Jim Smith and grand-daughter Amy Carr at the Team Scotland selection announcement for Gold Coast 2018 (photo by Jeff Holmes)
By Katy Barden
Motherwell AC’s Jim Smith (77) enjoyed a brief fling with fame when he featured in The Herald alongside his granddaughter Amy Carr in early 2018.
Carr, who has Cerebral Palsy, quite rightly took centre stage on that occasion having been selected to represent Scotland in the T37 long jump at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
As it emerged, her grandad, a successful Masters athlete, was Amy’s inspiration.
Representing opposite ends of the athletics age group spectrum, the pair have a lot in common including PBs over 100m (14.33 – Jim/14.62 Amy); 200m (29.98 – Jim/30.69 – Amy); and long jump (4.19m – Jim/3.97m – Amy).
They also took up athletics around the same time.
‘I was visiting my son and out of the blue Amy said: ‘My teacher says I’m a good runner and I should join a club’,’ says Smith, the Scottish Masters champion over 100m and 200m for his age group.
‘Neither of us knew how to do that, but we contacted British Athletics . . . we got a reply that same night with lots of information, so we talked about it for a wee while and she was going to find a club, and I thought, ‘I wonder if I could do the same?’.
‘So I looked it up and found Motherwell AC.’
Photo by Bobby Gavin
Smith had flirted briefly with athletics as a junior but didn’t continue beyond his teenage years: ‘Knowing what I know now, I wish I’d done it to be honest.’
Following his call to Motherwell AC – and five decades after his last race over 100m at the Renfrewshire Championships – he returned to running.
‘It felt great, absolutely great,’ Smith says of getting back into the sport.
‘The competition was good and the company and the club was good. It was great fun. I was just one of the boys, they didn’t look at me like I was 70, I was just ‘Jim’ rather than ‘that old guy’ or ‘Mr Smith’.
‘Masters athletics is fantastic. It’s not just the running – it’s meeting the guys and getting the back chat.
‘The number of stories I get from the youngsters who say, ‘you’re 77, you’re older than my grandad and he just sits around doing nothing’.
‘I feel younger now than I did in my 30s – and a lot fitter.’