The Hon. Lt. Col. T.M. Riddell

A fellow athlete talks of the inspiration Eric Liddell was in his running and in his life. 

In 1923, to most School Boys, Eric Liddell was a Hero and this was not misplaced because he turned out to be – and is – the Greatest Athlete that Scotland and indeed the World has produced.

In 1923 I was privileged to represent The High School of Glasgow, at the Scottish Schools ‘Inter Scholastic Sports’ held at Inverleith and this in the Mile race. Fortune favoured me to the extent that I was “first through the Tape.” As I left the Arena I was confronted by My Hero, Eric Liddell, who shook me by the hand and expressed the hope that I would continue in the Sport and that he would meet me at the Season’s Sports Meetings. This was the beginning of a friendship which lasted until the War when we lost touch with each other.

On several occasions at country meetings I ran the 880 yards leg in the ‘Medley Relay’ while Eric ran the 440 yards leg.

Apart from Sports Meetings I met Eric with his Great “Guide – Philosopher and Friend” Neil Campbell, a fellow student who became Professor of the Faculty in which he and Eric qualified. Another of Eric’s co-operators was the Rev. D.P. Thompson, together they held seasonal Evangelical Meetings in Edinburgh and at Montrose Street Church in Glasgow. Those meetings were crammed to the door by two generations of young people.

So much has been recorded about Eric’s Athletic Achievements but they were in fact, as far as he was concerned, a Catalyst in the formation of his character and his perceivable Missions in life, which were:

“To walk humbly with his God
to fulfil the ‘New Commandment'”

Gospel of St. John
Chapter 13,
Verse 34.


A great deal, due to his influence, I was “first through the tape” eight times in the Scottish Mile Championship and represented Great Britain Internationally over that distance on many occasions.