Copyright 2017 - Dundee Roadrunners

Barabara Brown

(Member of Dundee Road Runners for 25 years )

 

 

I joined DRR in August 1984, which I think was only a few weeks after it started. It was only about the time of the Club's 20th Anniversary that I realised that I might be one of the 'originals'

 

Prior to joining the Club I had been running for a few weeks with Dundee Hawk Hill Harriers where I met Alan Kay who had also just started with the Hawks. We ran with the two Ronnies (Ron Oliver & Ron Mackintosh) who gave up some of their training time to take out the beginners. Alan found out about DRR and we both joined, as it was more suitable for the older beginners.

 

The reason I started running was that I got the bug from my friend Marshall who was a rugby player. Marshall had volunteered to run from Forfar to Dundee which was a distance of about 17 miles in aid of funds for my church Saints Peter & Paul. I thought this was extremely far to run especially on your own so I decided I would train and join him in the last mile. After running round the base of the Law Hill, which is one mile, a few times I was then fully trained for the event.

 

There was no stopping me after that and until a few years ago I was doing practically every race in sight and had an event on every weekend in the non-winter season.

 

I never ran when I was at school, as the girls in my class did not get the opportunity. I was more into achieving swimming awards such as personal survivor, distance and life saving awards. Little did I know at the time that I might need these skills for my later adventures in the sea. I was the only girl that cycled to school. On leaving university I took up canoeing for a few years with Marshall until I lost my nerve when trying to roll the canoe in the pool. I could not get the spray deck off and was trapped upside down in the canoe and had to be rescued. After that I kept capsizing on the rivers and seas as I had lost my nerve so gave it up. 

 

I took part in the Dundee Quadrathlon in 1987, which involved running, swimming, cycling and canoeing across the Tay as an individual but found the canoeing that time across the Tay so scary as it was extremely rough and windy that the following year I decided to enter a female team with a more experienced canoeist.

 

In 1990 I took up swimming in open water, which meant swimming without a wetsuit. The reason I took this up was in case there was another Tay Railway Bridge disaster. I wanted to increase my chances of survival from the shock of plunging into the cold waters of the Tay. The New Yearís Day Dook, is good training for it as is training in Broughty Ferry Harbour and my many swims  across the Tay, Broughty Ferry to Olympia and vice versa and Bridge to Bridge to name but a few local swims.

 

My first Marathon was Dundee 1985 about 9 months after I joined the Club. It was in May and I finished just as the snow started. I took 3 hours 40 minutes and felt sorry for the other runners who were out in the snow possibly for at least another 2 to 3 hours.  The next year there was a heat wave so the runners were in danger of sunstroke whereas the year before they were in danger of suffering from frostbite. The joys of the Great British climate!

 

I have run about 25 marathons having had a break from them for 9 years between 1989 to 1998. In 1998 I ran Nottingham Marathon having not done much running training but was fairly fit with triathlon training. I did reasonably well and got the Marathon bug again and am still running marathons.

 

In 1987 I took up triathlon as I enjoyed cycling, swimming and running.  Fitting in all three disciplines is not easy and the running just has to tick by. Depending on what race I am doing dictates what discipline I will train.

 

I took part in the Club cycle /run from Oban to Dundee as a cyclist only because if you were a runner you needed you own back up.

 

I enjoy the DRR mini duathlons, which David Stewart started, the Club cycles and their races.

 

My personal memories of some of the earlier members and supporters are as follows: -

The 'Runners in the Sky': -

Errol Galloway : He was always trying to give advice and be helpful. He would throw himself into whatever sport he took up.

Errol fell just after the start of the Dundee Marathon one year and went on to complete it. Only then did he realised he had broken his leg.

He would say that I ran faster up hills than down however he would not have said that in recent years as up hills are a real struggle.

When I took up triathlons he said that my bike was a heap of junk and that I had to strip it of all its accessories, which I did do to make it lighter. Well that heap of junk is still going strong on tours and club cycles. I have a triathlon bike for races. I still remember when cycling on the Kingsway especially and when I am tired or in a race that I have to point my toes down on the pedals.

Errol turned up one night at the Phibbies swimming pool training session and proceeded to tell every one what to do. We took it in the spirit it was meant.

He always meant well.

 

Jim Edwards : Jim had an unusual style of running whereby you think he is not going fast but he still manages to creep up from behind when you are tiring and then manages to beat you. He did this to me on one occasion during a Dundee Marathon and I did not respond to the challenge and so he managed to beat me. After that I was always on the look out for him and when I saw him in sight put on a spurt so that he would not catch me.

 

 

Gus Hunter : He always made time to exchange a few words as he slowed down to pass you on a Tuesday run and then speeded up to catch his running buddies. Gus was a triathlete as I am and as there were at that time 5 years ago only a few in the running club there was a special bond between triathletes. He is still missed today.

 

Still Running: -

Sam Connelly ñ fast runner in his days and still going strong as a Forfar Road Runner and managing to beat me despite by-pass heart surgery a few years ago. There is no stopping him these days.

 

Not able to run: -

Ged Hanlon although unable to run now turns up every Thursday to coach and pass on his knowledge.

 

Charlie Anderson:Well what can I say? The Club would just not be the same without him. Charlie also does not to run now but takes the Thursday sessions and gives encouragement to especially the slow runners who are often lagging far behind the speedsters. I personally put in more effort when Charlie shouts encouragement at me.

 

 

The supporters: -

Mary King (Wee Tommy Kingís wife) (Now a ìSupporter in the Skyî): - although Mary never ran she was a great supporter and came on the bus on most trips with Tommy. Mary would wait until all the DRR had passed which would often be some time after Tommy who was a fast runner. She would appear on the route in unexpected places so you could not slack in case Mary was just around the corner and caught you not putting in enough effort. I found her a good inspiration to keep going on races when I was tiring.

 

The little supporters: -

Gill & Ged Hanlonís Boys - They came on the DRR bus to races since they were toddlers and I enjoyed seeing them at the races.

 

Stan & Caroline Stewartís Boys - They were also regular supporters from a very young age. As I staggered along especially on the club hill races they would be there to give me a big cheer and shout out my name when they saw me coming. I enjoyed looking out for them and it did help me keep going when I was way behind the rest of the field. 

 

I could go on about the ìGreats of the Past ì but these people sprung to mind, as I had a personal wee story to tell how they have helped me in the past and present with my running.

 

The Club has and had a lot of newcomers and I think it is a shame that when they see some of the ìoldiesî that they do not know how fast a runner they were in their hey days.

 

When I started 25 years ago there were no gels, energy bars, few energy drinks, and no high tec sports clothes. You had to know your right foot from your left without your socks telling you in the heat of the race!  You had to know the route and estimate the distance, as there were no Satnavs etc. No ipods just heavy casette players. No lightweight state of the art mobile phones, which did everything. If you 'broke' down out training well tough you just had to get home somehow. I just used to go out without all these aids to weigh me down and I still go out and run carrying nothing. No cycle computers either.

We have all this technology but has it made us any faster?

 

I am still running but not very fast due to injuries. The harder I try the slower I get but I am lucky I still can run. I am still persevering after 25 years when 'better men/women' would have given up long ago.

 

I have taken up trying to speed walk the last two years. However this is proving a bit detrimental to the running as it is easier to stop running and as an excuse say I am practicing speed walking for Moon Walk Marathons.

 

I do not have any particular outstanding greatest sporting achievements. The fact that I have been able to run marathons especially latterly completing them against the odds. Also actually managing to do outdoor swims, as I do not have much strength to battle against the wind, waves and tides so each swim is my personal 'Channel Swim'.

 

Tuesdays would not be the same without the thought at least that I should be at the Club. I would miss the people and I hope that I have many years left to run.

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