Copyright 2021 - Dundee Roadrunners

Richard Davidson

It all started in 19?? when after having a disaster of a run at the first Glasgow Marathon I ended up on a stretcher with a large nurse inserting a thermometer up my bottom telling me that if my temperature did not rise in the next minute or two I would have to be taken to hospital. In the end all was well apart from the fact that I had only made it to the twenty mile mark, so I had to board the train back to Dundee with most of the passengers wearing their medals.


I then started reading all the Running Mags, looking for a new Marathon to run and I came across the Wolverhampton. Days before I was due to travel down, a friend of mine who worked in Valentines of Dundee told me that there was a group of lads from her work running it too and they would meet me at their hotel before the race. As it happened I did not meet them then but went ahead and ran the race, quickly changed and got on the train back to Dundee.  It was then that I thought I recognised a face from Dundee but I did not think this could possibly be the group I was meant to meet as they were staggering about the train with crates of beer at their feet.  Little did I know then that this was the start†of my 25 year journey with the ValentinesóDRR Running Club.


And so to all the unusual and interesting people I have met and the strange things we have done.


There was the trip to the Black Isle races when we took a bus up and stayed the night in Inverness.  After the races we descended on this Pizza Place where they were doing a promotion of eat as much as you can for a fiver.  I have never seen such hard working waitresses, who could not keep up with the demands for more food.  I think their profits took a hammering that Saturday.  On the way home our bus was stopped by police as there had been a robbery in a jewelry shop in Inverness and they wanted to search the bus.  As the door of the bus opened a bag of trophies fell out at the policemanís feet and we had to explain these had been won the previous day. After a bit of checking up he let us carry on our way.   Bus trips were never boring.


We used to take three forty-seater buses to the Inverness half Marathon and on the journey up we would always check who wanted to leave on the two buses soon after the race and who wanted on the late bus that left after a few hours spent in the pub.  No matter how well we had it all worked out by the time the last bus left there must have been fifty plus inebriated people on board the last bus. 


Then there was the trip to Loch Rannoch Marathon when we left it to Frank Grier to book the bus as he was a bus driver for the council.  We caused quite a bit of hilarity when we pulled up at the race in our Desperate Dan mini bus covered in pictures of the comic character.


We had a fund raising BBQ at Templeton woods one year and it was well supported even though it was a cold night.  As the alcohol flowed we realised that we were running out of wood for the bonfire so we started to burn all the boxes, paper, etc that was lying around, only to find that somebody had thrown the box full of ticket money on the fire. Never a dull moment.

We were quite used to seeing our club matesí names in the papers each week as they were always winning a race somewhere, but we got a bit of a shock one year when we read in the papers that a social club had been robbed by two men with a shotgun and that one had escaped, last seen running over the Sidlaws. Little did we know then that our road captain was involved.  All that speed work training came in handy! 


And Now My Favorite Races.


The best race I ever had was at Lochaber Marathon when it was also the Scottish Championships. It is an out and back course and I knew at the turn that there were only three runners in front of me. With six miles to go I caught one of them and we both gave chase. At the finish I ended up with a bronze medal, three seconds in front of the next person.


In 19óI broke the four hour mark for the first time [3-53---] at the Two Bridges [36 miles] and in 1993 I tried my first ever 50K race and won it in 3-15--- becoming the Scottish Champion. My fastest Half Marathon was Inverness 19--- in 1-13-53.


But my best time of all was not achieved in a race, but after a race. It was after those cold wet and windy races at Clova when we used to sit in the climbers' bar, huddled around the log fire, talking about what we should have, could have done in the race and then off to the Ceilidh later on.


That was my BEST TIME in the club.

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