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.

We know the story of Zatopek’s gesture of giving one of his Olympic gold medals to Ron Clarke: but few know of his donation of international vest to another long distance athlete: YToiu can find the whole story  here  .


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.”

Combined Services , 1970s: Danny is in the front row, fifth from the left

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.

Dave Francis: ultramarathon runner

Dave Francis in the Two Bridges, 1983

Dave (born in 1947) was a typical, good club distance runner who became a top class ultra marathon man and then an outstanding coach for the younger age groups.   Unusually for a coach, he loved working with the younger age groups but had no problem passing them on to other coaches working with seniors..   He ran ran cross-country in races up to and including the Scottish national championships and he ran on the road in races up to the marathon distance.   A good man to have in your team.   He seemed to do best in the longer distances and between 1975 and 1982 he featured in the annual Scottish marathon rankings and the times and Scottish rankings tell an interesting tale of the rise in standards in the event over the period.   Have a look at these times and rankings and compare the ranking place in 1975 with that of 1978 and then 1982.


time national ranking


2:39:33 21st


2:43:06 24th


2:36:29 30th


2:33:24 26th


2:39:52 54th


2:38:02 77th


2:39:04 110th

When he stepped up from the marathon, he was much more successful as a top-class British ultra-distance runner, especially in the Two Bridges 36 and the Edinburgh to Glasgow 50.   If, during his peak years, there had been opportunities to race international ultras for Scotland or GB, Dave Francis would definitely have been selected.   


Before we start on his career in some detail, we asked Dave to answer the questionnaire and we can look at his responses.

Name:   Dave Francis

Club/s:   Fife AC

Date of Birth:   25th September, 1947

Occupation:   Retired

Personal Best Times :     10 Miles – 52 mins.   Marathon –  2hr 32 min.   40 miles – 4hr 10 min.  100k – 7hr 11 min

How did you get involved in the sport to start with?       It was when I was in the Royal Navy, I was training but started competing in races when I met Danny McFadzean who was so Inspirational in my outlook to running and competed with him for 2 years and he is still my inspiration.

Did you have a favourite surface – road, track, country, hills?   Disliked the track but ran on it when needed to support the Club. Enjoy  roads, hills and country.

Has any individual or group had a marked effect on either your attitude to the sport or to your performance?

As in a previous question, Danny McFadzean definitely. 

What exactly did you get out of the Sport?  

I got great satisfaction, enjoyment, great friends and finding out a lot about myself.

Can you describe your general attitude to the sport?  

Work hard, enjoy, be true to yourself and help and encourage everyone young/old to achieve their goals and don’t get stressed as it’s only a hobby (unless you plan to make a living out of it).

What do you consider your best ever performance?   I enjoyed all of the races I was in but the funniest one was the first Isle of Man 40 miles race I did. The reason for this was because I was chasing the leader, whom I didn’t know then (as I was a newcomer to the circuit) he kept on checking how far I was behind him and was I gaining (his wife was following the race in a car and updating him).   His name was Cavin Woodward, I was chuffed to bits that he was worried I would catch him (it made my year).

And the worst?   There wasn’t really a worst performance as each race was different and as long as I crossed the line knowing I had given a 100% then it was just another learning curve and then on to the next race.

Many of our generation had heroes in the sport – was there any runner who inspired you or whom you wanted to emulate?    Not really – just enjoyed seeing people achieving their goals.

What goals did you have that are still unachieved?   I have no goals to achieve for myself (bad back injury curtailed that) but I hope to help the athletes who train with me achieve their goals and one of the greatest feeling is when the athlete says ‘thank you’ for helping them.

Can you give some idea of your training, both before you took up ultra marathon running and after?  My training was done by running to my work and back (which then didn’t interfere with family life too much with having a family of four) I started this when I was in the Navy and carried it on ,just increasing the distances as I went along but always consistent, Saturday off unless racing and long run on Sunday.

And, he adds, I would like to say if it hadn’t been for the support of my wife Elizabeth and my four sons  (following me around the races in the car supplying me with drinks and cheering me on) I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did. I really appreciated their understanding and help and a big thank you to them all.

[For those who don’t know about Danny McFadzean, he was a very good marathon runner, a member of Beith Harriers who also ran for many Navy teams with a best time for the marathon of 2:22:06 (Boston, 1967) and a best national ranking of fourth in 1966 with a time of 2:31:57.   He was also a good Six Miler with a best track time of 30:19.6.   He was a member of Beith Harriers at the same time as  Ian Harris who won the SAAA marathon Championship in 1963 in 2:25:32; Ian ran for the Army.   In 1964 Beith Harriers had two marathon runners with times of 2:30:28 (Ian) and 2:31:57 and they were ranked 2nd and 4th Scotsmen.   With regard to the times, remember first of all that shoe technology was not as advanced as it is now, rules about refreshment on the course were not as sympathetic to the runner as they are and, maybe most important, courses were in the main much tougher.   eg the trail on which Ian Harris won the SAAA title in 1963 went from Westerlands down Great Western Road to the Vale of Leven and back with three very big hills on the way out and again on the way back.   Danny ran for GB in the Kosice Marathon in 1966 where he finished 6th and ran his personal best time, and also ran the Boston Marathon in 1967 (9th), ’68 (9th), ’69 where he was in the winning (Navy) team when he was 21st in 2:30:54.   He reputedly ran 100 miles a week].   Dave adds to his comments on Danny and says: 

“Regarding the time I was with Danny in the Navy 1972-74.We were stationed at Portland and Danny was a Fire Officer and 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”.

                                          Dave Francis leading Colin Youngson in the 1984 Edinburgh to Glasgow 50 Miles Road Race

Between 1976 and 1983, Dave Francis ran eight successive Two Bridges races – his best position was 5th in 1982, when his time was 3 hours 40 minutes 6 seconds. Dave secured First Scot and First Local awards several times; and in 1983 the Fife AC team (Ian Graves, Dave Francis and Ian Mitchell) won the coveted Team Trophy.

In the prestigious London to Brighton Road Race (over 53 or 54 miles) Dave Francis finished 16th in 1978 and an excellent fourth (5 hours 50 minutes 10 seconds) in 1979.

In 1979 and 1980, Dave ran the Isle of Man 40 miles event. He was second in 1979, recording another Road Runners Club first class time (4.10.00).

His exploration of British ultramarathons continued. In 1982, Dave was an impressive third (7.11.57) in a 100km race from Grantham to Lincoln.

A notable victory for Dave Francis took place in the 1983 Bolton 40 miles event (4.23.17). A month later, in late October 1983, he finished 7th in the gruelling Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Track Race at Coatbridge, covering more than 109 miles.

Then, in June 1984, Dave Francis was fourth in another Sri Chinmoy event: the 50 miles road race from Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh to George Square in Glasgow.

After a back injury stopped him competing in ultras, Dave Francis kept on running cross-country and up and down hills. For several decades, he has contributed to Fife AC as an event organiser and by coaching young athletes. For twelve years, The Mini-Tour of Fife was a great success for youngsters between the ages of nine and seventeen. This involved racing on five successive days, over: hill; beach, multi-terrain; time trial; and another multi-terrain.

Edinburgh to Glasgow, 1984

All good things have to come to an end, they say, but how do runners develop when they feel that their competitive career is over?   Many just walk away, some become administrators and/or officials, some become coaches.   Dave didn’t walk away, he stayed and has put a lot back into the sport in the years since.   Reference was made above to event organisation.   Dave was known for his tough courses.   Alex Jackson tells us that –

“Dave was course designer for many East District Relays, Championship and Master Champs at Cupar.   His courses were always challenging with as many hills as he could incorporate.   Lovely moment when I was doing a pre event visit to a Cupar course for a champs when he had the course going way out to find proper hills.   There were several fields close by and when I said to him why can’t we use them, he looking at me in disgust and and said  “They’re Flat!”   For the National at Cupar in 1999, which was held on frozen ground, he is down as Clerk of Course in the programme”

Dave has been coaching in Fife AC since the club started in 1975 and this is recognised by an Honorary Life Membership.  He is known as a coach of the younger age groups, but he also works with seniors and veterans (some in their 70s and upwards) at the same time..  The Minitour of Fife was also mentioned above – many officials have good ideas which work for several years but, thanks to Dave, this one has so far lasted for eleven years and the twelfth was only missed in 2020 by the Covid pandemic.   It is a junior version of Fife AC’s Tour of Fife for the senior club members.   In 2019 the race schedule was  –

As a coach of younger athletes, he has developed and passed on to other coaches many international athletes, with the most famous name probably being that of Andrew Lemoncello.    Among the National Cross-Country champions that he has worked with are –

U13 boys:  1993-4 Craig Michie,   1995-6 Andrew Lemoncello
U13g;   2016-7 Anna Hedley,     2017-8 Isla Thoms
U15 boys:  1997-8 Andrew Lemoncello
U15 girls:   2018-9 Anna Hedley
U17 men:   1999-2000 Andrew Lemoncello,  2015-6 Tristan Rees 
U17 women:   2019-2020  Anna Hedley
Lemoncello is certainly the best known of these and he was making himself known as an athlete at GB level even as an U15 athlete when in the 1998 Inter Counties Under 15 Championships in Cardiff he finished right behind Mo Farah with his Scottish team mate and rival Kerr Johnstone (Scot East) third.  These two had many battles through the age groups, see them in the Under 15 race at the link below.
David Armour of Carnegie Harriers, is the man who  filmed some of the races at Jack Kane Centre Edinburgh in November 1997.

Perhaps the pinnacle was the Scottish Junior men’s hill running team for the 2001 world championships where all the team members were coached by Dave.  Known as a very good coach of young athletes, Dave seldom coaches outside his own area.   Hardly a race goes by where Dave is not seen out laying the trail, organising the officials while simultaneously helping and encouraging athletes.

At a national level Dave was course director at the Scottish Cross Country Championships in Cupar in 1999 and filled the same post for the UK Hill Running Championships held at Falkland in 2010. He treats local and national events equally with the same calmness and attention to detail.

For many years he was an East of Scotland selector and team manager for young athletes.    “Dave  has a lovely manner with young athletes that seemed bring out the best in them.”   He was also a team manager for the East team at the Inter Counties Cross-Country race in England for a number of years.   

A very good runner, an able administrator and a first class coach – Dave Francis has been and continues to be a credit to the sport.


1964 Olympic Games

This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo are being compared to those held there in 1964, almost 60 years ago and being compared in terms such as how many Scots are in the team, how many medal chances do we have  and so on but there was a lot happening there that was notable in its own right and is maybe worth a look.   The complete official film of the Games (running time: 2 hours 05 minutes) is available on youtube at The Complete Tokyo 1964 Olympics Film | Olympic History – YouTube  with extracts from some of the events also available.

  • The first point to note is the obvious one – the Games are bigger now but the extent of the explosion is not often appreciated – there were 82 countries taking part in 1964 but there are 205 expected to turn up this time round.   It was to be 206 but North Korea is now not certain to be there.   Medals might just be a bit harder to come by.     
  • Second is the track that they will be racing on.   In the photograph above of Billy Mills winning the 10000m, it is clear that they were running on cinders, note just how much the track has cut up.   It was in fact the last time that a track of that sort was used – from 1968 tartan tracks have been used and tartan approaches have been used for field events.   Males a difference in comparing the times over the years between.
  • The number of athletics events is also different – there were two new events for women at the ’64 version – the 400m and the pentathlon.   In the years since, the pentathlon has become  a heptathlon and hammer, triple jump and steeple chase have been added in to the mix.   
  • It was also the first time that the Games had been held in Asia.
  • And in the distance events, which we will be looking at, the Americans arrived.   


If we compare the endurance events in 1960 and 1964 we get these two tables.   1960 first, then ’64.

800 metres
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
Roger Moens
1:46.5 George Kerr
 British West Indies
1500 metres
Herb Elliott
Michel Jazy
3:38.4 István Rózsavölgyi
5000 metres
Murray Halberg
 New Zealand
13:43.4 Hans Grodotzki
 United Team of Germany
13:44.6 Kazimierz Zimny
10,000 metres
Pyotr Bolotnikov
 Soviet Union
Hans Grodotzki
 United Team of Germany
28:37.0 David Power

Two from Australia, 2 from New Zealand, 2 from Germany, 1 each from Russia, Poland, Hungary, France, West Indies and Belgium.   None from the USA and none from Africa.   And none from Britain either!   There is a different picture in 1964.

800 metres
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
Bill Crothers
1:45.6 Wilson Kiprugut
1500 metres
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
3:38.1 Josef Odložil
3:39.6 John Davies
 New Zealand
5000 metres
Bob Schul
 United States
13:48.8 Harald Norpoth
 United Team of Germany
13:49.6 Bill Dellinger
 United States
10,000 metres
Billy Mills
 United States
Mohammed Gammoudi
28:24.8 Ron Clarke

Three from the United States (including two winners), 3 from New Zealand (including to gold for Peter Snell),  2 from Africa, only 2 from Eastern Europe compared with 3 in ’60, 1 each from Australia and Canada.   If we take the longest first

Tokyo’s 10000m had no fewer than 38 starters from 23 nations (on the cinder track) and there were 8 who did not run at all.   Of the 38, 9 dropped out.  In 1960 there were

also 29 finishers.   The victory of native American Billy Mills (photo above) was a big surprise, the tiny winning margin of less than half a second from Gammoudi was possibly the smallest of all time and Ron Clarke won a medal but not the gold he wanted and worked for.   The wiki report on the race reads: 

“World record holder Ron Clarke set the tone of the race. His tactic of surging every other lap appeared to be working. Halfway through the race, only five runners were still with Clarke: Mohammed Gammoudi of TunisiaMamo Wolde of EthiopiaBarry Magee of New ZealandKokichi Tsuburaya of Japan, and Billy Mills of the United States. Magee and Tsuburaya, the local favorite, lost contact first, then Wolde. With two laps to go, only two runners were still with Clarke. On paper, it seemed to be Clarke’s race. He had run a world record time of 28:15.6 while neither Gammoudi nor Mills had ever run under 29 minutes.

Mills and Clarke were running together with Gammoudi right behind as they entered the final lap. They were lapping other runners and, down the backstretch, Clarke was boxed in. He pushed Mills once, then again. Then Gammoudi pushed his way between them both and surged into the lead as they rounded the final curve. Clarke recovered and began chasing Gammoudi while Mills appeared to be too far back to be in contention. Clarke failed to catch Gammoudi, but Mills pulled out to lane 4 and sprinted past them both. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had run before and set a new Olympic record for the event. No American had ever before won the 10,000 m, nor has any other American come seriously close until Galen Rupp took the silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

The top four runners beat the standing Olympic record.”

Mills had had a difficult life up to that point and a full length feature biopic called ‘Running Brave’ was made  –  it was very good.   One runner that I know spent a night in a hotel room watching it over and over on the movie channel in his room!

The 1000m set things up for the Americans for the remainder of the Games.   There was another American victory in the 5000m from Bob Schul.   54 athletes from 35 countries actually took part.   There were four heats and a final  with only Mike Wiggs of Britain’s trio making the final.    The wiki report on this one reads:

” The world record holder Vladimir Kuts had retired five years earlier. Defending champion Murray Halberg didn’t make the final. Halberg and Pyotr Bolotnikov had dominated the event the previous four years but neither was in the final. The top runner of the year was Bob Schul from the Compton Invitational. This was Kip Keino‘s first Olympic final, but he would gain fame four years later.

In the slow, strategic race held in a light rain on a muddy dirt track Michel Jazy was more of a 1500 meter runner and expected to be ready for a fast finish. He kept himself in the lead or close to the lead throughout. Schul found himself on the curb boxed in by a loping Keino who seemed to be marking the field on the outside of the pack that also included future world record holder Ron Clarke. With 600 metres to go Bill Dellinger made the first move coming around the entire pack and into the lead. At age 30, old for an amateur athlete in this era, Dellinger came out of retirement to make one last attempt after failing to make the Olympic final the previous two Olympiads. Dellinger’s move was marked by Jazy as the pace quickened. Nikolay Dutov came around the entire pack to challenge Jazy and Dellinger. Shortly after the bell, Jazy decided to take off, jumping to the lead with Harald Norpoth coming from mid pack to become his closest pursuer 5 metres back as the field stretched out. A one speed runner, Clarke had no answer for the speedsters. With 300 to go, Schul came from fifth place to start picking off runners to get to Norpoth with 200 to go. Through the turn he passed Norpoth with Jazy constantly looking over his shoulder to check his pursuer. Jazy still had a two metres lead as they reached the final straight. But that lead disappeared rapidly as Schul sprinted by to take the gold medal. Jazy now watched Norpoth as he slowly edged by just before the finish. Given all he could, Jazy tried to maintain and glide across the finish line, but Dellinger, in full sprint, caught Jazy at the line to take the bronze medal. It took officials a half an hour to decide the bronze medalist.

Schul’s victory was the first and only American victory in the event. His was only the second medal in the history of the event; Dellinger’s bronze became the third.”

.If the 1950’s middle distance world belonged to Herb Elliott, the 1960’s were Peter Snell’s.   800m, half mile, 1500m, mile, 20 mile runs on a Sunday, he was definitely the man.   In the ’64 Games, he won both 800m and 1500m by the same margin – 1.5 seconds in both.   Just as the USA had three medals from 6 in the 5000/10000m double, so NZ won three of six in the 800/1500m double.    The 800m came first with 47 athletes from 32 countries in action.   There were three rounds – first round (6 heats), semi-finals (3) and finals.   The United States with two runners had most in the final.   The wiki report on the final read:

“The runners used a crouch start without blocks and a single turn stagger start (breaking after the first turn). Returning to the final from four years earlier were defending champion Peter Snell and bronze medalist George Kerr. While Snell started strongly, he found himself in third place at the break, led by aggressive front-running by Wilson Kiprugut. As others moved forward, Snell found himself boxed along the rail, so as the runners came onto the home stretch he had to slow to come out the back of the box, then as the bell approached, he glided along the outside to catch up to Kiprugut and Kerr in the lead. With free running room, Snell kept going, taking the lead on the penultimate turn. After establishing a three-metre lead, he held his position, even extending it a little to take the repeat gold. Down the backstretch, Bill Crothers made his way around Kiprugut while Kerr was trying to chase down Snell. Crothers came off the final turn with more speed, passing Kerr on the home stretch. Kerr began to struggle. Snell was too far ahead for Crothers to catch, but Kiprugut closed down on Kerr, passing him and sealing the bronze medal with a dip at the finish.

Snell became the third to defend his 800-metre title after Douglas Lowe and Mal Whitfield. The feat would not be accomplished again for 52 years until David Rudisha repeated in 2016. Kiprugut won Kenya’s first ever Olympic medal, unleashing a floodgate of national dominance in distance running events, particularly the 3000 meters steeplechase in subsequent Olympics.”

The wikipediea article on the race is most interesting and is worth a look – you will find it at

Peeter Snell winning the 800m in the 1960 Olympic Games

Snell also won the 1500m in ’64 with team mate John Davies in third, taking the bronze medal.   Like the 800m it had 3 rounds and there were 53 runners from 34 nations taking part.   Snell, in total, had six races at the Games leading to his 2 gold medals – a ferocious week of racing.   There were two British runners in the final Alan Simpson in fourth place and John Whetton in eighth of nine.  The wikipedia report on the race is below.

“World and Olympic record holder, Herb Elliott was not back to defend his title, having retired from the sport at 24 years of age. 1960 800 metre champion Peter Snell entered the Olympics with the intent of duplicating his feat, doubling over similar distances at the previous 1962 Commonwealth Games. He had already lowered Elliott’s mile world record by a tick two years earlier. Snell had already successfully defended his 800 metre title.

As had been his typical strategy, Snell chose to stay in a marking position behind the leaders. Splits were recorded at 400 metres, 800 metres, and 1200 metres. Michel Bernard led after the first lap, Josef Odložil and John Davies were in front after two. Wary of being boxed in as he was in the 1960 Olympic 800, at the bell his countryman Davies held the lead while Snell was boxed in by Dyrol Burleson. He slowed then decisively moved to the outside to be in a position to run. Others were also scrambling for position, Witold Baran made his move and had the lead at the end of the third lap but Davies again assumed the lead down the backstretch. With about 220 metres to go, Snell accelerated, blowing past Baran and Davies, the others would now be racing for second place. Snell extended his lead to almost 10 metres, crossing the finish line 1.5 seconds ahead of anyone else. Through the turn, Alan Simpson got around Davies and Baran, behind them Burleson was moving to the outside. Even further back, Odložil began his final sprint around the outside of Burleson. Davies was able to get barely ahead of Simpson, holding him off at the finish line but that would only be for bronze as Odložil came roaring down the home stretch, catching both before the finish to grab silver.”

The Americans did not feature in the marathon as much as they did on the track.   They had three runners – Buddy Edelen who had lived and trained in England for several years racing the best as often as he could, Billy Mills ran but after winning the 10000m he could not be expected to be at his best in what was not his best event, and Irishman Pete McArdle (who used to race against Cyril O’Boyle when they were both in Ireland) made up the trio.   A total of 68 started and 58 finished.   Result of the first 19.

Rank Athlete Nation Time Notes
1st place, gold medalist(s) Abebe Bikila  Ethiopia 2:12:11.2 WR
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Basil Heatley  Great Britain 2:16:19.2  
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Kōkichi Tsuburaya  Japan 2:16:22.8  
4 Brian Kilby  Great Britain 2:17:02.4  
5 József Sütő  Hungary 2:17:55.8  
6 Leonard Edelen  United States 2:18:12.4  
7 Aurèle Vandendriessche  Belgium 2:18:42.6  
8 Kenji Kimihara  Japan 2:19:49.0  
9 Ron Clarke  Australia 2:20:26.8  
10 Demissie Wolde  Ethiopia 2:21:25.2  
11 Lee Sang-hun  South Korea 2:22:02.8  
12 Bakir Benaïssa  Morocco 2:22:27.0  
13 Eino Oksanen  Finland 2:22:36.0  
14 Billy Mills  United States 2:22:55.4  
15 Toru Terasawa  Japan 2:23:09.0  
16 Kim Yun-Bum  South Korea 2:24:40.6  
17 Giorgio Jegher  Italy 2:24:45.2  
18 Václav Chudomel  Czechoslovakia 2:24:46.8  
19 Ron Hill  Great Britain 2:25:34.4

It might sound strange to us but the 800m was the longest race in the Games at the time, and was still the case four years later. the women’s 1500m appeared in 1972, the 3000m and the marathon in 1984 and the 10,000m in 1988.   There were v24 athletes from 16 countries competing and there were three rounds – Heats (3) Semi finals (2) and the Final.   

After winning a silver medal in the 400 metres Ann Packer had no plans to run in the 800 metres and had a shopping trip planned until her fiancé, Robbie Brightwell finished fourth in the 400 metres. Disappointed for him, she turned to the 800 metres, an event which she had only raced in five times before.   Packer, who had placed fifth in her first round heat and third in her semifinal, started the final as the second slowest of the eight contestants.

After the break in the final Zsuzsa Szabó took the lead with Maryvonne Dupureur and Antje Gleichfeld in close order behind her. Coming off the second turn Dupureur took the lead. At the bell she accelerated further. Packer was sixth at 400 metres, tagging along at the back of the pack behind Dupureur. Along the backstretch, Dupureur opened a gap which she extended through the final turn, five girls hit the 600 mark virtually shoulder to shoulder, with Packer a step behind the wall. Laine Erik was the outside of the wall but had more speed through the turn, the only one in the field looking to have enough speed to try to make progress on the now five metre lead of Dupureur.

Suddenly halfway through the final turn, Packer launched into a sprint, running around the other competitors. She took the lead in the final straight her sprinting speed taking her past Dupureur in a completely different gear to take the gold medal in world record time.    The first five runners beat the Olympic record time (set by Dupureur in the semifinals).


Final. Left-right: Anne Smith, Laine Erik, Marise Chamberlain, Ann Packer, Antje Gleichfeld, Gerda Kraan, Maryvonne Dupureur, Zsuzsa Szabó

Suddenly halfway through the final turn, Packer launched into a sprint, running around the other competitors. She took the lead in the final straight her sprinting speed taking her past Dupureur in a completely different gear to take the gold medal in world record time.    The first five runners beat the Olympic record time (set by Dupureur in the semifinals).