Running Clubs In the West of Scotland (South)
At A Glance Troon Tortoises
Who are Troon Tortoises? We’re a Troon based running club formed in 1976 who don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re not an elitist club, we’re very inclusive! We were nominated for the Provost Sloan Trophy, club of the year for inclusion in sport last year. I’m completely blind so one of the big things the club does is give help to those with no experience in guide running.
Where and when do you meet? Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm at Marr College.
How many members? There are around 50. We have all ages but there’s a big group of older runners who have produced some great results. George McGregor, for example, was first in the over-65 category at the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon last year. We work in conjunction with Monkton Milers, assisting them with people getting started jogging. Many of those joggers go on to develop the confidence to move on to running competently and end up joining our club.
Famous past members? Among the founders was Ian Whittle, the father of Brian. Other successful athletes who started their careers with the Tortoises were Hazel Melvin who at one stage was top ranked high jumper in her age group in Britain, Marsella Robertson who was a Commonwealth Games finalist in the 1500m and Vicki MacPherson who came second in the World Student Cross Country Championships and first in the Scottish Cross Country Championships.
Associated with other clubs? Yes, there’s a lot of cross-pollination with other clubs. There’s the Troon Coastal Rowing Club which some of our members have ended up getting involved in and their members have come to our running club. The local triathlon club is also one we’re involved with; one of the triathlon members passed away and we organised a memorial race for him in February.
Social aspect? There’s a really strong social element to the club. We always have a Christmas night out. A group of 12 of us went up in a mini-bus for the Great Scottish Run this year then afterwards went for a meal and drinks. We’ll also do things like go for targeted runs but with the emphasis on socialising. We have a slightly quirky sense of humour but we’re a fun bunch!
Club events? We organise the Troon Tortoise 10K which is the biggest midweek 10k in Scotland. 7 May is the 2014 date. There’s always a big demand for it. We opened entries in January this year and places sold out by February.
Which races do club members take part in? Too many to mention! We’re always keen to support local races but our members also go running all over the world. Ayr Turkey Trot on Boxing Day is popular as is the Harriers vs Cyclists which is an obstacle race with runners and cyclists competing against each other. Virgin London Marathon is a big one for us too. Personally I’m a fan of ultras. One of my favourite races is the D33 near Aberdeen. I just love the camaraderie of ultra running. Everyone helps each other along and it’s a very relaxed environment.
Any notable current members? Yes there are lots. Ann Noble is one of my guide runners and she’s been brilliant. She does a lot of ultras and was first lady for her age group at the Niagara Falls Marathon. There’s Mark Caldwell who was second in The Spire, a race in Spain. He led throughout but was pipped at the post!
What about women runners? We have had an issue in the past with women joining the club but not taking part in any events - that’s changing though. We had six runners at the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon this year and for members Yvonne Feggans and Clare Bain, it was their first half marathon!
Anything else? I’d like to give a special mention our club secretary John McKinlay who recently completed his 70th marathon in his 70th year. He is critically ill right now so everyone at the club is thinking of him and wishing him the best.
For more information visit the club website
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