Murray Gowans was a man that not too many of the current membership of Scottish knew very well. He was the typical quiet member, and until recent years doing so much for the club and his sport of harriers and athletics and asking nothing in return. In recent years he has battled Cancer long and hard but chose to end the fight on his terms, at home in Titahi Bay on Tuesday 20th December.
Murray was born in Cliff House in Island Bay, where the first Scottish Club run was held in March 1915. He joined us at the age of 18 from the Olympic club.
He, like most of us was just an average club runner, and race walker. Like many members the biggest contribution to his sport was as an organiser and official.
In the days when pack runs on Saturday were the focus of the club, he joined in 1961 and never missed a Club run for 25 years. That is 650 Saturdays without missing. He was awarded a specially minted Gold Attendance badge to go with the 34 one-year badges he earned.
In 1970 he took over organising the boys pack and led them for 30 years. There were often 20 to 30 in the pack, at club meetings and the important inter club harrier races. As a harrier he won the club Novice Cup and Galashiels Trophy. As a walker he won the club Cole Land Trophy and Tearle Cup. His family donated the Junior Sealed Handicap Cup in1962 and Murray himself donated the Gowans Cup for the Veterans (Masters) championships in 1982. First winner was Colin Maclchlan. When he passed over organising the Boys Pack role, he had become a race walker and he got fast enough to break 30 minutes on the Newtown Park track for five kilometers. For non-race walkers I always compare that achievement to when I first broke two minutes for running the 800 meters. He raced often, and with his friend the late Peter Tearle and the ever present and popular John Hines travelled to compete in the Race-Walking New Zealand 10-kilometer races across the North Island. In the 1970’s through to the late 1990’s he raced at the now defunct Regional Inter Club contests from Inglewood and Hastings south to Wellington. In 2015 he donated the Murray Gowans Cup, and the original winner was himself.
Murray along with Peter Tearle became a qualified and graded Athletics New Zealand official. He was involved in track and jumping events and with Peter they organised and managed the Pole Vault Competitions at Newtown Park for many years and helped at regional and Athletics New Zealand championships all over the country. Murray was a technician and his job required him to travel over the lower North Island to test and certify petrol pumps, and other dispensing machines. As a result, he met and knew many athletes over the region. Those friends in many clubs will be saddened to know that the quiet man has now passed his finish line.
For Murray membership of Scottish was so important, and I will always remember his quiet support of the club. The quiet man has finished.