Glenrothes ‘running man’ is an inspiration for all

Glenrothes runner Sandy Chalmers at his home with some of his 400 plus medals and trophies. Pic: FPA
Glenrothes runner Sandy Chalmers at his home with some of his 400 plus medals and trophies. Pic: FPA

When sixties pop group Spencer Davis Group sang ‘Keep On Running’ people could well be forgiven for thinking the song was about a Glenrothes pensioner.

For the road racing exploits of 81-year-old Sandy Chalmers from Woodside, a former RAF physical training instructor who recently completed his 50th full marathon, surely makes him one of Scotland’s ‘kings of the road’.

The self-confessed fitness fanatic, has amassed a staggering medal and trophy haul of over 400 items from races right across the globe, and what makes Sandy’s feat even more amazing is he didn’t even start running until he was 50.

“I only did it to help out a friend from work but 30 years later and I haven’t stopped,” Sandy told the Gazette.

“My friend quickly gave up but I enjoyed keeping fit so carried on and I don’t have any desire to stop just yet,” he added.

Since he entered his first fun run in the town, Sandy has steadily got more and more immersed in the sport that has since taken him to far flung places as China, America, Spain, Greece and even the Bahamas and has helped him raise tens of thousands of pounds for various charities.

With a string of titles and impressive finishing times - his best marathon time being three hours, 27 minutes, 36 seconds - in Dublin at the age of 60, Sandy has completed 50 full marathons, including 15 London events, over 100 half marathons, 200 10k races and three ‘ultra’ races which take in a colossal 31 miles, as well as numerous other running events.

And Sandy says determination and stubbornness are the reasons for never having pulled out of an event before reaching the finishing line.

“I’ve made plenty of friends over the years and after every race we arrange to go and celebrate with a meal and a few beers and I could never be the one that evening without the medal round my neck.

“I focus on getting through the next mile, the finishing line will come,” he explained.

A heart operation in 2011 has meant less races for Sandy but he still attends keep fit classes, swims and runs up to 20 miles a week and hopes his achievements can inspire other older people to think about getting fit.

“The hardest part is getting your bum off the seat, if people can do that they are on their way and won’t regret it,” said the Glenrothes road runner.