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Happy 75th birthday to Murray (Sandy) Johnston - a great master runner and a very talented musician.

*Pictured above - NWRRC super vet Sandy Johnston at Rohan's Run.

Happy 75th birthday to Murray (Sandy) Johnston - a great master runner and a very talented musician.

Report and photos by Don Hale.


It was a very happy 75th birthday to one of the latest extraordinary newcomers at North Wales Road Runners, in Murray (Sandy) Johnston, who is not only a superb master veteran athlete, but he is also a very talented and experienced musician!

*Sandy Johnston (above), is shown at a recent Conwy parkrun.

Sandy is a well-known figure at Conwy parkrun, and at many local races, together with his daughter Alice, and he regularly won his previous VM70 age cat there, and at many local events, but he has now moved into his new VM75-79 section. 

He joined NWRRC from Les Croupiers earlier this year and has already made his mark with several notable age cat victories on the road, and recorded many incredible times for his age, with some now expected to be adopted into Welsh Masters records!

I asked Sandy if he would give me some idea of his numerous running achievements and a brief history of his musical career, but I was amazed at the exceptional resumé from this very modest man.

He explained: “I was principal oboist to the Welsh National Opera for 34-years, and, with the RPO, I toured Russia, and performed "The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba,” in Buckingham Palace, as Her Majesty, the late Queen, entered the room for Prince Andrew's 50th birthday! And I have also performed at the Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables in the West End.

“One Visit to the Hermitage in St Petersburg was particularly memorable, but a trip to Armenia less so, other than witnessing how enormous Mt Ararat is! Moscow was a dump! We played several times at the now notorious Crocus City Hall, to 6,000 well-oiled locals.”


Appeal for Welsh Castles Relay teams.


Regarding his running career, he said: “Now that I have competed as a NWRRC member, I've been asked to give a brief resumé of my running life, before attending to a more important matter. 

“I began to run in 1980, when the Sport Centre for Wales, in Cardiff, was flooded, and not long afterwards, joined my parent club, Les Croupiers RRC. 

“During that halcyon decade, I clocked times of 10k 32.35, Swansea Bay 10 miles 53.25, Woking Half M 71.01, Rhymney Valley Marathon 2.27.26, London (188th), London to Brighton 6.29."

He then added: “My main purpose in writing, is to alert you to the imminent 44th running of the fabulous Welsh Castles Relay, starting at Caernarfon Castle, and finishing 20 legs later, on the following day at Cardiff Castle. 

“This is hosted and run by my old club. It's my great desire that NWRRC should enter and experience what many consider to be the premium annual athletics event in Wales, possibly, as a mixed team, but unquestionably with enough strong runners to give a good account. 

“This requires some organisation and intent, but is well worth the investment, for a truly wonderful and unique experience. I'd be happy to liaise, advise, etc, should this come about.


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