Maureen Gunby

The first of our STAC Legends is Maureen Gunby. Maureen joined the club in 1984 and was a member until 1996. She was an incredible runner and her personal bests for 10k (38:22), half marathon (1:23:26) and marathon (3:11) stood as all time club records for over 30 years, only broken in 2022.

Sadly Maureen passed away in 2000. She was married with 2 children. 

Her great friend Jane Scott has given info on Maureen the person and the runner.

How Maureen came to join STAC

I worked with Maureen in pharmacy and one day she said to me “I would like to come running with you”. The rest is history!

The first time Maureen turned up at club night she was wearing a grey flannel jogging suit, two t-shirts, pink headband, pink wristbands, the infamous Silver Shadow trainers (the oldies will remember we all ran in them), full face makeup and gold hoop earrings. She was glamorous!

In no time, maybe two weeks, she was running with the men and keeping up with them. By then she was wearing a little vest and running knickers - but still fully made-up with earrings and pink head and wristbands. I will add you only wore running knickers if you were fast, she made me get some but sadly I never ran fast!

London marathon 

I have spoken to Walter Armitage, a fellow Staci. Walter trained for a fair few years with Maureen and did some great races with her.

For the London marathon, Maureen and Walter had trained well. She got a call from the officials saying she was starting with the elite women and would be going from the elite start. Off she went to the changing room, nobody spoke to her and they all had their personal masseurs. She sat in the corner feeling very lonely.

Anyway she dusted herself down and she was off, running well and feeling good. Walter caught her at 22 miles and she ran the rest of the race with him. Never again did she go to the elite start!

Memorable races 

Another race was ‘Simon’s Seat’. Maureen was not a Fell runner! Off she goes 1st lady all the way up. She finished 100+! She realised she wasn’t going to throw herself off no hil!

One time she ran Hazelwood castle run, she ran that fast she collapsed at the end and Chris Gill had to take her to hospital. Doctor was alarmed at her heart rate 39. Chris said “no worries she’s a runner”. 

I think we did the first Bramham Horse Trials. What a laugh that was, the men had to push us up and over the jumps. Maureen was about 5ft the jumps must have been 12ft. It was really something new in those days.

Maureen the runner

Maureen’s running style was unique, she ran on her tiptoes, never placing her foot down. Also tiny tiny steps. She never wore the heels of her trainers down but the front of the shoe was battered. Chris and Walter often tried to get her to lengthen her stride but she never did.

Maureen’s times were brilliant but let’s remember they were not chipped in the early days. Then the gun went off, or whistle, and she was off . 

STAC ladies team champions of the Running Wild Cross-Country (which is now PECO)

As a ladies team we did well in cross country. Maureen off like a bullet and was always first lady home giving us a fairly good chance. We all ran our guts out; Pauline Parkin, Pauline Blackwell and myself still in the club. Not sure about the other ladies. (Might add we ran in baseball boots before we found off-road trainers Ha Ha!).

STAC as it was

We all ran together as the club was so much smaller then. We had some really good times and laughs. At the races the mums and dads that were not running all looked after each other's kids.

I must say I very much like the club as it is now. Although it’s a lot bigger and we have a great bunch of runners new and old. It’s all about team spirit . 

Hope you all have enjoyed this little tribute to a really lovely lady.

She ran her heart out every run.

And we all loved her. 

Massive thanks to Jane for this fantastic tribute to Maureen, and to Walter for providing the photos.