‘Central AC golds were biggest achievement I’ve been involved in’ – Hay

Wednesday 3rd May 2023

Yellow turns gold! Central AC claim historic victory at ERRA Road Relays 

Alastair Hay represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 and won gold at the National XC at Falkirk on two occasions.

Now 37, he is one of Scotland’s most decorated athletes in cross country, road and track and an absolute icon at Central AC.

But Hay has confirmed the high point of his impressive athletics career happened only last month . . . at the ERRA Road Relays at Sutton Park in Birmingham.

Central AC broke the mould to become the first ever Scottish winners of this ‘British championship  event as 12 good men and true left the likes of Highgate Harriers and Kent AC firmly in the slipstream of yellow vests.

It was a tactical masterpiece from head coach, Derek Easton, and a superb team performance, with the Course Record broken and a winning margin of 44 seconds carved out over four hours of running.

‘I would rate being in that winning team as the biggest achievement in my career,’ said Alastair.

‘It was just brilliant and so special for everyone at Central AC.’

Our sport is fortunate to have a number of modest role models but given the Central AC stalwart might well make the podium in that particular regard, his pride in the team effort spoke absolute volumes.


‘It meant a lot to our coach, Derek Easton, and to all the guys in the club,’ he added.

‘To share something like that as a team and with everyone I had trained with over the years was a great feeling and it still feels a wee bit like a dream to be honest with you.

‘We had always kind of joked about going down to England and winning it – you don’t realise quite how good it feels until it happens.

‘It takes a special group of people to have a strong team of 12. It’s rare everyone is there and everyone runs well. But that is what you need.

‘You look at the history of the ERRA Road Relays and great athletes and great clubs have won it in the past.

‘Doing that we now realise with hindsight what an achievement it was and with a Course Record over the current course at Sutton Park.

‘There were tactics and team planning at play for sure. Andrew (Butchart) and Jamie (Crowe) had a hand in that on the journey south as they tapped into info about who was running what leg for some of our opponents. That influenced it a bit and our last four were so strong.

Alastair Marshall after the anchor leg and Andy Butchart on the course (photos by Harrison Read)

‘But then again I think we could have had any order and we would still have been right in the mix, because so many guys ran so well on the day.

We would have stood a chance I am sure – but having those four guys on the last four legs (Butchart, Hamish Hickey, Crowe and Alastair Marshall – well, you are quietly confident.’

Butchart’s 24:57 was the fastest long leg and Hickey’s 15:07 similarly on the short legs. Hay himself clocked an impressive 15:23 – quicker than all but one of the short leg runners for both Highgate and Kent.

‘I always enjoy running there,’ he smiled.

‘It was an honour to be part of a winning Central AC team. I was the oldest guy in the team but I will try and get selected again next year.’

Image created by Sue Gyford from original photo by Harrison Read

Tags: Alastair Hay, Andrew Butchart, Central AC, ERRA 12-Stage Road Relays, ERRA Road Relays, Hamish Hickey

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