The man who took endurance running to the absolute Max

James McLean Sports Awards. Hall of Fame. From left, Murray Cleghorn,( on behalf of Dick Smith), Helen Dickie, Max Telford and John Jeffrey
James McLean Sports Awards. Hall of Fame. From left, Murray Cleghorn,( on behalf of Dick Smith), Helen Dickie, Max Telford and John Jeffrey

NOT many people would make the journey from the Philippines to Scotland twice in the space of four months.

But Hawick exile Max Telford is no ordinary person. He’s a long-distance, record-breaking, mile-burning ultra-endurance runner. And coming back home to be inducted to the Scottish Borders Sporting Hall of Fame was one journey (or in his case two) the 68-year-old athlete was only too happy to make

Telford joined Kelso rugby legend, John Jeffrey, Selkirk hockey ace, Helen Steele (nee Dickie) and the late Dick Smith, adopted Selkirk golf guru, in the sixth induction to the Hall since it launched in 2005.

Telford told TheSouthern: “I have received many awards during my running career, but, to be honest, this one was special, because it came from my ain folk. I feel very honoured to be in Hall of Fame with so many great and famous people.

“I came in November when the weather forced it to be cancelled, but I had no hesitation in returning for the rescheduled ceremony.”

A former pupil of Hawick High School, Telford worked in the knitwear industry before emigrating to New Zealand in 1959. He played rugby for Hawick Trades and was on the verge of a Hawick cap, but went Down Under before that happened.

He added: “During my running career I was called New Zealander Max Telford, but I always corrected them by saying ‘I am not a Kiwi but a Teri from Hawick’.”

Kelso international back row man John Jeffrey became the 11th rugby player to be added to the honours list. Known as the White Shark in his playing days, Jeffrey won 40 caps for Scotland and toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 1989. He also helped mastermind Scotland’s 1990 Grand Slam wins over Ireland, France, Wales and England, famously making the break off the scrum that sparked Tony Stanger’s match-winning try in the Calcutta Cup match which secured the championship.

Helen Dickie was an outstanding hockey player in the 1950s. After learning her sport at Selkirk High School she went on to play for her town, the South and Scotland. Helen played in every international match between 1953 and 1958, including two matches in 1954 and 1958 at Wembley Stadium, winning 22 caps and scoring 25 goals in the process.

Although Dick Smith wasn’t native to the Borders, the former Walker Cup golfer and managing director was taken into Selkirk hearts after arriving to work in Heather Mills after the war.

Now deceased, Smith smashed course records the length and breadth of the country, including Prestwick twice in one day, during his career, and was captain, president or life president at Selkirk Golf Club for more than 40 years.