Real lives: George McEwan lasted the pace at athletics club for 40 years

AN athletics legend has been awarded a silver quaich to recognise his work for the Penicuik Harriers Running Club.

George McEwan, 72, was presented with two quaichs at the ceremony at Craigibield House Hotel, Penicuik, on 21 November – one to keep and one to return after a year which will become an annual award at the Harriers Club in his honour.

Born in 1937 in Penicuik, he has lived there ever since. An only child, his father Sandy worked as an electrician at the local paper mill, and his mother Barbara was a housewife.

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After school, Mr McEwan was employed as a printer, first for Bank Printers in Causewayside.

It was here that in 1963 he met his wife Hazel, who was working in the cheque department, and they married two years later in Penicuik, where they set up home.

They later had son Mitchell and daughter Michelle, 36 and 33 respectively.

Having done some running in his youth, Mr McEwan was attracted to join the Harriers when he saw an advert in the local paper in 1970.

He said: "They were looking for people to join as coaches at that time.

"At first, I thought it would be a good way to keep fit, but by the next year I became secretary of the club."

For many years, Mr McEwan volunteered as a coach for the club, as well as occupying, at one time, every position of office on the club's committee.

In the 1980s, Mr McEwan began time-keeping for the club, while still working as a printer – then for the private bank Charles Letts and Co.

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His fondest memories include weekends spent at Ben Nevis and in Inverness, and getting a train up Mount Snowdon in Wales, while the team ran up alongside.

He has also enjoyed meeting people all over the country. He said: "There's none of that antagonism within the running community – everyone has been so friendly."

Since his retirement in 2002, Mr McEwan has continued to work for the Harriers, latterly as treasurer. In recent months, however, ill-health has forced Mr McEwan to take a step back after almost 40 dedicated years of work.

At the reception last month, club president Fran Jones presented Mr McEwan with the quaichs, and said: "George used to turn up twice a week, come rain, hail or whatever, to help out with the club, and we just felt it would be a lovely thing to do to present him with a commemorative quaich."

The club also presented his wife with a bouquet of flowers in thanks for her tireless support of her husband, while club legend Dave Cairns made a touching speech.

Mr McEwan said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Harriers. I've had some great years and met a lot of nice people."

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