Uncovering Dust - Part 2 - Keeper of the Hill - Norm Mcann

Tales of the Trails - Inspired by the 40th running of the Nail Can Hill Run


All this talk of 40 years at Nail Can with its intriguing history and legendary tale or two would not be possible without Norm Mcann. 

Norms Nail Can story starts back in 1986 when he started running just to get a bit fit after turning 30. Norm ran his first NCHR in ‘89. As mentioned in our first ‘Tales of the Trails’ Albury Wodonga Orienteering created the race back in 1977. Norm joined AWOC in ’94/’95 and became a committee member for the Nail Can Hill Run from ’97.  Norm went on to take over as race director from Martin Baker in ’99.

“Martin Baker was Race Director for about 3 years 96-98 and I took over from him in 99. In the early days the event was pretty much organised by the AWOC committee, looking back through old records, past AWOC members such as John Strong, Gerry Turner and Arnold Simson led the organising committee up until the late 80’s. Charles Aitken, Lester Sawyer, Rob Simmons, Geoff Dynan & Tony Perrott had major roles up until I got involved.”

Norm went on to direct the race from 1999 to 2009. In ’09 it was organised jointly by AWOC & Alb West Rotary, Rotary have organised the event since 2010. 

As a community we really owe it to Norm and his peers for providing a bench mark event that has led so many people to pivotal life experiences both on race day and the journeying that spurs on from it. 

Norm is by far a stand out with involvement in spanning 15 years. Sprouting from a simple passion to see the event continue. Norm has been pivotal not only in race day proceedings but also in the keeping of records. His statistical eye has provided us with many insights over the years especially in regards to the course change and age busting. Without his work we easily lose perspective over these elements that add to the culture of Albury’s great race. Many events come and go - Tired out by resources and ultimately the passion from individuals to keep the wheels turning against adversities. Your a legend Norm, we applaud you.


 Far right - Norm Mcann training for one of his 20 NCH's.

Far right - Norm Mcann training for one of his 20 NCH's.

Norm’s running CV also holds some remarkable results. 

Norm’s best in was in 1993 at 37 years old when he did 44:55 which placed him 25th in a hot field (Greg Webster set a new record of 36.55)

The 25th placing doesn't do the effort justice though. You needed to run 42.00 for top 10 that year which in2015 wouldhave resulted in a TOP 5! 

With todays weaker fields due to more sports (and we have gone soft), that time would mark him as a top 10 finisher. 

Norm’s best placing was 17th in 1998 but time was 'slow' 47.21

Norm has completed 20 Nail Can Hill Runs , many in the saturday organisers run  

“Looks like I’m stuck on about 20 NCHR’s, knee problems have forced me to hang up the runners & get on the bike. 12 or 13 of those NCHR’s would have been run on the Saturday. I'm also stuck on 8 Age Busters so very unlikely now to qualify for Age Masters."

Age Busting was a bit of a problem running on the Saturday as most of the run you were on your own so had no-one ahead to chase & no-one behind to keep you moving”

Norm went close to age bust in 2002 at age 46 but missed by a few sec’s. He had to wait till 2004 to finally get there & had to recruit the greatest age buster of all time Dave Cromarty to help pace him through the run. 

Norm is still involved with the organising of the AWOC and can be found leading the charge of his chain gang  a few times a week as he pedals power to the road. I think its safe to say that the dust of the trails is well imbedded into Norms spirit for good.

Enter the 40th Nail Can Hill Run