From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

Marathon Man

The Sentinel managed to balance its coverage between issues of national importance as well as giving up time and space to the people who made up the community of Wester Hailes.  This week we’re taking a look at a local resident who featured regularly in the Sentinel pages through his marathon running. 

 In December 1984, the Sentinel reported on Alastair Blacklaw and his running achievements.  He started his running career through the Wester Hailes Education Centre, joining their Sunday Running Club in order to improve his fitness.  However he was soon running longer and longer distances, building up to his first marathon, the 1983 Edinburgh marathon.  He trained regularly with the Sunday Running Club.  In 1984 this group had run 50 marathons between them, raising nearly £2,000 for charity in that time.  You can read the interview in full here at December 1983

 He then went on to win the Pentlands 5.3 mile foot race, beating more experienced runners.  The race’s route took a stony route up one side of the Pentlands to a height of 1,430 feet and back down again. 

In 1985, the Sentinel reported that Alastair had set his sights on a new challenge.  He planned to cover the Highland Way from Fort William to Glasgow and then run in the Glasgow marathon, 121 miles in total in just five days.  The Sentinel featured the story of this run in October 1985.  Despite less than perfect weather, he managed to complete both the walking element and a 26 mile run at the end.  You can read Alastair’s personal account here at My Highland Way

 Alastair was then chosen to be Edinburgh’s official representative in the Munich marathon, Edinburgh’s twin city.  His visit to Munich was featured in the Sentinel as he reported on the experience of being in Munich and taking part in the marathon.  As a guest of the city, he started at the front.  Unluckily, after only 1km he sprained his ankle.  If you’re a runner, you’ll know just how painful this is if you then try to run on.  He realised that he was near enough to the start to return for first aid but he was determined to carry on.  The pain eventually meant he had to walk rather than run, but he still managed to complete the 26 miles, into the Olympic Stadium where he received his hard won medal. You can read his story in full by clicking here on Munich Marathon.

WHEC Sunday Running Club


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