By Fraser Clyne (Founder member)
Metro Aberdeen Running Club’s 30th birthday celebrations have been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special dinner to mark the landmark anniversary was postponed because of the current crisis, but will now hopefully take place in September.
And although all races have been cancelled and club training sessions halted for the foreseeable future, Metro members are still actively working on a number of initiatives for the future.
Chair Tom Brian and an enthusiastic committee are driving forward with some exciting projects.
‘We have a lot of ideas and are seriously trying to develop some new events in the city,’ said Tom.
‘As a club we are very keen to see a marathon back in Aberdeen. It has been a long time since we had one here and I’m sure there’s a demand for it. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but there is definitely a case for it.
‘We are further down the line, however, with plans for a 5km race which I believe would be a great success. Duthie Park would be our dream venue as it’s a perfect setting if we could work out a good 1km loop.
‘We’ve also had a look at some alternative venues at Bridge of Don, Westhill and Portlethen, but Duthie Park is our preferred one.
‘Our 10km at the beach has always been popular but we also want to build on its success by making it one of Scotland’s top races.
Hazel Wyness, Fiona Brian and Jennifer Elvin won British Marathon team gold for Metro in 2017
‘Our half marathon at Dyce has been on the go for many years but we are looking at ways of revamping it as it needs to be improved.
‘The Great Aberdeen Run showed there is a demand for a half marathon in the city and although we’re not looking at that scale of event. I’m sure we could do more to make the Dyce race more attractive.’
‘We are also keen to host more scottishathletics events. Our men’s captain, Dino Roussias, is working on a proposal to bring the national masters cross country championships up here.
‘We’ve worked with Aberdeen AAC in the past to host the East District cross country championships at Balgownie and we’d like to do that again. As a club we do a lot of travelling to races elsewhere, so we support any initiative which bring more events to Aberdeen.’
Metro Aberdeen leaders are delighted with recent progress, which has included national vests and national medals.
‘The club has really developed very well in recent years. I know it was quite strong in the early 1990s but when I joined in 2009 I was the only guy who went down to the National XC championships.
‘We have worked hard to turn that around by building a strong camaraderie among members. Nowadays we can fill a coach with 40-50 people going to the national which is brilliant.
‘Last year we had a record 400 members, which is really encouraging. We also have a healthy junior section with around 40 members. That’s good but there’s work to do there as, over the past 10 years or so, not many of our 14-15 year-olds have progressed to become Seniors.
‘One thing which has held us back has been the shortage of coaches but that has also improved recently. We’ve got experienced guys like Jackie Stewart and Peter Jennings, and they’ve been joined by George Proctor while Sarah Simpson and Alison Milne are going through their badges.’