23 august, 1977
1974 Paul and I went to see The Exorcist; boy was it scary! We bumped in to Fay Robertson when we emerged from the cinema.
1975, Athens A very easy day, trying to stay as relaxed as possible so as not to use up any energy. I played cards in the morning with a few of the guys and then lay on my bed in the afternoon, managing to sleep a little.
I've been given a FANTASTIC lift; one of the team officials came to my room with a telegram from Pixie Mia Farrow lookalike-with love, no less-how my spirits soared!
With all the time in the world I'd prepared my bag and kit several times; my G.B. vest which is a snug wee fit, with the number 110 and my red Puma Munchen spikes.
Food-wise Paul and I have been living mainly off the stuff we bought at the shops; it doesn't seem to matter what meat is served up, it's still swimming in oil. And I'm not a fussy eater, but again I just couldn't face it.
It was good to get down to the warm-up track to go through the same routine for the third time. I felt okay when I was warming up, but not quite as good as last evening when I was flying; however I was very, very nervous about the final, so I knew that would help me run fast.
The great nervousness and worry is partly caused with knowing I'm in with a chance of doing well, particularly after last night's performance. Paul said to me that when he was returning on the bus last evening to the games village, that all the Poles could do was to say Galant and Hoffmann; Hoffmann, Galant. That gave me a lift knowing I'm being noticed-probably because of the ease of my semi-final. Another factor is I don't want to let anyone down, including myself.
I'...f you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!...'
After warming up, it was the same routine. Once more back into the dark reporting room, only to be released like gladiators to perform to the waiting crowd.
Once again, as everyone settled behind their blocks Paul launched in to 'COME ON BA-BY!' At least I was expecting it this time.
Galant had drawn lane one so I couldn't see him at all, but overall, with lane 4, it was a good draw. I went out reasonably hard, but through the echelon the stagger remained pretty consistent, although I suspect Galant had moved ahead of everyone.
Coming though 300 metres he was ahead and the rest of us were in a line, perhaps with Harald Schmidt of Germany slightly up on the rest of us. Initially I felt disappointed that it was this close, particularly as I didn't feel I had much else to give.
I tried to stay relaxed, dropping my shoulders till 50 metres to go; Galant was several metres ahead of the field and there were now six of us in a row for the medals.
I just felt I wanted it more than anyone else and it was more of a fighting spirit that saw me through to take the silver medal.
'...If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!...'
Throughout the race I didn't quite feel I ever got going; I seemed to just go through the motions; when I realised I'd won a medal in a personal best I was absolutely delighted. Galant was awarded the best male performance of the championships too, so I can't complain.
Indeed, the whole team was pleased, especially Mike Farrell who had entered Brian Jones and me in the individual event of his own volition, so that helped justify his decision.
1975 European Junior Championships
(6.00 p.m.) 400 metres Final
1. Galant 46.88 secs
2. Hoffmann 47.27 (p.b.)
3. Reimann (G.D.R.) 47.41
(9.00 p.m.) 4 x 400 metres relay Heat 2. GBR 3:11.1 (48.1 secs split)
Athletics Weekly Cliff Temple reports from Athens
'...The other British silver went to Peter Hoffmann, ranked only eighth before the championships at 400m, but coping with three rounds in 36 hours better than most-especially as the first round was held at the equivalent of 7.10 am British time! Hoffmann won his semi in 47.6 and came through strongly for second place in the final in a personal best 47.27, behind Polish winner Henryk Galant (46.88 in lane one). AAA Junior champion Brian Jones never looked happy, and went out in the semis...'
1976 ...I gave Rod Dixon the New Zealand distance runner a lift up to the Edinburgh Tattoo; I also gave Diana the goddess of love and hunting too; I must be careful to avoid her for the next few weeks...
1977 I picked up Susan Rettie's tennis racket and played tennis for 3 hours. By the end, my legs were whacked. Afterwards a meal and a blether with Paul. A telegram arrived to say I'm in the relay squad for the G.B. v Russia match; I hope I get a run. I trained in the evening; afterwards Paul and I had a drink then went to see the hypnotist, Robert Halpern's Fringe show-what a fucking laugh we had; he should have been paying the two of for getting the audience laughing so much-I was almost lying on the floor in tears; my sides splitting.
11.30 a.m.-2.30 p.m.: 3 hours of tennis
Evening (7.00 p.m.): 4 x 110 metres; 300 metres 34.2 seconds
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Monday, 21 August 2017
Sunday, 20 August 2017
21 august, 1978
1973 I was very sleepy this morning. Gaga's car wouldn't start, but after substituting the spare battery, ye olde Singer Vogue fired up.
I gave Scott a wee hand with the lines this morning, but there weren't many. Scott had a half day; old Tommy Drummond annoyed me. I took a number 5 bus home to Porty, but it took ages.
I was running well over 300 metres this evening, flying around in 35 seconds; crikey! I don't think I'd even broken a minute for a quarter at the start of the year; over the past six weeks I've improved out of sight. Dougie gave Mary; Pat; Duncan and me a lift home.
Evening: 300 metres 35.2 seconds (personal best); Duncan Baker did 38.5 secs; 200 metres 23.5 secs (Duncan 24.6 secs); 2 x 4 x 60m back to back
Before Bed: 24 press-ups; 24 sit-ups
1974 Before training I sat in the Meadowbank cafe blethering with McMaster and Dave Walker. A sombre, overcast evening; just before we started the session a chap by the name of Patterson took an attack and died; it was upsetting to see. Earlier he seemed to be agitated after arguing with X.
Evening: 2 x 4 x 60 metres flat out (easy walk back recovery; 10 minutes between sets)
1975, Athens A rest day before the European Junior Championships begin, at least in the running sense. Meanwhile, the nightmare on the food front continues and the breakfast was, well, basically inedible.
It seems rather sad it hasn't made more of an impact, especially coming from the Athens of the North and someone who was captivated at Hunters Tryst Primary School by the BBC Schools' broadcast on my hero, Alexander the Great.
Later in the afternoon Paul; Malcolm Edwards and I took a wee tootle down to some local shops. Paul and I stocked up on these strong tasting bags of crisps, chocolate and juice-the diet of champions and super-heroes, but it's better than consuming bowls of greasy oil. I also bought a classy and rather clever T shirt, which is a rip-off of the Adidas brand. People of course read what they want to read and it actually says Adildas. Very clever; people see and read what they want to see.
1976 I picked Roger up at Thirlestane Road and we went along to the Scotland team meeting, including having a wee chat with Coach Walker. In the afternoon we both ran well to finish first and second; with Roger being born in Liverpool my time was a Scottish Native Record. In the evening I went out with Diana the goddess of love and hunting on our second date; we went to see a movie then back to the Pollock Halls; afterwards I gave her a lift home. Later on The Simone de Beauvoir Philosophy Queen came knocking on my door and stayed the night.
1976 Scotland v Iceland v Northern Ireland
400 metres 1. R. Jenkins 46.83 seconds 2. Hoffmann 47.16 (Scottish Native Record) 3. Villi Vilhjalmsson 47.31
1977 Once again the Coatbridge International followed on from yesterday's Edinburgh Highland Games. Yesterday, I'd gone out very hard in the quarter inside 22 seconds, tried to ease of, which in retrospect was silly and then found I couldn't pick it up again. Today the weather was pretty foul.
For fun and for a wee change I ran in the half mile and did okay. I finished just behind Singh of India who ran in last year's Olympic final, but managed to beat quite a few well-known names; it's made me think seriously that come Michaelmas next month, to begin training for 800 metres next month and aiming for a place in next year's Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
In the evening I was up at Coach Walker's where there was a small party; I spent much of the evening having a conversation with a very interesting Indian gentleman who had studied sport in East Germany.
1977 Coatbridge International Invitation very windy conditions
800 metres 1. L. Johnson (USA) 1:51.6 4. S, Singh (India) 5. Hoffmann 1:53.2 6. R. Weatherburn 1:55.6
200m 1. A. Wells 2. D. Jenkins 7. Hoffmann
Saturday, 19 August 2017
20 august, 1978
1974 I signed on the dole then went out to Oxgangs where I had a great meal. Mum and I went down to the bank to get me some money towards going down to London. I didn't actually have enough cash so I just paid for the sleeper. I failed my driving test-doom 'n gloom; everything was going swimmingly until I got caught up doing a right-hander at the lights at Milton Road Crossroads. Gaga was very supportive saying as soon as he saw the ‘…crabby, nippit, sour examiner…’ he knew I was going to fail. I couldn't be bothered training hard tonight.
Evening: 2 x 5 x 150 metres (walk round track recovery; 15 minutes between sets) all in 16 seconds
1975, Athens We were all up early to catch the three hour Athens flight. It's a small team, but there are five Scots on it-Paul; the thrower Paul Buxton; and Ann Clarkson and Karen Williams in the 4 x 400 metres women’s relay team.
It's an interestingly diverse team-those with working class backgrounds such as Paul and Mickey Morris; the amiable black athletes, Aston Moore and Wilbert Greaves and the sparky Wendy Clarke. Buxton and Sebastian Coe are quite remote and keep a distance-the latter hanging out with posh Chris Van Rees. Brian Jones is a good guy and Cambridge bound next month; whilst the girls in the relay team, Ruth Kennedy; Diane Heath; and Ann and Karen are a sweet and pleasant wee group. I'm unsure where I fit in amongst that crew!
As soon as I emerged off the plane to the intense heat and smell of aeroplane fuel the nerves kick in; I'm here on a mission.
After unpacking I went down to get the feel of the Kariharris Stadium and did an easy mile of jogging. My knee is still very sore which is disappointing and a wee bit worrying.
We're staying at the university accommodation and the food is just awful; it's cooked in too much oil and is unbelievably greasy-the food literally just floats about in it; I could hardly eat a thing.
In the evening, a relaxed time, playing chess with Brian Jones, who I like very much, especially given our close rivalry all year, with us trading AAA’s Junior titles.
1976 The last day of my Meadowbank summer job. In the afternoon Roger and I had an enjoyable game of putting at Bruntsfield Links. In the evening I took Diana the goddess of love and hunting out; we couldn't get in to the film so had a game of putting instead; then some wine and we played dominoes; an unusual first proper date, but a fun one all the same! Late on I gave her a lift home.
1978 We arose after a most uncomfortable night's sleep at the Pollock Halls, with Diana the goddess of love and hunting ending up sleeping on the floor.
Outside it was a glorious, lovely Sunday morn; Edinburgh at its very best as it often is in the very early autumn as the Festival moves toward its last week. It's still slightly cool out and the sun watery, but with the promise of much sunshine and heat to come as the morning emerges from its cocoon.
We strolled out to the car; down below in the sunlight and dappled shadows we could see the dew sparkling on the lower grassy slopes of Arthurs Seat. It was still fairly quiet, with Edinburgh slowly coming too; in the near distance we could hear a church bell ring out calling the local worthies to worship. I love Edinburgh.
We skipped breakfast at the halls and instead drove up the quiet cobbled Royal Mile to Burns' International Newsagents to collect the Sunday papers and then on to our favourite haunt, Demarcos at Tollcross, for some tea and hot filled rolls. What a civilised lifestyle; living the dream, as they say.
We picked up Paul and Lorraine and drove through to Coatbridge. Bad luck-the silencer on the exhaust is away; the car sounded like James Hunt on the grid.
Anyway, the pressure's now off re:Prague. I won the 800 metres in a respectable time, out-kicking everyone down the home-straight. However, I'm being slightly economical with the truth. For those watching they may have thought, that's things back to normal for Hoffmann and the status quo has been returned, but I'm still not right. The form that deserted me after pushing Coe at the U.K. Championships last month, but which vanished in Edmonton, still isn't there. There's something very awry.
Anyway, John Anderson cheered me on down the home-straight shouting me on, his voice twice as loud as anyone else! It certainly got me pumping my arms and I was able to move clear of the field, so it was reasonably encouraging, I guess, but I know it was workmanlike.
Immediately after the race Diana and I jumped in the car and drove straight back to Edinburgh, trusting we wouldn't come across any policemen (given the sound of the car). We arrived safely at Meadowbank where I ran a good relay leg for the club easily handling Stretford's Martin Francis on the last leg. Afterwards a steady 4 miles; all in all a good enough day’s work. Late on Diana and I went to see Groucho At Large at the Fringe-quite enjoyable.
800 metres 1. Hoffmann 1:51.6
Pye Cup, Meadowbank
4 x 400 metres relay 1. E.A.C. (49.1 seconds leg, tactical)
4 miles steady run
Friday, 18 August 2017
19 august, 1978
1973 A different Sunday; we went through to Grangemouth; I ran quite well, beating Brian Dickson. I also got a new personal best. Duncan Baker and I went for some chips; afterwards. I did some weights at Meadowbank.
Grangemouth: 300 metres 35.9 seconds (p.b.); 200 metres split in the relay, 22.9 secs; weights session
1974 After ringing for seemingly ages I eventually got through to British Rail to book a sleeper; I've also posted off these letters to the Southern Counties. In the afternoon Nana, Gaga and I took a wee tootle out to Pathhead to the wee watchmaker's; Nana managed to get her watches fixed quite cheaply. We swung round by Oxgangs, but only Iain and his bird were there. At night I felt really terrible after training. At the end of the session I was absolutely shattered and had to lie down for half an hour; I was feeling really sick. Before bed I did some mobility. Next Monday, once I get the match at Crystal Palace out the way I'm really going to get started on these exercises and to do a circuit every Sunday afternoon.
Evening: 4 x 200 metres (3 minutes recovery) 23; 24; 23; 23 seconds (15 mins rest) 2 x 200m (3 mins rec) 22.5; 23.5 secs
1975 I gave Coach Walker a ring this morning and went up to Meadowbank at lunchtime do my last session before the European Junior Championships. I ran with Davie Reid. Having banged this knee I went down to the physio to have it looked at followed by an aerotone bath at Portobello Baths. In the evening Coach Walker ran Paul and me out to the airport for the flight down to the smoke, arriving at the quaint old central London hotel at 10.20 p.m. to join the rest of the small British Junior Team.
Lunchtime: 2 x 3 x 120 metres relaxed; a slight breeze against; raining; slowest run was 13.0 seconds; last run was 12.7 secs
1976 A pleasant morning working up at Meadowbank with the kids followed by a physio appointment for a rub. It was such a lovely afternoon, spur of the moment old John Binnie from across Durham Road (who's left 85 years behind him) and I went across to Porty Golf Course for 9 holes of golf. It was great fun-what a character he is. Given the first time I'd played golf was on the 3 holes course in the Olympic Village, I played quite well. Late afternoon I picked Roger up from the airport and dropped him off at his flat at Thirlestane Road. A solid evening session; later Gaga and I enjoyed a fish supper.
Evening: 3 x 200 metres 21.5; 22.8; 21.6 seconds
1977 I was introduced to John Walker's coach, Arch Jelley. A very down to earth nice bloke. It makes you think, in all sorts of ways. I was speaking to him about my proposed move up to the half mile; because I'm so fast, he recommended I shouldn't do too much mileage.
1978 A lovely sunny morn; Will and I returned the van to the SMT Garage and spun around by Oxgangs to awaken Diana the goddess of love and hunting. We stopped off by the nurses' home for her to get a swift change of clothing. The sunshine was streaming down and it was a pleasure to relax in the back garden with a coffee and the weekend Scotsman newspaper. I had a disastrous run at the Edinburgh Highland Games. I received no monies for taking part, unlike most everyone else.
Because of today's run I've been told I must put in a good run tomorrow at Coatbridge if I want to go the European Championships in Prague next Friday. To round off a mixed day I had a fall-out with Coach Walker; however on the bright side I've decided to let John Anderson help me, which should give me a lift.
After the reception at the Commonwealth Pool, Diana and I had a light Chinese at the Dragon's Castle; we stayed the night at Pollock Halls.
1978 Edinburgh Highland Games
Thursday, 17 August 2017
18 august, 1976
1973 I did some overtime this morning before meeting Paul to go and watch the Edinburgh Highland Games; the weather, cold and blustery. A good night on the telly-a Western; Lulu; A Man Called Ironside
1974 Well, I paid for the drunken evening with Paul at the Southern dance. During this morning's session I was sick as a dog; afterwards it took me around an hour to recover. Come the afternoon I sat around watching the women's match. Ann Sowersby fancies me like mad. Ann Clarkson wandered up to me after her 800 metres for a chat.
In the evening we ran down from Edinburgh Castle carrying the torches; it's going to be on the television. Later we went to a reception at the Mount Royal Hotel. Norrie and I chatted with Coach Walker. I met a girl there who I used to go about with called Linda something-by the way something is not her last name-joke! Coach Walker gave me a lift home, which was very good of him as it's completely out of his way.
Morning: 4 x 300 metres (8 minutes recovery) 36.9; 34.8 (trucking!); 35.8; 36.8 seconds; I was drunk last night and I felt really terrible this morning; I was sick a couple of times
1975 With Athens in mind I went up to Edinburgh to do a little shopping; a small world, as I bumped in to Bob Sinclair and Ann Clarkson, the latter is on the team for the European Junior Championships too. I stopped by at Meadowbank for lunch then lay out the back sunbathing. I ran my penultimate session before flying out; in my exuberance I banged my knee badly on a hurdle; it's very stiff and sore, which has pissed me off no end, given I've been working for this championship for the past year. Pixie Mia Farrow lookalike and I sat and watched the football and had a good time, including me giving her a lift home to the Braids. Happy, days.
Evening: 4 x 200 metres (5 minutes recovery) 22.0; 22.2; 22.2; 22.0 seconds
So, We'll Go No More A Roving
'So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright...'
1976 It's a funny old world, apart from the fact it isn't.
Ae Fond Kiss
'...For to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted...'