Monday, January 20, 2014

Vol. 4 No. 3 Sir Christopher Chataway R.I.P.

Chris Chataway passed away this weekend.  His obituary appeared in the New York Times today, January 20, 2013.  

He led the third lap of Roger Bannister's epic first four minute mile at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England.    He was 82 years old.   At the age of 64 he returned to Iffley Road and ran a 5:48 mile.    During his career he set world records at 5000 meters and  twice at three miles, once defeating Vladimir Kuts in a tremendous race at London's White City Stadium.  He finished fifth in the 5000 meters at Helsinki in 1952 after taking a tumble on the last lap  and 11th at Melbourne in 1956.   His life did not end with athletics.  He went on  television and then to serve his nation in parliament and as a cabinet minister.     Chris Brasher , the third runner in that four minute mile died a few years ago.  Now only Roger Bannister remains. 

 Below are obituaties from several of the world's leading newspapers

The Telegraph and Guardian  have probably the most definitive obituary including a youtube clip


beginning of last lap at Iffley Rd.
a few weeks later in Turku, Finland when Landy ran the second sub 4


Chataway's story brings back memories of the storied era of British middle and long distance running. Sadly, and perhaps politically incorrect, the prominence of the European runners is definitely a relic of the past. As the Africans took over, I feel the global interest in distance running waned. Even people like me find it difficult to keep up with it all as we are deluged with more and younger Kenyans, Tunesians, and Moroccans popping up in meet results. I wonder if we will ever see any parity in the world of distance running. Maybe not, if one takes to heart the findings in "The Sports Gene".

I hope all of you have a good day. It is beastly cold here and we can expect more of the same with an expected low of -5 on tap for Thursday.    Steve 
Don't forget, Cram, Coe, and Ovett kept the tradition going into the 80's.   Even though I had the experience of living and working in Kenya and Tanzania for a number of years, I too find it difficult to keep up with all these great African runners.  I couldn't from memory name a single runner who won an Olympic distance medal after 1984.   It was easy with the advent of Keino,  Jipcho, Temu , Bayi, and Rono but they too seem to have gotten swamped by all these new chaps.  Maybe it's just the process of aging on my part.   George

I didn't forget, just temporarily stored the information elsewhere ......believe that ?  Steve


Anonymous said...

Great post. When I heard that this boyhood hero of mine had passed away, I just had to hoist a glass in his honor. And if I had a cigarette handy, I would have lit one up.


Roy Mason/ George Brose said...

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