The man who made history by becoming the first Aberdeen AAC runner to represent Scotland has passed away.
Steve Taylor made his mark in the late 1950s and early ’60s as one of the country’s top athletes over a variety of distances.
Although most of his greatest achievements came on the track, he was also an accomplished cross country runner and made his Scotland debut at the 1960 international championships at Hamilton racecourse where he finished 45th.
He made two more appearances in this annual match, which was a precursor to the modern-day world championships, finishing 58th at Nantes in 1961 and 35th at Sheffield in 1962.
Taylor enjoyed considerable track success, winning his first Scottish title over three miles at Meadowbank in 1961 after an epic battle with close friend and training partner Alastair Wood.
Wood had set a Scottish native record when winning gold in the six miles the night before, but that didn’t prevent him from pushing his Aberdeen clubmate all the way.
Taylor had to use all his pace, power and strength of character to earn victory by the slenderest of margins, stopping the clock at 14min 28.8secs with Wood a mere 1.2secs behind.
He retained the title the following year when recording 14:10.4, but his fastest performance over this distance came at the 1966 championships when he recorded 13:47.8 to finish behind Olympian Fergus Murray (Edinburgh University), who won in a championship record of 13:46.0.
Taylor had also lost out in the six miles the year before to another Scottish athletics legend, the future Commonwealth Games 10,000m gold medallist Lachie Stewart.
In addition to his two gold and two silver medals in the three miles, Taylor picked up silver (1960) and bronze (1959) in the one mile and bronze (1964) in the six miles at the Scottish championships.
He also represented Scotland in five track internationals between 1961 and 1966.
Moving up to longer distances, he won the national 10 miles track title at Scotstoun, Glasgow in 1970, recording 49:52.6 to finish one minute ahead of another Aberdeen runner and future world ultra distance record-breaker Donald Ritchie.
Taylor was willing to help others, none more so than his old sparring partner Wood, whom he paced to a world 40-mile track record at Pitreavie in 1969. The duo also shared Scottish 30km, 20 miles and two-hour records along the way.
Taylor also had a fascination with the John o’ Groats to Land’s End relay record. He was part of the Aberdeen AAC side which failed to break the mark in 1972, but was again heavily involved when the club slashed 30mins off the record the following year.
It was late in his career when he dabbled with the marathon, but still achieved a highly respectable best time of 2:19:28 in 1971, which is still the 12th fastest by an Aberdeen runner.