Graham Getty

Graham Getty

Graham Getty has written the following contribution to the topic of club night - or club runs - from his experience of three separate clubs: Bellahouston Harriers, Cambuslang Harriers and Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.

It makes interesting reading and it is instructive to compare it with the other contributions on the topic.

In the running hey days of the 1970's and 80's, Bellahouston Harriers met at Nethercraigs Sports Pavilion in Corkerhill Road, typically on Tuesday and Thursday nights. This venue consisted of a cinder running track, some football pitches and, yes, the changing rooms. If you were lucky, there would be some toilet paper in the toilets. If not, you took your chances and asked the groundsman. He would give you a roll of paper as long as you gave it back! I specifically remember asking him one nioght if he wanted the used bit back! What memories.

As for the running - the track didn't get much use - the majority of club runners would go out for a run (anything from about 8 miles up) through the nearby Pollok Estate and round the three golf courses in the neighbourhood, ie Pollok, Haggs Castle and Cowglen. How lucky we were to have such great running territory right on our doorsteps. It is true, golf courses were designed with runners in mind - although just watch out for those little white balls. Sometimes indeed we would be faced with some irate golfers - but what were they going to do? Chase us? How inconsiderate of them to interfere with a club run! After all, there was never more than 50 of us in a pack and we passed the golfers in a minute - what could they possibly have a problem with?

If you had anything left by the time you got back to the changing rooms, yes, you could do some sprints on the track...

In the winter, club runs would be around the roads outside Pollok Estate, more often than not headed by Andy Daly. In typical Andy fashion, he got great satisfaction from injecting regular bursts of speed to try and drop everyone else off; he had to be the first home every time. Pity on any other runner (jogger?) who happened to be ahead of us on such runs - the expression was always "Kill!" ie catch him, pass him and leave him demoralised...! Strange the things runners get their kicks from?

On Sundays the club would meet at Lochinch Sports Pavilion in the middle of Pollok Park. Lochinch was the home of Strathclyde Police and thanks to one of Bella's members, PC Norrie Scott, we were "allowed" to use these premises, or at least so Norrie told us! Great showers there, but wasn't the changing room full of mud from the police rugby players? Inconsiderate policemen? Sunday runs would consist of long cross-country runs, again taking in Pollok Estate as well as all three of the golf courses; some nice hills in Cowglen Golf Course! Great fun! All age groups from the juniors to the veterans, 15 to 70. Yes the juniors did admire the dedication of the most senior runners. I remember particularly Gavin Bell. Anybody and everybody was welcome - whether they could handle the pace for long was a different question!

Specific memories from these club runs:

a. George Braidwood getting chased by a small but friendly dog; the next thing we knew, the dog was doinmg cartwheels in the air! Did we really have a gymnast of a dog? Even dogs wanted to join our pack runs.

b. Tom Donnelly getting caught short on a Sunday morning run; unfortunately for Tom a policeman caught him in action. Tom came out with those immortal words to the policeman, "Do you want to lift the evidence?"

c. Jim Russell getting almost knocked over by a car; yes, you've guessed it, the driver came off worst. Jim always knew how to use his tongue.

Who were the runners in those days? Some of the names who spring to mind: Andy Daly (of course), Peter Fleming, Tom Donnelly, Campbell Joss, John Charles, Jimmy Irvine, Ian Burke, Peter Lanagan, A;astair McAngus, Graham Getty, George Braidwood, Jim Russell, Davie Wyper, Ronnie Gregg, Norie Scott, Howard Scott, John Hendry, Tony Coyne, Gordon McGregor, Robert Fitzsimmons and from time to time big Frank (Clement). Big Frank was, of course, a bit of a hero at Bellahouston; after all it's not often you have an Olympian in your midst but then again, club president Brian Goodwin knew how to bring Frank down a peg or two. As Brian would say, Frank was the only guy he knew who could get himself boxed in when running round a track on his own.... It's always good to have friends isn't it?

Bella very much reached its peak in the early - mid 80's, being blessed with a hard core of young runners who started running around the same time. Only problem with this was that perhaps their best running was left on the training runs simply trying to male the team for the next race!

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Our friendly atmosphere and great coaching make us a great choice if you are looking to start running for a club or if you have run with a club before.

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