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Arnold’s Archive

Welcome to Arnold’s Archive, the scottishathletics history blog.

Alongside the other history pages on this website, this blog will be home to articles by our historian, Arnold Black, covering a range of topics, often relating to present-day events.

Arnold has an extensive and detailed knowledge of the history of athletics in Scotland.

And we are absolutely we’re delighted to have the space for him to recall the people and events that have brought our sport to the present day.


90 years of women’s athletics in Scotland

25 September 2020 is a very special date in the history of athletics in Scotland.

It marks 90 years to the day since the formation of the Scottish Women’s Amateur Athletics Association as 13 clubs gathered in Glasgow and become path-finders for the sport as we now know it in this country.

In the latest of his Arnold Archive columns for the history section of this website, scottishathletics Historian Arnold Black has traced the origins of women’s competition.

Arnold has also set down a series of landmark moments for women’s athletics in Scotland and we have split those into two separate articles – up to 1969 and then from 1970 to the present day.

Click here to read more . . .

Hampden roars for Glasgow 2014

When Hampden roared . . .

It had been a traditional venue for Scottish athletics events for many years, so a redeveloped Hampden was the perfect stage for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Arnold strolls down Memory Lane again to complete his look at the three times the Commonwealths have been staged in Scotland – after analysing Edinburgh 1970 and 1986.

Glasgow 2014 saw Scotland land four medals via the performances of Libby Clegg, Mark Dry, Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp, with that surpassing the tally of each of the previous five Games.

Click to read more . . .

Liz Triumphs amid off-track drama – Edinburgh, 1986

After the great success of the 1970 Commonwealth Games, Edinburgh put itself forward for a repeat performance in 1986. But if the 1970 Games were the Friendly Games, then 1986 was anything but. Arnold looks at the drama on -and off – the field of play. Click for more…

The Friendly Games – Edinburgh, 1970

In 1970, the Commonwealth Games came to Edinburgh, and to a newly-opened Meadowbank Stadium. With a still-unsurpassed four Scottish gold medals – for Rosemary Payne, Lachie Stewart, Ian Stewart and Rosemary Stirling, there was plenty for the home crowd to enjoy. Arnold delves into the memorable performances of the Friendly Games. Click for more…

Track and (Football) Field

There has always been a close connection between athletics and football. Many football clubs were built with a track round the pitch which enabled the hosting of athletics events. Clubs took advantage of this and at one time would attract large crowds to athletics events with a five-a-side football tournament as the accompaniment. Arnold looks at the times that athletics and football went hand in hand… Click for more…

Scotland’s athletics club: old and proud . . .

With Greenock Glenpark Harriers celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2020, Arnold takes time to recognise that many of our clubs are steeped in a long and proud history, focusing on the ten oldest clubs in Scotland. Click for more…

Olympic Dreams (on hold)

The Olympic Games has been put on hold. It’s one more year until the dreams may be realised. One more year added to the time since Allan Wells became the last Scot to win an Olympic gold medal. 41 years. For the middle-aged and elderly among us, the only Scot we have witnessed live winning the ultimate athletics medal.
Join Arnold to revisit the Scottish Olympic medalists of previous games, while we wait one more year for the next event Click for more…

Onwards and upwards

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was the first time in the history of the event that the Scotland team contained three women high jumpers. With Emma Nuttall announcing her retirement this year, it means that all three team members – Jayne Nisbet and Rachael Mackenzie were the others – are no longer in the event. But with Nikki Manson setting a new Scottish indoor record this year, and threatening the outdoor record in the coming season, we take a look back at the history of Scottish women’s high jumping Click for more…

That elusive hat-trick

As the Lindsays National Cross Country 2020 approaches, there are plenty of honours up for grabs. But one that nobody has attained since 2001 in the Senior Men’s race, is the glory of three individual golds.

While six athletes currently have two wins under their belt, it’s been many years since anyone attained that elusive hat-trick in the men’s race – so we take a look back at those who have achieved it in years gone by. Click for more…

Then Along Came Mike

The passing of Mike Lindsay in December 2019 saw Scottish athletics lose one of its greats – a rare breed, an athlete who can be said to have taken his events forward, both domestically and internationally, and dominated his circle (whether shot or discus) throughout his career. Click for more…

The Allan Scally Memorial Road Race

The Allan Scally Memorial Road Relay Race first appeared on the Scottish running calendar on 22 November 1969 and this February will see the 50th running of the event, having been held each winter season excepting 2017-18. Arnold looks back at the history of the event, and the man who inspired it. Click for more…

Top of the World (part two)

Arnold looks at World Records set in Scotland by athletes from around the globe – from the legendary Alfred Shrubb to the international meets at the Kelvin Hall.  Click for more…

Top of the World

With the 2019 World Championships about to start, Arnold looks back at Scots who have competed at the games, first held in Helsinki in 1983. From Allan Wells to Zoey Clark, the Scots have battled for podium places on this World stage and Arnold reminds us of their achievements… Click for more…

Dundee Dynamite

What is it about the women of Dundee? Two of Scotland’s leading athletes, Laura Muir and Eilish McColgan, are members of Dundee Hawkhill Harriers  – Eilish coached by mum Liz, herself another Dundee athletics legend. No surprise, then, that Dundee women are a continuing influence on athletics in Scotland, stretching back to the formation of the Scottish Women’s Amateur Athletic Association in 1930. Arnold traces the story of female athletes from in Dundee over the decades. Click for more

The Long Road – the Scottish Marathon Championships

Arnold casts his eye back to 1946, when the first Scottish (men’s) Marathon Champs was held, and recalls some of the names that have dominated the discipline in the years before and since. Click for more

The Bellshill Bullet

This week marked the 30th anniversary of a pretty special Scottish Record – Tom McKean’s 800m mark. To do so, he had to beat a revered Kenyan in London – Olympic champion Paul Ereng, no less.

Yet that superb run is only one of a number of highlights in a special career. Click for more . . .  (posted 30 July 2019)

The Class of 2011

As our under-23 athletes return from their European Championships in Gävle buoyed by the double gold medal winning performance of Jemma Reekie, so our under-20 athletes make the opposite journey to Boras to commence their challenge for the European Junior Championships. Click for more… (Posted 16 July 2019)



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