Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past Bob Phillips


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Walter Dohm: "Taking Advantage of Every Fine Point of the Game"
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Walter Dohm: “Taking advantage of every fine point of the game” The brief life story of a great half-miler of the 1890s   19th Century athletes have had a good press in recent years. Leading the literary field by a lap or two is Peter Lovesey, whose  collection of biographie...

Charles Kilpatrick: The Fastest Half-Mile Yet, but....
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Charles Kilpatrick: The fastest half-mile yet, but then suffering “the mortification, natural to the human race, of defeat”   Charles Kilpatrick ran in the two most important half-mile races of the closing years of the 19th Century. He won one and lost one. The first occasion c...

The Tragedy of an Old Friend from Poland
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The tragedy of an “old friend” from Poland   Of the three men who had the temerity to challenge the Flying Finns in the 1936 Berlin Olympic 10,000 metres, two lived to a grand old age – Alec Burns, of Great Britain, to 95 and Kohei Murakoso, of Japan, to 92. The third of the...

Before Lovelock and Snell, the First Great New Zealand Miler
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Before Lovelock and Snell, the First Great New Zealand Miler   When Randolph Arthur John Scott Rose entered the world at Wellington on Christmas Day 1901 as the son of Henry and Grace Rose, he also joined a family which had already established a tradition in long-distance running. He was a s...

The Defeated Marathon Hero's Own Memories
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The Defeated Marathon Hero’s Own Memories   “I knew I was going to be passed…it was like the progress of a martyr.”     Cabrera passes Gailly not far from the tape. One of the most dramatic finishes in Olympic marathon history was that of...

The first Pan-American Games of 1937 Was the Olympic 800 metres champion robbed of a World record ?
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The First Pan-American Games of 1937: Was the Olympic 800 Metres Champion Robbed of a World Record ? by Bob Phillips   The first official Pan-American Games took place in 1951, but there had been a meeting scheduled for 1942 which, like so many other fond plans in the USA, went by the b...

The Women's Olympic 800 Metres of 1960
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The Women's Olympic 800 Metres of 1960: Detailed analysis and fragmented memories  by Bob Phillips   No women's race further than 200 metres had been contested at the Olympic Games for 32 years. The International Olympic Committee – totally male dominated – had set its face...

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
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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
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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...