Lachie Stewart was a brilliant distance runner and multiple record-holder who is still revered for his gutsy victory in the 10,000m final at the 1970 Commonwealth Games.
Born Joseph Laughlin Stewartin Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire in 1943, he began running with his local club aged 14, developing his natural talent thanks to a prodigious work ethic.
Running in senor races while still a junior, he won the club, county and national senior boys cross-country championship in his first season, as well as triumphing in a string of road races.
Over the next decade he notched up more impressive victories while studying and working as a dental technician, training in his lunch breaks and on evenings and weekends.
Renowned for his strength and speed, he soon became one of Europe’s most successful and consistent runners, with numerous wins on the continent, especially in Spain where the spectators dubbed him ‘El Lachie’.
However, his greatest moment came on the first day of the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, with a victory that still ranks as one of the most memorable moments in Scottish sport.
Cheered on by a passionate home crowd, Lachie out-sprinted the multiple world record holder and overwhelming favourite, Australia’s Ron Clarke, to win 10,000m gold in a time of 28:11.8 – knocking more than 20 seconds off his previous best.
By the time he hung up his competitive spikes to concentrate on coaching, Lachie had won 13 Scottish titles in seven years, including the 10-Miles Championship four times. He’d also set 19 records in everything from two miles to 12 miles, and was the first Scot to run over 12 miles in an hour.
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