Team successes were once more accompanied by the emergence of a runner of an individual brilliance. This time it was the turn of Brian Morrison; who won the Ayrshire senior Cross-Country championship twice in 1969 and 1970 and was 3rd in the Scottish Junior cross-country in 1969.
These performances were rewarded by selection for the Scottish Junior Cross-Country team in 1969; and the Scotland ‘B‘ team in 1972, before emigrating to South Africa.
In the spring of 1972 the club resigned from the National Association of YMCA’s and renamed the club Irvine Athletic Club; eventually being incorporated into Irvine Sports Club in 1974 as a member section.
Club and Team Colors
The club colors were changed from white vests with one broad blue hoop; red triangle on the front; red shorts to canary yellow vest; and shorts with black edging.
In 1974 the club also resigned from the S.A.A.A. and S.C.C.U. to amalgamate with Kilmarnock Harriers, Ayr Seaforth; as well as runners from the Garnock Valley to allow Ayrshire athletes to compete as a strong club in national competitions under the name of Ayrshire A.C.
Within a year, Ayrshire A.C. had won the National Youth’s Cross-Country team race. The senior team had been selected into the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay.
Early 1976 saw Irvine A.C. resign from Ayrshire A.C.. Since the canary yellow colors had been adopted by the county club, Irvine once more changed its colors to red with navy trim.
Back when it was built
The late 70’s and 80’s saw the club build up a strong membership, thanks mainly to the marathon boom. But it was not until 1990 that the club was re-admitted to the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay, after a lapse of 31 years.
Since 1990 the club has qualified each year with the 2000 race being the pinnacle where Irvine AC took 8th place and collected the most meritorious award.
The club followed up this success with an 8th team place in the National cross-country race, finishing 4 runners in the top 100.
Once again the upturn in fortune was helped by a promising individual. On this occasion, it was Billy Richardson, whose strength mainly in cross-country, brought the team back into recognition.
Joining the Club and Team
Having joined the club in his late teens, Billy soon showed his potential, gaining under-23 Scottish cross-country selection. He finished with a 21st place in the National Senior cross-country.
Unfortunately being forced to miss a few years of competition, he has now come back stronger winning the Ayrshire cross-country title on 3 occasions. As well as looking to gain international selection.
International vests over this period have been won by Jim Stevenson (hill-running); Lee Richardson (under-23 cross country); and Jim White, Colin Miller, Jackie Byng, Kath Melville, Liz McGarry and Helen Morton (Scottish veterans cross-country).
The club has a large junior section. It competes in track and field as well as road and cross-country.
The senior men’s team, although probably one of the strongest its been; since the transition to Irvine AC with strength in depth in both road and cross-country running. It is always keen to welcome new members..
Click here to move on to the next post; which is about Senior Men Who Participated in the Athletic Club.