Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past Bob Phillips

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The 1920 Olympic Steeplechase: Hodge wins for Britain. Nurmi Is Otherwise Engaged

The 1920 Olympic Steeplechase. Hodge Wins for Britain. Nurmi Is Otherwise Engaged   The Olympic steeplechase of 1920 in Antwerp was not the first such event to be held at the Games since they were revived in 1896, but it was the first to be staged at the distance of 3000 metres which has sinc...

Tomorrow's Paavo Nurmi. Today's Lone Leader. Yesterday's Four-minute Hopes

Tomorrow’s Paavo Nurmi. Today’s lone leader. Yesterday’s four-minute hopes   In 1940 and 1941, as war raged throughout much of Europe, track and field activity continued unabated in the USA, and for a while it seemed as if one of a talented group of Americans might be the fi...

Alan Turing: The Marathon Ambition of a Computer Genius

In isolation and autonomy: the marathon ambition of a computer genius, Alan Turing   Which British athlete has made the greatest contribution to society in the course of his life’s work ? It’s an interesting subject for debate, and there are some notable candidates who spring to m...

In Search of Elusive Shadows in the Far Distant Lands of Wenceslas

In search of elusive shadows in the far distant land of Wenceslas     “The bright little stadium in the country, well sheltered by a belt of high trees”, as it was fondly described some 60 years ago, still stands. The woodland clusters round, as it has for cent...

Ralph and Rufe: America's Largely Forgotten Milers of the 1930s

Ralph and Rufe, America’s largely forgotten milers of the 1930s       A few years ago, while waiting in the quaint and tiny railroad station at Klamath Falls, in the south-east corner of Oregon, for the 8.17 a.m. daily “Coast Starlight” to Portland and Seattle, I ...

Buddy Edelen, The Amiable American

Buddy Edelen, the Amiable American Who Relished British Road-racing    “Buddy” Edelen was a very capable but not outstanding college runner in the USA who had the good fortune to meet up with Fred Wilt, a competitor in the Olympic 10,000 metres in 1948 and 1952 and now in th...

James Kibblewhite: Great All-Rounder of the Victorian Age

  James Kibblewhite: Great All-Rounder of the Victorian Age   The “cudgel-maker” of the 1890s: head-to-head from 880 yards to 10 miles   Just imagine some enterprising promoter getting Wayde van Niekerk and Mo Farah together for a one-to-one speed-v-stam...

Athletics in 1917
Bob Phillips

Athletics in 1917: “You can’t out-run a bullet.”.A century ago in war-time: how athletics survived and a Swedish runner prospered     John Zander: 1500 world record “Don’t you know, there’s a war on ?” It would be na...

Early marathon running - the British and Irish influence

Los Angeles and Paris will bid on 13 September to stage the 2024 Olympics. The first Games that were held in Paris, in 1900, were prolonged and often chaotic – in particular, the marathon, which was to be highly influenced in its formative years by British & Irish involvement.   Pand...

Early Attempts at the Four-Minute Mile

184 years of talking – Parrot fashion –  about someone running a four-minute mile by Bob Phillips   Jack Lovelock: Did he run 3:52.2? When I was researching a book I wrote to mark the 50th anniversary in 2004 of the first sub-four-minute mile I became intr...