Motherwell marathon legend hits out at Games snub

Former marathon runner John Graham with granddaughter Minnie
Former marathon runner John Graham with granddaughter Minnie

A marathon champion from Motherwell has hit out at the organisers of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for snubbing former competitors.

John Graham twice finished fourth for Scotland in the Games marathon, in Brisbane in 1982 and Edinburgh four years later.

Graham, a former Scottish marathon record holder with a fabulous two hours nine minutes 28 seconds, said: “I was watching the breakfast programme on the BBC and the weathergirl was saying she’d been invited to carry the baton.

“That annoyed me as I still speak to a lot of the guys who were competing at the same time as me and we had been discussing the fact we hadn’t been asked to be involved.

“Not necessarily carrying the baton, but maybe we could’ve done a coaching session with children or some other role. I wrote to the Glasgow 2014 organisers asking if there was anything they’d like me to do, but I never heard back.

“I live in the Midlands, but my mum, Elizabeth, is still in Motherwell so coming up the road would be no problem. But it seems they don’t want anything to do with us old guys.”

John Graham is one of only two Scots to run under two hours 10 minutes for the marathon.

His time of 2.09:28 was just 12 seconds slower than Edinburgh’s Allister Hutton, a former London Marathon winner. Hutton’s record still stands after 29 years.

When Graham set his best time in Rotterdam in 1981 only six other athletes on the planet had ever run quicker. At one point Graham held nine of the 20 fastest ever Scottish marathon times.

Although best known for his exploits on the road, Graham also made his mark on the track and twice broke the Scottish native record for the 3,000m steeplechase.

He ran for Clyde Valley AC at a time when that club boasted several of Scotland’s leading distance runners. Graham helped them win national road and cross country titles and he represented Scotland four times at the World Cross Country Championship.