Dundee Roadrunners have been running since 1984, around the streets of the city and into the surrounding countryside. Every member has a story of personal achievements and enjoyment gained from running.
A bit about the early days of the club can be found in this 1987 edition of Scotland's Runner (page 15 of the PDF).
The history of the club up to 2009 is described in a book written for the club's 25th anniversary. Click the button below to download the book.
Below are some member stories from 2009. Click on 'Read more' under a member's name to read their story.
Alan Kay On a Sunday in the middle of March 1985 I was running from Dundee to Gauldry and as I was running through the car park at the Newport side of the bridge I met a man handing out water to some club runners, it was Charlie Anderson. I asked him if there were any seats on the bus for the Inverness half and there was. That was the start of my 24 years (up to now) as a Dundee Roadrunner. One Tuesday night run I was late and so was Andy Kelly, Dave Roy turned up and told us he new the route the runners had taken and we three could follow them, WRONG! We ended up miles away running down the Coupar Angus road as it was getting dark, by the time we got back they were thinking about sending out a search party I was knackered. We never ran with him again. At one time three groups would run on a Tuesday night and I would take the slower group I used to try to encourage them and one time I was with one of our newer members and I had used the Bloody Hell words when I was informed she was a nun, she didn't look or dress like a nun, but she was. I said sorry but she told me to keep talking the way I always had as she would be offended if I didn't. Over the years I've always been proud to be a road runner and have kept a diary right from the start and if I manage to run the 10 mile race this year (I've been injured for 9 months ) it will be 22 out of 24 races. My first 10 mile road race in 1985 cost £3.50. I took 71 minutes and was 187 out of 443 starters. It always had a good turnout. At the AGM in November 1985 the annual fees were £2.00 and the dance was £3.00. Up to now I've run about 42,000 miles and done more races than I care to mention but my main race for the last few years has been the West Highland Way Race which I have completed 13 times and I'm entered for next year and I'll be 67 by then. I'm not fast but I get there. I hope the club continues for another 25 years and I will be proud to be a club member for as long as I can run.
Alan McLeod I first got to hear about Dundee Roadrunners when I ran the now defunct Fireman's 10 mile road race round Camperdown Park in November 1985. I had played football all my life but by 1984 I wasnít getting a game every week and couldnít take the knocks so myself and a couple of friends from the football team decided to start training for the 1984 Dundee Marathon. I also did the 1985 marathon (which convinced me that I didn't have a future in marathon running) and mainly trained on my own until I met Sue Roger at the Camperdown race. Sue, who was already a member of the Roadrunners at the time paced me round for about 8 miles until she ran off and left me but not before she suggested that I might improve by joining a club such as the Roadrunners. I still have the Courier photograph of the start of the race which apart from showing a fairly bearded version of myself also includes fellow Roadrunners Frank Clark, Irene Gibson, Val Fyall and Margaret Robertson. I didn't join the club right away but waited until the week after the 1986 Dundee Marathon and joined on 6 May 1986 on the same day as Ken Peters who became a close friend as did a number of others that I met through the club. The reason I am so specific about the date of joining the Roadrunners is that this coincided with the start of my running diaries which Iíve kept going now for over 22 years. An accountant or what! In these days the club ran from Lochee Baths and met on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. In general Tuesday training involved an 8 to 10 mile run, Thursday was hill work and Sunday a 13 miler plus out through Camperdown to Liff, Fowlis and Flocklones. The great thing about the club was getting the benefit of running with better runners. I remember quite often heading out on the longer Tuesday runs along Ancrum Road and trying to stay as long as possible with a faster group. Over time I could do this for longer and my race times improved fairly quickly. However over the piece I enjoyed the hill work better. In the winter we did hills off the Perth Road from Hyndford to Glamis Road but in the summer my favourite was hill work at Balgay. As usual with the recollection of older folk like myself the summers seemed to be warmer in these days but there was certainly no doubt that we sweated buckets and after a few warm up sprints up the back of Lochee Park we would set off on a wandering run over Balgay Hill pausing slightly after our legs were burning with the effort of charging up the dirt path with the wooden steps before we reached the top at the observatory. The best bit was that after the efforts we always waited for everyone to catch up and in between the efforts we had a laugh at how much we were enjoying the pain. After a few years with the club I was persuaded to join the committee. Not always the most popular job but in the Roadrunners at least most runners decided that it was worth putting something back into a club which may have helped them considerably to advance their running. Committee nights were monthly and for much of the time that I was involved they took place in Eric Fairís flat in Blackness Road. The biggest amount of work then as it is now was in the arrangements for the 10 mile road race in November. It has always been a popular race and in recent years has had an entry of around 250. In the late 1980s the entry was around 400. Originally the meeting and changing facilities for the race were in Valentine's gift card factory canteen on Dunsinane Avenue as a number of the runners who founded Dundee Roadrunners were employed by Valentines. Eventually Valentines decided they didnít want to open the factory for use of the runners and we had to look for another venue. This was not so easy due to the number of runners and helpers to be accommodated plus the requirement for changing and showers and space to provide food afterwards and not too far from the race start in Templeton Woods. It was through the good work of the committee that we identified the Dundee University gym as a suitable site and the race entry was organised from there until the recent move to Ward Road gym. After a while on the committee I took over as Chairman. I was always keen on racing and still race a couple of times a month all through the year. At the time I was Chairman we had a lot of very good runners who just happened to turn 40 and become vets within a few years of each other. I had seen how other clubs had entered teams in events and thought that with the quality of runners we had we could do well if we had a vetís team. So we agreed to enter menís vetsí team of 8 runners in the Alloa to Bishopbriggs 8 stage relays in 1991. It was a great event with 40 teams of 8 runners entered and when you werenít running you drove in one of the cars stopping every so often to cheer the runner who was doing the particular leg of the race. The standard of runners taking part was high with the best runners in Scotland turning out. I particularly remember being passed like I was standing still by Jim Dingwall of Falkirk Victoria who was one of the best runners around in these days. Anyway Dundee Roadrunners with the likes of Stewart Swanson, Dave Morgan and Frank Grier came 12th out of 40 teams beating Dundee Hawkhill who finished in 20th place. The next year with Bob Wood also running and the route changed from Alloa to Twechar we came 11th but after 40 miles of running we were disappointed to be passed by the Hawks with about 200 yards to go. My son Kenneth has special needs and I had always done a bit of jogging with him near our house to try to keep him fit. When he was 21 in 1995 he decided that he wanted to lose weight and with an increase in mileage and better eating habits he lost 5 stones in weight between 1995 and 1997. From early 1996 I started to bring Kenneth to the Roadrunners on Tuesday nights. Kenneth's running improved dramatically with the benefit of running with the club and participating in races in the area. His 10k times fell below 40 minutes and he also took part in cross country races despite a problem he had with his balance and lack of confidence in running down steep downhill. He also started to be involved with the Special Olympics organisation and represented Tayside at the UK Championships in Portsmouth in 1997. However this was only the start and he represented Scotland in the European Championships in Athens in 1998 and eventually as part of the GB Team in North Carolina in 1999. In the latter event he ran the half marathon and won a gold medal in his category and although the time of 1 hour 51 minutes was not particularly fast by his Skye Half Marathon PB of 1 hour 33 minutes it was done in 80 degree plus heat and 90 percent humidity. It was a bit like the recent Beijing Olympics as they had showers on the route which the runners ran through in the race. Much of the basis for Kenneth's run at North Carolina was participation in the 1999 Caledonian 10 Mile Challenge which Ron McGill organised and which comprised a series of races including our own 10 mile race plus 4 other 10 milers at Tom Scott, Calderglen, Ballater and Inverness plus a few half marathons including Skye as mentioned. Running has been the making of Kenneth and he still participates regularly in road and cross country races on a regular basis and is well known in running circles as someone to whom running has brought great benefits and allowed him to compete with others who donít have his disabilities. Long may it continue. But things change and I donít run with the Roadrunners on training nights anymore because my legs donít like long runs on the road on a regular basis. I mainly train with Kenneth and some other friends at Dawson Park or Crombie Reservoir on a Sunday and this has allowed me to continue running into my 60s with fewer injury problems than some of my contemporaries in the early days of the Roadrunners who had to give up when the pounding of the roads caught up with them. I still race regularly but 10k now seems like a long race to me and some of my favourite races are at the Meadows in Edinburgh where my work has taken me and where there are 1 mile, 2 mile and 5k races every Wednesday in the summer. I only found out in my 50s that the short distances were probably my best due to my football training and for the last 8 or 9 years I have enjoyed being first over 50 or 60 as well as meeting a whole load of new runners that I wouldnít have otherwise met if I hadnít taken part in these races. The fact that the pain of the effort is over in 6, 12 or 20 minutes and I can get out to the pub sooner probably helps. Finally as a PR exercise I would recommend running to anyone who is interested as you can keep going as long as you want unlike most sports. Although in my 60s I donít feel out of place as more and more people are continuing to run into what used to be considered old age and believe me the competition in my age group is fierce with many a sprint for the line to beat the person who beat me last week. Dundee Roadrunners club helped me develop this competitive spirit and as they say I wouldnít be where I am today if it wasn't for Dundee Roadrunners.
Andy Llanwarne Running for my life! I've been going out running ever since I was trying to get fit as a schoolkid, finally making it to the cross-country team. So it's been a big part of my life, but it's not just the activity itself, it's the people you run with and the places you run that make up a set of great experiences. Which is why running on a treadmill is so tedious! A good running club provides the encouragement and motivation, the advice, the competition which helps you improve, as well as the social side. At university I ran with a group of friends, and since then have always been a member of one club or another as we moved around Scotland. Perth Strathtay Harriers and Dumfries Running Club both ranked as excellent both for training and socialising. Then in 1994 we moved to Dundee. Before we even arrived we had some contact with Dundee Roadrunners - I'd been involved in setting up the START running charity and Margaret Robertson came on to the committee early in 1994. So when we moved into Dawson Road in West Ferry, with her and Dave just along the road, we were soon encouraged to meet other members of the Club. I'm one of those runners who keeps a running log (some may call me sad), so I can see that my first run with the club at Lochee was on Tuesday 9 August: a hard 10 miles out to Camperdown and Templeton with Ricky Davidson and Neil Duthie, 63.23, 'fast training run, hard going'. Afterwards we went to McGonnigal's pub on Perth Road and I remember chatting with Ricky and Wilma, Neil and Jane, Margaret Robertson and Alan McLeod, who was the chairman at the time, and others. Neil, Margaret and Alan had just been on an Alpine training camp in Switzerland so I heard all about that. Clearly these folk were serious about their sport! It was the middle of the 10th anniversary of the Club and various events had been organised to mark the occasion, which helped both me and the rest of the family to 'hit the ground running' socially. A few days after that first club run there was a Mini Highland Games in the clearing at Balkello Community Woodland out at Auchterhouse. Itís a familiar place now, and the small trees have grown into a small forest, but that was our first visit. As part of the event there was a race up Auchterhouse Hill, with about 20 runners including a few from the Hawks. So I entered, and to my surprise and everyone else's I managed to win it, ahead of Charlie Love (of the Hawks). Apart from one of the early Bridge of Earn 4-mile races, it was the first race I'd managed to win outright. Seeing those times again in the running diary now, I must have been running pretty well. I tend to run at a steady pace, but before we moved I'd been at a club in Ayrshire where fartlek training for 10 miles was a regular feature on Tuesday nights and this had helped me to get my half marathon time down below 80 minutes after years of trying. Now I was being pulled along by Ricky and Neil, and a couple of old timers, Dave Morgan and Bob Woods! (15 years later I suppose I've become one of the old timers myself and, like Bob, I don't get along to the Club as often as I used to.) Stuart Swanston made an appearance sometimes as well. On top of the regular training, I was going along with Margaret and Alan for longer runs around Camperdown and Templeton, and out at Crombie and Monikie, as Margaret was training for the Dublin Marathon. On the back of this I managed to record 61.19 in the 1994 Templeton 10 miler, although Stuart and Ricky were 58 minutes or so and Dave Morgan and Bob Woods not far behind them. So what looks like a very good time now felt a bit disappointing back then. Next day I was surprised to open the Courier to find a colour picture of me running just ahead of Dave Morgan along the high section of the route after Auchterhouse. I remember Charlie Anderson joking that I'd just joined the Club and here I was getting my photo in the paper already. There's one of the Wurzburg runners in that photo as well - several of them came over for the race as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations. As well as the special events held in 1994 there were plenty of other enjoyable social events as well. When it was someone's birthday, on the nearest Tuesday or Thursday we'd go out to the pub after the run then on for a pizza afterwards. There was the Robertsons' New Year run and social gathering as well, plus barbecues held on summer evenings including one I remember at Sandra Westgate's. With my birthday falling just before Christmas there wasn't much chance of organising a pizza night out, so instead Maggie and I held a soup run, starting in December 1995. It was one of several held to brighten up the winter months and make sure people had the chance to get out for some good long training runs in the daylight. It was also a good way of sampling different soup recipes! I can look back on some of those occasions as among my happiest times with the Club - although it's a lot of work getting the food ready when it's your turn! We held our last one in 2005, when the numbers fell away, but Ricky and Wilma had a good turnout for theirs last winter so maybe there will be a revival. A few years ago Ricky took advantage of the occasion to get some help from everyone to move the garden shed. It was quite an undertaking but provided one of many little memories from 15 years with the Club. Another was Brian Dunbar taking a wrong turning somewhere on a soup run and getting back much later than expected. But I think weíve all done that at some time. Gus was another regular at soup runs, and fondly remembered. He was great company and another who I was pretty well matched with, so we had some good tussles at different races. I remember one bus journey back from Inverness when weíd both put in a big effort (I canít remember who won that one) and afterwards he went for a couple of extra pints rather than wasting good drinking time going for the pizza. He came on board with a fish supper, demolished it, and fell asleep for the rest of the journey! I did my stint on the Committee, quite early on - I think Ron was Chairman, Sandra was the Secretary, and Dave Robertson the Treasurer. I'm not sure I contributed very much but we did organise a successful open evening in the Bonar Hall at the University which attracted quite a lot of people. There was also a calendar of races in the local area, plus a few others, which I put together for circulation in the days before the SAF had them all listed on its website. It's been remarked that there are fewer Club members taking part in races than there used to be, and the Committee have been trying various ideas to encourage more to compete. Maybe it just reflects a change in the way many people enjoy running - for fitness and fun rather than racing. There's certainly been a change in the nature of the Club since we moved from Lochee to Fitness First, there's been a turnover in active members, and the old get-togethers in the Ancrum Arms after the run have become a distant memory. On the other hand there has been an influx of younger runners, especially women, and the Thursday evening training is very popular with Charlie and Ged providing the coaching (not that I take part as often as I should). There are also different social events organised in the summer, and of course there's Ged, Douglas and Grant providing the music! Over the years Club members such as Ricky, Jane Blake and Morag Taggart have put in marvellous performances time after time, setting a great example to other members. Dave Stewart and Gill Hanlon are both coming back now from serious injuries and promising more good results. And Charlie Anderson is always there to provide encouragement to new members and a few reminders of the old days. As far as my racing goes, my best year was 1995 and its been downhill ever since! In those days I used to run about 10 races a year ñ still fewer than some other club members. These days itís 2 or 3 if Iím lucky. I managed 2:49:42 in the 1995 London Marathon, 78:59 at the Loch Leven Half Marathon, and 78:44 at Glen Clova. Now I can only dream of those sorts of times. If I'm fit enough to run the Templeton 10 next month Iíll be doing well to get within 10 minutes of my 1995 time of 59:13. However, there have been some more running highs, both with the club and on my own. I had some satisfying runs in the Ceres 8, which is a good distance if you donít mind running continually uphill for 4 miles. I think it was the 1998 race where I managed to stay in front of young Dave Stewart who had joined the Club fairly recently. It was about the last time, and he left me well behind the following year at Ceres even though I ran faster than the previous year. The Sidlaw Skyline in 2002 was an outstanding event as far as I was concerned ñ Ron planned and organised it and we had a good turnout in super weather, running and stumbling along the length of the Sidlaws from the Kirriemuir road through to Perth. The same year a bunch of us did the Corrieyairack Challenge, 17 miles running over the hills and 26 miles on a bike, again in good weather. I was with a team from work, but there was a club team too, and I was delighted to overtake Alan Lawson on my bike on the final hill past the church! Itís the only duathlon I've taken part in although lots of other Club members seem to be doing this sort of thing regularly. I had one go at the Devil's Burdens as well, running the 3rd leg with Grant Gourlay in February 2000. I remember, to my shame, that I was sitting in the car chatting with Denise Mellish when suddenly we heard shouts from the hillside that Ricky had already completed the 2nd leg and where the hell was I? Shortly afterwards, it was so windy on the top of Bishop Hill that I struggled to hold the paper steady enough for Grant to mark it with the stamp attached to the summit cairn. The relay run through Tayside and Fife was another successful event which Ron and Alison organised, involving just about everyone in the Club, to mark the 20th anniversary in June 2004. It must have been quite a sight to see the procession of runners coming over the bridge towards Dundee. I ran a few more marathons, despite my times falling away, and never managed to get back under 3 hours. Running Paris in 1997 was a great experience although I had to walk towards the end and eat one of the Lion bars laid out alongside the drinks. Then a French spectator ran over to me shouting ìAllez, allezî, and managed to get me running again to finish in 3:03:48. A few weeks later Ricky and I ran Lochaber and made great time out to the half-way turning point, so I had hopes of beating the 3 hours. The sun was shining on the snowcapped Ben Nevis ahead of us. Then I hit a wall very hard around 16 miles and had to beg a Mars bar from a youngster at a drinks point to help me keep going, finishing in 3:13:20. Probably lots of other runners have had similar marathon experiences! Back at Lochaber in 2001 I managed to get a better time, but still nearly 6 minutes over the 3 hours mark, and it was a similar story a few months later at Elgin. Maybe the sight of seeing Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick for England in the 5-1 win against the Germans when we were out for a meal the night before was too big a shock. My last, and most memorable, marathon race was in 2004 when I hit 50 and went to Tromso in the north of Norway to run the Midnight Sun Marathon. I'd managed to recover from a long-standing achilles injury, but when I got there a few days before the race the weather was miserable and my dreams of a wonderful run in the midnight sun seemed unrealistic. Then it cleared up on the morning of the race and we started at 8.30 pm with the sun shining on the colourful wooden houses. The ankle just held up and I ran most of the way with an Italian guy called Mauro (it was a very international event) with the locals shouting ìHey-aî from every building we passed to encourage us. There were snow-capped mountains across the fjord and it was superb. I was just on target for 3 hours ñ if I could keep the pace going ñ but we turned at the airport at 20 miles and I realised I had 10k left to go and just lost it. After a couple of walking breaks I managed to get going again when I saw there were just a couple of miles left, and sprinted back into town past the most northerly brewery in the world. Since then I've not really managed to 'perform' with the Club, slowed down by further injuries and too many other things getting in the way of running. But 10 days ago I joined a team with Dave Stewart and Brian Smith in the inaugural DRAM (Dundee Adventure Running Marathon) around the Green Circular and we came in as 1st team in 2:56:06. And so, along with fellow members of the Club, I've finally managed to get back under the 3 hours! 30 September 2008
Barbara Brown (Member of Dundee Road Runners for 25 years ) I joined DRR in August 1984, which I think was only a few weeks after it started. It was only about the time of the Club's 20th Anniversary that I realised that I might be one of the 'originals' Prior to joining the Club I had been running for a few weeks with Dundee Hawk Hill Harriers where I met Alan Kay who had also just started with the Hawks. We ran with the two Ronnies (Ron Oliver & Ron Mackintosh) who gave up some of their training time to take out the beginners. Alan found out about DRR and we both joined, as it was more suitable for the older beginners. The reason I started running was that I got the bug from my friend Marshall who was a rugby player. Marshall had volunteered to run from Forfar to Dundee which was a distance of about 17 miles in aid of funds for my church Saints Peter & Paul. I thought this was extremely far to run especially on your own so I decided I would train and join him in the last mile. After running round the base of the Law Hill, which is one mile, a few times I was then fully trained for the event. There was no stopping me after that and until a few years ago I was doing practically every race in sight and had an event on every weekend in the non-winter season. I never ran when I was at school, as the girls in my class did not get the opportunity. I was more into achieving swimming awards such as personal survivor, distance and life saving awards. Little did I know at the time that I might need these skills for my later adventures in the sea. I was the only girl that cycled to school. On leaving university I took up canoeing for a few years with Marshall until I lost my nerve when trying to roll the canoe in the pool. I could not get the spray deck off and was trapped upside down in the canoe and had to be rescued. After that I kept capsizing on the rivers and seas as I had lost my nerve so gave it up. I took part in the Dundee Quadrathlon in 1987, which involved running, swimming, cycling and canoeing across the Tay as an individual but found the canoeing that time across the Tay so scary as it was extremely rough and windy that the following year I decided to enter a female team with a more experienced canoeist. In 1990 I took up swimming in open water, which meant swimming without a wetsuit. The reason I took this up was in case there was another Tay Railway Bridge disaster. I wanted to increase my chances of survival from the shock of plunging into the cold waters of the Tay. The New Year's Day Dook, is good training for it as is training in Broughty Ferry Harbour and my many swims across the Tay, Broughty Ferry to Olympia and vice versa and Bridge to Bridge to name but a few local swims. My first Marathon was Dundee 1985 about 9 months after I joined the Club. It was in May and I finished just as the snow started. I took 3 hours 40 minutes and felt sorry for the other runners who were out in the snow possibly for at least another 2 to 3 hours. The next year there was a heat wave so the runners were in danger of sunstroke whereas the year before they were in danger of suffering from frostbite. The joys of the Great British climate! I have run about 25 marathons having had a break from them for 9 years between 1989 to 1998. In 1998 I ran Nottingham Marathon having not done much running training but was fairly fit with triathlon training. I did reasonably well and got the Marathon bug again and am still running marathons. In 1987 I took up triathlon as I enjoyed cycling, swimming and running. Fitting in all three disciplines is not easy and the running just has to tick by. Depending on what race I am doing dictates what discipline I will train. I took part in the Club cycle /run from Oban to Dundee as a cyclist only because if you were a runner you needed you own back up. I enjoy the DRR mini duathlons, which David Stewart started, the Club cycles and their races. My personal memories of some of the earlier members and supporters are as follows: - The 'Runners in the Sky': - Errol Galloway : He was always trying to give advice and be helpful. He would throw himself into whatever sport he took up. Errol fell just after the start of the Dundee Marathon one year and went on to complete it. Only then did he realised he had broken his leg. He would say that I ran faster up hills than down however he would not have said that in recent years as up hills are a real struggle. When I took up triathlons he said that my bike was a heap of junk and that I had to strip it of all its accessories, which I did do to make it lighter. Well that heap of junk is still going strong on tours and club cycles. I have a triathlon bike for races. I still remember when cycling on the Kingsway especially and when I am tired or in a race that I have to point my toes down on the pedals. Errol turned up one night at the Phibbies swimming pool training session and proceeded to tell every one what to do. We took it in the spirit it was meant. He always meant well. Jim Edwards : Jim had an unusual style of running whereby you think he is not going fast but he still manages to creep up from behind when you are tiring and then manages to beat you. He did this to me on one occasion during a Dundee Marathon and I did not respond to the challenge and so he managed to beat me. After that I was always on the look out for him and when I saw him in sight put on a spurt so that he would not catch me. Gus Hunter : He always made time to exchange a few words as he slowed down to pass you on a Tuesday run and then speeded up to catch his running buddies. Gus was a triathlete as I am and as there were at that time 5 years ago only a few in the running club there was a special bond between triathletes. He is still missed today. Still Running: - Sam Connelly ñ fast runner in his days and still going strong as a Forfar Road Runner and managing to beat me despite by-pass heart surgery a few years ago. There is no stopping him these days. Not able to run: - Ged Hanlon although unable to run now turns up every Thursday to coach and pass on his knowledge. Charlie Anderson:Well what can I say? The Club would just not be the same without him. Charlie also does not to run now but takes the Thursday sessions and gives encouragement to especially the slow runners who are often lagging far behind the speedsters. I personally put in more effort when Charlie shouts encouragement at me. The supporters: - Mary King (Wee Tommy Kingís wife) (Now a ìSupporter in the Skyî): - although Mary never ran she was a great supporter and came on the bus on most trips with Tommy. Mary would wait until all the DRR had passed which would often be some time after Tommy who was a fast runner. She would appear on the route in unexpected places so you could not slack in case Mary was just around the corner and caught you not putting in enough effort. I found her a good inspiration to keep going on races when I was tiring. The little supporters: - Gill & Ged Hanlon's Boys - They came on the DRR bus to races since they were toddlers and I enjoyed seeing them at the races. Stan & Caroline Stewart's Boys - They were also regular supporters from a very young age. As I staggered along especially on the club hill races they would be there to give me a big cheer and shout out my name when they saw me coming. I enjoyed looking out for them and it did help me keep going when I was way behind the rest of the field. I could go on about the ìGreats of the Past ì but these people sprung to mind, as I had a personal wee story to tell how they have helped me in the past and present with my running. The Club has and had a lot of newcomers and I think it is a shame that when they see some of the ìoldiesî that they do not know how fast a runner they were in their hey days. When I started 25 years ago there were no gels, energy bars, few energy drinks, and no high tec sports clothes. You had to know your right foot from your left without your socks telling you in the heat of the race! You had to know the route and estimate the distance, as there were no Satnavs etc. No ipods just heavy casette players. No lightweight state of the art mobile phones, which did everything. If you 'broke' down out training well tough you just had to get home somehow. I just used to go out without all these aids to weigh me down and I still go out and run carrying nothing. No cycle computers either. We have all this technology but has it made us any faster? I am still running but not very fast due to injuries. The harder I try the slower I get but I am lucky I still can run. I am still persevering after 25 years when 'better men/women' would have given up long ago. I have taken up trying to speed walk the last two years. However this is proving a bit detrimental to the running as it is easier to stop running and as an excuse say I am practicing speed walking for Moon Walk Marathons. I do not have any particular outstanding greatest sporting achievements. The fact that I have been able to run marathons especially latterly completing them against the odds. Also actually managing to do outdoor swims, as I do not have much strength to battle against the wind, waves and tides so each swim is my personal 'Channel Swim'. Tuesdays would not be the same without the thought at least that I should be at the Club. I would miss the people and I hope that I have many years left to run.
Bob Wood I was introduced to the Dundee Roadrunners at a race in Arbroath. After listening to one Charlie Anderson I was keen to give the club a go. Little did I realise how it would change my attitude to running and lifestyle in general. My first couple of years of running had been sporadic and consisted of training mainly on my own so I was keen to see how joining a club would help me. Having heard how some clubs could be elitist I was a bit wary on my first training night, but my worries were soon dispelled as all newcomers were made to feel part of the club and also all achievements and progress was shared by all the members. I soon got to know many of the club members and thoroughly enjoyed the training sessions on a Tuesday evening. My mentor was Peter Hume who guided me in the basics of training and planning. I had never done much hill training, but grew to enjoy it as I could see the benefits you could gain, it could have been more beneficial if Ged Hanlon didnít try to strike up a conversation half way up a hill ? The long Sunday runs were very good as we had volunteers who would leave bottles of water along the route and then we had to find them, not an easy task at times, I think it was tactical so that we kept together and had less chance of getting lost, which did happen at times. As the club caters for all levels of ability you soon find yourself running in a group, which is an incentive to try and improve if you want to, as you can gradually move up the groups. Iím sure most runners who trained with a group improved on there times in races. I know I would not have improved as much if I had to train by myself, so my thanks to all my training partners. The idea of running buses to races outside town was a great way to meet fellow runners families and Iím sure many lasting friendships and even romances started on these away days. I still fondly remember the first road race of the Season, in Inverness when two buses would travel up the A9, one bus with runners and families, the other with the chancers, sorry dancers , who would stay on for the celidh. It made you proud to see all the Roadrunners in club colours participating in events all over the country. The Tuesday training after a race was always special as everyone who had achieved a result or P.B. was recognised and mentioned in despatches. This contributed to making this a friendly and informal club of which all members should be proud. Like all clubs we had our characters that kept us on our toes and made it a pleasure to come along to training sessions and trips to races. We had Dave Roy and Errol Galloway amongst others who always had some words of wisdom for anyone who would listen. I was struck by how many people were interested in everyone's progress, not just the so called better runners, people like Jim Edward, who sadly is not with us anymore, he did an awful lot to encourage younger and inexperienced runners and gave me advice on lifestyle topics and the road captains deserve a special mention for making the routes interesting and diverse, which kept the members on there toes. The club grew quickly in the early years and gained a lot of respect from the running fraternity in Scotland as we soon started to show our colours, especially the ladies section which only encouraged the men to try a bit harder and they soon also figured in race prize lists. My racing started with Marathons as I thought I was too old for shorter distances or to slow, but eventually the benefits of 10K and 1/2 Marathons became apparent. My favourite distance is the Marathon as I thought it was the ultimate test of my training. My favourite race has to be the Potteries, The spectators were terrific all the way round and it was the hilliest course I have run. My best finish was 4th place in 2:33 .My worst experience in a race was in the Blackpool Marathon. The club took a bus to this race and quite a few members suffered in the heat and suffered from dehydration. A case of prepare properly or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately I have lost touch with the club in recent years but I still check out the results in the sports section of local papers for Dundee Roadrunners and again it looks like the Ladies have the upper hand, so come on lads lets get going and give the girls a run for there money. My best times for 10K 32.59 Half Mar. 1:11:07 Full Mar. 2:29:17
Bob Wood - my first marathon It's 7 a.m. on a cold, wet Sunday in April. Time to get up and have some breakfast, just a couple of rolls and jam with a pot of tea. After breakfast go through my checklist which I checked three times yesterday. Start drinking water every 15 minutes for the next hour. Visit the toilet, the first of about four visits during the next couple of hours. I get dressed and make my way to the Caird Hall to meet up with my fellow marathon virgins. One hour to go. Itís time to get changed and warmed up for the start. I have to leave the changing room as the mixture of so many different ìmagic lotionsî is overpowering. With only thirty minutes to go I put my baggage in a safe place and make my way to the start. The pipes are playing as we all line up in the High Street and I sense a strange buzz around me, it's the nervous talk and laughter emanating from the pack. I start to think, have I trained enough - maybe a couple of longer runs were needed - have I drank enough water - how fast do I go at the start - should I run with someone? All of a sudden I wonder what Iím doing here, then I hear the starterís gun and Iím off on a journey into the unknown. After the first three miles. chatting to my fellow runners, I begin to wonder what all the worry was about, but gradually as the miles go by I start to get tired and my legs become heavy. At around the twenty mile mark Iím down to a snailís pace. This must be the wall Iíve read about in the running magazines. A couple of miles later on reaching Lochee, my spirits are lifted by the encouragement from the spectators lining the route and I think ìitís all downhill from here to the finishî, so relaxing a bit I try to imagine entering the finishing straight in the High Street. Once round the Angus Hotel into the High Street, I can see the finish banner ahead and try to find that extra bit of energy to sprint for the line. Chariots of Fire is playing in the background as I cross the finish line and a smiling face puts a medal around my neck. I feel as though I've won the race. A couple of days later I become depressed, then realise whatís causing it. Iíve completed my first Marathon and I don't know where to go from here. However, the decision was made for me upon crossing the finish line. I felt as though I'd won the race, others were just glad it was all over. This was the start of my love affair with the Marathon, my first taking over 3 hours, and I have since completed over thirty, culminating in my first sub 2:30 in Dundee.
Brian Dunbar - man vs horse I joined the club not long after its inception because I wanted to run in a group. Being a member of DRR has made me many friends over the years and helped me to enjoy running even on those cold wintry nights. There have been many characters in the club over the years. One who I have always remembered was the late Errol Galloway. His enthusiasm was endless. I remember one AGM when he had a list of proposals as long as a marathon and the meeting went on and on and on. There were proposals for our own hut, mini-bus etc etc. One of the most unusual races I ever did was the Man v Horse v Mountain bike race in Wales in 1991. The history of the race began during a conversation in a pub about whether a man could race and beat a horse over a long distance. The upshot of this was that they decided to organise a race to find out and so the 22mile race was born and after a couple of events mountain bikers were invited to compete as well. I decided to try it after hearing that a few club members were to be going. (Again it was in a pub after the Inverness half-marathon). I hadn't done that sort of distance for a number of years and to set a goal to train for it I entered the Dundee Marathon which was about 6 ñ 7 weeks away just to get the distance in. (Incidentally I did 3:48 with only two 17 milers as my longest runs). In our group representing the club were Neal Grieve, Kath Green, Neil Duthie, John Kirkland, Peter Saul, Peter & Toni Wilson, Jane Carroll and myself. Two other non-running members Muriel Muir and Sandra Westgate came along for the weekend. We all left for the long drive to Wales on the Friday morning. We eventually arrived at Llanwrtyd Wells from where the race began. Our first task was to set up camp on the village football pitch. Once this was done it was in to the pub for few pints and a bite to eat. I think it was almost midnight by the time we left the pub and headed for our tents. Not the best sort of preparation for what was in store for us the next day. The day of the race beckoned and it was overcast, slight wind and looking like rain not the sunny June weather we were expecting. The race was started by Screaming Lord Sutch the 60s pop star turned political leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party. The beginning was a mad dash with horses, humans and mountain bikes making their way through the village before ascending the first of many climbs of the day. Once under way the field strung out and the weather was beginning to take a turn for the worse. For June it was more like February but I had to keep moving. There were vet stations to monitor the horses but none for us mortals. I donít remember much more about the race but I do remember having to run through a stream which was more like a fast flowing river by now about a mile from the village. At the end the others from our group who had finished were there to cheer me home. I was glad to finish. I was cold, wet through but I wouldnít have missed it for the world. The worst part was still to comeÖqueuing up for a hot shower which by the time it was my turn was a cold one. At night the village pub was bustling with the participants all voicing their particular memory of the race. Again it was another late night (and a lock in) before rolling back to the tent and prepare for the long journey home. Yes it was good weekend and being a Dundee Roadrunner certainly helped me because I donít think I would have considered doing this type of race on my own. And to answer the question can a man beat a horse yes he can but not every year! This man certainly didn't!
Bryan Henderson: The Devils Burden The Devils Burdens Saturday 2nd February 2002 The team had been selected and Dougie and I found out the Thursday before the event that we were to be doing the third stage. Saturday arrived and we headed off to Falkland where we met up with all the other Dundee Roadrunners (all three of them). Gus and Sally set off on stage one and the rest of the team drove round to the first changeover to meet them. Paul started his warm up while waiting for Gus and Sally and must have covered about three miles running up and down the road. When they arrived, Paul disappeared like a flash on his stage clutching Gus's race number as Gus had lost the clip card and used his number for clipping at the checkpoints. The trusty threesome (myself Dougie and Daniel) headed to the second changeover where Dougie and I got ready to start. We had no sooner got organised, when Paul came hurtling down the hill. Off we went on our great adventure, two minutes into our stage and we lost the route almost immediately. We picked the route up again and trundled through knee high heather to the bottom of the West Lomond, where we crawled up the side of it in the howling gale, until we reached the top. Now came the easy part, I ran down the other side, while Dougie rolled down to the end of our stage. Feeling fairly chuffed we had survived, we were running towards the changeover looking for Daniel who was standing ready to run (?) still wearing his jumper and jacket. These were soon ripped off him, and he left on the final stage. All of us (myself and Dougie) gathered at the finish to cheer Daniel on at the end. As he came sprinting in, he failed to notice the end and had to be chased by the timekeeper. Another great event for Dundee Roadrunners, as we weren't last. We would also like to thank all the club members for taking the time to come along to support us - the only Club Team.
Cath Henderson In 1984 I watched my no-so-slim and not-so-fit work colleague run the Dundee Marathon. I decided that I could do that! So, I started running, completed the 1985 Marathon and gave up! In 1989 I decided to try this running again, so did the Dundee Roadrunners Templeton 10 race. Not long after that I received a letter from DRR Club Secretary (Linda Caston) inviting me to join the club. So bravely, I did. I never was, nor will be much of a runner but Dundee Roadrunners became very important to me, mainly for the social scene! Happy memories of:- the Inverness Half Marathon and the bus trip there and back (never mind the actual run!). The non-stop chatting, laughing, singing, slagging off, the raffle, the bets on what our race times would be ñ the pub ñ then the silent journey home but for the munching of chips and pizzaÖ..the nausea, the sleepingÖÖ.. The trip to Kinghorn for the ìAuld Hoose Blackrock 5î ñ dressing up as bathing belles and water babies. I worked my way up from Committee Member to Club Secretary during Ron McGill's reign as Chairman. He inspired events such as round Tayside, Skyline Challenge, Wurzburg connections, 10 mile series and the wonderful Oban to Dundee jaunt! Etc etc. I have so many fond memories of DRR Ö the fancy dress Christmas runs; the hysteria of the sandwich makers when making the million pieces for Templeton 10; blowing up my cooker when I tried to make the massive pots of soup for Templeton 10; the daft training sessions; the anquish and pride of running for DRR especially in events such as Hartley Cup. I have made many friends within Dundee Roadrunners : some of whom are sadly no longer with us ñ Gus and Stan. However, one DRR friend became my husband thank-you Dundee Roadrunners! Here's to another 25 years.
Charlie Anderson Dundee Roadrunners started in October 1984 in Sandy's Bar and evolved from Valentine's Social Club. Dave Roy was elected Secretary, John Monroe was Chairman and Eric Fair was Treasurer. There were a handful of runners at the AGM including myself, Margaret, Sue Roger, Ricky Davidson, Alan and Jane Blyth. Within six months the club organised its first trip to Wolverhampton to celebrate their millennium and runners from the Michelin and YMCA running clubs joined us on the weekend trip when approximately fifty people completed the marathon. This was a graded race with gold (sub three hour), silver (three to three fifteen) and bronze (three fifteen to three thirty) specially designed medals and I was lucky to achieve a time for the bronze award! At this event the club received the cost of half the accommodation for the trip from Wolverhampton Council and the members donated this back to the club to give the club funds for its own events. A few weeks later the Club organised its first trip to Inverness for the half marathon and a full bus of club members and family had a successful day in Inverness, both running and drinking. In years to follow this became a regular club event with three buses going on one occasion such was the popularity of our trips. Due to the donation from Wolverhampton the committee decided to try and organise a local roadrace which was shorter than a half or full marathon and the Ten Mile Roadrace was born. The original route took runners onto the main Newtyle road before turning off for Auchterhouse, but due to police concerns this changed and subsequently runners ran to Auchterhouse via the Dronley road. There have been a few minor alterations to the route over the years but basically the route remains in the Templeton/Auchterhouse area. In 1986 Dundee City Council asked if anyone could accommodate runners from the twin city of Wurzburg during the Dundee Marathon and a few Club members offered to accommodate these runners. This was the start of a friendship between the two clubs from Dundee and Wurzburg. In 1987 we made a successful visit to Wurzburg as part of the 25th Twinning celebrations between the two cities. There have been regular visits from club members to Wurzburg over the years and their members have visited us also during this time, competing in marathons, 10ks, half-marathons and ultra-distance throughout Scotland. Our last visit was to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary in 2006. In the early nineties, the club organised a trip to Melrose Youth Hostel where one of its members had taken over as warden. Approximately 25 people were there and travelled up to Carnethy the following day to take part in the Hill Race which for many was a first (and last!!) However it was another successful social gathering for the club. This was the start of club members diversifying into hill running and ultra distance running.
Daniel Fields I joined the club in July 1996. One thing I remember well about the club is when everybody used to meet at the Lochee baths and the different routes we used to do from there. When I first joined the club I used to run with Gus or Alan and Kenny McLeod and Margaret Robertson. I remember Alan giving me encouragement to keep going when I began to feel tired. I started off doing 6 miles then gradually increased it to 8 then 10. When I started going to the club on Thursday evening we trained on the streets round about the Law or Lochee Park and Balgay Hill. My favourite memory of the club was when everybody went up on the bus to Inverness to run the half marathon and then going to the pub for a few drinks and something to eat afterwards. I remember having a laugh with Gus and Charlie. I competed in the U.K. Special Olympics in Cardiff, Summer 2001. I won a bronze medal in the 5000 metres in a time of 18:45.
Dave Stewart I joined the Roadrunners so long ago I can't exactly remember, but a quick check on the t-shirt collection seems to suggest it was 1996, twelve years ago, - that's amazing. I can still well remember the trepidation of the first Tuesday evening, arriving in the stifling foyer of Lochee Baths not knowing what to expect, but thinking it would probably be muffled laughter, followed by an hour or so of eyeballs-out red line anaerobic humiliation and an early bath. Wrong. I found what most of our new recruits do, and a great bunch of people comprising runners of all ages, speeds, shapes, and sizes. I'd never been a running or athletics club member before and running with such varied company was a revelation. There was always someone to run with, and as my running improved that didn't change, there was always a new challenge and new friends to make. I was lucky to join the club at a time when there was quite a lot of competitive running and experimentation going on. Within 18 months or so I'd tried my hand, or feet to be more accurate, at road running, hill running, cross country, duathlon and god knows what else at places and venues I'd otherwise never have seen to this day. The camaraderie of these events was tremendous both amongst club members and fellow competitors, or the enemy as we liked to refer to them. This was and still is the stuff of memories and I commend it to one and all! If life is really what running is about (and it is), then our club is a focus for this. Absolutely all of life is there, the highs, the lows, the disappointments, triumphs, tragedies and trophies. The highs kind of take care of themselves, but there is no doubt the support of friends and the physical release of the support will get you through the bad times too. Whatever else is misfiring in your life you can still be that other part of yourself, the runner. The discipline and stamina that we all need to participate in our sport insinuates itself into all the other parts of our lives. If you can drag yours bones round the Three (or Five) Hills on a dark wet November night you can get through almost anything ñ and remember how good it feels afterwards! This is what DRR can do for us, and we won't always even know it. Compare the warm glow of a good ìdoingî on a Thursday interval session, that feeling that comes from knowing that you have really pushed yourself, with the sofa-based TV and take-away alternative : which one makes you feel better, next day, next week? And guess what, you can do both! The Roadrunners has always centred around a core of committed members who have been prepared to give their time and energy to keeping the jolly ship DRR on course. Often these are the club officers, and coaches, sometimes the ordinary members. The individuals have changed over the years from time to time, or been re-cycled, but what the best of them have always had in common has been one thing for which there is no substitute and which they communicate to everyone else in the club; enthusiasm. This can manifest itself as organisational skills, arranging teams, transport, and teas. It can be a flair for spontaneity - you know, seize the day, sod the planning - let's do it anyway and have fun! (And usually we do, but not always for the reasons you thought it was going to Ö..). Then there's the real runners, the unstoppable, bury me in my club vest and trainer types, who pound out the miles forever, and for all their self-deprecation and modesty are an inspiration to us all and will be for years to come. What's their secret? Run a lot, do what you like, and like what you do, that's what I reckon. I've not named any names here. You might recognise some characters in there, you might recognise yourself! I must leave that to the reader. There is, however one last sect in the broad church that our club that probably deserve respect above all others to my mind. It's 'the club runner', the person who shows up regularly, networks, supports, congratulates, commiserates, participates. It's the glue between the bricks, the jam in the sandwich, the cream in the bun, theÖ.er, lace in the shoe, the soap in the shower.., OK - that's enough, you get the idea. It's true though, and it's Joe/Jean Runner that has made DRR the success it is today, maybe not too many trophies on the shelf but plenty finishers medals from over the years and a hell of a lot of t-shirts in the drawer. I can think of a few outstanding examples of both Joe and Jean and I hope you can too dear reader, maybe I'm thinking of you and you're thinking of me. Aren't we both great? Course we are, we're Roadrunners. We're all good runners, some are faster than others, but we're all running the same road and we are all trying as hard as we can. How about that as a metaphor for life? Or a motto? It's like they say, this is not a rehearsal. Here's to the next 25 miles and the next 25 years, bring them on, - long live DRR!
David Robertson Memories of Dundee Road Runners When I was asked to write this note I thought ìbut this all happened twenty-five years agoî. 'Exactly', was Wilma's reply. Come to think of it, I was not even a veteran then! At the time I was playing squash but, due to its popularity, was only getting one or, at the most, two games a week. Being a Fifer I did a calculation. I already had the kit, and wouldn't break any more racquets, so jogging was for me. Also, I could fit the training in when it suited. As with a lot of novices at the time the target was the first Dundee Marathon scheduled for 24th April 1983. However, I must have started in early-1982 as the first race ever was the Blairgowrie 500, not quite a half-marathon but I did manage to break the two hour barrier. This turned out to be a favourite as I ran the race ten times. Dundee was duly completed in two minutes over the four hours - most frustrating! My favourite story was of a companion who was also training hard but on the day did not live up to expectation. His excuse was the week before he had started out on his final training jog but was feeling so good he completed the full 26 miles. Happy Days! To be honest my times did not exactly improve, but then that fateful day, 2nd September 1984, when I was puffing round the Edinburgh Marathon only to encounter Dave Roy. From memory Dave was accompanied by a harem, but with his usual boundless enthusiasm he managed to get over that Dundee Road Runners was starting up and would I like to join? It was an encounter that changed my life. Certainly for the next ten years. It was great fun, with lots of camaraderie. I kept a diary of the runs. Almost every weekend would find groups from DRR running all over Scotland. But it was also relatively serious and we trained hard, particularly on a Sunday morning. My best year was 1986 when I broke 4 hours in the Dundee Marathon. I never did another, particularly having once been overtaken by Jenny Wood Allen, albeit on her way to a world record!! I got my half-marathons down to 90 minutes and my 10k to 40 minutes. Then disaster! I pulled a ham-string and, to be honest, never really got back into the rhythm again. However there was always a lot to be involved with. In November 1985 we arranged our first Templeton Woods 10miles. Although I ran in the first it was agreed members were there to organise. Initially I helped sorting out the stewards then, latterly, the results. In the mid-1990s I took over the job of treasurer from Eric Fair. I donít know who the con artist was but I then found I was organising the front end of the Road Race including the entries and publicity, and still doing the results, while Linda majored on the post race teas! Looking back on some of my posters they are masterpieces. Well I think so. I was very honoured to be made a life member of the club. However, in 2000 I thought the Millennium would be a good time to quit. And that's my memories of Dundee Road Runners. After all these years one question remains unanswered : How can the ladies run three-quarters of the way up a long, steep hill and then start holding a conversation?
Davie Morris In July 1983 I was promoted to Duty Officer at the Lochee Swimming and Leisure Centre. I think it was the following month that my mates Eric Fair and Davie Roy who worked in the Valentines card factory and ran for Valentines Harriers came in to see me and asked if they could use the pool and shower facilities after they went out for a run. They came in a few times a week and also the weekend and in the beginning there was usually about six of them. More and more started to join them and I am sure it was about October 1983 when they decided to change the name to Dundee Roadrunners. The deal then was that members met at the Lochee Baths and paid ten pence to the club. Some members then decided that they would like a swim or shower so they came in and paid for the facility plus ten pence to the club. I can remember some nights when you could not get moving for bodies and when the club really got going we started to run out of lockers for the swimmers as they were all taken up by people going out running. One night I remember counting 93 ten pences and that happened on regular occasions. I'm sure at the beginning Davie Roy was president and Eric Fair was treasurer. We had many fund raising nights in the canteen of Valentines and also many dances throughout the year. I can remember dances in the Coldside library hall and also Valentines canteen in the early days of the club. I can also remember a barbecue in the Belmont Arms after the first hill race on the Sidlaws. There was a bus leaving the baths nearly every week going to such places as Forfar, Glenrothes, Inverness, Dunfermline, Arbroath, Crieff, Falkirk, Glasgow and Wolverhampton as well as the trip to Germany. One story I remember was when we did†the Arbroath half marathon at Seaton Park, it was a scorcher of a day and there were stalls all over the park and also barbecues for the spectators and competitors when they finished the run. Eric Fair won the first veteran that year but when it came to the prize giving the organiser Ron Ritchie could not find Eric. All of a sudden an announcement was made over the tannoy asking for Mr Eric Fair to come and collect his prize followed by 'we believe you are in the beer tent'. The roar that went up must have been heard in Dundee as most of the roadrunners were in the tent with him. Another trip was when myself and Bert McGovern went to do the first Glasgow marathon, we decided not to go on the roadrunners bus and to do it in style and stay at the newly built Skean Dhu hotel. We were invited to a pasta party in the hotel where believe it or not all lager was free of charge. The night started well and we got our photo taken with Jimmy Savile who was staying at the hotel and running the next day. During the party we noticed that we were the only ones using the bar facilities, anyway to cut a long story short we got refused any more drink at 3am. We made it to the start line and after four miles I ran off course and was sick over a wall, someone else was also sick beside me and we both burst out laughing when I found out it was Davie Roy who also must have had some vino the night before, two miles later Bert did not want to be left out so he to was sick in some poor personís garden. Being true Dundee Roadrunners we went on and finished the race before nightfall. At the Glenrothes half marathon in 1984 we again left the baths for another adventure, Eric this time decided to take his car but I slummed it on the bus. At the end of the race Eric as usual finished half an hour before most of us but was complaining about a sore foot after he was all showered and dressed for home. The bus was ready to go when Eric discovered he had lost his car keys, everybody got off and searched the stadium, their bags and any other place possible, an announcement was put out to no avail. I told the bus driver just to go and I would stay with him until we sorted something out. Just then Mr Fair came out of the toilets grinning saying 'I've just found my car keys they were in my left shoe' which had been on his foot, no wonder his foot was sore, everybody saw the funny side and headed to Ladybank for liquid refreshments. Last story was told to me by our Honorary member John McInally who used to run the Ben Nevis hill race in his younger days. John said you raced up to the top on the same route but on the descent you could go any way you wished. John always got to the top first but the same person always beat him on the way down. He decided the next time he would follow him to the top then follow him down and he knew he could beat him in a sprint finish. The race started, John followed him, he also followed him down and by this time the mist had came down quite badly, his rival raced on and disappeared down a 20 feet drop. Not to be outdone John followed and both ended up next to one another in Fort William hospital with various broken bones. This did not put John off and he was still running well into his 70's. He of course also has a race named after him by the club. (This is a true story)
Dougie Kempton Speyside Way 14th April 2002 There was no turning back, the 14th April had arrived and all the arrangements had been made. Stuart had agreed to drive Bryan and myself to the race and provide back-up. We had to meet at Bryan & Cath's house before 7 oíclock to get an early start. We got away in time and journeyed up the A9 and then branched off at Carrbridge to head for Ballindalloch Railway Station which we arrived at more than an hour before start time (good ane Bryan). As Bryan had done a few ultra runs before he was looking ok, whereas I had never did any before (and had been a lazy git and not done the required training), obviously I was getting a bit nervous. As the start time drew near, the rain, which had been on for more or less the whole journey, continued to fall, although it wasn't too cold. Stuart meanwhile was making new ìfriendsî and finding out what the running surface was like. When the race got started, it felt good to be on our way. The first 12 miles or so are run on an old disused railway track that runs alongside the Spey River. It was good to be running along with Bryan, as he curbed my usual early exuberance that I normally have (cheers Bry). One of the nice things that you notice is the friendliness amongst the runners. Although you usually get a chat with runners at other races, it seemed even friendlier in amongst these ëultra runnersí. It must have been a nice train journey when the trains were running, as itís a really nice part of the country. Another thing that surprised me was that you are still in touch with quite a lot of the other runners. Obviously the good runners are out of sight early on, but you are not isolated as I thought you would be. As we were nearing Craigellachie, where we had arranged to meet Stuart, Bryan had to make a pitstop. Because I knew we would meet Stuart in a couple of minutes, I just kept going and arrived just before Bryan. As we were waiting for Bryan there was a runner from Perth Roadrunners arriving just before him, so when we started shouting things at Bryan like ëimagine letting the worst runner at the club get here before youí and ëyouíre a disgrace to the clubí, the guy from Perth later told us he thought the abuse was being directed at him. We all had a good laugh about it later on when we explained thatís the way we encourage each other. We reached Craigellachie in 1hr 50mins, but I knew that was probably the easiest part as I ran the last 18 miles over Ben Aigan a couple of weeks previously. We set off up the hill and it was a nice surprise to see the diversions that had been in operation had been lifted. We ran up the hill on the road sections but when it came to the forest track sections Iím afraid to say I was reduced to walking. I felt bad that I was holding Bryan back, but he was great and just stayed with me and fed me with chocolate bars while we were walking (cheers Cath). It was a relief to be jogging down the other side of Ben Aigan, but now the legs were starting to get a bit tired. From the track we were diverted away from the Speyside Way at ëBoat o Brigí to make up the full distance of 50k. As we were approaching the road where we turned to rejoin the Speyside Way, there was a guy handing out lemon tea (what a life saver). Bryan also scoffed some of his jaffa cakes then we were on our way again up more hills. We also passed a sign that said ëless than 10 miles to goí, Iím not really too sure if I was glad to see it or not. Because I had begun to slow down, my legs were beginning to tighten up probably due to the cold and rain. Once again it was Bryan to the rescue as he had brought trousers with him and had to help me into them (not cause Iím too fat, I just couldnít bend down). I did manage to do a bit of running, as I knew we were almost at Fochabers where Stuart was waiting to meet us. I never knew a cup of tea and a chocolate crispy bar could taste so good. Five miles to go and it felt like time was against us. Iím not too sure how much time we had left but we set off at 5 minute walk/jog intervals. Once again itís a nice finish running alongside the River Spey through the trees. I knew to look out for the hotel at the finish as it has the name written on its roof. Once again maybe not a good thing as you can see it from about 2 miles away, and it doesn't seem to get any nearer. Eventually we are running along the road towards the finish at the Spey Bay Hotel. We cross the line in 5hrs 51 minutes, 9 minutes inside the allotted time and it feels great, Iím now an ëUltra Runnerí. I am a wee bit disappointed that you donít get a t-shirt or medal to prove you did it (especially as Iím like Muttley and just love getting medals), and I donít feel any different, but it was a good run and Iíve already made up my mind to do it again next year. The only thing left to do is to thank everyone for their help, especially Bryan who has the patience of a saint for helping me through my first ultra, Stuart for taking the piss, Cath for supplying Bryan with plenty chocolate, and all the helpers and organisers for putting on a great race.
Erwan Ansquer Dear all, I was asked to write a few words on my impressions at the club and any stories I would like to mention ( having been promoted to a top position in the club!! ) - Sorry I haven't got any: for most of the time it has been boring running. I have met lots of runners and it has been great. OK, here are a few impressions: 1- Never would I have thought a club could provide so much support to all runners. Because, letís face it, as far as I am concerned, Dundee Roadrunners has always appealed to me as open to everyone and thatís what makes it so special. I was driving one evening when runs started in Lochee, along Strathmartine Road, up Caird avenue and along Clepington Road and you could see runners spread over at least 1 mile, an amazing picture. Everybody is there, running at their own pace and level. Nobody should feel excluded or lower down due to their ability. I keep trying to encourage people to come and join the fun, no matter their level but some tell me they think they would be laughed at. For all the years I have been at the club, I have never seen anyone being ridiculed because of their ability or anything else. It just wouldnít be right. And also, you learn so much about the sport in general, and about your real fitness. We all know that alone, you hide the miles and times and get a different picture. At the club, you decide your runs, either giving yourself a challenge or taking a quiet one, but you know the distance and the times you'll achieve. 2- One of my first memories from the club was an outing with Charlie, who told me his trick to help when running uphill ñ count with the fingers on your hands (you know what I mean!) ñ and funnily enough a few weeks ago, on a Thursday night, many years after Iíd heard it for the first time, he started talking about his trick - some things never change! Well, I suppose running is the same year after year. 3- I would like to say a few words in memory of Gus Hunter who is not with us anymore. He was a great guy and strong runner, who always gave me good advice, especially during the Monikie Duathlon. 4- And a last one: What about Mark Gourlay's 10 mile runs? 5- The Spring Handicap is the best road race ever. The 2008 winner is a true champion, no arguments about it. 6- Finally, being the ´†road captain†ª has been a great honour given. Many thanks. I really enjoyed organizing the routes each week. Keep enjoying your runs Regards Erwan
Evelyn Fairweather I think it was 1985 I joined Dundee Road Runners with Sheila Carter. We had started running from beginner standard and after we ran a Dundee Council 10km from Balgay Park, we felt we could join the Road Runners as we had met a few and they were very friendly and encouraging. My highlight was winning a trophy for Most Improved Runner the year after I joined. It was made by Dave Mulligan and was a glass triangle set on a lovely wood base. I still have it to this day. I also served on the Runners Committee for a few years. I loved our bus trips to various venues, especially Inverness at the beginning of the season. I donít know if Frank Clark†remembers one return journey when we spotted the bus driver nodding off on the motorway back to Dundee. The men were very good too, always ensuring that one of the men would stay towards the back of the runs, especially on the dark winter evenings. The cross country season was also enjoyable - though not when we ran through mucky ploughed fields in Fife and also at Balwearie where quite a few members tended to lose a shoe in the deep wet muddy course. Another good memory was of our cycle outing . We all met by the Tay Road Bridge then cycled westwards past the airport, Invergowrie, Kingoodie, etc. to Errol, which finished with a long steep hill (great on the return journey though). We had reserved lunch in the local pub and we were fortunate that it was a lovely day. Living in Monifieth in total I worked out I had cycled 50 odd miles as there was the extra to get from and return to Monifieth from the Tay Bridge! The annual Templeton 10 mile races were great fun too, though a number of the years were very cold, sometimes foggy and dreich, but followed by lovely hot soup and sandwiches made by the women. The Forfar 15 mile road races were fun - though the coldest one was the year that some of the men ended with icicles hanging on their beards and ice on their eyebrows!
Ged Hanlon Influences in my athletic adventures. First and foremost I could never have gotten anywhere without the wholehearted support of Gill. She encouraged and supported me through thick and thin, well, except the time before we started running when she couldn't stop laughing as I announced that I intended to enter a marathon. I suppose my first influence would have been "Skull"! Mr. McDonald ( from the south of England ) was a science teacher at my secondary school and was so named because he was extremely thin. He helped with the track team and looked rather comical in his shortie short shorts and his bone thin legs but he could run like the wind. I remember him shaking his head at me when I'd just finished the 880yds on the cinder track at Caird Park. "A big lesson in intimidation Hanlon, eh?" I'd finished second last and while the rest of the field were doubled over gasping for air I was barely out of breath. A big lesson! At about 16 I got more involved in team sports and left athletics behind, so fast forward 15 or so years to 1983 and here comes my brother, Richard, running down the High Street to finish the first Dundee Marathon. I'd gone to cheer him on and whilst watching the finishers I thought "I could do that!" So I decided I'd enter the 1984 marathon. I went training with Richard and we became regular Sunday running partners for many years. 7.00am every Sunday wind rain or shine to get our long run in and home in time to let Gill do the same before lunch time. The biggest help to get me on the road, literally, was Eric Ferguson. Eric was physiotherapist at Dens Park and also for the national football team and he helped me deal with an old knee injury I'd picked up playing football. We had to work for a number of months building up the muscles around the joint to give it the stability to endure the distances I hoped to run. I almost gave up this long and painful process at times but Eric was sure that I'd be ok as long as I stuck to the plan. Now after running the 1994 race, Iíd competed the course in 3hr 7min which would be the fastest I would ever go over that distance, I met long time friend Charlie Anderson. He had also started running and encouraged me to join a new club in Dundee, Dundee Roadrunners, and soon both Gill and I were members. Enter one Dave Roy! Dave was club secretary, and a real buzzer. He was at the heart of almost everything going on at the club. Organising buses, arranging teams, encouraging newcomers, you name, he did it. His natural enthusiasm infected us all and drove us to push ourselves and each other to do the best for our club. The next people, and I say people because I can't separate them, were Bob Wood and Ricky Davidson. We'd train as a group running 10 miles each Tuesday in under an hour and faster on a Thursday. The rep. type training we do now was a few years away. Whoever was feeling best would set the pace, the others hanging in knowing that the group wouldn't split. I remember Ricky saying to me after training one night, "Thank goodness you were able to keep asking Bob all these questions!" Each time he pondered his answer and spoke the pace would drop to just about manageable. These guys pulled me on to faster and faster times. Karl Oparka, later to become club president, joined and encouraged us to have a go at the cross country. The club didn't really participate in these events and Karl had done some whilst at university and reckoned we would all benefit from the discipline. It was to become my favourite type of racing not least because I could cuff a lot of runners I couldn't look at on the roads. I ran and enjoyed cross country for many years and was rewarded with many fine runs and a Team Silver at the National Cross Country Championships. The next influence came from a dirty Hawkhill Harrier, Alan Matheson. Alan was a work colleague and suggested we train during our lunch break on Mon. Wed and Fri. and so fartlek, stepping stones, acceleration and reducing recovery all became part of a nice relaxing lunch. Alan trained exceptionally hard especially if there were any dogs around. Although there was on occasion a huge hound of some kind stopped him in his tracks by pinning him to a tree. Ours were tears of laughter, his were real. Unfortunately Alan died as the result of a freak accident. On these lunchtime sessions we were often joined by this lassie and I think without Liz McColgan's persistent nagging at me to train on the track I would never have developed the mental toughness that would take me to the next level. Some of the training left you feeling quite sick and at first my legs were so gone that a warm down was out of the question. But I hung in there and was rewarded with my best times. 30.29 for 10k, 54.02 for 10ml, 70.14 for half marathon and 1.21.20 for 15ml. The 15 was probably one of my best races. After going through the half marathon banner in 68min, never to be achieved in a half itself, I finished a very creditable 14th. John Anderson, the Gladiator man, was Liz's coach at that time and he always had time for the rest of the group. He taught me how to do "my training" and how to use the faster and slower runners to get the best from the session but he mainly influenced me to start coaching. I'd been involved in instruction through the Boys Brigade and mountaineering, so I started to coach middle distance at Caird Park track. I was still with Roadrunners and as I got more into the coaching, now with some national standard athletes, I found I was not really being able to get along to train with them. Plus when I travelled to events I couldn't take part in very much and if I could I was a team of one. Gill was now expressing a desire to have a go at racing on the track and so we became turncoats and transferred our membership to Hawkhill. I would never run any better times in a "Hawks" vest but I did get that cross country silver. After about 7 or 8 years Hawks fell into a bit of decline and the group I had was to disintegrate. University, work, beer or boys beckoned and with Gill having to give up the track racing we decided to come home to Roadrunners. I did manage to run for a few years more but that old knee injury flared up again and eventually I had to hang up the old trainers. I still keep involved with the club, helping with training on Thursdays and supporting races and social events. Other people of note, in no particular order, would be - John McInally, member of Dundee Thistle Harriers. If you can remember that far back. Frank Clarke, stretching and warm up expert. Errol Galloway, wind-up expert. Sue Roger, sheer determination. Muriel Muir, untapped talent. Dave Moorcroft (world record holder) he wasn't too big to train with me a few lunchtimes at Caird Park. Ken McAndrew, enthusiastic coach. Pete Fox, he could still run a half in 64min wearing floral shorts. Irene Gibson, daughter of an Olympic athlete and with the legs to prove it. Bruce Anderson, exceptional racer. Just as a footnote, our club are now going global after some Afgan pinched Tony McPartland's club vest. Tony, a serving soldier in the Army, was stationed here as part of the training set up at Buddon Training Camp and he ran with us for a number of years. Once his tour of duty had finished he first served in Bosnia then on to Afganistan. It's amusing to know that there's some Afghan going around, pleased as Punch, wearing the colours of Dundee Roadrunners.
Gerard Savage I had only been running for a couple of years when I joined Dundee Road Runners in 2006. I had started running at lunchtime to get out of the office and gradually progressed to the 'big' 10ks and half marathons such as the Glasgow Half Marathon. I had decided to try for a marathon and knew I had to pick up my training, and a friend from work, Mike MacNamara, had mentioned he had just joined the club. I tagged along with him one night in darkest winter for Thursday night training. I suffered for it the next day. Mike had a series of bad knee injuries and eventually had to stop running, but I had the bug by then and became a regular each Thursday for the next few months. The club was really welcoming - I have never been particularly fast but didn't feel out of my depth and you never get anything but encouragement on those Thursday sessions. It was great to run with a group as well, you always pushed a little bit more with people around you. I still think that the Thursday night sessions are the best way to start with the club because you are always around other members for the whole night. I eventually started running on both club nights. There is a masochistic streak in most runners that seem to enjoy those cold, wet winter runs during December! Particularly when you are running with someone else who is getting as wet and cold as you. Nothing like complaining about the weather and/or route to a team of runners when you have finished. This is one of the best things about the club: its the friends you make in the club Running with the club has meant I've done racing events I would never have considered before - races that I'd previously considered only for 'proper' runners. I've run in the Cateran Trail & Devil's Burden (team events, so great fun - when they are finished), and done some of the Fife AC Series. My favourite races:- Loch Ness Marathon: one of the best organized events I've been on Kinross 10k: a fast and scenic route, and more importantly, close to home. Dundee Road Runners has been great for me in meeting some great people, getting (slightly) fitter and faster, and taking part in some fun days out with the club. The longer you are at the club, the more you appreciate the amount of work that goes into organising the club events and just keeping the club ticking over. From the big club events like the Templeton Road Race to the fun events like Twin Peaks, to planning the routes and training that we do each week, itís easy just to turn up and run without realising the planning that has gone into place to make it happen. So a big thanks to Ged & Gill, Morag, Charlie and Erwan (and everyone else involved) and for the effort they put in each week.
Gill Hanlon I first joined Dundee Roadrunners in 1985 (I think). I had started running late 1982 in an effort to get back to some level of fitness after having my children. Not that I had been a runner previously but when my husband decided that he would train for the next Dundee Marathon I thought that running would be something I could do also, in my bid for fitness. For a while I just ran in the evenings when the children were asleep and it was literally around the block in the early days. I quickly found that I enjoyed it and was always keen for my run. Over time I gradually built up some distance and when I entered the Errol 7 mile fun run encouraged by my husband and his marathon training partner, Iíd not a clue about racing at all. Looking around me I spotted a couple of fast women who Iíd seen at other races Ged had been running, in the build up to his marathon. I felt a bit like a fish out of water but nothing ventured...... To my amazement I finished 1st lady! After that I was keen to improve as that race showed me that I could be faster with a bit of training. An old friend (Charlie) who was already a Dundee Roadrunner at this point had been trying to encourage both of us to come along to the club and although Ged had attended a couple of times, I had not been yet. After my outing at Errol we were regular attenders at the club although very rarely at the same time due to child care. We took turns of a Tuesday one week and Thursday the next so we were both able to benefit from each of the sessions. In those days we all trained in groups, pulling each other on rather than what appears to happen most of the time now, trying to run away from training partners and many ending up running solo. The concept of group training was very strong back then and this gelled the club and helped people fulfil their running potential. For this reason, DRR were foremost at any event and our teams were feared at events both local and further afield scooping many prizes in all categories with many members running personal best times as they continued to improve. Organised Sunday runs were also a feature then, with organised water stops and a choice of distance depending on what was being trained for. Regular 20+ mile runs were always catered for as so many of us were marathon training. The men in the club were always keen to ìpull us women alongî at training and we reaped the benefits of this encouragement. This was a mutually beneficial way of training though as some of the men found it a challenge to keep pace with the fast women in the club at that time, of which there were many! The club and the people in it have given me great support, encouragement and friendship over the years and enabled me to reach my potential in all the types of running that I tackled as an individual and as part of a team. I always enjoyed competing over different distances as they all have their own particular challenges and I was lucky to be placed in the majority of them. For a few years I joined Hawkhill Harriers where I was able to compete on the track over 1500 and 3000 m and also run lots of Cross Country which was always and probably still is my favourite terrain. This was a completely different type of training to undertake but the endurance and stamina that I had built up over the years at DRR stood me in good stead and I was able to compete successfully on the track and over the country. However, after a few seasons with Hawkhill Harriers I came home to Dundee Roadrunners and picked up where I had left off. In an effort to ìput something back into the clubî I have served on and off over the years both as an ordinary committee member and also as club secretary. The club membership remains healthy to this day. We now attract lots of students who use running to supplement their fitness for other sports and others who are keen to improve their running for triathlon events. Lots of people now realise the benefits of running as part of a keep fit regime and the club is able to accommodate all types of running requirements. Although the club has evolved over the years, it seems to me that the ethos has remained which is, to support and encourage likeminded people through the weekly training sessions, the inter club races and the two open races that we organise each year.
Harry Kay - Wurzburg Visit The road to Germany began one summer's evening in May 1987. A double decker coachliner bus left Crichton Street Dundee bound for our twin city of Wurzburg in Bavaria Southern Germany packed with Dundee Roadrunners some family members and friends. The trip had been organised by the City Council as part of the 25 year twinning of the two cities and several sporting clubs from the city were to be in Wurzburg at the same time. A second party of Dundee Roadrunners left Dundee later that same evening mostly committee members and they travelled first by rail to London overnight and then from Heathrow to Frankfurt on a PanAm flight and then by bus to Wurzburg where our fellow bus travellers arrived all the way from Dundee. The intention of the trip was to ultimately compete in a 13.5 km race and we were to be housed in various types of accommodation from hostels to private homes and those who stayed in the latter were able to get to know our hosts better and learn about the German way of life. Within the next few days we were to find out that our hosts Laufgemeinschaft Wurzburg, the name of their running club, would treat us to a wonderful time in their city. On race day the course took us along the banks of the River Main a pathway which was below the typically steep hillside vineyards of Wurzburg. Our host had been to Dundee the previous year 1986 and competed in the Dundee Marathon and we were in no doubt the opposition for the race would be very competitive. I can recall some of us sampled the local wine and beer on the eve of the race and to say our preparation could have been better was an understatement however we all finished in good form. Race day saw the usual high standard of German efficiency and after the race we all trooped off to a local school for a shower and changed into party mode and believe me what a party they laid on. A huge tented arena awaited us and we were given free food and endless beer. The beer could be ordered by producing tickets which we had been given earlier in the evening and by some cajoling and friendly banter I managed to obtain more tickets and thereafter a memorable evening was had by all. We have all the pictures to prove the tale (it may be some of us would prefer they were kept out of sight). The German for hangover is Ein Kater and believe me there were many Katers the next morning as we assembled for a civic reception in Wurzburg's Town Hall. The hospitality followed on through the next few days, one trip on a river boat took us up the River Main to a classic summer residence of what may have been a wealthy industrialist's home and there we had the biggest ice cream cone imaginable. I can also recall going to the local football stadium of the Wurzburg Kickers under a marquee for an evening's entertainment supplied by the Dundee Reel and Strathspey Society. The final evening of music and dance in the Carl Diem Halle in Wurzburg saw us all march in behind a Pipe Band all the way from Dundee and I can tell you what a proud moment that was for all the Roadrunners present. To continue this particular story would take several more pages however I am pleased to say subsequent groups from our club have gone out to Wurzburg and our German friends have reciprocated over the years. The last trip we made in 2005 to compete in the Wurzburg Half Marathon and 10 mile walk. I recall 17 musical groups were on the roadside encouraging us along. On the day the majority of the party took to the half marathon while Wilma Davidson our sole walking race competitor finished in determined mood giving one or two of us the thought that we should have a go at a walking race one day. True to form a large beer truck was present at the end of our race which supplied us with more than enough alcohol to end an afternoon's sporting event. I have no doubt the Dundee Roadrunners will return to Wurzburg in the future and I know all who have gone in the past have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. There is always a very warm welcome for those who travel over to Germany and being accommodated in the homes of the Wurzburgers guarantees the visitor an insight into German life and culture.
Irene Gibson I have always enjoyed running probably because my Dad was a Scottish Cross Country champion and an Olympic runner but if I took to the streets in the 60s and 70s I would have been considered a bit weird. When running became popular in Dundee I started training at age 44 and after running a few times round Gillburn Park and the Kingsway I felt I was ready for my first half marathon which I did at Arbroath in 1984. I was in for a shock as it took me 2hours and 20 mins (with many stops) to complete. It was here that I met Dave Roy and he invited me along to Dundee Roadrunners and gave me lots of support and encouragement. All the club members were so friendly and helpful. I met Val Fyall at the club and we have been friends ever since and still run together today even though I trail a bit behind. The club gave me motivation and improved my running immensely and I went on to run numerous marathons, half marathons and 10ks and was proud to run for Scottish Vets International Cross Country Championships Over 50s category. My favourite half marathon was Inverness. The club organised buses to attend and there was a social evening after the race and everyone had a good time. I have fond memories of the holiday I went with the club to Wurzburg, Dundeeís twinning city where we competed in a race and received warm hospitality and friendship from the Germans during our stay. I believe they still keep in contact with some of the club members. The training runs with the club took us all over Dundee and we covered miles of countryside in the summer. Some of the noted characters were Sam Connelly, famous for his jokes on the run getting everyone in stitches whilst struggling for breath. Then there was the hard task master Charlie Anderson who put us through our paces with his quality training and not forgetting Frank Clark who thought that a warm up was circling his big toes (without removing his trainers) There are many more, too numerous to mention. I had good times at the Dundee Roadrunners and I appreciated the coaching and training I received which improved my confidence and performance which helped me in all my achievements.
Jane (Carroll) O'Neill - May Day! A weak morning sun and a light westerly wind made conditions near-perfect on Sunday 13th May 1990, as runners massed on Nethergate for the 8th Dundee Marathon ñ the first in the new decade.† Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, Stephen Hendry the World Snooker Champion and Aberdeen had just won the Scottish Cup. Around 9.00 am, with my breath still white in the cool morning air, I was doing some light stretching near the start when I saw Peter and Liz McColgan walk up Crichton Street. Liz and Peter were both running in the 10K which Peter went on to win. Liz, being 3 months pregnant jogged around in under 37 minutes! Dundee was in the grip of running fever and some of its greatest runners had dutifully turned out to support the most popular events in the local running calendar. There was an impressive line-up from Dundee Road Runners: Bob Woods, who went on to finish 2nd male in a superb time of 2.29.17, John Kirkland, Neil Duthie, Ricky Davidson, Jimmy Fraser, Margaret Robertson, and Danny Reilly, whose words of encouragement, "Go for it Jane!" would bear fruit later that morning when I completed the race with a personal best of 3.10.05. The black bags and faded sweatshirts had been discarded at the kerbside, and as we walked to the Start, the old familiar knot in the stomach gripped tightly as the Piper tuned us to the start-line. The pungent smell of liniment was all around as we carried out our final stretches. The race was fired off at 9.30 am on the dot! Distance runners are well aware of the importance of economy in the early stages of the marathon, and this race was no exception.† I like to call this early part of the race the phoney war! At the ten-mile mark on Riverside, chatter, laughter and high waves to the crowd were aplenty, but with a mile to the finish it was toothy grins, grimaces and limp wrists that were being offered to spectators on Lochee Road! The race for me however was shaping well. I had settled into a comfortable pace and was surrounded with a pack of like-minded runners as we cruised along like bombers in formation: we were on a mission.† I was happy with my position in the race and had my own thoughts and race plan.† Although female runners in blue, green and yellow vests were beginning to pass me I had no inclination to follow suit.† It is always a relief to reach the halfway point and just when I thought I was still fresh: Ouch! - the first real hill hit home. The phoney war is over; the race now begins in earnest.† Any latent injury could flare up and put paid to your race plan, or perhaps the first signs of fatigue kick in. I was beginning to wish I had followed Charlie Anderson's advice (DRR), more hills, more long runs - more miles! The coloured vests I was tracking were now coming back to me (as we say in running parlance) and slowly I picked them off one by one.† Runners who were eager to cover ground quickly in the early stages of the race were now paying the price. The route of the Dundee Marathon, like most city marathons tracks it way through built-up areas and this ensures a good turnout of spectators at points in the race when encouragement is as vital as taking drinks on board. Dundee's love affair with running was evident by the tremendous support on its streets. Also, there was never a shortage of marshalls giving up their time voluntarily to help in these great events. At 16 miles I turned to face the hill at Frederick Street.† Flashing lights at the top of hill distracted me for a moment and broke my concentration, until I saw Charlie Haskett's (Hawkhill Harriers) face leaning out the side window of a car. "Tuck in behind us Jane, and we'll take you home!" he called. This was the lead car with the second timer blinking away; and it was waiting for me! I was the leading lady. As the realisation sank in, I ran behind the car as though connected to it by an umbilical cord! Nothing and no one could come between me and that car! But, there were still 10 gruelling miles to go: up the wobbly cobbles of Hospital Street that has caused many a runner agonising injuries, through the desolate Dryburgh industrial estate, and on to the oasis of Lochee† This was the most emotional moment of the race for me. I could hear Willie Thomson (DRR) shouting my name before I saw him, as he waited on the High Street with my family to welcome the runners into the heart of Lochee. Of course, Davy, Frances and Bert from the "Baths" were out on the street to cheer on the runners, as did the late John Quinn from Dundee Runner (his shop then on the opposite side of the road from where the current shop now stands). Visiting runners to the Dundee Marathon must have been delighted to find that the last two miles of the race are downhill, and I was as pleased as anyone on that day. At the bottom corner of Lochee Road the small figure of a blonde woman caught my eye. This was a friend of mine who was being treated at the Cancer Unit in DRI and who would receive the sponsorship raised from my race for the Unit.† Sadly she died several months later. As the saying goes: The Show isn't Over 'til the Fat Lady Sings! Disaster struck† A DRR blue and white vest (Margaret Robertson) appeared on my left-hand side at the Marketgait circle, and the sheer fright at being caught with less than a mile to go caused a rush of adrenalin to flood through my veins. Danny's words rang in my ears, "Go for it, Jane" and the pain screamed through my muscles as I lifted the pace and turned onto Marketgait. I knew if I could get to Nethergate I would sprint to the Finish or die trying. I tried to turn to see how much of a lead I had, but my neck and shoulders were locked tight so I kept my eyes on the Finish and ran for dear life. The lead car swerved off to the right as I entered the Nethergate and I completed the last few hundred yards on my own. The crowds lining the funnel to the Finish spurred me on and I sprinted to the Finish to split the tape. After a quick sponge down and a drink, I walked out of the marquee into the May sunshine: a proud Dundee Road Runner and a very happy First Lady! There are hundreds of success stories from Dundee Road Runners: this is only one of them.
Jenny Wood Allen One of our lady members became world famous and featured in the Guinness Book of Records. The indomitable Jenny Wood Allan became a world-wide celebrity. After taking up running at the age of 71, in 1983 she broke the world record for the over-70 year-old women, completing the Aberdeen marathon in 4 hours 21 minutes. She also won the trophy for the first lady over 80 in a marathon in New York. She has also run a marathon in Australia. She ran in 16 London marathons, over 30 marathons altogether, and was recognised everywhere with her 'Jenny' hat. Her time of 7hours 14mins 46secs in the 1999 London Marathon, earned her the current Guinness World Record for Oldest Female Marathon Finisher. In 2001, she ran for the last time in the London Marathon before walking it once more in 2002 at the age of 90. As the BBC website reported at the time, in anticipating her athletic swansong, she said: "I'll miss the actual marathon day, but I won't miss having to put in the miles in training. "The best part was seeing the finish line and the amazing lift you got from the crowd along the course, particularly in London." She said one of the most special moments in her career came in 1996 when the fellow Dundonian Liz McColgan won the women's race in London. Mrs Allen added: "I think she was first and I was last, but it was a special moment as we were both from Dundee and I admired her for her dedication." The Runners bestowed honorary membership on Jenny. In 2001 she was awarded the Help The Aged NOJO (Not Old Just Older) Award for outstanding sporting achievement, presented by Robin Cousins, the 1980 Olympic figure-skating champion. Angela Ripon read out her list of achievements. She was also awarded the MBE by the Queen at a ceremony in Holyrood House in 2004. She finally gave up running when she was 92. In the intervening years aged from 71 - 92 she managed to amass more than £50,000 for various charities. She was so well known in Dundee and district that she was invited to many schools to talk about running and to show pupils her hundreds of different medals, especially her London and New York medals. She puts down her longevity to keeping fit and still lives on her own in a three bedroom house with upstairs. (provided by Evelyn Fairweather, with additional material from websites)
Karl Oparka: 'Up the Cleppie, doon the Blackie' It was the days of the running boom. Dave Roy was the founder of Dundee Roadrunners that had originally operated from Valentines card factory as a lunchtime exercise club (Valentineís Running Club). I'd come up from the Durham area where I'd been a member of Crook Athletic Club and had done all the road races around the North East of England, so I was looking for a club to join. I worked in Dundee with Stuart Swanston who had joined already and he said to come along and try it. By then it had been set up at Lochee Baths and the club already had its characteristic blue and white vest. I remember debates about the vest being too close to the Hawks' vest and some said it would never catch on, but it's still the same. There's always been a healthy rivalry with the Hawks; they were the original club in the area and had been there forever. They also had some extremely good runners. I remember when John McInally passed the cups from the old Thistle Harriers Club on to the Dundee Roadrunners, and recall a particular club presentation that was challenged by some members of the the Hawks, claiming they were the rightful heirs to the Thistle Harriers trophies! My lasting recollection of the club is coming along on a Tuesday night with Stuart. Harry Kay was Chairman at the time, and Charlie Anderson used to stand on a chair and shout out the routes for the evening. I hadn't a clue where the different roads were, and I couldn't follow his accent when I first arrived: 'Up the Cleppie, doon the Blackie, through Campie, roon by Cairdie.' I was confused by the way he said 'Clatto' (pronounced without the "t"s) and had to ask Stuart where on earth this was. In the end, I just used to follow the rest! There was a fast pack and a medium group and Iíd try for all the life of me to hang onto the fast group. In those days some members used to stay back and run with the beginners, and we all took turns to do this. It was all very sociable on club nights, people used to chat beforehand and everyone was interested in everyone elseís race times from the previous weekend. Everybody wanted to compete then. I was speaking with Wilma recently and she said that they're not racing as much these days. Every weekend there used to be a race somewhere. There was a very good group of runners and Bob Wood was probably the best; he was over 40 and competing very well as a vet. The team was successful in races too, with Bob, Ged Hanlon, Ricky Davidson, and Stuart all counting in team races. This was the main benefit to me, being pulled along by the fast runners. The training sessions had a good competitive edge to them and a lot of people found their times improving. There were quite a few good women runners then as well, Muriel Muir especially, and Margaret Robertson, Gill Hanlon and Sue Roger. There was a long Sunday morning session that also left from Lochee , for those who wanted to do 20 miles or so. We started the Templeton 10 race, and it still seems to be a very popular race. The hill race used to start down at the hall in Auchterhouse, then from further up the hill. And there were regular bus outings, particularly to the Inverness Half Marathon, where I ran my best half marathon time of 1.14. I just went on a couple of them; we had the family and usually went by car. There were also relay races with mixed teams of men, women and juniors who each ran a mile, and there was the fun run at Perth that was very popular. A lot was happening on the social side as well, with good social events and a very friendly environment. The dance was held every Christmas, often at Valentines, and we put together posters with photos of the runners for a recruitment drive. Weíd have guest speakers like Don McGregor, former Olympic Marathon runner, and people could come along and get to know the club. Dave Mulligan was one of the members very active on the social side, until he turned his attention to his business. Dave Roy was the instigator and very active early on, but seemed to move off the scene quite quickly. Eric Fair was one of the founders. He was Treasurer for many years and when I became Chairman (after Harry) we used to rotate the meetings around the houses of the committee members, usually accompanied by tea, sandwiches and a blether. By the time I arrived in Dundee, Harry and Charlie had already started a junior section on Wednesday nights, training at Caird Park. To begin with theyíd go for a jog. I went there around the time that my son Jonathan started running cross country. The junior section really took off ñ it grew until there were about 30 kids there. We decided we needed to give it more structure, so Harry, Charlie and I attended coaching courses and soon they were sprinting, hurdling and jumping as well. A lot of kids were getting through to Grangemouth for open-graded competitions and some were doing really well, wanting to compete further. We realised we didnít have an avenue for them unless DRR became registered as a distinct athletics club, so they mostly ran as second claim for Tayside Athletics Club, which was based at Arbroath. There was maybe a bone of contention with the Hawks here also as many of the local youngsters we were coaching went on to compete for Tayside. My sons went on to compete internationally in athletics, Jonathan competing for GB in the sprints and Richard for Scotland in throws events. Eventually, my own running became less important (and more time consuming), and all my efforts were shifted into coaching my two sons. The surge of interest from youngsters had died away by then. Those that were left joined the Hawks to get the competition. The Hawks were very successful at that time and were competing in Division 1 of the British league. Stephen Peters who was one of the original juniors who is still running with the Roadrunners now. I also used to coach Kenneth McLeod for several years and have enjoyed seeing his maintained interest in running. I stayed with the Roadrunners for about 10 years but I began to compete less. I felt I'd done all the races and my times weren't as good any more, so I decided to call it a day. The second Dundee Marathon was my best one, I ran 2:48 in the snow! Probably these days people are running less to compete than they were 20 years ago. If you took the top 20 times from a race in 1985 and compared them with today, I think youíd see how itís changed. I ran the Templeton Woods race in 58 minutes , but I was beaten by Liz McColgan and a whole string of good club runners, finishing out of the top 20. These days my times would place more highly ñ thereís usually one or two fast runners and then a big gap. People are looking more to keep fit and maybe to socialise, so itís very different from the early days of the club when people were passionate about their PBs . I enjoyed my time with DRR intensely. I am pleased to hear that there will be 25th Anniversary celebrations and look forward to catching up with some old (and some not so old) faces. Karl Oparka - 30 April 2009
Kathleen Greene & Neil Grieve Fit as a Butcher's Dog they used to say which is not surprising given the number of years spent pounding the streets of Dundee, a hill at every turn. When we were not doing this we were in the highlands, skipping thru the heather, fighting off the midgies and always coming off worst; taking part in hill or cross country races, breathing thru every orifice available to man; wading through rivers; disappearing into bogs, oh the joy! thats why we joined Dundee Roadrunners. There were so many races/challenges over the years from the Highland Cross to the Sri Chimnoy Peace miles in Edinburgh, Cross Country Castles Series, too many to mention. There were * Personal bests/personal disappointments * Winning the Selkirk Half Marathon, thanks to Neil without whom I may have given up! * Myself not quite beating 70 mins and Neil comfortably beating 60 mins for the Club 10 miles The challenges never stopped coming, I can vividly remember before our regular Tuesday evening 3 hills training run, the announcement of an annual race in Llanwrtyd Wells, called Man v Horse (22 miles). That sounds great says she, even though the furthest she had run so far was a half marathon. Full of gusto a DRR team consisting of myself, Neil, Peter Wilson, Neil Duthie and John Kirkland signed up for the challenge and were soon setting off for the 10 hour drive to Wales, tents and sleeping bags in the boot. It was a long journey and we began to wish we were tucked up at home. Finally we arrived, just in time to register for the race, at the local pub (how convenient) and following a couple of beers the journey was a distant memory. It was late by then and we proceeded to set up our homes for the weekend in the grounds of the local Rugby Club. In the morning the previous day's excitement had turned to trepidation or dare I say fear on my part at the prospect of a gruelling 22 miles. However, before the race we were to experience the toilet and showering facilities, and being a Rugby Club they did not cater for the fairer sex, but the DRR ìgentlemenî came to the rescue and guarded the door as the ladies enjoyed their shower. The race is part of the annual Llanwrtyd Wells Beer Festival in Powys and is a famous chase across the hilldsides involving several horses and extremely optimistic human pursuers. The race was after all the idea of two local hostelry owners on a beer-soaked evening over a decade previously and now over 600 people race across 22 miles of Welsh countryside vainly attempting to prove manís superiority over the horse. A horse has been beaten before but only by pedal power. Mountain bikers also take part in the race and it was one of the bikers who broke the equine dominance of the event a couple of years previously, claiming a £5000 reward. The prize money increases by £1000 per year until such time as the man beats the horse. Following the opening ceremony conducted by Screaming Lord Sutch, an intrepid DRR team set off, through muddy forests, river crossings risking life and limb alongside mountain bikers and snorting, thundering horses. Shouts of ìBike on your rightî, ìHorse on your left, saw us slithering off the muddy track while trying to stay upright, must hang in there despite being covered in mud from head to toe, still have a river to cross and a 4000m hill to climb, oh what fun ! Not surprisingly the horse won the day but the team were only too happy to complete the race still upright and retired once again to the pub to celebrate our great achievement (and Peterís big 40). By the time we staggered back to our tents and sleeping bags we were talking about our next challenge and Dundee Road Runners were to return the following year with another 4 or 5 in members in tow. 'The 25th year of the race was to see a man finally beat the horse and claim a massive £25,000 prize.' Another race which has special memories for us is the Great Wilderness Challenge (fondly referred to as the Great Willie Challenge), 25 miles through the hills from Dundonnel to Poolewe taking in magnificent scenery with river and bog crossings. We decided one year that it would be a good idea to cycle back home after the race (mad or what). As everyone else set off home in their warm, comfy cars we packed up our tent and belongings and set off on our bikes. Our route home took in Torridon now referred to as Midgie Heaven. We were literally inhaling the little beasties as we tried to erect our tent. The next morning I looked like elephant woman having been bitten from head to toe. Neil being the gentleman he is said I looked fine despite me having had a laugh at his expense before seeing my own reflection. Nothing else for it though back on our bikes and we made our way to Kyle of Lochalsh to catch the ferry to Mallaig, then on to Fort William where we caught a train to Rannoch Station. Our cycle then took us round Loch Rannoch and on to Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, Perth and finally Kingoodie, home sweet home, PHEW !, feel exhausted just thinking about it now. Every race has its memories and a few that spring to mind include * Peter Saul and his dead fly warm up regime! Does anyone else remember this ? * The Aberdeen 10 mile race with Muriel and Peter Hume, remember the roundabout Peter? * Sandra Westgate flashing her sexy undies at the boys after the Glen Clova Half Marathon! We were proud to be members of Dundee Road Runners and to wear the blue & white vests wherever we went. We are also very grateful to all who worked so hard to make the Club such a success and who were a great inspiration and support to us and would like to pay tribute to two special people, who sadly are no longer with us, John Quinn who kept us well shod over the years and Errol Galloway in his capacity as Bus Convener who ensured there was transport available to whichever race happened to be taking place. We made so many friends over the years, and many remain so even if we are not in touch very often these days. Happy Days, Kathleen Greene & Neil Grieve :) :)
Ken Peters May 17th, 2008 and with three long miles ahead of me in The Loch Leven Half Marathon and virtually no training miles under my belt, I knew, positively knew, that up ahead was a long, hard slog - and you know what? I blamed it all on Dundee Roadrunners! The story begins way back in 1986, that's 29,237 miles ago (yes, like most distance runners I am seriously addicted to the running diary which catalogues every race and every training mile of my spectacularly average running career). 1986, back in the days when we actually had summers which didn't consist of various degrees of rain, and on a whim, my wife and I decided to take part in the Auchtermuchty Festival road race. I mean what could be so difficult about a run through gorgeous countryside on a warm day, with friendly locals cheering us all on? Well, surprise, surprise, no running shoes, no training and what turned out to be a run through Fife's version of the Himalayas soon provided the answer. But you know something? Despite everything, and to my own surprise, I loved every step. I was hooked. From then on, I was going to call myself a runner, even if very few others would ever share that opinion. So, within days came my first visit to a sports shop for many years, a flashy new pair of running shoes and a sudden reluctance to eat quite so many chips and chicken tikkas as before. Distance running has been part of my life ever since, although nowadays the distances are shorter and the time taken to cover the ground considerably longer. What can beat running through the beautiful (if hilly) countryside around Dundee, breathing the fresh country air, even if too often it comes complete with more than a whiff of eau du petrol. But running, as we all know, can be a lonely pursuit and that's why I'll always be grateful for the support of Dundee Roadrunners, who provided the companionship of similarly mentally afflicted would-be athletes and an excuse not to cut the grass on a Tuesday evening! The thing about the Roadrunners is that it has never been elitist, which you might have guessed since they welcomed me into the fold. Throughout the years, countless others have been similarly encouraged. What more would anybody want from a running club? So well done to every member throughout the years. They've all set targets, attained targets, missed targets and had a ball along the way. I wish the club well for the future. KEN PETERS PS I know you're all dying to know what time I achieved in the Kinross race (I use the term "achieved" loosely here). Well, first come the excuses. The race was my first since fracturing my skull three years before and yes, I can confirm they did find a brain when I got my scan (although my wife remains unconvinced to this day!), so the aim was merely to finish and if I could break two hours, it was time to break open the champagne! Well, I crossed the line in a spectacular 1 hr 57 minutes 59 seconds, a mere 35 minutes slower than the last time I took part in that race... and you know what? It felt great!
Linda Caston I joined Dundee Roadrunners in the mid 1980s having been a member of Fife AC before that. The reason for moving clubs was that at the time, Fife had few female runners so I was not able to be part of a team. When I attended races I saw the DRR had lots of female runners and it looked more fun to be part of a womens team in races. Unknown to me (till someone told me years later) I caused a bit of a stir on my first night, by stripping down to my underwear in the communal area, to get changed. You can take the girl out of Essex, but not Essex out of the girl! I loved being part of a large number of runners charging down Lochee Road on a cold winterís evening, or up towards Camperdown on light summer nights. We raced most weekends, so I saw more of my running friends than just about anyone else. Inverness Half meant the beginning of the roadrunning season as we set off in two coaches. I usually had a good run, and was proud to be part of a club which brought home most of the trophies. On my 34th birthday, July 2nd 1989 I did a PB at the Stonehaven Half ñ 1.31. How cool was that (though cool had not been invented then). This was followed a month later by a 1.30 at Montrose. I never broke 1.30, but was pleased to have achieved it at all. Likewise, I ran, but did not break 70 min for 10 miles and 40 mins for a 10k. One of my most memorable races was the Donkey Brae 7m in August 1992. Iíd just been watching Lynford Christie in the Olympics prior to the race and must have felt very inspired and motivated as I had a really good run, passing people I usually trailed in behind. My particular favourite races: * Aberfeldy Half, as I spent a lot of time in the area sailing, and love running in that part of the country * Glen Clova, again for the scenery, the post race atmosphere and fun we all had * Crieff 10km, which has only taken place for about 5 years now, and Iíve done them all so far. Again, a really interesting, pretty and varied route that takes your mind off the running! However, my all time favourite, and the race Iíve done most often is the Ceres 8m race at the end of August. Somehow for me, it marks the end of the summer evening running season, and often the weather is fine, and there is that distinctive slightly autumnal smell in the air ñ plus of course it has a great downhill finish! Dundee Roadrunners was for me, like a large family - not full of strangers being polite to one another, or competitive braggers wanting to impress with their latest times but just like family, there have been arguments, fallings out and disagreements, but when the chips are down everyone was hugely supportive whether it was about running, or personal matters. I was, for a time, club secretary. To me itís important for people to take turns in taking on club responsibilities. The more people who get involved the less there is for each to do. I sometimes wonder if those who have been members for many years but never got involved in the running of the club, really get as much out of it. Finally I'd like to pay tribute to a few people who really supported the club immensely over the years. There are many others and I apologise to those who Iíve missed out who also come into this category, but thanks to the dedication, time and commitment given by Gill Hanlon for her administrative and organising skills, to Jim Moran for many years of organising routes in the days before computers and GPS, and to the club coaches, notably Ged and Charlie. And finally to Gus, no longer with us, but with many of us in so many other ways. Here's to the next 25 years ...when do the zimmer frame races start?
Lorraine Dunbar I first joined DRR in 1995. The reason I started running was down to my boyfriend (now my husband). It was either Brian took up my hobby, which was cross-stitching or I took up running. Somehow I couldn't see Brian sitting sewing! The Club has been a rewarding and most of all enjoyable part of my Life. I have challenged myself more than I thought I was capable of. From 10k's to Ultra distance, the latter I just could not have imagined taking part in. I'm not a competitive person but I've tried to better my running, and the only way to improve is by running in a group. Through the Club I have certainly had bucket loads of encouragement and also made a lot of very good friends along the way. A story I would like to share, and believe me I have had plenty (and compared to some members I am a relatively new member), has to be my first race, the "Smokies 10 mile" ladies only race. I did most of my training with Wilma whom I met through the Club, and was encouraged and given advice on what to expect. It was indeed a very friendly race, and once I started running you are just focused on the person ahead of you. However I noticed in this race that when most of the women passed you (and quite a lot passed me) they spoke, just perhaps to say, ëtough courseí or basically ëhelloí. Well I travelled along the route, and lo and behold I was catching up with a girl I would require to pass. So as I did so, which incidentally it was taking me all my time to breath let alone talk, but hey you have to be sociable. I greeted the girl I was passing, I think I said something like it being a very hilly course, and back came a retort in what I believe was French. Trust me to choose someone who didn't speak English. I just kept quiet after that. There have been quite a number of characters in the Club during my time, but the person who stands out for me has to be Sue Pople. For a runner to be of senior years she has the agility of a girl less than half her age. Running with her over the Sidlaws earlier this year she ran like a fawn, and when it came to closed gates there she was up and over in the blink of an eye. She absolutely bursts with energy and a great inspiration for any running club member old or new. I cannot really say that I have aspired to be like anyone in the Club as I know my limitations, but there have been a number of members of the Club who have helped me enormously to achieve what I have done so far. Ged and Charlie, all my week-end running partners (having again met through the Club) and not forgetting Brian, my husband, who after all is to blame for getting me into running in the first place.
Malcom Forbes I joined Dundee Road Runners in 2006 and immediately realised what a mistake I had made in not joining earlier. I had run, mainly for fitness, for many years but had been losing speed, and hoped that the decline could be halted by training with other runners. I was initially attracted by the web site, and the Club's reputation for welcoming newcomers, regardless of their abilities. I was particularly attracted to the Thursday night training programme, as it is difficult for an individual to do this as effectively alone. I have noticed an improvement in running times and think I have progressed, in particular, from the Thursday sessions. The Club benefits greatly from the dedication of the coaches, Ged and Charlie, who turn up in all weathers and provide a varied and imaginative training programme. The Club is also very well served by the Committee and Road Captain, in particular Gill, who keeps everyone up to date with the weekly e-mails. Road running in Dundee is experiencing a renaissance, with the return of marathon and half marathon events to the city, and the Club has a very bright future. I just regret not joining 25 years ago!
Margaret Robertson I started running in the Spring of 1982 at the ripe old age of 35 ñ already a veteran. At the time I was running with my husband Dave. Our first race was the Blairgowrie Half Marathon which was one of the hilliest halfs in Scotland. That should have put me off but I am still running or at least jogging today 26 years later. On that first race I met up with Dave Roy who was one of the founder members of the Dundee Roadrunners and I joined the club the following year. Through running I discovered a hitherto unrecognised and untapped fiercely competitive streak in my nature. In 1983 I competed in the first Dundee Marathon and many more were to follow. Nowadays most people start running short distances and build up to marathons as they grow older. Along with many of the ìMarathon Boomersî of that time I started with marathons and eventually raced shorter distances. That first marathon in Dundee I completed in 3 hours and 47 minutes. In 1987 I came second to club mate Jane Carroll in 3 hours and 9 minutes. My last marathon in Dublin I completed in 3 hours and 4 minutes at the age of 47. I always found marathons the biggest and best challenge but years of road running takes its toll and like many others I now do far more of my training off road. But back in the 1980s and 1990s it was inspiring taking part in Roadrunner training nights when over 50 runners of all abilities left Lochee Baths streaming down the High Street or along Ancrum Road on runs including the monthly 3 hills 10 mile run which interspersed hard effort with fun and banter. There was always someone to run with and someone ahead to catch. The women soon developed a particularly strong team which lasted over a period of at least 10 years and won races at different distances all over Scotland. The men in the club were always highly supportive which was in no small way responsible for the success of the ladies team. Women were never treated as second class citizens in the Roadrunners which I realised was not always the case in other running clubs. We were soon competing with and beating ladies teams from some of the old established running clubs in Scotland. Training with the Roadrunners soon brought my race times tumbling down. It was very hard work (character building) fighting to stay with faster runners for as long as possible on the longer runs as well as putting in lung bursting and muscle burning effort on hill and speed sessions. However apart from some injuries I thrived on it gradually increasing training to 6 days a week and even training twice a day when building up to a marathon and regularly including track work in my schedule. I definitely come from the ìno pain no gainî school of running. As well as competing in open races in Scotland some of us including Irene Gibson and Sue Roger in my age group competed for Scotland against England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the yearly Home Countries veteran cross country championships winning quite a few team medals. I competed in every veteran age group from 35 years onwards apart (so far) for the over 60s but thereís still time? My most successful of the cross country events was when I came 3rd overall and first in the over 45 age group at the Scottish Vets Cross Country championships at St Andrews in January 1993. I was only beaten that day by Sandra Branney and Jeanette Stevenson two of Scotlandís best ever women veteran runners. But it was also a successful day for the club with Sue Roger first over 50 and Alison Strachan second over 40. The ladies team was third overall behind Fife and City of Glasgow. Over the years I have run races over all sorts of terrain from mountain marathons in Switzerland to 1500 metre races on the track and enjoyed the variety that they brought, the places I saw and the people I met. My best half marathon time was 1 hour 22 minutes and 30 seconds at Inverness in 1993 giving me the fifth fastest half marathon time for my age group in Britain that year. My best 10k time was 37 minutes 19 seconds at Dornoch albeit on a downhill course although I did a few 10ks just over 38 minutes including when I won the Dundee 10k in 1993 in a time of 38 minutes and 7 seconds. 1992 to 1994 were my best years and I was first lady at half marathons in Black Isle, Dundee, Elgin, Glen Clova and Lochleven and 10ks at Dundee, Dornoch, Edinburgh, Glenrothes and at the Hawks 10k. I also won the Ceres 8 mile race and the midweek Fife series 3 times each around that time. Although I remember the races I won individually it is the team victories that really stand out. Dundee Roadrunners women won team prizes at Inverness, Elgin and the Black Isle. These teams included Muriel Muir, Gill Hanlon, Val Fyall, Harriet Johnston, Alison Strachan, Sue Roger and me. They were great team events and at one time in the early 90s we were taking 3 bus loads of runners up to the Inverness Half Marathon all wanting to see if our hard winter training would be rewarded by new PBs and celebrating or drowning our sorrows after the race. These were great social and team building events. Many friendships were built and have lasted over the years. None of us would have succeeded to the extent that we did without the encouragement and support of club members. But it was not only in straightforward running events that we won team prizes. In 1990 Sue Roger, Toni Respinger (as she was then) and myself won the first ladies vets team prize at the Highland Cross which is a 50 mile duathlon race (20 miles on foot, 30 miles on bike) from Kintail on the west coast of Scotland through Glen Affric to Beauly on the east coast. I was encouraged to run the race after seeing it on TV filmed on a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately the year we entered it was damp and drizzling but still a great experience. Running with the Roadrunners has brought me many rewards. As well as turning me into a much more confident individual it has provided me with many valued friends who have been a great source of support through the ups and downs that life brings to all aspects of our lives. Although I no longer train with the club partly due to doing most of my training off road I keep up with many of my former team mates and wear my Dundee Roadrunners vest with pride at the back of races. I also keep an eye on race results so come on ladies keep the tradition going and get the Dundee Roadrunners team back out there.
Morag Taggart I started running in the running boom of the eighties. There was a 'get you round' marathon schedule in a Sunday newspaper, so my first race was a marathon & very painful and not to be recommended! Soon after this I joined my local running club, which at that time was Aberdeen AAC. This was very much a track based club, although they did compete at cross country, which I soon learned to love and hate in equal measure. My next club, due to a move to Dunfermline, was Pitreavie AAC ñ also at that time very much involved in track running. I was, however, directed to their jogging section where I found I was training with men who regularly ran around 60 minutes for 10 miles ñ some joggers! Carnegie Harriers road running club was set up in Dunfermline the early 90's, so I joined them, enjoying many hard training runs and outings to races. When I moved to Dundee in 1996, I joined 'The Hawks' and ran with them for a couple of years before switching to the Road Runners. My first club nights with the Road Runners were from Lochee Swimming pool, and I remember the buzz of all the runners squashed into the quite small space of the reception area before heading off for our training. They were a friendly crowd and the thought of catching up on the latest running gossip and tales from races got me up to Lochee for a run regardless of the dark nights and/or horrible weather. 'Soup Runs' were an idea I had not come across at any of the other clubs I had run with, but I thought the combination of company on long Sunday runs, then homemade soup (and sometimes wine) afterwards was brilliant! My favourite races since moving to Dundee have probably been the Fife Series and the Elgin Marathon. The Fife series have the advantage of being local(ish) and mid week. They are also run in some very picturesque parts of Fife, often off road and always undulating. It is worth trying these races if only to admire the kamikaze downhill running skills of some competitors! I think I have become a bit of a fixture at the Elgin marathon, first running it over 20 years ago, then returning after a 10 year break from marathons. It is a really well organised race with beautiful scenery, run in combination with a half marathon and 10k event and being able to visit the loo 10 minutes before the start with no queue is a feature only runners would appreciate. In the 10 years I have run with Dundee Road Runners I have gained good friends in a new city, been supported through hard training sessions and even harder races, gotten a bit older and slower but always had lots of fun. I think the motivation to run has to come from the individual, but the company and support of club mates who understand and share the hard work and weird stubbornness to run in all weathers, at all times of the day, in varying stages of health, hangover or fitness definitely makes it all much more enjoyable. Best Times 10K - 37.50 Half Marathon - 85 mins Marathon - 3.01 2 Bridges - 4.40
Poem: Twenty Five Years On Twenty-five years have gone and there's still Alison and Ron, Ricky, Wilma and Charlie and Harry. But there is now also Kevin, Daniel, Heidi and Steven, A Michael, a Robert and Garry. There is Sheila and Sue, and David times two, Richard, Andrew and Morag and Jill. There are Brians galore and a Gordon for sure. Also Kenneth but sadly no Bill! There is Freda and Jane, Barbara, Mary, Lorraine, Jason, Gareth and Michael and Grant. There is Erwan and John, the list goes on and on But a rhyme for some names I just can't! The club membership's steady and the runners are ready And proud to put on the club vest. So may I just say to the club of today For your twenty-fifth year, all the best. - Margaret Anderson
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 Valentines/DRR 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.
Ron McGill (Past Chairman DRR) You are capable of completing a marathon in 3hrs 30mins. This was the conclusion of a fitness test conducted by the University of Dundee before my first attempt at the Dundee marathon back in 1983. I never achieved that time in my two and only road marathons, neither of which I enjoyed. Twenty five years and 28,000 miles later having taking part in most road and off road events in Scotland has proved that road marathons are only a small part of the experience and memories that running in all its forms can offer. Dundee Roadrunners Club and its members have contributed to many of these memories and experiences. The Coast to Coast run/cycle in 2000, the Sidlaws Skyline and the Anniversary Relays particularly stand out as events the Club should be proud of. Their success in my opinion comes from the level of participation, and that they inspired members of all abilities to step out their comfort zone, and challenge themselves. Do I have any running achievements? If I have encouraged members to explore their full potential as athletes and opened their eyes to the beauty of running in the hills then my short term as Chairman was worthwhile. One of the greatest assets of Dundee Roadrunners is the fact that members are prepared to give generously of their time to encourage others. When you derive a lot from running or any other activity, helping others is not a burden but something positive you want to share. Dundee Roadrunners is a unique club, it is not just a collection of runners, but a family of genuinely good people who go out of their way to help others share in the benefits of running. Thank you DRR for making my life a much richer experience.
Sam Connelly I joined the club in 1984 at the young age of 50. I have run 13 times the two Bridges/3 twenty four hour races. 3 50ks the London to Brighton the 53 miles South Downs 80 miles world championship I was 3rd in my age group and 36 marathons, its what I call 57 marathons. After 15 happy years I moved to Forfar when I retired then had a triple heart by pass. But here I am again back into the running and doing well, my best time in a marathon was 3 hours 11 mins and a few secs. Best of luck from Sam
Sheila Carter I joined DRR in the mid 1980s, having completed a 3 mile run at Lochee Park. I was encouraged by the members of DRR not only to run further on the roads, but also to do cross country and hill running. The members were enthusiastic and friendly. We had many challenging but enjoyable training sessions, the most gruelling (and rewarding) being the hill reps on Balgay Hill and the Law. The most memorable hill races were at Newtonmore and the Lomonds. The Club organised an annual 10 mile run at Templeton Woods. This was always well supported by runners from all over Scotland, who appreciated the hard work of the committee to make this such a successful event. The Club organised a bus every year to the Inverness Half Marathon, which was followed by a Ceilidh and prize giving. There was always a number of DRRs among the prize winners. This was enjoyed by all even though we were extremely stiff by the time we returned to Dundee. I donít think anyone watching us would have guessed we were from a Running Club as we stepped gingerly off the bus. Another popular event supported by DRRs was the Forfar 15. Having done a 15 mile race the next challenge was of course a Marathon. In 1996 a group of us went to London to do the Marathon and enjoyed the whole experience.
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 friend's son has Downs Syndrome and we planned to raise money through sponsorship for the local Downs 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, 10ks; 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 here's to the next twenty five.
Wilma Davidson Having watched the Dundee Marathon in 1984 I decided I would run it the next year. Initially just to run one marathon, but having trained for six months and completed it, I was hooked. I joined Dundee Road Runners in 1986 having been on one of their buses to the Glasgow Marathon. I immediately liked their team spirit, encouraging everyone, being one of the slower runners it was great to have them supporting me at the end of the run. Also the social side, stopping off on the way home for refreshments!! In the early days there were numerous races, half marathons being the most popular. 10ks came along later to me and I have run quite a few but have never really enjoyed the shorter distance but they have become more appealing in the latter years! Inverness being eagerly awaited as it was the first of the season and we met runners from all the other clubs. We would have two full buses every year to Inverness. You could pick and choose races during the summer months and I ran one most weekends for many years. Cross country and hill running slowly crept into the running calendar and I tried both of these, not with much success I may add but I was always keen and encouraged by the Club to take part as they emphasised that it was not all about fast runners but taking part that mattered. I particularly liked to be part of a team. Having run over 100 half marathons best time of 1.37 and 19 full marathons best time of 3.38 my favourite race has to be The Two Bridges, 36 miles from Dunfermline to Rosyth. I completed this in 5.40 and have to thank Ron McGill and Sue Pople for backing me which I could not have done without them, also to see Sandra Westgate jump up and down with tears of joy when she finished in just over 6 hours is something I will always remember. I always looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday training nights, running in a group on Tuesdays and the dreaded hills or speed work on a Thursday. We used to run the hills from Perth Road to Blackness Road regularly in the winter and these were always killers but somehow in a group it did not seem too bad. I can still see Frank Clark shouting at us half way up the hill, you did not dare not to run as fast as you could. I have many more memories of my time with Dundee Road Runners, too numerous to mention. I have travelled all over Scotland, run up mountains, around lochs, over bridges, been to the Isles of Skye, Mull and Lewis, seen villages and towns I would never have thought of going to, and have run in many parts of the world - New York, Dublin, London, Wurzburg in Germany (although this was a 16k walk) and The Verdon Gorge in France (a bit of a disaster that one!). Apart from running, it is the friends I have met through the club who have since become lifelong friends that mean so much. In particular Sue Pople (Roger) who has always been on hand to give encouragement. Jim Moran for all his help in training and on race day, helping to pace me when aiming for a PB, Bob Woods who always enquired how my running was getting on and always gave encouragement especially when he flew past on a Tuesday night training run usually down Coupar Angus Road on the way back to Lochee Baths and of course last but not least, Ricky who I met at a race in Glen Clova (actually it was at the Ceilidh after the race) and then we married at Glen Clova a few years later, who helped me run ultras which became my favourite distance. All in all Dundee Road Runners have been a large part of my life over the last 20 years and hopefully will continue for many more to come.