Greenock Glenpark Harriers are one of the oldest running clubs in Scotland and we have accumulated a rich and fascinating history since we were first formed away back in 1895. Please click on the link below to read more
Greenock runners join the satellite branch of Clydesdale Harriers. The sport of running grows in popularity and numbers joining swell to over 50.
The club saw early success at national level when shipyard worker Duncan Mill won bronze at the Scottish Cross Country Championships.
Membership grew to more than 100 and the club attracted top-class runners George Wallach and Olympic double medallist James Wilson. The latter joined an elite group of Scottish Olympians to win more than one medal, winning track bronze at 10,000m and silver in the team cross country event at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games.
After the Second World War, club members returned from military duties and were eager to resume their sporting events. The Edinburgh to Glasgow relay race was one particular highlight on the Scottish racing calendar.
Despite the entry being granted by invitation from the race organisers, Glenpark were represented at this event most years. Following two fourth-placed finishes, the club secured a bronze medal in the 1950 edition of this prestigious event.
A prominent Glenpark runner in these relay teams was Bill Elder, who took on the role of Club Secretary around this time.
The club decided to demolish their existing clubhouse and replace it with a much more modern facility.
This led to a period of time where the club was effectively homeless
and training runs were
co-ordinated from a variety of local venues. The vast majority of the work was undertaken over a period of years by club members in a voluntary capacity.
Social events were organised to raise funds to purchase the best quality building materials. Miss Kirkwood – who owned the land the clubhouse was built on was so impressed with the project she gifted the land to the club. The clubhouse opened in the summer of 1958 and was one of the most modern clubhouses in the country at the time.
1960 saw the first running of the Harris Cup in memory of former club president Tommy Harris.
The club was also helped by the introduction of some new talent from Auchmountain Harriers, who folded in 1962.
Tommy Knight, Jim Sheridan and Richard Hodelet joined the club at this time. Hodelet immediately began challenging Jim Spence for the club championship, finishing runner-up in the 1962/63 season. Both athletes would go on to exchange the title throughout the sixties. The year also saw the emergence of Tommy Dobbin, who would win both the Renfrewshire and West Cross-Country Championships.
Tommy Murray followed this up by winning successive West Cross Country Championships in 1989 and 1990. The club performed consistently well at the West Championships during this period, with many top-ten finishes, including three team bronze medals. Alan Puckrin also reached his peak to win gold in 1994 as well as bronze in 1993 and 1995.
The marathon boom produced several excellent endurance runners. Hammy Cox, who represented Scotland all over the world, recorded a club record of
2 hours and 18 minutes for the
In the early years of the new millennium, the juniors were winning numerous individual and team medals. Stephen Trainer won a bronze as an Under-13 in 2001 and junior boys struck gold in the relay in 2001.
at Vale of Leven.
As the decade came to a close, the club enjoyed a membership boom even greater than the marathon boom of the 1980s, with around 140 members at the end of the decade, including a healthy junior membership and a record number of women members.
In 2014, members of Glenpark Harriers were influential in establishing a 5km parkrun time trial event on Greenock’s Esplanade every Saturday morning. The success of parkrun combined with a number of beginner coaching sessions sees the club’s membership swell to more than 200.
Highlights of the club’s racing schedule are ‘away days’ at Dunoon for the Willie Juke’s 5-mile road race and the Singlehurst Shield trail race now held on the Isle of Bute. The annual Christmas Jumper pub crawl in Gourock is a popular social event with senior members.
New Year’s Day 2017 sees the first running of the annual Lyle Mile Challenge – one-mile uphill race to kick start the new year.
The COVID-19 pandemic delays and disrupts the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations, with the race season being extended to allow races to be completed. A series of 10,000m track races are held to mark the centenary of James Wilson’s Olympic bronze medal in 1920.
1925 Club Photo
1930 Novice Champs
1933 Tommy Mearns
1940 Club Photo
2001 – Paul Bryson, David Butcher & Chris McCall
2011 Colin Shields Race
2017 Club Photo
2019 Club Photo