Athletics News

Colin Shields: Arnold Black pays tribute to real stalwart of our sport

Spikes on track

Friday 2nd February 2024

By Arnold Black, Scottish Athletics Historian

It is with deep sadness that I write about the passing of my colleague, friend and co-author, Colin Shields, who has died at the age of 84.

The contribution of Colin Shields to Scottish athletics over the years has been immense.

He was a member of Greenock Glenpark Harriers for 70 years but ended competitive running when qualifying as a track Official in 1970.

He was a track judge/referee, announcer, seeding and press liaison Official as well as an administrator and event organiser. He is a former President of the SAAA and was a member of the General Committees of both the SAAA and Scottish Cross Country Union (SCCU) for many years.

Colin was always fascinated by the history, statistics, and personalities of the sport and was a member of the National Union of Track Statisticians and founder member of the Scottish Association of Track Statisticians.

He was heavily involved in the publication of the annual Scottish rankings in the Scottish Athletics Yearbook.

His book ‘Runs Will Take Place Whatever the Weather‘ – the official centenary history of the SCCU 1890-1990 – is one of the most comprehensive histories of Scottish athletics.

He also co-authored ‘The Past Is a Foreign Country’ with Arnold Black, a history of the great Scottish athletes in track and field athletics, published in 2013.

Colin was presented with a Lifetime Outstanding Service Award by scottishathletics. He was the Scottish correspondent for Athletics Weekly for over a decade and, supplied a comprehensive results service from across Scotland to The Herald newspaper.

These are the bare facts but do not capture his passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport.

He would get worked up in discussions and debates but always because he cared deeply for the sport. His attendance at scottishathletics AGMs at times turned the meetings into battlegrounds.

He would ask me to let him know if I felt he was overstepping the mark in his arguments, but I was always fighting a lost cause. At one AGM he was admonished by the Chair before we had even reached agenda Item 1.

In 1993, we resurrected the Scottish…

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