THERE are sporting all-rounders and then there was Robin Morris who has died, aged 68, after a year-long illness.
Ex-international steeplechaser, former hill running champion who helped get the culturally significant Edinburgh Seven Hills race off the ground, golfing historian who served the Heritage Group at the Royal Burgess Golfing Society – the oldest in the world – he was also trustee of the Eric Liddell Centre and member of the selection panel for the Scottish Sporting Hall of Fame since its inception, 98 inductees ago, in 2002.
He was also chair of Merchiston Community Council, member of the Golf Collectors Society, member of Friends of the Meadows, and People’s Warden at Christ Church, Morningside, where a “celebration of his life” will be held today at 12.30.
Even when seriously ill, Robin was a ‘giver’, organising a 50th anniversary reunion for fellow George Watson’s College leavers.
It was once said by Robin, though, that golf was his “indulgence” and athletics his “passion”.
A former track captain who helped Edinburgh Athletic Club rise from Division Four to Division One of the British League in the 1970s, that decade saw Robin win the British Banks track, cross country and road running titles before leaving the profession to become a sports reporter, often contributing to the Evening News and The Scotsman.
In the early 70s, too, Robin won the first Carnethy Hill Run and later, along with Colin Donnelly, Roger Boswell and Dick Wall, founded the Scottish Hill Running Association which led to a spell as head of mountain running at UK Athletics.
Dick Wall recalled: “The four of us actually founded the Association while sitting in Robin’s Lancia car.”
There was no ego to Robin Morris who, as Dick Wall also recalled, was prepared to get events such as the ferociously difficult Glamaig hill run on the Isle of Skye established, then hand over to other administrators.
He said: “The Seven Hills involvement was especially important as this began in 1980 as part of a political cultural festival in support of the Scottish self government movement.”
A spokesman for Royal Burgess Golfing Society paid tribute, saying: “Robin had a special interest in historical golfing artefacts.”
Andy Mitchell, former head of communications at the SFA and fellow Hall of Fame selector, said: “Robin brought an incredibly broad range of knowledge. He had an encylopedic knowledge of sport particularly Edinburgh sport.”
Nicknamed the “Edinburgh Tatler” due to his vast range of friends, he is survived by wife Roz and daughters, Wendy and Suzanne.
Roz said: “Robin knew so many people that one event we attended together stands out; it was just one, over the years where Robin was quite taken aback to find he didn’t know anybody to talk to.”