The club received the sad news this week that Kenny McVey passed away last Sunday, the 5th of March after a short illness.
Kenny was born in Glasgow in 1949 and attended Scotstoun primary school and Victoria Drive secondary school before he sought employment on the Clyde. He qualified as a marine engineer and worked for most of his career at Yarrows in Scotstoun.
He married his wife Kathy in Paisley in 1970 and their only child Kenneth was born in 1974.
Kenny’s first contact with Victoria Park A.C occurred in 1990 when he brought his 15 year old son Kenneth along to Scotstoun to start a successful athletic career. Kenny soon followed his son into the club, tried some track running and was hooked, trying anything from sprints up to middle distance, cross country and road running.
He took part enthusiastically in confined club events, winning trophies on several occasions, such as the Knightswood Shield (handicap road races) in 1992, 96 and 98, Crawford Shield (scratch road races) in 2006 and 09, the coveted Jamie McClure Trophy (Christmas handicap) in 1997, 99 and 2004, and had a share in the George Munro trophy (handicap sprints) in 1997. He represented the club countless times in cross country and road events, was very proud of his unbroken participation in the MacAndrew Relay (possibly a club record) and even gained selection for the prestigious Edinburgh to Glasgow relay shortly before it was disbanded.
When he attained veteran status he branched out and took up other events so that he could participate in pentathlons and heptathlons, indoor and out, and won several national age group medals. Ever a faithful club supporter, he was prepared to turn out in league matches to earn valuable points at times when we were short in certain events. On one memorable occasion in Division 4 of the Men's League at Scotstoun in 1999 he took part in six events, three of them one after the other (400 hurdles, 800 and 100), helping to ensure our promotion as champions.
As age kicked in Kenny concentrated on longer distances, some of his favourite events being the Polaroid 10k series, the Paisley 10k, Alloa half marathon and, being a proud Renfrewshire resident, the Neilston Pad. He also greatly enjoyed the comradeship and variety of events organised by the Scottish Veteran Harriers.
In addition to training and competition, Kenny was also of great value to the club in coaching and committee work. He became a qualified UK coach in middle distance, and his most notable success came when Andy Young (now respected as coach of Laura Muir) won the World Schools 800m in Cyprus. His favourite training sessions were the Sunday morning pack runs from the Allander Sports Centre at Milngavie, from where prodigious distances were racked up, all in a spirit of sporting camaraderie. Many a young athlete was introduced to the concept of ultra-distance at these sessions, of which Kenny became a lynchpin.
As a marine engineer with Yarrows and BAE Systems on the Clyde, where he was involved with the interior fitting out of new ships, Kenny sometimes had to spend time off shore during trials, but he did not let that interfere with his running. He would pad round the deck if he could safely find room, then adjourn to the small multi gym set up for use of the crew so that on his return to shore he was fit enough to take part in his next 10k or pack run.
In recent years Kenny was our men's cross country and road running convenor, doing sterling service in managing and entering teams for championship events. This was not always an easy task, given the problems caused by injury and unavailability which beset all running clubs, but people like Kenny are vital to the health of the sport and its continuing prosperity. When success came, as it surely did on many occasions, both athletes and Kenny were able to celebrate together.
Kenny’s wife Kathy said that he had three passions in his life, fishing, athletics and eating biscuits. The latter he successfully kept secret from his leg-pulling club mates.
Kenny will be greatly missed by everyone at the club, he had many friends and was always popular with the youngsters. He was notorious for tormenting the younger athletes which endeared him to them greatly. He was almost as popular as his doppelganger Santa Claus.
The club have sent their deepest sympathy to his wife Kathy and his son Kenneth.
The funeral will take place at 1300 hrs on Thursday the 16th of March at Woodside Crematorium, 46 Broomlands Street, Paisley, PA1 2NP.
Hugh Stevenson/Gordon Innes