Mile News

The magnificent Gordon Pirie remembered

October 26, 2013

Inaugural Emsley Carr Mile champion and sub-4 minute Miler won 1956 Olympic 5000m silver medal

By Jason Henderson, Athletics Weekly

The name Gordon Pirie probably means little to most young athletes. Despite being one of the greatest runners in history and British athletics’ biggest crowd-pleaser during the 1950s and early 1960s, the South London Harrier, who died in 1991, is one of the forgotten heroes of the sport.

When Pirie was inducted to the England Athletics Hall of Fame last weekend in Birmingham the organisers were unable to track down a relative to receive the honour, nor much footage of his amazing performances.

During a golden era of distance running, Pirie defeated legends such as Emil Zatopek and Vladimir Kuts. Thanks to training weeks of 200 miles or more, he won the prestigious English National cross country title three times from 1953-55 and yet was speedy enough to take the inaugural Emsley Carr Mile in 1953 from American Wes Santee.

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