine classic, and given the number of magazines which  covered the sport for several years at a time, there were few front covers which featured the race.   We start with four from the ‘Scots Athlete’ magazine.

… and a couple from  “Scotland’s Runner”







Edinburgh to Glasgow: Stage Four

Stage Four was another difficult one and, arguably, the toughest after the second and sixth stages.   

1959: Kelly to Fox, Shettleston at the changeover from three to four

Tom O’Reilly, Stage Four, 1954

Alex Miller, Law and District, on Stage Four in 1974

Graham Getty, Bellahouston Harriers, 1984

Doug Runciman, Cambuslang Harriers, 1994

Kheredine Idessane, Clydesdale, 1997

Edinburgh to Glasgow: Some First Stage Pictures

Donnie Bain (FVH) and Adrian Callan (Springburn)

Same race: Dougie Bain and Adrian Callan (Springburn)

Alistair Blamire, (EU H&H) leading Ian Binnie (VPAAC)  in 1965

Lachie Stewart and David McMeekin on the first stage in 1987

At the end of stage one the long drag up from the Barnton Roundabout to the top and the ‘One Mile to Go’ sign really sorted out the field.   This is the view supporters got when looking back down for their runner.

Andy Daly had broken away from the group he was running with at this point

Withe Andy gone, Ian Archibald leads the chasing group with Jim Dingwall dropping off.


1990: Great shot posted by A Laird on Graham’s website




Steve Taylor’s Memorabilia

Looking at athletics memorabilia is fascinating: we learn not only about the events in which an athlete has been competing but also about the wider field of athletics at that time.   Scottish athletics in my lifetime has undergone any changes but none more so that in the type of competition offered to the athletes or to the range of competition either.   We have Andy Forbes’ programmes and cuttings elsewhere on the site and what we have here are some of the programmes from Steve Taylor’s collection. The first front cover is for the 1960 International at Hamilton Park Racecourse.




The Rangers Sports was a wonderful meeting with top athletes competing on the same track and sharing the dressing rooms with the regular Scottish runners who were competing in handicap races.

This is a particularly interesting one in that it was one of the very first floodlight meetings in Scottish athletics.   Many of the runners from the just-finished Rome Olympics.   There were many athletics meetings originating in the 1920’s where Olympic athletes came to Glasgow after the meeting before returning home: one of my first meetings was in broad daylight but included such as Lindy Remigino, Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint and others on their way home from Helsinki.   These days have gone but it must have been a wonderful experience for Steve to run at such a meeting.  

Colin says: “In 1960 many Olympic stars came to Glasgow.   Steve had watched them in Rome and here he was the pacemaker in the Mile!   Bill Dellinger (who in 1964 was third in the Olympic 5000m) won in front of Graham Everett, Laszlo Tabori and Mike Beresford, with Steve 5th in front of Max Truex (USA) etc. The three miles featured – in finishing order –  Albie Thomas (Aus), Gordon Pirie, Nyandika (the first successful Kenyan), Frank Salvat and Alastair Wood. The 440 yards featured Otis Davis (1960 Olympic 400m gold), Robbie Brightwell and Mal Spence. The Women’s sprints included Australia’s 1956 Olympic 100m/200m (and 1964 400m) victor Betty Cuthbert. Steve also collected some autographs and, for my own collection, I have printed out folk like Thomas, Tabori, Dellinger, Truex, Derek Ibbotson plus several top Scots and English.”

There were often such international fixtures against the smaller nations such as Iceland and the other Scandinavian countries and they were great occasions for the athletes, and the spectators but it seems that there are no facilities for such fixtures in the twenty first century.

The Edinburgh Highland Games, traditionally held on the short, grass track at Murrayfield, also attracted the very best athletes and there were some surprisingly good times run in dire conditions there.



This was one of a series of attempts to have a dedicated athletics magazine in Scotland.   This one was edited and produced by Walter Ross as a successor to the first rate ‘Scots Athlete’ magazine.

The two athletes pictured, both running cross-country for Cambridge University, are Mike Turner and Herb Elliott, the legendary Australian miler.





Edinburgh to Glasgow: Stage Three

Stage three was always the shortest, no matter how many times the trail was tweaked.   Described as ‘undulating’ there was certainly a switchback element to the road covered but the finish was ferocious – the ‘Mile to go’ sign led on to a long down hill stretch which encouraged the enthusiastic runner to really push hard before it came as a wee shock to his system to find a long uphill drag to the changeover opposite the farmer’s barn-cum-temporary toilet.   Photographs below from the Jim Irvine, Scots Athlete, Graham MacIndoe and the Andy Fair pictures were submitted to Graham MacIndoe’s site by, I beleve, Andy himself.

Pat Moy, Vale of Leven, to Bob Steele at the start of three

1959: Des Dickson, Bellahouston, at the start of three

1959: Hugh Mitchell takes over for Shettleston at the start of stage three

Bert Irving (Bellahouston Harriers) to Jim Irvine at the second changeover in 1958, Bellahouston won that year.

Ronnie Kane (VPAAC) hands over to John McLaren at the end of stage 3 in 1955


Fergus Murray (EU H&H, fastest on Stage Two) to G Evans at the start of Stage 3 in 1964

George White, Clydesdale, 1956

Neil Thin, ESH, 1984

Pat Morris starts Stage Three, taking over from Eddie Stewart in 1984

Colin Youngson finishing stage three, aged 51, and handing over to Mark Johnston for Metro Aberdeen

Hugh Forgie, Law and District, leading Paul Ross, Clydesdale

Ewan Calvert, Clydesdale, 1997

Andy Fair, Teviotdale

Andy Fair at Broxburn changeover to B Knox

Scott Cohen, Leslie Deans, 1993

Shane Daly, Clydesdale, 1995

Edinburgh to Glasgow: Aberdeen Victory

From time to time there appears a magazine dedicated to Scottish athletics – usually with an emphasis on road and cross-country running.   The post-war ‘The Scots Athlete’ produced by Walter Ross using the technology available at the time is still a good, well-produced magazine with several excellent writers, its successor ‘The International Athlete’ was not as good a production and the coverage of domestic athletics was much sparser,   In the 1970’s George Stevenson in Edinburgh gave us ‘Athletics in Scotland’.   The content of this offering was really top-class.   It gave race results in some detail, interviews with athletes and coaches as well as a range of other topics such as coaching – the edition with coaching of the sprints by Jimmy Campbell was particularly good.    It was done on a shoestring but was a real loss when it went the way of all flesh after too few years.   A really determined attempt to produce a quality magazine dealing with the sport using all the latest technology by a team of professional journalists was made in 1986 when ‘Scotland’s Runner’ became available.   It ran monthly until mid-1993.   We couldn’t have asked for more from a magazine but the sport could not provide the support necessary to sustain it.   

When Aberdeen AAC won the Edinburgh to Glasgow in 1988, the race was well covered and what follows is the series of photographs following the race from the first stage to the last.

The Aberdeen team consisted that day of Ian Mathieson (7th on the first stage), Chris Hall (3rd at the changeover), Ray Cresswell (1st), David Duguid (1st), Graham Laing (1st), Fraser Clyne (1st), Simon Axon (1st), and Colin Youngson (1st).   The team’s winning margin was 21 seconds from Edinburgh Southern Harriers, with Ray Cresswell being the only member to turn in the fastest stage time.