John MacIsaac

Biography of John MacIsaac

John MacIsaac (sometimes McIsaac; b. 1937) attended Glasgow Academy before matriculating at the University of Glasgow to study Engineering in 1955. He graduated BSc in 1959.

MacIsaac was an exceptional athlete: he ran the quarter mile (440 yards or 400m) and was awarded Full Blues in 1958. Representing local club Victoria Park he took silver in the 440 yards at the 1957 Scottish Championships and in 1959, representing the University, he won gold.

1958 was an outstanding year for MacIsaac. At the Glasgow Police Sports in June he broke 50-year-old Scottish 440-yard record set by 1908 Olympic champion, Wyndham Halswelle. One month later, in the second round of the 440 yards at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, MacIsaac, representing Scotland, lowered the time again before finishing sixth in the final. In Cardiff he was also a member of Scotland's 4 x 440-yard relay team, however the team did not progress beyond the heats. His record-breaking performances had brought MacIsaac to the attention of the British selectors and in August 1958 MacIsaac travelled to Stockholm for the European Championships where he and his team mates won gold in the 4 x 400m relay.

In October 1958 the Gilmorehill Globe dedicated an article to MacIsaac asking whether he was the 'Varsity's Best-Ever Athlete?'. It outlined his achievements which resulted from dedicated training and abstinence from drinking and smoking which were apparently common among student athletes of the day.

MacIsaac appears to have retired from athletics after the 1959 season and nothing of his later life is currently known.


John MacIsaac
Born 1937.
University Link: Alumnus
GU Degree:
Occupation categories: Engineer
Record last updated: 25th Jun 2014

University Connections

University Roles

  • Alumnus

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