Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame

Inducted: July 11, 2019

Colin Patrick MacDonald, our guest speaker for this evening’s ceremony, has earned our respect not just as a top middle-distance runner in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, but also as builder of the Antigonish Highland Society track and field program.

Colin grew up on Court Street and as a young athlete was encouraged by his family, especially his father, Saint Andrew Rural High School principal Jack MacDonald.  He travelled the short distance from Court Street to Columbus Field, and with a strong sense of discipline, he would go to the track to run his workouts.

Colin’s father, Jack, was a strong influence on him since he was a school principal who made sure many young students participated in track and field at the Highland Games.  Jack was an active member of the Antigonish Highland Society and volunteered for many years at the Highland Games track and field meet where he acted as head statistician; recording statistics and event results, as it was very important that the team aggregates were tabulated.

Colin’s racing career at the Games established him as the premier 400 and 800 metre runner.  His peers reported that Colin had a very strong resolve to win every race he was in and he was the type of runner who would totally exhaust himself in his races.

Between 1967 and 1974, a total of 8 years, he was one of the top middle-distance runners in the Maritimes, winning numerous races throughout the area.  Consistency and a strong sense of achievement were his trademarks.  In the Antigonish Highland Games, over 8 years, he captured 11 first place finishes in the 400 and 800 distances: 3 in midget, 4 in juvenile, 2 in junior and 2 in senior.  In his last year of competing, he won the Open men’s 800 metres to help the Frank McGibbon coached team beat the Atlantic Coast team from Halifax and another strong squad from Fredericton for the senior men’s team title.

Colin’s strengths went beyond racing.  He was a natural organizer, and working with Frank McGibbon, he motivated other athletes to join the Highland Society track and field team.  He applied for a recreation grant to sponsor a group of athletes to travel throughout the Maritimes coordinating track and field clinics in numerous communities.  He used part of the grant to purchase a bus to transport athletes and equipment.

After graduating from university, Colin continued his involvement with track and field and was elected president of the Nova Scotia Track and Field Association.  One of his goals was to bring support and recognition to the Antigonish Highland Games track and field team.  His strong sense of community pushed him to grow track and field in Antigonish for many years to come.

Following a law degree, Colin moved to Calgary where he became part of a well-established legal firm.  He was selected as a director of the Canadian Track and Field Association.  He would often return to Antigonish to participate in the Games.

For his stellar middle-distance running career from 1967 to 1974, including eleven first-place finishes at the Antigonish Highland Games, and for his organizing work with other athletes, Colin Patrick MacDonald is inducted into the Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame.