The Scottish Athletics Archive is a project by the Scottish Association of Track Statisticians (SATS) to document the history of Scottish Athletics. As time progresses and older performances disappear from the all-time lists, past names get consigned to history. The achievements of athletes from the past, top athletes of their time, gradually disappear from sight. This archive is an attempt to document the careers of these athletes, internationalists, club athletes, and even top schools athletes.
The first Scottish Athletics Annual that was produced with Scottish ranking lists was a work carried out by Simon Pearson in 1960, covering the senior ranking lists for 1959. The Annuals progressed over time and, with the emigration of Simon Pearson to Canada, the SATS were formed on 14 January 1968. The Annuals continued until 1983 before being resurrected in 1993 and running until 2009. On 1 January 2010, the place of the annuals was taken by the SATS website.
The Archive Project starts in 1959, the year of the first published ranking lists and the information is reviewed and updated on an annual basis. The 2022 update brings in pre-1959 performances of athletes listed in the archive.
The information in the Archive will never be fully complete. If you find the information of interest and are able to add any information, no matter how minor, about any athlete – whether it is a missing first name, middle initial, date of birth, and sadly, date of death, or additional biographical information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – any information or corrections will be gratefully received.
The information included within the Archive documents the record of every athlete who has featured in the Scottish senior ranking lists. You will find the record of all athletes who appeared in the rankings, documenting their annual performance and their position in the rankings. In addition, we show the championship record of each athlete, detailing their main competitive performances.
As separate additional information, we show the top 10 rankings for each year for each event; the Scottish Championship medallists, both outdoor and indoor; the Closed Championships winners, the Inter-Regional winners, the District Championship winners; the Scottish Junior Championship winners; and the Schools Championship winners. Other championship results will be added.
The following notes give an explanation to the information recorded to assist in the understanding of the information contained.
Athletes are listed alphabetically with separate documents for men and women. In the earlier years, athletes were generally shown in programmes by their initials rather than their first names. Hence, C.W. Fairbrother, rather than Crawford Fairbrother. The listing therefore shows athletes’ initials where known, e.g. Crawford W. Fairbrother.
Where an athlete competes as a single woman and also under a married name, the athlete is listed under her maiden name, e.g. Rosemary Payne is listed under Rosemary Charters. However, an entry is also made under the married name, so if you look under Rosemary Payne, you will find :
◄ Rosemary CHARTERS
cross-referencing back to the maiden name. Within an athlete’s performance listing, the time when the athlete changed to their married name is shown in the listing, e.g.
The header line shows the athlete name, followed by their date of birth (and death, if appropriate), where known, in brackets, followed by the clubs that they represented. The clubs include schools, universities or colleges, if the athlete featured in the rankings while at these institutions. We have commenced the additions of dates of club changes and this will be extended in coming years.
Each time an athlete appeared in the Scottish rankings, the detail of the performance is shown together with the performance in the rankings. So, for example, the entry for Jonathan Abernethy shows:
Jonathan ABERNETHY (26.04.64) Sparkhill H, Birchfield H
1982 100 10.8 5
which means that in 1982, in the 100 metres, he ran 10.8 seconds which placed him 5th in the rankings.
No distinction has been made between outdoor and indoor performances. The archive simply list the athlete's best performance for an event in each year. From 2010, hand timed performances for events up to and including 200 metres are not included.
Wind-assisted performances in sprints and jumps are included but not given a ranking position. Generally, an event has to be a standard event or have sufficient athletes competing in it for it to be given a ranking.
Many Scots who lived and competed outwith Scotland were not always identified immediately as Scottish. Indeed, a lot of athletes hold dual qualification through birthplace or parentage and may not always put themselves forward as Scottish at the start of the career. Such athletes are included from the period they first appeared in the rankings but it is intended to add further detail of ‘pre-Scottish’ performances at a later date.
Many non-Scottish athletes have competed for Scottish clubs, schools or universities. These athletes are included in the athlete listing but their performance, in accordance with current practice, is not given a ranking position. This is contrary to the way the ranking lists may have appeared at the time. It is also debatable whether this is the ideal way to record this. For example, Bernie Nottage, a leading sprinter in the 1960s who competed for Aberdeen University and represented Bahamas at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, also represented Scotland between competing for Bahamas internationally. He has not been given a ranking position but can claim to be one of the top Scottish sprinters of the time.
Undoubtedly, there are non-Scottish athletes that have not been identified as such. Only athletes known with certainty to be non-Scots have been treated as such. In addition, these athletes’ performances are only recognised during the time that they were included in the Scottish rankings. They are not a complete record.
Road running, other than the marathon, is not included. A separate road running archive is planned.
Following on from the performance listing is the athlete’s record at major international championships, British championships and Scottish champions. This is shown in the following format (example given is Jim Alder’s):
CR: Oly ’68 Mar (dnf); Eur ’66 10000 (9th); Eur Mar ‘69 (3rd), Com ’66 10000 (3rd), Mar (1st), ’70 Mar (2nd); GB: 2 AAA10M ‘65, 3 AAA6M ’68. Sco: 1 Mar ‘70, 2 10000 ‘71, 2 Mar ’63.
The record starts with CR: (Championship Record) and firstly details international championships – the Olympic Games (Oly), World Championships (Wld), European Championships (Eur), Commonwealth Games (Com), European Indoor Championships (Eur Ind) in which the athlete has competed in. This is followed by details of medals in GB championships which starts with GB: and covers medals at AAA Championships, outdoor and indoor (AAA or AAAi) and UK Championships. Thereafter medals in Scottish Championships are shown, starting with Sco: and covering both outdoors and indoors championships.
Only Senior Championships are included.
Limited biographical information is shown to note family relationships with other athletes. It is hoped to develop and expand on this, to include careers outside athletics competition and other points of interest. If anyone is able to provide a short biography, or add any information, this will be gratefully received.
Ranking lists are shown for each event for each year from 1959 onwards. The top ten are shown. These may not always correspond to rankings shown at the time for the following reasons:
• If performances have been identified that were not included within the rankings at the time, such performances have been adjusted for;
• Wind-assisted performances are not ranked;
• Field events which were originally recorded in feet and inches have been converted to their metric equivalents.
The use of automatic timing, using photo-finish equipment, first started to appear regularly in the 1980s, although the equipment was sometimes used in major championships in earlier years. Where information is available, automatic times have been used in preference to the hand times that were declared at the time.
However, it is only from 2000 that the events up to and including 200 metres are ranked on automatic times only, with hand-timed performances not been giving a ranking.
Manually-timed performances are recorded to one-tenth of a second, automatically-timed performances are recorded to one-hundredth of a second.
The Archive information has been compiled by Arnold Black for the Scottish Association of Track Statisticians. With grateful thanks to Rita Smith for the extensive data entry work undertaken.