Edinburgh to Glasgow: Before the Start

Presentation of the baton in 1995 to the representative of the reigning champions, by Donald Gorrie, who had been an international half miler himself, representing the Lord Provost

One of the distinguishing features of the race was the gathering in the school before the start: the atmosphere was intense, tea and biscuits (sandwiches sometimes!) but for the officials only, nervous chatter but the programme was the thing.   My first E-G was one of the last that the News of the World sponsored: their big pantechnicon was outside with bundles of programmes – last year’s results, details of every team running this time round and, maybe most eagerly searched for, the photographs of last year’s race.   Were you in the select few  or, failing that, one of your team mates?  The runners changed, some had their own flasks and packets of sandwiches – they had been up from early and many would not be racing for another two or three hours or more so they had to eat something.   Once changed, they gathered outside, and started a lethargic warm-up.   The officials gathered – the representative of Edinburgh council, usually the Lord Provost, was there complete with chain of office, Ron Bacchus from the NoW and the SCCU officials.  Plus the photographers – professionals were there, semi=pros were there and lots and lots of athletes, friends and relatives with their own wee Kodaks.   Loads of cameras.   The baton was presented by the councillor to the first stage runner of last year;s winning team, the runners lined up, and the race was on.   The following photographs are from Des Yuill’s collection at the 1987 race.

Ian Clifton SCCU, Ron Bacchus, Lord Provost, 1987

The baton containing the message to the Glasgow Lord Provost is handed to the first runner of the previous year’s winning team,  Dave Duguid of Aberdeen.   It was a noble tradition – eg Bobby Calderwood of Victoria Park receiving the baton from Lord Provost representative  Willie Carmichael  in the 1950’s –

and still with VPAAC in the 50’s 

1960, Alastair Wood (Shettleston) receives the baton with Tom O’Reilly (Springburn) and Ian Harris (Beith) looking on

.. this time from the actual Lord Provost, Herbert Brechin while the Shettleston runner invades his space …

1982: 6 Jim Brown, 3 Graham Getty


The runners shuffle into position, last minute stretches are done (as if they’ll make any difference at this stage), shoe aces are checked, watches and the last T shirts are tossed to camp followers.   Instructions, which are not always clear, and which are not always listened to with care,  are given to the runners

photographers get into position, and – 

The race is on!