The King of the Road, Don Ritchie, has died at the age of 73. Ritchie set so many world records and established so many new standards of supreme quality in a wide range of events during his remarkably long career as a top level ultradistance runner that followers of the sport often indulged in healthy debates about which of his achievements was the most impressive. Often there was no consensus, the choice was too great, but the one thing most agreed upon is that this quiet-natured and extremely modest man from the North East of Scotland was surely the greatest male ultradistance runner in history.
When Andy Milroy and Dan Brennan, two of the most highly regarded long-distance running statisticians and historians, met up towards the end of 1999 to nominate their leading athletes of the past millennium, they had no hesitation in selecting Ritchie as the greatest ultramarathoner of this or any other era. In their all-time merit rankings, Don was unanimously acclaimed as outscoring the Greek Yiannis Kouros (the greatest ever 24 hour and multi-day competitor); South African Wally Hayward (a top performer in the 1950's); Britain's 19th century star Charlie Rowell (the “world's wonder” who dominated the professional long distance scene in the Victorian age); and Rhodesia's Arthur Newton (the dominant ultra man of the 1920's and 1930's).
In tribute to Don Ritchie, we repeat here the chapter from the book The Past is a Foreign Country which was written by Fraser Clyne and Colin Shields.
Donald Alexander Ritchie, 6 July 1944 to 16 June 2018
9 June 2018. Josh Kerr placed third in the 1500 metres on Friday at the 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The 2017 champion in the event, Kerr clocked a time of 3:45.02 at Hayward Field in Eugene as his patented last-lap kick fell just short at the line. Kerr finished exactly a quarter of a second behind Wisconsin's Oliver Hoare, who won in 3:44.77 and finished just 0.003 behind the silver medallist.
"It was very tactical and very physical," Kerr said of the race. "There was a tight pack all the way through. There was a lot of clipping and jumping around. It was a tough race to be in."
Kerr missed out on what would have been an incredible 4 in a row at the NCAA having won the indoor mile in 2017 and 2018 and the outdoor 1500 in 2017. Nick Percy, the 2016 champion, completed his NCAA career with an 8th place in the discus with 56.72 metres, well below his best for the year, and fellow-Scot George Evans, in his first NCAA, came 13th with 54.41.
For our record of Scots at the NCAA Championships, click HERE.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 June 2018:
Blair Crawford, Kilbarchan to Glasgow City; Ryan Curran, Forres to Elgin; Ben Grant, Pitreavie to Falkirk Victoria Harriers; Hannah Harley, Lasswade to Haddington; Outi Kamarainen, Ilkley to Westerlands; Jon Hollingdale, Forres to Highland Hill Runners; Catriona Maclean and Mairi Maclean, Kilmarnock to Ayr Seaforth; Gavin Orr, Harmeny to Kinross; Claudia Preiss, Edinburgh to Lasswade; Amber Wade, Whitemoss to Giffnock North; Colin Watson, Springburn to Clydesdale; Blayne Wright, Tuscany Wright & Valencia Wright, VP Glasgow to Giffnock North.
In addition, Craig Prior has been approved to change from Kilbarchan to Dumbarton from 1 September.
2 June 2018. It has taken all of 34 years but we have a new Scottish national 200 metres record for Beth Dobbin. Her time of 22.84 at the UK Women's League meeting today eclipsed Sandra Whittaker's long-standing record of 22.98, set at the 1984 Olympic Games at Los Angeles.
It was only in 2016 when Beth bettered 24 seconds for the first time with her 23.94 at Loughborough EAP meeting that July. Last year, she improved to 23.88 and 23.78 at UK League meetings, then 23.72 in Belgium and then a big breakthrough to 23,31 at the British Championships.
Coached by Leon Baptiste, she improved further to 23.14, winning the Loughborough international, before today's remarkable 22.84 at a meeting where Alisha Rees bettered the Under-20 record with 11.59.
Sandra Whittaker, now Seenan, was the first to congratulate her on the SATS Facebook page : "Well done Beth, absolutely delighted for you, fantastic
time and great to see Scottish sprinting back up there again. Sorry to see my record go, but hey nearly 34 years. Holding a record for this time has been a privilege."
20 May 2018. The Scottish team equalled its best ever return of 7 event wins at the Loughborough international at the weekend, a feat last achieved in 2000. The experienced athletes, Mark Dry, Allan Smith and Kirsty Law all triumphed, Kirsty winning her event for the first time in a record 11th appearance. It was pleasing to see them backed up by a new generation of winners in Sol Sweeney (3000m), Jemma Reekie (a new PB in the 1500m) and Grant Plenderleith in the 400 metres, but let's give pride of place to a sprinter for once. Scottish sprinting has been in the doldrums for a while and only recently has there been signs of a revival. Beth Dobbin missed the Commonwealth Games selection standard of 23.30 by 0.01 last year, but here she stormed through to win in 23.14, a time (auto-timing) bettered only by national record holder Sandra Whittaker over 30 years ago.
Add to these 7 event wins, those of Kirsten McAslan and Jamie Williamson in Loughborough colours (Loughborough have priority in selection) and this was a fine day for Scottish athletes. However, despite these record-equalling wins, Scotland finished 5th out of the 6 teams when, arguably, 2nd could have been a target with more solid back-up placings.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 May 2018:
James Adam, Pitreavie to Dundee Hawkhill; Fraser Angus, Kilmarnock to Giffnock North; Nakita Gray, Blaydon to Edinburgh; Philip Kammer, Cosmic Hill Bashers to Deveron; Imogen Lewis, Tweed,Leader,Jed Track to Lasswade; Morgan MacDougall, East Kilbride to VP-Glasgow AC; Solomon Mayers, Musselburgh to East Lothian; Alex McLean, Musselburgh to Team East Lothian; Jay McTavish, Garscube to VP-Glasgow; Darren Mitchell, Portobello to Musselburgh; Amy Preiss, Edinburgh to Lasswade; Freya Ross, Edinburgh to Falkirk Victoria; Christie Rout, Tweed,Leader,Jed Track to Edinburgh; Finn Ritchie, Musselburgh to East Lothian; Isla Scott – Pearce, Aberdeen to Edinburgh; Michael Welch, Haddington RC to East Lothian; Reuben Nairne, Giffnock North to Glasgow City.
Bruce Tulloh, European 5000 metres champion in 1962, one of Britain’s best and most popular runners of the 1960s, trans-America record-breaker, and an ongoing influential figure in British athletics as a coach and writer, died on April 28, at his home in Marlborough, of cancer, aged 82.
Tulloh was the first non-African to compete without shoes in top-level international races, and he argued that the lack of any weight on his feet enabled him to accelerate more suddenly. That could give him a surprise winning break even on world-class fields like the 1962 European 5000, when he got away with 700 metres to go.
He represented Scotland in the International Cross Country Championships in 1960 and 1961, although his claims for Scottish eligibility seem rather doubtful. In 1960, he won a memorable 2 Miles race at the Edinburgh Highland Games, beating the Hungarian Laszlo Tabori by inches, both being credited with the same time of 8:45.6, a Scottish all-comers' record.
Michael Bruce Swinton Tulloh, 29 September 1935 - 29 April 2018
The death has occurred of the Scottish champion hammer thrower Iain Bain, who won the Scottish title on 3 occasions in the 1950s. He won the title in 1956, beating the holder Ewan Douglas, retained it in 1957 and then regained it in 1959.
He represented Scotland in the 1959 international match against Ireland at Murrayfield, He competed for Great Britain against Poland that same year.
He had been a successful junior athlete winning the AAA and SAAA hammer titles in 1952. His career best came in 1956, when he threw 184' 0" (56.08 metres).
A graduate of Fettes College and Oxford University, after his military service he went into advertising, then into book printing. He was so interested in the physical work of printing that after getting married, he set up a hand press in the spare bedroom. He went into publishing at Bodley Head before becoming Head of Tate Gallery Publications in 1972.
He was President of the Printing Historical Society, a Fellow of the Wordsworth Trust and of the Society of Antiquaries, a Past President of the Private Libraries Association, Vice-President of the London Typographical Society, and a sometime Fellow of the Society of Typographic Designers. He did sterling work in areas of art, design and the history of art and design. In especial, he retrieved the mislaid work and added to the resplendence of the artist, Thomas Bewick, leading to Iain being recognised by Northumbria University for his work as a scholar and typographer, being conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Civil Laws by the University in 2003.
Iain Stuart Bain, 16 February 1934 to 20 April 2018.
So it’s all over for another 4 years. Scotland improved their medal haul but there’s a lot of ifs and maybes in the total. If Callum Hawkins hadn’t succumbed so courageously to the heat and humidity when in the gold medal position; if Laura Muir hadn’t (correctly) put her studies first; if Andy Butchart and Jax Thoirs hadn’t been ruled out through injury; if Nick Percy and Josh Kerr had been released by their US colleges …
But life is what it is and there were some top class performances at these Games, combined with some disappointing ones. At the end of the day, these Games were a bit of a mixed bag.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 April 2018:
Alexandra Burns, Helensburgh to Edinburgh; Yvonne Cantlie, Spey Runners to Moray Road Runners; Liam Fotheringham, Arbroath & District to Dundee Hawkhill; Patrick Gibbons, Garscube to Helensburgh; David Lees, Larkhall to Giffnock North; Thomas Litterick, Aberdeen to Metro Aberdeen; Calum Little & Craig Little, Cumbernauld to Falkirk Victoria; Connor Maclean, Stornoway to Kilbarchan; Helen Sharpe, Bristol & West to Fife; Isla Steel, Dunfermline to Pitreavie; Michael Stone, Cosmic Hill Bashers to Metro Aberdeen; Innes Wright, Haddington to East Lothian.
10 March 2018. JOSH KERR has won the NCAA Indoor Championship Mile for the 2nd year in a row when he took the title at College Station, Texas on Saturday. Having won the outdoor 1500 title last year as well, he has now won the 3 consecutive NCAA titles. He joins fellow Scots Meg Ritchie and Kathy Butler with 3 track and field titles (although Butler was consider Canadian at the time of her achievement).
This year, Kerr was the man to beat. He was the odds-on favorite, a position he strengthened after running the sixth-fastest time in NCAA history in February and winning his preliminary-round heat on Friday. In Saturday's final, Kerr moved up to the front after the first lap before ceding the position halfway through the eight-lap race. He eventually moved back into the lead with about three laps to go, out-kicking the field over the final 600 meters. He closed the final 400 meters of the race in a field-best 54.23 seconds. Kerr's final time was 3:57.02, more than 1.3 seconds ahead of runner up Vincent Ciattei of Virginia Tech. Kerr's mark was also the eighth-fastest time in NCAA Championship history.
Behind him NEIL GOURLEY, 4th last year finished 7th in 4:00.64 in his 3rd race of the weekend. Having qualified for the mile final on Friday, he also anchored the Virginia Tech team to gold with a final leg 3:58.64 1600 metres (approximately 10 metres short of the mile) to bring Virginia home in 9:30.76, 0.46 seconds ahead of Notre Dame.
That's the first time in NCAA history that 2 Scots have won gold at the same championship. For the record of Scots athletes at the NCAA, follow this link.
High jumper Emma Nuttall (photo above at 2014 Games by Bobby Gavin) has had to withdraw from the Scotland team for the Commonwealth Games next month. In a new blog that she has started on https://emmanutt.wordpress.com she has talked about the experience. Thanks to Emma for allowing us to share this.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 March 2018:
Andrew Bonner, Giffnock North to Glasgow City; Darrin Cameron, Moray Road Runners to Elgin; Charlotte Clare, Moorfoot Runners to Lasswade; Shirley-Anne Feaks, Forres to Moray Road Runners; Jacqueline Ferrari, Pitreavie to Metro Aberdeen; Hannah Hamilton-Meikle, Chirnside Chasers to Team East Lothian; Callum Hendry, Cumbernauld AAC to Falkirk Victoria; Hannah Lawler, Edinburgh to VP-Glasgow; David Ross, Giffnock North to East Kilbride; Matthew Stewart, VP-Glasgow to Cumbernauld; Melanie Sinclair, Carnegie to Pitreavie.
LAURA MUIR confirmed she is now a presence on the World stage with a double-medal winning performance at the World Indoor Championships at Birmingham last weekend.
Both the 3000 metres and the 1500 featured the same three athletes in the medal positions and the races run in similar style - a slowish start, then a wind-up to the finish. The first kilometre in the 3000 was reached in 3:14.67 before Klosterhallen took the field through the next 1000 in 2:52.95. The final kilometre took just 2:37.43 with Hassan, veering to the right, holding off Muir for silver; Muir delighted at gaining her first global medal.
The 1500 went Dibaba's way as well , winning in 4:05.27 after a final 700 in 1:44.46 (sub-2 pace for 800). Muir "I ran my socks off" reversed the placings on Hassan to become the first Scot to win two medals at an individual World Championships, indoor or out. Although the insinuations on Dibaba because of her coach hang over her, she remains one of the true greats of athletics, winning her 5th World indoor title.
Eilidh Doyle gained the first-ever medal in the women's 400 by a Briton in a strong run that won her the bronze medal. She was only a metre behind Wimbley, who has an outdoor 50.36, and improved her time in each round, reaching a season's best 51.60 in the final.
She and Zoey Clark benefited from the numerous disqualifications to reach the final and Zoey performed well to reach the final before going on to anchor the British quartet to the bronze medal in the 4x400 metres.
The men's 1500 turned out to be a 700 metres race after the first 800 was reached in 2:23.68. That left the two Scots Jake Wightman and Chris O'Hare trailing in the wake of faster finishers,with Jake 0.48 off the bronze medal position in 6th. Chris was troubled by a foot injury and related lack of confidence but will hopefully have enough time to strengthen before the Commonwealth Games.
Grant Plenderleith performed exceptionally well on his international debut. Part of a British team that finished 6th in the 4x400 final, he produced an excellent 45.75 time on the 2nd leg. Mhairi Hendry ran a solid 2:02.65 in the 800 heats, faster than her pre-2018 best, and will learn greatly from this experience.
Finally, a word about the disqualifications that blighted some events - while undoubtedly correct under the rules, in Lord Coe's brave new world for athletics where entertainment is the key, spectators will not want to be left wondering what will change after the event is run. There may well be pressure on IAAF to review the rules in this area.
1 March 2018. North Ayrshire hammer thrower Rachel Hunter has been forced to withdraw from the Scotland team for the Commonwealth Games on medical grounds, Team Scotland announced today. This follows on from earlier withdrawals by Jax Thoirs, Emma Nuttall and Andy Butchart. Rachel was ranked 7th in the Commonwealth last year.
The updated team going to the Commonwealth Games is:
Men: Chris Bennett, Mark Dry, Callum Hawkins, Guy Learmonth, Chris O’Hare, Robbie Simpson, Allan Smith, David Smith, Jake Wightman.
Women: Amy Carr (para), Zoey Clark, Eilidh Doyle, Sammi Kinghorn (para), Maria Lyle (para), Holly McArthur, Kirsten McAslan (relay), Eilish McColgan, Nikki Manson, Lynsey Sharp, Kelsey Stewart (relay), Stephanie Twell, Lennie Waite.
20 February 2018. British Athletics today announced a team of 31 athletes, including 8 Scots, for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 from 1-4 March.
That is double the previous largest number of Scots selected for these championships. For a full record of past selections and performances, visit our complete record page.
Reigning European indoor champion Laura Muir confirmed her place with victory at the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham – the same venue as the World Championships – at the weekend. Muir will be at chasing the 1500m/3000m double she achieved at last year's European Indoor Championships.
Fellow British indoor champions Eilidh Doyle, Jake Wightman and Eilish McColgan also had their selection confirmed.
Zoey Clark and Chris O’Hare have also been selected to represent Britain again six months after the IAAF World Championships in London and there are international debuts for Mhairi Hendry in the 800 metres and Grant Plenderleith in the 4x400 metres relay.
The team is:
Men - 60m: CJ Ujah, Andrew Robertson. 400m: Lee Thompson. 800m: Elliot Giles. 1500m: Jake Wightman, Chris O’Hare. 3000m: Jonathan Davies. 60m hurdles: Andrew Pozzi, David King. High jump: Robbie Grabarz. Long jump: Greg Rutherford. 4x400m: Lee Thompson, Jamal Rhoden-Stevens, Grant Plenderleith, Owen Smith, Sebastian Rodger, Efe Okoro.
Women - 60m: Asha Philip, Daryll Neita. 400m: Eilidh Doyle, Zoey Clark. 800m: Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, Mhairi Hendry. 1500m: Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir. 3000m: Laura Muir, Eilish McColgan. 60m hurdles: Marilyn Nwawulor. High jump: Morgan Lake. Pentathlon: Katarina Johnson-Thompson. 4x400m relay: Eilidh Doyle, Zoey Clark, Amy Allcock, Anyika Onuora, Meghan Beesley, Hannah Williams.
10 February 2018. Glasgow and Boston were the venues for outstanding Scottish performances as the record book continues to be re-written.
First up was Laura Muir who bettered the 12-year-old native indoor record of Susan Scott in winning the 1500 metres in 4:05.37, taking 6.02 seconds off the old record.
Then Nikki Manson, who just missed out on Commonwealth Games selection, improved her high jump best from 1.87 to 1.90, a 2cm improvement on Emma Nuttall's Scottish indoor record, having dismantled the native indoor record of 1.83 that has lasted for 29 years with an earlier jump of 1.85.
Over to Boston and for the second time in a week, Scottish athletes produced a 1-2 in the States. A week ago, Chris O'Hare led home Josh Kerr at the prestigious Wanamaker Nile at the Millrose Games; today he was victorious over Jake Wightman at the New Balance IAAF Grand Prix over 1500 metres in a new Scottish indoor record of 3:37.03. Wightman, whose last indoor 1500 was a 4:02.43 at the Scottish Schools in 2012, was second in 3:37.43 to move 2nd on the indoor all-time lists.
The previous day, Nick Percy improved his Scottish indoor best for the weight throw for the 3rd time this year with a 21.69 throw.
There was bad news, however, when it was announced that 3 athletes - Andrew Butchart, Jax Thoirs and Emma Nuttall - have had to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games team through injury.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 February 2018:
Aimee Anderson, Giffnock North to East Kilbride; Daniel Burns, Garscube to Clydesdale; Kenneth Cairns, Penicuik to Perth Road Runners; Iona Carft, Skye & Lochalsh to Moray RR; Amy Craig, Maryhill to Cambuslang; Timothy Griffin, Cosmic Hillbashers to Aberdeen; Alan Heron, Dumbarton to Bellahouston RR; Charlotte Hill, Inverness to Aberdeen; Ellie McDonald, Linlithgow to Falkirk Victoria; Amelia Vance, Greenock Glenpark to Inverclyde.
28 January 2018. RECORDS TUMBLED at the FPSG Scottish Senior Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow today. Laura Muir became the first Scot to break 2 minutes for 800 metres indoors to set new National and Native records, winning in 1:59.69. Behind her, Mhairi Hendry became the 3rd fastest all-time with 2:02.41 and Philippa Millage set a Masters best performance of 2:05.96 for the bronze.
Zoey Clark showed she is in excellent form with an opening run of the season of 23.58 in the 200 metres to better Susan Burnside's native record of 23.67 and Melanie Neef's national record of 23.62.
In the 60 metres hurdles, Heather Paton sped to a title win of 8.34, a time which equals the national record held jointly by her and Gemma Werrett, and betters her own native record set last year of 8.37.
There were 3 Scottish indoor masters V35 bests for new vet Gillian Cooke in the pole vault, long jump and triple jump, and one also for Mhairi Porterfield who won the shot title in 13.54, a performance that removes her previous best, under her maiden name of Mhairi Walters, from the all-time lists.
15 January 2018. The Great Edinburgh XC International Challenge may have seen its last race in the city following a decision from City of Edinburgh Council to withdraw its financial support. The annual backing, reported to be more than £100,000, comes at a time when authorities are being asked to make deep cuts to budgets, But the decision to end the capital’s lone world-class event, following on the closure of Meadowbank Stadium, is a major blow to the sport and effectively moves Edinburgh off the map as an athletics venue.
scottishathletics chief executive Mark Munro said: “This year, the public were running from point to point to watch Laura Muir’s victory in the 4x1km relay. Quite simply, it’s an event that brings the athletics community and general public together,” he said. “Whilst understanding the financial challenges we all face just now, it is extremely disappointing that the City of Edinburgh Council have made the decision to remove their financial contribution. We will work with Great Run Company and Event Scotland to see if there are opportunities to continue with the event elsewhere in Scotland.”
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful 2018. Welcome to SATS 2018 - the 2017 news stories have been relocated in the Earlier News pages (see menu on the right).
It promises to be an exciting year with the Commonwealth Games taking place in Australia in April - it certainly doesn't seem 4 years since we were at Hampden Park!
The Scottish Association of Track Statisticians has documented athletics performances in Scotland for over 50 years and this website provides authoritative and factual information on performances, rankings, athlete profiles, and records as well as documenting the history of the sport in Scotland.
You can follow us as well on our facebook page for information and stories.