Who’s who of distance running: the letter F

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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.

James A FLEMING

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.

year

time national ranking

1975

2:39:33 21st

1976

2:43:06 24th

1977

2:36:29 30th

1978

2:33:24 26th

1979

2:39:52 54th

1981

2:38:02 77th

1982

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.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6jouCi8zhSu_tY08p087yw
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
details
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
1:46.3
(OR)
Roger Moens
 Belgium
1:46.5 George Kerr
 British West Indies
1:47.1
1500 metres
details
Herb Elliott
 Australia
3:35.6
(WR)
Michel Jazy
 France
3:38.4 István Rózsavölgyi
 Hungary
3:39.2
5000 metres
details
Murray Halberg
 New Zealand
13:43.4 Hans Grodotzki
 United Team of Germany
13:44.6 Kazimierz Zimny
 Poland
13:44.8
10,000 metres
details
Pyotr Bolotnikov
 Soviet Union
28:32.2
(OR)
Hans Grodotzki
 United Team of Germany
28:37.0 David Power
 Australia
28:38.2

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
details
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
1:45.1
(OR)
Bill Crothers
 Canada
1:45.6 Wilson Kiprugut
 Kenya
1:45.9
1500 metres
details
Peter Snell
 New Zealand
3:38.1 Josef Odložil
 Czechoslovakia
3:39.6 John Davies
 New Zealand
3:39.6
5000 metres
details
Bob Schul
 United States
13:48.8 Harald Norpoth
 United Team of Germany
13:49.6 Bill Dellinger
 United States
13:49.8
10,000 metres
details
Billy Mills
 United States
28:24.4
(OR)
Mohammed Gammoudi
 Tunisia
28:24.8 Ron Clarke
 Australia
28:25.8

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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletics_at_the_1964_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Men%27s_800_metres

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).

Josephine Moultrie

 

Josephine Moultrie was born on 19/11/1990 and ran for Victoria Park City of Glasgow AC and New Mexico University.

Her personal bests include: 800m – 2.07.31; 1500m – 4.10.43; 3000m – 8.57.14; 5000m – 16.05.91. In the annual Scottish rankings, she has been second at 1500m, One Mile and Two Miles; fifth at 3000m; and sixth at 5000m.

Josephine raced in Scotland from 2002 but in 2012 she went to New Mexico University and competed mainly in the USA for two years. Then she returned to Scotland and last raced in 2018. 

In 2014 and 2016, she won silver medals in the British 3000m Indoor Championships. Josephine Moultrie ran for GB in the 2016 World Indoors and finished 13th in the 3000m final.

In the Scottish Indoor Championships, Jo was second in the 3000m in 2015 but won the title in 2016. She secured a silver medal in the 2016 1500m.

Running for Turnbull High School, Jo won the 2006 Scottish Schools Group B 1500m and 3000m titles. She had previously won the Scottish under-15 800m championship in 2004.

In 2009, Josephine Moultrie ran for GB in the European Junior Athletics Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia. She finished 7th (4.21.53) in the 1500m.

As a Junior, Josephine ran six International cross-country matches for Scotland: Celtic Nations. At under-17, in 2006 at Dublin, she finished third (first Scot) and her team was second to Ireland but in front of Wales and NI; under-20, 2007 at Belfast, third (first Scot) and Scotland won; under-20, 2009 at Cardiff, fourth (third Scot).

2009-2011 Home Countries: 2009 at Bangor, 5th (first Scot) and the team lost to England but beat NI and Wales; 2010 at Mansfield, 10th (second Scot) and the team beat Wales and NI; 2011 at Antrim, 9th (third Scot) and the team beat Wales, Ireland and Ulster.

As a Senior, Josephine ran for Scotland in two track Internationals: 2009 Loughborough v England, Wales and two other sides – 4th in the 1500m; 2009 at Grangemouth v England, Ireland, Ethiopia and another side – 2nd in the Mile.

She also represented Scotland in two Senior Indoor Internationals: 2014 at Glasgow v GB, USA and a Commonwealth Select – third in the 1500m; and 2015 at Glasgow v Germany, GB and France – third in the 1500m.

Josephine Moultrie ran for Scotland twice on the road: 2015 at Armagh v England and Northern Ireland – 7th (first Scot) in the 3km, with Scotland finishing second team; and 2016 at  Leeds v England, Wales and three other sides – third in the 10k (second Scot) and Scotland finished second to England.

Josephine ran for GB in the 2016 Great Edinburgh Cross-Country 6km event.

In the Scottish National Cross-Country Championships, Jo won the under-17 title in 2007 and contributed to VP City of Glasgow team gold in 2008; she was third under-20 in 2009 and her team won that title.

In the Scottish Short Course Cross–Country, Jo secured Senior bronze in 2016 (plus team bronze). VP City of Glasgow finished second team in 2009 and 2018.

In the Scottish Cross-Country Relay, Jo contributed to team silver in 2016 and 2019; plus bronze in 2017.

In the 2015 Scottish 5k Championships, she secured individual silver.

 

Here is an article by Emily Moss in Athletics Weekly (30/7/22016):

 

                                                                        ATHLETE INSIGHT: JOSEPHINE MOULTRIE

Having gone sub-nine over 3000m and represented Great Britain at cross-country last winter, Josephine Moultrie was delighted to take up her place at the World Indoors in March.

My Great Britain vest at the Edinburgh Cross-Country in January was special. It followed a long period of illness last year. I went into the winter season not planning to focus on cross-country. It came as a surprise and has inspired me to push on for the rest of this year.

I have a more positive mindset this year. I wouldn’t say anything in particular has changed with my training. I think I have just been able to be very consistent, not miss any training sessions and enjoy my running more again.

I have several best moments in sport. One was definitely when I represented Great Britain at the European Juniors in 2009. But the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January and the World Indoors this year are also up there.

 My target for this year was to compete at the World Indoors. I ran 8:57 in early January for 3000m, but it was a mixed race so I had to hit that qualifying time again, which I did when finishing second at the British Indoor Championships.

 Bill Parker has coached me since I was an under-11. Being the only longer distance runner in the group, I tend to do all my running and sessions on my own. I don’t mind, as I’m quite used to it, and still warm up and do all the drill work with the group before sessions and when we are doing sprints, they help pull me along. We tend to train at Scotstoun and occasionally at the Emirates, leading into indoor races, if it is open.

 I took up athletics when I was eight years old. I enjoyed it at school, and now, nearly 17 years later, it has become a major part of my life. Growing up I was inspired watching Haile Gebrselassie and Kelly Holmes at the Athens Olympics.

 I loved spending three years in New Mexico. The weather – clear blue sunny skies and lack of rain – was a big high point. I loved the city of Albuquerque, and the lifestyle out there. It is much more relaxed and built around running, and that’s something I miss. We were a really close cross-country team, which made training and racing fun. It allowed me to develop a more professional style of living, which I have tried to take back home, and feel these small things have helped me improve. I would like to go back to visit and possibly have a training camp there, loading up on breakfast burritos and green chilli.

 In Scotland the weather can be tough during the winter, with high winds, lots of rain and icy tracks. We often have to adjust sessions for it. My least favourite sessions are the tempos, as they are shorter and quicker than I did in New Mexico and just round the streets at Scotstoun. I prefer track sessions and my long run loop.

 I’m out at 6 o’clock for my morning run. I haven’t updated my iPod in a long time so tend to just put the radio on, which I find helps me at this time in the morning. I have recently started listening to Harry Potter audio books before races. It helps keep me relaxed.

 I can see the improvements every week in my weight training. I only started last summer, but I really enjoy it.

 I started working for the Glasgow Athletics Association as their coordinator in September. I really enjoy it and I have been able to experience working in many areas behind the scenes of athletics. I recently helped organise our two indoor open graded meetings, and I am looking forward to taking that experience forward into the summer season open-graded meetings.

 I just eat a cereal bar that I keep beside my bed before I head out each morning. Then I have porridge topped with fruit and cup of tea after I get back. Before other training sessions I generally eat a couple slices of toast and jam with a coffee. I make sure I have porridge or Weetabix between my Sunday long run and weights as it can be a long morning. I would follow this immediately with a protein shake, then toast, scrambled eggs and avocado when I get home. Food is really important.

TYPICAL TRAINING WEEK

Friday am: 8 miles easy-steady, or every couple of weeks a complete rest day

 Saturday am: Training session in the park, usually 6-8km volume, mixture of reps ranging from 800m-2000m. pm: 4 miles easy

 Sunday am: 14-15 miles steady. Occasionally, depending on racing and training schedules, we change this to a short warm-up/cool-down with a 10-mile tempo. It is a little shorter and quicker to mix it up. I then do weights with my coach and some of the training group

 Monday am: 8 miles steady. pm: 4-5 miles easy with the training group, followed by drills, plyometrics, sprints and core

 Tuesday am: 4 miles easy. pm: Track session, usually 4-7km in volume with a mixture of reps ranging from 200m-600m

 Wednesday am: 8-9 miles steady

 Thursday am: 4 miles easy. pm: Alternates between tempo and fartlek, 25-35 minutes of work. Followed by skipping ropes, hurdle drills and circuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Inglis

 

Sarah Inglis was born on 28/8/1991 and ran for Lothian Running Club and two Canadian teams.

From 2003 to 2012, Sarah raced mainly in Scotland but in 2013 she studied at Trinity Western University in Canada, and competed in Canada and USA – but has often returned to race in Britain since then. She was sixth (2.34.09) in the March 2021 British Olympic Marathon trial at Kew Gardens.

In Scottish Athletics Championships, Sarah Inglis won three Senior titles: 5000m (2011); 1500m Indoors (2016); and 1500m Outdoors (2019). She was second in the 2009 10,000m; and second in the 3000m Indoors (2008, 2012, 2016).

Sarah’s personal bests are: 1500m – 4.11.51; One Mile – 4.36.60; 3000m – 9.04.77; 5000m – 15.24.17; 10,000m – 32.11.42; Half Marathon 70.24; Marathon – 2.29.41. In the annual Scottish rankings, Sarah Inglis was ranked first in the Marathon (2020); and One Mile (2014). She has been ranked second at 10,000m and fourth at 1500m and 5000m.

Sarah Inglis won the Scottish under-17 Indoor 1500m title in 2007; and won the under-20 Indoor 1500m in 2008. Outdoors, Sarah was Scottish under-20 1500m champion in 2010; and won the under-20 3000m title in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

As a Senior, Sarah ran for Scotland at Loughborough in 2010, in a match against England, Wales and two other sides. She finished fourth in the 3000m.

Sarah Inglis ran one Senior Road International for Scotland: in 2016 at Armagh, when she finished second (first Scot) in the 3k, and Scotland won, beating Northern Ireland, England, Ireland, Poland and Wales.

As a Junior, Sarah Inglis ran five cross-country Internationals for Scotland. She raced in Celtic Nations: at under-17 in 2006; at under-20 in 2009; and under-20 at Antrim in 2010, when she won and led Scotland to team victory against Ulster, Ireland and Wales.

In the Home Countries: at Bangor in 2009, 8th (third Scot) and the team lost to England but beat Ni and Wales; at Antrim in 2011, third (first Scot) and the team lost to England but beat five other teams.

As a Senior, Sarah Inglis ran cross-country twice for Scotland: Home Countries: 2016 at Falkirk, third (first Scot) and the team lost to England but beat three other teams; and 2017 at Port Talbot, 7th (third Scot) and again the team lost to England but beat three other teams.

In the Scottish National XC Championships, Sarah won under-17 bronze medals in 2007 and 2008. At under-20, she gained silver in 2009 and bronze in 2010. In the Senior National, Sarah Inglis won bronze in 2017.

In the Scottish Short Course XC, Sarah became under-20 Champion: in 2010; and 2011 (when she also secured Senior silver).

In the Scottish Road Relay Championships, Sarah Inglis featured in Lothian RC teams that won the title in 2015; and gained bronze (2013) and silver (2018).

She became Scottish 10k Champion in 2010.

Sarah Inglis won the Scottish 5k Championships in 2015, when her team finished second.

In 2018, Sarah won the Tom Scott 10 miles road race and became Scottish Champion at the distance. In 2019, she was second in the Canadian Cross-Country Championships; and, in Poland, running for GB, she was 3rd in the 5000m at the European Athletics Team Championships Super League.

Although Sarah Inglis works as a P.E. teacher in British Columbia, her Scottish accent is intact. Sarah is part of the Scottish Athletics Marathon Project and hopes to run for Scotland in the next Commonwealth Games.

 

Here is an excerpt from an article by Graeme Macpherson in the Glasgow Evening Times (13/12/2020):

“SARAH INGLIS laughs at the irony at being mistakenly listed as an American by the organisers of the Marathon Project in Arizona where she will complete her first official 26-miler just before Christmas.

Seven years after flitting from West Lothian to western Canada, her Scottish accent remains as strong as ever.

“I don’t know how that mistake came about,” says the PE teacher down the line from Langley in British Columbia, an hour’s drive from Vancouver.

“I reckon it would be impossible for me to ever switch allegiances anyway as I’d get exposed as a fraud as soon as people heard my voice!

“Half the kids I teach I’m sure can’t understand me, especially when I’m wearing my mask. My training group have picked up my accent by now but if any new folk join us it takes them a while to work out what I’m saying.”

Luckily for Scottish and British Athletics the 29-year-old has no plans to try out for another country. Her marathon debut is to test the waters ahead of the London race in March that will also double as an Olympic qualifier.

The postponement of the Tokyo Games has undoubtedly given Inglis an unexpected opportunity, although she is also retaining the possibility of still entering the 10,000m as back-up.

“This is the first time for me and also the first time my coach, Mark Bomba, has trained someone for a marathon so we’re both just experimenting a bit.

“We’re not overcooking it. Ideally, I’d like to run an Olympic standard in Arizona and tick that off, and then recover fast enough for London in March.

“The Olympic delay has definitely given me an opportunity to go for the marathon. And this race in Arizona just came up and it seemed like ideal timing to go for it.

“The 10,000m is still an option as the competition even for qualifying for the marathon is really deep. And there might be enough time to recover and try for 10K on the track later on if need be.”

Training for her first crack at this distance has gone well, even if some of her more inquisitive pupils wonder why she just does not drive to school instead of running.

“We’ve gradually built up the volume of the sessions. Last week I ran 25 miles which gave me confidence that I can do it. I still felt good at that point so if I feel like that in the race then I’d be delighted.

“I do most of my running to and from school so on some days I’ll do 10 to 14 miles on the way in. Some of the kids see me and think I’m out for a jog or I’m running late! One of them asked why I didn’t get a car – I don’t think they understood that I was training and running by choice.”

Working in a school also presents its own logistical problems when trying to stay healthy ahead of the trip to the United States.

“The race organiser emailed us asking us to limit our exposure to the virus but not sure how I can do that when I’m teaching 400 kids a week at school! But I’ve got my mask on and the gym hall doors open to try to be as safe as I can.”

 

 

 

Dirrans Sports Gala

The start of the Road Race: Jack McLean, Jimmy Irvine (both Bellahouston), Andy McDowall, Ailsa Harriers (45), Davie Wyper (West of Scotland (29), Andy Forbes, Victoria Park (42), Les Meneely, Shettleston (62), Jim Sloss, Beith (false start!), Ian McKenna, Beith (41)

The Dirrans Sports Gala was held in Kilwinning usually in the first half of July, although the first meeting was held in August.   It was one of many local Sports meetings that were as important to the sport as the spectaculars at Meadowbank and Ibrox.   These provided athletes with badly needed competition combined with a good day out and a chance to test their fitness – or prove their fitness.   They involved hard work on the part of local organising committees who had little in the way of thanks for their work, which was however appreciated by the athletes who competed.     

The original Dirrans Sports Meeting came about after after Harry Maxwell of Eglinton Harriers, Beith Harriers and Ayrshire Harrier Clubs’ Association lobbied David Savage, who managed to get an ash track built at the Dirrans on the outskirts of Kilwinning Burgh.  Alex Reid, a close friend of George Dallas and president of the SCCU was also involved in the meeting. The first open track meeting was held on 28/8/54. when Kenny Phillips of Beith Harriers recorded his competition that day:  Dirrans Medley Relay (1/4) 1st; 2 mile team 2nd individual 1st team; 1/2 mile open 30yds Unplaced.  Not a bad day’s work but it was that kind of meeting where runners often doubled up and sometimes tripled up.   It would attract many top runners – eg SAAA Marathon champions Bill StoddartGordon Eadie, Ian Harris, John Kerr, Charlie McAlinden; track champions and record holders like Alex Breckenridge, John McLaren, Hugh Barrow, Tom O’Reilly, Eddie Sinclair, Andy Brown, Bert McKay, Dick Hodelet, Mike McLean Dave Shedden, Isabel Inwood, Moira Carmichael and many more.    We should begin at the beginning however.

If anything is happening in athletics in Beith or Ayrshire, you can be sure that Kenny Phillips is involved somewhere and at this first meeting he ran in the medley relay where the team was 1st; the 2 mile team where he was 2nd individual and the club won the team race; and he also ran in the  open half mile off the low mark of  30yds and was unplaced.   It was however not an ideal day for an athletics meeting – that year it clashed with the old-established, very popular Cowal Games at Dunoon, which attracted all the track and field athletes, and also with the Perth to Dundee road race which took many of the road runners away.   For the indoor athletics fans, the European Championships were on television.   Dirrans organisers were not put off by this.   They simply changed the date and organised it for the following year.   The following appeared in the |Irvine Herald at the start of July, 1955.

On the day, everything went well and, because it was the first July meeting, the report and the results will be given in full.

It was a time when many big meetings – eg Rangers Sports, Edinburgh Highland Games – were taking place on their traditional dates and many communities had their own sports meetings.   Dirrans had found a good date in mid-July for theirs and the next task was to attract the top talent.   By 1956 the top runners were starting to appear at the event.   There was a Two Mile team race which was won by a very good Bellahouston Harriers team of Fraser Nelson, Joe Connolly, Bob Wilson Dick Penman and  Bob Wilson with 14 points from a close-up Victoria Park team on 17 points.   The individual race was won by Andy Brown (Motherwell YMCA) from Alex Breckenridge (VPAAC) and Fraser Nelson.   The Mile Medley Relay was also won by Bellahouston from Shettleston and Garscube Harriers.   There were top class athletes in most events – for instance, local woman Ann Reilly from Ardeer Recreation was the top sprinter in her events and WJ More from Kilmarnock was running in the Mile.  The organisers had even invited Gordon Pirie and Chris Chataway to the meeting but both declined – Pirie because of training commitments, and Chataway because he was broadcasting from Wales that afternoon.   The meeting was growing and the organisers had big ambitions.   

On 5th July 1957 the Irvine Herald reported “Scotland’s wonder runner, Jim Paterson (Edinburgh Univ) who ran the fastest 800m (1 min 47 sec) ever run by a British runner has promised to run at the Dirrans on the 27th July providing he is not called on for international duty on this date.   A special invitation 880 yards event has been added to the programme and among the invitations so far accepted John Boyd (Glasgow Univ) runner-up to Paterson in the Scottish half-mile championship, and A McNally (Doon H) who finished third in this race.   A new Scottish native record may be set at the Dirrans on this date.”

and on 12th of the month it said –  “Victoria Park AAC, the former holders of the English National cross-country championship, have entered two strong teams for the Two Mile Team race at the Dirrans.   Ian Binnie, Scotland’s record holder over 2, 3, 6 miles and one hour, is entered.”   

On the day, the meeting was opened by Lord Clydesmuir, and the big disappointment was the late arrival of Jim Paterson.   He had been delayed by the traffic but despite his absence the 880 yards was won by Boyd from McAlinden (Babcock & Wilcox) and W Morrison (Larkhall) a future SAAA champion.   So that the spectators would not be disappointed, Paterson agreed to run in an invitation 440 yards which he won from J Boyd.   The handicap half-mile was won by Currie of Bellahouston and the Two Mile team race by Bellahouston from Shettleston.   The mile medley relay was taken this time by Glasgow University from Kilmarnock and the One Mile Handicap by TP O’Reilly of Springburn from Tom Scott of Motherwell YMCA and Willie McBrinn of Monkland.   The spectators were also entertained by a display of baseball by teams of Americans  from the RAF base at Prestwick 

*

In 1958, one preview of the meeting read:   “With the Empire Games the week following Dirrans, many of Scotland’s Empire Games team have entered for the Dirrans and what a dust-up it will be when Ian Binnie (Victoria Park) and Joe Connolly (Bellahouston , both due to run for Scotland at Cardiff, meet on what promises to be a very fast track.   Andy Brown (Motherwell YMCA) is also in the race along with Bert McKay – the four fastest Scots over the Mile, and many other stars.   The invitation 880 yards scratch race should be worth watching, the runners again being in the top bracket.   …  Ladies, again Empire Games competitors, Youths, Juniors and full  programme  of Men’s Open events will give the large crowd expected a good afternoon’s sport.”   

The Sports were held on 12th July, 1958.    The results are below, you are invited to look at the names..

The invitation 880 had three Scottish Internationalists and an Empire Games runner, Runners in the Two Mile race not listed but given the clubs contesting it it was in all probability a good race, the first three teams in the medley were all very good ones, in the men’s mile Tom Cochrane was seven times winner of the South West District cross-country and a really good distance runner, Donnie MacDonald was an Empire Games half miler and frequent Scottish internationalist and Hugh Muir was consistently good over a number of years, and Donnie won the 440 invitation – two firsts and a second that afternoon.   So where were all the Empire Games runners who it was suggested would be there?      The papers all tell the same story – near torrential rain right up to starting time.   This would probably put men and women with less than a fortnight to the Empire Games to ‘err on the side of caution’ as they say, play it safe and not risk colds or chills.

Up until 1959 it had been the custom to sell programmes during the week before the Sports which would also serve as  admission tickets, or to come along on the day and buy them at the gate.   There was a suggestion at the January meeting of the council that in 1959 they sold the programme separately from charging admission.  ie there would be two separate charges for spectators who wanted a programme.   It was agreed to go ahead with this because the local laws had been altered to allow this.   

The sports were held on 18th July and attendance was not good and consideration was given to ceasing production of the event in future years.   It is difficult to see why this would be the case when you read the report from the Glasgow Herald.

WJ More was a very good athlete and a Scottish internationalist.  A miler and steeplechaser he had many fine duels with Tom O’Reilly. Results that catch the eye at this meeting, in addition to the Two Miles, include John Kerr winning the 10 miles road race, a new event, from Tom Scott and Jimmy Garvey of Vale of Leven.   The man who beat TP O’Reilly in the mile was Tommy Malone of Shettleston who was running from 115 yards to O’Reilly’s 60 in the handicap.   Ayr Seaforth beat Bellahouston in the mile medley with a team of Wilson, Holland, McCarvel and McCrindle,   J Convery of Irvine won the Junior 440 yards.   It was surely not the case that the new admission costs caused the people to stay away.   

Whatever the reason, the headline in the Irvine Herald on 22nd July, 1960, read  “DIRRANS SPORTS  –  POOR PUBLIC SUPPORT” and it went on to say “Last Saturday it was again apparent that there was only a limited public support for the sports meeting held at Dirrans, Kilwinning.   It may be that a long term plan must be expected before they become established, although even that is doubtful in view of recent experiences, but the fact is that the response on the part of the public on Saturday must have been a big disappointment to the organisers.”   There was more in the same vein although it did point out that there were 26 runners in the 12 miles road race (up two miles from the previous year) .   The results were interesting and there were several Scottish international runners taking part.   The road race was won again by John Kerr of Airdrie (a future SAAA marathon champion), from Tom Malone of Shettleston (who would go on to win the Comrades Marathon in South Africa); Tom O’Reilly was back and won the Two Miles team race in which Victoria Park won the team race with just 9 points from Springburn.   The mile was won by Mike Ryan who was a multi Scottish champion through the age groups from Bill Black who was one of the country’s top half milers.  Maybe the most interesting result for the athletics historian was the Youths 100 yards where Dave Shedden of Beith, a Scottish rugby and athletics international won from H Bryden of Ardeer and Hugh Barrow of Victoria Park who was world mile age group record holder.   In the Junior 440 yards, Jim Johnstone of Monkland defeated J Convery of Irvine – both destined for Scottish international honours.

The 1962 meeting was held on July 14th and the Scottish Marathon Club gave the distance of the road race as 13 miles.   The Irvine Herald began its report by saying “The poor attendance at the Dirrans Sports last Saturday in spite of the fine weather must have been another big disappointment to the organisers as well as to the participants.   The meeting has never achieved the measure of public patronage which the promoters had hoped for, and indeed it has been touch and go on several occasions whether to abandon the project.   Each time it was decided to give it another trial and this was the case this year.   In the light of the meagre turnout of the public this year it would seem further evidence that there is not the public for such a venture in this area, much though it is to be regretted.”   When the report actually got around to the meeting, it was actually a good event with a very good cast of performers.   Two cycle races had been added to the programme.   Moira Carmichael, the SWAAA double sprints champion won the 220 yards but was handicapped out of it in the 100, being beaten by local Isabel Bonds.   In the Two Miles team race, the duel between Andy Brown and Bert McKay of Motherwell YMCA kept the spectators excited.   The only double was that of David Shedden in the sprints.In the high jump Cosmos Julien defeated David Cairns – both international competitors – and in the 13 miles road race, John Kerr won in 1:21:05 with Pat McAtier of Paisley winning the handicap.   

1963 saw more of the same.   Local Press consistently writing the meeting down and talking of poor attendances would have done nothing to encourage larger attendances for the following year.   The report on the 1963 meeting had approximately a third of the article being about the poor numbers.   Nevertheless, there were good athletes on show as the results show.

An event missing from reports in both the Irvine Herald and Glasgow Herald was the Two Mile team race – there were 100 (Shedden), 220 (Black), 880 (McManus), Mile (I Young) and then a jump to the 13 miles road race.   

The matter was addressed again at a meeting of the council in January 1964 which read: “At a meeting of the Irvine District Council accounts of the sports meeting held at Dirrans in July were submitted and while there was a deficit of £18/6/7d the Council were nevertheless impressed with the manner in which the the organising committee had carried through their work, although at the same time they regretted the continued lack of public support to the sports.   It was noted that the committee had raised £40 from adverts in the programme and the sale of the programmes which was an indication of the amount of effort extended by the committee on this voluntary work.   The District Council guarantees the sports to the extent of a maximum subsidy but it is interesting to note that the maximum subsidy has never been called upon.”   It is a contrast to the lurid accounts of poor attendance in the Press and the statement that the maximum subsidy has never been called upon should be noted.

1964 saw the meeting held on 11th July and there was short report on the meeting followed by the results with no comments on the crowd size or the standard of athletics.   Nor should there have been any.   The 13 mile road race was won by Hugh Mitchell of Shettleston with Pat McAtier second, the mile handicap first three were Mike Bradley (Paisley), Tom Callaghan (Monkland) and Keith Lawrie (Ailsa) and Motherwell YMCA won the Two Mile team race.   The picture below is of the start of the road race at the 1964 meeting with winner Hugh Mitchell wearing 53 and handicap winner Pat McAtier 52.

In 1965 there were comments in the Irvine Herald about the poor attendance but putting it down largely to the heavy rain which fell throughout the afternoon.   The article did mention that some council members were talking of combining the meeting with the youth committees.   The quality was high this year with at least nine Scottish internationalists taking part.   Among the notable results were:

100y open: 1st W Martin  Irvine; 2,  D Shedden (Beith)  10 sec.  Women’s 100y open:  P Prentice (Bellahouston); 2. P Spence (Greenock) 

880y Open: 1.  J Johnstone;  2.  W Evans, Airdrie;  3.  R Hodelet (GGH)   1:56.0

Mile Open:  P Maclagan (VP); 2.  J Johnstone;  W Evans.  4:21.2.     

Two Miles Team:  1.  VPAAC;  2.  Motherwell YMCA.  Winner J Reilly (VPAAC);  2.  A Smith (VPAAC)

Medley Relay:  1.  Bellahouston Harriers;  2.  Beith.    Sprint Relay:   Ayr Seaforth

Road Race:  1.  G Eadie (Cambuslang); 2. C McAlinden;  3. D Simpson (Motherwell YMCA)    Handicap   J Poulton (Motherwell YMCA)   1:12:12

The inevitable review of the day’s success or otherwise was reported in the Irvine Herald of 13th August, 1965 and read:

9th July, 1966 was the next Dirrans Sports day.   Before that however the Ayrshire Harriers Clubs Association discussed the matter.   The AHCA is a long established organisation that now, in the 21st century, creates races over the country and on the track and has always been a source of good work for the sport in general as well as for the local cross-country events.   The committee had met in May 1966 and suggested that they donate £5 to the Sports Day organisers and also “suggested that the Association be asked their views on a proposal that they take over the duties of the Dirrans Sports Day Committee.”   

The meeting took place on the prescribed date and the organisers had responded to the low numbers of spectators and worry about the sports continuing by expanding the programme.   There were 4 events for Ladies, 4 events for Boys, 2 events for Juniors, 3 for Youths and 9 events for Men.   22 in all.   Some of the principal results:   

13 Mile Road Race:  1.  C McAlinden;  2. J Poulton;  3.  D Simpson.   1:18:51.

Two Mile Team Race:  1.  Victoria Park.    One Mile open:  1.  W Marshall (Motherwell YMCA)

Youths 1500m steeplechase:  1. J Ferguson, Seaforth;  2. J Brolly, Shettleston

At the end of the year the Council debated the sports again and there was a report in the Irvine Herald on 9th December.   “Although both the organising committee and the Irvine District Council were again disappointed at the lack of public response, the District Council has agreed to contribute £100 to the Dirrans Sports Day.    ….   While the disappointment was expressed at the lack of response by the public to the work being done to promote youth welfare and interest in recreational pursuits, the Council consider it their duty to give continued encouragement to the pioneering work being undertaken in this field.   They were of the opinion, too, that it was only a matter of time until sports interests would be co-ordinated. “

The council should have been congratulated on their insight and recognition of the importance of sport to the development of the entire community.

The weather on 8th July, 1967,  at The Dirrans had a fair breeze blowing but the heavy rain stayed away – unfortunately many of the public did too and the attendance was not as good as might have been expected.   The standard of the athletics was though, with decent competition in most events.   Gordon Eadie won the 13 miles road race from George Skinner from East Kilbride and Keith Lawrie of Ailsa in 62:40.   The Two Miles team race was won by Springburn Harriers from Beith Harriers and was reported as being for the McAndrew Trophy.   The 880 yards was won by J Wood (Bellahouston) with J McCubbin (Paisley) second and Dick Hodelet of Glasgow University third.   The medley relay went to Bellahouston from Springburn.   The reference to the McAndrew Cup was strange because the trophy was usually the Sir Thomas Moore Trophy which was awarded again in 1969 while the McAndrew Trophy was one awarded annually for the Victoria Park Road Relay at the start of October.

The date kept getting earlier and in 1968 the sports were held on 6th July.   The local report read as follows.

Ian Harris would go on to become Scottish marathon champion and one of the very best runners in the British Army, Alan Partridge would be a Scottish internationalist (and father of Susan) and of course Ronnie Hodelet must have been Dick.   However among the newer events was the 1500m steeplechase for Seniors, Juniors, Youths and Bous.   How did they accommodate a steeplechase on the track?   Instead of water in the water jump, they simply had the runners landing in sand.   Served the purpose and was easy to clear away afterwards.

Principal results:

Two Mile team race for the Sir Thomas Moore Trophy went to Clydesdale Harriers, the medley relay went to Greenock Glenpark Harriers, the open scratch steeplechase was won by J Inglis of Shettleston from RL Spence of Greenock Glenpark,    Interesting that the Junior steeplechase also had RL Spence as second in the 1500m steeplechase!    The Junior boys steeplechase was a real triumph for Law and District who took the first four places with Jim Thomson, Dougie Frame, R Donnelly and M Yule.

The reports were getting poorer and the one for the 1969 meeting consisted of one race – the Two Miles Team Race where first and second placers were individuals with little information about the team race other than the fact that Paisley Harriers were the winners.   The detailed results were a bit better but did not include the above race at all. For the record, it was won by Brian Morrison of Irvine who defeated Harry Gorman of Springburn by 100 yards in 9 min 38.04.    There were also no results for several events – eg the senior 880 yds was missing.     Principal results:

One Mile open scratch:  1.   H Gorman;   2.  J Ferguson (Ayr Seaforth);  3.  B Morrison (Irvine)  4  min 31.01

13 miles road race:  1.  R Lochead (Springburn;  2.  JG Sloss, Beith;  3.  PC McAtier, Paisley.   Won by 250 yards in 71:37

Junior 3000m: 1.   T Grubb, Kilmarnock;  2.  W Cairns, Dumbarton;  3.  D Lang, Shettleston.  9 min 52 sec

One Mile Medley Relay:  Bellahouston Harriers.     RT Lawrie, Victoria Park, won the 220 yards open and was second in the 100 yards.

It is not clear whether the omission of the previously regular events such as the Senior men’s sprint relay, the senior men’s 880 yards. many of the events for young athletes, was down to the poor reporting on the day, to the editor removing some results for space reasons or whether the events were not on the programme but results for 1969 are hard to come by. 

That was the head line in the Irvine Herald of July 10th 1970.   There was a good 5-a-side tournament with local MP David Lambie present, quite a few events for young athletes and there was a good turnout for the senior men’s events too.   It had not come about without a lot of preparation however.    The report below comes from the 1st May edition of the paper.

 

In the 3rd July issue of the paper – the day before the actual meeting – the Herald reported that it would be a real success with sponsorship from Shanks & McEwan, ICI and the Irvine District Council.   There was also the factor of the developing new town and the benefits that the council hoped would accrue from the integration of the two and the role of the sports in helping this process.   There would also be Highland Dancing, Tossing the Caber, Long Jump, and a 5-a-side featuring all the best Junior sides.   There would also be a specially presented silver rose bowl for the winners of the football tournament.   There would also be an open cafeteria and a restaurant and rest rooms and toilets would be provided.   A real big effort was being made – and as events would show, it was a success.   

The principal results on the day, Saturday 4th July, 1970, were  

100m senior: 1st J Walker (West of Scotland;  2nd G Reid (Kilmarnock);  3. A Harvey (Ailsa)  11.02 sec

200m senior:  1st J Walker (West of Scotland);  2nd G Reid ( Kilmarnock);  3rd J Travers (Irvine YMCA)  24.01 sec

800m senior:  1st P Devlin (Greenock Wellpark);  2nd J Ferguson (Ayr Seaforth);  3rd RL Spence (Greenock Wellpark)   2:01 

Road Race: 1st David Wyper (WoSH);  2nd  Les Meneely (Shettleston);   3.  Jim Irvine (Bellahouston)  

Winning time:  66:04   (Two points:  The distance was listed as 13 miles in the results column, but the time looks more like a 10 miles time; and  one of the runners tells us that Les was a late entry – there were many that day – and there were only two prizes for the race.   Poor old Jimmy Irvine missed out.)

The downside of this very successful meeting was that there were only 8 athletics events, all running and none of them for women.   The Irvine Herald said in its report that all the results were there.

There had been reports in two of the earlier meetings of runners in the road race going off the trail and it happened again in 1971 as reported in the Glasgow Herald of the race held on the second Saturday in July.   

The Scottish Marathon Club had been including the Dirrans Road Race on its fixtures list and membership card since at least 1960 but for the first time, in 1972, it did not appear.   It had been quite a popular road race and the winner in 1971 had been another SAAA marathon champion to win the event.    I believe that the time above for the 1500m might well be 4 min 14 sec rather than 14 min 14 sec!

The road race in particular had been very popular with many of the top names turning out to support it.    There had been five SAAA marathon champions among the winners to add to GB internationalists (McLean, Paterson, Barrow, etc) and Scottish record holders (Breckenridge, Spence) among the track men.   The committee had done a difficult job well despite facing the problems that other similar meetings across the country had to tackle.   Why did the meeting eventually go?   Probably because the track fell into disrepair and it became difficult for this erstwhile fast surface to be used with safety.   There were several road races later to take the place of the Dirrans 13 miler such as the Cunninghame Canter which catered for the road runners and which were and still are very successful.

 

International Cross-Country Championships: 1922

The 1922 International Cross-Country Championship was the 15th running of the event and Scotland was again among the medals.   The race was unusual in several ways, the main one being that it was started at half-time in a football match in one of the best known stadiums in the world.   There is also a story about the race winner.   But first the race start.

Far and away the best account was this from Colin Shields in ‘Whatever the Weather’.   “Admission tickets priced 1/- each were distributed for sale among athletic clubs for entry to Hampden Park where the international match was starting at half-time in a Scottish League match between Queen’s Park and Celtic FC, who stayed top of the First Division by winning the match by 3 goals to 1.   Ten thousand programmes giving details of the international runners were sold at 3d each to spectators who watched the international race start with four laps of the cinder track.   The runners then headed out to open countryside in the south of Glasgow , covering 9 miles of hilly, ploughed and grass meadow land with very little road to be traversed. “

The Glasgow Herald report of the race reads as follows:

The French team management had protested that the course had been too rough and too hilly but withdrew the protest after their team victory.   We could say a few words about the race winner – Robert Guillemot – and maybe we should!   He took up running when in the Army in the 1914-18 war where he won the French Military Championships.    During the war his right lung was permanently damaged by an attack of mustard gas and his heart was thereafter on the right side of his chest.   Nevertheless he had a very successful career in athletics.   In the 1920 Olympic Games he won the 5000m from Nurmi whom he passed on the last bend, then, wearing shoes that were too big for him, and suffering stomach cramps, he was second to Nurmi in the 10,000m.   You should find his story an interesting one should you consult Wikipedia.   

What of the Scots?   Runners and places were 4th GCL Wallach;   10th  Archie Craig Snr  ; 11th  Dunky Wright  ;  18th Walter Calderwood ;  21st John Cuthbert  ;  26th James Riach;  27th  Alex Barrie;  29th  Alex Whitelaw.  D McMillan did not run.    

It was a creditable performance by the Scots – just look at the relative points scored – and one of the better ones in a championship run at home.

The 1934 International Cross-Country Championships

Organised by the ICCU, the 27th International Championships took place on 24th March 1934 at Ayr Raccourse, Scotland. The course was nine miles long; and 54 athletes (from six nations) all completed the distance.

Colin Shields in his centenary history of the Scottish Cross-Country Union wrote the following: “With the memory of the secure second place at Wales (in the 1933 International) together with the advantage of running before a home crowd over a known course at Ayr, the Scots were hoping to challenge England again for the team title and place four runners inside the first ten to finish. But it was not to be. The Scots were run off their feet in a fast-run race, where the rapid start caught them unawares; and found wanting in strength and stamina at the end of the race. James Flockhart (Scottish Champion from Shettleston Harriers) worked his way through to sixth position, with Robert Sutherland (Garscube Harriers, 11th) and Alex Dow (Kirkcaldy, 12th), for Scotland to finish third with 105 points, just 3 points behind runners-up France.” (Fourth team was Belgium, followed by Wales and Northern Ireland.)

(Five times Scottish Champion, John Suttie Smith (Dundee) was fourth Scot in 23rd place. Walter Hinde (26th) and Jackie Laidlaw (27th) were the other team counters for Scotland.)

The Glasgow Herald reported: “Cross-Country – England’s victory in International – J.T. Holden wins individual honour. The twenty-seventh cross-country International, decided at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday afternoon under excellent ground and weather conditions, resulted in a sweeping victory for the English team, France being second and Scotland third.”

(English athletes were first, second, third and fourth: Jack Holden won by almost a minute; and he was followed by Alex Burns and Arthur Penny. Jack Holden won individual gold in the International Cross-Country Championships four times [1933, 1934, 1935 and 1939]. In 1950, Jack won not only the European Marathon Championship in Brussels but also the Commonwealth Marathon title in Auckland.)   The Dundee Courier was quite direct abiout this English dominance in its report which read as follows.

IAAF WORLD CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS, HOLYROOD PARK 2008

For the IAAF, Doug Gillon of ‘The Herald’ wrote:

Scottish Cross-Country championships first held 122-years-ago

In Lanarkshire the “Red-hose” (red stockings) cross-country race, had begun more than 20 years earlier. The county in the West of Scotland has a long and proud sports tradition. King William the Lion of Scotland presented the Lanark Silver Bell for a horse race there in the twelfth century. It’s Britain’s oldest sports trophy, and the race course on which it was staged (the Silver Bell is still contested) was where the very first Scottish cross-country championship was held, 122 years ago this week. The 10-mile (16,000 metres) race, over heavy grassland, was won by a stonemason.

Also in Lanarkshire, the very first cross-country international was staged in 1903. It was held on Hamilton racecourse, and the adjacent grounds of the palace of the Duke of Hamilton. It was contested by Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, and was won by England’s Alf Shrubb. France entered in 1907, and it was from these beginnings that the IAAF event first emerged in 1973.

World Cross-Country returns to Scotland

This is the twelfth time the international championship has been held in Scotland, but only the second in the IAAF era. This is the 30th anniversary of the last IAAF World Cross in Scotland (in Glasgow) where Ireland’s John Treacy won. It is returning to Edinburgh 96 years to the day since Frenchman Jean Bouin won there.

Bouin was the first non-English winner of the championships, and first to win three in succession (1911-1913). He and the Finn, Johannes Kolehmainen, were respectively Olympic 5000m silver and gold medallists in Stockholm, first time the distance had been run under 15 minutes. The Frenchman also took the World 6-mile and 10,000m records from Shrubb. Sadly, Jean Bouin, the sport’s first great multiple international champion was killed in World War I.

The first cross-country handicap ever staged in Scotland, was in December 1885, over four miles from the Sheepshead tavern in Duddingston. It lies on the banks of one of three lochs within the royal park.

Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele has already won three times over Sunday’s course, for it has hosted the Great Edinburgh International in recent years, so the course is tried and tested. It includes Haggis Knowe (or Haggis Hill, so named because it’s shaped like the traditional Scottish dish) which also featured in the 2003 European Cross-Country Championship and World Mountain Running Trophy in 1995.

But this remains a sport for everyone. A ‘Welcome the World’ 5km race round the park is open to everyone. Afterwards they can watch the toughest race on earth for free.”

The 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships took place on March 30, 2008. The races were held at the Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, Scotland. Four races took place, one for men, women, junior men and junior women respectively. All races encompassed both individual and team competition. This was the year in which Kenenisa Bekele became the first athlete in World Cross history to win six individual long course titles, breaking his tie with John Ngugi and Paul Tergat who had each won five.

                                                                                              The winner, Kenenisa Bekele

For the IAAF, David Powell wrote: 

“In a remarkable triumph over adversity and the spirited endeavours of defending champion Zersenay Tadese, Kenenisa Bekele cleared a series of obstacles to win a record sixth Senior Men’s classic distance title – and US$30,000 – at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, at Holyrood Park, today. (Although Kenya won the team title).

Bekele overcame, in turn, a missed flight, overnight stomach troubles, a dislodged shoe early in the 12km race, and Tadese’s determined mid-race surges, to regain the crown he had won in five successive years from 2002 to 2006. Today’s victory takes his record number of individual World Cross Country titles to 12 (6 Long Course, 5 five Short Course, 1 Junior).

After increasing his total number of World Cross Country gold medals to 16 (including 4 team golds) and his record total count to 27 (16 gold, 9 silver, 2 bronze), Bekele acknowledged that his six classic victories might be the statistic that stands above all the others. Until today, the 25-year-old Bekele had shared a record five classic distance triumphs with Kenyans John Ngugi and Paul Tergat.

Having failed to finish in Mombasa last year, suffering stomach problems in the heat and humidity, Bekele fought back from the troubles thrown at him here to pull clear in the eleventh kilometre. In the end, it proved a comfortable victory over runner-up Leonard Patrick Komon, from Kenya, and Tadese, whose valiant title defence was rewarded with the bronze medal.

“As far as the sixth Long Course win is concerned, I tried to accomplish it last year but, because of the weather, I was not able to do it,” Bekele said. “This has a very high honour in my life. I have won the double five times but I think this compares to that. However, I leave the judging to those of you in the media.”

It was in the third kilometre that Bekele’s shoe was caught from behind, and worked loose, as the field bunched taking a bend. From his place near the front, he dropped way down the field as he stopped to secure it. “My shoe did not fall completely off but I had to stop to undo it and put it back on, so it was as if it fell off because of the effort needed to put it back on,” he said It was the first time, he added, such a misfortune had befallen him.

Having secured his shoe, Bekele worked his way back up the field and, before long, was in the leading group. When Tadese picked up the pace in the seventh kilometre, Bekele was well placed to respond.  Dictating from the front, Tadese threw in several bursts, by the end of which he and Bekele had opened a small gap on the last challenging Kenyans, Komon and Joseph Ebuya.

A brief relaxation of pace allowed Komon and Ebuya to close up but, with four kilometres to run, the front four were well clear. With Tadese at the head, and the Kenyan pair side-by-side behind him, Bekele sat at the back before seizing his moment. Of his recovery from his near shoe disaster, he said: “It was near the beginning and I knew it would make the competition difficult because it is not easy to catch up after losing your shoe.

“I knew it would make the rest of the race tough. After the shoe came off I began to think a great deal about what I had to overcome and I had to focus a great deal on my race. If I had tried immediately to catch up it may have affected the rest of my race but instead I controlled my pace.”

Bekele had arrived later than planned in Edinburgh the day before the race. He missed his flight connection at London Heathrow after a delay to his original Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa left him with only 30 minutes to connect in London. His delay was unrelated to the widely-publicised teething problems at Heathrow’s new Terminal 5.

Explaining how stomach trouble almost cost him dearly again, as it had last year, Bekele said: “The day before yesterday, as I was flying in from Ethiopia, there was a delay and I spent the night in London and arrived here yesterday about midday. I had eaten breakfast there before I left and, after it, I didn’t feel well. I then had lunch and dinner here and at night I didn’t feel well. I had to get up three or four times in the night to go to the bathroom and I wasn’t feeling good.”

Tadese said that he was happy with his run – “a bronze medal for my country is still important to me” – while Komon made a big impression in his first year out of the junior ranks. Aged 20, he led Kenya to a third successive team triumph (39 points) with Ethiopia second (105) and Qatar third (144).”

For the IAAF, Matthew Brown wrote:  

“Tirunesh Dibaba completed part three of what was not only a great day for Ethiopia but a great day for the Dibaba family this afternoon as she reclaimed her World Cross Country crown, which comes with a US$30,000 prize, in thrilling style. (Ethiopia won the team title.)

Dibaba’s victory over the 8km race means she joins USA’s Lynn Jennings and her cousin, Derartu Tulu, as a winner of three long course titles following her previous victories in 2005 and 2006. With her short course win in 2005 and the junior title in 2004, she now joins Grete Waitz of Norway with five individual golds from these championships, and Worknesh Kidane as a winner of eight individual medals.

Together with all her team titles, Dibaba has now won 14 World Cross Country golds altogether, more than any other athlete. And she’s still only 22.

Taking inspiration from her younger sister Genzebe, the 17-year-old who won the junior race just an hour earlier, Dibaba shrugged off any doubts about her fitness in the final 400m of a gruelling race to leap from fourth to first on the craggy hillside of Haggis Knowe, before unleashing her trademark finishing kick that brought her home over the soggy mud in 25:10, five seconds ahead of her teammate Mestawet Tufa.

Linet Masai, the 2007 junior champion from Kenya, claimed the bronze in 25:18 but with Ethiopians in sixth (Gelete Burka) and ninth (Meselech Melkamu), it was the women in green and yellow who claimed the senior women’s team title for the seventh consecutive time and the ninth time in the last 10 years. The Kenyan team won silver (22pts) and Australia (84pts) secured team bronze.

For Dibaba it was not only the team victory which mattered, however, not even the personal triumph, but her part in a family affair that goes back to 1995 when Tulu won the first of her World Cross crowns.

“I’m aware that my aunt has won this race three times so I am very happy to have done the same thing,” said a smiling, if mud-splattered, Dibaba afterwards. “And my younger sister was first earlier today so it was partly to match her that I dug in and put everything I had into the win.”

Indeed, the manner of Dibaba’s victory was little short of remarkable. With less than half a lap to go she looked, not only to have lost the race, but to be out of the medals, her much publicised stomach problems seemingly afflicting her again.

But summoning some unknown reserves of strength she clawed past Masai and pulled herself back into touch with Tufa and Gelete Burka before striking for gold.

“I felt a stitch in the middle of the race and that’s when I fell back,” she admitted afterwards. “But I recovered from that and was able to move to the front.”

It was the first time in the entire race that she had been so prominent as in the early stages she was content to stalk the leaders. Surprisingly, the first to show were from the host nation as Liz and Hayley Yelling moved swiftly to the front in the first lap, apparently keen to take what little chance they had to fly the flag for Britain.

Amy Hastings of the USA was also in evidence early on but large clutches of Kenyans and Ethiopians were never far away. Burka, in a grey hat and long black sleaves, looked comfortable just behind the leaders, as did Kenya’s Priscah Cherono (formerly Jeleting), the 2006 silver medallist.

By the end of the second lap it was these two plus Tufa who led a long line of athletes past the rain-drenched crowd as the Britons and Americans began to struggle. But it was on the next circuit, the third, and the first to include the course’s one testing incline that the race really began.

Burka, a winner of the Edinburgh IAAF Permit race on this course for the last years, moved to the front. “On Sunday, I will use the experience I have on this course,” she said a few days ago. And that’s what she appeared to be doing as she led a group of nine or 10 plus Australia’s Benita Johnson, a former champion, who was hanging on the back.

It was at this stage that Masai first began to show and she, Tufa and Burka moved away at the end of the penultimate lap with Dibaba, clearly visible in her long white sleeves, chasing hard about five metres behind.

From then on it was all about these four as they battled out a stirring last lap in which the medals were in doubt until the very last bend of the twisting course.

First Burka made her move, pulling Tufa with her as Masai dropped back allowing Dibaba to catch up. These two appeared be set for a battle for bronze as Burka stretched her lead, opening a 20 metre gap on Tufa that looked decisive.

But Tufa wasn’t finished and as the runners negotiated the penultimate tight bend in front of the grandstand she began to make up the ground. Behind her, Dibaba was dragging Masai back into the reckoning and by the time they hit the base of the hill for the last time there were only 10 metres separating the four.

Burka had clearly pushed too hard too early as she blew up on the foothills of the Haggis Knowe, destined to finish sixth, 25 seconds behind Dibaba. In contrast, Dibaba was suddenly revived and the World 10,000m champion skipped past her teammate, drove beyond Tufa, crested the top of the hill and unleashed her finishing spurt.

“Tirunesh has better finishing speed than me, but I am happy with my second place,” said the resigned Tufa afterwards.

“Our victory brings us great joy today,” said Dibaba. “We’ve been preparing for this for a long time. Cross country is very important to us. We wanted to bring a strong team and do very well here.”

She was talking about her country. But it equally applies to the family clan.”

                                                                                            The ascent of Haggis Knowe

Colin Youngson added: “Since (after 1987) Scotland was no longer allowed to compete as a separate country, only two Scots seem to have represented GB in this World Cross. Andrew Lemoncello was in the Senior Men’s event, racing over 12 km, and finished fourth counter in 78th place and his team finished tenth. (165 finished; and 12 dropped out).

In the Senior Women’s race, racing over 8 km, Laura Kenney was third counter in 38th place and her team finished sixth. (90 finished and one dropped out).

On a personal note, spectating was wonderful. The weather was kind and the atmosphere exciting. Holyrood Park was a superbly scenic venue, and the course a testing mixture of flat, grassy going, twists and turns, and a really tough uphill and downhill section towards the end of the lap. Sadists enjoyed watching even champion runners struggling up Haggis Knowe, then flailing down the treacherous descent.

We all scrambled to the finishing straight and were privileged to see Kenenisa Bekele (a real crowd favourite) sprinting elegantly to victory. Tirunesh Dibaba was equally impressive.

The most enthusiastic (noisiest) section of the crowd was the Ethiopian contingent. I noted that the legendary Olympic gold medallist (for the 5000m/10,000m double at the 1980 Moscow Games), Miruts Yifter (The Shifter) was there, and his minders kindly permitted me to obtain his autograph.”

 

1903 INTERNATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS

Apparently, in early 1903, the Welsh, Irish and Scottish Cross-Country Associations were enthusiastic about organising an International race; but England was not keen. Eventually, however, England was persuaded to “send twelve competitors plus the three Area Presidents and the Hon Secretary of the Union to Hamilton Racecourse, Glasgow.”   

The Glasgow Herald noted:

“An interesting departure in international sport will be witnessed at Hamilton Palace Grounds on Saturday, when the first of what we hope will be a long and brilliant series of contests between the cross-country elect of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales takes place”.

Runners and officials at the first international in 1903

The subsequent report about the race, which took place on 28th March 1903 (over a distance of 8 and a half miles) was as follows:

“Describing the first International cross-country championship, decided at Hamilton Park on Saturday, is an easy task indeed. It was simply a case of Alfred Shrubb, the Londoner and national champion of England for the last three seasons, being first and the rest nowhere. Equally so might the quest for country championship honours be described, for England furnished six men in the first seven home, and the “predominant partner” finished many points ahead of Ireland, who provided the second-best team; while Scotland came third and Wales were the whippers in. But regarding the race, run, by the way, in the most miserable weather (heavy rain), it was as good as over after the first two miles had been run. The disappointment of the race, from a Scottish point of view, was the poor running of the Anglo-Scot, Tom Johnston, of the Highgate Harriers. He could only finish 34th, and the medal to the first Scot home was deservedly won by James Crosbie (10th). A word of praise is due, however, to John Ranken (14th), who did not disgrace his dark blue jersey. But it was Shrubb’s race, and his alone. The present was his first visit to Scotland as a harrier – a competitor over the country. He has been seen here in flat-racing events, but on Saturday he showed us his wonderful pace at cross-country work. He is not the best of fencers, indeed, compared to John Daly (Ireland, who finished third), he was a poor hurdler; but he is a marvellous stayer. This has been a wonderful season for him. As well as winning the Southern Championship, he has carried off the Sussex Championship, the English National race, and a French international event, decided on the outskirts of Paris a week back.” (41 finished the arduous course; four did not.)

Glasgow Herald reports were often expressed in such tones: in this case, effusive and complimentary about Alf Shrubb; unsympathetically critical about most of the Scottish competitors!

James Crosbie ran for Larkhall  John Ranken (Watsonians CCC) became Scottish cross-country champion in 1904 and 1905.

In his Centenary History of the SCCU (1890-1990), Colin Shields noted that the race took place, not on Hamilton Racecourse, “but in the adjacent grounds of the Duke of Hamilton’s Palace. The race started and finished in front of the grandstand and, after 300 yards of running over the racecourse turf, the runners exited to the ducal grounds, where they covered four 2-mile laps before returning to complete the course in the racecourse finishing straight.”

“There was much praise for Shrubb, who was described as ‘a running machine who trained as hard in winter as he did in summer’; and critics went on to say that ‘until Scots runners started training as systematically as their English rivals and became more devoted to the drudgery of winter training, they would meet with little success in international competition.’

“The race was so successful that discussions on the train journey back from Hamilton to Glasgow afterwards led to an understanding that a similar race would be held the following year at Haydock Park, Lancashire, where the International Cross Country Union (ICCU) was established.”