Paul Kenney (born on 6th August, 1955) was an extremely talented athlete who enjoyed a brief but successful career. He ran for several clubs: Dundee University, Fife AC and Inverness Harriers before moving to England. In 1974 he finished eighth in the Scottish Junior National Cross-Country Championship and represented Scotland in the World Junior Championships at Monza, Italy, running very well to finish thirteenth. (Willie Sheridan was twelfth and the precocious Nat Muir nineteenth so the Scottish team was only just squeezed out of the bronze medal position). That summer, Paul produced track times of 3:56 for 1500m and 8:31.6 for 3000m.
In the 1975 East District Cross-Country, Juniors finished first and second: Allister Hutton followed by Paul Kenney. The Junior National first four included some real stars: Allister Hutton won, followed by Lawrie Reilly, Paul Kenney and John Graham. On the track, Paul became the first East District Senior Steeplechase champion in 9:07.6. 1976, his final year as a cross-country Junior, resulted in a victory in the East District Junior Cross-Country (second overall behind Adrian Weatherhead); and a silver medal behind Nat Muir in the Scottish National. Subsequently Paul was selected for the Scottish Senior team in the World Cross-Country Championship at Chepstow Racecourse in Wales and finished ninety eighth. On the track he recorded a 5000m time of 14:19.8. Then competing for Fife in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay, Paul Kenney was fastest on Stage Four (moving up three places). His team ended up sixth and won the medals for the most meritorious performance. In 1977 Paul came sixth in the Senior National and gained another World Cross-Country Scottish vest at Dusseldorf, Germany, where he improved to sixty eighth, the fifth counter for his team.
Paul Kenney went to live in Paris for a few years before returning to Scotland in 1982, running for Inverness Harriers. He worked in senior management for Marks & Spencer in both cities. In the 1982 and 1983 Edinburgh to Glasgow Relays he represented North District and did well on Stage Two. He was the 1983 North District Cross-Country champion and that year ran a personal best for 10000m of 29:33.5. By this time he had switched to the road and produced good times in the London Marathon: 2:19.04 in 1983, 2:17.04 in 1984 and 2:18.34 in 1985.
After that he seems to have moved south to the Birmingham region and still takes part in road relays as a veteran. His club is Royal Sutton Coldfield. Paul introduced his two daughters (Laura and Olivia) to the sport and they soon proved that they had inherited his talent. Olivia (born in 1988) ran for Great Britain, finishing thirty eighth in the under-20 race at the 2007 World Cross in Mombasa, Kenya. She is now concentrating on completing a medical degree at Birmingham University. Laura (now Laura Whittle) was born in 1985 and has had a good Great Britain international career, on indoor and outdoor track as well as cross-country. She has run for GB in the World and European Cross-Country championships and considers that her best performances were:
* winning the 2007 European Under-23 5000m title, and
another victory in the 2008 Senior Inter-Counties Cross-Country Championships
Read Laura Whittle’s Power of 10 details – her father Paul Kenney must be extremely proud.