The year 1998 was a significant landmark in the history of Cambuslang Harriers as it marked our 50th anniversary. I have attempted to trace the history of the club from our humble beginning with the local pit baths as our headquarters to the present day with a newly rebuilt sports club as our base. Anyone reading the achievements of the club can see how Cambuslang Harriers has become the leading male cross country and road running club across the age groups in Scotland. The very high number of individual and team golds and minor medals which have been won over the decades, particularly in the last two decades of the 20th century, is clear testimony to our undoubted success All of our members, both past and present, should be proud of our achievements.
Obviously over such a period of time many individuals – runners, officials, parents and long suffering wives – have played their part in taking the club forward. It would be impossible to list all those concerned here. However, it is worth mentioning at this point one individual’s contribution. Robert Anderson, our longest continuous serving active member, is totally committed to the club and bridges the gap between the relatively early days and now. On behalf of the present committee I would like to thank everyone then and now for their assistance. If in the course of writing the club history, I have inadvertently omitted anyone’s achievement or contribution I can only apologise. I have used all the available information in my possession but I am conscious that there are some gaps particularly during the first two decades and periodically later on. Please let me know (kindly) if that is the case. Perhaps I will get it right for our centenary year!
I would like to acknowledge the support given to me in the researching and writing up of the club history: to Bob Wallace for the information supplied on the early years, to Owen Reid for his written contribution on the founding of the club and to Des Yuill and Colin Shields for supplying additional material. I have also taken information from the Rutherglen Reformer, the Herald, the Scottish Athletics Year Books, Athletics Weekly and Colin Shield’s Centenary History of the Scottish Cross Country Union. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Anne and my son Graham for the valuable assistance they have given me in producing this account.
Cambuslang Harriers were founded in 1948 when Bob Wallace, who had returned to civilian life from active service in World War 2, called a meeting in the McIntosh Hall, Main Street, Cambuslang. Most of those attending in the hall, some thirty people, had at some time or other been members of Cambuslang YMCA – Harriers section. The Harriers section had been in existence since its formation in 1928. In one of its earliest recorded runs, eleven runners set off from Kirkhill Railway Station, up East Greenlees Road to Taylor’s Veterinary surgery, up to the Flagpole at Cathkin Braes and down through Croftfoot. Ten of the runners were photographed on their return to base. The eleventh runner, however, refused point blank as he had received a “Bowler” from his mother on the morning of the run. The Harriers section went on to achieve some success winning the YMCA Scottish Championship on two occasions.
The first decision taken by the meeting in 1948 was that, as the Harriers section within the YMCA had effectively ceased to function as far back as 1940, a new club should be formed. This new club would be called Cambuslang Harriers and membership should be open to all who wished to join. This was a dramatic departure from previously as it was mandatory that only members of the YMCA were allowed into membership and that Bible Class was attended every Sunday. The newly formed club would therefore be more open and appeal to a much wider section of the population. It was further decided that the colours of the new club would be that of the old YMCA Harriers section, a red vest with a white horizontal stripe.
The main aim of the new club was:-
The prosecution and furtherance of cross country running and to develop and build the character of the youth of Cambuslang and surrounding district.
Another aim of the new Club was to keep the youth and its members out of Smith’s Public House in Cambuslang! Approximately half of the original membership had close links with Christian and Temperance groups. They therefore had an abhorrence of strong drink and encouraged the membership to lead a life of total abstinence and sobriety.
The new club was instituted and registered with the Scottish Cross Country Union and the Scottish Cross Country Association in 1948. Some ten people at the inaugural meeting who were members of the YMCA were also members of Shettleston Harriers. On the formation of the new club they all decided to join the newly formed Cambuslang Harriers.
Although Bob Wallace was instrumental, along with others in the formation of Cambuslang Harriers, he was never to wear the vest of the club. When he returned to civilian life after his war service, Bob was already in his thirties and it was felt in those days that he was too old to participate in something like running. He took, however, a great interest in the sport and served in an administrative capacity as an auditor and press officer in the early days of Cambuslang Harriers.
The original Cambuslang YMCA Harriers Section was accommodated in a hut situated within the grounds of Kirkhill Railway Station. In 1948 this hut had been taken over and occupied by Morriston YMCA Football teams. The newly formed harriers were, therefore, homeless and had to set about finding some new accommodation. This was found in the form of Gateside Pit Baths (the building can still be seen standing -derelict- next to the “Sprint” petrol station). These were centralised mine baths in Hamilton Road, Halfway, which served the collieries of the surrounding area. The miners, once finished their shift in the pits, would be bussed to the baths from outlying areas and emerge sparkling in clean clothes.
Cambuslang’s first coach in 1948 was Tam Brew. Tam was a coal miner who was also regarded as a professional runner. He had won the Scottish professional 10 mile Championship at Powderhall, accepting prize money for his win, which meant, under the rules and conventions of the day that he could never wear the vest of Cambuslang or his country. Tam coached at Cambuslang from 1948 to 1960.
THE FIRST COMMITTEE IN 1948
President Robert Love
Secretary William Lindsay
Treasurer William Smith
Captain & Coach Thomas Brew
Vice-Captain Alan Brockbank
Members of Committee:
John Ballantyne, Alex Fleming, James Fraser, Andrew Miller, Alan Brockbank.
Club Champions 1948-49
Senior James Brew
Junior Ian Ballantyne
Novice William Scoular
The 1950s saw the club emerge on to the national scene. In 1952 John Lyle won the Scottish Youths Cross Country Championship and led his team-mates (Ian Tierney, Willie Mulrooney and C Docherty) to victory in the team event. Not surprisingly the youth squad swept all before them that season in winning the Midlands District Relay and both the Lanarkshire Road and Cross Country Relays. In the following year the youths led by individual silver medallist Ian Tierney had to settle for second spot in the team race. Nevertheless, this was another outstanding performance.
Further national titles came over the next 3 seasons and all of them on the track. Ian Tierney won the Junior one mile Championship and Glen Montgomery twice won the Junior 120 yards hurdles and gained a meritorious third in the AAA Junior 200 yard Championships. These were no mean achievements for a young club and one without a track. Unfortunately this is a problem which has continued even until today.
The next notable highlight came in the 1957 Edinburgh- Glasgow Relay when a Cambuslang squad of Cameron Brown, Bob Burt, Gordon Eadie, Andy Fleming, Willie Green, Davie Kerr, Willie Kelly and Eddie Reilly finished 11th to be awarded the most meritorious medals.
On an individual note Andy Fleming represented Scotland in 1958 in the International Cross Country Championships and was a Scottish team counter in 51st position. In that same year the quartet of Gordon Eadie, Willie Kelly, Davie Kerr and Eddie Reilly took second spot in the Lanarkshire Relays.
Also in 1958 the club started their Saturday training runs from the Dalton school and in the following year Bob Wallace became the first life member of the club for his sterling work behind the scenes.
In terms of the club Championship Andy Fleming was the dominant figure in the early part of the decade before Eddie Reilly came to the forefront with Gordon Eadie, the rising star of the club, taking his first title in 1959.
The 1960s started well with Gordon Eadie winning the Scottish Marathon Championship in 2.36.40. Although the time was relatively slow it has to be remembered that it was a scorching hot day and Gordon was recovering from a recent illness. In the following season he was to translate this form on to the country when he represented Scotland in the International Cross Country Championships and his 40th place made him a scoring counter. His exploits on the road that year won him the Donald McNab Robertson Trophy, awarded to the leading Scottish distance runner. Gordon also led Willie Kelly and Andy Fleming to a silver team medal in the inaugural Tom Scott Memorial Road Race.
Gordon now turned his attention in 1963 towards ultra-distance races and was a convincing winner of the Edinburgh to Glasgow by the considerable margin of 37 minutes in the new record time of 4.51.17, in spite of running into a strong head wind and driving rain. He retained his title in the following year but was forced to withdraw from the 1965 event. However, Andy Fleming kept the title in the Cambuslang camp by securing victory with club champion Willie Kelly in 4th place. The virtual Cambuslang monopoly of this race continued in 1966 when Gordon bounced back to take 10 minutes off his record. His good form continued in the Liverpool to Blackpool race which he won by 10 minutes.
Two younger athletes – Robert Anderson and George Skinner- were also drawing attention to themselves. In 1965 Robert finished 2nd in the Midlands Youth Cross Country Championships and subsequently 9th in the National while George was 20th in the Junior event. Three years later George won both the Western District and Inter County steeplechase titles.
Charlie Jarvie too was also putting in some good performances in club and local races. For example, he was Junior club champion in 1964 and 1965 and Senior champion in 1967 and 1969. Robert Anderson`s first Senior victory in 1968 denied Charlie a three-in-a row sequence. Earlier in the decade Eddie Reilly, Gordon Eadie and Willie Kelly had their share of the title.
Incidentally the club moved their training headquarters completely to the Dalton school during season 1962-63. During this period a number of the harriers including Gordon Eadie, Andy Fleming, Bob Burt, Peter Low and Jim Brownlie represented the club in the Ben Nevis Race. Later in 1983 Jim was to celebrate twenty one consecutive appearances in Scotland’s premier hill race.
If the 1960’s had begun with a bang, then the 1970s started with a whimper, as the club trailed in last in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay. However, by 1972, Cambuslang were on the way up again and after some good team performances such as securing third in the Lanarkshire road relays thanks to Bobby Inglis, Gordon Eadie, David Cooney and Robert Anderson, the club was invited to take part again in the Edinburgh to Glasgow. There the team of David Cooney, Gordon Eadie, John Wilson, Charlie Jarvie, Bobby Inglis, Robert Anderson, Bob Lennon and Frank Cooney surpassed all expectations to finish twelfth and gain the award for the most meritorious performance. Over the next three years many Senior team victories were recorded in races such as the Neilston Pad, Mamore Hill, Cathkin Braes and the Clydebank to Helensburgh.
Meanwhile in 1973, the Junior Boys team of Stephen Cameron, David Henderson and Colin Shepherd recorded a memorable victory in the Midlands Cross Country Championships and the same trio with support from John Reid finished a close third in the National event. Stephen took the bronze individual medal. At this time Donald Glen was providing much ‘vocal’ encouragement to the athletes and Robert Anderson and Jim Cunningham were supplying the coaching.
On the individual scene, David Cooney fared well in the Lanarkshire 10 mile Road Championships with silver in 1974, bronze in 1975 and gold in 1976. In the same event George Skinner gained bronze in 1974 and Robert Anderson silver in 1976. Both George and Gordon Eadie also did well in their specialist events in 1974 when George finished second in the West District 3000 metre steeplechase and Gordon fifth in the Scottish marathon in the excellent time of 2.25.22. The club also made a successful foray south of the border to gain third place in the Carlisle cross country relays through fine runs by Robert Anderson, John Wilson, Gordon Eadie and George Skinner.
In 1975, the club now moved its headquarters to Cambuslang Rugby and Sports Club. The following year saw the harriers continue their upward momentum with bronze team medals in the prestigious Nigel Barge Road Race thanks to David Cooney, Peter Preston and Robert Anderson. More success was to follow in the West District Cross Country Championships when the Senior team of Peter Preston, Robert Anderson, Gordon Eadie, Alec Gilmour, Bobby Inglis and David Cooney gained bronze medals, the club’s first Senior District medals. Over the next few seasons, the club’s Senior base was to be strengthened by an injection of new blood into the club such as Northern Ireland internationalist Rod Stone, RAF servicemen and twins Gordon and Steve Rimmer and a novice runner with lots of raw talent, Colin Donnelly.
Not surprisingly, the club improved on its earlier West District performance to take the silver awards in 1978 due to strong running from Rod Stone, Gordon Rimmer, Robert Anderson, Peter Preston, Colin Donnelly and Gordon Eadie. On the road scene, Cambuslang had a clean sweep of medals in the Lanarkshire 10 mile Championships with Robert Anderson securing the gold medal ahead of David Cooney and Colin Feechan. With Robert and David locked closely together well into the race and the outcome likely to be decided on the track by Robert’s superior finishing speed, a flock of sheep momentarily impeded the two leaders. Robert seized his opportunity to open up a small gap which he managed to maintain to the finish. Naturally Robert was delighted with his win but afterwards he did feel a bit “sheepish” about his tactics. The club was also making a big breakthrough in the late 70s with its youth policy thanks to the coaching commitment of Robert Anderson and Des Yuill had tightened up the club’s administrative structure. In 1978, David McShane became the first Junior Boy to win a Scottish Cross Country title in the first year of an age group. The following year he made history again by retaining his title. Golden success also came in the 1979 National to the Senior Boy quartet of Kevin Rance, Tom Farrell, Tom McQuade and Gary McLean.
In that year too, the club also gained its first Senior Scottish track champion when Gordon Rimmer took the 3000 metre steeplechase title in 8.52.7, with his brother Steve snatching a bronze medal in the 1500 metres. Gordon was awarded a UK vest, the first for the club, in the steeplechase in a match against Russia in which he finished a creditable third. The peace and calm of a Sunday dinner in a quiet Blackpool hotel was disturbed by a group of Cambuslang Harriers on a club trip organised by Robert Anderson who were avidly watching his race on the dining room TV. Some club cynic might say that this was only a diversion to take the harriers’ minds off the questionable food which was being served. Gordon went on to claim the club`s first ever UK Championship when he recorded victory in his specialist event.
Colin Donnelly revealed his potential as a future hill running champion when he became the youngest winner ever of the Ben Nevis race in 1979 at the age of 20.
In terms of the Senior Club Championship Robert Anderson was the dominant figure in the early part of the decade with four straight victories with the remarkable Gordon Eadie recapturing the title he had first won as far back as 1959. Former Junior champion George Skinner took his first and only Senior title in 1975 before a succession of new blood took over: Peter Preston, Alec Gilmour and Rod Stone.
In spite of not having a track, the club qualified in 1976 to compete in division two of the Scottish track league. Apart from two stints in division one and in division three we have remained in division two.
The 1980s saw Cambuslang Harriers accelerate their steady progress to become the dominant cross country club in Scotland. The club’s growing success in all fronts was due to a number of factors: the coaching and encouragement of Robert Anderson, the sound administration back up from Des Yuill, Jim Scarbrough and David Cooney along with his close liaison with the Senior athletes, the gritty inspiration of Alec Gilmour, the ever reliability of Eddie Stewart (Steady Eddie), up and coming athletes such as David McShane, Jim Orr and Charlie Thomson and the excellent team spirit which the club was engendering. Also during this period both Des and Jim were heavily involved in representing the club on both district and national committees, as well as giving much encouragement to our athletes.
The space available only allows for concentration on the most significant results of that decade. In the 1980 Scottish Cross Country Championships, the Seniors gained their first ever Scottish team medal when the sextet of Gordon and Steve Rimmer, Rod Stone, Alec Gilmour, Eddie Stewart and Duncan McAuley took the bronze medals. David McShane won his third consecutive national in capturing the Senior Boys title.
During the summer there was mixed success for Gordon Rimmer. Although setting a new Scottish steeplechase record of 8.26.6 and which incidentally was the fastest time by a British athlete that year, he was controversially not chosen to represent Britain at the Olympics.
The club made history in October 1980 when the quartet of Eddie Stewart, Rod Stone, Alec Gilmour and Gordon Rimmer lifted the Scottish four man relay title after a close contest throughout with the holders Clyde Valley. Gordon set the fastest time of the day outsprinting sub four minute miler Ronnie McDonald. Clyde Valley had been so sure of victory that they had already bedecked the cup with red ribbons. This, however, was no problem for the red vests of Cambuslang! To add to the club’s success on that day, the Young Athletes (Alan Hart, David McShane and Gary McLean) were awarded the silver medal. Finally the Seniors achieved their best ever position in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay when they finished runners up.
While 1981 was not quite so successful for the Seniors, there were still some notable results such as first in the West District Cross Country Relays, second in the West District Cross Country Championships and third in the Scottish Cross Country Relays (Robert Anderson, Robert Lynch, Rod Stone and Eddie Stewart). On the other hand, the Young Athletes team of Sam Wallace, Pat Morris and David McShane went one better than the previous season to take their first gold in the National Young Athletes Cross Country Relay.
In 1982, David McShane gained his fourth consecutive Scottish title when winning the Youth event and led his team (Charlie Thomson, Stephen Kenny and Robert Smith) to victory. He later transferred his good form to the track when winning the under 17 2000 metre steeplechase. While the Young Athletes secured victory in the West District Cross Country Relays, they had to settle for silver in the national event.
1983 saw the Seniors win their first ever West District Cross Country Championship and at the Scottish Championships, both the Youths (David McShane, Frank Haugh, John McLaughlin and Charlie Thomson) and Juniors (David Ferry, Jim Orr, Stephen Kenny and Tom Rhodes) won their respective titles. Later the National Cross Country Relays at Edinburgh proved to be a happy hunting ground for the harriers when they regained the Senior title. Earlier runs by David McShane, Rod Stone and Eddie Stewart had kept them in contention but adrift of the favourites, Edinburgh Southern. However, a storming last leg by Alec Gilmour won the day for Cambuslang. The Young Athletes lifted the bronze award.
1984 started in fine style when Alec and Eddie (second and third) spearheaded the Seniors to an emphatic victory in the West District Championships. The following month the club improved from bronze to silver medals in the National event. Both the Junior and Youth squads retained their titles. To add to the club’s success, Alec and Eddie were selected for the Scottish Senior team for the International Cross Country Championships along with David McShane and Jim Orr in the Junior event. The Seniors completed their season with second place in the National Six Stage Road Relay.
On the hills in that year, Colin Donnelly began his unbroken sequence of fourteen outings representing Scotland in the World Hill Running Championships which was later to see him take the individual silver in 1989.
In 1985 the Juniors and Youths won their third consecutive national titles with Pat Morris being selected to represent Scotland in the Junior international event. The Seniors took the bronze medals.
Success continued in 1986 when the Seniors won the National Six Stage Road Relay for the first time when after good work by Tom Ulliott, Rod Stone, Jim Orr, Eddie Stewart and Charlie Thomson, Alec Gilmour overhauled Edinburgh Southern once again. This was later followed by victory in the Scottish 10 K Road Championship at Glasgow Green. At the Scottish Cross Country Championships the Seniors were the bridesmaids once again and this was repeated in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay.
On an individual basis Junior Boy David McPherson won the West District Cross Country title and was runner up in the Scottish event. On the track Sam Wallace was showing excellent form with a victory in the Scottish Youths 1500 metres and third in the AAA’s.
During the summer the club moved from the Rugby and Sports Club to Cambuslang Rangers Football Club.
More success was waiting in 1987 with Eddie McCafferty following in the footsteps of David McShane secured victory in the National Boys Cross Country Championship along with the Junior Men retaining their title. Both the Seniors and Senior Boys won bronze.
However the twin highlights of the year were victories in the Scottish Four Man Cross Country Relays thanks to Jim Orr, Ross Arbuckle, Eddie Stewart and Alec Gilmour, and at last in the Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay. The team of Charlie Thomson, Calum Murray, Tony McCartney, Andy Beattie, Eddie Stewart, Alec Gilmour, Paul McAvoy and captain Jim Orr in the anchor leg proved too strong for the opposition.
Earlier in the season, Sam Wallace had shown his class in winning the AAA’s Junior indoor 1500 metre title.
At last in 1988 the Senior Scottish Cross Country title came to Cambuslang and this success was to continue unbroken until 1996, when the team were runners up. The title was won back in 1997 and 1998. The successful team on that historic date was Alec Gilmour, Colin Donnelly, Eddie Stewart, Ross Arbuckle, Jim Orr and Charlie Thomson and with six men in the first eighteen, this was one of the most decisive victories of the post war years.
The Vets too were now coming to the fore with victory in their eight stage relay thanks to John Christie, Terry Dolan, Alec Bain, Robert Anderson, Eddie McIvor, David Fairweather, Andy Hughes and Pat Bradley along with a bronze medal in the National Cross Country Championships.
The decade ended well with the retention of the Senior Cross Country title and the emergence of Mark McBeth as the national senior boy champion. In our debut, which was financially supported by Dave Lang, in the European Cross Country Championship the team of Andy Beattie, Ross Arbuckle, Eddie Stewart and Jim Orr finished a creditable eighth which was the best Scottish position since the event became truly European.
Apart from other team successes such as the Young Athletes finishing second in the national relays and the Seniors second in the Edinburgh to Glasgow, there were again some outstanding individual performances. Colin Donnelly, now resident in Wales, won the British Fell Running Championship between 1987-1989 and, as previously mentioned, a silver medal in the 1989 World Hill Running Championship. The major successes on the track were a bronze medal in the AAA’s Youth high jump for Colin Bell and indoor golds in the Scottish 1500 metres, for high jump and 60 metres for senior boys Martin McLaughlin, Gary Woods and Euan Campbell.
Honours for the Senior Club Championship were shared between Rod Stone, Eddie Stewart and Alec Gilmour in the first half of the decade before Eddie monopolised the title.
Finally, an important pointer for the 90s was Mike Johnston’s undertaking of a coaching course in 1989 which he was later to put to good effect.
Moving into a new decade, many cynics thought that the Cambuslang success story would end but, in spite of a number of major setbacks, such as the loss of the sterling services of Des Yuill and Jim Scarbrough in 1992 and 1993, the sudden death of Andy Beattie in 1992, the retiral or injury of club stalwarts Alec Gilmour, Jim Orr, David McShane, Mark Gormley and Graham Getty, the departure of Eddie Stewart to Prague and the premature loss to the sport of Mark McBeth through illness, they were to be proved wrong. The administration of the club was to be bolstered by the efforts of Cameron Brown, Ian Gordon, Barnie Gough and later Mark McBeth, while the coaching, which had fallen heavily on Robert Anderson, was enhanced by the involvement of Mike Johnston and Owen Reid. Our close links with our local secondary schools, and in particular Cathkin, Holyrood, St Aloysius and Stonelaw, has been a positive advantage. Fortunately too, Charlie Thomson and Douglas Runcieman, reinforced by Colin Donnelly and Eddie Stewart for the National, continued to provide the backbone, and the arrival of a depth of new talent across the age groups has ensured that the club has maintained its premier position in the Scottish cross country running scene.
The two highlights of the 1990 season were the retention of the Scottish Cross Country Senior title and Mark McBeth’s victory in the Youths race, which contributed to his team finishing second, as did the Senior Boys. Later the club were runners up in the National Six Stage Relay. On an individual note, Mark showed good form indoors to win the Scottish 1500 metre title and on the roads David Fairweather gained gold in the Scottish Marathon Championship.
1991 saw Cambuslang hold on to their Senior Cross Country title, only two weeks after finishing a magnificent sixth in the European Club Cross Country Championship, with Graham Croll, Charlie Thomson, Eddie Stewart and Jim Orr being the four counters. Also at the Scottish, Mark McBeth bounced back from illness to retain the Youths title and led his club mates Brian Thomas, Eddie McCafferty and Mike Gill to victory. Meanwhile on the track some superb performances were being served up. Colin McRoberts won the National under twenty 100 and 200 metres and gained a bronze in the AAA’s event. In addition, high jumpers Gary Woods and Tony Gilhooly both won their respective titles in the Junior and Youth National Championships. In the Scottish Cross Country Relays the harriers again made history when the Young Athletes achieved first and second place (our B team of Kenny Wallace, Alan Reynolds and Craig Clelland actually headed our A squad consisting of Alan Dobbie, Andy Piacentini and Mike Gill) thus repeating their earlier success in the West District Championships.
The Seniors failed by only two seconds to win their event after Tom Hanlon had to dig deep to hold off an inspired Douglas Runcieman. The following month the team won yet another silver medal at the Edinburgh to Glasgow. Individually, David Fairweather retained his marathon title.
The club was strengthened in 1992 with the arrival of Tommy Murray who won a place in the UK team for the World Cross Country Championship. On the same day, the team of Graham Croll, Eddie Stewart, Mark Gormley and Charlie Thomson finished eighth in the European clubs’ event. The younger athletes were to the fore in the Celtic international cross country races held in Wales where Craig Clelland won the U/17 with Alan Reynolds fourth. Both Mark McBeth and Stephen Wylie were the first Scottish finishers in the U/20 and U/23 races. Not surprisingly therefore, Cambuslang had almost a virtual monopoly of the team titles at the Scottish Championships and also did well individually. With victory in his race, Tommy Murray became the first Cambuslang athlete to win a Senior Cross Country title and led his club mates to victory. Alan Reynolds and Craig Clelland had the double satisfaction of securing individual and team titles for the Senior Boys and Youths. Alan Dobbie in second place led the Junior Boys (Stephen Hodgson, David Bates and Keny Wallace) to team victory. Cambuslang had now captured the last remaining team title which had so long eluded them and which Robert Anderson had worked so hard for. Incidentally this was to be the start of a record breaking run of five consecutive victories. The Junior Men finished second. The harriers secured a double victory in the National Cross Country Relays with first place for the Seniors (Stephen Wylie, Graham Croll, Douglas Runcieman and Tommy Murray) and the Young Athletes (Gary Lyons, Stephen Kennedy and Craig Clelland). The Young Athletes also secured the bronze medal. 1992 ended with the runners up place in the Edinburgh to Glasgow once more.
The Vets team of Charlie McDougall, Frank Hurley, Barnie Gough and Ralph McLeery kicked off the 1993 season with silver medals in their National Cross Country Championship. Shortly afterwards, the Seniors won the West District title for the sixth consecutive year and finished first British team in the European Clubs Championships. Tommy Murray, in 19th place, was the leading British individual. At the National, Tommy retained his title, with Douglas Runcieman running the race of his life to take the bronze medal and spearheaded the club to victory with the extremely low total of 46 points. There was a repeat of the previous year with the Junior Boys, Senior Boys and Youths retaining their titles and the Juniors again being runners up. In winning the Senior title for the sixth consecutive year, the club had now equalled the record set by Maryhill in the 1930s and Edinburgh Southern in the 1980s.
The following month, the ever dependable Eddie Stewart in his “final” appearance before moving to Prague, helped the Seniors to third position in the Six Stage Relay. The year ended with a silver for the Seniors and a bronze for the Young Athletes in the National Cross Country Relays and a bronze for the Edinburgh to Glasgow squad.
During 1993 there had been a number of outstanding individual successes. Super Vet Willie Marshall’s performances were perhaps the most notable, as he won double gold in the European Vets over 65 Championships over 10 K and half marathon as well as setting a world record for the indoor 3000 m. On the National scene, Charlie McDougall won the veteran 10 K Road Championship and Stephen Wylie and Charlie Thomson had a first and second in the 10 mile Championship event.
In 1994 the club again made history by sweeping all before them at the West District Cross Country Championships when they won all team titles and took the Junior and Veteran individual awards through Gordon McDonald and Charlie McDougall. Meanwhile, indoors on the track, Ian Gillespie lifted the 1500 m title and Tony Gilhooly the U/20 high jump title, while Graham Croll took silver in the 3000 m and Brian Ashburn bronze in the long jump. Unfortunately, with the Scottish Championships only one week after the European event, the club did not send a full strength team to the Europeans as the agreed priority was to achieve a record breaking seven consecutive team titles. Although the Seniors were widely regarded as underdogs, given that Tommy Murray had returned to his Greenock roots, and Racing Club had been hitherto dominant that season, a committed performance inspired by Graham Croll’s bronze medal, and with support from Eddie Stewart, Colin Donnelly, Stephen Wylie (in spite of being tripped at the start), Douglas Runcieman and Charlie Thomson, repulsed the eastern challenge. Both Junior and Senior Boys retained their titles with the Junior Men second and the Youths third. Once again the club received the A T Mays Trophy for the best overall male performance.
The Vets too were continuing their fine performances with a second in their National cross country event and a six minute margin of victory in their eight stage road relay in which Charlie McDougall was the fastest overall and both Ralph McLeery and Frank Hurley ran the fastest times in their respective legs. Charlie and Ralph with support from Jimmy Quinn, Freddy Connor, Barnie Gough, Murray McDonald, Jim Robertson and John Bates finished an impressive fifth in the UK Vets Relay Championships. Willie Marshall was maintaining his excellent form to record double victories over 10 K and 25 K at the World Vets Championships in Canada.
Four gold medals were achieved by Cambuslang on the track during the summer: Graham Croll in the 3000 SC, Gary McCafferty in the U/20 5000 m, Donald Merrick in the U/17 3000 m and Michael Jones in the U/15 200 m. The Young Athletes also excelled themselves when they gained third place, their best ever position in the National final.
The year ended with the Seniors being rewarded with a bronze in the Edinburgh to Glasgow and our Senior Boys winning the Scottish final of the Nike Cross Country Relays. In the Vets international in Dublin, Charlie McDougall was the first Scottish runner home which gained him a bronze medal in the O/45 category.
Due to a clash of dates in February 1995 between the Scottish and European Championships, the club was regrettably unable to send a team to the Europeans. However, there was some consolation for Cambuslang when their winning sequence in the Senior National was extended to eight in a row with inspiring runs from Keith Anderson who, at the age of 37, claimed victory and from Graham Croll who collected another bronze. There were victories too for our Youths, Senior Boys and Junior Boys. Both Graeme Ferguson and Danny Tait won silver in the Senior and Junior Boys competition. In spite of finishing 19th in the Senior race, Alec Robertson, our seventh counter, found himself outside the medals, but a week after the event, Keith sent his team medal to him in appreciation of Alec’s contribution towards the team victory. This was an unselfish and unpublicised gesture from Keith.
Our Senior Boys team of Allan Miller, Graeme Ferguson, Scott Carson and John Clelland surpassed themselves at the Nike UK Cross Country Relay finals to gain second place with Graeme recording the third fastest individual time. The Vets again finished runners up in their National cross country event and the Seniors took second place thanks to Graham Croll and Stephen Wylie recording the two fastest long legs and to Steven Fleming, Alec Robertson, Douglas Runcieman and Wilson McTaggart.
On the hills, Colin Donnelly was the third counter for the Scottish team which gained silver medals in the World Hill Running Championships on home territory in Edinburgh. On the track, the Young Athletes went one better than the previous year when they finished second in the National final. This was a considerable feat, given the lack of track facilities in the Cambuslang/Rutherglen and is a tribute to the hard work put in by Robert Anderson, Mike Johnston and Owen Reid. Individually, Graham Croll’s double victory over 10000 m and 3000 SC on successive days at the Scottish Championships caught the eye. Ian Reid won the Junior 5000 m and on the road Alec Robertson took silver in the Half Marathon Championship.
Moving into the autumn cross country season, the Vets team of Freddy Connor, Jim Robertson, Barnie Gough and Charlie McDougall struck silver in the inaugural relay Championships. There was some controversy over this result due to a mix up at the end of a crowded first lap which worked to the benefit of their rivals Metro AC. The Senior and Young Athletes lifted the bronze awards. Cambuslang were the only club to win medals in the three different age categories. Finally 1995 ended with a secure second place in the Edinburgh to Glasgow ahead of Shettleston but well adrift of Racing Club. What made our performance all the more satisfactory was that we fielded a home based team of Davie Thom, Alec Robertson, Douglas Runcieman, Wilson McTaggart, Stephen Wylie, Graham Croll, Steven Fleming and Charlie Thomson. Stephen, Graham and Charlie had the satisfaction of recording the fastest times for their respective legs.
Faced in 1996 with the now perennial problem of the Europeans being held the week before the Scottish, the club was again forced to send a weakened team. Unfortunately for the harriers, Racing Club had peaked better and prevented a ninth consecutive National victory. Nevertheless a spirited performance led by Graham Croll and Keith Anderson, both of whom were recovering from injury and illness, gained us a comfortable second place. To compensate matters a little, The Junior Boys, Senior Boys and Youths retained their titles with the Juniors in second position. The best individual performance came from Joe Kealey when he became the fourth Cambuslang athlete to win a Senior boys title.
For the first time the Vets took the gold medal at their Cross Country Championship through excellent teamwork from Charlie McDougall, Archie Jenkins, Frank Hurley and Murray McDonald.
In the SAF road relays for Young Athletes, Scott Carson led the Senior Boys to victory and the Youths gained silver medals. This was followed by considerable success in the inaugural SAF Road Championships when the Senior Boys took the team prizes with the Junior Boys in the bronze medal position. Individually, Alan MacPherson won the Junior gold and Graeme Ferguson and Scott Carson were silver medalists in their age groups. The Vets won their team title with fine runs from Barnie Gough, Frank Hurley, John Bates and Sandy Eaglesham.
Jimmy Sands joined the club during the season and went on to win triple UK gold medals in his category in the Disabled Cross Country Championships and on the track in the 400 and 800 metre events. This was in addition to his three Scottish victories over 400, 800 and 1500 metres. Jimmy’s dedication to training is an example to all aspiring athletes and he was to get his just reward the following year when he not only set a world record over 400 metres but also won his category over 1500 metres in the World Disabled Games.
On the track, the highlight was a UK gold for Graeme Ferguson in the Youths 3000 m and a bronze medal for Ian Reid in the Junior 5000 m to add to earlier Scottish 1500 m title. Scottish Senior coach Mike Johnston was able to take great delight in seeing two of his athletes doing so well on the national scene. On a domestic front, Graham Croll won his fourth successive steeplechase title and took bronze in the 10000 m behind Neil Wilkinson. On the road, Charlie McDougall and David Fairweather captured their first UK titles in the O/45 half marathon and the O/50 Marathon Championships.
The autumn SAF road relays for Young Athletes resulted in victory for the Youths team of Willie Bain, Gordon Robertson and Joe Kealey with the Senior Boys in second place. In the National Cross Country Relays the Veteran quartet of Frank Hurley, Jim Robertson, Jimmy Quinn and Archie Jenkins took gold for the first time, the Young Athletes team of Ian Munro, Kevin and Joe Kealey gained silver and the Senior/Junior squad of Ian Reid, Charlie Thomson, Douglas Runcieman and Graeme Croll snatched bronze after a scintillating last leg by Graeme. Finally the club experienced a unique and highly meritorious victory in all three age groups in the Scottish finals of the Nike cross country relays. The Cambuslang Rugby and Sports club which was shortly to be rebuilt had once again become our headquarters for training.
Moving into 1997 the club had succeeded in attracting sponsorship from Ronhill Sports and now became known as Ronhill Cambuslang. The harriers bounced back by regaining the Senior title they had lost the previous year thanks to excellent performances from Graeme Croll, Keith Anderson, Malcolm Campbell, Neil Wilkinson, Colin Donnelly and Charlie Thomson. Once again, Keith showed his commitment to the club by travelling up from England to compete in spite of being ill in the days leading up to the race. The day was completed by individual victories for Ian Munro and Catherine Gallagher in the Junior Boy/Girl races. This was the first female National champion the club had produced and Barnie Gough should take much of the credit for helping her. Silver medals were gained too by Kevin Kealey, Graeme Ferguson and Ian Reid, while the Junior and Senior Boys were second and the Youths and Juniors third. On a wet and windy day in Edinburgh the Veterans held on to their National team title with Archie Jenkins finishing an outstanding second ahead of club mate Frankie Barton. Jim Robertson and Frank Hurley were the other two counters on that day.
This good form was translated on to the roads with a bronze in the six stage relay in March and in the SAF Championships in April where a number of successes were recorded. Ian Reid, Kevin Kealey and Ian Munro won the Junior, Senior Boy and Junior Boy titles and team victories were recorded by the Youths, Senior Boys and Vets with John Bates and Sandy Eaglesham being supported this time by Murray McDonald and David Cooney. The Vets continued their winning ways by retaining their six stage relay title with Frankie Barton recording the fastest time of the day. Competing in the UK eight man event, the squad finished a close fifth with Eddie Stewart and Frankie Barton fourth and fifth fastest of the day. Over in America, Keith Anderson won several high class Veteran road races and set a World Vets record of 1.01.17 for the 20 K event.
The closing months of 1997 brought mixed fortunes. After gaining two silvers in the West District Senior and Young Athletes Cross Country Relays, no medals in these age groups were gained at the Scottish relays. The Youths just finished out of the medals in fourth place while the Senior team’s efforts came to a halt after a promising first leg from John Cowan when Alec Robertson was allegedly prevented from starting his leg at the correct time. However, some consolation was gained when the Vets lifted the bronze award. Again in the Edinburgh to Glasgow an under strength team was just pipped for the bronze medals in the last 100 metres. Nevertheless this had been an inspired performance by the squad. This same endeavour was carried into the West District Cross Country Championships where Charlie Thomson, John Cowan, Douglas Runcieman, Archie Jenkins, Charlie McDougall (first and second Vets) and Wilson McTaggart scored a resounding Senior victory and with Barnie Gough fifth Vet, they not surprisingly retained their title. Graeme Ferguson won an individual bronze in the Junior event and Joe Kealey an individual and team silver in the Youths event.
On the track, Ian Gillespie was turning in some sparkling performances particularly in the 3000 and 5000 M in which he recorded the third and second best times ever by a Scottish athlete. Also, Archie Jenkins was displaying tremendous form in winning the Scottish O/40 1500 and 3000 M indoor events and the UK 3000 M as well as gaining a bronze over the same distance in the European Championships. Later in the season Archie, now in the O/45 category became UK outdoors champion over 5000 and 10000 M. Eddie Stewart set a Scottish Veterans record for 3000 M when recording 8.32.6 indoors in Prague. In the younger age group Ian Munro, although only in his first year as a Senior Boy, took the bronze medal in the Scottish 800 M. David Munro won the National Youths 1500 SC title and recorded the fastest time for his age group. Finally, on the road, David Fairweather won back the Scottish O/50 marathon title.
In our centenary year of 1998, the Senior team of individual silver medalist Keith Anderson, Neil Wilkinson, Colin Donnelly, Charlie Thomson, Douglas Runcieman and Eddie Stewart convincingly held on to the coveted Scottish Senior trophy. In spite of some adverse criticism in the press accusing Keith of being a mercenary and disputing his right to compete for Cambuslang in spite of his father being Scottish and attending a Scottish school, his decision to interrupt his high altitude training to turn out in the Scottish for his club actually cost him money. Neil, our second counter, at last showed his true potential in finishing a comfortable seventh and Colin and Charlie gained their ninth gold medal out of a possible ten which demonstrates their consistency and loyalty to the club. The same can be said for Eddie and a revitalised Douglas who picked up their eighth and sixth medal respectively. The Junior Boys packed well to win gold for the sixth time in seven years which reflects well on Robert Anderson’s involvement with the younger athletes. Our Youths won the silver team award.
A week later, Eddie Stewart showed his class at the Scottish Veterans Cross Country Championships by recording a solo victory and leading the club to their third consecutive triumph. He was ably supported by Charlie McDougall and Archie Jenkins who were second and third in the O/45 category and by Frankie Barton. In spite of a serious threat from Metro in the Vets six stage National relay, Ronhill Cambuslang scored an emphatic victory through a well-balanced team of Freddie Connor, Barnie Gough, Charlie McDougall, Frankie Barton, Frank Hurley and Archie Jenkins with Frankie again the fastest athlete of the day.
Later in May, the Vets distinguished themselves both individually and from a team point of view in the UK 10 mile Championship when they finished a close second to defending champions Warrington. Frankie Barton was an outstanding second in the race with Eddie Stewart fourth, while Charlie McDougall was first O/45 only five months short of his fiftieth birthday and Archie Jenkins third in the same category. Willie Marshall, who a few weeks earlier had added yet another World title in the O/70 10 K in Japan as well as setting another indoor world record for 3000M, naturally took the UK title. Meanwhile, earlier indoors Archie had secured double gold in the UK Veterans O/45 1500 and 3000M and then had shown his versatility in capturing the National outdoor 3000M SC title.
The Seniors ran into problems for the six stage relay when a number of last minute withdrawals left team manager David Cooney with only five runners. However, Ken Conley who was only recovering from injury agreed to step in on the eve of the race and gained a bronze medal for his efforts along with Alec Robertson, Charlie McDougall, Charlie Thomson, Kevin Downie and Graeme Croll. It was encouraging to see Graeme on the comeback trail after a long injury. The following month saw the Youths and Vets win the National Road Team Championships with the Seniors and Junior Boys in the silver position.
Alec Robertson became the club’s latest Scottish champion with victory in the half marathon in September.
The highlight of the season was the representation of the club at the Commonwealth Games by two athletes – Ian Gillespie and Keith Anderson. Ian represented Scotland in the 5000 M but was unable to do himself justice due to a persistent back injury which had impeded his build up. Keith, in spite of making himself available for selection to the Scottish team, was not chosen. However, the English selectors made him an offer which he at the age of 41 could not realistically refuse. Scotland’s loss was England’s gain as he finished a creditable tenth ahead of many athletes faster on paper and was the second UK finisher. Incidentally Keith received a good deal of positive publicity on radio and TV both prior to and during the event. This type of attention would have been more welcome to the Scottish camp than that given to the row over the ill-fitting clothing which the Scottish team had to wear.
The club also had the unique distinction of providing three members of the Scottish hill running team for the World Championship – the ever present Colin Donnelly, Neil Wilkinson and John Brooks.
Further success came to Ronhill Cambuslang at the Scottish Cross Country Relay Championships in October where they were the only club to feature in the medals in the three male races. Pride of place went to the Veteran quartet of Barnie Gough, Dave Dymond, Charlie McDougall and Archie Jenkins who won by almost a minute from arch rivals Metro. In the Senior event, lead off man Jack Brown gained his first Scottish medal when he and team mates Alec Robertson, Charlie Thomson and Douglas Runcieman finished a comfortable third. Likewise the Young Athletes team of Thomas Lamont, Andy Stevens and Kevin Kealey took the bronze medal.
It is difficult to predict what the next 50 years will bring but hopefully the club will maintain its premier position as the leading male cross country club across all age groups from junior boys to veterans. However, no matter what happens in the future, no one can take away the incredible success which the club has achieved and all who have contributed to it can proudly share in that success.
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