AN athletics coach who went the extra mile to help grow middle-distance running in Scotland has been recognised by one its top bodies.

Inverclyde Athletic Club's Norrie Hay received the Frank Horwill Award for services to the British Milers' Club (BMC) in recognition of his 'outstanding' work promoting middle-distance running in Scotland.

Norrie's involvement with the club began 12 years ago, when he was regularly attending the BMC's athletics events in England as a coach.

At the time, the club's presence in Scotland was on the wane - the Scottish section had all but died off and there was no secretary.

Keen to build their presence in Scotland back up, the BMC approached Norrie and asked him if he would take up the vacant position to try and lift Scottish middle-distance running out of its dismal state.

In the 12 years since Norrie has worked with groups like Scottish Athletics and the Glasgow Athletics Association to hold races right across Scotland.

The events started very low key - some of the earliest, held in Linwood, only had around 15 athletes competing - but they soon grew into some of the most popular middle-distance events in the country.

The BMC's miler meets are now one of the most popular events in the middle-distance calendar with around 300 athletes participating at each event.

Norrie and the team take pains to ensure that the races give participants the best chance to improve.

Every race is carefully seeded and has a pacemaker set to be slightly quicker than the their personal bests.

Norrie says: "It's not a championship, there's no medals, it's about improving your performance and raising the standard.

"I think we've had a big part to play in raising the standards across Scotland in the last five to ten years."

"I know the BMC are delighted they have a bigger presence in Scotland now and we've had a big increase in membership.

"Scottish athletes are starting to see the benefits of the Milers' Club."

The BMC's chairman, Tim Brennan, told the Tele that Norrie was given the award for his outstanding work improving middle-distance running in Scotland.

He said: "During his tenure he got a good standard of meeting off the ground and it's very popular - it sells out like Glastonbury now."

Norrie hadn't been told he was to receive the award and was surprised when he saw his name of the list of those recognised.

He thanked the BMC and the committee and paid tribute to those in Scottish Athletics and Glasgow Athletics Association who helped him over the years.

He said: "Everyone likes to be recognised for what they do, it's not something I sought and this is very much a team operation.

"I'm just happy to be the BMC's figurehead in Scotland.

"The award came to me but it's something that I would share with the team and they've all played a huge part in it.

"It's nice to be recognised, I've been doing it a long time and I've been in athletics a long time - it's about time I won something."