Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past - Articles - 1950s

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1954 European Championships
Major Games

1954 European Championships Bern, Switzerland, August 25-29   Despite the modest location, Berne Neufeld Stadium, this meet produced some stellar performances, including three WRs and 16 meet records. As Track and Field News (7.8) said, “These Games were probably second only to th...

1956 Olympic Games
Major Games

OLYMPIC GAMES 1956      Melbourne, Australia, November 22-December 8   800 Courtney (153) passes Johnson with a supreme effort. The finalists lined up in gusty conditions, while the last bend was still being compacted by two large rollers. Fortunately,...

Chataway v Mimoun v Schade v Zatopek (5,000, 1952)
Great Races

Chataway v Mimoun v Schade v Zatopek 1952 5,000 OLYMPIC FINAL July 24, 1952, Helsinki, Finland Great Races #7   With six runners all thought to have a chance of winning, this Olympic final promised to be a dandy.  Herbert Schade, 30, of Germany had the best time over this distance in ...

Bannister's 3:59.4 (1954)
Great Races

Bannister's 3:59.4   First Four-Minute Mile, Oxford, UK,  May  1954 Great Races #8   The black-and white photo of Roger Bannister crossing the finish line in Oxford on May 6, 1954, is one of the most famous in the history of running. Head back, eyes closed and mouth agap...

Bannister v Landy (1954)
Great Races

Bannister v Landy 1954 Empire Games Mile, Vancouver, Canada Great Races #9   The build-up to this race was incredible. Athletics, as one of the truly international sports, had followers all over the world. The first four-minute mile had captured the imagination of millions. And now the firs...

Jim Peters

JIM PETERS: PROFILE 1918-1999   Jim Peters was one of the greatest marathon runners.  His domination in marathon running in the early 1950s is often overlooked because his dramatic collapse near the end of the 1954 Empire Games marathon in Vancouver is so well documented. From his first...

Gordon Pirie

GORDON PIRIE PROFILE 1931-1991   Gordon Pirie’s serious running career began when, as a 17-year-old, he witnessed Zatopek’s 1948 Olympic performances:  “My imagination was set on fire and my consuming ambition was born. I instantly recognized him as the embodiment of a...

Iharos,Rozsavolgyi and Tabori: The Hungarian Trio

IHAROS, ROZSAVOLGYI, TABORI: PROFILE:  THE HUNGARIAN TRIO     Mihaly Igloi: the coachbehind the Hungariansuccesses in the 1950s.  In 1955, the year before the Melbourne Olympics, Hungarian runners shocked the world with a slate of nine world records from 1,5...

1958 European Championships
Major Games

1958 EUROPEAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS Stockholm, Sweden, August 19-24   800 Rawson (in 4th) is pushed offthe track. This was the race that favourite Brian Hewson wanted to run, but he was selected for the 1500 instead. His team-mates Derek Johnson and Mike Rawson thus bec...

John Landy Profile

John Landy Profile   b. 1930 The second man to break the four-minute-mile barrier, Australian John Landy is universally respected as one of the great runners of the twentieth century.  His dignity, sportsmanship and courage are beyond dispute. However, he will always be seen as the ...


ProfileGreat RacesMajor Games1960s