Garscube Harriers: 1935 – 1940.


In this section the emphasis will be on the winter season – the road running and cross-country races and championships – with only major results between May and October being included.   It will cover the period from October 1935 to the start of the war in 1939.

Winter 1935 started with the McAndrew Relay from Whiteinch Baths on 5th October and was won by Plebeian Harriers, road relay racers par excellence, from Shettleston Harriers and Greenock Glenpark Harriers with Garscube Harriers fourth, 20 seconds behind Glenpark.   Their fastest man, J Lardy, was fourth fastest individual and the team times were all within 51 seconds: great packing again with their B Team eighth.   Lardy, Gowans, Girvin and Dailly were the runners.    The report says that Garscube were the holders of the trophy but the result of the 1934 race is not available.   Thereafter the programme of novice championships and inter-club runs (eg Garscube, Glasgow YMCA and Irvine YMCA Had two packs from Westerton on 26th October) until the District Relay Championships were held at Hamilton Park on 25th November when Plebeian won from Shettleston with Springburn third and Garscube again a frustrating fourth, a mere 6 seconds away from bronze.   The team this time was Lardy, Gowans, Dailly and T Armstrong  with only 43 seconds separating the times.   Lardy was eighth fastest over the course.   With no races the following week, the next race was the Shettleston 4  x  2.5 miles at Gartocher Road.   This time Shettleston beat Plebeian by 3 seconds with Springburn Harriers third and Garscube back in eighth.   Runners were Hardy, Gowans, Brooke and Dailly  and one minute forty four seconds covering the team., Lardy  (sixth fastest on the day) on 13:06 and Dailly on 14:50.    The last race of 1935 was the Glasgow West End Clubs Championship which Garscube won from Victoria Park by the handsome margin of 48 points to 114.   First equal were Lardy and Gowans of Garscube with David Brooke third.   The remaining runners were RD Phoenix 5th, Dailly 6th, J Thomson 7th, J Fleming 9th T Brooks 15th.

January 1936 started with an inter-club on 4th January with Clydesdale Harriers, Maryhill Harriers and Shawfield Harriers at Westerton when three packs covered seven miles.   Wonderful events, inter-clubs: good for adding variety to training, adding a bit of a challenge and encouraging good fellowship between athletes and clubs.   Maybe a pity that they seem to have gone for good.   There was nothing other than club events until the 7th March and the National Championships at Hamilton.   The club finished a disappointing ninth in a race where Jim Flockhart won for Shettleston but Springburn won the team race.   Runners were Brooke 33rd, Gowans 57th, T Dailly 62nd, J Thomson 73rd, J Lardy 84th and C Thomson 89th.   The Edinburgh to Glasgow in 1936 was held on 4th April and Garscube were fifth.   By the start of the third stage the club was running sixth and it stayed that way until Davie Brooke pulled up a place on the hard sixth stage.   The club stayed there and Lardy, with the fastest time on the seventh stage handed over to T Dailly a four and a half minute lead over Springburn which pretty well assured the club of fifth place in the invitation only race.

It would maybe be interesting to go through the season week by week to get the pattern of a typical winter.   Inter-club runs and all club races will be noted and where there is none mentioned here, it would normally be a club run from the Westerton Headquarters.   It was, then,  into the winter season of 1936/37 and the first race was on 3rd October and was the McAndrew Relays from Whiteinch Baths.   Shettleston’s new recruit W Donaldson from Glendaruel had the fastest time of the day but the team race is what the McAndrew was always about.   Here Shettleston won with Garscube a very good second, only 5 seconds down, with Springburn third.    Lardy had fourth fastest time of the day and the Garscube men with their times were J Lardy (15:59), W Gowans (16:12), DB Brooke (16:21) and T Armstrong (16:27) – 28 seconds between fastest and slowest!   On 24th October they, like many other clubs, held their own Novice Championships over six miles, and it was won by AL Geddes in 34:27.     A week later there was an inter-club run away with Irvine YMCA.   After the national Novice championship at Hamilton, there was a two and a half scratch race at Westerton on 14th November which was won by JR Lardy in 16:21 from W Gowans (16:26) and T Dailly (16:40) and Lardy had a really good day when he also won the handicap prize.       The following week it was another inter-club with Carntyne Harriers at Auchinairn with two packs covering five miles.    The big one in November of course was the Midland District relay, held at Hamilton on the 28th.    This time round the team did not fare so well.   The race was won by Shettleston  from Maryhill and Bellahouston with Springburn fourth and Garscube’s quartet of Lardy, McKie, Gowans and Dailly were sixth.   Gowans had equal sixth fastest time of the day and Lardy was ninth fastest.    The following week was a club run on the first Saturday in December.   Club handicaps were held all over the country with members looking for a good enough handicap to win them a prize or a trophy for the fastest time.   The Garscube club handicap was over 6 miles for the McCaa Cup and was won by TA Gourlay in in 34:49 with a 3 minutes 20 handicap allowance from T Sims in 35:04 with a 2 minutes 55 seconds allowance.   The fastest time was 36:48 by W Gowans.    Distances for club handicaps ranged from 2 miles to 6 miles and clubs as far apart as Dumbarton (5 miles), Edinburgh and Ardeer (2 miles) had their events on this particular afternoon.   There was a three miles Christmas handicap on 26th December at Westerton and the fastest times were by J Lardy and T Dailly with the handicap being won by A McIntosh from A Murphy.

On 9th January, the return inter-club with Irvine YMCA was held at Westerton with two packs covering seven miles although the juniors only covered three.   The run on 23rd January was more of a muster run than an inter-club although it was billed as the latter.   Held at Westerton three packs from Garscube Harriers, Paisley, Renfrew YMCA, Babcock & Wilcox, Olympic and Shawfield Harriers covered seven miles.   Six clubs in the old Westeron changing accommodation must have been a bit crowded but the main objectives of good companionship, a change of company and patter for the run itself and a wee bit of feeling out or assessing the opposition before the District championships would have been achieved.    On 6th February, 1936, two packs covered nine miles at Westerton.   With nine miles being the distance of the national championship this is the first recorded run over the distance on a Saturday and the ‘fasts’ were led home by D Urquhart, T Dailly and DB Brooke.   The big race in February was always the Midland District Championship and in 1937 JR Lardy in fourth led the team which finished sixth.   There was a big drop from Lardy to J Fleming who was 28th, then came Gourley 33rd, Russell 44th, Phoenix 45th and Simms 67th.

At the SAAA and SCCU AGM on 27th February, Garscube’s Mr C Chalmers was elected on to the Western District Committee.   One of the more interesting items on the agenda was the proposal to force harrier clubs to be responsible for an annual subscription of £1:1:0.   This was opposed by the SCCU.    On the same day, Garscube hosted an inter-club run  with West of Scotland Harriers at Westerton when two packs covered eight miles, with youths only running three miles.   The national was held on March 6th, at Redford Barracks, and was won by Dundee Thistle Harriers with Garscube down in sixth place of the 26 club teams that completed the course.   Urquhart led them home in 14th place, followed by Dailly 34th, Lardy 37th, then Gowans, Fleming and Phoenix.   It was a very much under-strength team with some of their better runners missing or out of form, but 6th was not too bad.     Sutherland who could not count for team purposes was third.   The following week was the English National and the winning Birchfield team was led home by Sutherland, who could count for team purposes south of the border.   ’37 was the year that Jim Flockhart won the International for Scotland and Sutherland was third counter for Scotland in 20th position.

The next big fixture was the Edinburgh to Glasgow on 1st April.   W Gowans was fifth on the first stage and this position was held successively by DB Brooke, R McKie, T Dailly, GB Russell, and JR Lardy who ran well on stage six.   Then D Urquhart with fastest time of the day, which was also a stage record, took them up to third position but unfortunately A Gourley on the last leg could not hold the place and they dropped back down to fourth.     It had been a good season with lots of solid running but the top runners were posted missing in the two major championships – District and National – and the club did not gain the rewards their strength deserved.

The cross-country season at  that time had only three main championship meetings: District Relays, District Championships and National Championships.   There were some regular races – eg the McAndrew Relay was already becoming the standard start to the season – but most of the season was taken up by inter-club fixtures such as have been noted above, club races and on other Saturdays, runners ran in packs, groups or on their own from the club HQ.

Winter 1937/38 and the McAndrew Relay on 2nd October did not have a good result for the club.   The first seven teams were interesting.   1st Shettleston Harriers; 2nd Bellahouston Harriers; 3rd Ardeer Recreation Club;   4th Plebeian Harriers;   5th Victoria Park;   6th  Victoria Park Novices;  7th  Maryhill Harriers Novices;   8th  Maryhill Harriers.     Ardeer had been led off by PJ Allwell ‘the Ayrshire Meteor’ who had equal fastest time of the day, and the VPAAC Novices defeated the A team by 4 seconds.  What about Garscube?  Well they were back in 19th.    In the Midlands relay championship in November, JR Lardy ran the fifth fastest time of the day when wnning the first stage for Garscube, but despite less than 50 seconds covering their four runners (Lardy, Gowans, Dailly and Phoenix) the club fell back to sixth by the end of the race.

On 5th February at Hamilton the District Championships were held at Hamilton and Garscube Harriers was not among the ten team who finished – there were no individuals mentioned in the results either.    Given that the tenth team (West of Scotland Harriers)was on 471 points against the winners 93, we must conclude that for reasons which are not now clear, Garscube did not enter.   Garscube did however have a team victory in the National Championships – it was in the Youths race where R Mulgrew was third finisher but second for the purposes of the team competiton.   The team was Mulgrew 2nd, R Stephen 17th, A Veitch 19th and J McDougall 24th.  They were 11 points clear of Carntyne who were the previous winners.   The Senior team of Brooke, Russell, Lardy, Cuthbert, Phoenix and Burns was ninth.   1938 was of course the year that Emmet Farrell first won the National and in doing so he led his Maryhill Harriers team to victory.

1938/39 season began as was fast becoming the norm with the McAndrew Relay race organised by Victoria Park AAC at Whiteinch.    The Senior Race was won by Bellahouston from Shettleston and Plebeian Harriers.   The Garscube team was down in eighth place in a very high quality entry but in the special Novices Relay over the same course, Garscube (68:57) won from South Glasgow Harriers (69:44) by quite a margin.   Mulgrew and McGarrity of Garscube had second and third fastest times with team members McGinley and McDougall not much slower.    In the Midland District relay in November the team did a bit better finishing sixth with a team of Lardy, McKie, Dailly and Simms.    One of the notable features of this relay was that Bellahouston Harriers had two teams in the first five.   The second Garscube Harriers team was 19th with Gowans, Gourlay, Fleming and Brooke the runners.   The slowest man in the first team ran 14:19, the fastest two in the second team ran 14:21 and 14:29.    In the District Championship at Pollok Estate at the end of January, Victoria Park won the title in style with what the Press described as ‘splendid team packing’ from Bellahouston (84 points to 153) with Garscube sixth sandwiched between Springburn and Plebeian Harriers.   Mulgrew in 12th place was their leading man.   The National Championships in 1939 were held at Lanark and in what were to be the last championships before the War, Garscube were eighth of the twenty three clubs represented on the day.   Like some other clubs they were a bit short of their best men – some had already been drafted into the services or had signed up – and the team was T McKie 24th, J McGinlay 54th, J Fleming 63rd, TA Gourley 67th, RD Phoenix 83rd,  and P Thomson 90th.   They were ahead of many very good clubs such as Edinburgh Northern 11th, Edinburgh Southern 12th, Plebeian 13th, Springburn 14th and Motherwell 16th.   In the last of the major races before the War – the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay – they were fifth behind Maryhill, Bellahouston, Shettleston and Plebeian Harriers.   Dailly on the last stage was the fastest runner on that stage for the day but could still only maintain fifth.   Gowans had been ninth on the first leg and McDougall on the second leg brought them up to sixth, a position held by Veitch, Mulgrew and Phoenix before Lardy on the sixth stage pulled in one place to fifth.   Gourley held it on seven as did Dailly on the last leg.

The club was performing at a high level – but they were not getting all their best men out in all the key races – only two of the E-G men had run in the National for instance – and the packing was not up to the standards of ’35.’36 and ’37.   The war intervened however and the strings were picked up in 1946 at the first post war championships.