When Jamie Stuart ties his running shoes one final time this summer, it will bring back some special memories.
Like many others, the 93-year-old is one of the Queen’s batonbearers for the Commonwealth Games in his home city of Glasgow.
However, few of those chosen can lay claim to having won gold at Hampden. But Jamie can.
The great grandfather was a champion amateur athlete in his younger days and even participated in the trials for the London Olympics in 1948.
So when he grabs hold of the baton in the coming weeks, a smile will cross his face when he recalls his big moment in the Hampden sun.
“I was at the height of my fitness in 1948 and I was determined to compete in the two-mile steeplechase at the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association Championship, which was held in Hampden,” Jamie enthused. “There was just one problem.
“I was a professional actor with the Citizens Theatre and we had a matinee performance on the Saturday afternoon of the competition, so I thought I was going to miss out. Then I noticed the steeplechase was the last race, scheduled for 5.15pm, and the matinee ended at 4.30pm.”
Jamie spoke to his producer and asked if he could be excluded from the final bow at the end of the performance in a bid to make it to the national stadium in time.
“He couldn’t believe it when I told him why!
“When the play finished, I jumped in a taxi, removed my make-up, changed into my running gear and got there just in time.
“I won the race, collected my prize and had my photo taken, and then jumped back into a taxi to get back to the theatre in time for the evening performance.”
Jamie has had many jobs in his long life as well as an actor he was a vacuum cleaner salesman, gents’ outfitter, social worker and most recently an author but throughout it all he has been a keen runner.
“It started when I was at primary school and I couldn’t afford lunch, so I would run home every day to have a plate of my mum’s soup,” laughed Jamie, whose friends call him the Marathon Man.
“I realised I had stamina and became a cross-country champion in my teens, before becoming Scottish Steeplechase Champion at Hampden.
“Even after giving it up at amateur level, I continued running. I participated in the first London Marathon and the first three Glasgow Marathons. Despite being in my sixties, I broke the four-hour barrier.”
And with two new knees, the nonagenarian doesn’t intend slowing down any time soon.
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