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Martin Caley  06.07.1955 – 17.06.2012

Following on from the sad passing of Martin Caley, and after seeing the article by Robbie Lambie, I thought I would look through my scrapbooks and put a few of Martin’s athletic highlights down in print, writes Phil Cain. The following are correct to the best of my knowledge.

His first ever race was in November 1980. It was the Syd Quirk Half Marathon, placing 15th with a time of 1:33:05.  His best half was 1:24:57 set in July 1983 and he ran 1:25:07 in July 1984.

In July 1983 he ran 1:02:51 in the Western 10 then two years later ran 1:03:37 on the same course. In March 1986 he ran 2:14:40 in the 20 miles road championships at the Bowl placing 6th.

The only 10km time I could find was May 1987 – 39:37. His best Peel to Douglas time was in April 1983 placing 14th in 1:10:48.

As Robbie says, perhaps his best ever run was in the 1983 London Marathon,  running 2:56:46 – the more established runners he passed were in fact myself and Steve Parkinson! Neither me or "Sparkie" could respond when Martin came past us.  He ran London again in 1986 in 3:03.

As for team events, obviously winning the 1982 Millennium Way Relay alongside Murray Lambden, Tony Conway and Chris Richard was a standout result.

In the 1980s a popular event was the End to End Road Relay. A seven man team would start from the Point of Ayre and finish at the South and each time he was a member of the Boundary Harriers "B" team. From my records, Martin’s last race was the 1989 End to End when he ran 48:41 for the second leg (from the Grand Island Hotel to the Glen Mona Hotel).

Martin never ran cross country races but in October 1982 he took part in the TT Relay Walk for the Bowling Green Hotel team consisting of Chris "Ozzie" Richard, Tony "Conny" Conway, seeded walker Tommy Kelly and Martin. They placed 3rd team in 6:14:57.

When Boundary Harriers and Manx AC joined forces in August 1991, I don’t think Martin became a member of Manx Harriers but he was part of a group who went to the World Walking Championships in Barcelona. It was a great week away with some good memories, with the likes of Martin, Kevin Madigan and "Auntie" Joan Powell.

We hadn’t seen Martin for quite a while but it still came as a big shock to hear the sad news, You will always be in our thoughts mate.  Ann, Phil and Jordan Cain


Photos thanks to Phil Cain

Tholt-y-Will 1989: Post Office Fell Championships (left to right) Phil Crowe, Martin Caley, David Stowell & Richie Stevenson

Barcelona May 1989 : (left to right) Back, Ralph Martin, Phil Cain, Ann Cain, Kevin Madigan & Cal Partington. Front, Martin Caley, Steve Partington & John Cannell

Christmas Day 1980 or 1981: (left to right) Back, Chris Quine, Steve Kelly, Richie Stevenson, Martin Caley, front, Dave Newton, Phil Cain, Steve Parkinson & Dave Ronan

Barcelona May 1989 : (left to right) Cal Partington, Phil Cain, Kevin Madigan & Martin Caley


It is with great sadness that I write a tribute for Martin Caley, who passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning just less than 3 weeks before his 57th birthday writes Robbie Lambie.  Martin in truth had not been well for a couple of years and was forced to retire from the Civil Service in May of this year due to ill health, after over 30 years of service where latterly he had worked in the Economics Division as a Senior Economist.

I suppose Martin could be remembered in a variety of ways.  Some will remember him for his academic brilliance, having an exceptionally high IQ (MENSA). Others will remember him for a man who enjoyed having a pint in several Douglas Hostelries, especially enjoying listening to the local music scene and I suppose the rest will recall his avid interest in athletics, both as a competitor and perhaps latterly as a keen armchair fan and spectator of the sport, who on many occasions has supported and followed the GB team at the Worlds, Commonwealth and European Athletics Championships all over the world during the mid 1980’s through to the mid 1990’s. His big companions on those trips were usually the likes of Dave Newton, Chris Hamilton and Roger Walker.

The one thing that will always stick in my mind about Martin is when in 1973 after sitting his A levels, it was announced that he was the first student to pass 4 A levels, all grade A’s and all special grades at that.  He may well have even got close to having the top marks in the mathematics exam in the country that year – such was his talent.  He set the standard for others and whilst I am certain this feat has been replicated several times since, nevertheless it does underline how bright Martin really was. He went to the London School of Economics and I think that is where he gained his MA.  I often recall him telling me over a pint in his modest and unassuming way that his tutor felt that Martin was more than capable of becoming a professor in Economics.  However, Martin was not especially ambitious or driven in that way and was happy to return to the Island and start out on a career with the Civil Service around 1979 – 1980. 

I believe one of Martin’s first bosses in the IOM Government was Ian Turnbull another ex-athlete and well known character who we have lost quite recently.  It has to be said they were both brilliant academically and at their jobs, and needless to say both had a deep mutual respect for each other as they clearly were on the same intellectual wave length. Ian and Martin went their separate ways as Ian left the Government in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.  Ian in fact joined forces with John Webster the then Government Economic Advisor and they both became partners as economic consultants.

Martin by his own admission was not particularly gifted athletically and used to make a point of skiving off games lessons when he was at school.  However, he got into the local athletic scene when he came back from University, probably due to some encouragement and coaxing from athletes like Murray Lambden,  Chris Richard, Tony Conway to name but a few around 1980.  After catching the bug he quickly progressed and started to enjoy getting fit and the athletic social scene.  He was encouraged to go into competitions and particularly enjoyed participating in relay events. I will let others develop this but I recall Martin being very proud and chuffed when alongside Chris Richard, Tony Conway and Murray Lambden they won the Millennium Way Relay in 1982.  Martin’s contribution in this race was significant as he retook the lead on the third leg.

I think Martin’s best achievement in running was in 1983 when he ran a lifetime personal best for the London Marathon recording a time of 2hrs 56mins & 46 seconds.  What pleased him most about this performance was the fact that he got his pace judgement spot on and overtook several of the more fancied local runners over the last 2 miles or so.  He dined out on this run for years but unfortunately could not reproduce this feat. I think his best 10km was around 36mins 30secs and I think he had around a 61/62 minute best time for the 10miles. Considering he had little natural talent, a fact that he was always comfortable and almost proud to point out, then really his times and achievements around the mid 1980’s were pretty respectable all things considered.

Martin was always keen to support walking events too and was often taking pictures of big walks.  He certainly enjoyed photography and I think he took a few of Murray Lambden walking 2hrs 19mins for 30km in1981 and one of the photos he took is in The Hall of Fame at the NSC. He just loved to be involved and was always generous in his praise and in awe of people who had athletic talent which most definitely exceeded his.  Come to think of it he was always complimentary to any talented person, whether they were musicians, sportsmen or women or artists.

Over the years Martin withdrew from the athletic scene and didn’t really run competitively since the early 1990’s, probably due to injuries. I always used to see him walking around Douglas with a bag or satchel which probably contained newspapers and magazines.  He was a great reader.

Martin Caley to most people who knew him properly will be regarded as a real character, who just did his own thing in perhaps an unconventional and arguably slightly ‘of the wall’ way but was appreciated and respected by many for being his ‘own man’.

We shared the same birthday.  He was exactly a year younger than me, something he enjoyed pointing out to me on many occasions. He was a good friend to me and to many others, and had a dry sense of humour and a unique take on life.  In and outside the athletic local fraternity he will be sadly missed.

Rest assured, I think it is safe to say there will be a few glasses raised to Martin Caley MA in the next few weeks by his friends. They don’t make them like him anymore.

Sympathy is extended to Martin’s sister.

Rest in Peace Martin

Robbie Lambie

Martin is pictured (far right) during a training session with Steve Ovett’s coach Harry Wilson in March 1982 . Next to him is his friend Chris Richard and further to the left is Chris Quine. Margaret Lockley, who organised the training weekend, was recovering from her turn in the session.



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