An icon of Scottish athletics has passed away with the death of Dale Greig last Sunday.
Best known as a pioneering woman distance runner who ventured into the area of marathons and ultra-distance running that even seasoned and hardened male runners regarded with trepidation, Dale Greig became one of the first women to run a marathon, setting the inaugural recognised IAAF women's world best for the distance. In addition to her competitive achievements, she acted as a national administrator, official, race organiser and athletics writer over a long period of time, editing "Dale's Diary" in the Scots Athlete magazine.
Beginning as a schoolgirl sprinter, she soon found that her natural métier was stamina rather than speed. Between 1956 and 1959 she won a silver medal over 880 yards and two bronze medals at one mile in the Scottish women's national championships before going on to specialise in cross country and road running. She was the founder member of Tannahill Harriers, named after the famous Tannahill weavers from Paisley. In 1960, she won the first of four national women's cross country titles. This was the last Scottish Cross Country Championship organised by the Scottish Women's AAA and she is the only runner to have won national titles under both the SWAAA and the subsequent Scottish Women's Cross Country Union organisations. As a member of the group of active women enthusiasts who established the SWCCU at a time when the sport was languishing in Scotland, Dale was the national secretary for six years and treasurer for a further five years.
Her interest in long distance running grew from a meeting with the inspirational Rhodesian, Arthur Newton, pioneer of ultra-long distance running. Her first competition over the standard marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yards came during her annual holiday in the Isle of Wight in May 1964, where sympathetic officials allowed her to run a time-trial on the day of the race, starting 4 minutes ahead of the male competitors. Despite the hilly terrain, and being shadowed by an ambulance throughout the race at the insistence of the athletics authorities, she had no qualms about completing the distance, having included several continuous runs of around 20 miles in her training schedule. Her finishing time of 3 hours 27 minutes 45 seconds was remarkable, being recorded as an IAAF inaugural world best over an officially certified and measured course, giving clear indication of what she might have achieved if she had prepared thoroughly for further marathon races. However, she enjoyed conventional competition too much to break from the standard women's events, and it was not until 1971 that she made her next attempt at a long distance event. After a thorough build up, running from 60 to 100 miles per week with continuous runs of 30 to 40 miles, she competed in the Isle of Man 40 miles race over the famous motorcycle TT course, finishing the distance in 6:48:00. Another pioneering effort came in hill running, where she was the first woman to compete in and finish the Ben Nevis 10 mile mountain marathon race in Fort William. This race, regarded as the toughest in Britain, she termed “body-shattering”.
The following year she decided to run in the classic London to Brighton 53 mile race. Her normal schedule of 50 to 60 miles per week was supplemented by three 40 mile runs, plus other continuous runs over 45 and 50 miles. For some of these long runs she ran from her Paisley home over country roads to the Clyde Coast, carrying her tracksuit in her shoulder rucksack. Stopping at Largs or another coastal town where she had a snack, she ran on to Greenock, donned her tracksuit, and travelled home by rail. Setting off on her solo run at 6 a.m. from Big Ben at Westminster Bridge, one hour before the male runners in the official race, she completed the arduous event, running non-stop with no noticeable aches or strains, in 8:30:03, representing a pace of under 9 minutes per mile. She continued to compete on the track in mile races and won her 4th and final Scottish cross country title in 1968, going on to finish 8th in the English championships and 14th in the International championship at Blackburn. In 1974, she recorded her most notable international marathon success when winning the women’s World Veteran Championships in Paris in 3:45:21. This race was the first officially sanctioned marathon for men and women to race together and her win was part of a memorable Scottish double, as Alastair Wood won the men’s race.
Her pioneering efforts opened the way for women throughout the world to be admitted to marathon races having ventured into unchartered territory at a time when some respected authorities still believed that running such long distances was harmful for a woman. Even though the current world marathon best is now well over an hour better than she ran in 1964 when 800 metres was the longest distance for women in the Olympic Games, she earned great credit and admiration for showing the world that women are biologically better suited for endurance races, rather than the explosive events which make up so much of their athletics programme. Their athletics achievements have been confirmed by cycling and swimming where the longer the distance the more closely women approach men’s standards of performance.
Her achievements and influence on the sport were recognised with her induction last year into the scottishathletics Hall of Fame.
Dale Sheldon Greig, 15 March 1937-12 May 2019
(Above article first published in "The Past is a Foreign Country!, by Colin Shields and Arnold Black.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 May 2019:
Sophie Bath, East Sutherland AC to Pitreavie AAC; Beatrice Baynham-Wainwright, Shettleston Harriers to Giffnock North AC; Rhys Black, Dunbar RC to Team East Lothian; Emily, Hamish and Peter Bradshaw, all North Ayrshire AC to Inverclyde AC; Kay Conneff, Calderglen Harriers to East Kilbride AC; Eve Crawford, Airdrie Harriers to VP Glasgow AC; Emma and Oonagh Dunnett, both Shettleston Harriers to North Highland Harriers; Ian Edwards, Aberdeen AAC to Newburgh Dunes RC; Helen Falconer, Portobello RC to Harmeny AC; Wanda-Jane and Zico Field, both Chirnside Chasers to Gala Harriers; Nanette Heaney, Falkland Trail Runners to Fife AC; Colin Knox, Forres Harriers to Elgin AAC; Connor Lupton, Haddington RC to Team East Lothian; Shaun MacDonald, Deveron Harriers to Aberdeen AAC; Andrew McGill, Linlithgow AC to Livingston AC; Sunny McGrath, Deveron Harriers to Aberdeen AAC; Emily McKenzie, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; George McKinley, Barrow and Furness Striders to Dundee Road Runners; Scott Perry, Forres Harriers to Elgin AAC; Erin Ramsay, Ayr Seaforth AC to Giffnock North AC; Sadie Slifer, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; Dionne Milne, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers to Moray Road Runners.
28 April 2019. For 34 years, Allister Hutton has held the Scottish marathon record of 2:09:16. No longer. Callum Hawkins, finishing 10th in today's London marathon, has taken over a minute off that record with a run of 2:08:14.
17 April 2019. Last weekend saw the setting of the first outdoor record (*) of the season and it went to a young athlete not unfamiliar to record-breaking.
Kirsty Costello of Kilbarchan AAC bettered her own under-17 hammer throw record with a throw of 62.85 at the Alan Bertram Memorial Event at Loughborough on Saturday.
Last year, she twice broke Myra Perkins' record of 59.25 with throws of 60.49 and 60.52 and she has now added over 2 metres to that record.
Kirsty also holds the under-15 record where she set 5 records with the 3kg hammer improving the age-group record from 51.91 metres to 57.83.
* record subject to application form and paperwork being submitted and approved.
28 March 2019. Edinburgh AC have bolstered their team for this year's UK Women's League campaign with the signings of Scottish internationalists Kirsten McAslan and Mhairi Patience. Kirsten, pictured by Bobby Gavin on her way to her Scottish title last year, follows a family tradition with father and uncles having been Edinburgh AC athletes.
These are the two big names in this month's changes of club that have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 April 2019. The full list is:
James Beattie, Falkirk Victoria Harriers to Lothian RC; Kirsten Bowie, Elgin AAC to Livingston AC; Sarah Burns, Corstorphine AC to Edinburgh AC; Michael Cairns, Kilbarchan AAC to Glasgow City AC; Rhea Campbell, Giffnock North AC to VP Glasgow AC; Charlotte Clare, Moorfoot Runners to Lasswade AC; Oliver Coghlan, Dunbar RC to Team East Lothian; James Grant, Strathearn Harriers to Perth Strathtay Harriers; Gregory Hoggan, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; Kayleigh Jarrett, Metro Aberdeen RC to Elgin AAC; Max Mayer, Musselburgh AC to Edinburgh AC; Kirsten McAslan, Sale Harriers to Edinburgh AC; Courtney Moffat, Livingston AC to Lothian RC; Alun Myers, Victoria Park & Mile End Club to Inverclyde AC; Mhairi Patience, VP Glasgow AC to Edinburgh AC; Jamie Smith, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; Nina Walsh-Kirk, Stewartry AC to Annan & Dist AC; Brodie Wright, VP Glasgow AC to Motherwell AC.
7 March 2019. The website will not be updated for the next two weeks as I am away on holiday!
I have, however, added a number of items which I hope will be of interest-
The annual rankings have now been updated for the 2018 junior men and women's age-groups.
The records section now has pages covering Scottish holders of British records over the years, senior men and women, outdoors and indoors.
And the British Championships page now has a record of all Scottish athletes who have won medals at recognised British senior championships from 1866 to the current day.
"As soon as I walked out I felt like ´yeah, this is home´. I have run on this track hundreds, if not thousands of times, so I just felt as if I could do what I normally do here, and that was enough to win. The first 1k wasn´t too bad, but it did pick up after that. At halfway it was a good split. So I´m really happy with the time. To win with a championships record, and to do it here, is a dream. Now I will try and recover before the 1500m final -- lots of ice baths, massage and rest. But I´ve got about 40 hours, so I know should be fine. My Mum, my Gran and all the aunties, uncles and family friends were here. It was hard to get them all tickets. My Gran is always there when I have not done so well, so this is the first time she has seen me win a medal. The field was very strong and the girls gave me a great race. I certainly thought I had a lot of pressure competing in front of the home crowd and then adding on the double. I just put my head down and gave it absolutely everything I had." (Laura Muir)
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 March 2019:
David Agnew, Pitreavie AAC to Dunfermline T&F AC; Lewis Bell, Gala Harriers to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers; Magnus Bryce, Central AC to VP Glasgow AC; Keith Bonthrone, Falkland Trail Runners to Fife AC; Jade Gray, Hamilton & District AC to Larkhall YMCA Harriers; Sharon Grierson, Livingston AC to Lasswade AC; Cameron Harris, Central AC to Livingston AC; Kate Harvie, Moorfoot Runners to Lasswade AC; David Henderson, Pitreavie AAC to PH Racing Club; Tia Henry Livingston AC to Pitreavie AAC; Michael McConnell, Perth Road Runners to PH Racing Club; Alasdair MacNair, Wee County Harriers to Central AC; Calum Ross, Lothian RC to Falkirk Victoria Harriers; Peter Tucker, Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC to Inverclyde AC; Amanda Wallis, Aberdeen AAC to Metro Aberdeen; Michael Ward, Black Pear Joggers to Lothian RC.
The British team selected for the European Indoor Championships has been announced today and contains 9 Scottish members:-
800: Guy Learmonth (Lasswade). 1500: Neil Gourley (Giffnock North). 3000: Andrew Butchart (Central) & Chris O'Hare (Edinburgh). W400 & 4x400: Zoey Clark (Thames Valley) and Eilidh Doyle (Pitreavie). 1500: Laura Muir (Dundee Hawkhill) and Jemma Reekie (Kilbarchan). 3000: Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill) & Laura Muir (Dundee Hawkhill).
The total of 9 betters the previous highest number of Scots in the team - 6 at Prague in 2015 and at Belgrade in 2017. Other observations - 8 of the 9 are first claim for Scottish clubs; no field representation; and Josh Kerr, who could have put it into double figures, was unavailable due to exams in the USA.
16 February 2019. In a great day for Scottish 1500 metres/mile running, Laura Muir captured the British mile record and improved her own 1500 record at Birmingham's Muller Grand Prix, while Josh Kerr set his first senior record with a new national 1500 mark.
Paced through 409m (1:07.69) and 809m (2:12.37), Muir was alone in front for the second half of the race but kept churning out the 32-second laps. The clock showed 3:47.97 as Muir embarked on her final lap, needing 36 seconds for the last 200 to beat the British record. She went far faster, running 30.78, and reached the finish in a world-leading 4:18.75, the third-fastest indoor mile of all time. Her 1500m split of 4:01.84 was also an improvement on her own British indoor record of 4:02.39. Her mile though slashed 13.25 seconds from Yvonne Murray's indoor record of 4:32.00.
Josh Kerr found himself in an astonishing race as the runners were paced through 400m in 55.69 and 800m in 1:52.70. Yomif Kejelcha, who last week came within 0.01 of the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games, a race in which Josh was fourth, was targeting the world record and reached 1200m in 2:49.28 with fellow Ethiopian Samuel Tefera close behind and it was Tefera who kicked home to win in 3:31.04, improving Hicham El Guerrouj's 1997 record,by 0.14. Josh was the leading Brit in 4th place, his time of 3:35.72 breaking Chris O'Hare's Scottish record of 3:37.03. British 3000 champion O'Hare was next in 3:37.42 and Neil Gourley smashed his indoor PB in 8th (3rd Brit) in 3:38.32.
11 February 2009. The British Indoor Championships at Birmingham at the weekend provided a showcase for Scotland's middle-distance runners, with all the 1500 metres and 3000 metres races falling to Scots.
Laura Muir set the ball rolling on the Saturday with a 3000 victory in 8:48.03 after Beth Potter led through 1000 and 2000 on her way to a 9:02.06 PB in fourth. It was Laura's 5th indoor title, equalling the record held by Rosemary Stirling and Geoff Parsons.
Chris O'Hare had never won an indoor title at 1500m, but he remedied that at 3000 metres by getting the better of Charlie Grice and Andy Butchart to win in 7:52.86. Neil Gourley won his first title, taking the 1500m in 3:44.76 and Jemma Reekie continued her fine form from last year with a comfortable 1500m win in 4:17.08, Kerry MacAngus setting a new PB of 4:20.25 in 4th.
Scottish athletes have a good record in the women's 400 metres as well and Zoey Clark (pictured) became the fifth Scots winner in 7 years with a 52.82 victory in a close finish for the places that saw Eilidh Doyle edged into fourth.
There was an eighth senior medal for Guy Learmonth (silver) in the 800 metres, just one short of the record nine achieved by high jumpers Geoff Parsons and Crawford Fairbrother.
Adam Thomas, who missed last season through injury, won silver in a blanket finish in the 60 metres, where 0.05 covered the top six, becoming the 3rd fastest Scot of all time with his 6.63 semi final win, and Nikki Manson was the only Scottish medal-winner in the field events, third in the high jump in 1.80 metres, beating Emma Nuttall on countback.
It is always sad when news comes out of the death of an athlete but even more so when that athlete passes at such a young age. Dawn Flockhart, after a brave battle against cancer, has passed away at the tragically early age of 51.
Dawn was one of Scotland's leading sprinters throughout the 1980s and into the mid-nineties. She was an outstandingly talented young athlete, setting an under-15 200 metres record of 24.63 seconds in 1981 which still stands 38 years later. Her all-time career best of 23.71 still ranks in the top 20 Scots of all time. She never won a senior title but was a medallist on 13 occasions, winning 4 silver medals and 9 bronze medals. She represented Scotland in 8 international matches and ran for Great Britain against Yugoslavia in 1984 as a member of the 4x100 metres relay team. She won a bronze medal as part of the GB 4x400 team at the European Junior Championships in 1985 where she was 5th in the 200 metres.
A member of Edinburgh Southern Harriers/Edinburgh Woollen Mill, her career bests were 7.72 (60m), 11.80 (100m), 23.71 (200m), 54.4 (400m) and she even tried her hand at triple jump with a legal best of 10.90.
Since 2002, Dawn had been working and studying with some of the most renowned Neuro Linguistic Programming trainers in the world and was an extensively qualified Licensed NLP Trainer & High Performance Coach. She was also a qualified hypnotherapist/psychotherapist and a certified yoga teacher. She had a scientific background with a Degree in Computing Science and a teaching qualification from the University of Cambridge.
She will be sorely missed by so many. Our condolences go out to family, friends and colleagues.
Dawn Marie Flockhart, b. 16 May 1967; d. 4 February 2019.
The latest club moves see Scottish indoor 1500 metres champion, Katy Brown, join Giffnock North. The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 February 2019:
Katy Barden, Bromsgrove & Redditch AC to Gala Harriers; Katy Brown, Stewartry AC to Giffnock North AC; Craig Eaglesham, Inverclyde AC to North Ayrshire AC; Scott Hannaway, Inverclyde AC to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Malcolm Lang, Lothian RC to Corstorphine AAC; Megan Lang, Lothian RC to Corstorphine AAC; Jamie Lessels, Fife AC to Falkland Trail Runners; Alexander MacKay, Ross County AC to Inverness Harriers; Mark Magee, Inverclyde AC to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Scott McCluckie, Inverclyde AC to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Alison McGill, Fife AC to PH Racing Club; Drew McIntyre, Inverclyde AC to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Emma Murray, Garioch RR to JSK Running Club; Tony Quinn, Kirkintilloch Olympians to PH Racing Club; Liam Sleigh, Corstorphine AAC to Fife AC; Rachel Wardrope, East Kilbride AC to Cambuslang Harriers; Harriet Woodland-Broome, Edinburgh AC to Corstorphine AAC.
24 January 2019. One athlete attracting attention in marathon running is Scot Nikki Johnstone who has recorded an astonishing hat-trick of marathon victories in the first 19 days of January.
Last year, he ran 8 marathons, winning in the German marathons at Krefeld, Mannheim and Duisburg, and reducing his PB from 2:31:23 to 2:25:21. His slowest run was 2:35:17 at the Berlin marathon, but then he did run that race as an Elvis impersonator.
A teacher at the ISR International School on the Rhine in Germany, Nikki has got his year off to a spectacular start. He won the New Year's marathon in Zurich on 1st January in 2:26:52, then retained his title at the LLG-Kevelaer marathon in Twisteden, Germany in a new PB of 2:24:21 just five days later.
Taking a breather for 13 days, he won the Funchal marathon in Portugal at the weekend in another PB of 2:21:50.
I am not sure if any other Scottish athletes have won three consecutive marathons, but certainly none will have won three in 19 days - the fastest marathon hat-trick on record?
13 January 2019. The 2018 ranking lists for senior men and senior women are now on the website. The rankings show the top 20 performances and top 40 performers approximately across all standard events, including track and field and road running.
Any corrections and amendments will be gratefully received so if you feel you are missing from the rankings or misrepresented, or there is an error, please let me know and the lists will be updated.
The annual ranking lists on the website now cover all years dating back to 2000.
Junior Men and Junior Women's lists for 2018 will be available in a few weeks.
Glasgow City has added top young thrower Andrew Costello to its ranks as well as Aberdeen's Italian sprinter Christian Hristov. Two leading young field eventers also feature on the list of club changes this month, with Inverness long/triple jumper Stephen Mackenzie joining Pitreavie and Law thrower Hayley Berry moving to VP Glasgow.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 January 2019:
Marie Baxter, Garioch RR to JSK Running Club; Hayley Berry, Law & District to VP Glasgow; Colin Black, Law & District to Giffnock North; Angela Carson, Bellahouston Harriers to Giffnock North; Jonathan Collings, Livingston to Lothian RC; Andrew Costello, Kilbarchan to Glasgow City; Aimie Hendry, Cumbernauld to VP Glasgow; Christian Hristov, Aberdeen to Glasgow City; Daniel Humble, Croydon Harriers to Bellahouston Harriers; Stephen MacKenzie, Inverness Harriers to Pitreavie; Elizabeth McCall, Aberdeen to Edinburgh AC; Jason Miles-Campbell, Hamilton Harriers to Strathearn Harriers; Harris Morrison, Inverclyde to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Lily Nicol, Nairn to Inverness Harriers; Rudi Paul, Inverness Harriers to Bellahouston Harriers; Eilidh Turner, Lothian RC to Falkirk Victoria Harriers.
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.
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