Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Interview: Mike Skinner

Last month GB athlete Mike Skinner ran for East Kilbride Athletic Club in the McAndrew Road Relays. This week the club sat down with the runner to discover his passion for the sport.

Just like many athletes out there, Mike, who also works for a sports management company, juggles work commitments during the day and training sessions at night:

“You have to be organized and have good time management skills.” He tells the club.

“When I leave the house in the morning I will normally have kit with me for the evening session or run, some food/snacks for before and after and sometimes shower gear.

“I will normally try to pack all this the night before so I am not rushing in the morning. When I leave the house around 9am I know that it will close to 8pm before I am home again, or on session days even later.

“I’m not going to say it is easy but it is just something you have to do if you want to run well.”

In order to keep running well Mike admits that he has had to adapt his running over the years as he gets older. Skinner, who ran 800m and 1500m in his earlier years has progressed now to completing 5000m and cross country championships:

“Unfortunately I think that is just something that happens with age!

“I have been running for over 20 years now and I have realised that my body doesn’t recover as quickly any more.

“I cannot do enough of the shorter/quality sessions that you need for the 800/1500 and so I have had to move up in distance.

“That being said, it has been nice to have some change as there are new challenges and goals I can set myself.” Added the athlete.

One of the goals that Mike had promised himself was to pull on an EKAC vest and help the club out at a race. Last month he did just that, along with taking the younger kids out for a training session and answering all their queries about his career so far.

Skinner’s first club was Blackheath and Bromley, a south London club, and even do this day he is still a member. When asked if loyalty was important, Mike was confident in his answer:

“Very strongly I do, yes.

“I have been a member of Blackheath and Bromley since I turned ten years old and I owe a lot to them.

“The coaches that gave me so much time when I was younger, the club officials who do so much behind the scenes and the amount of success that I have been lucky to be a part of with the various teams, have all added to the enjoyment that I have taken from athletics.

“Me being a member and representing the club I think is a small price to pay for all it has given me.”
So not only does Mike give back to his first club, as mentioned earlier, he also helped out EKAC at the McAndrew Road Relays.
Skinner, along with the rest of his team, was required to run a 5K road race set around Scotstoun. Of his performance, the GB athlete wasn’t too overjoyed:

“I was a bit disappointed in my own performance.” He commented.

“I would have liked to have run faster but I say that after pretty much every race! I always think I could have done more.
“In terms of the race and being part of the EKAC team I really enjoyed it.

“For so many years I have been promising to come up and represent the club and so I am really glad I’ve done it now and I had a really enjoyable weekend.”

During his weekend at EK, Mike also took the younger athletes out for a training session and answered any questions that they had for him.

Mike admits that growing up he never really had an inspiration that got him into running:
“I am a big Chelsea fan and so I used to like all the Chelsea players but ones that you would never have heard of (I supported Chelsea when they were not as big and successful as they are now!)

“The individual I liked most though was a basketball player, Michael Jordan.” He added.

“Maybe because his name was also Michael but also because he led by example.”

So when he was younger Mike did what every other youngster does and dabble in a number of sports:
“When I was younger I played all sports.” He commented
“Football was my favourite and I played for the school team. 

“As I was in the football team and they knew I loved sport the school entered me in the local primary schools cross-country race.

“I ran in this race and won in a new course record! A coach from Blackheath and Bromley was at this race and asked if I was a member of an athletics club.

“At that stage I wasn’t and so they invited to go to the local track on a Wednesday night for some coaching. This I did and as they say the rest is history!”

For youngsters looking to get into athletics, Mike admits that youngsters need to enjoy themselves and learn to take the good with the bad:

“My biggest tips would be to make sure you enjoy it and don’t get too serious too soon.”

“I don’t believe a 10 or 11 year old should be training 6 times a week and not playing any other sports!

“Athletics is a hard sport and there will be some tough times to go through, be it injuries, setbacks or disappointments.

“But, when you work hard at something and you get the rewards it is an amazing feeling and if you can stick at it I have no doubt you’ll make some great friends and create some amazing memories along the way too.”

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Scottish Cross Country Relay Championships

EKAC headed through to Cumbernauld for the Scottish Cross Country Relay championships on Saturday ( to a course that has more hills on it than East Kilbride has roundabouts in it!) With minimal rain and wind, the conditions were good for a cross country race.

EKAC where involved in 3 races on the day: junior boys, junior girls and senior men.

First up were the junior girls. The A team of Sarah Connelly, Lucy Muirhead and Mhairi Boyle ran well to finish in 43rd. The B team also ran well to finish in 69th.

Next up it was the junior boys. The A team ran very well to secure 17th position; the team consisted of Calum Hopkins, Martin Lynas and Aidan Gilbride.  Martin ran the 10th fastest time by an U15 and Aidan ran the 15th fastest time by an U17 no mean feat considering they were up against some of the best in the country! The B team also ran well to finish in a respectable 59th.

Lastly it was the senior men’s team who were up. The seniors require 4 runners per team to run 4K each. The A team done brilliantly to finish 22nd an improvement on last year’s position by 7 places!  The A team consisted of Jack Kirwan (14:21), Vincent Hastings (14:16), Grant Baillie (13:18) and Alessandro Tronconi (13:25). 

The B team also ran well to finish 74th with Niall Walker (14:24), David Thomson (15:39), Derek Leitch (16:49) and Graeme Haddow (16:46).

Next up for EKAC is the Scottish Short Course Championships which take place on November the 10th.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lanarkshire’s Relay Good for EKAC

The Lanarkshire Road Relay Championships were held at Drumpellier Park in Coatbridge this weekend.
The championships proved to be a memorable day for East Kilbride AC. The conditions however were not so memorable. The kid’s races were run around the loch and they would have been drier running through the loch! The rain was relentless but that did not deter the youngsters.

The U11 girls team finished 9th with Maja Robertson, Robyn McLean and Abbie Kirwan all running well.

The U13/U15/U17 girls A team finished 2nd the team consisted of Sarah Connolly (7:14), Lucy Muirhead (7:14) and Shannon McMahon (7:49). With Sarah and Lucy running the joint fastest time of the day by under 13 girls! The B team consisting of R Peacock (8:22), R Russell (8:04) and M Boyle (7:58) finished 7th.

The U11 boys ran well to claim the Lanarkshire crown. The A team consisted of Owen Selfridge (4:50), Cameron McDonald (5:13) and Elliot Bain (4:38). Elliot claiming the fastest time of the day by an under 11 boy! The B team consisting of E Selfridge (5:29), A Gilbride (5:40) and E Sweeten (5:26) also ran well to claim 5th position.

The U13 boys A team was unlucky not to claim a bronze as they were pushed out to 4th. Gutsy performances all round from Matthew Kirwan (9:48), Ryan Clydesdale (10:41) and Calum Hopkins (9:46) lead to some impressive times.

The U15 boys also ran well to claim the Lanarkshire crown. The A team consisted of Callum Field (8:55), Ross Malloch (9:17) and Martin Lynas (8:28). Martin claimed the fastest time of the day from an under 15 boy.

The senior team is a team of 4 men required to run 4km each. The senior men’s team that was aiming to improve on last year’s 3rd but where hit badly by a number of call offs and injuries.

Fielding just one team this week, the
guys showed good character and battled to a respectable 6th position, not bad considering the average age of the last two runners was 56! The team consisted of Jack Kirwan (13:40), David Thomson (14:52), Derek Leitch (15:39) and Graeme Haddow (15:58).

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

David Gilmour - EKAC club record (1991)

In 1991, David Gilmour was 4th in the Scottish Championships 400m final (1st Scot) in a time of 48.05. At what appears to be Crownpoint!!

Stephen Shanks - EKAC club record (1995)

Stephen Shanks - 200m he was 2nd in the 1995 Scottish Championships in a time of 21.72

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Senior Men 6th at West District Relays

This year the west district cross country relays where held at Hamilton race course. This is a historic venue having hosted the first ever Scottish championships in 1889 and the first ever “World Championships” in 1903. The last race held there was in 1968 so it’s fair to say everyone was looking forward to testing themselves over such a course. The relay requires teams of 4 men to run 4 kilometres each.

Being held on a horse race course the conditions under foot were as you would expect: good to firm in places. The conditions on the day held up well with a minimal breeze and outbreaks of sunshine.

With everything in place, the senior men set out to break last year’s performance of 7th, and that they did.

On the first leg there was Vincent Hastings (13:47) and Jack Kirwan (13:51) racing not only the field but each other in a terrific performance by the youngsters who were recently promoted to the senior squad. Not fazed by the well-established competition around them, they gave solid performances that set the A and B teams on their way. Also running the first leg was Graeme Haddow who ran a 16:11.

The second legs were taken up by Alessandro Tronconi (12:40) and Niall Walker (13:59). Alessandro running one of the fastest times on the day to take the A team from 16th to 9th. Niall also running solid to take the B team from 23rd down to 18th.

By the time the third leg runners were called upon the race was strung out meaning that the 3rd leg men had to stick in and be mentally tough, John Fergusson (13:06) and David Gorman (14:40) done just that. John digging deep to take the A team from 9th to 8th after battling most of the course with a rival athlete.

The fourth legs were taken up by Grant Baillie (13:20) and Derek Letich (15:45). Grant battled his way around the 4th leg running well to take the team from 8th to 6th position overall. Derek also ran well to ensure that the B team finished in a respectable 28th position.

Next up for the EKAC senior men team is the Lanarkshire Road Relay where they will be looking to better last year’s position of 3rd.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mike Skinner runs for EKAC in MacAndrew Road Relay

Great Britain & Northern Ireland athlete Mike Skinner traveled up to Glasgow to compete in the 74th MacAndrew Road Relays around Scotstoun. The international athlete, who has represented GB & NI in five World Cross Country Championships and eight European Cross Country Championships to date, donned the East Kilbride AC vest to compete in the annual event.

Conditions where near perfect, a surprisingly warm day with relatively little wind; uncommon for an October afternoon in Scotland! East Kilbride AC had two teams out on force on the day, and all were in high spirits to be running alongside a GB international.

The MacAndrew Road Relay requires a team of 4 men to run 5K each. The A team consisted of Niall Walker (19:09), Mike Skinner (16:13), Jack Kirwan (19:21) and Vincent Hastings (18:34). The B team consisted of Alessandro Tronconi (17:34), David Thomson (20:11), David Gorman (20:18) and Graeme Haddow (21:39).

With the B team's first leg runner crossing the line ahead of the A team by 1 minute and 35 seconds, some pre-race decisions appeared to have diminished the A team’s chances. However with a GB & NI international on the 2nd leg, the team went from 40th to 5th with Mike Skinner running the 5th fastest time on the day. Jack Kirwan also finished with the 6th fastest juvenile mens time and with Vincent Hastings running the 4th fastest juvenile mens time on the day, the team finished in a very respectable 6th place. The B team, with the added advantage of having Alessandro running such a fast time, also finished high up in the overall standings: a solid 13th out of the 32 men’s teams competing.

Next week will see the EKAC senior team competing at the West district cross country relays where they will be looking to improve on their finish of 7th in the 2012/2013 season.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Annual Club Ceilidh & Awards 2013

On Saturday 16th November, EKAC's annual club ceilidh and award ceremony will take place at the Murray Owen Centre.

In the past, the night has proven a huge success and a lot of fun featuring annual awards, ceilidh band, bar, buffet and the long-awaited Club Champ results!

Tickets are on sale now!

FAMILY TICKET (including athletes under 18) - £20
OVER 18s - £10