We used to be members of the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association but we are now members of the Scottish Athletics Federation – the “Amateur” has been dropped.   It was probably appropriate that that was the case although the medals and prizes were permanent mementoes of what the athletics career had been like.    Expenses were always paid of course at big meetings and even at such events as the Cowal Highland Games where every team (there were six to eight invited to take part in the Two Miles Team Race) filled in their form and collected £5 for the team – £1:05:00 each.    

Times changed in the 80’s and 90’s with the top half dozen athletes in the country being paid £15,000 for up to six races in a season.   The top athletes always had a ‘team’ of main coach (maybe a distance specialist) plus a sprints coach, physio, access to a sports doctor and a manager.   There is a tale of one top athlete being told by his agent/manager that he had to run twelve races that summer for £10x each, he took the sheet, scored out six races and changed the amount to £20x each!   Half as many for twice as much!    

It has continued to develop with top athletes and their coaches being on a retainer from UK Athletics and/or Scottish Athletics – I know of one coach who receives regular retainers from UKA – one of which he spent on a car for his daughter! Not a big car, not a new car, but a car nevertheless.  Despite all of us knowing of these things and accepting the development of the sport, the Josh Kerr interview at the weekend caused ripples in the stream.

He received £31,500 for winning the 3000m race – reliable sources tell us that if we add in sponsorships he would have a total of somewhere north of £60,000.   Add in the World Championships 1500m victory for last year for which he collected £55,000 (before sponsorships were added) and you can see how he was able to employ four or five people at USA salaries to help with his preparation.   He is adamant that athletics does not pay him enough and reckons that the top people should be paid much more.   He is also not averse to a LIV type deal but in the current situation he is supportive to the Top Talent League (whose exact name I don’t know) being organised by Michael Johnson.    

Now there’s a talking point for the next club pack run!