The National Cross-Country Championships.   Almost the first thing I saw when I arrived at Falkirk for the championships was two Clydesdale vests – they were worn by the two young athletes pictured above.   It was very cheering and they pointed me to Phil Dolan and another club member whose name I am ashamed to say I have forgotten.   Unfortunately I had to leave early but not before meeting and talking to some old friends from other clubs.   I went over to the tented city to find the club camp.    In passing it is maybe ironic that the SCCU stopped using Hamilton Racecourse for the National Championships after almost thirty years use because there were no changing or showering facilities, and here we are in the 21st century basing the championships at Falkirk where there are no changing or showering facilities.   OK, we use tents now instead of the buses we came in on but it’s the same difference.   

I was there, wandering around among the many multi-coloured tents of all shapes and sizes which had the names of the clubs on them – Cambuslang, Edinburgh, Inverclyde, etc, etc.   Problem was that I could not find one with Clydesdale Harriers on it.   I knew that we had a fine strong black one that had been gifted to us by Campbell & Kennedy several years ago but Could I find it?   No luck so I asked a former Clydesdale Harriers member, a Scottish internationalist no less, who is now a senior member of another Glasgow club.   The response was that everybody probably wanted it but no one could be bothered  bringing it.    I hope he was wrong.    A tent with the club name on it might have been even more use on a wet day – and there have been several of those at Falkirk over the years!

Ruaraidh and Lewis looked as though with a bit more experience and serious training (I say that as a former Scottish Endurance Group Coach) they could be very useful endurance runners.   Four days a week would be enough and as a double act for training they would help each other along.    I didn’t see any of the others but I don’t doubt that the talent is there.

I was a bit disappointed when I saw the results that there was no senior team in the race.  But then there was no team from Dumbarton, Kirkintilloch, Springburn or Victoria Park  either.   The huge numbers that came into the sport via the running boom in the 1980’s indicates that the interest and the talent is out there.   Why are we (the sport) not capitalising on it?   As far as our club is concerned we have a biggish population in Clydebank and district plus two secondary schools, one with a running track, why don’t we have a development plan to recruit and develop these runners?   Alex Naylor, a former national endurance coach used to ask, “Where do we get the animals?”   The animals being the runners.   The answer is that they are all around us.   They won’t approach us, we need to approach them via the papers, notices in sports centres, schools liaison officers, etc.   

The website: is a very useful development in keeping the club members informed about what is going on inside the club as well as in the wider athletics community.   I’m a bit surprised that so little use is made of it – I’d have expected more in the way of results and meeting minutes.    It will be very interesting to see it develop.