Robert Gilroy (ALI-G) has recently taken the Scottish Athletics distance running scene by storm. Robert was the first Scot's based athlete home in the 2006 Glasgow 'Fresh 'n' Low' Half Marathon (67mins). He even managed to beat the mighty Glen Stewart in this prestigious "Scottish Athletics' Blue Ribbon" race in September 2006. In 2005, Robert was crowned as Scotland's Marathon Champion (2:26:10). He has represented Scotland and Great Britain on numerous occasions. In fact, in 2006 Robert ran in Africa where he represented GB in one leg of a Marathon Team Event. A Hamilton Harrier until 2004, Robert quickly established his potential. John Berry (assistant coach) looks back to Robert's meteoric rise to fame with great fondness. John laughs when he says: "Robert's first race was the Saltcoats 41/2 mile 'Fair Monday' Race. He ran it in Bermuda Shorts and gave everyone a good laugh, but Robert had the last laugh as he 'gubbed' a lot of so called seasoned athletes. ALI-G has a HUGE PERSONALITY (dead funny).
1990 - 1999
Alex Robertson (another 'Blanter' boy) has been a Scottish Champion (Senior and Veteran) on three occasions. Alex has been a Scottish Half Marathon Champion at Senior Level and a Scottish Cross-Country Champion at Veteran Level. Alex represented Great Britain in the 2006 Masters Athletics Championships in Linz, Austria, where he scooped a Team Silver Medal and Team Bronze Medal in the Cross Country and Half Marathon. Alex has run for both the Hamilton Harriers Club and the Cambuslang Harriers. A legend nevertheless.
Stevie Wylie (8 times Scottish Champion) is currently one of Scotland's most distinguished distance runners. He has represented Scotland and Great Britain on numerous occasions. Stevie, from Blantyre, represented the Hamilton Harriers Club from 1981-1991. The coach at the club at that time was John Smith, a Hamilton man, who worked with one of the most talented squads in Scotland. Amongst them was Craig Cleland, a National Cross-Country Senior Boys Champion and Ian and Gerry McGurk, who were both Scottish Internationals, as well as Gary Reynolds, who at that time was the National Cross-Country Champion.
Steve Wylie, as well as a couple of other international runners, all trained in the one group at that time. All of these athletes' talents were nurtured in Hamilton and some even compete today, for example, Stevie Wylie, Ian McGurk and of course Alex Robertson.
The majority of training sessions were done at Strathclyde Park (Hamilton side), where the retail park is now. Harriers at that time trained very hard, doing sessions like 10 x 800m repeats, even although most of them were still only in their teens. They also did endurance runs up to 16 miles long on Sunday's. The Hamilton Harriers Club had a very strong squad of runners at that time. Stevie Wylie has fond memories of the training he received at Hamilton and says it undoubtedly has helped him to get to where he is today.
Stevie's PB times are as follows:
1 mile 4 mins 05 secs
5k 14 mins 24 secs
10k 29 mins 20 secs
1/2 Marathon 1 hr 4 mins 50 secs
Marathon 2 hr 30 mins
Stevie Wylie's most memorable win was only a couple of years after he had left the Hamilton Harriers Club. As a 19 year old, Stevie entered the Nigel Barge Road Race, and defeated Alistair Hutton who had been a hero of his at the time. Stevie had watched him on the TV only four weeks earlier, where he had won the London Marathon to become the first Scot ever to win it and possibly even the last. Stevie beat him in a sprint finish to win the race in a course record and Stevie was really chuffed that he even knew who he was. That race sticks out in Stevie's mind, since words of encouragement from a runner like that would inspire anyone. Another race that sticks out in Stevie's mind is when he beat Nat Muir's course record set in the Tom Scott Memorial Race. That record had stood for 13 years. Stevie's best race memory when running for the Hamilton Harriers Club was in the Wanlockhead Relay, where he and others won the title with a really strong team. Competition for places at that time was so tough that even the 'B' team managed to finish third. That is one of the trophies that still takes pride of place in Stevie's highly decorated trophy cabinet.
STEVIE WYLIE IS A HAMILTON HARRIERS' AND CAMBUSLANG HARRIERS' LEGEND.
Bruce Hendry (81 years old) contacted The Hamilton Harriers Club and submitted some invaluable information from the period 1949 - 1955. Bruce's specialised distance was 880 yards (1/2 mile), which he clocked in a remarkable time of 1 minute 57 seconds. He accomplished this feat at Ibrox Football Stadium (Rangers Football Club) in 1955. He was 29 years old at the time. He clocked this lightening fast time in front of 70,000 spectators. The star attraction in the race that day was an American who recorded a time of 1 minute 50 seconds (possibly a world record at that time). Bruce kindly submitted two photographs and a brief synopsis of what was going on at the club at that time. The details are summarised below:
Period (1949 onwards)
Bruce joined 'The Hamilton Harriers Club' in 1949 when he was 23 years old. He had previously served in the Royal Marines where he held the Cross Country record at the Lympstone Training Depot, South Devon.
Around 1949, the club was fairly strong and produced a crop of talented runners over various distances. Unfortunately, training facilities were practically non-existent, so the harriers at that time had to rely on the goodwill of Hamilton Accies Football Club, who allowed them to train at Douglas Park two nights per week. The club, in fact, did have a small pavilion that was situated in Lilybank Street, Hamilton. However, it was only ever used during the winter months when the harriers did cross-country and road work. Jimmy Strang and Tom Collins also contacted the club to reminisce of the training sessions they enjoyed at Lilybank Street in 1959.