It has been such a long time since I last thought about the club that saw me through a great time in my life and it was good to see some familiar faces on the club web site. I am recalling things that I did every day since I looked at the website about ten days ago.
I remember my first night well, it was the club 400m Championships and I didn’t know it at the time, but that was all I was expected to do. I later went on the 2 mile run with Graham and a group of boys the same age as me. It was my PE teacher at Victoria Drive Secondary that pointed me in the right direction and to be honest I didn’t look back. I was 12 at the time and I still do remember all the training runs that we went on, 2 miles (round the block), 2 ½ miles (up to crow road), 3 ½ miles (Mcandrew), 4 miles (up to Great Western Road), 6 miles (the canal run) as well as the odd run through the Clyde Tunnel when there was snow on the ground. I remember the club races and time trials that we had throughout the winter season and the competition that we had (Speedo, Scott Queen, Colin Allison etc). I still have trophies from the club to celebrate this.
I also remember the training sessions in the Kelvin Hall (20x200m with a 200m jog recovery) on a Monday night and the track sessions on the gravel track and the old saying that if you can run 60 seconds for 400m on this track you can run 58 seconds for 400m on any other track. The changing rooms have obviously changed, but I remember giving my money in to a guy who sat with the big dog (sorry can’t remember their names) and then Wallace telling the group what he wanted them to do. The Saturday morning runs in Milngavie in-between the track season and the cross country season were something else and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I glad to see that the McAndrew Road Relays are still being held and I hope that the dance is still going strong.
In terms of the track season I remember Crown Point, Dam Park, Pitreavie, Grangemouth with its cycle track around the outside of it, Westlands and Dumfries. Towards the end of my time at Victoria Park I remember that the West District Championships were always between three athletes, one from Ayr (I think Michael Gill), myself and one from another club and we always took it turn to win the races that we did. The Young Athletes Athletics League was the best, having to do not only your best event (sometimes not even that) but also a range of other events. I recently found a picture of me at Pitreavie receiving a plate which was for the, I believe, teams who just missed out on the Young Athletes League Final. I remember the first time I broke 2 minutes for the 800m, a week after Graham gave me the biggest kick up the back side ever was at Dam Park in the West District Championships after coming back from about 6 months off with an Achilles injury.
During the cross country season I enjoyed myself the most. My last Scottish national Championships was at Irvine where I finished 7th, I also remember all the other races that were held there, the Scottish Cross Country Relays and the Scottish Schools Cross Country Championships. I will always remember the dragons back hill after you come off the beach. The Glasgow Schools Championships was always held at Pollok Park and I had a good run there for many a year finishing in the top three on several occasions. Other courses that I always remember when I come home is the one at Clydebank and the one in Arbroath at the end of the season. The best time though was when I got selected to represent Scotland at the New Year race in Gateshead and then the week later running for Great Britain at a race in Lisbon.
When I went to University in Liverpool, I joined Liverpool Harriers and I soon became a regular in their British league team for the steeplechase, I was also University cross country champ as well as Merseyside Champion. The training at Liverpool was just as hard with training sessions five days a week.
Since then I have been teaching in Milton Keynes where I continued to run, however not train, as the track that the club use is on the site where I taught. Three years later I moved to Crewe where I am still based after ten long years. I am still heavily involved in athletics and cross country being the Cheshire Schools Boys Cross Country team manager and my claim to fame is that every year I have been at school I have had either a county track and field champion or a student obtaining their county vest. This year was the county vest at the North West Regional Multi Events Championships at the end of June.
I enjoyed my time immensely at Victoria Park and I always look out for athletes from the club at the UK trials every year. A big hello to all who remember me especially to Graham who got me through each season with encouragement and hard work. If only my local club was as friendly as Victoria Park was.
I wish the club all the best in the coming year and if I am still in Crewe in four years time I will be bringing a group of students up to the Commonwealth Games where I hope to see some of the clubs athletes representing Scotland.
PS – I can still remember some of my PB’s
200m – Kelvin Hall – 24.6 seconds
800m - Wavertree – 1min 56.8secs
1500m - ??? – 3min 54.6secs
Member between 1987 and 1993