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Six decades in athletics told in new book by Inverness veteran and journalist

By Federica Stefani

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Charles Bannerman with his new book, "A Running Jump".
Charles Bannerman with his new book, "A Running Jump".

One of the longest-serving figures in athletics in the Highlands has just published a book about his time in the sport – spanning across almost 60 years.

Inverness Courier's columnist Charles Bannerman has been involved in athletics since the mid-1960s, initially as a competitor but also as a coach, national committee member, official and athletics journalist.

He is also Inverness Harriers' longest serving member, having joined the club in 1969 when it was re-formed.

"I'm trying to do two things here," he said commenting on the launch of his book, titled A Running Jump.

"There are lots of stories to be told about the sport in the local area over they years such as the chaos of the Avoch Gala Sports in the 1960s, yhe time an athlete tries to swim the Caledonian Canal to win a race and how five of us came to be chauffeured to a Scottish championship in a Reliant Robin. But there's more than that because I'm just about the last person left who remembers how basic North athletics used to be until everything changed on the 1970s, so the book isn't entirely about me but also a record of what's been enormous progress for athletics."

As a coach, Mr Bannerman has guided a number of athletes to full Scottish and Great Britain honours across a wide range of events. These include Jayne Barnetson who broke the Scottish high jump record in 1985 and still holds it.

He said: "I was never a particularly good athlete myself and there's an account of that on the very first page, but I persevered and then switched mainly to coaching in my mid 20s.

"I first joined the Inverness Harriers committee in 1969 and was also glad to be on the Scottish Amateur Athletic Association's committee just when we were modernising the sport in the North. One of the great attractions has been the range and variety of activities that this sport offers - including, of course, running which I still manage to do."

A Running Jump (£10) is available for purchase at Waterstones, the Dalneigh Stores and the Crown Stores in Inverness and by emailing runningjump@btinternet.com.

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