Hugh Barrow (BMC Member 1) with some of the runners at the 1999 BMC Meeting: Hayley Haining on his right.
After several years of discussions the British Milers Club agreed to hold one of their five annual Grand Prix Meetings, sponsored by Nike, in Scotland and at Scotstoun. Everything was in place – the new, blue, runner-friendly track, a well disposed local authority team led by Ken Kelly and Frank Clement, a competent local BMC group of coaches of Brian McAusland, Alex Naylor and Mike Johnstone, good comfortable accommodation just quarter of a mile away at Jordanhill College and good rail, road and Plane links with England. To encourage the runners from the other home countries to come, it was agreed to hold the last meeting, the final chance for the athletes to gain points f=towards the club championship, and to hold it on a Saturday since it would be easier for English and other athletes to travel up on the Friday and get a night’s sleep beforehand. The first one was held in 1999 and we start with some pictures from that one.
The event was a great success – look at the names competing – and after the cheques were distributed to the winners in each category, it was pretty well decided that the event would be back the following year. There was one wee thing though: despite Evelyn McMeekin having been invited to present some of the awards, Peter Thomson, who was the announcer at the time, seemingly unaware of her presence and announced Frank as the sole presenter of the awards. His comment that it was a glitch did not convince. However one very well known Scottish official said at the time that it was the first time he had ever just watched a meeting of two hours plus consisting solely of middle distance events – it was bliss, he said.
It was back in 2000 and many of the same athletes were in evidence with bigger fields than the year before. The only disappointment was the failure of the |British Endurance Initiative to follow through on the promised 5000m. The BMC National Committee had been asked to put on a BMEI event at the meeting but after the invitations had been sent to the Scottish runners, the BMEI decided to hold their event at a meeting in Ashford in Kent which kind of spoiled the event – the domestic race was a good one however and we were all pleased with the standard of competition. Some of the pictures from the BMC News –
There were more – the races lasted until 2002 before they ceased coming to Scotland altogether. Reasons? Well, the date at the end of the season was changed to mid July and the fourth in a series of five. This meant that the whole point of runners trying to get last minute points to win the £1000 cheques was removed – the main incentive was lost. In addition it was moved to a Friday night and runners from outwith Scotland were reluctant to travel straight from work to Scotland and race the same night. Finally, the races were moved to Meadowbank and the successful formula was broken. It shouldn’t, and may not have, made a difference but the thread of successful meetings was broken.