Ian Cunningham

Ian Cunningham: some reflections

Ian trained at Saughton as a runner and as a level 1 coach he assisted Gordon Steele at Saughton and at the old Dunfermline College grass training fields over at Cramond.  
They managed a very good squad up to Commonwealth Games standard.

A supporter of all branches of endurance running whether track, cross country, road or mountain.  

On the track Ian supported Keith Ridley’s advocacy of the Young Athlete Development League, he financed an A and B team in men’s Scottish league back in the eighties when the club could put out two teams, one in each division!  

Again as part of a group Ian introduced an inter club event at Meadowbank competing for the Bert Farmer trophy now used for a Christmas paarlauf, he was great backer of the Edinburgh to Glasgow relay, arguably the pinnacle of Scottish road running.  Team managers Claude Jones and Alex MacEwen strived to win this key race backed by Ian’s budget and support.  

At Executive meetings, Ian along with most members argued for maximum effort in XC championship events, on the fells he backed those members that went to Scottish trials and made Scottish teams

A good coach but also teacher I recall him directing me to “growth mind set” long before sports Scotland rolled it out.  He illustrated active rest to the squad.  He questioned why a 1500 metre runner would want to do three days in a row of 10 mile runs: he made you think .

Most folk will know him as an articulate Treasurer who helped to steer the club through changing times, a good listener and wise counsellor.  He was a calming voice at some lively meetings.  He was one of several voices who managed the amalgamation of ESH men with EAC to produce the City of Edinburgh AC.  Maybe not 100% successful but with hindsight an obvious step.  Later he was again a counsellor helping smooth bringing in Edinburgh Woollen Mill to ESH, creating  a successful women’s team and shaping the current EAC

Ian used his management skills, acquired in his role at the Royal Bank of Scotland, to achieve Charity Status, for the club, in order that the club could take advantage of possible sponsorship

At a time when Edinburgh Council was employing an athletics development officer, Ian was part of a small group who tried to shape this innovative partnership role and assisted Norrie Williamson, under the management of Bill Walker, the cities Sports Development Officer, to be successful.

 Ian was part of small group of Trustees who managed the Bert Farmer Legacy.

 A long-time supporter of club races both as competition, fund raiser and catalyst for team building and developing organisational skills.
The 10 mile Cramond race attracted great Scottish road runners as Al Hutton and John Sheridan, this morphed into the Scottish Gas 5 and 10 Km races which introduced sponsorship, chip timing, multi-agency event planning to the organising group but he also quietly backed small events as Queens Drive, the Edinburgh to North Berwick Race and the Berwick Law race.

Ian was an advocate of “Think Outside the Box” and running the club as a business, and believed the club should not rely on the Membership Fees to run the club but ensure that any events run by the club should make at least a small profit

He retired from the club a few years ago when is workload increased at the RBS when the HQ moved to the Gyle.  However, he remained in contact with several members of the club and he and Dave Watson attended Hibernian FC matches regularly together.

Alex MacEwan and Bill Walker (Nov 2022)

  • Our Podium Award

  • Club Gallery

  • Club Stats

  • Support Edinburgh Athletic Club

  • Award Badges 2019

  • Archives