Bobby Young

RY EG

Bobby in the Edinburgh to Glasgow

Bobby Young is a fixture on the Scottish athletics scene.   He seems to have been here for ever but only took the sport up in his mid thirties – later than most of us – and proved to have a natural aptitude for it.   He also thinks about the sport a lot and has been giving advice and trading theories on training for some years now but he is first and foremost a competitor.   If we look at his career in the sport we might learn a bit about him.  His most recent exploits have already been added to the website on the ‘Three Amigos’ page.   I first met Bobby in either 1980 or 1981.   I was coaching two very good first or second year senior men in Robert McWatt and George Carlin: Robert had run in the World Cross-Country Championships in 1978 and George should have made that team but had given blood on the Tuesday before.   I was going out to do the first three miles with them before turning and returning to the Baths and this guy joined in as we left the Bruce Street Baths.   The pace was quite brisk but the guy kept running comfortably and chatting away.   The first mile went by and he was still there, and the second and  I was struggling before the relief of the three mile marker came up but Bobby (for he it was) was still running very comfortably so I left them to get on with it!   I’ve taken an interest in his career ever since.   Some runners – especially those coming late to the sport – are awkward and stiff with a stride length like advanced rigor mortis but Bobby isn’t at all in that category.   He is a smooth runner and always looks comfortable.   But first, before we go on to the profile proper, Bobby has filled in the questionnaire for us and we will start there.

Name:   Robert Young

Club:   Clydesdale Harriers

Date of Birth:  4 November 1943

Occupation: Retired teacher

How did you get into the sport initially?  A work colleague was part of a group of recreational runners led by David Andrews of Springburn Harriers. They ran five mile loop of Pollok Park on Saturday mornings. In December 1979 I joined them some Saturdays. Probably averaging less than 5 miles a week for a year. In early 1982 we decided to enter the 1982 London Marathon so more regular Saturday mornings were follow by a 15 miler. Finishing in 3:03 followed by 2:47 at first Glasgow Marathon that year and serious running was off and running.

Personal Bests?

Track:   1500m in 4:20.5 Vets Champs 

              3000m in 9:22.5 British Vets Kelvin Hall 1994 age 50

              5000m in 15:54 League meeting Crownpoint. 

             10000m in 33:26

Road:   10k in 32:59.

             10 miles in 52:21 

            Half Marathon in 72:27 Kirkintilloch 1990

            Marathon in 2:36:15 Lochaber 1989 

Has any individual or group had a marked effect on either your attitude to the sport or your performances?   SVHC has been a great incentive to compete and improve.   This led to British Masters competition and and eventually to World Masters events.

What do you consider your best ever performance/s as a runner?  

World Championships Gateshead 1999  Gold British Team XC and Marathon (with Individual Bronze). Fourth 5000m and seventh 10,000m.

World Championship Brisbane 2001 Gold British team XC and Marathon Bronze, fourth 5000m and Bronze 10,000m

Winning M60 Gold in Dublin at British and Irish International XC after 18 consecutive years of competition.  

And your worst?   I tend to forget those immediately!

What do you do apart from running to relax?   Travel when possible, hill walking (lots before running got started), a bit of golf (my 15 – 25 sport).

What has running brought you that you would not have wanted to miss?   Meeting a great bunch of men and women.   Unlike some sports, runners are nice people to have as friends

What goals do you have that are still unachieved?  Winning International Cross-Country again

Can you give details of your training?

Since starting in 1980, over 3 decades training went through several phases.

During M40 period racing over 50 races a year, training was fairly normal. About 50-70 odd miles a week:  Tuesday and Thursday hard run with Harriers, race Saturday and long run (16ml) on Sunday. Races were from 1500m, 3000m and 5000m and 10,000m track, 10k, 10 milers, Half marathon and Marathon (3-5 a year). Most PB’s set during this period. Except the 3000m indoor which was set at age 50 in British Masters in Kelvin Hall in 1994 at 9:22.5. 

Although running distances up to marathon, weekly mileage never went above 50-70 miles. Beyond this fatigue or injury was a possibility. Marathon training would be about 12 weeks building up to long runs 20-22 miles. Very important run was a marathon pace run, building up to 15 miles at 6 min miles. This meant that first 15 miles of the marathon was fairly routine and only 11 miles of real effort.

For shorter races on track and road, Tuesday and Thursday were speed sessions. One was maybe 12x400m in 70-72 with 30sec recovery. The other maybe 10x 1000m in 3:00-3:10 with 60 sec recovery. A race on Sat and longer run maybe 16 miles on Sunday. That left 3 easier days. 

Do you have any thoughts on current training and/or racing theories that you would care to pass on?   eg.  Big miles or low mileage?   Steady running or always hard?   To stretch or not to stretch? 

Funnily enough I never stretched at all and never really suffered an injury as eighteen consecutive International Cross-Country appearances would indicate. Eight visits to physio/chiro in all that time. But good warmup and strides very important. With increasing age the length of adequate warmup increases significantly ( 3-4  miles of running)

As he says above, Bobby took up running for the first time in December 1979 when he was thirty six with some friends and work colleagues.   A five mile run at 9:00 am in Pollock Park on Saturdays turned into a twice yearly handicap race and Dinner.   He had a go at several races including the Springburn Cup, Round Cumbrae and the Glasgow University Race over the next two years before there was a group decision to run in the second London Marathon and the first Glasgow Marathon – both in 1982.   These resulted in times of 3:03 and 2:46 after which training became more regular.

He got up to 60/70 miles a week with a couple of speed sessions and the regular long Sunday run became standard practice.  Bobby joined Clydesdale Harriers and ran a couple of dozen marathons and recorded 2:37:18 in Glasgow in 1986.   His lifetime best for the marathon came at Lochaber in 1990 when at the age of 46 he ran 2:36:15.   He regularly ran 10K’s in 33 minutes, 5K’s in 16 minutes, 10 miles in 54 minutes and half marathons in 72 minutes testified to the quality of his running at this point.    Regardless of his age, Bobby was more than holding his own in open senior competition.   He competed more than most and on all surfaces.

On the road, his first Edinburgh to Glasgow relay was in 1986 when he ran the third stage.   As a newcomer to the sport in the early 80’s he was in a Clydesdale team that had many very good runners – Phil Dolan, Douglas Gemmell, George Carlin, Derek Halpin (an under rated runner), Bobby and Jim Shields and youngsters like James Austin would have made it hard for anyone new to the sport to break into the team but when his chance came in ’86, Bobby was in there.   He stayed in the team until  mid 90’s running in ’87 (7th stage), ’88 (8th), ’89 (7th), ’90 (7th) and ’91 (7th).   At this point, young runners such as Des Roache, Ewan Calvert, Grant Graham, Ewan Calvert, Allan Adams, James Austin and company kept him out.   His running continued to improve and he was in the team again in 1998 (7th), 2001 (7th) and the last ever in 2002 (7th) when the race ceased to be.  Bobby would have been in the 2000 team but John Hanratty and himself were in Ireland with the Scottish vets team that weekend.  ’86 was also his first run for the club in the 6 stage road relays when he turned out on the fourth stage (the second long leg) – a race he would appear in many times over the following decades.   His marathon race record is in the table below.

Year Month Place Age Venue Time Comments
1982 April 38 London 3:03:10
September 157 38 Glasgow 2:49:03
1983 April 992 39 London 2:44:00
September 124 39 Glasgow 2:46:02
1984 April 7 40 Lochaber 2:46:38 Heatwave
September 258 40 Glasgow 2:48:04
1985 April 21 41 Lochaber 2:49:14 Blizzard
September 255 41 Glasgow 2:44:24
1986 May 2 42 SVHC 2:41:08 4 laps of Pollok Park
June 42 Edinburgh 2:44:48
September 42 Glasgow 2:37:17
1987 August 43 SVHC 2:49:05 4 laps of Pollok Park
1988 April 44 Lochaber 2:40:20
1989 April 5 45 Lochaber 2:36:15 Splits: 29:15, 29:20, 31:00, 29:30, 30:00, 7:10
4 45 Stafford 2:30:30 BMAF Championships
1993 April 3 49 Lochaber 2:38:57
1994 April 5 50 Lochaber 2:41:28
1995 April 10 51 Lochaber 2:43:01
1996 April 52 London 2:42:34
1998 April 9 54 Lochaber 2:43:58
1999 July 3 55 Gateshead 2:49:39 World Championship: 4th race of the week.
2001 July 5 57 Brisbane 2:53:01 World Championship: 4th race of the week.
Retired!

NB: This list is not exclusive, there were also runs at Inverclyde, Loch Rannoch and others!

As a distance runner in Scotland he ran of course in all the championship cross-country races at county, district and national level becoming a valuable, consistent and dependable member of the team.  His cross-country record for the club is in Table 2 below.   Bobby was also a  member of the excellent club track and field team of the late 80’s and 90’s turning out in 5000m and 10000m for the club all over Scotland.  It is however as a superb veteran runner that Bobby is best known around Scotland, indeed all over the UK.    His notable track performances include the following:

1987:   10000m   Wishaw   pb 33:26

1990:   Scottish indoor champs 1500m  Gold    4:25   +   3000m Gold   9:24

Scottish masters T & F 1500m  Gold  4:27   +   5000m  Gold   16:00.8

1994:   Scottish indoor champs   1500m  Gold   4:29   +   3000m  Gold   9:31

Scottish masters T & F 800m  Gold  2:16   +   1500m  Gold  4:36   +   5000m  Gold  16:26

British Masters indoor 3000m  Gold  9:22.5  pb

1989:   Scottish masters  1500m  Gold  4:21   +   5000m  Gold   16:18

2004:   Scottish indoor champs   1500m  Gold  4:57   +   3000m  Gold   10:24

Scottish masters T&F  1500m  Silver   5:01   +   3000m  Gold   10:24

British masters T & F 1500m  Gold  4:54   +   5000m  Gold   17:39   +   10000m  Gold   37:40

 

In 1988 he took part in the first ever British Veterans International at Wrexham where he won the bronze at M45 – Pete Cartwright had also been invited.   Bobby then ran in the British Vets International for 18 consecutive years until 2005 when he won gold in the M60 category.    On the World Veterans stage, he competed in 1999 at Gateshead in the World Vets Track and Field Championships winning team gold in Cross Country and Marathon in which he also won the individual bronze.   Then in 2001 he went off to Brisbane in 2001 for the World Veterans Track and Field Championship winning team gold in cross country, team bronze in the marathon and individual bronze in the 10000 metres.

And that is one of Bobby’s biggest virtues as an athlete – he is very competitive and goes looking for good competition.   Among all these races, which ones does Bobby himself rate most highly?    We asked him for his career highlights and they can be found at this link.

The table below  shows his record in Scottish Championships which is summarised in the first 10 rows and successes further afield follow.

Event Gold Silver Bronze
1500m T 11 2 4
5000m T 8 3 1
1500m i 7 3
3000m i 6 5
Cross Country 3 3 8
5K Road 9 2 4
10K Road 6 2 1
Half Marathon 3 2 1
Marathon 1 1
Hill Climbs 1 1
World Masters 1999/2001 3 3
European Indoor 3000m 1
International Cross Country 1 2 2
BMAF Championships 24 9 12

Bobby has run in 23 Cross Country International races out of a possible 27.   The breakdown of this remarkable record is as follows

Venue Year Individual Team Age Group Runners Venue Year Individual Team Age Group Runners
Wrexham, Wales 1988 Bronze 45 Falkirk Callendar Park 2001 8th Bronze 55 Young, Dolan, Fairweather
Ampthill, Bedfordshire 1989 ? 45 Ballymena 2002 4th Silver 55 Youngson, Young, Dolan
Ampthill 1990 11th Silver 45 Adams, Dolan, Young, Edwards Cardiff Bute Park 2003 Bronze Silver 60 Young, Cartwright, Campbell
Aberdeen University 1991 9th Silver 45 McMonagle, Watson, Young, FDairweather Croydon 2004 5th Silver 60 Cartwright, Young, Fairweather
Newton Abbey 1992 19th Gold 45 Youngson, Dolan, Martin, Adams, Young, Guthrie Dublin 2005 Gold Bronze 60 Young, Fleming, Campbell
Cardiff 1993 11th Bronze 50 Guthrie, Young, Cartwright, Leggett Falkirk Callendar Park 2006 MISSED
Sunderland, Silkworth 1994 10th Bronze 50 Adams, Young, McMonagle, McMillan Belfast Stormont 2007 MISSED
Malahide, Dublin 1995 6th Silver? 50 Swansea 2008 7th Silver 65 Campbell, Young, Leggett
Irvine Beach Park 1996 11th 4th*** 50 Gemmell, Young, Fairweather, McMillan Perry Park, Birmingham 2009 7th Silver 65 Fairweather, Cartwright, Young
Ballymena 1997 11th Silver 50 Youngson, Gemmell, Young, Fairweather Dublin 2010 16th 5th*** 65
St Asaph, Wales 1998 Silver Silver? 55 Glasgow + Belfast 2011/2012 MISSED
Bideford 1999 Silver Silver 55 Cardiff Bute Park 2013 Bronze Bronze 70 Young, Cartwright, Campbell
Navan 2000 4th Gold 55 Fairweather, Young, Campbell Nottingham 2014 Silver Silver 70 Young, Cartwright, Fleming

All of the above gave Bobby a total of 7 individual medals (1 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze0 and 19 team medals (2 gold, 12 silver and 5 bronze).

And you can add in 4 SAF Gold Medals and 4 SAF Silver medals that are unlabelled in any way!    As for open races, forget it, the calculator can only go so high.    He has been known to do three events in a weekend.    Athletics is a sport where success can be easily measured – first gets gold, second silver and third bronze – and like all true competitors, success matters to Bobby.   This doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy his sport.  I believe he gets a great deal of pleasure out of being fit and in the very action of running, there is pleasure in moving well and in the company of other runners, but he does take the sport seriously.

Two Bob

With Bob Rosborough before a track league 10000m at Crown Point

 

  1. A Closer Look At Bobby’s Scottish National Cross Country Championship Record

 

Year Venue Place Age Year Venue Place Age Year Venue Place Age
1986 Bishopbriggs 22nd 42 1999   * 55 2012 Kilmarnock 68
1987 Musselburgh 19th 43 2000  Cumnock 1st 56 2013 Forres Missed 69
1988 Dalmuir 4th 44 2001 Aberdeen * 57 2014 Dumfries Holiday 70
1989 Aberdeen 3rd 45 2002 Bellahouston 2nd 582015 2015 Kilmarnock Gold 71
1990 Dumfries 3rd 46 2003 Forres 3rd 59
1991 Linlithgow 3rd 47 2004 Coupar Angus 1st 60
1992 Troon 3rd 48 2005 Bellahouston 1st 61
1993 St Andrews 4th 49 2006 Forres 3rd 62
1994 Troon 3rd 50 2007 Bathgate 5th 63
1995 Hawick 2nd 51 2008 Irvine 3rd 64
1996 New Elgin 2nd 52 2009 Holiday in NZ    
1997 Edinburgh * 53 2010 Forres 1st 66
1998 Troon 5th 54 2011 Kirkcaldy 3rd 67
  • indicates race missed through injury or illness.  

We said that he was an insatiable competitor – check out Power of Ten where he has 260 races listed!   They range from 1500 metres to marathon, they cover indoor racing and out, venues ranging from Glasgow to Australia and on all surfaces (boards, road, country and hills.)   They cover the period 2000 to the end of 2014, like all these athlete profiles the list is not comprehensive and furthermore it  doesn’t include club championships or races.   The races listed for 2014 in the extract below are listed for interest: there are 41 in total and I make it twenty five first places.   Check the actual extract below.   Go to Power of 10 for the full list.

5000 20:44.30 16 Grangemouth Scottish National 3000m, 5000m, Relay Championships 6 Jul 14
10000 43:45.1 18 Coatbridge Scottish Veteran Harriers 10000m Championships 19 Oct 14
2.7ML 15:54 20 L3 Houston George Cummings Relay 27 Sep 14
5K 20:13 40 1 Clydebank SVHC Open Masters 5K 25 Jun 14
parkrun 20:40 10 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 6 14 Jun 14
parkrun 20:44 27 1 Glasgow – Victoria Park Victoria parkrun # 29 24 May 14
parkrun 20:54 9 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 20 20 Sep 14
parkrun 20:57 10 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 10 12 Jul 14
parkrun 20:58 8 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 18 6 Sep 14
parkrun 21:10 9 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 27 8 Nov 14
parkrun 21:14 35 1 Glasgow – Victoria Park Victoria parkrun # 25 26 Apr 14
parkrun 21:15 56 1 Glasgow Pollok Park Glasgow parkrun # 270 19 Apr 14
parkrun 21:18 13 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 19 13 Sep 14
parkrun 21:21 22 Adelaide, AUS Torrens parkrun 5K Event 59 4 Jan 14
parkrun 21:29 13 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 17 30 Aug 14
parkrun 21:30 35 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 1 10 May 14
parkrun 21:32 10 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 22 4 Oct 14
parkrun 21:35 16 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 32 13 Dec 14
parkrun 21:50 12 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 14 9 Aug 14
parkrun 22:37 73 1 Glasgow Pollok Park Glasgow parkrun # 263 1 Mar 14
parkrun 24:12 13 1 Springburn Springburn parkrun # 2 17 May 14
7KMT 29:31 33 9 Bishopbriggs Springburn Harriers Canal Canter 7K 20 Aug 14
4.8M 34:00 22 1 Coatbridge SVHC Snowball Race 4.8 7 May 14
5M 34:50 122 35 Glasgow Glasgow University 5 29 Nov 14
5M 35:12 73 16 Edinburgh Corstorphine 5 4 Jun 14
10K 41:11 41:05 160 1 Dumbarton Polaroid Dumbarton 10K 29 May 14
10K 42:11 42:09 182 1 Glasgow Poloroid Clydebank 10K 22 May 14
10K 42:26 73 2 Kirkintilloch Kirkintilloch Olympians 10K 19 Jun 14
10K 42:33 42:31 137 1 Balloch Polaroid Vale of Leven 10K 8 Jun 14
10K 43:03 42:55 172 2 Helensburgh Polaroid Helensburgh 10K 15 May 14
10K 43:36 20 1 Glasgow SVHC Walter Ross Open Masters’ 10K 4 May 14
10K 45:37 58 1 Glasgow Nigel Barge Memorial 10K 29 Mar 14
10M 74:13 74:07 77 1 Carluke Tom Scott Memorial 10 (Inc Scottish Champs) 13 Apr 14
10M 75:09 57 2 Maryport Netherhall 10 23 Feb 14
HM 92:20 45 2 Kirkintilloch Neil McCover Memorial Half Marathon (Inc Scottish Vets Champs) 5 Oct 14
ZXC 25:15 87 2 Nottingham British and Irish Masters’ International 22 Nov 14
ZXC 26:39 47 3 Glasgow BMAF Championships 15 Mar 14
ZXC 28:43 5 Balloch Country Park Dunbartonshire Championships 15 Nov 14
ZXC 49:53 190 1 Linwood Scottish West District Championships 6 Dec 14
ZXCL 16:53 44 L4 Port Glasgow Scottish West District Relay Championships 11 Oct 14
ZXCL 19:33 71 L4 1 Cumbernauld Scottish National Relay Championships 25 Oct 14

Is that not impressive?   What does it tell me?   It tells me that we have here a man who really and truly enjoys his sport.   Very popular with other runners, Bobby is a runner’s runner whose enthusiasm has never dimmed..