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    A Fresher’s Guide to GUAC: 2019

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    GUAC in Tenerife

    Whether you’re a Fresher who is completely new to the university or a current student ready to join one of Glasgow’s most popular sports clubs, you’ll be made more than welcome here at Glasgow University Athletics Club (GUAC).

    Freshers Week can be daunting and stressful as every society under the sun bombards you with information so we’ve made this simple and put everything you need into one handy document. Don’t say we’re not kind to you…

    Freshers and Sports Fayre

    As a sports club affiliated to the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) you can find us in the Stevenson Building On Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September, 10am-4pm. Here, club members will answer all your burning questions and give out a few free sweets.

    Taster Session

    The first opportunity you’ll have to experience training with Scotland’s most successful uni athletics club. Meet at the Memorial Gates (just along from the Main Gates) at 2pm for free transport down to Scotstoun Sports Campus where the session will run from 3-5pm.

    There’ll be sessions for sprinting, middle distance, jumping and throwing where our amazing club coaches will accommodate athletes of every ability so no need to worry if this is your first time on a track. We’ll finish off the day with some relays where medals will be up for grabs.

    That evening there will be a social in our sponsors Coopers (on Great Western Road) from 8pm where you can get to know the club members over a drink and some *free* food.

    A walk to the steeplechase pit

    Regular Training

    Not to worry if you can’t make the taster session, just head along to any of our training sessions. Starting Monday 23th September our weekly training schedule will look something like this:

    • Monday: Track Session @ Scotstoun, 6-8pm (meet at Memorial Gates @ 5pm for free transport)
    • Tuesday: Gym Session @ Stevenson Building Studio 1, 8:30-10:30pm
    • Wednesday: Track Session @ Scotstoun, 6-8pm (meet at Memorial Gates @5pm for free transport)
    • Saturday: Gym Session @ Stevenson Building Studio 1, 3-5pm

    In addition to this, various training groups may also meet at other times for extra sessions although this will all be explained once you’ve settled into the club.


    We run a varied social calendar with everything from ceilidhs to pub golf being organised throughout the year. Be sure to join our Facebook group to keep up to date with the latest socials!


    This is £45 for the academic year (or £25 for those only here for a semester) and offers amazing value for money. Benefits include free track access twice a week at Scostoun, use of Studio 1 in the Stevenson Building twice a week, the opportunity to represent GUAC at university and national competitions and the ability to vote on committee positions in the AGM.

    In order to become a fully-fledged GUAC member you will also need UofG Sport membership. Included for those living in university accommodation, this gives you GUSA membership, complete access to the Stevenson Building and Garscube sports complex and free exercise classes. At £132 for the year this is also far cheaper than any other gym in the local area.


    Get your laces tied because our first competition is on October 2nd! One of the most relaxed, informal competitions there is, this takes place indoors at the Emirates Arena and is ideal in particular for those who have never competed or want to get some pre-winter training times.

    GUAC in Tenerife


    Yes the rumours are true, later in October we’ll be off for our annual Training Weekend. With a focus on socialising and getting to know each other after a hectic first month at uni, this is an amazing opportunity to relax in the company of some new friends.

    And a quick heads up, at the end of exams (end of May) we’ll be off abroad on our Warm Weather Training week. Previous destinations have included Tenerife and Portugal where you can enjoy what is sure to be one of the best experiences of your uni career.

    Well there you have it, everything you need to know about your first month as a member of the GUAC family. If you still have any questions you want a quick answer to, just get in touch. You can message one of the committee on our Facebook group. Or, email secretary-athletics@gusa.gla.ac.uk

    Categories: Club News

    Vacancy: Sprints Coach

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    Glasgow University Athletics Club are seeking applicants for a new Sprints Coach. GUAC are Scotland’s most successful university athletics club in recent years having won the Scottish Uni Indoor and Outdoor titles nine years in a row. The club has also witnessed rapid member expansion and now boasts 115 members with this number growing year on year.

    The Sprints Coach will take a responsibility for the event group, planning and delivering sessions which will suit a range of abilities from beginner to national level athletes. They will report to elected club committee members and work alongside other event-specific coaches, including student coaching assistants who may be able to offer support with the delivery of sessions.

    As well as providing a flexible, adaptable training plan for athletes, the successful applicant will be expected to demonstrate a strong technical understanding of the sport to benefit athlete development. Knowledge and an ability to plan gym sessions is also preferred but not essential.

    The ideal candidate will have a friendly, approachable attitude; suitable for working with university students. They will hold a minimum of UKCC Level 1 (Coaching Assistant) and should be striving towards Level 2 (Athletics Coach) if not already acquired. Experience of coaching athletics is preferred but a strong background in competing would be just as beneficial.

    We would also be keen to hear from coaches who have a background or experience in jumps, both vertical and horizontal.

    Training Schedule

    • The club train on Monday and Wednesday, 18:00-20:00 at Scotstoun Sports Campus. Some sessions may also take place at the Emirates Arena.
    • Training takes place during university term time (September-December and January-May).
    • It is also expected for the coach to attend key university competitions, usually based in Glasgow or Grangemouth.


    • Closing Date: 31/07/19
    • Salary: Paid, to be discussed
    • Start Date: Mid-September 2019
    • Contact: Ruairidh Campbell – secretary-athletics@gusa.gla.ac.uk
    • Application: CV and covering letter to secretary-athletics@gusa.gla.ac.uk. Your covering letter should detail: your background in athletics, your motivations for applying for this position and what unique values you believe you could offer in this role.
    Categories: Club News

    Taxis Cup Review

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    A controversial finish to the women’s 4×100 relay meant that Glasgow Caledonian recorded their first sports win in the annual Glasgow Taxis Cup for more than two years, pipping the defending champions Glasgow University 18 points to 17.
    With Strathclyde a distant third place, the event was ultimately decided by a decision to disqualify Glasgow for stepping outside of the changeover box, yet not penalise Caley for a clear lane violation with the track referee arguing that the mistake was “not deliberate” and so not worthy of a disqualification.
    The event started well for Glasgow as Krishawn Aiken and Euan Stewart recorded a one-two finish in the men’s 100m whilst Lara Bardelli came second against tough opposition in the women’s event
    Featuring a slimmed down programme condensed into just an hour, the only other individual event saw Juan Pablo Garcia of Glasgow take second place again behind Caley in the men’s 800m, recording a personal best time for outdoors racing. The women’s race saw Strathclyde’s only win of the day as the Glasgow pair of Alison Broadhurst and Alicia Paton were made to pay for a slow first lap, finishing third and fourth respectively.
    Glasgow’s relay squads got off to an excellent start in the men’s 4x100m as a team featuring Stewart and Aiken scored a strong victory against a Caley team that reached the final of the recent BUCS Championships in Sheffield. With three races left, it became a two-horse battle with Strathclyde clearly out of the running.
    The women’s 4x100m squad featured a more mixed level of experience thanks to some unfortunate recent injuries ruling athletes out. Nonetheless Glasgow looked strong for the most part and were in contention for the lead until a mistimed baton changeover forced one athlete to step outside of the allowed area, leading to disqualification. Whilst this was viewed as a deliberate action, the stepping out of lane by a Caley athlete on the home straight was described as accidental and so was not punished, putting Glasgow behind on points.
    To have any hope of victory Glasgow needed to win both 4×400 relays and hope that Strathclyde could assist with a couple of second place finishes. A strong run in the men’s relay gave Glasgow a solid victory with Aiken needing to only run a 52 second final leg to win, although Caley’s second place now confirmed the result.
    Nonetheless the women’s team did the club proud, winning by 12 seconds to ensure the club were successful in three out of the four relays, demonstrating the strong depth in the squad. Losing by such a fine margin is surely disheartening for the club however given the sheer number of athletes missing for various reasons, victory was always going to be challenging.
    The club can now look forward to a week of warm weather training at the end of the semester before preparing for the Scottish Outdoor Championships in the middle of April where Glasgow are looking to record their seventh straight win in the competition.

    Categories: Competition Reports

    Sprinting ahead of the competition

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    *Taken from an article first published in the Glasgow Guardian

    When we last met with the Glasgow University Athletics Club (GUAC) last October, the club’s committee discussed their optimism for the season ahead. Another season unbeaten in Scottish competition was the priority, a BUCS medal the target.

    Fast forward four months and the positive outlook remains. As predicted the new crop of young athletes have begun to excel at university level whilst the hard work put in at the start of the season seems to be paying off with the club enjoying a record number of new members.

    The annual Freshers’ Match in October offered the first inclination that the club were onto something special this season. Facing other Scottish universities and competing against Edinburgh for the Appleton Trophy, GUAC produced one of their biggest victories in recent years at the Emirates Arena, their 18th successive victory at a Scottish Universities’ event.

    Athletes standing out that day included Inverness-based Daniel MacFarlane, a multi eventer competing across a range of disciplines and Josie MacDonald who stormed to victory in the women’s 400m. Meanwhile, the success of the relay teams for both the 4x200m and 4x400m proved that there is real strength in depth across the squad.

    With the Scottish Uni Indoor Championships having taken place last weekend, attention is now focused onto the British stage where athletics forms part of the BUCS Nationals weekend in Sheffield. Leading Glasgow’s hunt for a medal will be Scottish 400m champion Krishawn Aiken who will be out to improve on his narrow semi-final loss in the same competition last year.

    Also looking to impress will be 3000m runner Annabel Simpson. In what will be her first track race of 2018 following appearances for the Scottish cross country team in international competition. In what is expected to be an experienced field, pushing for a medal will be challenging although certainly remains a possibility.

    Off the track has probably been the focal point for growth this season. For the first time club membership broke the 100 member barrier with many more signing up each week. This member base is more diverse than ever as the club welcomes more athletes beginning their journey in the sport, whether they have the aim of competition medals or simply improved fitness.

    Likewise, GUAC has now successfully affiliated with Scottish Athletics, the sport’s national governing body. As well as offering support in areas such as athlete welfare and reduced competition fees, the new link has allowed club members to attend the coaching assistant course, helping make sure all athletes receive the time and attention required from qualified coaches.

    Looking ahead and a calendar highlight is always warm weather training, this year taking place in Tenerife at the end of the semester. Although athletes will certainly make the most of the week to relax in a social environment, the relocation to Tenerife this year allows all those attending to train at some top class facilities with some of the world’s best often making the most of the climate to train here throughout the year.

    Before that however there is the small matter of the Glasgow Taxis Cup. Last year GUAC barely scrapped into pole position after a dropped baton in the 4x100m relay put at risk the performances already produced in the cut-down competition. This year the club will certainly hope to retain their title without making the contest more difficult for themselves.

    With over a month to go, selection has yet to be made although this is almost certainly going to be one of the toughest ever decisions for this year’s captains, Ross Fraser and Ana Bacallado. With only two places in an already limited field of events, deciding on the right group of athletes will be a challenging process.

    Athletes hoping for success in the competition will include sprinter Aimee McGinley who is looking to return to the form that saw her medal in the Scottish U20 championships in 2016. Current U20 North District Champion over 1500m Finlay Todd meanwhile will certainly be considering dropping down to the 800m to race against the best Strathclyde and Glasgow Caley have to offer.

    The start of the season saw a cautious optimism radiate from the club committee. Midway through and with proven strides being made both on and off the track, there is certainly reason to believe that there is far more to come from GUAC as the season progresses.

    Categories: Club News

    GUAC Season Preview

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    *First published in the Glasgow Guardian

    Meeting on a Saturday afternoon, following a club gym session, which was preceded by a hill running session earlier that day, members of Glasgow University Athletics Club’s (GUAC) committee were looking surprisingly upbeat.

    “I genuinely think this season could be one of our best as a club,” said Men’s Captain Ross Fraser.
    “Not only do we have some star athletes emerging, but our base membership and social side continue to improve year on year,” adds Club Secretary Patrick Bowman.

    Indeed the two old faces of the club have every right to feel positive. In their early years at the University, their athletics club barely scraped the requirements for GUSA affiliation, while financial issues forced the then committee to cut ties with Scottish Athletics in an effort to save money. Things only really began to turn around in the 2013-14 season, when the then fairly unknown Laura Muir competed at her first IAAF World Championships, sparking increased interest in the club.

    Since then, membership has grown rapidly and the club has got back to it’s winning ways; holding both the Scottish Universities Indoor and Outdoor titles for the last seven years. Individual athletes like Julie Dobbin and Jill Cherry, meanwhile, have impressed in the hugely competitive British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships.

    This year’s intake has seen a real boost for the competitive athletes with Cypriot triple jump champion Andrea Zouvani standing out for Women’s Captain Ana Bacallado – “the distances she is jumping are incredible, we haven’t had many female jumpers recently so I can’t wait to see her compete”.

    1500m runner Bowman, meanwhile, is excited to see first year Anthony Addison race over his preferred distance. His personal best of 3.58.66 would have guaranteed gold at the Scottish Universities last year and at just 18 years old, he has time to improve. However, Ross Fraser summed it up well saying: “Honestly it’s far too hard to pick a stand out first year [student], we have so many this year who are already in a position to challenge for Medals.”

    The committee is viewing the BUCS Indoors in February with added emphasis this year. With the Outdoors meet usually clashing with May exams, the Sheffield-based competition is the best chance most of the club’s athletes will get to compete against some of the country’s elite competitors. Although the likes of Scottish 200m and 400m Champion Krishawn Aiken will be hoping to challenge for a medal, for most athletes it is about the experience. “For our younger athletes in particular, this may one of their first major competitions,” Fraser explains.

    “Even spending a weekend watching top class athletics will teach them a lot about racing at this level. They may not be ready that year to really compete but it sets them up well for when they inevitably return in the future.”

    Success on the track has also allowed the committee to continue developing the club behind the scenes. The recently created committee position of Publicity Convenor has seen a remarkable improvement in the team’s social media recognition, helping boost the club’s outreach. The club are also now in the final stages of re-affliating with Scottish Athletics, allowing for members to compete under the club name at external competitions, while also providing an opportunity to begin putting some members through coaching courses. However, despite the great prospect of success, other events come to mind when asked what they are most looking forward to about the club this year.

    “Warm weather training,” Captains Fraser and Bacallado say in unison. “We spend a week at the end of the second semester in somewhere like Portugal and get the opportunity to train in a completely different environment. It’s tough work but really good for the athletes.”
    “At the same time it’s a great team bonding experience; you get a week away with some really good friends and although we train hard, there’s plenty of time to relax and socialise as well.”

    Bowman, meanwhile, is looking forward to the training weekend in Inverness at the end of the month: “Unlike Portugal, training is not the biggest priority for this weekend, it’s more about really getting to know the new club members and letting them experience a quality weekend up in the Highlands.”

    As all are happy to admit, there is pressure to succeed, given the club’s illustrious recent history. Nonetheless, the 2017/18 season has the potential to be one of GUAC’s most exciting, as they prepare to compete with the best.

    Categories: Club News

    Laura Takes on the World in London

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    GUAC’s star member Laura Muir shone on the world stage this week with two exceptional performance at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.


    Only recently returning from a foot injury, Laura was only narrowly pipped for bronze, finishing 4th in the 1500m before coming 6th in the 5000m.


    Having burst onto the athletics scene after joining the university’s athletics club in 2011, Laura’s reputation on the world stage has steadily grown, culminating in diamond league victory in 2016, alongside countless British records.


    In the end only .07 of a second separated Laura from the medallists in the 1500m; a race described by many as the race of the championship. Meanwhile in only her third competitive 5000m of the year, a strong finish resulted in a 14.52.07 time, impressive considering the incredibly slow start to the race.


    Now moving into her final year studying vet med at Glasgow, Laura’s time as a member of the club will soon be at an end. However, her impact as a member has been phenomenal. She has won seven individual medals at SUCA competitions and more recently wore the black and gold of GUAC on her way to victory in the national short course xc championships.


    Her performance in London caps off another hugely successful year which included a 1500m/3000m double victory at the European Indoor Championships. Although 2018 may prove to be a quieter year given the importance of her studies, success in international competition seems only around the corner for Laura.


    Whilst Laura’s season may be coming to an end, we’re now only four weeks away from the start of GUAC training!! Whether you’re a seasoned sprinter, dabbled in the discus or simply inspired by the spectacle of the World Championships, we offer a friendly, social environment suitable for athletes at all stages of their development. Keep an eye out on our social media channels over the next couple of weeks for details of our Freshers Week events!


    *Photo © Glasgow University

    VIDEO: Warm Weather (Training) in Portugal

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    One of the real highlights of the GUAC year is the annual trip abroad for warm weather training. This year we returned to Albufeira, Portugal. The week provided a great opportunity to train in different weather conditions and offered a perfect opportunity to socialise before the stresses of studying and exams creep in.


    Many thanks to Izzy Rayer who filmed and edited this video!

    GUAC Take on Loch Lomond

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    With the end of year exams over for all our members, new Social Secretary Hamish Leeson quickly took over in his new committee role, organising a GUAC outing for a barbeque on the banks of the picturesque Loch Lomond.

    Given the complexities of work for a number of our members, the date had to be planned in advance, meaning the weather forecast remained a mystery as the first Thursday of June was selected. As it turned out, we had selected the single wettest day of the week for our fun filled expedition to Scotland’s most popular national park.

    Nonetheless, the group of 20 set off in high spirits from Queen Street Station, some having travelled for three hours simply for this day out. Although the morning had remained dry, by the time of departure the heavens opened…

    Eventually arriving on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, those leading decided to find a remote spot, not hard considering the lack of visitors given the weather conditions.

    Spot found, attempts were made to start the barbeque, alas to no avail. Our intrepid explorers had to make do with cracking open a few cold ones and passing round packs of biscuits.

    However, there was still a thirst for barbeque (and a lot of food to use up) so upon return to the bright lights of Glasgow, the group reconvened for some oven-baked burgers.

    Keen to end his maiden voyage into the world of GUAC socials, our new social sec opted for underappreciated Glasgow institution that is La Cheetah to bring the night to a close. For those that survived until the end, this proved a popular outing.

    GUAC will reconvene in the summer for a special trip up to a Highland Games event, more details coming soon.

    Categories: Social

    GUAC at BUCS

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    Despite exams getting in the way for many, a small group of available athletes made the trek down to Bedford for the British Uni and College Championships with a few notable performances to commend.


    A particular event of focus for those down there was the 400m with Krishawn Aitken and Jill Cherry both going down hoping to challenge some of the best runners in the country. Indeed, that was exactly what we saw.


    In the men’s event, Krishawn opened up his competition with an impressive victory in his heat, running 49.50 on a blustery day in England. Qualifying automatically for the semi-finals, he then went on to run a pb of 48.13 to secure second place, defeating some exceptional athletes on the way.


    However, with only the winner guaranteed a spot in the final, there was a tense wait to find out if Krishawn had taken a fastest loser place. Sadly as it turned out, just a couple of hundreds of a second stopped him qualifying for the final. Nonetheless, the competition offered an excellent opportunity for a personal best performance.

    In the women’s competition, Jill also started with a win in her heat, running a comfortable 56.86. In the semi-final, her pb run of 54.89 secured a second victory and an automatic place in the final. Given the small size of Glasgow’s squad in Bedford, this proved to be the team’s best chance of a medal.


    Lining up against two other Scots in Zoey Clark and Kelsey Stewart, there was real hope for a strong Scottish performance. Sadly, Jill fell just short of a medal, coming fourth in another pb time of 54.59, extremely impressive given how windy it was on the day.


    Among the others that went down, Julie Dobin won her 800m heat and managed fourth in her semi-final which included eventual winner Jess Judd. In the 100m meanwhile, Aimee McGinley came fourth in her heat whilst a strong headwind in the 200m ended any hopes Ellie Wilson had of running a pb.


    Overall, those that went down enjoyed the experience of running at such a well organised event. However, until the date of the competition changes to a time when it falls out with the exam schedule, Scottish universities in general will struggle to send down large teams.

    Full results available at Power of 10.

    Categories: Competition Reports Tags: Tags: ,

    SUCA Outdoors Success

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    Glasgow University Athletics Club made it five years unbeaten at the SUCA Outdoors in Grangemouth, comfortably seeing off competition from Stirling and Strathclyde.


    With the changeable weather conditions making it difficult for athletes and spectators alike, those in attendance were able to witness some excellent GUAC performances. By the end of the day the club walked away with six golds, four silvers and two bronzes, along with the overall trophy for best club and a huge number of pbs.


    After a delayed start, Glasgow hit the board running with successes in the hammer throw. Katie Ord took a comfortable silver with a throw of 45.45m whilst club treasurer Ivan Armstrong’s appearance was enough to merit 2nd place.


    Moving onto the track, no less than six Glasgow athletes lined up in the 100m heats. Standout performances came from Euan Stewart who made it to the final running a pb of 11.19 and Ellie Wilson who only missed out on a pb thanks to a tailwind outside of the legal limit.

    In the men’s 200m, Euan again made the final whilst in the women’s race, Paula Houston, Julie Dobin and Edi Akpan came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively with Paula and Edi also recording pbs. Julie meanwhile took silver in the 800m.


    An event of strength in recent years has been the 400m and this year was no different. Krishawn Aitken took another silver for the club whereas Niamh Grahame and Lindsey Young made it a Glasgow one-two in the women’s race. In the 4×400 relays, a fine performance saw GUAC men’s quartet defend their crown.


    Katie Ord upgraded her earlier silver to gold in the shot put and the women’s javelin saw a fine debut from Gabija Varnelyte with more certainly to come from her. Concluding the thrown events, newly elected women’s captain Ana Bacallado claimed bronze in the shot. Meanwhile, GUAC best dressed 2016-17 winner Hamish Leeson stormed to 110m hurdles gold, one of the more memorable results of the afternoon.


    There was also success for those willing to run multiple laps of the track (forced or otherwise) to help push the club towards team gold. Hares and Hounds defector Heather Addison won a fine 3000m gold with Athlete Izzy Rayner securing bronze in the same race.


    The athlete support award of the day went to those by the water jump for Eric Gillespie’s maiden voyage into the 3000m steeplechase; their rendition of Star-Spangled Banner providing great motivation for the American. Special mention too to Alicia Paton for a pb in the same event.

    Alongside their 4×400 counterparts, the 4×100 relay team were successful in holding off a spirited attempt from Stirling to claim another gold for the club. Although unable to medal, it was pleasing to see so many competing in the long jump with increased training in this area hopefully leading to success in the future.


    This was the last major university club competition of the season as exam clashes with the BUCS Championships making it difficult for many to compete. However, the season is certainly not over with athletes now moving back to their home clubs following the end of the university year to continue training.


    Full results available at Power of 10 whilst photos from the event are on our gallery page.

    Categories: Competition Reports Tags: Tags: ,