Irvine Athletic Club
This website was alive and running from late 2001 to April 2010. It used to be about clubs involving varieties of different types of races (mostly track & field and cross country), that were held in Scotland. I have decided to keep this website going by re-posting some previous information from wayback machine.
Irvine YMCA harriers was founded in 1924 when the Irvine branch of the Y.M.C.A. movement was established in a building situated across the road from the Burns Tavern in the High Street.
Almost from their inception Irvine YMCA Harriers established themselves as one of the top harriers clubs in Scotland, with the late 20’s and early 30’s being one of the most successful periods in the club’s history both in terms of quantity and quality of runners.
During this period some of the top Scottish athletes of the day ran for Irvine, with the most famous of these early athletes being C.P. Wilson who brought early fame to the club when he won the Western District individual championship in 1929, and was twice chosen to run for the Scottish Cross-Country team.
Due to their continual success in team events, Irvine YMCA were invited to compete in the first ever Edinburgh to Glasgow relay race, finishing 4th.
During the 40’s and 50’s the club gained team success, winning the South Western District 6 mile team championship in 1949, 1951 and 1952 and the South Western District 10 mile relay championship in 1952 and 1958.
The youth wing of the YMCA also flourished, with the South Western District Youth team championship coming to Irvine in 1954, 1955 and 1957.
Individual successes in this era were provided by Tom MacNeish and Billy Thomas.
MacNeish won the National Novice championship in 1948, was South Western district champion in 1949 and was selected for the Scottish team in the same year.
Thomas, between 1955 and 1958, won the Ayrshire, South Western District and Scottish YMCA youths cross-country titles and was 3rd in the Scottish cross-country championships in 1956 and 2nd in 1957. This was followed by the South Western District Junior title and the Ayrshire Senior title in 1958.
Billy joined the RAF where he excelled at 800 and 1500 meters, before accepting a scholarship to study English and Athletics at Howard Payne College in Texas, where he was nominated as a member of the National All-American cross-country team in 1963, 1964 and 1965.
The period from 1962 to 1976 was to bring many changes to Irvine YMCA harriers with the club losing its coveted place in the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay.
In 1963 the club moved to the the Woodlands pavilion, as a ‘temporary‘ home after the YMCA building had been destroyed by fire.
Spirit was low and the membership had lapsed to no more than 10, however by 1968 the club had rallied and a few short years of success followed, with team victories in the 10-mile relay championship, the Ayrshire 6-mile team championship (twice), the Scottish YMCA 10-mile relay championship (twice) and the Scottish YMCA 6-mile team championship (twice).
Below I have posted a few links about it’s history, seniors, juniors, past events, and so on and so forth… Enjoy.
There is magical power in the movement of the human body. When you look at it, a lot of most famous art forms are about movement. Dancing, acting, even the movies themselves – all of them are based on the fascinating notion of things moving. For me, ever since childhood, movement held a special place in my heart.
I remember jumping on the backyard trampoline, running on the street and riding my bicycle as some of the earliest memories I have. The first 10 years of my life were spent in the seemingly constant state of motion, where I moved however and whenever I could. I remember this time as a period of constant exercise and fun, merged into a single state of being.
But, once I turned 11, things started to change. Instead of spending time outdoors, I started hanging out in front of my computer. My parents, who always wanted the best for me, were not happy about this, but they still let it continue. As years went by, I was sitting home more and more, eating snacks while I was watching TV or just surfing the net.
As this went on, my weight began piling up almost unnoticeable. I just started to stop wearing some tight-fitting pants, telling myself that the same is only a phase and that it will pass. Before I was fully aware of this, I became overweight and came close to being obese. Of course, this realization made me feel down most of the time, even though I was not ready to admit this.
At the same time, my aunt, the favorite person in my entire world, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. The news devastated me and I think I became fully depressed in that moment. By my aunt, who was always a fighter, one day picked me up and left me in front of the Irvine Athletic Club. She was an old member and she told me that this will help both of us.
I enrolled and because of my aunt’s condition, she could mostly watch me from the sidelines, but thanks to her, I started running. Because of the fact that I needed weight loss so much, I was not given a hard exercise routine. At first, I just ran several laps on the running track, using a very slow rhyme.
But soon after, I started realizing I was getting in shape. Of course, I had to pay for that with several really bad falls that bruised my pride more than my body, but I still was able to laugh it off and keep on running. The more I ran and exercised, the better I felt. Thanks to the suggestion of my aunt, I soon began entering amateur race competitions here and there, and I also entered the field of cross country running.
Here more than anywhere else, I was able to feel like that small kid once again. As time went by, I realized I had experienced a staggering weight loss and I actually started willing races. My body was fitter than it was ever before and I felt great.
Now, three years later, I am in great shape and I even won a small local championship which means the world to me. But, the thing that means even more to me is that my aunt survived the breast cancer and now we run together sometimes, knowing that Irvine Athletic Club and exercise helped turn our lives around.