Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Stan Curran (April 2017)

Stan Curran may not be a name that people, outside of the North of England and particularly the Manchester area, have heard of as famous sportsman but, there were many good international class runners around in his hey day.
Stan Curran has an impressive portfolio, as a runner during the last 55 years when he first joined Salford Athletic Club, which he is currently President of. He coaches the women’s section of the club in 2017 and he coached six veteran/Masters and one other runner, according to the ‘Power of 10’

Stan said “I was never a great believer in myself but, I remember when doing the YMCA 20k race in Manchester and, I was fourth behind Ricky Wilde, Steve Kenyon and Rom Hill’
After that first significant result for him he said ‘Ron came up to me afterwards and said ‘I think we could make a good runner out of you.’ That was when I believed. “
Stan Curran, showed that he had talent, after he ran his very first ever marathon in Manchester in 2:20.13. He was on 70 to 90 miles a week but, then Syril Leigh joined the club. ‘He  got me to do high mileage and, I then ran 110 miles a week’ He pointed out another big influence, a few years before that was with the late Geoff Doggett. ‘He was my coach and like a second Father to me’
One result fairly early in his career was on the 1st of June 1975, when he ran 2:18.8 at Stoke. The winner being Jeff Norman in 2:15.30.

In 1978, on the 7th of May, Stan was 6th in the Sandbach Marathon in 2:14.45. It was a race won by Tony Simmons in 2:12.33. I noted that twenty British runners ran inside 2:20 in that race, something that rarely happens these days.
Stan Curran got selected for the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton on August the 11th  1978, where he was 10th in 2:21.17.6 just behind the first English runner, Trevor Wright, who was 9th in 2:20.46. The winner was Gidemas Shahanga (Tanzania) 2:15.39.7.

Olly Flynn the, Olympic race walker, who won the 30km walk at those games told me that, he did not realise when he went out to Edmonton that, it would be at altitude of about 2,300 feet above sea level, which must have effected the distance runners.

Up till then Stan Curran was by trade an engineer and, had been working on transformers but then, was asked by Ron Hill ,after those Edmonton games, if he would like to join his organisation and, he has been doing that till the middle of 2017 when he retired.

In 1979 Stan Curran won the Miami Marathon beating Frank Shorter, who of course was a great runner.
Stan’s time was 2:19.12. He said ‘It was in January so; you go from our winter to the heat. I did not know if I would handle it but I did.’

In 1981 Stan Curran was 2nd in the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:14.08, which was his best time. John Graham won the race in 2:09 ‘He had pacemakers and I did not have any! ‘
When he looks back now he remarks ‘With Ron Hill and Colin Kirkahm you knew you were in a hard race and  same with Ricky Wilde over the shorter distances. He thought Brendan Foster and Tony Simmons were good but they did not do many marathons. ‘Tony was a long way ahead of me over the country so I tried to get back at him over the longer distances...”

In 1984 Stan did the last leg of the Northern road relay and overtook the Gatesheaad runner to give his club victory. He always thought relays were a good thing for teaching one pace judgement.
Stan’s best time for 10 miles on the road was 48:40 and he ran 64 minutes for a half marathon.
He continued competing till very recently, as he approached his 70th birthday (Born in Manchester on 23/8/47).
As a veteran he has been successful. In 1990 he ran 2:20.37 at the age of 42, as the first veteran in the London marathon. Allister Hutton won in 2:10.10. He won national Masters Titles and remembers coming 2nd in the cross country championships.
On the track, as an M50, he ran 10.03,1 and 10.05.3 for 3000m in BMC Gold Standard meets at Stretford.

He added “A couple of years ago I had a pacemaker fitted. They said my heart was too big. I was the fastest half marathon runner over 60 three years ago. It was going well up to then; they found this and told me not to run again.’
In 2016 Stan was 1st over 65 in if e races and three Park Runs.
In 2017 in the Heaton Park run he ran 28:58 for the course.

What then did he feel about athletics now he looks back to his best days of running?
“It was great to be in those days. No professionalism like there is now’
His love of the sport is obvious when he says “It keeps you young. You are with young people all the time.
You try to give something back. “

Alastair Aitken

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