There was once a structure to Scottish athletics that helped athletes progress in a logical way through the year that has, over the last 20 years or so disappeared. In summer there were club championships, often held at the start of the summer, District Championships at the end of May and SAAA Championships in the third or fourth week of June. If you were good enough, the AAA came next. On occasion events were brought back a week or two because of the dates of major international Games meetings like the Empire and Commonwealth Games. Road runners had rtaces over 10 miles (Tom Scott), 12 miles (Marathon Club Championship) or Balloch to Clydebank, then there were the 14 milers such as Babock & Wilcox Sports, then 16 miles (Clydebank to Helensburgh), then about 20 miles for the Edinburgh to North Berwick before the 26 mile marathon. All the dates were known in advance and runners could use them to plan their summer season.
In winter, the structure was more obvious.
The platforms, or stepping stones, progressed almost weekly in difficulty or distance. The first week in October always saw the McAndrew Road Relay at Whiteinch organised by Victoria Park and most clubs had several teams out. The second week of the month had the County relays, then there was the District Relay and by the 1980’s the national relays were held. These were all 4 x two and a half or three miles in distance. Then came the Allan Scally Relays which were 4 x four miles or so, then the Glasgow University Road Race which broke the five mile barrier and then the BIG one – the Edinburgh to Glasgow 8 man relay with distances between three and seven miles.
These were helped by the formation of County Associations, mainly in the West, to organise County events so that the organisation of championships was under taken by club, county, district and SAAA/SWAAA could take charge of a particular tier of competition. Renfrewshire and Ayrshire were first, then came Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire, then City of Glasgow and Midlothian. This section illustrates the work done and the athletes response to it for two such organisations – Ayrshire and Lanarkshire.
Follow the appropriate link below to read about either of these examples.
Ayrshire Harrier Clubs Association Lanarkshire Amateur Athletic Association
AHCA Championships at Benwhat Village. The village is no longer in existence