The Famous Four came from a variety of clubs and backgrounds and all had previous careers as runners but is is fairly interesting to note that almost all of their personal best performances came during the 1970’s – the longer distance ones at least that is. My own best times at One Mile/Two Miles etc came from the 60’s and Alastair’s at 800 were in the 60’s. My collection of Scottish Athletics Records Annuals goes no further back thena the year I arrived in Lenzie and I’ll put in a page about the Springburn club strength separately but the first entries I can find for the Lopers were in 1969 when Doug appeared as a Junior in the Senior 3000 metres where he was eighteenth with 8:36.8 and the 10000 metres where he was twentieth with 31:45.4 At this point he was running for London University and Dundee Hawkhill Harriers. On the same page as his Senior 10000, is a list of Six Miles times where Brian McAusland is ranked eight in 31:36. In the Junior rankings Doug was seventh in the 1500 metres with a time of 4:01.5, second in the 3000, and second in the 5000 metres with 15:13.0.
The main standard distances for endurance runners were the 5000 metres, the 10000 metres, the 10 Miles and the Marathon. I have these in tabular form first with comments and pb’s at other distances are noted below.
|3000 metres||5000 metres||10000 metres||10 miles Track||10 miles Road||Marathon|
|31:30 (6 Miles)||53:37||52:22||
|Brian||9:45 (2 Miles)||15:00||32:33||–||52:12||
* Alastair had by far the widest range of top rate performances. He had a pb of 1:57 for 800 metres and 4:03 for 1500 metres (at Huntershill!) and the other times right up to the marathon as above. All of the times here were run in winning races except for the 10 miles where he was second in the Brampton – Carlisle in November 1976 with the stand out being the marathon win in 1979 in his lifetime best of 2:18. This would bear out his contention that he had a good attitude but maybe suggests that he had more than a wee bit of speed. Many have the attitude but not the speed, some have the speed but not the attitude – he had both. It is maybe interesting to note that he could have had a successful and more comfortable career running shorter distances – how many sprinters would make good 800 metres runners but are content to win prizes at local level? How many good track runners are reluctant to make the step up to the marathon? Very few in the Twenty First Century I think.
* If Brampton 1976 was a good day for Alastair, it was better for Springburn (two team prizes) and better yet for Bill Ramage. Bill was nineteenth in the time above but won second vet plus second handicap and as a member of Springburn teams that were also placed he took awards as part of the third club team and second vet team! Some days stand out in your memory. Some of Bill’s pb’s are in the table above – add One Mile 4:37. He says that he was not a good marathon runner but not bad up to 15 miles. In the days before metrication he ran all the Highland Games road races over non standard distances. Some of his best races were in the early 60’s in the North East of England with the best ever being the Morpeth – Newcastle on 1st January 1960 over “13 miles and 4 furlongs” – as it said on the race certificate) in 1 hour 14 minutes 58 seconds which was not much more than a minute behind the winner – Ian Breckenridge of Victoria Park best road 10 at Redcar. Like all Scots at the time, he (and we) sought good class races – Alastair and Doug went to Harlow, Sandbach, Rotherham and many other venues south of the border and I even went as far as Boston.
* My owns track pb’s were early in my career and mostly in the 1960’s over Imperial Measure Distances and on grass or blaes tracks. They are roughly comparable with the above, eg the Three Miles best was 14:45 which is slightly slower than the 15:00 dead quoted above. .
* Doug was a very good runner over all distances – especially in excess of 3000 metres and represented Scotland twice in the International Cross Country Championship: once as a Junior in 1970 and then again as a Senior in 1974. That he had a tremendous competitive attitude was without doubt – two wins in the SAAA 10000 metres and one in the now discontinued 10 Miles Track Championship say it all. When the track ten miles championship was discontinued only one Scot had won it in a faster time – Lachie Stewart, Commonwealth Games 10000 metres winner in 1970. In the Association of Road Runners list of All Time 10 Mile Track Times, he is fourth Scot ranked and has the 72nd and 73rd fastest of all time. Find it at www.arrs.net/AllTime/AL_O10M.htm The best 1500 metres time I can find for him is the 3:59.9 that he ran at the Bell’s Indoor Arena when finishing third in the SAAA Indoor Championships in 1975. The 47:47 for 10 Miles on the road was when he finished fourth in the Tom Scott in 1975. He also had top ten placings in the National Cross Country Championships when it was contested by many high class athletes and his victories on the roads were seldom if at all comfortable wins against poor opposition. Finally he is mentioned in the Highgate Harriers website in the interview with Bob Slowe (what a name for a runner.)