TRIBUTE TO MARTIN HYMAN - by Mel Watman
Martin Hyman, who died on April 3 aged 87, admitted that as a runner his "physical abilities were very limited." He possessed so little natural speed that he never ran faster than 57.5 for 440 yards, nor could he break 2 minutes for the half mile. And yet by sheer perseverance and application, he became a world class distance runner, setting a UK record for 6 miles in 1961, placing third in the International Cross Country Championship earlier that year and going close to medals at the 1958 Commonwealth Games and 1962 European Champs.
His early life was perilous. Born in Southampton on 3 July 1933, he was evacuated to Jersey when war broke out – but that was a very dangerous place for him to be, for his father had been a Jewish trade union official in Germany and had they not fled back to the mainland a week or two before the German Army occupied the Channel Islands they surely would not have survived. In a profile by John Cobley, Hyman admitted "I was a useless runner; I had very little talent apart from great determination. Because I was a weak and sickly child and wanted to prove I could do something, I was full of determination to get better."
He entered Southampton University in 1951, aged 18, and the following year joined the university's cross country club. On the track he began with a modest 15:22.1 for 3 miles in 1953 but improved drastically to 14:37.8 a year later as a member of Portsmouth AC. After graduating he was called up for National Service but declared himself a conscientious objector and instead served in an ambulance unit in Austria, dealing with Hungarian refugees who had left their country after the Soviet invasion. By the time he returned to Southampton University for a teaching diploma course, his track times had improved out of all recognition. In 1957 ran ran 13:57.4 for 3 miles and 29:30.6 for 6 miles and in 1958 he clocked 13:34.0 (the day after his wedding!) and 28:18.8. That was the year he gained his first international vest, placing fourth in the Commonwealth Games 6 miles, up with the three medallists until the bell, despite wearing an unsuitable pair of spikes which left him blooded and blistered.
He and clubmate Bruce Tulloh, both of them self-coached after absorbing all the training information they could find, became two of Britain's most consistent and successful distance runners over the next few years. Hyman, who attracted attention off the track also in his role as a leading member of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament), ran his fastest 3 miles time of 13:29.2 in 1959 and at the following year's Olympics in Rome he finished ninth in the 10,000m after leading briefly shortly after halfway and in medal contention up to 7000m. He did well to make the team as his training was severely curtailed by illness and injury in the eight months prior to the Games.
HIs big year was 1961. He was set up nicely for the track season after placing third in the International Cross Country Championship, and a May Bank Holiday crowd of over 25,000 at the White City witnessed Hyman smash Stan Eldon's British record of 28:05.0 with 27:54.4, just missing Murray Halberg's Commonwealth record 27:52.2. As I reported for Athletics Weekly at the time, Hyman "planned and executed his six miles campaign in a manner befitting his near neighbour in Alton (Hampshire), Field Marshal Montgomery." With his distinctive high stepping action and running his usual even paced race, he covered the first half in 13:58.0, the second in 13:56.4. In other races that season, he and Basil Heatley deliberately dead-heated in first place at 6 miles against the USA and 10,000m against West Germany. He even ran a decent mile time of 4:12.5, and he ended the year on a high note by winning the prestigious "Round The Houses" New Year's Eve 7.3k road race in São Paulo, defeating Abebe Bikila no less.
Hyman improved his 6 miles time in 1962 when third at the AAA Champs in 27:52.0 behind Roy Fowler and Mike Bullivant whose joint 27:49.8 broke Hyman's UK record. At the European Champs, appointed team captain, he equalled his 10,000m pb of 29:02.0 but, gallingly, was just edged out of the bronze medal by team-mate Roy Fowler with the same time. He had quite an adventurous year, for he tried the steeplechase for the first time (9:21.8) and ran his first and only marathon at the Commonwealth Games in Perth, finishing ninth in 2:32:06 five days after his fifth place in the 6 miles. He had never run further than 11 miles before!
The 1964 AAA 6 miles proved to be a great race as Mike Bullivant lowered the UK record to 27:26.44 ahead of Ron Hill (27:27.01), Jim Hogan (27:35.03) and Hyman in a career best of 27:36.09. Controversially, Hyman did not get selected for the Tokyo Olympics. Hogan repres-ented Ireland at that time but young Fergus Murray won the third place in the British team even though his best 6M time was 28:11.8 ... and Hyman's distinguished international career was at an end. He was at the time Chairman of the International Athletes' Club and because of his constant campaigning for a better deal for athletes he was not popular with the powers-that-be. "That was the reason I wasn't selected. And I was never selected after that. It was totally political."
He continued racing for several years for his beloved Portsmouth AC (he was a member for 65 years), before moving to Scotland in 1979 and joining Livingston & District AAC and co-founding Lothian Running Club. There he combined his duties as a biology teacher until retirement with coaching young athletes and working with the British Orienteering Squad, which he founded, and the hill running community. He could look back on a fine career, made all the more remarkable as he was burdened with asthma in the winter and hay fever in the summer. Ever modest about his achievements, he remarked: "I do not care much for what I have done as an athlete. My preoccupation is with coaching." For more than 35 years he held a weekly training session in Edinburgh, encouraging his athletes to explore the options open to them. "My aim as a coach is to move away from the traditional coach role of telling youngsters what to do and towards empowering youngsters to decide where they want to go and to think about how best to get there." Countless men and women welcomed his approach and have become runners for life. That is his true legacy.
With thanks to Mel Watman for use of this tribute to Martin Hyman, first published in Athletics International.
Martin Hyman, 3 July 1933 - 3 April 2021
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 April 2021:
Sophia Graham, Arbroath & Dist AC to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers; Mark Harris, Anster Haddies to Fife AC; Ella Nicholson, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; Iona Robertson, Moray RR to Highland Hill Runners; Rory Voss, Dunfermline Track & Field AC to Pitreavie AAC; Gemma Wade, Arbroath & Dist AC to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers.
BARROWFORD, 3 April 2021.
Beth Potter ran a time faster than the current world women's 5km record at a race in the Lancashire village of Barrowford when she clocked a time of 14 minutes 41 seconds on Saturday.
Only Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei has ever run faster - recording 14:32 during a 10km race in Prague in 2017. However, 5km road racing has only been recognised as an official world record event since January 2018, meaning Potter may have set a world record time.
That mark is currently held by steeplechase world champion Beatrice Chepkoech, who ran 14:43 at the Monaco Run in February.
Potter's time at the Podium 5km event may not be ratified as a world record by World Athletics if there was an absence of anti-doping officers or any irregularities in the size of laps and the course measurement.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 March 2021:
Lauren Abbott, Moray RR to Elgin AAC; Ethan Brown, Joshua Liddell, John Marshall and Anna Smart, Haddington RC to Team East Lothian; Matthew Chandler, Central AC to Kilbarchan AAC; Ben Krievs, Andrew Irvine and Sophie Rhodes, Dunbar RC to Team East Lothian; Max Rickis, Donald Ross, Eily Sinclair and Alva Taylor, Musselburgh & Dist AC to Team East Lothian; Alice Robertson Edinburgh AC to VP Glasgow AC; Vicki White, Vegan Runners to Hunters Bog Trotters.
FEBRUARY 13, NEW YORK: Jake Wightman set a new Scottish indoor 1500 metres record at the New Balance indoor grand prix meeting at New York's Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex. Wightman set the pace in an attempt on Peter Elliott's long-standing British record of 3:34.20 set in 1990. Miawad (USA) set the pace going through 400m in 56.89 before Jake took over the lead, passing 800m in 1:54.40 and 1200m in 2:54.05, but he could not keep it going as his final 300m took 44.03 as he was overtaken by Australian Oliver Hoare's 41.67. Hoare won in 3:32.35 but Jake's time of 3:34.48, the second fastest time by a Briton, saw him break Josh Kerr's Scottish record of 3:35.72.
LIEVIN, FRA : 9 February 2021. Laura Muir bettered 4 minutes for the indoor 1500 metres for the first time indoors, setting British and Scottish records of 3:59.58, yet found herself over six seconds behind the Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, who set a new world record of 3:53.09. There was a swift early pace, 58.97 at 400 and 2:05.94 at 800 and with three laps to go Tsegay held a four-second lead over Muir, passing 1000m in 2:37.36. Tsegay, the world bronze medallist, held her pace and took more than two seconds off Dibaba's world indoor record. Muir, in her first race of the year, regained her British and Scottish records from Jemma Reekie. Reekie, meantime, was in fine form, opening her year with an 800m victory in 2:00.64.
8 February 2021. One of the features of the website is our Archive section in which you can find championship 1-2-3s, district championships, schools championships and progressive best performances, as well as details of over 11,000 athletes who have featured in the Scottish ranking lists since the firsts lists were published for the 1959 year.
Our rankings archive has been brought up to date and you can now see how athletics has progressed since 1959, men and women, showing the annual top ten in each event.
Over 60 years of Scottish top tens in two documents - one for men, one for women. You can find the links to the publications at this link.
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 February 2021:
Allan Cameron, Motherwell AC to Cumbernauld AAC; Stephen Croft, Edinburgh AC to Carnethy Hill Racing Club; Oliver Elder, Shettleston Harriers to Airdrie Harriers; Bryan Mckenna, Buxton AC to Carnethy Hill Racing Club; Lauren McNair, Motherwell AC to Law & District AAC; Lesley Ross, Motherwell AC To Cumbernauld AAC.
News has reached me of the passing of Doris Tyndall, pictured here (no. 39) at the 1961 Scottish Championships. Doris was an extremely talented runner in her teens, representing Tayside AAC, and was a member of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team at Cardiff in 1958 at the age of 18, running in the 100 yards and 220 yards, and a member of the sprint relay team which finished 5th in the 4 x 110 yards final. She won the Scottish 100 yards championship in 1958 in 11.5 and took the 220y title that year (25.6) and the following year (25.8). She was a silver medallist on 5 occasions and bronze once. She recorded a sprint double at the inaugural intermediate championships in 1955, defending her 220 yards title the following year.
Doris Millicent Tyndall, b. Carnoustie, 31 March 1940; d. Dundee, 2020.
29 January 2021. John Keddie has been active during lockdown and his latest publication is Scotland's Track and Field Olympians, Part 1 - 1896-1980. The book identifies and describes the performances of Scottish track and field athletes who competed in the Olympic Games between 1896 and 1980, telling the story of Scots or descendants of Scots, who took part in Olympic track and field athletics.
He has also produced an update of Then Came A Cloud, the story of K. G. Macleod, whom he describes as Scotland's Greatest Sporting All-rounder, the book first being published in 2016.
Both are available through Amazon and Lulu.com and enquiries can also be sent to john at the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, there's a new edition of his book on Eric Liddell, Running the Race, first published in 2007 and now available in an updated 2020 edition from Christian Focus Publications.
You can find the publications on Amazon at the following link:
4 January 2021. As the Covid pandemic played havoc with the 2020 outdoor season, there is no SATS Athlete of the Year or Club of the Year tables for 2020. World Athletics do maintain world ranking lists and Laura Muir is the highest placed Scot, 36th in the women's rankings. Jake Wightman is top Scot on the mem's side, ranked 150th. Here are the leading Scottish athletes at the end of 2020 (2019 position in brackets):
|1||Jake WIGHTMAN (1)||1316||Laura MUIR (1)||1386|
|2||Callum HAWKINS (3)||1267||Lynsey SHARP (3)||1287|
|3||Josh KERR (2)||1242||Jemma REEKIE (4)||1286|
|4||Guy LEARMONTH (5)||1222||Eilish McCOLGAN (2)||1285|
|5||Andrew BUTCHART (4)||1209||Beth DOBBIN (5)||1239|
|6||Chris O'HARE (7)||1187||Stephanie TWELL (6)||1227|
|7||Neil GOURLEY (6)||1185||Sarah INGLIS (7)||1146|
|8||William GRIMSEY (8)||1136||Stephanie DAVIS (14)||1135|
|9||David SMITH (16)||1120||Nikki MANSON (12)||1129|
|10||Jax THOIRS (9)||1117||Zoey CLARK (8)||1122|
|11||Nick PERCY (10)||1117||Heather PATON (9)||1119|
|12||Allan SMITH (11)||1108||Alisha REES (11)||1110|
4 January 2021. New lockdown measures have been introduced across mainland Scotland for the remainder of January. Here is an update on the athletics situation:
31 December 2020. 2020 has been a year like no other. The SATS Athlete of the Year and Club of the Year have been cancelled but will hopefully resume in 2021. We do, however, have our annual rankings for 2020 which have less depth than previous years as the outdoor season was almost non-existent. You can find the rankings by following the rankings link above, or by clicking on the links below:
The following changes of club have been approved by scottishathletics with effect from 1 January 2021:
Aaron Glendinning, Gala Harriers to Tweed Leader Jed Track; Gavin Morrison, Inverclyde AC to Greenock Glenpark Harriers; Sophie Wallwork, Pitreavie AAC to Dundee Hawkhill Harriers; Colin Whitby, Irvine RC to Garscube Harriers.
1 December 2020. The scottishathletics selection policy for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham has been announced. You can see the policy in our Commonwealth Games pages in the Scotland section or by clicking here.
The selection standards follow the same system as recent Games with the standards aimed to be equivalent to a top six placing in the final of an event, based on recent Games results.
There are spaces in the team for 23 athletes to be selected. This is the same number as competed at the last Games in England, in Manchester in 2002.
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.
Our facebook group, the SATS Scottish Athletics Network, is open to everyone interested in athletics and will be a meeting place to chat, share opinions, ask questions, offer advice, discuss events, make friends.
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