Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past - Articles - Pre-1940s

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Walter George v. William Cummings (1886)
Great Races

Walter George v. William Cummings   One Mile, Lillie Bridge Stadium, August 23, 1886 Great Races #1   Walter George These two professional runners knew each other well. They had raced each other in 1885 in a series of three races. Cummings had won the 4-mile and...

Jean Bouin v Hannes Kolehmainen
Great Races

Jean Bouin v Hannes Kolehmainen (1912) Olympic 5,000, Stockholm 1912 Great Races #2   This great race was contested by the two leading runners of the time; both were considered almost unbeatable. Their superiority over all other runners was huge. And in the heat of this race the WR was deci...

Glenn Cunningham v Luigi Beccali v Jack Lovelock (1936)
Great Races

    Glenn Cunningham v Luigi Beccali v Jack Lovelock (1936)  1,500  1936 Olympic Games in Berlin Great Races #3   The three favorites for this Olympic final were all reaching the climax of their careers. Luigi Beccali (29) of Italy had broken the WR for 1500 in 1933; h...

Jack Lovelock

PROFILE: JACK LOVELOCK  1910-1949   An Olympic champion and Mile WR holder, this New Zealander dedicated himself to becoming a complete runner. He applied a professional attitude to an amateur activity. According to Jerry Cornes, the President of Oxford University AC when Lovelock arriv...

Paavo Nurmi

PROFILE:  PAAVO NURMI 1897-1973   Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi was truly a legend in his own lifetime. In the 1920s he was by far the dominant distance runner in the world. He improved world records by the following margins: 1,500: 2.1 seconds; Mile: 2.2 seconds; 3,000: 12.8 seconds; 5,00...

Rudolf Harbig

PROFILE: RUDOLF HARBIG 1913-1944     Remembered mainly for his 400 and 800 world records in 1939, Rudolf Harbig was also a great competitor who could produce his best performances on the big occasions. Noted for his strength of character, this German steelwright was an asc...

Jules Ladoumegue

Jules Ladoumègue Profile 1906-1973 1.71 (5’7”) 59kg (130 lbs)   The famous photo of Ladoumègue showing his fine running form. Not many runners can attract a 300,000 crowd to watch a ceremonial run in a city street. But on a gloomy and foggy ...

Glenn Cunningham

Glenn Cunningham Profile 1909-1988           Leading the 1,500 final in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.    The life of 1930’s American miler Glen Cunningham has now become part of American folklore. It is the story of a young Kansas ...

Otto Peltzer Profile

Otto Pelzer Profile   1900-1970 6ft 1/186cm  159lbs/72kg     Peltzer was a fierce and successful competitor, but he is now mainly remembered for his 800, 1,000 and 1,500 world records. His 1:51.6 broke James Meredith’s 14-year-old 800 record by 0.3 of a s...

Peltzer v Lowe: Great Races #26
Great Races

Peltzer v Lowe: Great Races #26  880  AAA British Championships, July 3, 1926   Otto Peltzer, the first German to compete in Britain after World War 1.     With the First World War only eight years in the past, it was quite a talking point w...


ProfileGreat RacesMajor Games1960s