Pete Cartwright

2013 Athlete of the Year:


Pete Cartw

There is little doubt that Falkirk Victoria Harrier Fiona Matheson (W50) is our female athlete of the year and that Clydesdale Harrier Pete Cartwright (M70) is the most successful male athlete, with no fewer than six individual victories in Championships organised by the British Masters Athletics Federation.

(Thanks to Brian McAusland for much of the following information.) An ex-professional footballer in Manchester, Pete moved to work with the G.P.O. at Stirling University as the resident engineer, and joined in a lunchtime run, as well as playing 5-a-side football. By the time he was 38 he met a very good runner, Derek Easton (nowadays a highly-respected coach), and started training seriously for his debut as a veteran at the age of 40 and joined Falkirk Victoria. Running took over his life, since he covered 70 to 100 miles per week in training with three track sessions thrown in. In the evenings after work he often ran 12 miles from Stirling to his home in Thornhill.

He was very successful. He won a round of the British Adidas Half Marathon series at Wilmslow in Cheshire, followed by what he calls “a streak of title winning”. At 1500 he won the SVHC, the British Telecom National Championship and the British Civil Service Championships plus a bronze medal in the Vets Commonwealth Games in Grangemouth. 1994 was a very good year. He took gold in the WAVA Games in Canada, running for Great Britain; and also won in America over 5 miles and 10 miles. His first individual titles on home ground were secured when he took the 1500 and 3000 on the same day at Kelvin Hall. He then won the 5k Road championship and was pleasantly surprised when his club named him their athlete of the year. Like everybody at the time he continued to race all over Scotland and he won his share of races but the standard of Masters Athletics was so high that hard-fought races did not always end in success. The highest honour of his career was when he won the Athlete of the Year Award for Central Scotland in 1999.

Pete Cartwright raced and trained until he was 55 before he switched to Mountain Bike Racing. Having raced motor bikes as a sidecar passenger in the Isle of Man TT and World Championships for 15 years and gone into SuperKart racing, using his fitness for the thrill of mountain bike racing was irresistible. In his first two years he won the Scottish Masters Series title and became totally hooked on the speed, jumps, single track and adrenalin rush of downhill speed. Like all bikers, however, he had a big accident which damaged several discs in his back and he had to spend six months having treatment. He made his return with the intention of taking on the British Championships against the very best riders from the four home countries. He made it to second in the series and then in the Welsh series he attempted an eight foot drop-off and things went wrong: he ended up with a suspected broken neck. On X-Ray he was told he was lucky that he only damaged the discs in his neck but that was enough for the doctor to tell him that any more disasters like that and there would be no more sport for Peter! So it was back to running.

That’s when he joined Clydesdale Harriers, teaming up with Bobby Young and subsequently Brian Campbell with the avowed aim of trying to bring some M60 British team titles back to Scotland. The Three Amigos trained hard – individually and as a group – travelled a lot and had a great time winning gold medals. Between 2004 and 2008, the trio contested seventeen BMAF M60 team championships and won an amazing thirteen of them. Their peak year

was 2005, when they were undefeated and victorious six times: the CC Relays in Norwich; CC Championships in Bangor; Road Relays in Sutton; 5k in Horwich; 10k in Strathclyde Park; and 10 miles in Bishop Stortford. Their final team gold medals were secured in 2008: the 5k Championship in Horwich. By then, Pete Cartwright had started a very successful M65 career, including a silver medal in the British and Irish CC International at Belfast in 2007.

However 2012-2013, after Pete Cartwright’s 70th birthday, has been a year of even greater individual success. In October 2012 he won the BMAF 10k (41.30) and the 10 miles (71.03), with both events taking place in Essex. In November he was a close third in the British and Irish Masters International CC in Belfast. Then in March 2013, on the Lee Valley Indoor Track, Pete won the 1500 (5.31) and the 3000 (11.23). In August’s 10k road race in Glasgow he won a team gold medal, along with his Clydesdale Harriers chums Bobby Young and Brian Campbell. On the Outdoor Track at Birmingham in September, he won the 800 (2.45) and the 1500 (5.31) and was third in the 5000m (20.46). Oh, and he also won four Scottish Masters titles: cross-country, indoor 1500 and 3000m and 10 miles (70 minutes exactly)! In the Scottish Masters cross-country championships, Pete won the M55 category in 1998, M65 in 2008 and M70 in 2013, plus silver medals at M55 and M65 and two bronze at M60.

Pete adds: “I have won all the M70 SVHC or SAF races this year – from 1500 to half marathon. In the Polaroid 10k road series I was first in all 4 races and was awarded the overall title, despite having to drop down to the M60 category since there wasn’t an age-group for me.

The British and Irish Masters International CC will take place in Cardiff in mid-November. The Scottish M70 team has four competitors: Bobby Young, Brian Campbell, Watson Jones and myself, all from Clydesdale Harriers! I’m not sure this has happened before – all the runners from one club.

I put in about 50 miles training a week (including two track sessions) during the summer. In the winter I like to up the mileage a bit, cut out one track session) and put weight sessions in three times a week. I’m ranked No 1 M70 in the UK over 1500 and 3000 indoor plus 1500 outdoor and second over 10 miles road. I’m ranked No 1 M70 in Scotland from 800 to half marathon.

I think the most pleasing thing this year was doing the track treble: winning the three major 1500 titles (SAF Indoor, BMAF Indoor and BMAF Outdoor). I think that’s the first time that has been achieved in the M70 age group.”

Now in spite of all the achievements celebrated above, Pete Cartwright is a modest, cheerful man who deserves every success, since he trains exceptionally hard, has keen tactical awareness and a wicked change of pace. (Drug testing reveals one secret: he never even drinks alcohol, which some consider tantamount to cheating.) He is almost too good to be a role model – the temptation for his rivals is to retire immediately!