A Tribute to Martin Hyman

MARTIN HYMAN 1933 – 2021

SOA would like to join with others in expressing our sadness at the death of Martin Hyman.  He contributed so much over many years to the development of runners and orienteers at all levels, as well as having been an outstanding Olympic athlete in his younger days.

Scott Fraser, World Championship medallist and one of our most successful orienteers, describes the huge influence Martin had on his running career:

“Although Martin would never want anyone being sad for him, there’s a huge feeling of emptiness in the running community knowing we will never seeing him around again.  Everything felt better after a wee chat with him; he had unique sense of humour that would put a smile on anyone’s face!  I knew Martin for the last 20 years of his life both as a coach and as a friend.  After meeting him through athletics as a 13 year old, he first taught me how to read a map and compass so I could go running in the hills and after I told him I quite enjoyed it, he told me about a sport called orienteering and that he knew some people I could tag along with if I was interested.  A few months later, he took me to the Lochaber Scottish 6 Day event in 2001 and I was hooked ever since!

Martin may be gone now but his philosophy of helping each other and running with a smile, will live on.”

In 1979 Martin began his legendary Tuesday evening Meadows intervals training in Edinburgh, which continued until lockdown in March last year. Many members of ESOC, INT, ELO and EUOC attended at various times, as well people from local running clubs. In 2019, to celebrate 40 years on the Meadows, many of those who had taken part over the years contributed their thanks to Martin.  These were presented to him in the form of a book of memories.  Just a few of the tributes are below:

At the Meadows in summer and winter,

 In sunshine and rain,

 On still days and in the wind.

“THANK YOU MARTIN not just for running these sessions but all the years of guidance, advice and support you gave me. My successes in orienteering have enhanced my whole life. …  It is a tremendous institution and a reflection of Martin’s empathy for anyone who wants to improve their fitness in a well-planned way.”

“The Meadows Intervals had arrived… every Tuesday come rain or shine, wind, rain, snow and even ice, he would drive from Livingston with his stop watch and manage the trip. A sort of one man “park run”

“ I had calculated that he must have spent some twenty thousand pounds on fuel over the forty years. Typical Martin smiled, saying “but what better way to spend the money?”

“Martin’s continuing encouragement and dedication to supporting athletes is a phenomenal testament to his love of running.”

“I remember that even when Christmas Day or New Years Day fell on a Tuesday at least one or two people would turn up to do the intervals.”

“Martin is the embodiment of a great team player, always encouraging, always enthusiastic, with a vast knowledge which he is happy to share with others.”

“Thanks to Martin’s approach, over time the Meadows have become a much safer place for all the community, not just runners. It in no small way has been instrumental in making running much more accessible for female athletes.”

“Back in the early days Martin used to set everyone off then run the 600m lap himself but getting back in time to time everyone in. He was very subtly coaching me by running about 20 m in front of me, if I sped up to narrow the gap he would speed up enough to maintain the gap”

“It would be impossible to list all the other things that Martin and Margaret have done to promote running in Edinburgh and in Livingston, or all the people they helped, with advice or organisation or practicalities. Life changing for many, myself included.”

“Martin advised many amazing athletes but in me he managed to squeeze every bit of ability from a much less impressive specimen. Thank you Martin, you helped me reach levels I never imagined in 2005 I could do and have experiences I will treasure all my life.”

A full obituary of Martin’s life and career can be found on the British Orienteering website