From club captain to senior head coach, there are few roles at Garscube Harriers that Stevie Cullen hasn’t turned his hand to.
His mantra of ‘hard work = success’ and no-nonsense approach are very much appreciated by the entire club. Stevie is a highly-valued member of the senior coaching staff at Garscube – where members are keen to sing his praises, describing him as “a coach with a wealth of experience and happy to share his knowledge”.
As part of the #COVChampions campaign Sport First caught up with Stevie to find out how he 'keeps on running'.
How it all began
Back in 1970, after running in a school race organised by Garscube Harriers in Glasgow, Stevie decided to join the club. He quickly showed an aptitude for 800m and 1,500m and was able to turn his focus to a variety of distances on track, roads and cross country (he was crowned club cross-country champion seven times).
Learning from legendary Garscube Harrier Donnie MacDonald, Stevie took on board the importance of training hard – something he has implemented within his own coaching style.
Stevie epitomises the Garscube Harriers club values – hard work, teamwork, respect, support and inclusion.
His first-class commitment to sport has seen him record some impressive stats over the years – in addition to his multiple cross-country championships, he has gold medals from the Dunbartonshire and West District 3,000m steeplechase, a 10km personal best (PB) of 33:42 and a marathon PB of 2:51:47.
His commitment to sport was also recognised when he was nominated to carry the Commonwealth Games torch in 2014, a role he took on with immense pride.
Stevie first joined the Garscube committee in 1975 and has – in one capacity or another – been involved with the running of the club almost continuously since then.
Club President Jill O’Neil recounted the history of Stevie’s involvement with the club, saying: "He first joined the committee as an ordinary member, progressing to club secretary in the early 1980s.
"He started coaching in the 1980s as he was keen to see the club expand and improve and play his part in assisting the club to become a force within the Glasgow and Scottish athletics scene."
Stevie’s dedication to coaching is acknowledged by all coaches at the club including the most recent addition to the coaching team, Paul Collins.
Paul said: "His commitment in being at the club for 50 years while giving up so much of his own time in various roles is an outstanding achievement.
"I didn’t realise how much goes on behind the scenes at Garscube until I joined the coaching team.
"For Stevie to show the dedication to be involved for so long shows what a great guy he is."
That sentiment was echoed by David Geddes, fellow half-centurion at the club, who said: "The likes of Big Stevie don't come around that often and we are so fortunate to have him as one of our valued coaches."
It is not only the Harriers that have benefited from Stevie’s knowledge and enthusiasm for sport. The Glasgow Athletics Association (GAA) and the Transplant Games have also been fortunate enough to have him involved.
🌍 It is World Statistics Day and we’re using this to celebrate Stevie Cullen’s golden anniversary as a Garscube Harrier!— Garscube Harriers (@rungarscube) October 20, 2020
💙 Stevie, we’re one lucky club. Thanks for everything you’ve done and do. #peoplemakegarscube #goldenanniversary #WorldStatisticsDay#scottishathletics pic.twitter.com/70yCN7XOrh
Stevie is a founder member of the GAA, where he also currently serves as lead coach for endurance training. Having first attended the Transplant Games in 1988, Stevie then become involved in 1990 as team manager for Glasgow adults – a role he still holds.
Stevie’s commitment to coaching, officiating and volunteering was crowned by a ‘Service to Sport’ award in 2016 from the Sports Council for Glasgow. His impact on sport is best summed up by Jill O’Neil, who added: "Through his volunteering, Stevie has made an enormous impact on the athletics community within our area and on a national level.”