IAN Beattie, it could be said, is a man who likes to go that extra mile. In addition to being Chief Operating Officer of Lindsays Solicitors, vice chair of mental health charity SAMH, organiser of the annual West Highland Way race and the chairman of scottishathletics, Beattie pushes himself to the limit doing punishing ultra runs of anything up to 106 miles at a time. Not only that, but he once completed a training course which allowed him to referee amateur football matches in Ayrshire.

But there comes a point where some smarter joined up thinking might lessen the need to endlessly do all these hard yards. Beattie, who took on his chairman’s role - described at one point in these pages as a ‘poisoned chalice’ - in the summer of 2012 after the departure of Frank Dick, has presided over a period of unprecedented growth for athletics in this country, a spell which has seen the paltry four athletes who represented Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012 swell to 16 at the World Athletics Championships at the same venue last August, our highest-ever representation. The elite end has been just part of the story - the membership of scottishathletics in clubs has grown by 49% by 2011 and jogscotland welcomes no fewer than 6,000 new members on an annual basis.

But his real wish, as he enters the final two years of his reign, is that the foundations are put in place to allow the sport’s success story to run and run. Currently this is compromised by having to plan for the future in an environment when even the amount of public money which he and his chief executive Mark Munro must deal with for the financial year beginning April has yet to be confirmed. This represents about 50% of the governing body’s total income.

While an indication has been given from funding body sportscotland – who administer sports funding on behalf of the Scottish government - that it won’t be any less than that for the previous year, Beattie points to the body’s track record of delivery and says they could achieve more if they were given more, not to mention a return to the certainty of a confirmed four-year cycle as they endeavour to support a raft of athletes who are showing clear potential yet bubbling just under the top level of UK funding. Victims of their own success to a degree, they had in excess of 100 entrants in the long jump at last week's National Open.

Moreover, he feels now is the perfect time for sportscotland to take on ownership when it comes to meeting the Scottish government’s goals on increasing physical activity. He can rhyme off all manner of statistics in an impact document to prove how beneficial joining up with jogscotland can be to health and physical wellbeing, yet funding for that part of the organisation actually dropped last year. Essentially, the message to the first minister is this; you know we can deliver, so let us deliver it for you.

“Traditionally we have had a four-year indication of funding,” says Beattie, who understands the sportscotland position, as he used to have a seat on the board. “So we had a four-year planning cycle. And that worked reasonably well, in terms of Commonwealth Games cycles and everything. But that has changed now, it is much more year-to-year with short term funding available for various projects, but that just makes it much more difficult for us to plan. One of the issues most governing bodies have is that, with lottery funding down for the first time, sportscotland have a bit of an issue trying to cover that loss. So it is a tough environment but we feel we are doing quite well, we have ambitious plans and we want to keep developing that.”

Beattie feels the government hasn’t quite grasped how much vehicles such as local running groups and clubs can be the frontline of transforming Scotland’s reputation for ill health and wellbeing. “I think there are fantastic opportunities here,” he said. “Something we are looking at quite closely is whether we can do more with our sport and physical activity area. We have already got a great partnership with SAMH, the mental health charity, and the plans we’ve got for that are much bigger. It could be massive.

“There is a bit of a debate with sport Scotland in how that should be delivered. Active Schools is their flagship programme and they are very invested in Community Sports hubs. But I would like to see Sport Scotland rebranded as Sport and Physical Activity Scotland and take on more of that physical activity space. In our sport we see how it is all joined up. We have clubs who produce athletes at the top end of the sport, but we have also got JogScotland where people are coming into the sport and getting an introduction. It is all about delivery and outcomes. We are a sport which feels we are well-placed to deliver what Sport Scotland are looking for.”

After London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, the World Indoors and this Spring’s Commonwealth Games will the next step in this latest golden generation’s development. For some, next week's Scottish Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena will be the next staging post. But, for Beattie, that will only ever be part of the battle. “I would love to see a first minister stand up and say ‘we are going to make Scotland the healthiest and the fittest nation in Europe,” he says. “What a signal it would send out to see the first minister running the Glasgow half marathon or something.”