Luddon Strathkelvin Half Marathon

For several years in the 1980’s, the Strathkelvin Half Marathon was one of the races to be at.   Held in Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire, it started and finished at Woodhead Park, Kirkintillloch, right in front of the swimming baths.    Well organised, well sponsored, well publicised and with a good hard trail well stewarded and everything that the athletes could possibly need, it deserved all the plaudits.    Springburn Harriers had been organising a 12 Mile Road Race from their pavilion at Huntershill since the War which was one of the races counting towards the Scottish Marathon Club Championship but the fields had fallen away and it was felt that the event needed revitalising.    Several things fell into place, almost by chance, and following informal conversations involving members of the local authority, athletics clubs and national organisations, the Strathkelvin Half Marathon was born.

The Committee for the first race was as follows:    Convenor: Councillor James Hotchkiss; Race Director: Alastair MacFarlane;   Assistant Race Director:  Alex Johnstone;   Race Secretary: Hugh Barrow;   Race Advisor: Robert Dalgleish, MBE;   Treasurer: James Jarvie   Chief Inspector C MacLean   Tom Robertson   Ron Wood   Inspector D MacKenzie   Sergeant D Hastie   Roy Veitch   Forbes Morton   John Turpin   Maureen Crawford   Dorothy Campbell.    That was quite a team!   The convenor being a fairly senior local councillor supported by Alastair McFarlane of the local Springburn Harriers and the national Scottish Marathon Club; Hugh Barrow Director of Leisure for Strathkelvin District, member of Victoria Park AAC and a founding member of the British Milers Club; Alex Johnston of Strathclyde University who had been runner, team manager and race organiser for many very prestigious mass participation races, Bob Dalgleish of Springburn Harriers but much better known as the man behind the Glasgow Marathon organisation and formerly manager of Scottish cross-country teams any one of whom could have organised a successful race but who together (assisted by a very strong organising committee with Forbes Morton, Roy Veitch, Ron Wood and company) was a race organisation ‘dream team.’ .   

Race Director Alastair MacFarlane reported on the 1983 race in the Scottish Marathon Club Magazine.   “Despite the late call-offs from Graham Laing (saving himself for the European Cup marathon in Spain two weeks later) and Colin Youngson (not wishing to risk a niggling injury three weeks before the Scottish)  the field was of a quality seldom seen in Scotland.   The first mile was covered by the leaders in 4:55 and at five miles, just before Milton of Campsie, there was still a big group of Donald Macgregor, Rod Stone, Peter Fleming, Evan Cameron, George Braidwood, Stewart Easton, Jim Martin, Dave Logue and Andy Daly in 25:50.   This was obviously a bit slow for Andy Daly however as he stretched them out soon afterwards and took his two clubmates Fleming and Braidwood away from the pack.   Andy however couldn’t sustain it and allowed a gap  to open at eight miles.   Peter Fleming and George Braidwood looked relaxed as they went through 10 miles in 50 minutes dead with Andy running a brave race all on his own and keeping the gap steady.   Logue, Easton, Stone and Macgregor showed 50:30 at ten miles as they staged their own private race while Terry Mitchell, Alan Wilson and Evan Cameron were close behind in 50:40.   Over the last three miles, past Low Moss Prison to Lenzie and on to the finish at Woodhead Park, Kirkintilloch, the two leaders obviously did some talking and decided to finish together in the very fast time for the accurately measured course of 65:23 although the judges split them on the line.   Andy Daly took advantage of some slackening of the pace up front to close a little and got the gap down to 8 seconds at the finish.   Dave Logue shrugged off his challengers and looked as strong as ever in fourth place while Stuart Easton had his best run for many a day to get the better of Rod Stone and Donald Macgregor  who of course lifted the first veteran’s prize of £40.          Janet McColl for once had some opposition in a road race although she made light of it and beat Liz Steele by three minutes.

Of the 1163 finishers, 195 were veterans and 112 were women.

George Braidwood

Hugh Barrow, Race Secretary, reported on the October 1984 race in the Scottish Marathon Club Magazine.   He wrote: “The race this year was blessed with fine weather and the field of just under 2000 set off from Woodhead Park in ideal conditions.   The police had again requested a 9:00 am start and although this does not help in bringing out spectators, it must be conceded that it does assist in avoiding the traffic problems that were encountered during the Milngavie and Bearsden Half Marathon which was run at mid-day on a Saturday some two weeks later.

The quality up front was maintained with George Braidwood this time being undisputed winner leading home Terry Mitchell and Andy Daly in a course record time of 64:44.   Martin Craven won the veterans race in 70:05 finishing twelfth overall and Liz Steele took the women’s event with 83:45 in 221st place overall.  

From the organisation side the race itself appeared to pass without major problems and the recording was much improved on our previous effort.   Despite all the pleadings and warnings, it seems that there will always be a small group of runners  who, either through ignorance, selfishness or indifference, endeavour to beat the system.   We are aware of male runners competing under female numbers, young athletes running under veteran numbers, and even some running with last Year’s number.   This type of action not only gives the organisers headaches, it can also make a mockery of the results.  

The organising committee acknowledge the help from Luddon Construction for their most generous sponsorship and also the minor sponsors Nike, Racket Sports and Runsport, the assistance willingly given by a whole range of voluntary organisations and the support of the Police and Roads Authority.   Strathkelvin District Council has already agreed in principal to repeat the race next year and the partnership with the Scottish Marathon Club will continue thus retaining a tradition that was started by the Marathon Club in the 1950’s.   Results:

1.   G Braidwood (Bellahouston Harriers)   64:44;   2.   T Mitchell (Fife)   64:57;   3.   A Daly (Bella)   65:26;   4.   G Laing (Aberdeen AAC)   65:32;   5.   P Fleming (Bella)   65:52;   6.   A Douglas (VPAAC)   65:58;   7.   J Adair (Lin)   68:06;   8.   R Stone (Cambuslang)   68:27;   9.   J Cooper (Springburn H)   68:37;   10.   J Stevenson (VPAAC)   69:07;   1.   S Keith (EAC)   69:24;   12.   M Craven (ESH)   70:05.    Women:   1.   E Steele (Glasgow)   83:24;   2.   J McColl (Glasgow)   84:32;   3.   J Walker (Strathkelvin LAC)   85:26.


The race held in October 1985 was reported on in the Scottish Marathon Club Magazine by Hugh Barrow as follows:   “This year’s Luddon Half-Marathon was again blessed with good weather and a record entry of just over 3000.   The Organising Committee are again indebted to Luddon Construction for their continued financial support and to the many voluntary organisations who have also contributed over the past years to build up the reputation of this race.  

Despite somewhat humid conditions which led to problems for some novice runners, well over 2000 eventually completed the course.   The event was won by a most welcome visitor from Hull, Jim Dingwall – Falkirk Victoria Harriers, who defeated last year’s winner George Braidwood by seven seconds with Graham Laing of Aberdeen taking third place.   The first lady home was another welcome visitor from down south, Leslie Watson who completed the course in 1:21:46, ahead of Janet McColl and Elizabeth Steele.   The first veteran home was John Moore – Victoria Park in 1:12:03, ahead of Tony McCall – Dumbarton AAC, and Fred Bryson – Bellahouston Harriers.

This year for the first time, subventions were paid to the first four men home together with the first lady to finish, and although there is divided opinion on the merit of this type of award it would appear that it is becoming part of the picture in modern road running.   Another innovation this year was a trophy presented by Willie Black, a former Scottish Half Mile Internationalist of Grandstand Sports, Milngavie to the athlete considered by a special sub-committee to have achieved the most meritorious performance.   This year it was awarded to Aileen Lusk of Strathkelvin Ladies Athletic Club, a long time servant of the sport and former Scottish Ladies 880 yards champion.   The WJ Logue Trophy for the first Scottish Marathon Club member to finish went to Jim Dingwall.  

Another most welcome visitor at the event was Jock Semple who emigrated from Clydebank to America in the 1930’s and was later responsible for organising the world famous Boston Marathon.   Jock surprised us all with presenting yet again another trophy which this time was awarded to the first veteran, John Moore. 

This year, the main race was complemented by an Invitation One Mile Race organised by the British Milers Club and sponsored by The Gallery, Lenzie and this event was won by Adrian Callan –  Springburn Harriers in three minutes 57.1 seconds, with three other runners getting under four minutes.   The course was accurately measured by Alastair MacFarlane and Brian McAusland, and it did favour the runners in as much as it consisted of morw downhill than up.   Adrian Callan’s subsequent performance this year points to the course having been of accurate distance.  

The Luddon/Strathkelvin Half Marathon has come some way over the past four years from the event that used to take place at Huntershill, and it is hoped through the efforts of the Organising Committee to continue improving the race year by year.   It is hoped that next year we may alter the date to take it off the holiday weekend, but full details will be announced in due course.   My thanks yet again to be recorded to all the officials who gave up their time so willingly and without whose help these events cannot take place.    Result:

1.   J Dingwall (FVH)   66:00;   2.   G Braidwood (Bellahouston Harriers)   66:07;   3.   G Laing (Aberdeen)   66:29:   4.   A Daly (Bella)   67:42;   5.   E Cameron (ESH)   68:17;   6.   J Cooper (Springburn)   68:29;   7.   D Logue (ESH)   68:40;   8.   I Ross (68:19;   9.   J Adair (Bella)   69:25;   10.   D Easton (FVH)   69:29;   11.   R Ronald (East Kilbride)   69:37;   12.   C Martin (Dumbarton AAC)   70:16 

The number of new attractions built in to the Luddon noted above – veterans trophy from Jock Semple, meritorious award trophy from Bill Black, and the Street Miles – were all in tune with the times.   The street miles came about because Hugh had been a first class competitor over the distance (BMC member number one) and the Scottish Secretary of the BMC, Brian McAusland,  lived in Lenzie and Alastair MacFarlane was a course measurement official: meetings were easily arranged.   They were successful from the very start -the first women’s race was won By Liz Lynch and the second by Yvonne Murray and Adrian Callan won both first and second.   There was also an international aspect to the event with English internationalist Dave Baptiste coming up from London and Irish internationalist Tony McGrath also coming up from London for the races.   


Not only did the event in 1986 avoid the holiday week-end, it avoided the whole month of October and took place on May 18th.      With 2189 finishers it was again a huge success with Peter Fleming defeating Graham Crawford (Springburn by less than 40 seconds.   An interesting name in sixth place is that of ‘B Scobie, Maryhill-V’    Brian had been a member of Maryhill Harriers and was a stalwart at Glasgow University as an under graduate before going to Leeds where he was coach to one of the very best women’s marathon squads in the country including Veronique Marot, Angie Pain and Sheila Catford among many others.   Result:

Men:   1.   P Fleming (Bellahouston)   65:66;   2.   G Crawford (Springburn)   66:35;   3.   A Douglas (VPAAC)   67:01;   4.   P Carton (Shettleston)   67:03;   5.   R Stone (Cambuslang )   67:59;   6.   B Scobie (Maryhill-V)   68:19;   7.   D Macgregor (Fife-V)   68:58;   8.   B Carty (Shettleston-V)   NTG;   9.   R Ronald (EKAAC)   69:22;   10.   T Ulliott (Cambuslang)   70:03.        Women:   1.   L Irving (ESH)   75:57;   2.   A Sym (Glasgow)   79:11;   3.   A Ridley (Glasgow)   81:39;   4.   B Muir   82:36.


In 1987 the race was again in May and it would stay there for the rest of its run.     The times were as good as ever with Hammy Cox setting a record that would last and a good number of international runners in both men’s and women’s fields.   An interesting feature of the day’s action was the appearance of two previous winners in the half marathon taking second and third places in the Street Mile.   Were the position reversed and multi Mile winner Callan to turn out in the half marathon, it is likely that a real surprise would be on the cards.   The organising committee had decided to build on the success of the street miles by adding in a race for Under 17 Men and putting them in with the women’s race.  This delighted the women because they would be drawn to a faster time then would otherwise be likely – in this case Yvonne Murray was twenty seconds up on the second women but racing against the best Youths gave her a good workout and third overall.   The organisers were really good at attracting sponsorship in kind as well as in cash and Glen Stewart won his own weight in mince and potatoes for the race!   To be collected as he required them!!!  The women’s race was won by that prolific racer, Sandra Branney by only twelve seconds from team mate Audrey Sym.   Results:  

1.   H Cox (Greenock Glenpark)   64:31;   2.   G Crawford (Springburn)   65:06;   3.   A Gilmour (Cambuslang)  65:24;   4.   S Axon Aberdeen)   67:31;   5.   L Spence (Spango Valley)   67:36;   6.   R Stone (Cambuslang)   68:00;   Veteran:   1.   C Martin (Dumbarton)   69:06;   2.   D Fairweather (Law and District)   69:31;   3.   J Moore (VPAAC)   71:50.   Ladies:   1.   S Branney (McLaren Glasgow)   75:44;   2.   A Sym (McLaren Glasgow)   75:56;   3.   L Watson (London Olympiades)   77:24.      LV 1   L Watson;   2.   M Robertson;   3.   K O’Sullivan.

BMC Gallery Street Mile.   Men:   1.   A Callan (Springburn)   3:55.3;   2.   P Fleming (Bellahouston)   3:58;   3.   G Braidwood (Bellahouston)   3:59.0   Women:   1.   Y Murray (EAC)   4:23.9;   2.   A Jenkins (ESH)   4:43.3;   3.   C Price (DHH)   4:47.   Young Athletes:   1.   Glen Stewart   4:14.8;   2.   A Kinghorn   4:20;   3.  F McGowan   4:27 


1988 resulted in another victory for Bellahouston Harriers’ Peter Fleming in the excellent time of 64:40, 49 seconds clear of Victoria Park’s Alastair Douglas.   The quite outstanding lady marathon runner who is still ninth in the Scottish all-time rankings with a time of 2:34:26, set in October 1988, Heather MacDuff of Edinburgh Athletic Club won the women’s race in 76:43, almost four minutes ahead of second placed Audrey Sym.  The race also encompassed the SWCCU and RWA half marathon Individual and Team Championships.    Results:

Men:   1.   Peter Fleming   64:40;   2.   A Douglas   65:29;   3.   C Haskett (Dundee Hawkhill)   66:05;   4.   A Daly (Bellahouston)   68:50;   5.   R Ronald (EKAAC)   70:50;   6. (and first vet)   W Scally (Shettleston)   71:04.

Ladies:   1.   H MacDuff   76:43;   2. A Sym   80:29;     3. G Robertson   82:23;   4.   J Harvey       LV1 (and fifth overall)   S Rodgers; LV2   L Brown.   Teams:   1.   Glasgow   15;   2.   Dundee RR   30;   3.   Giffnock North   89. 

By now, of course, the race was big news and the Glasgow Herald was doing previews of the race and follow up reports.   In the paper on Saturday 13th May Doug Gillon reported: In the world of athletics these days it has become fashionable for the stars to avoid each other.   So it is refreshing to hear the enthusiasm which Lynn Harding and Sandra Branney, Scotland’s leading marathon women, have for meeting each other.    Usually a marathon sends participants into recuperative hiding for months.   Yet both are entered for the Luddon Strathkelvin Scottish women’s half marathon championships tomorrow, four weeks after the London Marathon in which both competed with distinction.  

Harding, the Milngavie born woman from Sunderland, booked her Commonwealth Games berth by finishing eighth, breaking the Scottish record.   Branney, although beating her personal best, fell a frustrating three seconds outside the Auckland qualifying time.   Harding intends to race at Kirkintilloch tomorrow, “because I would hate Sandra to think I was avoiding her.”   Branney made a particularly quick return to competition, winning the Adidas 5000m in Glasgow just four days after London.   And she has won a race every Wednesday since, including this week’s Torsion 10000m.   Her appearance tomorrow is conditional on how she recovers from today’s efforts.   Displaying a remarkable range of     ability, Branney will race over 1500m in teh Access UK League division one women’s match at Meadowbank, “if my legs still feel as if they belong to me, I’ll run the Luddon,” says Mrs Branney. 

There is a quality men’s field for Kirkintilloch, and the LB Plastics street miles will keep spectators occupied while the main event is on.   Adrian Callan goes for a fifth successive victory in the men’s Mile, while Olympian Lynn MacIntyre is favourite for the women’s.   She too is racing on Saturday in the League.”   

The report on the race two days later began, unusually with the result:

Men: 1.   N Muir (Shettleston) 65:40;   2.   H Cox (Greenock Glenpark)   66:43;   3.   P Fleming (bellahouston)   67:00;   4.   M Gormley (Cambuslang )   68:40;   5.   P Carton (Shettleston)   69:28.          Scottish Veteran Harriers Club Championships:   40+   C Youngson (Aberdeen, sixth overall)   69:39;   50+   W McBrinn (Shettleston)   77:36;   60+   S Lawson (Maryhill)   83:46;   70+   D Morrison (Shettleston)   93:16;     Local Team Race:   Stobhill Hospital.

Women:   L Harding (Houghton Harriers, 20th overall)   73:09;    2.   S Branney (Glasgow, 22nd overall)   73:27;   3.   J Armstrong (Giffnock North)   82:24.   Team: 1.   Giffnock North   19; 2.   Glasgow AC   20.

LB Plastics Street Mile:   Men – A Callan (Springburn)  3:57;   Women:   L MacIntyre   4:32

Harding, 27, and based in Sunderland,  rocketed to fifth in the Commonwealth when she broke the national marathon best in London beating Sandra Branney, now tenth in the rankings.   Yesterday was their first big domestic head-to-head.   Branney, a former Scottish marathon winner had raced just 24 hours earlier over 1500m in the UK Access League, but clearly had plenty left in the bank.   Although she lost her two-year-old course record of 75:44 after an epic duel, second place in 73:27 gave Branney the veteran women’s prize.  

The pair raced together for nine miles, but Harding’s surge on the long drag up from Torrance drew the last of Branney’s reserves.   Harding finished twentieth in a field of almost 1100 – a remarkable performance from a woman whose idea of keeping fit seven years ago was to take a rope into the garage at her parents home in Milngavie where she would skip to taped music.   “I was told that if I wanted recognition in Scotland, I would have to race here more often,” she said.   Recent performances have finally buried her anonymity.   Now, in order to prepare for the Auckland Games, for which her London time qualified her, Harding plans to race the 5000m in the UK Championships next month and to make her 10000m track debut in the SWAAA event at Crownpoint in July.   But she also intends to keep in touch with the grass roots of her sport in her adopted home.   “I’ll run the Five Pits 10K at Silkworth a week on Wednesday,” she added, “they serve up pie and mushy peas to all finishers just after you cross the line.”  

Yesterday’s race was also a triumph for two runners at opposite ends of the field.   The men’s winner, in 66:40, was Nat muir, Scotland’s leading 5000m track and cross-country exponent for more than a decade, but forced to abandon these disciplines through injury.   Tackling the half marathon for only the second time, he beat the course record holder, Hammy Cox, by more than a minute, with four-time winner Peter Fleming third.   And Ajit Singh, a 59 year old Larkhall maths teacher who was paralysed with a spinal fracture eight months ago,  completed his first race since in One hour 50 minutes.   Struck while cycling by a hit-and-run driver he was in traction for seven weeks and now runs wearing a special brace.   “Last year this race took me 85 minutes, but I’m lucky to be running at all, he said.”

A bit longer than the traditional reports by Alastair MacFarlane and Hugh Barrow, but packed with detail and the amount of space given by a newspaper like the ‘Glasgow Herald’ to an athletics event on days on which there was much competition for space on the sports pages speaks volumes for the high regard in which the race was held (and the ability of Doug Gillon to get it in!)   Interesting too that the men’s race took up less than a third of the report..

Nat Muir winning in 1989

We go back to Doug for the  1990   race.   The preview first.   ” A strong field will assemble tomorrow for the eighth running of the Strathkelvin District Council’s Luddon Half Marathon.   Defending men’s and women’s champions Nat Muir and Lynn Harding are both side-lined.   Muir who set the course record of 65:40 will be out of action until mid-June with a calf problem but there is still a quality men’s race in one of the most popular road events on the calendar.   International marathon runners Peter Fleming (Bellahouston) and Fraser Clyne (Aberdeen) and cross-country international trio of Alastair Douglas (Victoria Park), and Hammy Cox and Tom Murray (both Greenock Glenpark) are all entered.   Frank Harper, the first Scot to finish behind Allister Hutton in the London Marathon, is also likely to run in the event which has already attracted close to 1000 runners.  

Fleming, on course for 2:13 when forced to drop out at 19 miles in the ADT London marathon with a calf injury, still has some lingering problems from that, and will wait until he sees tomorrow’s weather.   Entries will be accepted on the day at the rear of the council buildings in Lenzie.   The race begins at 10:00 am.”

For all the talk of smaller fields, the figure of 1000 participants is healthy enough in its own right but, even with race organisers totally in tune with the sport and the good of the runners, the acceptance of entries on the day was unusual and perhaps speaks of some anxiety about the turn out.   The report on the Monday morning read as follows.

“Fraser Clyne maintained his assault on the Scottish road-race title yesterday when he won the Strathkelvin Half Marathon in 65:29.   His victory was the first significant success for the Metro Aberdeen club which he was recently instrumental in founding.   He had 41 seconds to spare over Tom Murray with Willie Nelson third in 66:31.  

A member of Scotland’s 1986 Commonwealth Games team, but passed over for the marathon in Auckland, Clyne broke clear after three miles (15:00) and over the next two miles opened a gap of some 30 yards.   At ten miles (59:15) he was 200 yards clear  with only Murray, also runningsolo, offering a challenge.   Another marathon internationalist, Pitreavie’s Frank Harper, having run in London just three weeks ago, was picked off by Nelson in the final stages.   Clyne began his defence of the national road race title with a second place behind George Braidwood in the Tom Scott 10 mile event, but now goes top.   His time was eleven seconds faster than Nat Muir’s winning time last year, but outside the record of 64:31 which stands to Hammy Cox.   Ian Elliot (Teviotdale) clinched his third veteran success since turning 40 in January.   The Borderer, whose best time is 65:00, recorded his best veteran time to date of 68:12, finishing seventh to clain the Scottish veteran crown, two places ahead of defending Colin Youngson.  

Renee Murray of Giffnock North, a housewife and mother of two, who took up the sport less than three years ago to keep fit for racket sports, won her first national title at the age of 37.   Just three weeks ago in London she recorded her fastest marathon time of 2:55:12 and this time, with the Scottish women’s half marathon crown at stake, she clocked 80:26, another personal best, which gave her the veteran’s award.   But she was even more satisfied at leading her club to a narrow team victory over Glasgow AC.   That should have booked Giffnock’s berth in the European women’s club road championships.   However Scotland’s right to a place in that event is now under debate – once again the issue of a UK is being pursued by the organisers.    Results:

Men:   1.   F Clyne   65:29;   2.   T Murray   66:10;   3.   W Nelson (Ian Skelly Law and District)   66:31;   4.   F Harper (Pitreavie)   66:47.   5.   M Gormley (Cambuslang)   67:25;   6.   J Evans (Shettleston)   68:00.    7 (and first veteran)   I Elliot   68:13;  8.   D Cameron (Shettleston)   68:41;   9 (and second veteran).   C Youngson (Aberdeen)   69:27;   10.   B Pitt (Dumbarton)   69:50;   11 (and third veteran)   A Adams (Dumbarton (69:59)

Women:   1 (and first veteran)   R Murray   80:26;   2.   J Harvey (82:30);   3.   R Kay (both City of Glasgow)   84:37.   Team:   Giffnock North (1.   Murray, 4   K Hancock, 7   M Blacker)”

1991 saw the race distance drop to the now popular 10K distance.   There was a letter under the heading of “Luddon 10K a Great Success” in ‘Scotland’s Runner” of August 1991 from Jim McCreery of Clarkston.   But why wouldn’t it be a success given the quality and experience of the organising committee?    Why wouldn’t it be with the Luddon reputation to trade on?    But the truth is that the event had run its course.   To many Scots, the term ‘Strathkelvin Luddon’ still equals ‘half marathon’.   After two years at 10K, it dropped even further in distance to 5K.    I will simply quote from Doug Gillon’s article in the ‘Glasgow Herald’ of 8th May, 1993.  “Strathkelvin District Council, once hosts of Scotland’s biggest half-marathon, will see their race take on a new format this year as a 5000m road race, the final event of the UK-wide Reebok Grand Prix series on Thursday, June 3rd.   The two other city centre events are May 23rd in Bath  and May 28th in Sheffield.   The Kirkintilloch race is also the Scottish national championship and will determine the winners of £16000 in overall prizes.   The grand prix winners of the men’s and women’s races will each bank £1500 and the individual winners of the Strathkelvin elite race lifting £750.   Strathkelvin’s event was founded in the early 50’s as the Scottish Marathon Club’s 12 mile road race.   For eight years, from 1983 it was the Luddon Half Marathon, peaking at 3500 entries in 1983, and for the past two years it has been a 10000m.   Besides the elite race, which includes Springburn Harriers Scotland defector Paul Evans, there will be an open race and others for primary and secondary schools.”


John’s Photographs

.Clydesdale Harriers Junior Club Cross-Country Champion


Hares’n’ Hounds: Scottish Universities Cross-Country Champions

Front Row: left: Calum Laing, Jim Bogan;  Second Row: Buster left, Gifford third left, Ray Baillie and Craig Sharpe at the other end; Back Row: left: Allan Faulds

Old University friend Doug Edmunds

.Coming off a big hill in Nepal


.Charlie Fowler on Cerri Torre

Charlie Fowler was an American mountaineer and guide.  He gained fame after some excellent climbs, and became a member of the American Mountain Guides Association in 1986, and was a certified guide who taught courses and evaluated other students who wanted to become certified mountain guides.    Fowler claimed to have been climbing mountains since 1968, having successfully climbed several 8000 metre peaks including Mount Everest as well as Aconcagua.    He guided for Buster for approximately 20 years and In October 2006, Fowler left  for China with his climbing partner, Christine Boskoff, for a two-month-long trip to attempt several peaks that had never been climbed. According to a post on Fowler’s website, it was his fifth trip to the region.   Fowler and Boskoff were officially declared missing when they were not present on a scheduled return flight to the United States booked for December 4.   Search efforts by Chinese authorities and an independent search party retained by friends and mountaineers continued through most of December 2006.  Fowler and Boskoff said they planned to climb 6,204-meter (20,354-foot) Mt Genyen.   On December 27, searchers found a body, mostly buried in snow, at the 5,300-meter level of Mount Genyen, though darkness prevented them from making an immediate identification. They returned on December 28 and confirmed that the body was Fowler’s.   

Buster knew him well and was actually involved in the search.   The initial investigation revealed that Fowler was likely killed in an avalanche.

Buster during the search with the Genyen in the background

With the plaque made to commemorate Charles and his climbing partner, Christine Boskoff, who died with him.

Climbing in Cuba

Frigging in the Rigging

Castleton Tower on the right which he climbed in the early 80’s

.North West Passage

.At Annapurna Base collecting evidence for a hypoxia study


With David Reid and his Mum in Greenland: David is a world expert on polar bears and grew up in Bisphoton

.With Randall Grandstaff on Old Man of Hoy.   John was 50 at the time

With Colonel Cross, 96, expert on jungle warfare with Machupuchare in the back ground

.With Papa Butterfly, a maths graduate from Glasgow University

With Tom Hornbein of the Hornbein couloir on Everest

Back home in Old Kilpatrick

.Sherpa Buddies

End of an expedition

Falling apart – but still getting out

With old pals, Sandy MacNeil and Alistair Finlayson



Dr John G “Buster” McCall

A young John McCall at a Clydesdale Harriers Presentation in the early 1960’s/

(Round the table – Brian McAusland, Jim Crawford, John, Malcolm Buchanan, Bobby Shields, John Maclachlan, Jim Shields.)

Scottish running, like Scottish society in general, has given a lot to the world in the form of emigrants.   One of the best of these was John G McCall – universally known as Buster – whose life after his departure from Scotland has been remarkable.

John G McCall is an excellent example of the successful Scot abroad: a doctor who graduated from Glasgow University, he went to Canada where he set up a very successful practice and after getting involved in winter sports, was a doctor on four Canadian Winter Olympics teams.  He has also had a wonderful time climbing and adventuring all round the world.  He had started out with Clydesdale Harriers before he went to University and had won the club’s Youth and Junior cross-country championships as well as running in all the championships – Dunbartonshire, District and National.   So he had some background in the sport before going to Gilmorehill.   As a student at Glasgow he again ran in all that mattered athletically, he ran on all surfaces – road, track and country – as well as in all the confined university and inter-university events.   

University Race in Aberdeen in the 1960’s:  John is Number 70

His last run in the National Cross-Country Championships for Clydesdale was in season 1959/60 when he was second scoring runner in the Youths team along with Charlie Stimpson and Duncan Stewart.   The following year as a first year junior he was in the same Glasgow University team as such luminaries as Douglas Gifford, Jim Bogan and Ray Baillie and running for the university.   The following year the team was strengthened by the addition of Allan Faulds and was very strong indeed: they won the junior national in 1961/62.   His first race in the Edinburgh to Glasgow was in 1965 when he ran on the exposed five and a half miles of the fifth stage.   

John has memories of his University days other than about people: the wonderful, traditional Westerlands venue meant a lot.   He says:

“Westerlands for me was an oasis, a green place to escape to.  It was a world full of “heroes”,  like,Gordon Pirie, Derek Ibbotson, ,Graham Everett, Lachie Stewart ….  it was an island of tranquillity and peace separate from the grime and bustle of Glasgow’s west end where I was studying medicine. The ground for Westerlands was apparently purchased with money supplied by Andrew Carnegie and others.  When it was sold to build a housing scheme in 1997,  there was a celebration held at the clubhouse to mark the closure and we were encouraged to drink the ” free bar” dry that night I still have a piece of the red cinder track which Calum Laing dug up and gave to me.   Westerlands was a “hub” for athletes of all types and abilities, the showers were communal, outside you could lap the large green field with anyone who was there.  I ran with Pirie and Ibbotson who would both turn up at Westerlands whenever they were in Glasgow.  This was a democratic was not just “runners”, also pole vaulters like David Stevenson, shotputters like Doug Edmunds, tennis players like Frances McLennan, javelin throwers like Fraser Riach. Field hockey players, shinty wild men, and of course the groundkeepers.   We were a happy lot. Every time I drive or walk by Westerlands I feel very sad for the sterility of what has replaced the former training Valhalla, but I can still see and hear the echoes of the many boys and girls who found great solace in such a special place. “

John has been good enough to reply to our request for information with this account of his career.

University team mates: Cameron Shepherd to Dougie Gifford

At the age of almost 76, I am attempting to give an account of my involvement with athletics and mountaineering within the context of my real job as an Orthopaedic Surgeon.   I was born in Bowling, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland.   I was my mother Kitty’s first child.   Rumour has it that I was born in an Air Raid Shelter, but I think this is apocryphal.   Apparently it was a ‘difficult; labour and Dr Anderson the Family Doctor from Old Kilpatrick had a hard time reviving me, which might explain my inability to break four minutes for the mile later in life.   My father was in the Army at the time in the Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Squad.   I do not remember seeing much of him as a child and we did live with my grand-parents in Bowling until after the War when the family was relocated to a pre-fab in OIld Kil[atrick and later on to a proper house in Roman Crescent which was a Council House.   

 I was not at all athletically gifted as a child nor even as a young teenager.   I was what you might call “bookish”.   I did very well at school and haunted the local lending libraryI did spend a lot of time in the Kilpatrick Hills wandering around, usually on my own.   At high school we were required to take part in ‘track and field’ every year.   I did manage to win the javelin throw on at least two occasions as I recall.   Towards the end of my high school years I was introduced to the Clydesdale Harriers by a good friend, Tony Higgins, and I started to run with the ‘pack’ in Clydebank on a regular basis amd was mentored by such people as Billy Hislop, Johnny Mavlachlan, Pat Younger, Frank Kielty, Brian McAusland and, of course, Cyril O’Boyle.   I managed to win the Junior Cross Country Club Championship, although I think there were only two or three other runners in the race.   However I did persevere and when I went to Glasgow University in 1960 I went to the gym on my first day there and I was lucky enough bump into Douglas Gifford who was a very good runner at that time.   He took me on my first training run in Glasgow and I quickly joined the Glasgow University Hares & Hounds.  I spent the bulk of my medical school years running with them.   I have to say that I did not distinguish myself to any great degree with the Hares & Hounds but I did run in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay twice for them and I think on two occasions for Clydesdale Harriers.   I was Club Secretary  but I lost interest as I got into my clinical years as a medical student.   

Doug Gifford leading a Scottish Universities race at St Andrews from Don Macgregor

I qualified in Medicine in 1966.   I continued to run but mostly just for fitness purposes.   I spent the next three years at Strathclyde University where I did research and obtained my Masters degree in Bio-mechanical Engineering.   I was the first Medical Doctor to get a degree in Bio-Mechanical Engineering at Strathclyde.   I then transferred to the University of Toronto   where I did my Orthopaedic Surgical training and I qualified as an Orthopaedic Surgeon in 1974.

Just prior to going to Canada I was on the Committee for the Organisation of Medical Services for the 1970 Commonwealth and Empire Games in Edinburgh.   I had been selected as a team doctor for that event but unfortunately could not attend as I had just started my training programme in Toronto and sadly I missed Lachie Stewart’s great race.   

In 1976 I was selected to be one of the Physicians for the Montreal Olympic Games and spent most of my time looking after the equestrian athletes and especially Princess Anne who was a competitor during these Games.   The 1976 Olympics occurred four years after Munich where of course the Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.  The organisers in Montreal were very nervous about that and especially with Princess Anne as one of the participants.   The security at Bromont where the equestrian events were held was extraordinary.   I located my orthopaedic surgical practice in Collingwood, Ontario, in 1974 and, as Collingwood is a centre for alpine skiing in Canada and has produced many top level skiers, I very quickly got involved in looking after ski injuries and worked with the local skiers as well as with the Provincial teams.   

In 1980 I went to Nepal for the first time with a group of scientists who were studying high altitude physiology on Everest.   As a result of that trip I decided that I would like to explore the possibility of “climbing”.   As a youngster, and also at University I made frequent trips to Glencoe and Fort William mostly just to scramble in the hills and particularly to get bevvied at the Kingshouse.   I was able to meet some of the famous climbers of the day including Don Whillans, Doug Scott, Tom Patey, Dougal Haston and others.   Mostly just sitting in the same room as them when everybody was having a few pints, particularly again at the Kingshouse in Glencoe.   In any event, I first went to the hills for learning purposes with Mick Tighe, a very well known climbing guide.   I spent some time there with Mick and his fellow guests learning the basics of mountaineering.   I carried on with further instruction and guiding in Canada and I spent many weekends in the Canadian Rockies with a guide called Rob Mitchell and did climb many of the classic mountains in Canada during that period.   I also went to the Alps a few times and again was able to climb some of the classic routes there.   I was about forty years old when I started to climb and became increasingly obsessed with it and hired several world class guides to take me on trips to many places to climb, including China, Tibet, Nepal, Baffin Island, Europe, all over the South Western States, Canada of course and Scotland.

As I got older I became interested in sailing and was able to spend several very happy trips with Sam Brook who was based out of Ardfern and was a former Royal Marine Commando who was well versed in climbing and sailing.   I organised one epic trip with Sam when I brought over several elite American climbers for a sailing trip up the West Coast of Scotland with climbs of many classic routes including the Old Man of Stour, the Old Man of Hoy and many others.   Prior to this I also brought several American guides over to Scotland, including Randall Grandstaff, Michael Benge, Charlie Fowler and Rob Mitchell.   We climbed in Skye, including a winter traverse of the Skye Ridge and also a an ascent of the Old Man of Hoy and many other classic Scottish rock and ice climbs.   

John with some of the speed skaters

In 1982 I was selected to be the Orthopaedic Surgeon for Canada in the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France.   I also returned for two more Winter Olympic Games, including Lillehammer and Nagano as Team Physician with Speed Skating Canada.   I spent almost 14 years with Speed Skating Canada as their Physician and travelled very widely during that period to Europe, Asia and North America.   This included World Championships, World Cup events and other international competitions.   I was responsible for developing safety issues with speed skating including the design of the padding dor the arenas, the design of cut proof clothing and helmets and other safety factors.   I am no longer involved with speed skating Canada or the Olympic Association except peripherally through the UIAA, the International Mountaineering Federation and the Alpine Club of Canada, member of the Medical Commission for that organisation.

I have been a member of the Med Com for about ten years now and in that capacity I travel to various countries for meetings as well as teaching.   Over the last three years I have become an instructor for DIMM, which is the Diploma of Mountain Medicine in Nepal and in that capacity I travel to the mountains in Nepal and instruct on such topics as the management of fractures in the wilderness, treatment of high altitude sickness, hypothermia, avalanche safety, etc.   The last trip I did there was in November, 2018.

John with some of his Nepal training group

I am now, in 2018, no longer able to run or climb and I am rapidly losing my ability to hike because of a chronic bad back as a result of spending too many  years standing at an operating table and also I think because I injured myself quite badly on two occasions.   One when I was climbing in the Black Canyon of Gunnison in Colorado and I took a “whipper” and fell about sixty feet but bounced back at the  end of the rope and .smacked’ off the wall of the canyon suffering multiple abrasions and also a fracture of my sacrum, which I did not know at the time like a ;stupid bone surgeon.’    The other about five years ago when I was on a tallship in Antarctica and I got knocked down and suffered multiple rib fractures as well as bruising of my spleen and kidney.   I should note that in the last few years I have taken to going to Antarctica and the Arctic.   My first trip to the Antarctic was on a sixty foot sailboat with four other people whom I did not know.   This trip turned into a bit of an epic and we were lucky to escape with our lives.   I went back down there on one other occasion on a sailboat and then I went there on a tallship.   Since then I have returned but this time on a small icebreaker.   


In the rigging on the tallship

The Clydesdale Harriers gave me the foundation for a life of adventure and fitness and an understanding of the value of comradeship.   I think back on all those guys that I ran with with great affection.   Not only were they runners, they were philosophers, they were gentlemen, they were poets and they were dreamers.   They did not have sponsorship, they did not have trust funds and some of them did not even have teeth.   There was no Facebook, there was no internet and it was a helluva lot of fun.                                                                                                                               

May 24th, 2018.


Climbing in Cuba

It is an interesting account of a fascinating life.   John was a good solid club runner who served his time with club and University before emigrating.   He mentions Doug Gifford – Doug was John’s best man and recited a poem which he had written about him.   Were he to do so now, the poem would be an epic, I think.   Always an outdoors man, the range of John’s activities has been vast – hill walking, running, mountaineering, sailing in addition to his work as an orthopaedic surgeon.   And he still found time to work with athletes in winter sports at all levels up to Olympic standard.    

It is fair to ask about how all the activities affected John’s work as an orthopaedic surgeon.   All we can do in that regard is look at what his patients say and I append some quotes from a website rating doctors 1 – 5 on four scales.   

“Dr McCall performed a tibial osteotomy on my Right knee in ’95 just prior to my retirement from the CF. After 3 prior surgeries to try and repair a ” Wonky” knee. This was his solution in an attempt to provide me with a functional and pain free joint. He was incredible thorough throughout the process. Explanations were clear, concise and delivered with his Scottish humour. That surgery allowed me to go back to my sports and fitness activities that I had feared were ended at age 41 year’s of age. I would highly recommend him to everyone to everybody who’s needing the best. Thanks again for your help with that situation.”

“Too bad there’s only a 5 for knowledge. He blows other Dr’s away….  As for his knowledge, well… you don’t get called to be an Olympic Team surgeon three (3) times and win an award for a fourth if you don’t know your stuff. He found a broken Talus bone in my foot when two other Dr’s said there was nothing wrong. He will tell you straight about what he thinks about your case, tell you what he thinks you should do but he won’t hold your hand through it. If you want to get better… do what you’re told. It’s your choice.”

I read a dozen reviews of treatment received and all bar one gave him 5/5 for knowledge, most gave him 5’s across the board.   His knowledge of his subject, his helpfulness and quality of his staff were almost uniformly given the highest marks possible, his humour was commented on several times.  All in all, he is a credit to his universities and to his country.   

Click   here  for more of John’s photographs





Ian Young

The great Edinburgh University team of the 1970’s:  Ian Young third from right

The Edinburgh University team of the late 60’s/1970’s is generally recognised as the best ever University squad to come out of Scotland, and indeed they were a superb team by any standards.   One of the regular members of team alongside Fergus Murray, the Wight brothers, Chris Elson, Dave Logue, Gareth Bryan-Jones and the rest was Ian Young.    Ian had been a member of Springburn Harriers at Kirkintilloch in Dunbartonshire who already had a good pedigree in the sport before he went to Edinburgh from Lenzie Academy.  

His coach was Eddie Sinclair who went on to coach many British as well as Scottish international runners and his Springburn club teams became legendary.  Ian’s contemporaries included such as Eddie Knox and Duncan Middleton – the former became world junior cross country champion and the latter GB indoor 880 yards champion as well as Scottish record breaker for 880 yards.   Ian’s first season in the sport was 1960/61 when,as a runner in the Under 15 Boys age group he was tenth in the Midland District Championship – one place behind team mate Middleton – and then one place lower down in the National where Middleton was sixth.   The team difference was that they were fourth in the District championships but third in the National.   Ian was in the Youths (Under 17) age group in 1961/62 and finished twelfth in a race where the first three were AP Brown, Ian McCafferty and Hugh Barrow.   His second year as a Youth saw him third in the District championships leading his team into first place with Duncan Middleton and David Tees the other runners.   In the National that season he was second, with Middleton sixth, for the team that finished second.   Note that he was only beaten by Ian McCafferty who had eleven seconds on him at the finish.   In 1963/64 he was up an age group and racing against the Under 20’s in the Junior Man age group.   He finished seventeenth in the National and the team was fourth and just out of the medals.   

It was clear Ian’s ability, together with family support and Eddie’s training, was producing some remarkable results.   The high points of his career so far can be summarised as follows:

  • Second in the Youths national behind Ian McCafferty in 1963;
  • First winner of the Scottish Schools Cross-Country Championships, and
  • Winner of the One Mile at the Scottish Schools Championships in 4:27 (both in 1963;
  • Selection for the Scottish Junior team in the International in Dublin in 1964

He moved to Edinburgh later in 1964 and the next year he was wearing the green of the Hare & Hounds instead of the dark blue of Springburn.   What had he learned at Springburn?   Coach Eddie Sinclair was a hard taskmaster who inculcated values of train hard, race hard.   Not for Eddie’s charges the habits of that era where the Under 17’s started the race at speed, had a wee sleep for the middle half of the race and fought out the last quarter.   Ian and his club mates worked from pistol to tape; there were no hiding places.   If you want more information on his early development, go to

where Ian looks back on this period with some information on specific work done with Eddie.  

Ian Young to Eddie Knox, Lanarkshire Relays, c. 1966

One of clubmates at the time was the redoubtable Eddie Knox who comments: 

“My abiding memory of Ian was watching him run for the final time at Lenzie Academy sports. Ian was a sixth year pupil, the event was the 880 yards (the longest event available) and Ian was favourite to win. BUT he was worried – what if some young pretender hung on and out kicked him. The answer: take off like an absolute rocket so nobody could hang on.
I do not remember the time for that first lap but it looked like 50 second pace. It’s the only time I remember seeing Ian in absolutely full flight, and it was pretty damned impressive. No it was extremely impressive. He was hanging on for dear life on the second lap but he made it.   He was a gutsy beggar as a competitor, willing to dig deep into his resources.”

When Ian read the above, the memory of that race came back immediately.   He says:

 “I was intrigued by Eddie Knox’s account of the 880 yards championship at Lenzie Academy in 1964.  You may like to know about the background.  It was for the most prestigious trophy in the school, the Campbell Cup, named for a former pupil who died in the Second World War.  I had won it for 4 years fairly easily and was heading for a record 5th, but a year below me was a promising middle distance runner called Jim McEwan who belonged to Victoria Park AAC and was coached by Johnny Stirling, a local man who had also coached Hugh Barrow. Not only did he run for a rival club, but Jim was also representing a rival school ‘House’ and I was House Captain of Cawder and meant to lead them to victory at the annual sports.  The school was pretty evenly split in support, but there was no way anyone was going to stop me getting my record victory.  As Eddie recalls, I went off like a bat out of hell because I did not have a sprint finish and Jim McEwan was better 440 yard runner than I was, so I had to run it out of him.  I remember him getting on my shoulder at the start of the home straight on the last lap and the crowd going wild and that was enough, I don’t know where it came from but I was up on my toes and finished like I was a 100 yard sprinter.  Wild acclaim and a never surpassed 5 in a row victories.   I think my time was around 2:04, which was not bad on a  rough grass track on the school rugby pitch.   Two weeks later I won the 1 mile at Dunbartonshire County Sports”.   Ian then put the race into the wider context of Scottish Schools races.

My birthday was 31 March, so under the SSAAC age groups at that time which ran from 1 April, I was always the youngest in any age group and in those days Scottish Schools nationally had no 17-19 age group so I was not eligible by a day to defend my titles in 1964, although I could run in my own school’s closed event. The race which Eddie watched was then even more important to me since it came after my championship wins and I would not surrender to a lesser mortal!”

Ian (38) leading the field, probably at Kilwinning, 1963

Alistair Blamire wrote a first class book about the Edinburgh University Hare and Hounds exploits between 1960 and 1970 called ‘The Green Machine’ from which the following extract is taken.    

“Ian’s decision to study at Edinburgh was based almost entirely on his desire to develop his distance running career through training with Fergus Murray and company.   He went straight into the EUHH first team in season 1964/65 and after finishing sixth in the Scottish National Junior Cross-Country Championships gained a second international junior vest in the International Championships in Ostend, finishing 17th.   By regular training at 100 miles per week, often in company with Gareth Bryan-Jones and occasionally with me, Ian was leading EUHH runner in season 1966/67.”

We’ll come back to Alistair’s comments later but a look at that first season of 1964/65 at Edinburgh in a wee bit more detail would be interesting – after all it was a big change in lifestyle moving from the family home, friends, school where the pupils were to some extent spoonfed information to the free-er University environment with responsibility for arranging his own activities and learning.   In Scottish athletics the motto is that east is east and west is west and seldom the two shall meet.  eg there is an East District League but no West District League, in the West there are County championships in Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, etc but none in the east.   So it was that there was no Edinburgh University team in the traditional pipe-opener for the winter of the McAndrew Relay.  It was November before he was noted by runners in the west.   On 21st November the first of the winter’s big races took place – the Edinburgh to Glasgow eight man relay and Ian, who had already run in the race for Springburn a year earlier,  ran the last stage into Glasgow where he was fastest on the day, a full 55 seconds quicker than the second fastest man, for the second placed Edinburgh University team.   He was back in Glasgow on the 28th  of the month for the triangular match between Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities match.   Ian was third behind Walter Eadie (S) and Brian Scobie (G) leading the Edinburgh team to first place in the competition.   A week later and the Edinburgh University team won the Edinburgh and District League Match at Newcraighall with Ian in eighth place their third counter behind Roger Young (second) and Fergus Murray (sixth).   Seven days later and the headline in the Glasgow Herald read, “Edinburgh students not extended”.   This was over a report on the five sided contest between Aberdeen, Glasgow, Strathclyde, St Andrews Universities with their scoring six runners in the first ten.   These were AF Murray 1st, Roger Young 2nd, F Gamwell 4th, Ian Young 6th, Jim Wight 9th and Gareth Evans 10th.   

The District Championships on 16th January , held at Newcraighall, might have posed the University team a big challenge given that Edinburgh Southern Harriers and Edinburgh AC were both running well with large numbers of runners but the students team won by a margin of 67 points from Teviotdale, with a team of Murray (1st), R Young (2nd), F Gamwell (13th), G Evans (14th), I Young (15th) and J Wight (16th).   The Scottish Universities championship at the end of January 1965, held at Cambuslang, Glasgow, were similarly won by Edinburgh with Fergus Murray first and Chris Elson third.   Unfortunately they could not win the British Universities race as easily, in fact they couldn’t win it at all and finished fifth team – Aberdeen were 9th, Glasgow 13th, Strathclyde 15th and St Andrews 19th.   The National Championships were held at Hamilton Park on February 27th and although the Senior team from the University did not win, the strength of the team was evident from their third place in the senior race and first place in the junior race for the third year in succession.    Roger Young was second to Ian McCafferty but in front of Alex Brown and Dick Wedlock while Ian Young was sixth.   Ian and Roger were both chosen for the junior international team to compete in Ostend where the Scottish team finished a close up fourth, a mere 10 points behind the third placed Morocco.   Ian himself was five places further up the field than in the previous year – 17th compared to 22nd twelve months earlier.   

Fergus Murray leading, Alex Wight, Chris Elson and Ian fourth in EU Sports 1965

Despite this excellent start to University athletics, Ian missed most of the summer in 1965.  He was asked about it and replied, In the missing year of 1965, after the close of the 64-65 x-country season I can only suggest that I focussed on my studies and was not at my fittest. However I do have a medal to show for that track season, returning to the dark blue vest as a member of the Springburn Harriers 2 Mile Team Race at Kinlochleven Highland Games (possibly in July?) where we took 2nd place medals – so not a wasted season after all!”   Kinlochleven – once run, never fforgotten.  A very good meeting in a lovely setting where the day’s proceedings used to start with some of the athletes parading on to the arena to the strains of “March of the Gladiators” over the loudspeakers!   

The winter cross-country and road racing season was on them from the start of the short relays in October 1965.   Although the Edinburgh Southern and AC teams were out in the McAndrew Relays, there was no sign of the EU H&H squad that early.     They did turn out two teams in the Dundee Kingsway Relay on 16th October which finished second and fifth, on October 23rd they won the inter-university contest at Newcastle with Edinburgh’s six counters  in the first seven finishers.   Then in the East District Relay Championships on the last Saturday of the month, the students teams finished first and second but Ian was not in eight runners.   They also won the Eastern District League Races on 6th November but without Ian being in the team.   When he missed the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay on 20th November, it was clear that there was something wrong.   In fact Ian did not compete at all that winter and it was summer 1966 before he was seen in action again and winter 1966/67   before he was running at his best as a regular member of the Hare and Hounds teams.

On the 8th October, 1966, there was a rare sighting of Ian Young in a Springburn Harriers vest.   Not required by the University that weekend, he was part of the club team that won the Lanarkshire relays along with David Tees, Duncan Middleton and Eddie Knox.    Then when the University won the East District Relay on 29th October, 1966, the team consisted of Blamire, Logue, Young and Bryan-Jones, Teviotdale was second and the University B team third.   In the Edinburgh and District League match at the start of November, the University had the lowest possible total (21 pts) with Ian filling fourth position.   The big test however came on 19th November in the form of the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay which Edinburgh Hare & Hounds won again.   Ron Marshall in the Glasgow Herald remarked “a kind of zealous professionalism seems to permeate Edinburgh University.   They run as if they know they will win, they never look round – their sole aim is the next change over point.”   Taking first place on the first stage courtesy of Alistair Blamire, the students stayed there until the finishing line.   Ian Young ran on the fifth stage and ran the second fastest time on the stage a mere one second behind Alastair Johnstone’s fastest time of the day.   Ian was running so well that he was chosen for the Scottish Universities team against the Cross-Country Union at King’s Buildings on 10th December.   He was unplaced, but with the first five places filled by Union runners that was hardly surprising.   The main point though was that Ian was back running well again.   Just how far back he had come was shown in the weekend of 7th and 8th January 1967.   On the Saturday he ran in the Nigel Barge Road race which was a big race with almost all of the top men running and he finished sixth with Edinburgh University being second team.   He had been in the leading bunch from the very start in a race won by Ian McCafferty.   The very next day he was running for Springburn Harriers at Grangemouth in a five and a half mile road race where he finished third, one place behind team mate Eddie Knox, in the winning team.   Sixth on Saturday, third on Sunday in teams that were second and first.

Then came a real test – on 21st January the University took part in the European Cup competition of national cross-country champions in Arlon in Belgium.   The team finished fifth with Ian in fifteenth place leading home the Scottish representatives, followed by Alistair Blamire in seventeenth and Gareth Bryan-Jones in eighteenth.   Jim Wight had a bad fall on the last lap which pushed him back to twenty first  The team might have been fourth but they nevertheless defeated the national champions of West Germany, Ireland, Switzerland and Luxemburg.   Lifted by this excellent performance they went out in the Scottish Universities Championships on their own trail at King’s Buildings and produced the first eight finishers.   The individual winner was Ian Young who was never any lower than second for the duration of the race.   All of the first eight were chosen to represent Scottish Universities in the BUSF Championships at Parliament Hill Fields in London.   These were held on 4th February and for the first time ever a Scottish team won the event.   First Scottish runner was again Ian Young in eighth with the others placed 11th, 13th, 14th and 21st=.    

There was no let up: the next week it was the Edinburgh and District League Match and Ian was fifth Hare and Hounds man to finish – Blamire, Logue, Hathorn and Wight were ahead of him – but he was part of the winning team.   In the National Championships, 1967, the race was distorted by the presence of the New Zealand International Cross-Country team that was having a run-out before the International.   Ian finished 24th, third EUHH man behind the two Wight brothers, in a race where he was disappointed to finish only fifteenth Scot.   The team won from Edinburgh Southern – 109 points to 253!

How to account for this remarkable season?   Alistair Blamire says, “By regularly training up to 100 miles per week, often in the company of Gareth Bryan-Jones and occasionally with me, Ian was the leading EU runner in season 1966/67 when the club was at its most successful as a team.”   Alistair himself had had a very good winter and as a Junior he had great race in the national against Ian’s Springburn team mate, Eddie Knox.   The Glasgow Herald said “The battle in the junior race between E Knox and A Blamire was the feature of the afternoon.  Over all but the last 100 yards of the five miles they were inseparable, but over the last vital stretch Knox got his head in front and managed to repulse Blamire’s dying effort.”   Bear in mind that the best New Zealand runners were contestin the races that afternoon and that the cream of Scottish talent was there.   To be part of the ‘feature of the afternoon’ is no small compliment to the men involved.

In the Rowland Shield Match in Durham on 6th May, a contest between Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Durham, Carnegie and Sheffield Universities, he was second in the Two miles in 9:20.0 for the EU team that was second to Leeds.   Later that month, on 25th May at New Meadowbank, he was second in the Three Miles behind Gareth Bryan-Jones in 14:01.6 Summer was going well for him,    The Scottish Universities Championships were held at Westerlands in Glasgow, on a windy 3rd June and Ian won the Three Miles in 14:16 from Alistair Blamire and John Myatt (Strathclyde).   In the biggest championship in Scotland in the summer, Ian was second in the Three Miles behind Lachie Stewart in 14:07.6 with Springburn’s Eddie Knox third in 14:14.  

That was a superb cross-country season followed by an outstanding summer – a difficult feat unless the athlete gets the transition right.   How does Ian account for it?   

“My good 3 mile performances in 1967 started with winning the Edinburgh University 3 mile championship (which I repeated in 1968), the race where Gareth beat me was the East District 3 mile champs, but then I won the Scottish Univ as you say, before finishing 2nd to Lachie in the SAAA Champs at Meadowbank. In April that year I also ran my best ever Tom Scott 10 mile road race in EU colours finishing in a time of 48min 01sec and that bloody second has annoyed me ever since!”

Ian running in the Tom Scott in Springburn colours in 1963

After the successful summer, Ian was back in action in the relays that autumn.  It is difficult at this distance to realise just how good EUHH teams at that point were.   Universities with fairly rapid turnover of personnel usually have performances that vary, sometimes wildly, from year to year but this Edinburgh team went for over a decade with pretty well every runner an internationalist.   You could pretty well pick any four from ten and they would win the team event.   Similarly a runner could be the sixth or seventh of those representing the team and still have done an excellent day’s racing.   In 1967/68 the University teams won the District relay comfortably and then they won the Edinburgh and District League with six men in the first eight and also won the second team competition.   The auguries for the Edinburgh to Glasgow were good and on the day the team was good enough to win for the third year in succession.   It was a harder fought race than had been the case the previous year – eighth on the first stage, fifth after the second, fourth after the third before Dave Logue on the fourth gave them a lead of four seconds over Shettleston.   Ian ran next and extended the lead to 34 seconds and thereafter the team was never headed.   Again, Ian was only a single second behind the day’s fastest time – 23:04 to 23:03 by Aberdeen’s J Taylor.   If Ian had been the University’s top man the previous winter, it was Alistair Blamire in 1967/68 who led the way in ’68/’69 and this was shown in another epic tussle for the Scottish Universities against the SCCU against old rival Eddie Knox, the Glasgow Herald remarking that “they ran like machines stuck in top gear” with Knox winning by only two seconds, and the SCCU defeating the Universities.   Although Ian ran in the Nigel Barge Road Race at the start of 1968, he was ultimately unplaced in what was a very good field indeed.   Gareth Bryan-Jones and Alistair Blamire were first and second with Pat Maclagan of Victoria Park third.   

Ian did not run in either the District Championships or the National that season but he did run the following summer before retiring much too early in 1970 because of continuing serious Achilles tendon injuries.     As has been said, there is more about Ian’s time in Edinburgh in Alistair’s book but another whose name has already been mentioned, Fergus Murray, can have the final words about him:

“Ian came to Edinburgh late on in my time there and had his greatest achievements after I had left. However, like so many of that era, we have never lost contact and to this day meet from time to time for a meal or some social event.
Characterised with Ian’s approach to business, which cannot be half-hearted, he usually left soon after the Saturday’s race to attend to the music club he ran but not entirely to the exclusion of team-mates. I remember coming back to Edinburgh after the BUSF championships in February 1965 where he treated us to a meal on the way home………….much appreciated by impecunious students ! His 21st party too, was a celebrated evening and he never forgot his student-days landladies, the Camerons of Mayfield Terrace.”





John Wright


John Wright winning the Junior National in 1958.

John was a very talented Junior man who also had a very successful career as a runner for the British Army while doing National Service.   The following profile was done for Clydesdale Harriers and is reproduced here.   Before his first junior national victory and although the club had turned out many very good teams, and had won medals (eg in 1955 they were third team in the National and won the SAAA 4 x 440 yards title on the track, it was the first individual cross country victory at national level since Dunky Wright in 1923.   It reads –

“The Committee wish to place on record the magnificent performance of John Wright in winning the NCCU Junior Cross Country Championship.   This is the first time any major cross country title has come the way of the club for a good number of years.”   Extract from Clydesdale Harriers Minutes of 13th March 1957: it is the only time that any athlete has been mentioned in the minutes in red and is a mark of the extreme respect accorded to this superb athlete. 

Partly because of this I feel that John is a good example of the club man of the time and of what the top Scottish athletes of the time were doing.   His pedigree in the club was without equal.   His father Harold and his uncle Willie had run for the club and then acted as trainers.   This was particularly true of Willie who trained John.   His grandfather Jack Wright (of whom club president Jock Kirkland said “Copy him, because in his age and your youth it was hard to tell who was the younger”) had also been a club member and a Scottish internationalist in his day. Jack’s brother George was also a very good quality athlete and both men were founder members of the club.  

John is primarily known as a cross country runner and joined the club as a Youth (Under 17) in 1954.   In his first run in the National Cross Country Championships was a tenth place in the Youths race – good enough but the following year he was second – only 14 seconds behind Billy Goodwin of Bellahouston Harriers and five ahead of J Ewing of Victoria Park.   The team was also second – they felt that they had a good chance of winning but after John’s second place, Bobby Clark was seventh and Jackie Hislop was fifteenth but the expected fourth counter, Willie Roddick, had a poor run to finish seventy first and the next counter was in fact Denis Stirrat in thirtieth which gained second place medals for the team.   They were only four points behind Shettleston’s winning team.   It was also coincidentally the first time in several decades when the Senior Men won National medals being led home by Cyril O’Boyle in sixth place with George White (11th), Pat Younger (12th), John Hume (30th), Jackie Higginson (52nd) and Jimmy Young (53rd) being the other counters.

John running with the winner Pat McParland in his first Junior National

The Bible of Scottish athletics at the time was the ‘Scots Athlete’ magazine produced by Walter Ross and one of its top features was John Emmet Farrell’s Running Commentary which dealt mainly with Scottish athletics in a very knowledgeable way but also covered the international scene. He previewed the race and then reported on it in some detail and it is his words that are used below.

The race for the Junior Cross Country Championship of Scotland appears to be, at least on paper, to be the most open of the races. …………………..Strictly on the basis of the showing at Lenzie, P McParland of Springburn and Geo. Govan of Shettleston who came to the tape in close proximity may be installed as co-favourites with that grand little Clydesdale runner John Wright lying handy.’   (Running Commentary by J Emmet Farrell) was how it was previewed and in the next issue the following report appeared.

‘At least half a dozen runners were forward to win the title but before half distance it was apparent that only P McParland (Springburn) and John Wright of Clydesdale would contest the issue.   The latter running very sweetly indeed stuck to his rival closer than a brother but could not quite cope with his rival’s stronger finish.   A grand win for McParland and a good showing for Wright’s chances next year as he is still a Junior.’                                               (Running Commentary by J Emmet Farrell)

Result:   1.   Pat McParland (Springburn)     31:26

  1.    John Wright            (Clydesdale)     31:36
  2.    George Govan         (Shettleston)   32:04

The First Victory : 1957

John kept working away and was by now one of the stars of the future in Scottish Athletics – indeed he was a ‘star of the present’ and after another year of sterling performances, he was once again a favourite for the National Junior Cross Country title by January of the following year.   Emmet Farrell again previewed the event:  ‘Slim, consistent John Wright of Clydesdale Harriers looks at the moment a hot contender for this year’s Championship.’   (Running Commentary by J Emmet Farrell in January 1957).    

His report of the race in the next issue was the kind that most runners can only dream about: May 1957: ‘Slim, immaculately stylish John Wright of Clydesdale running with machine like precision trounced his rivals in the Junior Championship and emerged the easiest winner of the day, an ample compensation for last year’s runner up position.   His form overshadowed the competent running of Edinburgh Eastern’s D. Togwell and Springburn’s J Rooney who finished in front of the more fancied Geo. Govan of Shettleston’.     (Running Commentary by J Emmet Farrell) in May 1957)                                                                           

Result:  J Wright      31:50;   2.  D Togneri;  3.  J Rooney;   4.  G Govan

Winning in 1957

The following year it was held again at Hamilton Race Course but over a different trail.   In previous years it had been three laps of the race course proper but this time the course left the race course and went down past the Mausoleum and along the banks of the Clyde before coming back up to the course again.   He won again by an even larger margin – this time from Joe Connolly of Bellahouston Harriers leaving many good men such as Tommy Cochrane and Ian Harris of Beith behind him.   He went pn training and racing and went into 1958/59 in good heart.

One of the questions that any athlete would/should be asking at this point would be about the training he was doing to get these results.   Well, he was training six days a week, never training on a Friday.   His week went as follows.

Saturday: A race or an inter club run.

Sunday:   12 laps of the perimeter at the Recreation Ground at Mountblow in Clydebank.   The perimeter was a fairly accurate half mile and his coach, Willie Wright, always believed in a fast start to be right up with the race.   This meant a first lap in about 2:07 followed by another in about 2:12 before settling in to laps of 2:20.   In other words a mile in 4:19 followed by five in 4:40.   It would be a very good session to-day.

Monday: He would usually run from his home in Linnvale, Clydebank, out to Anniesland Cross (going round the outside of the toilets at the furthest point to make sure the distance was always the same) and back.   This was just under 5 miles and took a bit over 23 minutes.   It was again a fast run.

Tuesday:   It was a club night so he would train from the Baths in Bruce Street with the pack over distances of 10 or 12 miles most nights.

Wednesday: Willie Wright was friendly with Allan Scally the Shettleston Harriers coach so on Wednesdays he would go to Helenvale track in Glasgow and train with Graham Everett.   Where Willie usually got John to do repetition 400’s with 400 jog recovery (which was pretty standard for the time) Scally kept the 400’s in 58 or 59 seconds and progressively reduced the intervals until they were doing 15 x 400 inside 60 seconds with 60 seconds recovery.   This of course was on a cinder track.  (Graham was also an excellent cross country runner but was better known as seven times Scottish One Mile Champion and British Mile Champion who defeated Murray Halberg (New Zealand) for the title).

Thursday:   Another club night but he would only do an easy 4.5 or 5 miles if he was racing on the Saturday.

Friday:   He never ever trained on a Friday.

In 1958, like every other top athlete in the country he wanted to make the team for the Empire Games in Cardiff but only just failed to do so.   The trials were at the Scottish Championships and he ran in the Six Miles on the Friday night where he finished third in 30:22.8 and with three to go he should have been selected.   But the selectors decided instead to take only the first two finishers and add in Ian Binnie who had run but dropped out.   On the Saturday John could do no better than sixth in the Three Miles in 14:40.2.   The track at Meadowbank was very poor and cut up dreadfully so that after the first couple of laps, the runners were running in the third lane.   Most of the athletes signed a letter of protest to the SAAA’s about it.   It was a disappointment but nothing compared to the disappointment the following year over the country.

Winning the Junior National in 1958

Although known as a country specialist he was clearly also a considerably good track runner with wins in many open and highland games meetings such as   Shotts,   Strathallan, Bute and Cowal.          On one  occasion he ran the first stage in the Scottish Medley Relay Championship at Cowal and although not an 800 metres specialist he was barely two metres down on Mike Rawson of Birchfield at the changeover and ahead of some top class half milers such as JP Paterson and Neil Donnachie.

After a good season in 1959, he finished a very good ninth in the Senior National Cross Country Championship of 1959 in a bunch of three with Connolly (Bellahouston), Ross (Edinburgh Southern) and John being seventh, eighth, ninth.   The selectors decided to take only seven to Lisbon and John and Ross were told they were reserves but not travelling.   The runners spoke to each other and agreed to pay their own fare out to Portugal.   Their clubs put up most of the money and then they were told that there was only room on the plane for seven.   They couldn’t come.   It was finally revealed that most of the plane seats were taken up by officials.   On the day one of the selected seven athletes couldn’t run and John’s name was actually printed in the official programme.   It was this event that led to him joining the Army to do his National Service – all 18 year olds had to do two years of National Service but like many others John had had his deferred because he was doing an apprenticeship in Singer’s Factory and could have had a further extension but he was so peeved that he decided at that point just to go and do it then.

When he reported to Oswestry for six weeks square bashing (ie basic training) he saw that they had a running track and asked one of the regulars if he could do some running.   The guy happened to be the regimental cross country champion and John didn’t get the permission.   After basic training he was posted to Germany and won the regimental championship despite going off the course and then represented the regiment at the Area Championships where he beat the much more fancied runner from the Gordon Highlanders.   They soon approached his regiment asking if he could be transferred to their Unit where he would be expected to train and run and ould have every facility to do so.   Without asking him, the offer was turned down and he stayed with the regiment.  He won the Divisional Championships and went to the BAOR Championships at Dusseldorf where he finished second to Ben Grubb – British International cross country and steeplechase runner.   He ran regularly thereafter with such as Ernie Pomfret (another GB Internationalist), Tommy Cochrane of Beith and other high quality athletes.  

He also joined a German club – MTV Celle – and ran for them regularly with good results with his friend Terry Wells who had not been a runner before joining up.   He enjoyed this time and combined the club running with Army duties.   When he left the Army he was running really well after training and racing with guys such as Pomfret and Grubb. He ran a time trial over 3 Miles and was inside 13:30 which looked good for future athletics.   When he came home, the club had moved to a new 440 yards track at Whitecrook from the 330 yards track at Mountblow.   It was terribly soft and cut up easily to such an extent that the Council added some material to it to make it more robust.   Meantime, John had run on it and decided that it was too soft for serious training and returned to train on his own at Mountblow.   One of his sessions involved repetition 330’s.   After 10 reps he was going well so he stepped up to 12 and then decided to go to 15 and end the session there. On the 15th rep he tore his Achilles tendon.   Doctors repeatedly told him to rest, and the pain was always still there when he returned to training.   He was advised to see physiotherapist Walter Kinloch at Corunna Street in Glasgow.   This required a medical referral and the doctors would not recognise the physiotherapists qualifications or professional body.   No treatment was possible.   And John’s career ended in a way that would be unthinkable at any point over the past twenty or thirty years.  

However, good club man that he was, he kept on running for the club and served on the Committee for almost another twenty years.  






Swan Song

(Back in 1992 I published a slim volume of stories about running experiences: “Running Shorts”, which is currently free to read on the website Now, aged 70, realising that this ‘faction’ sequence only took my lightly fictionalised self from 17 to 40-ish, I decided to write this additional “RS”, which I promise, to the relief of several, will definitely be the last, although I hope to postpone permanent retirement from my favourite sport for a few years yet.)

                                                                                 SWAN SONG

It had been a day full of other days, yet unique, as every day may be, Alastair Taylor mused around midnight, as he lay on the hotel bed.

Running hard was one reason for tiredness, of course, but travelling from the North of Scotland to Northern Ireland had not been straightforward – a long bus journey to Glasgow, overnight there, then bus, plane and taxi to arrive the evening before the event.

In his youth he had merely walked or cycled to a local grass track or parkland and rough trails for cross country. Scottish Schools’ championships had involved bus trips, true, while, at university, subsidised travel was by train and, later, minibus – or, each December, a swaying, dipping ferry to Ireland for two races in Belfast and Dublin, each followed by many pints of black nectar. As a senior athlete, but still young, he cadged lifts from car owners. Planes had only been necessary years afterwards when expenses-paying European marathons beckoned.

During more than fifty years, he had competed in a number of exotic countries: Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Australia, USA (the Boston Marathon, with its ten miles of quadricep-mashing descents leading to five miles of wall-inducing heartbreak hills) – plus every part of the British Isles. Yet the actual venues often tended to be less attractive – post-industrial towns or sprawling untidy cities. Never mind, in each place, only the race had mattered.

As usual, Alastair had slept fitfully the previous night, after booking in, chatting lightly with familiar grey-haired team-mates, exchanging ritual complaints about injuries and lack of fitness, marvelling at the athleticism of 35 and 40-year-olds. Old Masters, not! A sensibly small meal – low-fat and easily digested – had been consumed, with not even a beer to wash it down. He recalled that, in his prime, he had avoided alcohol only before marathons or ultras – concerned to avoid dehydration. While in his late 30s, with carefree confidence, the night before one Scottish Senior National Cross-Country Championship, he had downed four pints of real ale – after all, the distance involved had ‘only’ been seven and a half miles – and had almost made the top twenty, considerably better than expected. Nowadays, although M70s were expected to cover a paltry 6 km, he went teetotal for a couple of days beforehand. It would be stupid to add (to the impossibility of quality training and frequent leg niggles) yet another probable cause of failure. Before competition, optimism had never been one of his characteristics, unlike moaning.

Long ago, some self-appointed sage had stated that it was not sleep the night before that mattered – but sleep the night before that. If you couldn’t doze off, between nightmares about missing the start, try to remember that you were lying down, as calmly as possible, getting plenty of rest. Easy for that guy to say.

On race day he had nibbled breakfast (toast, cereal, banana, fruit juice) a full four hours before the start, leaving plenty of time for digestion, sips of water, changing into kit and nervy repeated visits to the loo. Surely, at this late stage, he should be less twitchy? Yes, wearing a dark blue vest added extra responsibility, but nowadays he could only start slowly, not jet-propelled, so why not age-related wisdom and composure?

At least his pre-race meal had not been steak and chips, which he had chomped an hour before his first marathon back in 1969. Strangely, at the age of 21, that had not caused a problem. However, the pint of cream (in theory, taking on fatty acids as fuel, to go with a ‘fast start’ triple black espresso) half an hour before a Scottish Championship marathon in the late 70s had caused a massive personal worst after so many pukes, plods and pitstops. Curry was best avoided, too.

A brief coach trip to the course, two hours before “Go!” and the build-up began. A walk to inspect at least some of the two-kilometre lap – some tricky mud and rather mossy underfoot but only lightly undulating, thank goodness, and suitable terrain for veterans aged 35 to 80 plus. Steep climbs and drops nowadays? No thank you!

Traumatic memories of ghastly trails passed through his mind with merciful brevity. The 1972 English National XC in Sutton (very) Coldfield (nine miles of mud, sub-zero temperatures, extra wind-chill and snowstorm – on the last desperate lap, a reigning Commonwealth gold medallist had been passed, upside down in a ditch); uphill slurry before clambering over barbed wire fences in Dunbartonshire; near death by hypothermia in Hawick. That one had been a Scottish Masters; the very first he had contested was Clydebank 1988. Some sadist had taken a film of the three laps. First one, pretty snowfall adding enchantment; second, the action totally obscured by a blizzard of heavy, wet, white flakes; the final lap, knackered survivors of a Norwegian notion of hell (unless Vikings would actually be more horrified by unaccustomed extreme heat?) Any hat-wearers now sported snow-stacks stuck to their heads. Despite tackling any conditions when forced to, really Alastair had been a bit of a ‘road fairy’, whose favourite cross-country routes traversed firm, dry, grassy, mainly flat golf courses.

Heat exhaustion, Alastair thought, had not been a problem in cross country events; only in long, scorching road runs, especially marathons or ultras. Foreign ordeals where you were shocked yet grateful when spectators sprayed you with garden hoses or chucked buckets of water; that Lairig Ghru 28 miler (80 degrees in mid-glen) when you struggled exhausted past the finish line on the wrong side of the busy main street in Aviemore. Officials hauled you across safely, then left you hanging over a fence in blessed shade. And how long it took before even a vestige of energy returned so you could fumble to untie over-tight running shoes and find something, anything, to drink! A final heatwave moment, was finishing as roasted runner-up in a South of France marathon. A photo in the local newspaper had been published in black and white – despite this, it was obvious his face had been bright scarlet. The report had referred to him as “Taylor, l’epouvantail”. Alastair’s schoolboy French had not included that word. Back in Scotland, a language teacher had cackled as she told him it meant “the scarecrow”.

Photographs were taken on time, an hour and a half before the start. So many grinning male and female team-mates and now, unbelievably, he was in the second-oldest age group. When happy, he still felt like a teenager, as long as he avoided mirrors. However, while cycling a road bike in perfect weather gave an illusion of fitness, running told the truth about damaging impact, physical deterioration and advancing years. Shut up, too bad, keep trying!

Warming up routine. Alastair recalled that, in earliest days this was merely a five-minute jog; at the peak, an hour of steady running, stretching, strides and sprints; now the process was laughably but necessarily careful. This was no parkrun where, if something hurt before the start, you could simply forget it and get back into the car. Injury might force you to drop out, but it could only be even slightly acceptable if a calf or hamstring ruptured during the actual race.

Start by walking away from the rest to find a quiet area. Don’t be psyched out by superior-looking rivals – Alastair had learned that trick as a teenager, when impressive lads with fancy tracksuits covered with running badges usually proved easy to beat. Very slow jogging, short strides, try to keep upright, stop occasionally for a gentle hamstring stretch. Then five or ten minutes steady; concentrate on smooth progress. A loo check, no problem. Half an hour to go. Steady with a few fifty-yard strides, gradually working up to what passed for race pace. Save any real effort for mid-contest! More stretching, lower back, hamstrings. And, miraculously, muscles and tendons ease a little, permitting increased range of movement. Hope increases, some confidence re-appears. Maybe this might be okay! All you need is just a little luck.

Between 40 and 15 years ago, luck was hardly necessary, since injuries occurred seldom and proper training was normal – 60 to 80 miles each week, sometimes including a twenty miler, plus hill reps, group fartlek, steady runs and a time-trial or a race, in which you were almost certain to run well or even very well. Nowadays, Alastair had to listen to his whingeing body very carefully indeed, and work within those frustrating limits. Still, fortunate to be able to jog at all. No hip or knee replacements yet!

A last, totally unnecessary, loo check. Then the call to the start-line. Alastair was edgy but under control. Not like before long ago high-pressure road relay events – they were the worst. Sometimes he actually stress-retched five minutes before receiving the baton – fairly cleared the tubes, though, for the panting, eyeballs-out charge all the way to the next changeover. Now he took up position near the back of the field, alongside other old fogeys. Injuries usually happen soon after too rapid a start. With some common sense, he might just come through eventually to a decent finishing position. Let young women, fast old guys and idiots go for it! Some might blow up before too long. Experience might count for something, after all.

An officious self-important official bawled irrelevant guff about the course and warned that anyone with even a toe in front of the line would have it amputated. False starters would, deservedly, be executed. Or some such traditional nonsense. Impatient athletes jiggled up and down and ignored him. Alastair had a brief flashback to Nos Galan, the Welsh New Year event through the narrow streets of Mountain Ash, when stars like Dave Bedford used to emerge from shop doorways in front of the start line and took their places seconds before the race commenced. Then there was the English National, when thousands anticipated the gun and started jogging away inexorably before they were ordered to go. No chance of calling them back!

Bang! Release! While speedsters shot off, Alastair focused on getting into a short, pattering rhythm, keeping upright and swinging his arms forcefully. For the next 400 yards or so, the trail was extremely muddy – if this continued throughout the race, it would be horrible. However, they emerged onto the loop and most really sticky patches could be avoided.

Gazing ahead, Alastair noticed without surprise that the leaders were already out of sight. At 41 he had led every step of the Scottish Vets cross country championship – a sequence of photos proved it. In this event at M45 he kept up with the fastest M40 men for quite a while, before winning his age group. Ah well. Occasional nostalgia can be pleasurable; but remember to appreciate the present moment! Although he knew that few in his category had started more slowly, Alastair still felt in control. In front he could see a straggle of individuals and small groups, including men around his age – who were the real targets today.

Taking care to accelerate only slightly, he started to inject more effort, and gradually moved out to pass ‘victims’. If he could just keep working hard, then others might fade. Anyway, overtaking was much more fun than being overtaken.

At his peak, Alastair had loved front-running and also putting in surges mid-race. Road had been his favourite surface, and long uphills where he tried to break away. Not having much of a sprint meant that he had to go for it early, at unexpected moments. Even as a veteran on the track, these tactics had sometimes worked well. Nowadays, grinding away, hopefully at a single semi-decent speed (the only alternative being slower) was the simple strategy. At least it meant that he didn’t have to think much. Just aim for the runner in front or try to hang on to others.

As usual, he seemed to be puffing faster – still testing for possible heart attacks – compared to everyone he plodded past. A team-mate was only fifty yards behind and, when Alastair glanced back, it seemed that they were moving up the field at the very same pace, as if attached by invisible rope. Since this old friend possessed a sprint finish, Alastair would strive to keep clear as long as possible. Being trounced by strangers was much less irritating.

A long shallow downhill was negotiated gingerly. Thirty years earlier, in the British Vets XC, Alastair had been clinging on to the leader and race favourite – a very classy Welshman – when a steep downhill proved his undoing, as a hamstring strain forced him to ease off and (at least he was thoroughly warmed up) concentrate on holding second place. Eventually, still clear of the bronze medallist, but moving with difficulty and discomfort, he approached the finish, to be “congratulated” by a famously-grumpy Scottish blazer-wearer who grated, “Taylor, you’re such an ugly runner!” which, although he had never been a stylish swan, seemed a trifle uncharitable to Alastair, who had rated himself a “brave war-wounded soldier”!

Now, much closer to second-last but trying his best on the day, Alastair entered the third and last lap. He must have moved up thirty places, passing several age group rivals, but had no idea of his current position. Not last anyway, and still making slow progress. With two kilometres to go, he pushed some more, since he could see a few more strugglers coming back. Half a mile left and one more man within reach. At the start of the long finishing straight, Alastair forced himself ahead, but the effort emptied his energy tank, so his rival closed right up and then strode away in the last hundred yards. Knowing he was beaten, Alastair looked over his shoulder for other sprinters. Clear, thank goodness, and over the line. His team-mate was only eleven seconds down – they had both squeezed into the M70 top ten.

On a previous occasion, as a dirty, knackered runner collapsed at the end of a such a race, a bewildered spectator had inquired, “Who are you trying to impress?” Well the answer could hardly be a potential girlfriend, with a warped lust for mire and snotters. Self-respect after trying hard, that was all. A stamina adventure!

One good thing about having dodgy, fragile legs was that they would not permit racing too far or hard, so Alastair recovered quickly, glad that disaster had been avoided. His team definitely wouldn’t be fifth, thank goodness, and he would not be to blame. Quite an enjoyable run, in fact. Winners nowadays punch the air; while respectable also-rans mainly feel relief. Still in the game! And forget the warm-down. Who knew when he would next take part in an important race?

Of course, you could be left in a dreadful state after really tough events: hitting the proverbial in marathons, for example, battering through the final miles gasping, weaving about and groaning aloud. Off normal training, Alastair had once attempted the famous challenging London to Brighton road race (54 miles – and a quarter). Even pacing it perfectly, he had run out of blood sugar at 40 miles but did not drop a place during the last 14, since everyone within range was feeling just as weak. At the longed-for end, he waved away a space blanket and then his legs buckled! Shortly afterwards, he had been deposited in a deep bath, and had to scream for help, since it was far too hot. However, drinking colder water, warm tea and (with difficulty) consuming a few biscuits had encouraged a quick recovery. Since the pace had been steady, his legs hadn’t been destroyed and he managed to take part in a short road relay six days later. Years afterwards, he wished that energy bars and gels had been invented earlier….

The afternoon passed in a contented blur. The showers proved impossible to locate but he found a doorway and changed into dry clothes, while spectators were fascinated by much younger men bounding athletically through their races. A lift to carefully selected Derry pubs – old friends, including all the M70 team, turned up – assured ‘rehydration’, thanks to pints of stout and nips of Irish malt whiskey.

Back to the hotel, shower, change for the banquet – the food was delicious, but Alastair sobered up with water.

The Scots had tables farthest from the stage. As ill-prepared speechmakers droned on and on, Alastair sat back and assessed the British and Irish Masters International XC experience. A decade ago, he had looked through a long running career and tried to order his top ten races. These were fairly easy to list, but somehow he ended up with a top fifty worth remembering. It was not all about ‘lifetime best times’. (When else could you achieve them?) Nor about most significant wins or medals or (badly designed) trophies. As park-runs suggested (with their age-grading of times), any event, even when you were old, could give some sort of satisfaction. Team wins stood out as important. Running was essentially a solo activity, and it was a real bonus when fellow enthusiasts banded together to do well. Like today.

Was that to be his “swan song”? And what did those words mean, anyway? His phone supplied formal research answers.

“Swan Song came from ancient Greek, and was a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement.

However, the common Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor), although not actually mute, was known neither for musicality nor to vocalise as it died. The only sounds it could make were honking, grunting, and hissing – not unlike over-stressed runners, perhaps.

Yet the snow-white Whooper Swan (Cygnus Cygnus), a winter visitor to parts of the eastern Mediterranean – and Scotland – did possess a ‘bugling’ call, and had been noted for issuing a drawn-out series of notes as its lungs collapsed upon expiry, both being a consequence of an additional tracheal loop within its sternum. This was proposed by naturalist Peter Pallas as the basis for the legend.”

So there! Ye ken noo. Well, Alastair had no thought of imminent retirement from his beloved running, or indeed expiry, unless that referred to breathing out before breathing in again.

The medal presentations were nearly complete. Every recipient was applauded generously by folk from all five nations. The Scots were noisiest, as usual.

His M70 team was announced – they had won surprise silver medals!

White-haired Alastair and his three companions, heads high, floated the length of the hall, down a river of shouts, cheers, claps, handshakes and even mistimed high fives.

Alastair tried to maintain dignity and smiling self-control. Yet, although no song came from mute lips, around his mind echoed a silent whoop!


Magnum, Beach Park Irvine



Traditional Start for the  Senior Championship in 1986

The Beach Park trails at Irvine for the National Cross-Country Championships and for the Scottish Schools Championships were good – but the billing was enhanced by the presence of the Magnum Leisure Centre.  Opened in 1977, it was the largest leisure centre in Europe and in the early 1980’s it averaged a million visitors a year.   The (Glasgow) ‘Herald’ reported: It was the envy of Europe – a multi-purpose leisure centre which played host to some of the world’s most iconic bands.   …  It had something for everyone – with bowls, and boxing champions crowned, gymnastics displays, dog shows, Frosty’s ice disco and bands from The Jam and The Clash  to The Smiths and Chuck Berry.”    If the great Hamilton Racecourse cross-country courses had no changing rooms, The Magnum had changing areas, showers, cafes, restaurants, swimming pools and everything you could want – and then even more.   For runners though, it just the backdrop to the cross-country championships.   All ages from Under 13 to veteran, all championships for schools, for clubs, for men and for women held their championships there.  Shown below is the famous bridge across the road into the centre, crossed by many weary, muddy, tired-but-mostly-happy runners.


The first national championships meeting to be held at the Beach Park was on 9th February, 1980.   Colin Shields says in his book “Whatever the Weather” : The National Championships were held over the level, well-drained grassland course at Beach Park, Irvine and were sponsored by AT Mays, the travel agents, with financial assistance from Cunninghame District Council and Irvine Development Corporation.   The course, which received fulsome praise from competitors  as the best championship trail for over a decade, was conducive to fast running except for the final 600 yards at the end of each of the three laps in the senior race.   A long sweeping downhill stretch led to a 150 metres of strength sapping sandy beach, and this was closely  followed  by a 1 in 5 sandhill that had the fittest athletes walking up with their hands on their knees by the final lap.”

This is a fair description of the course which was also a photographers delight – runners strung out along the horizon in all their club colours, runners cresting hills, runners flying along battling it out on the flat or downhill.   This first year it was only the men’s championships held there the women’s being held at Lanark Racecourse.   There were separate races for Junior Boys, Senior Boys, Youths, Junior Men and Senior Men.   It is worth recording the results of the first races to be held here:

Junior Boys: 1.  S Holden (Falkirk Victoria), 2.  G Phillip (Edinburgh AC), 3.  K Wood (Edinburgh AC)  Team: Shettleston.

Senior Boys:  1.  D McShane (Cambuslang),  2.  I Matheson (Aberdeen),  3.  K Maxwell (Falkirk Victoria)  Team: Springburn.

Youths:  1.  R Copestake (Dundee Hawkhill),  2.  A Callan (Springburn),  3.  S Paul (Clyde Valley)   Team: Springburn.

Juniors:  1.  G Williamson (Springburn),  2.  P Fox (Clyde Valley),  G Braidwood (Bellahouston)   Team:  Edinburgh Southern.

Seniors:   1.  N Muir (Shettleston),  2.  J Robson (Edinburgh Southern),  3.  A Hutton (Edinburgh Southern)   Team: Edinburgh Southern.

The first nationals at Irvine were voted an outstanding success.  To expand on Colin’s remarks on the course it should be said that there were several testing hills on the course – the first just coming up for the field picture at the top of the page – with the Dragon Hill the daddy of them all.   The runners came down on to the beach at speed with only an obstacle peculiar unto Irvine (made of three railway sleepers) to negotiate and then the run through the sand to master.   Some ran well down on to the flat damp sand for a semi-firm footing and others just turned left and got on with it through the dry, lumpy, shifting, ankle testing sand.   At the end of this short stretch there was another right turn with a step up on to firm footing again but it pretty well ensured that the hills was tackled from a standing start with no run in.   This was the 1 in 5 hill that Colin refers to above.   This was where the more sadistic spectators congregated.   The story from across the Atlantic of the runner coming into a hill being exhorted by his coach first of all to “get some places on the hill”, then, when that was not on it was  “just hold your place“,  then  “well, keep running,” and finally “walk faster” , could well have been told of the Dragon Hill.  

The sand: one of Graham MacIndoe’s sets from the 1986 race

Despite the success of the venue, maybe because it was situated in the extreme south west of the country,  the SCCU went back to the 19th century practice of alternating the venue between east and west.   Between 1890 and 1900 the national cross-country championship was held at Cathkin, Tynecastle, Hampden, Musselburgh, Queen’s Park, Inverleith, Paisley, Musselburgh, Hampden and Musselburgh.   The late 20th century version saw the championship held at Irvine in 1982, ’84, ’86, ’88, ’90, ’92, ’94, ’96, ’98, 2000, ’01 and ’05 with a variety of venues (Callendar Park, Jack Kane Sports Centre and Wilton Lodge, Hawick among them) in the intervening years.   It was a bit of a pity because used continuously it could have been as legendary a venue as Hamilton had been.between 1929 and 1968.  

The next championships to be held at Beach Park were on 27th February, 1982 when the title went to Allister Hutton who led his club – Edinburgh Southern – to the team title.   These really were golden days for the championship.   We only need to look at the few seniors and their times to see that:

  1.   A Hutton (ESH),  38:45,   2.  J Robson (ESH)   38:58,   3.   N Muir (Shettleston) 39:11, 4.   R McDonald (Clyde Valley)  39:23,   5.   A Douglas (VPAAC)  39:23,  6.   J Brown  (CVAC)  39:31,  7.  L Spence (Shettleston) 39:42,  8.  E Stewart (Cambuslang)  39:40,  9.  T Mitchell (Fife)  39:42,  10.  G Braidwood (Bellahouston)  39:57,   11.  J Dingwall (Falkirk Victoria)  40:00.   Note that third placed was timed at 39:11 and there was a total of nine runners within 49 seconds.   And these were all top class athletes including legendary performers like Nat Muir, Lawrie Spence and Jim Dingwall.   There were 384 individual finishers and 30 teams.

For the record, the age group winners were – Junior Boys: A Russell (Law & District),  Senior Boys:  S Holden (Falkirk Victoria),  Youths: D McShane (Cambuslang) and Junior Men: C Henderson (Tayside)

Off the beach, on to The Hill in 1982: note A Hutton (231), J Robson (239), N Muir (545), A Douglas (238), Alistair Douglas (317) plus Fraser Clyne and Lawrie Spence. 

The championships were held at the Jack Kane Sports Centre in Edinburgh returning to Irvine on 25th February, 1984.   Winner this time was Nat Muir on a day when one of the mainsprings bringing the national to Beach Park, Jim Young and his wife Betty, welcomed 2000 entries for the championships.   This time there were 531 finishers in the senior race, 83 in the junior men, 100 in the youths, 176 in the senior boys and 190 junior boys.   It was a venue that runners found attractive, that families and supporters also liked – the former for the courses that were laid, and the latter at least in part because of the facilities available at the Magnum.   Nat Muir had only run in Scotland twice in the winter 1983/84 season but here he went right to the start and defeated Hutton by over 40 seconds with Fraser Clyne of Aberdeen in third.   It was his fifth senior title in six years equalling the feat of Andrew Hannah of Clydesdale and J Suttie Smith.   Robert Quinn of Kilbarchan who had won the Youths title the previous year, won the Junior Men’s championship at his first attempt and the other winners were Steven Begen (Springburn) in the Youths age group, Alaister Russell of Law & District in the Senior Boys and Clark Murphy of Teviotdale Harriers.   

The venue was proving just as attractive to the women cross-country runners as it was to the men and, for the first time, their championships were held there earlier in the month – on 4th February.   Elise Lyon of Wycombe Phoenix won the senior race from Andrea Everett (Glasgow) and K Husband (Edinburgh).   Edinburgh Southern won the team race with Palm Gunstone of Dundee winning the veterans section.   S Renwick of Morpeth won the In termediates race, L Reilly of Morpeth won the Juniors, D Barker of Morpeth won the Girls race and S Priest of Morpeth won the Under 11 girls race.

Nat Muir and Neil Tennant in the National at Irvine, February 1986

22nd February, 1986, was the date of the next trip to Ayrshire and again Nat Muir was the winner from Neil Tennant (Edinburgh Southern Harriers) and Calum Henderson, also ESH) who had won the Junior Men’s title at this venue in the colours of Tayside.    The numbers showed no sign of abating with 586 contesting the senior race with all the top men coming from every corner of the country.   Steven Begen of Springburn successfully stepped up an age distance to win the Junior race from Rob Carey of Annan and Tom Hanlon of ESH) and Alaister Russell also stepped up an age group and won the Under 17 race from Sam Wallace of Cambuslang.   Senior Boys champion was Glen Stewart of Clydebank AC from Frank McGowan of VPAAC with the Junior Boys title going to Jason Hemmings of Pitreavie who finished ahead of D Macpherson of Cambuslang.   So far, so good but there was a bit of controversy when it came to deciding the winning team.   As ever, Doug Gillon of the Glasgow Herald covered the story.

“Nat Muir’s record seventh cross-country title and Edinburgh Southern Harriers fifth successive team award gave the impression on Saturday of a championship run by the form book.   But a behind-the-scenes controversy demonstrated the inadvisability of counting chickens prematurely.   Neil Tennant of Southern offered such spirited resistance that the Shettleston Harriers victory margin was held to five seconds.   Despite two other Southern men, John Robson and Callum Henderson finishing third and fourth, the Edinburgh club came close to losing the race for breaking the rules on clothing advertising.   The championship referee spotted the capital club’s new sweat tops, the product of a £1500 sponsorship package by Marshall’s Chunky Chickens, and which bore the company’s name.   The office-bearers of the Scottish Cross-Country Union summoned the Southern team manger, Sandy Cameron, for an explanation and a verbal reproof was administered.   “This was against the rules, and we shall be issuing a written reprimand,” said general secretary Ian Clifton, ironically a member of the offending club.”  

Phew, a close shave.   But justice was done and Southern kept the trophy.

The women’s championships were also held at Irvine’s Beach Park, but on the Sunday when J  Lorden of Edinburgh defeated Christine Pryce of Dundee Hawkhill and J Standing of EAC.   

Start of Junior Men’s National, 1986

27th February, 1988 was the date of the national that year – and the senior men’s race had approximately 650 finishers.    An amazing total.   It was the year when Neil Tennant finally won the championship: he was 33 seconds up on Chris Robison and a further three seconds ahead of Tommy Murray with Peter Fox fourth and Alex Gilmour of Cambuslang fifth.   The old guard was making way for the new: Cambuslang Harriers won the team award with 63 points to Edinburgh Southern’s 162, and Aberdeen AAC’s 187.     There was no Muir or Hutton, no Jim Brown or John Robson – the future belonged to Quinn and Ronison, Murray and Stewart.   The Junior Men’s race in ’88 was won by Clark Murphy of Pitreavie from Terry Reid of Dundee Hawwkhill and Mark Wallace of VPAAC.    The Youths were led home by Winchester’s Malcolm Campbell running for Clydebank AC from Stuart Rankin of Falkirk Victoria Harriers and Bristol’s Ian Gillespie, also running for Clydebank AC.   The Senior Boys race was wom by Winchester’s Nick Freer running for Clydebank AC from Grant Graham of Victoria Park and Scott Burch of Pitreavie and the Junior Boys race was won by D Whiffen of Nith Valley from Alistair Moonie of Fife AC and Matt Kelso of Pitreavie.    Doug Gillon reported on the race in the ‘Glasgoiw Herald’:

“A man who spots cheats for a living ran the most honest of races to capture the Scottish senior cross-country title at Irvine Beach Park at Irvine Beach Park on Saturday.   Neil Tennant of Edinburgh Southern Harriers staged a courageous display of front running to grind out a remarkable comeback victory over the favourite, Chris Robison  at the AT Mays sponsored national championships.  On a day when record attempts were thwarted at every turn, Hawick born Tennant demonstrated that the race goes not only to the swift but to the fast thinker.   His work with Cambridge University’s  local examinations syndicate involves investigating students cheating in examinations, a fairly cerebral activity, and he put his brains as well as his legs to work in planning his victory.   Angered by the lack of recognition he has received in his homeland, a feeling compounded by the welcoming embrace accorded to the English-born naval officer Chris Robison, he nursed his wrath to stoke the motivation for success.   “I was determined the title would go to a Scot,” said the 25 year old Tennant, a physical education graduate.   

Robison, the IBM Spango Valley runner, had gained confidence from a series of outstanding performances culminating in fifth place at the English national championship the previous week end.   “But I knew he was keeping up a high training mileage (174 miles in the two weeks leading to Saturday) , and that plus all these hard races would have made him tired,” said Tennant.   The longer the race went without Chris feeling heavy or fatigued, the more confident he would feel.   So I attacked early, made him feel tired with a long way still to go, so that he would have plenty of time to feel doubts.”   The race had gone just over a mile when Tennant put his plan into effect, taking off from the Royal Navy helicopter navigator.   It was a long way from home there – more than six miles of endlessly undulating sand dunes – firm underfoot save for the short stretch of sand along Irvine beach, and with a strength sapping wind to eat into the resolve of a man with the guts to to go it alone.   Tennant had 33 seconds to spare as he completed the course.”

It is a very interesting article – you can read it in its entirety in the Glasgow Herald of 29th February, 1988.   

The same issue has a report of the SWCCU championships which were also held at Irvine on the following day when the women’s event was won by Sandra Branney of Glasgow from Lynn Harding and Louise Van Dyck.   The women’s championships seemed to have many more competitors fro furth of Scotland – eg the senior race’s first few runners came from Glasgow, Houghton, Essex Ladies, Morpeth, Macclesfield, Glasgow.  ie four of the first six were representing English clubs although were Scottish qualified.   Other winners from the women’s championships were – 

Minor Girls: H Brooks (Ayr Seaforth); Girls:  A Cheyne (Bathgate);  Juniors:  N Brown (Tynedale); Intermediates: S Granger (Edinburgh Woollen Mill).    The men’s and women’s championships were creeping ever closer: from being held at different venues, they were now using the same course.   From being held at different times, they were now only separated by one day.   With the governing bodies getting ever closer, it was surely only a matter of time before they were held together.

Tom Hanlon leading Brian Scally

The 1990 senior men’s championships was won by Peter McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill) from Neil Tennant and Kilbarchan’s Bobby Quinn.   The team championship was won by Cambuslang Harriers with 126 points from Edinburgh Southern who had 159 and Dundee Hawkhill on 183 points.   The Junior Men’s title was won by Malcolm Campbell from Glen Stewart – both Clydebank AC – and Mike McCartney of ESPC AC, Youths by Mark McBeth of Cambuslang Harriers from Grant Graham of Victoria Park and S Cook from Queen Victoria’s School, Dunblane, Senior Boys by G Willis of Ayr Seaforth from S Mackay of Inverness and I Richardson of Cambuslang Harriers and the Junior Boys race was won by Kevin Daly of ESPC AC with D McDonald of Perth Strathtay Harriers second and K Mason of Cumnock third.    It was a day of seriously bad weather with a biting wind and driving rain; runners were ankle deep in water at some points, in mud at others and occasionally, very occasionally, both feet were on firm ground.

There were no women at Irvine this year – their championships were held at Bridge of Don in Aberdeen and the senior title was won by Anne Ridley.

1990: McColgan (331) wins in the mud

(query: why do runners wear leggings and tracksuit trousers on a mucky trail on a wet day?)

The 1992 title was won by Tommy Murray, running for Cambuslang, who had won the title before in 1989 at Hawick running for Greenock Glenpark Harriers.   Second was Chris Robison with Bobby Quinn third.    If we look at the winners in the various age groups, K McAlpine of Nairn and District won the Junior Boys race from A Dobie of Cambuslang and A Sandilands of Avonside AC; Senior Boys won by A Reynolds, Cambuslang from K Daley, ESPC AC and S Gibson, Lucozade Motherwell; Youths: C Clelland of Cambuslang was first, G Browitt, Penicuik, second and A Moonie Babcock Pitreavie, third; Junior Men was won by P Mowbray from J Pyrah (both EU) and G Reid, Johnny Walker Kilmarnock.

There were 158 Junior Boys, 157 Senior Boys, 127 Youths, 51 Juniors and 612 seniors who finished totalling  1105 in all.   The numbers were not quite as good as the best years but were still remarkably high, particularly in the senior men’s race where there were 41 complete teams at the end of the race.   After coming so close to a joint championship, the women again stayed away and held their championships at Falkirk.    

Steven Begen, followed by Rob Carey, Junior National 1986

1994 was the first year that both associations finally got their act together and staged a joint championships and where better to do so than at the Beach Park in Irvine.   There would be a total of six joint championships held there before the venue was moved away from Irvine altogether.   These were to be on 10th February 1996, 14th February 1998, 22nd February 2000, 24th February 2001 and 19th February 2005,   There were drawbacks in a joint event – these were mainly to do with the location in the south west of the country – it was a much longer day for clubs travelling from Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Lochaber and further north, and it was a much more strenuous day for the officials although for them it was to some extent offset by the fact that it was a one day meeting rather than two.   The venue itself was ideal in terms of the trail (varied, well drained, a good running course) facilities with enough changing space for all athletes, room for all the administrative work that had to be carried out on the day, a good space for the awards ceremony and the entertainment of the Magnum Centre for the families and supporters of the athletes.   

Results of thsi first mixed championships were –

Senior Men:  1.   C Robison;  2.   T Murray;   3.  G Croll.    541 runners.   44 Teams

Junior Men:  1.   S Cook (Inverness); 2.   M Bain (Stornoway);  3.  J Brooks (Lochaber)    45 runners   5 teams

Youths:   1.   B Robisnson (Ayr Seaforth);  2.   D Connally (Shettleston);  3.  R Nolan (Cramlington)   79 runners   9 teams

Senior Boys:  1.  M Combe (Teviotdale);  2.  P Young (Victoria Park);   3.  K McAlpine (Nairn and District)   127 runners   14 teams.

Junior Boys:  1.   C Michie (Fife);  2.   J Goldie (JW Kilmarnock), 3.  C O’Brien (Corstorphine)  132 runners   15 teams

Senior Women:   1.   S Ridley (Edinburgh WM); 2.  N Brown (Tynedale);  3.  M Gemmell (Strathkelvin)  114 runners   7 teams

Junior Women:  1.    H Parkinson (EU H&H);  2.  A Potts (Glasgow);  3.   S Kennedy (VPAAC)    

Under 17 Women:  1.   A Tremble (N Shields Poly);  2.   E Gorman (Glasgow);  3.  C Vetriano (Dundee)  40 runners   4 teams

Under 15 Girls:  1.  K Grimshaw (N Shields Poly);  2.  K Montador (JG Central);  3.  J Ward (Babcock Pitreavie)  101 finishers  11 teams

Under 13 Girls:  1.  J McLean (Fraserburgh);  2.  J Ross (VPAAC);  3.  N Coates (Cramlington)      100 finishers   11 teams

10 races in total – more than at any previous championship.   This size of meeting was now the norm.


1996 saw the joint SCCU/SWCCU back at Irvine for the second time.   The men’s championship had the first five runners within a minute – Bobby Quinn  (36:46), Tommy Murray (3656); Alaister  Russell(37:02), Chris Robison (37:17), Glen Stewart (37:48).   There were 488 finishers this time round.   The senior women were led home by D Kilner (Aberdeen AC) who was followed home by A Tremble (N Shields Poly – Jnr) and S Ridley (EWM).   The second and third Juniors were Sheila Fairweather (CoG – 8th overall) and F Andrews (Cumnock – 10th overall).   There were 107 runners in the joint senior/junior race.   Winner of the U20 Men’s race was A Milligan of Carnegie with J Duncan (EU H&H) second and C Smith (Aberdeen AC) third.  There were 40 finishers.   The Under 17 Men’s race was won by Jamie Hendry of Springburn, from M Smith (Tayside) and D Greig (Kilbarchan) and there were 89 finishers.   The women’s equivalent age group was led home by Susan Partridge of East Kilbride with S Dugdale (Skipton) second and K Grimshaw (N Shields Poly) third.   34 finished the race.   Under 15 Boys’ race was won by J Kiely of Cambuslang.   A Cassells (Fufe AC) was second and A MacIndoe (Ayr Seaforth) was third from a field of 109.   The Girls race was won by N Coates of Cramlington from H Norman of Babcock Pitreavie and J Ross of VPAAC.   71 finished.   The Under 13 races were won by A Lemoncello (Fife) and I MacIntyre (Dundee).

Beach Park was without doubt an excellent venue and was being used for the National, for the Schools championships and also by the SVHC – about which, more later.   The 1998 championships were held in pouring rain on Valentine’s Day.  Spectators, officials and runners were all thoroughy soaked early on in the day.  Bobby Quinn won the men’s race from Davie Cavers of Teviotdale and Tommy Murray who was now running for Inverclyde.   Phil Mowbray and Tom Hanlon were close on their heels.   This was Quinn’s second title and the first of what was to be three-in-a-row, while Murray had already won three and they had been first and second twice already.   The team race was won by Cambuslang who had by now won the title ten times in eleven years, having been interrupted by Leslie Deans RC in 1996.  The 1998 Senior Women’s race was won by Fiona Lothian of Fife AC from hill runner Angela Mudge of Carnethy and Catriona Morrison of GU H&H.   The first Junior to finish was Sheila Fairweather (GU H&H) in fifth place followed by Susan Partridge (GU H&H) in twelfth and Vicky Frew of EWM in seventeenth.   City of Glasgow won the team race making it four-in-a-row for the club.   Glasgow University won the Under 20 women’s race.   Graeme Reid of Clydesdale Harriers won the Men’s Under 20 contest from J Stewart from Halifax running for Fife AC with Jamie Hendry of Springburn Harriers, last year’s winner, in third.   City of Edinburgh, with their first runner in eleventh place, won the team race.   

The Under 17 men’s champion was A Cassells of Fife, Robert Docherty of Greenock Glenpark was second and Martin Graham of Shettleston third, and with only three complete teams finishing, Fife AC won the team race.   The Women’s race was won by Lesley Paterson of Victoria Park from Hannah Norman of Pitreavie and Nichola Coates of Cramlington AC with Central AC, whose first runner was sixth, winning the team title.   At Under 15 the first three boys were A Lemoncello (Fife), Kerr Johnstone (FVH) and Colin Henderson (East Kilbride), while Law and District with their first runner in fifteenth won the team race.   The girls race went to Denise Smith of Helensburgh AC with Freya Murray of Lasswade in second and Kym Forbes of Fife in third.   The team race went to Kilbarchan whose first runner was twelfth.   The first three Under 13 Boys were Darren Malin (Nithsdale), Robin McIntosh (CofE) and Scott Fraser of Lasswade; Cambuslang won the team race with their first runner in thirteenth.   In the Girls race, Nicola Stephen of Banchory Stonehaven was first, Lynn Pattison of Gleniffer High School was second and Sharon Lamont of Babcock Pitreavie third.   Team race was won by Giffnock North whose first runner was twelfth.   Where winning teams have not had a runner placed in the first three, the position of their first scoring athlete has been noted and it is instructive to team managers as well as athletes to note how close packing by the requisite number of athletes can win a club medals.

In 1999 the first four were Quinn, Murray, Cavers and Mowbray – the first four from ’98 but not in the same order and in 2000 the finishing order was Quinn, Murray, Glen Stewart and Cavers.   That was three in a row for Bobby Quinn with Cambuslang again winning the team race with Colin Donnelly in eleventh leading the team home.   The new Millenium had started and there would only be three more national championships held at Irvine – 2000, 2001 and 2005.   It was still a good venue, a very good venue, but there was a move for a venue which was situated more centrally in Scotland.   Numbers were starting to fall and even the Magnum Centre was starting to see the numbers of visitors fall and a decision to replace it totally would finally be taken in 2009.   Having seen Bobby win his third successive championship we should note the remaining winners for 2000:

Senior Women Hayley Haining, Angela Mudge and Anne Buckley were the first three; Under 20 Men were led home by G Melvin, Scott Campbell and John McLoone; Under 17 Men had  Derek Watson, Andrew Lemoncello and Mark Docherty leading the field, Under 20 Women were Gillian Palmer, Lesley Patterson and Jane MacCrorie; Under 17 Women Dennise Smith, Freya Murray and Jennifer Main; Under 15 Boys: Darren Malin, Adam  Watt and Guy Thomson were the first three; Under 15 Girls Claire Wilson, Emily Hutchison and Sharon lamont were the top U15 Girls; Stephen Lisgo, Ross Toole and Adrian Holliday were the U13  first three; Helen Popple, Eilidh Child and Jennifer Emsley led the U13 Girls.   The total number of runners on the day was 916 (681 men and 235 women).   Compare this to the fields of approximately (and occcasionally over) 2000, that there had been in the 80’s and early 90’s.

Scottish athletics in the early 21st century was in a state of flux, things were changing in all disciplines – the Edinburgh to Glasgow was on its last legs as far as the new administration was concerned, and with the decline in numbers, the days of the Beach Park in Irvine were numbered.   The last championships would be in 2005.   It had been a good venue and in fact the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club had used it before the SCCU picked up on it.  The SVHC Cross-Country  championships, which took place between 1972 and 1984, before the SCCU took over with a Scottish Veterans championships, included: 1976 Beach Park; 1978 Irvine Moor; 1979 Irvine Moor; 1980, 81, 82 Beach Park. Then, under the SAF, the Scottish Vets Cross-Country took place at Irvine (Royal Academy) in 2008 and 2009.   And the Vets remained loyal to Irvine using Irvine Moor which had long been a venue in Ayrshire and which had been used for the District Championships.   Subsequently the Royal Academy venue was also used for the West District Championships.   The trail did not have the same challenges or history as the Beach Park was concerned and did not last long as a venue.   In 1995 the British Veterans Cross-C champs took place at Beach Park. In 1996, the British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International was held at Beach Park.   

For the SSAA (Scottish Schools Athletics Association) it was a well used venue for some of the biggest numbers of competitors.   It was used annually for what was almost certainly the best organised cross-country meeting in the country.   Beach Park was a well loved venue and part of the reason has to be the facilities added by the Magnum.   When it was finally torn down in 2017/2018 it was a sad day for the sport.   

The Magnum, at the beginning of March, 2018

Who’s Who of Distance Running: McPherson – Myatt

Terry Mitchell, Loch Rannoch Marathon, 1985

Ian McPHERSONVictoria Park –  see Ian Macpherson
1965 880y 1.54.2;   1962 1M 4.20.0

Fraser McPHERSON, Victoria Park – see Fraser Macpherson
In 1959, Fraser was in the VP team which finished third in the Junior National. He ran the E to G in 1961, when VP finished 5th; and in the Senior National, he contributed to team bronze in 1963

Mike McQUAID, Falkirk Victoria Harriers.

Mike was a prolific racer on road and cross-country. He was part of the victorious Falkirk Victoria team in the 1990 Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay, a race he ran frequently, and added silver in 1993. Later on he won medals in the Scottish Masters Cross-Country championships and ran in the British and Irish Masters International Cross-Country.

Bryce McROBERT,  Larkhall YMCA

Bryce was a familiar figure on the Scottish scene for many years in the 1960’s and 70’s.   He ran in many of the summer road races as well as in just about every winter championship and classic race on the calendar.   He trained for a while with the Motherwell YMCA men in the 60’s but never ever left Larkhall YMCA.

David McSHANE Cambuslang
David was an immensely talented young athlete, winning Scottish XC titles at three levels: Junior Boys, Senior Boys and Youths.   After winning the1982 Youths, he ran for Scotland in the World Junior XC Championships. In 1984 he finished third in the Scottish Junior National, leading Cambuslang to team gold, and again ran the World Junior.  In the E to G, he contributed to bronze medals in 1988; in the Scottish XC Relay, gold (1984) and silver (1987); plus gold in the 1986 Six Stage Road Relay; and team gold in the 1989 Senior National. Known principally as a cross-country runner, David was also a good road runner and a member of some very good Cambuslang medal winning teams alongside such as Alex Gilmour and Eddie Stewart.   Alex, Eddie, David and Jim Orr were all Cambuslang runners in the World cross-country championships in 1984.

Brian J. McSLOY (3.12.58) Strathclyde University, Clyde Valley, Elliott

1978: 1500m 3.49.6; 1980: 3000m 8.09.1; 1981: 5000m 14.05.5; 1982: 10,000m 30.10.79.

Brian was a Scottish International Track athlete. He ran the World Cross as a Junior and a Senior. In 1979 he won the Scottish National Junior XC title and led Strathclyde to team gold. For Clyde Valley, Brian contributed to E to G victory in 1979 (when he was fastest on Stage 4), silver in 1981 and bronze in 1983. In the Scottish Cross-Country Relay, there was gold in 1980; in the Six-Stage Road Relay, silver in 1979 and 1980; and in the Senior National Cross-Country, silver in 1980 (when he was 7th) and bronze in 1981. He finished third in the 1982 Scottish 10,000m championship

Duncan McTAVISH, Stretford, Bellahouston
1981 800 1.53.7; 1981 1500 3.51.3.
In 1979, Duncan ran for Scotland in the Junior World Cross-Country championships. In 1980 Bellahouston won bronze medals in the National Junior Cross-Country. He ran the E to G in 1981.

Robert McWATT, Clydesdale
1979 1500 3.57.5 31 1982 Mar 2.31.00 57

Robert was a big man to be a distance runner but was a good track. road and cross-country athlete.   Third in the SAAA Indoor championships in Bell’s arena, member of the SAAA Development Squad, Junior Cross Country international, 2:31 marathon runner and a man who ran from Glasgow to Fort William as an individual run and also as a member of the Clydesdale Harriers relay squad over the whole distance.   Eight men, four stages each.  This last involving Clydesdale Harriers and Lochaber was recorded and is up on youtube at 

The international vest in 1978 was after finishing sixth in the Junior National.   The Scottish age groups were at variance with those employed by the World body and it was possible to be a junior at home but ineligible for international duty.   Two of those in front of Robert were in that category. For Clydesdale, he ran the E to G six times between 1976 and 1982.    Robert also ran the Aberdeen marathon in 2:31:00 in 1983, and also ran from Glasgow to Fort William with Jim and Bobby Shields and George Carlin.

1969 10,000m 32.12.0

Bob ran well in the North District XC League races.

Colin MEEK (4.04.60) Livingston & District, Lothian Runners Club
1995 10,000m 32.26.1

Colin ran fast in the competitive Scottish Six-Stage Relay. In the M40 Scottish Masters Cross-Country championship he finished second in 2001 – and then won a gold medal in 2003. In 2001, he was part of the Scotland M40 team in the British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International, had a good run and contributed to silver medals behind England. He did well in the very last E to G in 2002. In 2012 he was President of Lothian Runners.

George F. MEIKLE (1939- ) Teviotdale
1962 6M 31.32.2 

George was a good runner with Teviotdale and stayed with the club for hies entire running career.  Starting out as a Junior in 1960 in the team which finished second to St Andrews with the other runners being Mather, Harley and Roden; then in 1961 he was in the team that finished first, with RK Harley, P Roden and D Riddell,  from Glasgow U in second and Edinburgh U in third.   These were the only national team medals he would receive.   His first run in the Edinburgh to Glasgow was in 1959 – and the team won the medals for the most meritorious unplaced performance with George on the fourth stage handing over to John Hamilton who would become the Scottish international team manager.   He was to run stages 4, 2, 6, 6, 5, 7, 2, 2, 6, 2, 2, 6 (1980), 6 with his string of appearances curtailed by the fact that Teviotdale were not in the race. In all, he ran the E to G an impressive 13 successive times (1959-1971). In 1959 they were 6th and won the ‘most improved’ medals.  The number of runners of ability who had left the club for neighbours in Edinburgh had taken a club regularly in the top seven or eight down to twentieth in 1981.   George is well known for his association with the Eildons Two Hills race at Melrose – a race which he has won many times, and which he has played a large part in organising..

Leslie MENEELY, Shettleston

1964 6M 31.52.4; 1967 10M 52.21.0
Les was an invaluable member of Shettleston’s very successful teams, contributing to 1970 team bronze in the Senior National Cross-Country; and running the E to G 12 times, including: gold in 1968 (when he was fastest on Stage 7), 1970, 1971 and 1972; and silver in 1967 and 1969.   A very quiet, unassuming runner, Les turned up, did his work efficiently and without fuss,  and as a result maybe gets less credit than he is due.

George MEREDITH (14.11.48) Victoria Park

1969 10,000m 31.52.0; 1982 Half-Marathon 66.48; 1982 Mar 2.27.31.
George was a tough runner who matured very well as a veteran. In his youth, he ran the E to G four times, winning three medals: silver in 1978 and bronze in 1970 and 1980. He won the Scottish Veterans M40 cross-country title in 1990. For several years he ran consistently well for Scotland in the annual British and Irish Five Nations Masters International XC. In addition, George secured a silver medal in the 1990 British Veterans 10 miles road race. Once a knee injury stopped him racing, he turned to indoor rowing and won British age-group titles and World championship medals.

William MESSER, Edinburgh Northern Harriers
William was a Scottish International track athlete, who in the Scottish 880 yards championships, won silver in 1951 and bronze in 1983.

Duncan MIDDLETON, Springburn  – see full profile
1967 440y 49.9; 1967 880y 1.48.6; 1967 1M 4.12.7
Duncan won the AAA Indoor 880 yards title in 1967 and added bronze in 1968. He became Scottish Champion in 1967 and that season set new Scottish Native and National records at the distance.

Gary MILLAR (10.05.61) Clydesdale Harriers,  St Columba’s School, Clydebank
1980m 800m 1.50.6; 1981 1500m 3.48.84; 1981 1M 4.07.30
Gary was a popular and very talented young athlete who could have tackled any event with success.   A good track runner, was a Scottish International athlete over One Mile. As a Youth he ran in the SAAA championships as was, many of thought rather harshly, disqualified from third place for barging – on the first bend of an 800m not in lanes! He won a silver medal in the 1980 Scottish 800m championships.  He also won the British Catholic Schools 1500m and then European Catholic Schools 1500m in Spain.   As a cross country runner he won the SCCU Under 13 title in the colours of St Columba’s HS in 1974/75, was second in the Under 17’s in the Clydesdale Harriers vest in 1978/79 and having finished 8th in the 1980 Scottish Junior National Cross-Country, he ran for Scotland in the World Junior Cross.   

Graham MILLAR, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh AC
1976 3000m Steeplechase 9.31.6
In the 1975 Junior National XC, EU won team bronze medals. Graham ran the E to G in 1973 and 1974.

Tony MILLARD, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AAC
1974 Mar 2.27.30; 1974 3000m Steeplechase 9.41.7
Tony was a hard-racing, very sociable runner who was a talented miler at Kelvinside Academy. When he went to AU in September 1971, he met Don Ritchie and ran many weekly training miles. Tony represented Scottish Universities frequently at cross-country and finished a very good 19th in the 1974 British Universities XC championship. Then, aged 21, he ran well to be 7th in the Scottish Marathon. He ran the E to G in 1974. After graduating in 1975, Tony worked for VSO in Fiji and spent five years there. He became a Fijian International athlete and, despite heat and humidity, in 1980 won the Meda-Reki Marathon. For many years, Tony coached young runners, many from Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle School.

William MILLER, Caithness AAC
1987 10,000m 31.05.94
For some years, he was a successful distance runner in the North of Scotland, winning the North District cross-country title in 1984.

RR ‘Bobby’ MILLS.  GUAC , Dumbarton AAC

A top class decathlete at Glasgow University he won medals at national level for both decathlon and 440y hurdles as well as at District and County championships.  He competed for his club in all kinds of inter-club competitions and at one time was one of four sub-two 880y men in the club (Mills, Jack Brown, Colin Martin and Jack Baird).   He became a good cross-country runner running all the major races and ran in several Edinburgh to Glasgow relays.

Graham E. MILNE (9.11.47) Springburn, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AAC, Moray Roadrunners
1975 5000m 14.32.5; 1982 10,000m 30.54.4; 1983 Marathon 2.21.27
Graham was a dedicated, tenacious, influential runner who enjoyed a long successful career. In 1981 he ran for Scotland (against England and Wales) in the Aberdeen Marathon. In 1982 he was part of the ten-man Aberdeen AAC team which smashed the record for the John o’Groats to Land’s End relay. In the E to G, he contributed to Aberdeen’s first-ever victory in 1983, as well as one silver and three bronze medals. Graham loved the E to G and ran it many times for Aberdeen, Forres Harriers (1978) and the North District Select (1986-1993). In the Scottish XC relay he secured two silver medals; and bronze in the Six-Stage Relay. In the Senior National XC he added four more team bronze medals. As a veteran he won the Alloa to Bishopbriggs 8-Man Relay; several age-group cross-country championship medals; and ran often in the British and Irish Masters XC International.

James MILNE (4.05.34) Edinburgh AC
1972 Mar 2.25.49
Jimmy won a silver medal in the 1973 E to G; and team bronze in the 1971 Senior National XC. After finishing second in the 45 miles Edinburgh to Glasgow ultra-marathon in 1970, he was victorious in 1972. The 1972 Two Bridges 36 mile ultra was a triumph for EAC, with Alex and Jim Wight and Jimmy Milne (who finished 9th) combining to win the team award in front of the perennial favourites, Tipton Harriers from England.

K MILNE, Edinburgh AC

He was 18th in the 1974 Scottish Senior National, when EAC won the team title. 

George MITCHELL see full profile

Gordon MITCHELL (15.11.63) Falkirk Victoria Harriers
1983 3000m 8.20.07; 1984 5000m 14.18.37
Gordon finished second in the 1982 Scottish Junior National XC and ran for Scotland in the World Junior Cross, in which he was a team counter. He ran the E to G six times, being fastest on Stage 4 in 1984 and winning team gold in 1984 and bronze in 1985. In the Six Stage Road Relay, he added silver in 1982; and in the Senior National Cross-Country, team bronze in 1984.

Hugh MITCHELL (22.10.38) Shettleston Harriers
1964 6M 31.42.4; 1967 Mar 2.26.11

Hugh  came to running, like many of his generation, from cycling.    The club’s centenary history says that he joined the club at the age of 28 to get fit while recovering from an injury sustained while cycling.  Hugh’s talent for distance running would soon become apparent, though as he said himself’ he always got left in the sprint at the finish.   On the other hand he  also said that distance didn’t bother him, he forgot about time when he was running.   He ran in road and cross country races including the E-G and the National but it was when he finished second to Alastair Wood in the SAAA marathon in 1964 that he started to get recognition at national level.   He was runner-up again in 1969, this time to Bill Stoddart, in 2:31:20.   He ran a high weekly mileage, often as much as 200 miles in a week, and this set him up for ultras such as the Two Bridges, the Edinburgh to Glasgow 44 and the Liverpool to Blackpool 48.   He finished fourth twice in the London to Brighton.     After his first ultra, the Isle of Man 40, in which he finished second, 34 seconds behind John Tarrant, the Ghost Runner. Four years later, Hugh returned to the island to win the race in 4 hrs 12 mins 07 secs.   He ran the 44 mile race from Edinburgh to Glasgow  six times setting a new record in 1968 of 4 hrs 39 mins 55 secs.  His ultra running ability was famous as was his weekly training load.      His marathon pb was 2:26:11 and he was ranked in the marathon every year from 1963 to 1967, with one exception.   He also ran a Six Miles in 31: 42.4. As a veteran he was second in the inaugural SVHC XC in 1971, when Shettleston won the team title; and second in the first official Scottish Veterans XC in 1972. In 1979 he won the Scottish M50 title. 

Innis MITCHELL (2.02.48), Strathclyde University, Aberdeen AAC, Glasgow University, Victoria Park, Inverness Harriers
1974 5000m 14.58.4; 1971 10,000m 31.07.0; 1968 10M Track 53.58.5; 1971 Marathon 2.42.42.
Innis, a determined, sociable, charismatic man, was Scottish Schoolboys XC champion in 1966. In the E to G, he ran for four clubs – Aberdeen AAC, Strathclyde University, Victoria Park and Glasgow University – a total of 11 races. He was awarded full blues for XC at both Strathclyde and GU and ran regularly for Scottish Universities – as well as finishing second in the 1975 Scottish Universities XC championships. In 1973 he ran in the Aberdeen team which broke the record for the John o’Groats to Land’s End 10-Man Relay. When he moved north and competed for Inverness Harriers, he did well in hill races, North District XC Championships and League contests, over infamously challenging courses. After succeeding in Eventing (with horses) he took up time-trial road cycling.

Robert MITCHELL, Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AAC
1981 1500 3.53.3
Robert ran well in a number of Scottish championship races: with AU, winning team bronze in the 1979 Junior National XC; for AAAC, securing 8th place and the ‘most improved’ medals in the 1979 E to G; and adding team bronze in the 1981 Six-Stage Road Relay.

John Myatt to Innis Mitchell

Terry MITCHELL (23.08.59) Fife AC – see full profile
1987 5000m 14.19.97; 1989 10,000m 29.50.2; 1992 Marathon 2.17.56
Terry had a marvellous running career, winning the Scottish Marathon in 1987 and 1991 (plus another two silver medals and one bronze in the same championship); being Scottish 50 km champion four times; and running for Scotland on Track, Road and in the World Cross.

Ian MONCUR (3.01.53) Forres Harriers, Clyde Valley AC
1982 Mar 2.22.09

Ian was a great friend of Jim Brown   They came through school and club together (Bellshill Academy and Bellshill YMCA) but Ian did not join Monkland H when Jim did, remaining with Bellshill.   He went to Stirling University. Afterwards went into teaching and moved around the country:  Tobermory for a while, then up north to Forres and won the 1982 North District XC title. For Clyde Valley, he contributed to silver medals in the 1981 E to G. Then he headed for the Dundee area where he ran for Dundee Hawkhill for a bit. He ran for Clyde Valley in three E-G’s., and was also in team which finished second in the National Cross Country in 1980.


Joe Small, Ian Moncur and Neil Agnew

John MOODIE (3.05.70) Pitreavie
1988 2000S 6.07.08; 1988 3000S 9.27.3

A MOODY, Teviotdale Harriers
In the 1962 Scottish Junior National XC, Teviotdale won team bronze medals; and he went on to run for Scotland in the International Junior XC Championships. He ran the E to G in 1961, when his team finished 6th.

James MOORE, Shettleston Harriers

In the 1954 Senior National XC, he finished 25th and Shetteston won the title.

John MOORE (31.12.43) Victoria Park
1981 Mar 2.32.56

John came into running from football and, living in the Milngavie area, did a lot of running with the Allander Auld Runners.

William J MORE   Glasgow University, Kilmarnock Harriers

Willie More was a highly respected runner whether it was on the country, track or roads during the 1950’s and 60’s.   Best known as a track runner over all middle distances who was quite quick over the One Mile distance, the tall More was a natural steeplechaser.   He had many invitations t top class races such as the attempt on the Scottish One Mile record at Carluke by Graham Stark in 1959.   It was a short limit handicap with Stark from scratch and More off 15 yards.  The record was not beaten that day but it was a good run by More.   He won many an open handicap at meetings all over Scotland including the bigger ones such as the Rangers Sports.   Cross-country, his first run in the junior national was in 1954,  and although he ran well enough on the surface,  his best race over the country was in 1957/58 when he  won the South Western District championship.   

Patrick MORRIS (7.11.66) Cambuslang
1986 3000S 9.19.68

Pat was a very good runner who progressed through the age groups with Cambuslang.   As a Junior Boy in 1980 he was eleventh in the National, in ’82 as a senior boy he was eighth, and in his first year as a Junior Man he was second.   The following year ( 1985) he was seventh.   As an ‘International Junior’ he could have been selected for the International.  The Scottish Junior age group had a different qualification date from the ICCU one and he was within the ICCU guidelines.   He was not selected and there were protests and petitions, etc but Pat was not selected until one of the chosen had withdrawn thorough injury.  On the roads,  he won a silver medal with Cambuslang in the 1984 E to G.  

Pat then went on an athletics scholarship to Alabama University and ran well there before moving to Birmingham, Alabama.   He stayed there and has not returned.   His sister Sharon was also a good class athlete and his father wa also a member of Cambuslang.

Robin Morris

Robin L. MORRIS, Octavians, Edinburgh AC
1975 3000S 9.20.8; 1978 Marathon 2.39.23
Robin was dedicated to EAC; and to Scottish Hill Runners. With EAC he won team gold medals in the Senior National XC in 1973 and 1978, plus silver in 1979. He ran the E to G in 1972 and 1974 (4th). Robin was one of the founders of the SHR (or the Scottish Hill Runners Association as it was named originally) in 1983 and the first Secretary. He also won the first Scottish Hill Running Champion in that year. He was the organiser of many races over the years, including Glamaig, Tinto, Pentland Skyline and Chapelgill and was one of the instigators of the Carnethy 5 race.

Brian MORRISON, Irvine YM
1969 3000S 9.24.0
Brian finished third in the 1969 Scottish Junior National XC and ran very well for Scotland in the International Junior XC Championships, finishing 19th.

David MORRISON, Shettleston Harriers

David joined Shettleston Harriers in 1933 and was a lifelong supporter of the club and all its activities.  

Henry MORRISON, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, Edinburgh AC
1972 Mar 2.35.00
Henry was a decent marathon runner who did well as a veteran athlete. He ran for Scotland versus England and Wales in the very first annual British and Irish Masters XC International in 1988; and won the M50 Scottish Veterans XC title in 1994. In the British and Irish, Henry contributed to team gold medals: M55 in 1994; M60 in 1995; and M65 in 1999.  He won medals before the War as a runner and contemporary of such as Jim Flockhart. As a veteran he set world records in no fewer than six events. In between times he became a field events expert and coach and also officiated all meetings in all capacities.  

James MORRISON, Aberdeen AAC (born 1938)
1982 Mar 2.39.06
Jim took up running late but was always enthusiastic and friendly. He was part of the Aberdeen team which finished second in the 1981 Scottish Masters XC championship. In 1988 he won a silver medal in the M50 age group of at Clydebank; and later that year ran for Scotland (versus England and Wales) in the very first annual Masters International XC. He thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Aberdeen success in the Veterans Alloa to Bishopbriggs 8-Man Relay in 1990 (bronze) and 1991 (gold).

Lachie Stewart in front of Norman Morrison at Cowal Highland Hatering

Norman S. MORRISON (13.03.49) Shettleston, University of London, Croydon – see full profile
Norman was a Scottish International runner: on the track; as a Junior in the 1967 and 1968 International XC championships; and as a Senior in the 1973 World Cross. He achieved tremendous success with Shettleston Harriers.

Ronald MORRISON, (15.04.46) Strathclyde University, St. Andrews University, Shettleston, Fife AC – see full profile
1964 PV 3.05 17 1965 PV 3.05 21 1966 PV 3.12 17 1970 3000S 10.02.4 25 1971 3000S 10.03.2 24 1972 400H 59.4 21 1972 3000S 9.54.8 28 1972 PV 2.74 30 1973 400H 60.3 26 1973 PV 2.90 21 1974 PV 3.00 23 1975 PV 2.90 22 1976 PV 3.00 24 1977 HT 30.88 19
Ronnie is a clever, determined, sociable man who has done a lot for the sport: as a competitor, organiser, official and the driving force behind the invaluable internet archive of the Scottish Road Running Commission. 

William B. MORRISON, Larkhall YMCA, Sheffield University
1961 440y 50.7; 1961 880y 1.52.2; 1961 1M 4.17.8
William was a Scottish International athlete at 880 yards. He won the Scottish title in 1960 and added bronze medals in 1961 and 1962.

George MORTIMER, Kirkcaldy YMCA, Edinburgh Eastern Harriers, Edinburgh AC

 George started his athletic career with Kirkcaldy YMCA for whom he ran in all the major championships although he seemed to prefer the road surfaces.   He ran in 5 Edinburgh to Glasgow races for them and one for Edinburgh Eastern Harriers, without ever dropping a place.   Kenny’s Dad.

Kenneth R. MORTIMER (10.08.60) Edinburgh University, Edinburgh AC
1985 800m 1.52.8; 1984 1500m 3.47.95; 1984 One Mile 4.04.3; 1992 3000m 8.16.68; 1986 3000m Steeplechase 9.16.03; 1986 5000m 14.33.47
Kenny was a versatile, friendly runner who ran for Scotland on the track at 1500m. He won the Scottish Indoor 1500m title in 1987; was third in the Outdoor 1500m in 1984; and added bronze medals in the Indoor 3000m in 1990 and 1992. For EU, he contributed to team bronze in the 1979 Junior National XC; and silver in 1981. In the E to G, he ran for EU in 1981, and with EAC in 1982 won a silver medal – he was fastest on Stage 4. He competed every year from 1983-1987, when his team finished second again. In the Scottish Six-Stage Relay, he added two more silver medals in 1983 and 1988. He ran well as a Veteran and then took up Triathlon.

Bruce MORTON, Falkirk Victoria Harriers

He ran several E to G relays for FVH, and gained a well-deserved bronze medal in 1976.

Alastair G. MOWAT, Edinburgh University
1959 440y 51.9; 1961 880y 1.55.3
Alastair ran the E to G in 1958, 1959 and 1961.


Jim MORTON, Springburn Harriers – see full profile
Jim was a good runner who later became a well-respected athletics official. He won bronze medals in the Scottish track championships – at 3 Miles (1948) and 6 Miles (1950). In the Senior National, Springburn won team silver in 1951 (when Jim finished 8th) and bronze in 1952 and 1953. He ran the E to G in 1949, 1950 and 1951 (when his team finished third). He was President of the SCCU in 1963-1964; and a fine, popular, efficient Manager for many Scottish International XC Teams.

Patrick MOY, Vale of Leven 
Pat ran for Scotland in the International Cross-Country Championships in 1956, 1957 and 1958. Between 1955 and 1962, he ran 8 successive E to G road relays. In 1955 he was fastest on Stage Two and Vale won the ‘most meritorious unplaced performance’ medals. Pat won a silver medal in the 1956 Scottish 6 Miles track championship. He won the Ben Nevis Race in 1956, breaking the record. In 1955, “Glasgow and District B” – Joe Timmins 5th, Pat Moy 7th and Stan Horn 8th – won the Ben Nevis team trophy.

Henry won M50 bronze in the 1989 Scottish Masters XC championship. He founded Haddington and East Lothian Pacemakers and was a fine organiser and journalist whose column in ‘Scotland’s Runner’ magazine helped greatly to publicise Veteran Athletics. For many years, HELP raised a great amount of money for charitable causes. Henry ran the Dundee Marathon in 2.39; won the 1991 M50 title in the Scottish Veterans 10,000m; and was a coach to many athletes, young and older. He was Secretary and Chairman for the SVHC.


Nathaniel MUIR, Shettleston see full profile

A MULHOLLAND, Victoria Park
1981 Mar 2.37.43

William A. MULLETT (13.11.47) Brighton & Hove, Shettleston, Bellahouston – see full profile
Bill was a Scottish International Steeplechaser and also competed in the International Cross-Country Championships.

Clark MURPHY (12.05.69) Pitreavie
1987 800m 1.53.30; 1988 1500m 3.53.2; 1987 3000m 8.17.6 8; 1987 5000 14.39.19
In 1988, Clark won the East District Junior XC title and led Pitreavie to team gold medals. Then he won the Scottish Junior National XC championship and later was selected to run for Great Britain in the World Junior Cross in New Zealand. In 1989 he retained his Scottish Junior National Cross-Country title.   Clark was the first Scotsman to run for Great Britain in the World Cross-Country Championship after the Scottish team was dropped from the competition.

Alan MURRAY (2.05.67) Kilmarnock Harriers
1993 400m 48.1;1989 800m 1.48.63; 1992 1500m 3.50.38
Alan was a Scottish International athlete at 800m and 1500m. He won medals in Scottish Championships: outdoor silver in the 1989 800m, bronze in the 1995 400m; indoor silver in the 1988 400m and the 1988 800m.

Brian MURRAY (30.09.67) Edinburgh Southern
1992 400 49.61; 1992 800 1.50.1;1991 1500 3.54.1
Brian was a very good athlete who worked his way up through the age groups winning medals at SAAA and SSAA age group championships and went on to become a Scottish International track athlete at 800m. He won an outdoor silver medal in the 1993 Scottish 800m championships; and indoor bronze in the 1993 800m. In 1991 he ran the E to G.

Callum MURRAY (22.11.60) RAF, Cambuslang, Hillingdon
1982 3000m 8.18.9; 1982 5000m 14.13.12; 1987 10,000m 29.49.57; 1989 Mar 2.30.29
An RAF man Callum travelled the length and breadth of the country during his service career.   This accounts for what might be seen as a rather ideosyncratic racing pattern.  Callum won two bronze medals in Scottish Athletics Championships: 1983 5000m and 1987 10,000m. In the E to G, he contributed to team silver in 1986 and gold in 1987.

Ewan MURRAY (Garscube Harriers)

Ewan was a good club runner as a young athlete (he won team medals as a cross-country age group runner) and raced for the club in track (mainly 800m), road and cross-country events.   He is much better known however as a long serving secretary of the SAAA who became President of the SAAA and was Scottish representative at the AAA committee for a spell.

A Fergus MURRAY (11.09.42) Dundee Hawkhill, Edinburgh Univ, Edinburgh Southern – see full profile

Michael MURRAY (23.08.58) Aberdeen AAC
1984 800m 1.52.4; 1984 1500m 3.50.58; 1989 10,000m 31.11.4.
Mike was not only a fine track athlete but also an invaluable runner who contributed a great deal to team successes in road relays. He ran the E to G eleven times, contributing to gold medals in 1983 and 1986, and four bronze medals too. In the Scottish Six Stage Road Relay he added bronze medals in 1981 and 1989; and silver much later (for Metro Aberdeen RC) in the 1999 Scottish Veterans Six-Stager. Perhaps his most surprising feat was enduring the 1982 John o’Groats to Land’s End 10-Man Relay, when AAAC smashed the record.

Glasgow University team at the Isle of Man:

Doug Macdonald, Alastair Douglas, Ian Archibald and Raph Murray

Raphael MURRAY (21.01.54) Aberdeen University, Glasgow University, Aberdeen AAC
1980 3000m Steeplechase 9.24.18; 1980 Marathon 2.28.25.
Married to Barbara Harvie. Father of Callum, Declan and Seonaid Murray.
Raph was a cheerful, sociable runner who ran the E to G for GU three times; and won a bronze medal with AAAC in the 1981 Scottish Six Stage Road Relay. He secured a Scottish Veteran track title in the Indoor championships in the Kelvin Hall.

Steven MURRAY (27.04.69) Kilmarnock
1989 800 1.52.03

Steven was the brother of Alan

Thomas MURRAY (18.05.61) Greenock Glenpark, Cambuslang, Spango Valley, Inverclyde – see full profile
Tommy was a Scottish International athlete on the track, on the hills and in the World Cross. 

William J. MURRAY (14.07.40) Greenock Glenpark, Edinburgh Southern, Anglo Scottish
1963 2M 9.30.0; 1969 3M 14.11.2; 1967 6M 29.43.0x; 1967 10M 50.39.0; 1964 3000S 9.41.6; 1965 Mar 2.30.20.
Bill won three medals in Scottish Athletics track championships: silver in the 1962 3 Miles; and bronze in the Track 10 Miles in 1965 and 1967. Between 1959 and 1968, he ran the E to G 9 times for Greenock Glenpark Harriers. In 1969 he was in the ESH team which won the E to G.

Jonathan MUSGRAVE, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh AC, Aberdeen AAC
1982 Mar 2.35.24
Jon was a tall, powerful runner who did well on the hills (for example winning the Braemar hill race and setting a record for the Great Wilderness Challenge 25 miles race); and in the E to G, which he ran four times for AAAC, between 1990 and 1994. However, he was best as a GB International Orienteer. His finest achievement was winning a rare British silver medal in the 1993 World Orienteering Championships in the USA. Jon was British Orienteering Champion four times and also won the 1997 World Masters title. Now he coaches the British squad and organises ‘Running the Highlands’ – see the website.

John K. MYATT Strathclyde University, Law & District, Wirral – see full profile
1967 1M 4.12.1; 1970 5000m 14.39.4; 1970 10,000m 30.54.0; 1968 10M 50.23.0; 1971 Mar 2.21.57
John was a tall, slim, strong, well-respected runner who had a real talent for cross-country – he represented Scotland in the Junior and Senior International XC championships.

Peter McGregor

Peter McGregor as a runner improved dramatically during the time I knew him – neither I nor I suspect any others realised for some time just how good he made himself.    He always gives credit to his clubmates at Victoria Park and to Ronnie Kane in particular for assistance that helped him on his way.   To see how good he made himself, read the article below by Jimmy Christie.

So how is that for a story?   It’s the kind of thing that should be more inspirational and maybe if more people knew the Peter McGregor story they would try a wee bit harder themselves and Scottish Athletics would be in a better state!

Who’s Who of Distance Running: McAlinden – McParland

Charlie McAlinden (138), Pat McAtier (52), Brian McAusland (2nd right in group)

Charles McAlinden (Babcock & Wilcox, Paisley Harriers) – see full profile

Mile: 4:20.3   1959;  Marathon:  2:25:45   1965.

1st SAAA marathon  1966, 3rd SAAA Marathon 1964 and ’65.

Charlie started out as a track runner running well over 880y and the Mile, going round the Highland Games, Sports Meetings, etc, and running in championships, before moving up a distance or three and finding his athletic niche as a marathon runner.

E McALLISTER (Shettleston Harriers)
In the unofficial 1946 Scottish XC championship, Shettleston won the team title, with four runners in the top ten. Consequently, McAllister ran for Scotland in the International XC Championships on Ayr Racecourse.

Ronald M. McALLISTER (Edinburgh Southern Harriers, Birchfield Harriers)
1960 1M 4.14.4; 1960 2M 9.16.0; 1962 3M 14.34.0.
Ronald was 19th and third counter in the ESH team which won bronze medals in the 1957 Senior National XC championships. He ran the E to G four times, gaining team silver medals in 1961 and 1962 (when he ran the fastest time on Stage 8).

Alistair McANGUS, (Bellahouston Harriers, Kilbarchan AAC)

Alistair was in Bellahouston teams that: won the 1985 Scottish 6 Stage Road Relay; and secured silver medals in the 1983 E to G and the 1984 Scottish XC Relay (plus bronze in 1985).

Pat McATIER  (Paisley Harriers)

Pat was a a member of Paisley Harriers who represented them in all the cross-country championships and in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay in winter.   He was also a good road runner who ran all over the country as a member of the Scottish Marathon Club, travelling in Jimmy Scott’s van to Dundee, Strathallan, etc as well as in  local road races such as the Dirrans 13 pictured above. In the 1963 season-long SMC championship, he finished third; and later became Captain and then an important committee member.

Charles McAULEY (Aberdeen University, Aberdeen AAC)
1973 Mar 2.23.00.
Charlie was fifth in two National Marathon championships: the Scottish in 1971; and the Australian in 1973. Before he emigrated, he was known as a hard-training, tough, cheerful guy who loved demanding cross-country courses. He ran XC for Scottish Universities and featured in several AU team successes in North of Scotland road races (as well as third place in the 1971 Welsh classic Nos Galan). In the E to G, AU’s best ever position was a respectable 9th in 1970.

Duncan McAULEY (Cambuslang Harriers)
1979 800 1.54.9.
In 1980, Duncan was part of the Cambuslang team that won bronze medals in the Senior National XC championships. He ran the E to G in 1979, when they finished fifth.

Brian  McAUSLAND (2.12.37) Clydesdale Harriers – see full profile
1969 6M 31.36.0; 1975 Mar 2.39.13.

Started running when doing National Service between 1956 and 1958 and started running for Clydesdale Harriers on demob in October 1958.   Ran in all the usual races (including 20 consecutive E-G’s.   Other pb’s include Mile in 4:24, Three Miles in 14:45 and 16+ miles Clydebank to Helensburgh 1:28  (Best C-H result was fourth in 1969).   Described by Allan Faulds as a good, reliable club runner’. 

Paul McAVOY, Lochaber AC, Cambuslang Harriers

Paul was a member of Lochaber AC where his father Eugene had been a long-time member and hill runner.   Paul joined Cambuslang Harriers and was in teams that won gold medals in the 1987 Junior National Cross-Country; and the 1987 Edinburgh to Glasgow relay.

Alan McBETH (1.02.71) East Kilbride
1989 800 1.52.96; 1993 1500 3.53.09

Alan was a very promising young runner, coached by John Radigan, who had an excellent group including Graeme Croll,and after John left to the area for business reasons, Alan went to Alex Naylor but didn’t stay in the sport for much longer. 

William McBRINN (30.07.1930 – 22.09.2013) (Monkland, Shettleston, Scottish Veteran Harriers Club  – see full profile
1961 Mar 2.37.32; 1981 Mar 2.39.20; 1982 Mar 2.33.19.
Bill was an irrepressible, tough, genial man who won a silver medal in the 1961 Scottish Marathon championship; and much later set British M55 and M60 age-group records for that challenging distance.

D McCABE (Spango Valley AAC)

He won two team bronze medals for Spango in the Scottish 6 Stage Road Relay (1985 and 1986). He ran the E to G in 1980 and 1982, when his team finished 9th. 

Bill McBrinn

Ian J. McCAFFERTY (24.11.44) Motherwell YMCA, Law & District – see full profile

Tony McCALL (Garscube Harriers, Clydebank AAC, Dumbarton AAC)
1977 Mar 2.42.01; 1982 Mar 2.37.54

Tony was a good club runner taking part in everything that everybody else did while a member of Garscube.   He  transferred to Clydebank AC and encouraged his son to run with Shettleston Harriers.   This had the side benefit of letting Tony train with Bill Scally’s group.   He learned a lot and his running improved dramatically.    He later joined Dumbarton AAC and competed as a veteran, becoming a prominent member of the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club, winning individual bronze in the 1983 M40 Scottish Masters XC, plus team silver that year, 1984 and 1985. Tony ran for Scotland in the very first Masters Cross-Country International versus England and Wales in 1988 .

Gerry McCANN (5.06.68) Bellahouston Harriers, Glasgow University, Edinburgh AC
800m: 1.54.25 (1990); 1500m: 3.51.43 (1990); One Mile: 4.10.0 (1990); 3000m Steeplechase 9.23.0 (1990)

 Gerry was a very good athlete as a youth and junior with Bellahouston running mainly on the track but he was a good road and cross-country runner too,  For instance ran the E to G for Bellahouston in 1989 and 1990.  Like others of his generation – Bobby Quinn and Alastair Douglas for instance, he opted to run for the University rather than his club when he was a student.   The result was that Glasgow University became very powerful indeed and won the Scottish Universities cross-country championships eight times in a row.

Anthony McCARTNEY, Cambuslang Harriers

Tony was part of the Cambuslang team that achieved E to G victory for the first time in 1987.

Kenneth McCARTNEY (25.03.58) Law & District
1978 800 1.52.2; 1978 1500 3.47.7; 1975 5000m 14.37.0.
Kenny ran on all surfaces – look at the best times above and the 5000m time for a 17 year old is still pretty good.  Kenny ran for Scotland in the 1975 World Junior Cross-Country championships.

Walter McCASKEY Edinburgh AC – see full profile

Patrick McCAVANNA, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers
He contributed to silver medals in the 1990 E to G and the 1991 Six Stage Road Relay; and gold in the 1991 Scottish XC Relay.

Peter McCOLGAN [NI] (20.02.63) Dundee Hawkhill Harriers  – see full profile
800m 1.52.8 (1989); 1500m 3.46.8 (1991); One Mile 4.05.6 (1995); 3000m Steeplechase 8.27.93 (1991); 5000m 13.48.86 (1990).

Willie McColl  Glasgow University, Bellahouston Harriers

Willie was a good age group runner – I think he was second in the SAAA Senior Boys 1500m, and then while at University had a spell as the Hares & Hounds club captain…

Thomas McCOOK (1946-2016) Inverness, Aberdeen, Birchfield Harriers
1968 1M 4.19.8
Tom started running well in Inverness. With Aberdeen AAC, he won a bronze medal in the 1973 Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay. However, it was his enthusiastic dedication to Birchfield Harriers that contributed to so many top-level successes. He was the club’s long-term President and an enormously popular man.

John McCORMACK Springburn Harriers

John McCormack was a coal miner who was as tough as a runner as he had to be in his day job.   There were many times when he was working in the mine in the morning and racing in the afternoon.   In 1956 he finished eighth in the  Senior National XC and consequently ran for Scotland in the International XC championships. In the E to G between 1955 (when Springburn finished third) and 1960, he competed six times in succession, usually on the classy second or sixth Stages.

Roy McCRONE Bellahouston Harriers, Glasgow University
1973 800m 1.53.7; 1974 1500m 3.53.0; 1975 5000m 14.35.5; 1982 Mar 2.34.46.
Roy ran the E to G for GU twice and Bellahouston five; and 1993 when they improved to fourth.

Alan McDONALD Garscube Harriers
1972 400 50.3; 1972 800 1.53.5
Alan finished second in the 1973 Scottish Indoor 600m championship.

Alex McDONALD, Auchmountain Harriers (Greenock).

A.K. McDonald was an important figure in Scottish Athletics before and after the Second World War. He was South-Western District Cross-Country Champion in 1935 and his team also won. In 1946 Alex secured a bronze medal in the Scottish Ten Miles Track championship. Alex was a founder member of the Scottish Marathon Club in 1944. He was also an important official and became President of the SCCU in 1960-1961. 

Alex McDONALD (Edinburgh)

1982:  3000m S/chase  9:58.7

Douglas MacDONALD  (Maryhill Harriers, Clydesdale Harriers, Glasgow University)

Douglas was a good runner in all endurance events whether road, track or country – he even took part in the old Glasgow to Fort William Relay (8 runners, 4 stages apiece).   He ran in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay as well as all the winter championships.   He was part of the ‘Eight in a Row’ GU H&H team.

Douglas McDONALD (Edinburgh Southern Harriers)

1978:  3000m S/chase  8:57.9

John McDONALD  (Shettleston)

Marathon:  2:39:14   1967

John McDONALD (Lewisvale Spartans)

Marathon:  2:29:43   1971

Scott McDONALD (or MacDonald) (Swindon)

 10,000m  30:06.5   1986; Marathon 2.22.01

In 1985, he ran well for Scotland in the Edinburgh Waverley Market Marathon, finishing second behind his team-mate Mike Carroll – and Scotland won the team race, defeating Wales, Eire and England.

William McDONALD  (East Kilbride)

3000m  9:59.6   1977

Alex McDOUGALL, Vale of Leven AC
In 1957, Alex finished 9th in the Senior National XC, and consequently ran for Scotland in the International XC Championships, where he was a team counter in 53rd position. However, his favourite surface seemed to be the road. In the E to G (where he was usually given the longest Stage Six), he ran 6 times between 1955 (when Vale was 5th and won the ‘most improved’ awards) and 1961. Their best position was fourth in 1956. In the 1958 Scottish Marathon championship, Alex finished second in 2.32.35. He ran for Scotland in the Cardiff Commonwealth Games Marathon, which held in unbearably hot conditions, and was the only Scot to reach the finish, running for a fine 7th place.

Charles McDOUGALL (East Kilbride)

Marathon: 2:22:06  1983

Charlie was a good runner with East Kilbride for most of the 1980’s running five E-G relays on stages  2, 4, 6 and 5 before moving to Calderglen, the new club in East Kilbride fo whom he ran in the E-G in 1989.   Charlie went on to have an excellent career as a veteran.   His best race may have been in 1991 when he was third in the SAAA marathon championship.

Alan McDOWALL (Ayr Seaforth)

3000m S/chase:  9:54.6   1971

Hugh McERLEAN   (Vale of Leven)

Marathon:  3:10:00   1968

Hugh McErlean was a very hard man in any race.   He never ever gave up and that led to medals in many races, particularly in the Dunbartonshire County Championships on the track and over the country.   Among his triumphs was winning the Balloch to Clydebank when it was a 12 mile road race.   Hugh is remembered by many as the only man to run two consecutive stages of the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay in the same race.   His team mate at the end of the fourth stage did not turn up and nobody stopped Hughie who just kept running and completed the next stage.

Pat McERLEAN  (Spango Valley AAC, Aberdeen AAC)

Marathon:  2:23:40   1985

Pat was a quiet, friendly man who trained extremely hard – often with Colin Youngson. In the E to G, Spango finished 7th in 1981, securing the ‘most improved’ medals; then Pat ran for Aberdeen in the 1984 E to G, when they finished fifth; and 1985 (6th). He also completed several marathons.

Duncan McFADYEN  (Greenock Glenpark)

5000m:  14:43.27  1991; 10000m:  29:33.4   1989

Duncan was a good all round distance runner who represented Glenpark in everything they did.  

Danny McFADZEAN (Royal Navy, Beith Harriers)

6 Miles:  30:19.6   1969; Marathon:  2:31:01   1969

Danny was a bit of a hero in the Scottish Marathon Club because of his willingness to race, how hard he raced and the times he turned in in every race.  A member of Beith at the same time as Ian Harris, they were a formidable duo who did not get too many chances to run in the same team with Ian in the Army and Danny in the Navy.

Robert McFALL  (Edinburgh Southern)

Mile:  4:21.5  1960;   3000m S/chase: 9:39.8   1961

Bert, a popular and respected gentleman, enjoyed a long career in athletics, being successful on track, road and cross-country as a young man and again as a senior veteran runner. In 1963, he was East of Scotland Steeplechase champion. In 1964, for the first time, ESH won the Senior National Cross-Country team title. Bert also helped to win silver and bronze in that event, as he did in the E to G. As a veteran, he won Scottish titles at M65 and M70, as well as securing individual and team silver medals in the British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International.

Duncan McFARLANE ,Gateshead Harriers,  Riddings

Duncan McFARLANE, Victoria Park
Duncan was a valuable member of VP teams which won several prestigious medals: in the Senior National Cross-Country, silver in 1947 (when he finished 12th), bronze in 1949 and 1950 – and gold in 1951; in the E to G, it was silver in 1949 and gold in 1950.

Duncan McFARLANE , Springburn Harriers

Walter McFARLANE, Shettleston Harriers
On the track, Walter won a bronze medal in the 1953 Scottish championships 6 Miles; and on the road, another bronze in the 1956 Scottish Marathon. In the Senior National Cross-Country, he added team silver in 1953; and in the E to G, silver in 1953 (when he was fastest on Stage 5) and bronze in 1957.

John McGARVA, Falkirk Victoria Harriers

Along with Jim Dingwall and Willie Day, John was a stalwart for FVH from their revival in the 1970s. Perhaps he enjoyed cross-country most, and contributed to 1980s team victories in the East District Cross-Country championships; team silver medals in the 1985 Senior National Cross-Country; and bronze in the 1977 and 1978 Scottish Cross-Country Relay. On the road, it was silver in the 1982 6 Stage Relay; and in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay, 1976 bronze and a longed-for, well-earned victory in 1984. Then he became a successful coach of many athletes. For decades John worked as the head brewer and owner at Tryst Brewery, producing excellent real ale –  in cask and bottle-conditioned – and not surprisingly winning Scottish champion awards.

Dermot McGONIGLE, Dundee Hawkhill Harriers, Shettleston Harriers

Dermot specialised in hill-running – he was Scottish champion in 1986 and 1996 – but for Dundee won a silver medal in the 1989 Scottish 6-Stage Road Relay; and team bronze in the 1990 Senior National XC.

Alexander McGREGOR, Plebeian Harriers, Bellahouston Harriers
Alex enjoyed a long career before and after the Second World War. In 1934 he won the Midland ‘Junior’ Cross-Country title; and in the Senior National finished 8th, with his Plebeian Harriers team 1st equal, with Dundee Thistle Harriers. In 1937 they were third team. For Bellahouston in 1947, Alex was an excellent second behind Andy Forbes, and won the team title. Consequently, he represented Scotland in the International XC Championships and counted for the team in 37th place. In 1948, Alex finished 11th in the Senior National and added team silver. In the E to G, Plebeian won in 1933 and Bella won bronze in May 1949. On the track, Alex finished third in the 1947 Scottish 6 Miles championship.

Peter McGREGOR, Victoria Park  – see full profile
1981 Marathon 2.26.47

Duncan McGRORY, Victoria Park AAC
1980 1500m 3.54.93; 1979 3000m Steeplechase 9.54.3
In 1979, Duncan finished 16th in the Scottish Junior National Cross-Country and VP won team silver medals.

John McGROW   Longwood Harriers, Springburn Harriers

1968   880y 1:52.8; 1969  800m: 1:54.1;  1969  Mile: 4:00.9;  1969  1500m: 3:53.4; 1968:  2 Miles  8:50.8; 1972  3000m  8:22.8;  1967  3 miles: 13:36.0.

John was an Anglo who came up to Scotland from time to time and ran for Springburn in the the Edinburgh to Glasgow (1968 and ’69) and a few other races such as the Two Miles invitation at Cowal Highland Games.  

Kevin McGUIRE   Army

1984  Marathon:  2:21:59

Michael McHALE  Pitreavie

1989  Marathon  2:31:31

James McHARDY  Glasgow University, Law & District

1972  3000m Steeplechase  9:39.6

Jim was a good competitive runner who ran in the national cross-country championships and in the Edinburgh to Glasgow for both clubs. He was a strong runner who won a bronze medal in the 1971 Scottish Steeplechase championships. He had represented Scottish Universities at cross-country – and ran well many times (often in deep mud) for Glasgow University. In the E to G he ran five times in succession for GU (1967-1971). 

Hamish McHATTIE  St Modans

1963  Three Miles  14:3.4

Hamish ran well as a young athlete winning races around the country at various Sports meetings and cross-country race including, on the road, the prestigious Clydesdale Harriers Youth Race but disappeared as a senior man.

H McHENERY  Greenock Wellpark Harriers

A good runner in the Youths and Junior ranks for Wellpark, maybe particularly on the country with team medals at County and District championships, and the high spot as an individual was in 1957/58 when he was third in the national to John Wright (Clydesdale) and George Govan of Shettleston. 

Douglas McILRAITH  Paisley Harriers 

1978  800m  1:55.6

Alex McINDOE  Springburn Harriers

1989  1500  3:53.76;   1989  3000m 8:30:10

‘Mole’ was a well known figure in Scottish athletics, a bundle of talent that never quite came to fruition.  He ran for his club in championships (country, district and national) and in relays (District, Six Stage, Road Relays) and never gave less than 100%. Between 1977 and 1992, Alex ran the E to G 14 times, including 12th place in 1980, which secured the ‘most meritorious’ medals. In 1988 Springburn won gold medals in the Scottish Six Stage Road Relay.

Hamish McINNES,  Old Gaytonians, Shettleston Harriers

1983  800m  1:49.0; 1984  1000m  2:20.37;  1983  1500m  3:43.41; 1983  Mile  4:02.5; 1987  3000  8:05.9;  1987  5000m  14:25.07

Hamish was third in the SAAA 800m championships in 1982 and third in the 1500m the following year.  A good all round athlete he represented Scotland several times at 800m and 1500m.

Alan McINTOSH, Pitreavie AAC, Fife

1979  1500m  3:52.6;  1977  3000m S/chase  9:00.4

Alan ran the E to G for Fife four times between 1976 and 1980: including 1976, when 6th place secured the ‘most improved’ medals; and 1978, when the club was 8th after Alan gained four places when he was second-fastest on Stage Three.

Charles McINTYRE,  Fraserburgh

1988 1000m 31:57.2; 1990 Marathon 2:25:58

Charlie was a consistently good road runner, who ran in the E to G for the North District Select. In 1990 he was fourth (and first Scot) in the Aberdeen Marathon, when he was representing Scotland in a Home Countries International match.

Colin McINTYRE, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh Southern Harriers
In 1981, Colin won a bronze medal in the Scottish Junior National XC (leading EU to team silver medals) and consequently ran for Scotland in the World Cross, in which he was a team counter. In the Senior National, with ESH, he won the 1982 team title. In the E to G, after running twice for EU, he featured in two victorious ESH teams (1981 and 1982). All this from an Orienteer, who represented GB in many World championship events between 1981 and 1989.

Colin McIVER, Strathclyde University
1967 880y 1.56.4
Colin ran cross-country for the hard-training, hard-celebrating Strath team, represented Scottish Universities and, in the 1967 E to G, contributed to 12th place, which secured the ‘most improved’ medals.

Andrew G McKAY,  Edinburgh

1984  1500m  3:49.56;   1981  2000m  5:58.8;  3000m  8:24.82;1982;   1980  5000m  14:59.0; 1980  2000m S/chase  5:58.39;    1982   3000m S/chase   9:07.89

Andrew was a Scottish International Steeplechaser. EAC won silver medals in the 1979 Scottish National Youths Cross-Country. He ran the E to G twice, including 1981, when he was third on Stage One and the team finished 6th. Andrew won a bronze medal in the 1982 Scottish Six Stage Relay.

F. McKAY, Victoria Park

In 1953 he contributed to VP winning the E to G; and added a silver medal in 1955.

Hugh McKAY,  Dundee University, Central Region, Dundee Hawkhill, Fife.

1985  1500m: 3:48.3;  1988  3000m  8:31.5;  1987  5000m  14:42.8;  1991  Marathon  2:26:03

Between 1982 and 1986, Hugh ran the E to G four times for DHH, including 1985, when they finished 6th. In 1991 he won the Dundee Marathon in a sprint finish from Rod Bell of DHH.

Robert W. McKAY (13.12.35) Motherwell YMCA (see full profile for MacKAY)

Russell McKAY,   Shettleston

1983  3000m S/chase  931.48

Andrew McKEAN,  Edinburgh University, Edinburgh AC, Hillingdon – read full profile

1977  3000m  819.4;  1977 5000m  14:12.5; 1972  10000m  29:40.2;  1972  10 Miles  49 25.8

On the track Andy won the SAAA  10 miles in 1972 but he is much better known for his exploits on the road and over the country.   Andy McKean was a really outstanding runner on the Scottish cross-country scene when he won four cross-country championships in five years, at times seeming invincible.   He won in 1973, ’75, ’76 and ’77 and represented Scotland in the ICCU World Cross-Country Championships in 1971 and ’72 and then in the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in 1973, ’74, ’75, ’76, ’77 an ’78: a total of eight consecutive international appearances.

Tom McKEAN,  Bellshill YMCA, Motherwell, Clyde Valley, L&L Track Club, Haringey – see full profile

Tom is probably Scotland’s best ever track athlete, he certainly has a better record in major Games and Championships than any other.   You really need to read the full profile via the link above.

Tom McKean (2) leading Steve Cram (1)

James McKECHNIE, Pitreavie

1966  880y  1:57.5 

Ian McKENNA, Beith

1969  Marathon 2:59:38

Ian was a cheerful, tireless competitor travelling all over Scotland to races, often in the company of clubmate Jim Sloss .

Douglas McKENZIE,  Edinburgh Southern Harriers

1981  Marathon  2:36:33

Ian McKENZIE,  Metropolitan Police

1979  Marathon  2:33:20

Ian B McKENZIE,  Edinburgh Southern Harriers

1973  Marathon  2:40:56

Ian was a very successful, well-organised, encouraging ESH team manager who was considered invaluable by his runners in so many Scottish championship victories, especially in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay.

Robert J McKIM,  Duncanrigg School, East Kilbride, Thames Valley

1978  1500m  3:54.7;  1979  Mile  4:09.7; 1978   2000m S/chase  5:41.7;  1978  3000m S/chase: 8:53.5

McKim was a very good all round endurance runner.  Although he ran well on the country and always picked up places on his stage of the Edinburgh to Glasgow, the tall long-striding McKim was in his element as a steeplechaser and it was a loss to Scottish track when he left to live in England. Robert was a Scottish International steeplechaser who won a bronze medal in the 1979 Scottish Championship. For East Kilbride, he ran well in the E to G three times in succession – the club’s best position was 6th in 1977.

W J McKINLAY, Bellahouston

In 1947, he finished a fine 7th in the Senior National XC championships and his team won the title.

David McKIRDY, East Kilbride

Dave was a good club runner with East Kilbride who ran and raced in every championship for which he was eligible. A real enthusiast, he persuaded Tom O’Reilly (Springburn) to try running on the hills, and is ‘credited’  with getting Tom into the ‘Island Peaks Challenge’ as his running partner.

Gavin McKIRDY, East Kilbride
1981 Mar 2.37.42
Gavin was a good runner who ran the E to G three times between 1981 and 1983.   He had a good career as a veteran, finishing second in the SVHC Marathon at Bellahouston behind Dave Kerr (Garscube Harriers) in 1981.

John McLAREN, Victoria Park  – see full profile
1959 2M 9.12.5; 1959 3M 14.26.4; 1962 6M 30.40.0

James P. McLATCHIE, Doon, Muirkirk Welfare, Ayr Seaforth, Lamar State University (USA), Luton SEE FULL PROFILE
1965 880y 1.51.8; 1963 1M 4.07.9; 1964 2M 8.59.2; 1961 3M 14.23.0; 1962 3000S 9.21.7.

Alex McLEAN, Greenock Glenpark Harriers, Bellahouston Harriers

Alex McLean was a quiet, gentle man who was a ferocious competitor.   If we look at his competitive record at national level we see that quite clearly.   He started his career with Greenock Glenpark Harriers for whom he was eleventh finisher in the 1939 national championship.  It was a time when athletes often switched clubs for competition reasons and these moves were accepted by the clubs concerned.   It was no surprise to see him turn out for Bellahouston Harriers after the war and it was in their colours that he won the SAAA track championships over 10 Miles in 1947 and 1948, and the Six Miles in 1948 and 1949.   

Over the country he was placed 16th in 1947 winning a team gold medal, fourth in 1948 when the team was second and he himself was selected for the ICCU International Championships.   His last race for the Glasgow club was in 1949 when he was 30th and again he won a team silver.   1950 saw him back at Greenock for whom he ran in four more national championships, the best being in 1953 when he was ninth.

On the roads in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay, he ran the sixth stage for the Greenock Glenpark team that won the most meritorious medal in 1939.   After the War, in 1950 he again ran the sixth stage for the Greenock club moving up to third place and helping them to bronze, he ran sixth in 1951 for the fourth placed team,the same stage again in 1952 saw him pull in three places but the club could only finish 15th and sixth again in 1953 in an unplaced squad.  Five races, all on the sixth stage.  Alex was a good runner, well liked and respected by all in Scottish athletics he was another who could have been much better but for the years between 1939 and 1945 being excised from his record.

R.F. McLEAN, Springburn Harriers
He ran the E to G five times between 1949 and 1954, winning team bronze in 1951 and 1954, when he moved up three places on Stage Two.

S McLEAN, Bellahouston Harriers
He ran the E to G three times (1954-56) and Bellahouston finished third in 1956.

W McLEAN, Greenock Glenpark Harriers
After finishing 5th in the 1948 Senior National XC, he ran for Scotland in the International Championships. In the E to G, Glenpark won team bronze medals in 1950.

Albert McLELLAN, Springburn Harriers
1971 800m 1.56.1
Albert was a cyclist before he was a runner and although of a bigger build than the usual distance runner, he turned in many useful times on the track.   He won a bronze medal in the 1972 Scottish Indoor 600m championships.   Albert also ran road and cross-country.

Charles McLENNAN Shettleston
Shettleston won the 1946 unofficial Scottish Cross-Country Championship, with four runners in the top ten. Consequently, Charles represented Scotland in the International Cross-Country Championships in Ayr. In 1947 he won a silver medal in the Scottish 3 Miles track championships.

Andy McLinden

Andrew McLINDEN, Hamilton Harriers – see full profile
1992 10,000m 32.50.6 
Andy, who was born in 1951, has enjoyed a very long, successful career as a Veteran/Master athlete: winning medals in six different 5-year age-groups at Scottish, British and European levels; and running frequently for Scotland in the British and Irish 5 Nations Cross-Country Masters International.

Martin McMAHON, Shettleston Harriers
In the Junior National Cross-Country, between 1967 and 1969, Shettleston won team silver and then two gold medals, with Martin 4th in both victories. He ran for Scotland in the 1968 International Junior Cross-Country championships, finishing in a very good 17th position. In the E to G, which Martin ran three times between 1966 and 1968, he contributed to silver in 1967 and gold in 1968.

Peter McMAHON (21.10.44) Shettleston
1982 10,000m 33.37.8
Peter ran the E to G in 1982, 1983 and 84 (when his team finished 7th and won the ‘most meritorious’ awards.

Arthur McMASTER, Strathclyde University, Ayr Seaforth
1977 Mar 2.44.27
Arthur ran the E to G in 1975 (when Strathclyde finished 8th) and 1976.

David J. McMEEKIN, Victoria Park  – see full profile
1974 800m 1.46.8; 1974 1500m 3.43.1; 1976 One Mile 3.58.05
Despite being an outstanding International track athlete, Davie always supported his club in road and cross-country events. In 1973 he was fifth in the Scottish Junior XC championships (VP team silver) and ran for Scotland in the World Junior XC championships (finishing a very good 17th). Then he starred in the VP team that won the Midland XC Relay title. In the E to G, which Davie ran an amazing 17 times in succession, between 1970 and 1986, VP won two silver medals and one bronze.

Donald McMILLAN, Inverness Royal Academy, Edinburgh University, Edinburgh AC, Durham City, Rowntree
1986 800 1.50.2; 1989 1500 3.43.42; 1989 1M 4.05.3; 1991 3000 8.24.6.
Donald was the 1979 North District XC Junior Champion. He won a silver medal in the 1986 Scottish 1500m and bronze in 1989. He finished third in the 800m championships twice (1983 and 1985). He was a Scottish International track athlete; and also featured in the Edinburgh AC team which finished 4th in the 1989 E to G. For Edinburgh University, he ran that prestigious relay four times. 

G McMILLAN, Ayrshire AAC
1982 Mar 2.39.15
In 1981, he won the Scottish Youths XC Championships and consequently ran for Scotland in the World Junior Cross-Country  Championships. For Ayrshire, he ran the E to G in 1981 and 1982.

James McMILLAN, Glasgow Police, Bellahouston Harriers
1972 3000S 9.32.6
James ran the E to G for Bellahouston in 1970 (when they finished 7th) and 1971.   In addition, he represented Glasgow Police in that prestigious relay four times. Much later, he ran well as a veteran athlete.

Bernie McMONAGLE , Shettleston Harriers
Bernie ran the E to G as a veteran in 1987. In 1988, he ran for Scotland in the very first British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International. He contributed to team silver and bronze medals in that prestigious annual event. Bernie won M45 silver in the 1991 Scottish Masters Cross-Country. Shettleston had won the team title in 1985.

Murray McNAUGHT (30.09.48) Strathclyde University, Fife, Dundee Hawkhill
1984 Mar 2.19.44
Murray ran the E to G: for Strathclyde University in 1967, when they were 12th and secured the ‘most improved’ medals; and competed for Fife seven times between 1980 and 1987 – usually having the responsibility of Stage 8. Their best position of 6th in 1982. He improved inexorably as a marathon runner: winning the 1985 Dundee Marathon; and running for Scottish international marathon teams in both 1985 and 1986.

James McNEILL, Shettleston
1959 6M 31.39.7
James featured in Shettleston teams that won: bronze medals in the 1956 Senior National; and E to G silver medals in 1950 and 1952.   Much later he ran as a veteran. This reputedly included running in the Paris Vets World Championship scattering flowers to the crowd calling out “Vive l’Ecosse”

John McNEILL, Law & District
1983 5000M 14.16.4
Having won the 1983 Scottish Junior National Cross-Country championships, John ran for Scotland in the World Junior Cross-Country. He featured in the Law & District team that finished 8th in the 1982 E to G; and also took part in 1983.

William McNEILL, Pitreavie
1978 1500 3.56.2; 1988 Marathon 2.36.39
Willie showed early promise as a track athlete but later on preferred longer road races, winning a bronze medal in the 1988 Scottish Marathon championship. 

T McNEISH, Irvine YMCA Harriers
In 1949, he finished fourth in the Scottish Senior National XC and then was a counter for the Scottish team in the International XC championships. He ran the E to G five times between 1949 and 1953, always on the longest Stage Six. Irvine’s best position was 6th in 1952.

Douglas M. McNISH, Watsonian
1959 880y 1.56.6; 1959; 1960 1M 4.17.9

Bernie McMonagle, Shettleston Harriers

Bernie ran the E to G as a veteran in 1987. In 1988, he ran for Scotland in the very first British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International. He contributed to team silver and bronze medals in that prestigious annual event. Bernie won M45 silver in the 1991 Scottish Masters Cross-Country. Shettleston had won the team title in 1985.

Pat McPARLAND, Springburn Harriers

Pat McParland was a top class Youth and Junior for Springburn Harriers in the early and mid 50’s.   As a Youth he was fifth in 1952 and first in 1953, as a Junior in 1956 he won from John Wright (Clydesdale), George Govan (Shettleston), Joe Connolly (Bellahouston and George Dickson (Garscube).   Unfortunately his form did not continue into the Senior ranks although he did turn out in the Edinburgh to Glasgow.   In 1954 he was on the first stage for the team that finished third, he won another bronze the following year when he was fifth on the first stage, in ’56 he was on stage four for the tenth placed team and in 1958 he was again on the first stage for the team which was fifth,