Racing Past

The History of Middle and Long Distance Running

Racing Past - Articles - Great Races


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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...

Arne Andersson v Gunder Hagg (1,500, 1944)
Great Races

Arne Andersson v Gunder Hägg (1944) 1,500 Gothenburg, Sweden, July 7, 1944 Great Races #4   Hagg forces the pace. Note the huge crowd.  In his first race of 1944, Gunder Hagg had been humiliated by Arne Andersson in a 1,500 race. Andersson had stayed with H...

Arne Andersson v Gunder Hagg (Mile, 1944)
Great Races

Gunder Hagg v. Arne Andersson One Mile Malmo, Sweden, July 18, 1944 A capacity crowd paid to see yet another great race between Arne Andersson and Gunder Hagg. The two Swedish runners had been rivals since 1942 and had had many exciting duels, often setting WRs in the process. Hagg had beaten And...

Gaston Reiff v Emil Zatopek (1948)
Great Races

Gaston Reiff v Emil Zatopek  1948 Olympic 5,000 Final Great Races #6 After his surprising win over WR holder Heino in the 10,000, Emil Zatopek lined up for the 5,000 as the crowd favorite. But there were two concerns about his chances: first, whether he had recovered from the earlier race, e...

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...

Elliott v Lincoln v Delany (1958)
Great Races

Elliott v Lincoln v Delany Santry Mile, Dublin, August 6, 1958 Great Races # 12   Using the prestige of Ron Delany’s Olympic 1500 gold medal in Melbourne, Billy Morton, a 48-year-old optician who was secretary of Clonliffe Harriers, organised the building of Santry Stadium in Dublin. ...

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