Copyright 2021 - Dundee Roadrunners

Val Fyall

I joined Dundee Road Runners in late 1984 as my friend and I had signed up to run the City of Dundee Marathon in 1985. My friendís son has Downís Syndrome and we planned to raise money through sponsorship for the local Downís Association. Neither of us had any idea how much training was involved and struggled to run the length of a couple of lampposts at the start! The club was very friendly and we were encouraged to keep coming along on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Lochee Leisure Centre. My friend and I did succeed in completing that marathon although it took us four hours and six minutes and we had to walk and run the course. That year, although in April, the sun disappeared not long into the race and it started to snow! Some people got so cold they had to be treated for hypothermia.


My friend eventually gave up running but I continued having ëcaught the bugí.  I went on to run three more marathons, as well as numerous half marathons, 10kís; ten-mile races and even had a few outings at cross-country.


The club was always friendly and encouraging and I gained many friends through the club. My running improved steadily with the encouragement and help of my clubmates and I eventually achieved a personal best of one hour twenty-one minutes at half marathon distance, run in my home city of Dundee in 1990. My marathon time improved as well. Running a further three marathons and completing the Moray Peopleís marathon in 1989 in a personal best of three hours twelve minutes and fifty two seconds. 


I was actively involved in the club until the birth of my eldest daughter in 1992 even spending two years as club chairperson in 1990-1991.  My running is a big part of my life and I still run today although at a much reduced speed. My thanks go to Dundee Road Runners for shaping that running; each and every member helped me along that journey. However I would like to mention three members by name who played a huge part in my running life.


The first is Irene Gibson who has become a lifelong friend. She and I still run together and she has always been there for me even in the low points of my life. We always end up having a good laugh together.


The second is Bob Wood who coached me on the track at Caird Park and through the work we did there helped me achieve my personal bests. A very big thank you to him.


The third is Gordon Hill who taught a very important lesson for running. Gordon ran with me in the Glenrothes Half marathon in 1987. About two miles into the race my shoelace came undone. I was struggling to tie it while feeling dizzy with bending over after the enforced stop. He gave me such a telling off that even today when I go running I triple knot my laces! I went on to finish second lady in that race overtaking the lady who was to finish third on the track coming towards the finish line. Maybe I would have achieved a better time that day if only I had tied my shoelaces to Gordonís specification!


I am pleased the club continues to thrive and have been proud to be part of its history and to wear the colours. Congratulations Dundee Road Runners on twenty five years of running and hereís to the next twenty five.

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