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Thursday 21 December 2017

History of the London to Brighton

This history of the historic London to Brighton Race was published originally by the Road Runners Club of Britain and has been updated for Ultramarathon World by Andy Milroy, international ultra statistician, and the Road Runners Club, and Ian Champion, Race Director for the Brighton and its historian.
The London to Brighton running race, organised by the Road Runners Club, has a unique position in the world of athletics. Arguably it has the longest history of any ultra marathon event, and possibly of any road race in the world. Many epic feats of long distance running have been performed in this race, on the most sporting road in Britain, the famous Brighton road.
This article aims to give a concise history of the race up to and including 1998. The fame that the Brighton has created for itself attracts competitors from many countries; it has pioneered ultra-distance running world wide, and for many years from the 1960s until the 1980s it was the premier ultramarathon in the world — effectively the Ultra Distance World Championships. Those days may be passed, but the Brighton still has a unique and unrivalled place in world ultrarunning.
Every man and woman who finishes the Brighton race may be justly proud of the achievement. It is not an easy race; the Brighton road is not flat, the hills are mostly on the second half of the route where competitors may also face a headwind.
The distance of the race has varied significantly, owing to road construction, and re-routing to avoid increasing traffic. The start at Big Ben, Westminster, and the finish at the Aquarium in Brighton, have remained unchanged throughout. The distance is now 55 miles/88.514km. Entries are vetted and qualifying standards set to ensure that, as far as possible, all competitors have the capability of finishing within the time limit.
The size of the field did not alter appreciably during the first twenty years of the race, averaging a round fifty, three quarters of whom reached Brighton within the 8 hours 15 minutes time limit. The field doubled in the following ten years, reaching one hundred for the first time in 1974, the largest entry being 191 in 1989..
The R.R.C. is proud that it financed the race from entry fees and its own resources for the first quarter century of the event. However, owing to escalating costs, it has become more than grateful for sponsorship. The R.R.C. is also grateful to the Mayor and Corporation of Brighton for their continued support, and to the many individuals and clubs along the route who help with the organization.
Early feats of pedestrianism on the Brighton Road
The popularity of Brighton as a spa town began in 1754 when Dr. Russell took residence there and made sea bathing popular. The Prince of Wales frequently visited the town in the 1780s. In July 1803 a Captain Robertson walked from Brighton to London and back in 45 hours , and repeated the feat in November of that year, covering the first 53 miles from Brighton to Westminster Bridge in 14 hours. The following year another pedestrian, John Bell, went from Hammersmith in London to Brighton by a somewhat longer route in 13:00:45 to become first recorded person to contest the London to Brighton.
Improvements in the road meant that by December 1825 a run of 9:50 from Brighton to London by a pedestrian called Tomlinson was possible. One of the first recorded races on the Brighton Road was on January 30th, 1837, when two professional runners, John Townsend and Jack Berry, set off from the Elephant and Castle in London, about a mile from the start of the present London to Brighton races.
Townsend was 45 and known as “The Veteran”. He entered Brighton in triumph, having covered the distance in 8 hours 37 minutes, but Berry was forced to ride for the final four miles. Fourteen years before, Townsend had made the journey of 396 miles from London to York and back in 5 days, 14 hours, 50 minutes, some 25 minutes faster than the great Foster Powell in 1773.
The next recorded feat of pedestrianism was another double journey, from London to Brighton and back. Benjamin Trench, late of Oxford University, was reported to have walked from Kennington Church to Brighton and back in 23 hours for a heavy wager in 1868. Four years later, the Amateur Bicycle Club promoted a cycle race, which was won in 5 hours, 25 minutes; slower than the existing running record.
The era of carefully controlled and authenticated performances may be said to have commenced in 1897 with the Polytechnic Harriers London to Brighton walk. The race was won by E. Knott in 8 hours, 56 minutes, 44 seconds. The start was at the Polytechnic in Regent Street, although the times were also taken at Big Ben.
F. D. Randall – 1899
The first amateur running event was a go-as-you-please contest organised by South London Harriers in 1899, which started from Big Ben soon after 7 a.m. on May 6. The winner, F.D. Randall of Finchley Harriers, ran the distance in 6 hours 58 mins. 18 secs., with Saward second in 7:17:50 and Pool third in 7:31:53. On the strength of this run, these three runners were selected to compete for Great Britain in the 1900 Olympic Marathon.
The Evening News promoted a similar event in 1903, this time open to professionals. The field of 90 sped on their way at 5 a.m. The winner was Len Hurst, probably the leading professional distance runner of the period, in 6 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds.
Twenty-one years elapsed before a runner again assailed the London to Brighton journey. Arthur Newton, an Englishman who had emigrated to South Africa, and was 41 years old, returned to England to attack the record. This he did in two solo runs, the first taking 6 hours, 11 minutes and 4 seconds., and the second, five weeks later in 5:53:43.
These performances were quite outstanding at the time, beating handsomely all amateur and professional records around 50 miles. Newton reached the marathon mark in 2 hours, 43 minites, which was only 1 ½ minutes slower than the winner’s time in the Olympic marathon of that year, and some nine minutes faster than the first Englishman in that race, great Sam Ferris., who had finished fifth.
‘Inevitable pipe’
Joe Binks the organiser said: “I helped Newton on with his coat and then out came the inevitable pipe. Newton was no more distressed than if he had just strolled along the front.”
In 1937 the News of the World sponsored an international London to Brighton race, and the leading South African ultrarunner, Hardy Ballington, was invited to compete. Also in the field was Norman Dack, one of Canada’s leading marathon performers. Ballington succeeded in just clipping Newton’s time for the event, despite the very difficult conditions, with Dack finishing second.
Arthur Newton had been the driving force behind the 1937 race, and indeed, he was the inspiration behind the present R.R.C. running race because it was he who aroused interest in running to Brighton amongst his athletic friends, notably Lew Piper and Charles Busby of Blackheath Harriers.
The first amateur running races 1951-1959
The possibility of emulating the feats of Hurst, Newton and Ballington on the Brighton Road by the establishment of a race, did not become a reality until it reached the ears of Ernest Neville, who had spent a lifetime organising walking races on the Brighton Road. The first open amateur running race was held in 1951, and proved an outstanding success. The promoting club was the Surbiton Town Sports Club and the organiser was Ernest Neville.
The winner was Lewis Piper of Blackheath Harriers, who took the lead four miles from the Aquarium. Thirty-two of the forty-seven starters, who had left Big Ben on this historic occasion, reached the Aquarium, having fought their way through wind and rain.
The Mayor of Brighton presented the prizes in the Royal Pavilion, while the considerable expense of organising such a race was borne by the then existing News Chronicle as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. It had been shown that this race, over twice the marathon distance, was within the capabilities of the average marathon runner, the amateur to whom athletics was a pastime only. This may appear strange today, but the competitors who started across Westminster Bridge in 1951 were exploring territory unknown to them.
It must have given Ernest Neville considerable satisfaction, before he died in 1972, to see how the London to Brighton race flourished and became the goal of ultra-long distance runners from all over the world.
Arthur Newton
Arthur Newton predicted that the Brighton record would soon be beaten, and this came sooner than many thought. Indeed it was Newton, at the Brighton race the following year, who told Derek Reynolds, at the top of Dale Hill, that the record was within his grasp.
The R.R.C. had been formed in the meantime and became responsible for the promotion of the race as an annual event. The organisation was again undertaken by Ernest Neville. The Brighton race was now established in the long distance calendar, with both individual and team awards.
It was not long before the leading long distance runners of South Africa, men inured to the rigours of the 54-mile Comrades Marathon, came over to the Brighton. Indeed next year, 1953, the major honours were taken by a team from the Germiston Callies Club of Johannesburg. Wally Hayward, the best 50-mile runner in the world, won the race in under 5 ½ hours, thus reducing the best performance by 23 minutes. The entry of South Africans in subsequent years added much interest to the race and also involved them in considerable expense.
The popular Bill Kelly from the Isle of Man was the first to reach the Aquarium next year with Tom Richards second and Franz Mare from Johannesburg third. Jackie Goldie, a young runner who came over with Mare, had the supreme mortification of being unable to start owing to mysterious leg trouble, which the best medical attention was unable to remedy.
Tom Richards
Tom Richards had, in the meantime, got ideas about the Brighton best performance and in 1955, he and Kelly ran stride for stride to beyond Crawley until Tom forged ahead up the long hill to Handcross. Richards caused great jubilation by reducing the best performance by 2 minutes 16seconds. Ron Hopcroft was third and Tom Ryan of the U.S.A, fifth. Ryan was the first US runner to compete in the Brighton. He subsequently set a US record for the Hour.
Hopcroft beat Richards next year and the race was notable in that there were no fewer than 45 starters, including 60 year old Ernie Simmons, who gained a second class standard. The best performance for the race was lowered again the following year by Gerald Walsh of Durban. Walsh ran at a great pace, maintaining six-minute miles, until the South Downs were in sight. He crossed the finishing line 5 hours, 26 minutes, 20 seconds after leaving Big Ben, the road having been lengthened by 182 yards by the extension of Gatwick Airport.
Ernest Neville had handed over the task of organising the race to Arthur Whitehead, which was subsequently taken on by Peter Tharby for a number of years, and then by members of the R.R.C. Council, John Dixon for nineteen years, and most recently by Ian Champion.
Young Mike Kirkwood won the 1958 race from more experienced opponents and he made it look easy. 1959 was marked by a visit from another South African club. The Durban Athletic Club raised a special fund to enter a team. Fritz Madel was the individual winner. Frikkie Steyn was third, Gerald Walsh was fifth with Trevor Allan and Nick Raubenheimer following. It was a very interesting race with Don Turner moving up fast towards the end and finishing less than three minutes behind the winner.
1960 – 1970
The 1960 race was memorable for the high level of performance amongst the leading competitors. Jackie Mekler created a new best performance for the race of 5 hours, 25 minutes, 56 seconds. He took the lead at eight miles and was never headed; his intermediate times fluctuated inside and outside those of Walsh, eventually finishing 24 seconds to the good. The first eight men were inside 6 hours, and 18 gained first class standards. Thames Valley Harriers with Eddie Elderfield, Harry Dennis and Reg Minchington beat Germiston Callies of South Africa for the team award.
John Smith came to the fore in winning the 1961 race after several years of steady build-up and the result was of special significance as the first three, together with Ron Linstead, were sent next year by the R.R.C. to compete in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. This they did with considerable distinction, taking four of the first five places.
Smith won the Brighton on his return from South Africa and thus became the first man to win the race on more than one occasion. Ted Corbitt, representing the R.R.C. – U.S.A. was fourth on the first of his five appearances in the London to Brighton race.
Smith did not compete in 1963 and a new name appeared on the scene. Bernard Gomersall was the winner. The winning margins were small, just over two minutes covered the first three individuals, and one point decided the team race.
Gomersall again
Gomersall won again in 1964 with Ted Corbitt less than a minute behind. No fewer than 10 teams were entered, Tipton Harriers beating Millrose (New York) and Germiston Callies of South Africa. Sixty-two runners were entered, the best so far. A fund was raised to send Bernard Gomersall to South Africa where he won the 1965 Comrades.
Gomersall continued his reign in 1965, winning for the third time with Corbitt again second. Cheltenham and County Harriers defeated bigger clubs in the team race.
In 1966 Gomersall won the Brighton for the fourth consecutive time against strong opposition from overseas. This outstanding achievement was crowned by his best time of 5:32:50. J. Kuhn of Savages A.C. (Durban) and T. Malone (Germiston Sports) were second and third. Seventy seconds covered the first three in what might be described as a record Brighton, there being 70 starters, of whom 56 finished, eight being from either South Africa or U.S.A.
Mani Kuhn, who had won the Comrades Marathon four months previously, was the favourite for the 1967 race but retired after an unfortunate accident at 33 miles. While running with Alcorn (New Zealand) and Gomersall, he stumbled on a stone, and in falling to avoid the other two, hit a concrete post at the side of the road. Tarrant, who was leading at the time, maintained his lead to win from Roger Alcorn. Gomersall, who had not taken his training so seriously, was third. A special fund had been raised in New Zealand to send Alcorn over. Tipton Harriers, now the leading club team in the ultra-distances, won the Brighton for the second time, starting a run of five wins in eight years. The race was held for the first time on a Sunday, when, at that time, traffic was considerably lighter than a Saturday.
In 1968 John Tarrant returned to the race and retained his title, leading from the start, with G.R. Baker from South Africa second and Gomersall again third. Tipton were defeated by Thames Valley Harriers but were to regain the team award the following year.
Dave Bagshaw
In 1969 Brighton witnessed a determined attempt on the best performance by Dave Bagshaw, an English immigrant to South Africa. Bagshaw had broken the Comrades record on the Down course that year, and he was accompanied by Dave Box, another expatriate Englishman, who had finished second to Bagshaw in the Comrades.
Dave Bagshaw shook off Tarrant soon after Redhill, and reached Crawley in 2:55:54. He still had five minutes in hand on the record at Bolney, but fatigue set in over the last gruelling miles. He won the race in the fast time of 5:28:53, some three minutes outside Mekler’s best performance for the race made nine years before. Ted Corbitt was second in his fastest time, although he was now approaching 50 years, while Phil Hampton, the Polytechnic Marathon winner was third. There were sixty-four starters, seven of whom finished inside 6 hours.
John Clare won the 1970 Brighton on his first appearance in the race on a rather warm day for the end of September. Tipton Harriers, who had built up a strong team which had competed with consistent success in the ultradistance races for several years, wiped out all opposition. Four of their competitors followed Clare home; G. Johnson, J. Malpass, A. Burkitt and R. Bentley were covered by only seven minutes thirty-five seconds at the Aquarium.
1971 – 1980
In 1971 there was a record overseas entry of 22, one of whom, Dave Levick, won the race, breaking Jackie Mekler’s race best, which had stood for ten years. His margin was more than four minutes. Tipton won the team race, as Witwatersrand University, which placed three runners among the first four finishers, was deemed ineligible by recent alterations in I.A.A.F. rules. A special award was made to Witwatersrand.
Hitherto top class marathon runners had not tackled the Brighton. It was thought that such athletes were quite capable of making a considerable dent in the existing best time for the race, and this proved to be the case in 1972. Alastair Wood, in winning the race, knocked more than 10 minutes off Levick’s best performance for the race. Mick Orton in second place also broke the previous best time. Tipton took the team race for the third successive year.
The Mayor of Brighton presented Ernest Neville with a special plaque in recognition of his seventy years association with the Brighton Road. The advent of 6-minute miles the whole way was repeated in 1973, when Joe Keating, who the previous April had set a world best performance on the track for 40miles, won a well paced race only 28 seconds outside Wood’s time.
Cavin Woodward, in second place, ran the third fastest Brighton time thus far. Max White, who was the first official representative from the U.S.A., was fourth. [Tom Ryan had been the first American to contest the Brighton in 1955.] Germiston Callies won the team race and Ron Bentley the veterans award. A month later, he was to set a world’s best for 24-hours. John Dixon was the race organiser for the first time, a task he undertook for many years.
Close finish
In 1974, the closest finish in the 30-year history of the race occurred. John Newsome managed to hold off a fast finishing Cavin Woodward, with only six seconds separating the two after nearly 53 miles of running. In the team race Tipton beat Leamington by one point.
In 1975 Woodward blasted away in characteristic style to lead from start to finish, recording a time only 65 seconds outside the race’s best ever time. The number of starters exceeded a hundred for the first time, and ten clubs finished teams. There was a record entry from South Africa, with Spring Striders and Vaal A.C. taking first and third places, while two other South African teams closed in.
This was to be the last appearance of the South Africans in the Brighton for many years, as a consequence of the suspension of South Africa by the I.A.A.F. There is no doubt that with their tradition and experience in the Comrades Marathon, they had played an important role in the development of the London to Brighton race, and had, indeed, produced six winners. Derek Funnell won the veterans award for the fourth time.
Next year there was a large entry from the U.S.A., and for the first time from Finland. The winner was Tom O’Reilly, who overtook Orton on entering Brighton. Millrose A.C. won the team race, and the American presence was also evident when a 62-year-old runner, Dr. Logan of Arizona, finished within the time limit.
Tom Reynolds
In 1977 there was again a good overseas entry, including a team from Rhodesia. Tom Reynolds, Chief Timekeeper at every Brighton, missed this race, as he officiated at the Lugano Trophy World Walking Championship on the same day.
Don Ritchie, who was to rewrite the record book from 50 kilometres to 100 miles on the track, won a well judged race, overtaking Rob Heron on the notorious Dale Hill, before the descent from the South Downs into Brighton. Torrential rain at times added to the troubles of the competitors. South London Harriers won the team race for the first time.
A keen contest was anticipated in 1978 from a number of the best ultradistance men entered. Don Ritchie again paced himself admirably, and had taken the lead from Woodward by Bolney. The race was rerouted through Crawley because of the closure of the pedestrian tunnel at the level crossing, thus adding extra distance. Had Ritchie run over the previous year’s route, he would have broken Wood’s best time for the race by about 1 ½ minutes.
In 1979, a record 140 set off across Westminster Bridge, including several from abroad. Three women ran unofficially, with Leslie Watson reaching the Aquarium in 6:55:11. Ritchie retired with cramps, leaving Heron in the lead, but he was overtaken by Allan Kirik of New York, again on the stretch to Dale Hill. Kirik became the first American to win the Brighton. Martin Daykin was a surprise second with his club, Gloucester, winning the team race. At 54 miles, 460 yards, this was the longest Brighton to that date.
First women’s race
There was an excellent entry in 1980, including a women’s race for the first time, won by Leslie Watson in 6:56:10. Ian Thompson, A.A.A., Commonwealth and European marathon champion, showed his class by winning at a record pace. Allan Kirik tried hard to retain his title, and although he ran 10 minutes faster than the previous year, could not hold Thompson, who was leading at Crawley. However, there was some compensation when his club, Central Park T.C., was the first team home.
1981 – 1983
The 1981 race, which attracted a record entry of 175, reverted to a distance of 53 miles, 856 yards. In the previous two years, a diversion from the A23 owing to road construction at Gatwick, had added an extra 1366 yards.
Bruce Fordyce of Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, a British passport holder who had won the Comrades Marathon earlier in the year, was the winner over Mark Pickard and A.J. Roper. Fordyce bided his time, but was a clear leader at Pyecombe, the highest point crossing the South Downs. The race organiser was faced with the problem of finding new facilities in Brighton for the competitors. The Aquarium baths, a few yards from the finish, a happy haven which had provided for the needs of the weary runners for 30 years, had been closed down.
Fordyce returned the following year and stamped his authority on the race earlier than in 1981. He led by over a minute at Crawley to win by the largest margin ever of 24 minutes, 37 seconds. Two other South African based Britons took second and third places. Ann Franklin finished in just over 7 hours on a very windy day.
Bruce Fordyce won the 1983 Brighton in the outstanding time of 5:12:32, only a minute outside the best time for the race, thus achieving the double of the Comrades and Brighton for three consecutive years. His remarkable career continued with a total of nine Comrades wins.
Graeme Fraser was again second and Don Ritchie, who had contested the lead before Crawley, was third. The race was notable for the high standard of performances. Fourteen finished within six hours, and Fordyce was credited with a world best road performance of 4:50:21 for 50 miles. Ann Franklin recorded 6:37:08, eighteen minutes less than the previous best time by a woman.
The new route 1984-1990
Ever increasing traffic over the years had made problems of road safety very evident. In 1984, therefore, the race was re-routed on a course which reduced by half the distance run on the busy Brighton main road.
The first diversion leaves the A23 at Coulsdon to rejoin the main road some four miles further on. The major re-routing now began at Horley to avoid the urban industrial sprawl which has arisen round Gatwick and Crawley since the race was first held. The new route on country roads led through Balcombe and Cuckfield and skirted Burgess Hill. It was an attractive alternative, albeit more hilly than the main road.
Peter Sugden led the 1984 race for 35 miles, but was overtaken in the final stages by Barry Heath of the Royal Marines who won in 5:24:15. Don Ritchie was second in 5:28:27 and Sugden third in 5:29:21. The entry of 186 included 27 from overseas. Eleven teams closed in, including one from Rhodesia A.C., Zimbabwe
Re-routing the race had caused no difficulties and in 1985 was again well supported with 170 entries. Two Comrades men from South Africa, Hoseah Tjale and Derrick Tivers , finished first and second, with Peter Sugden third. Four women finished the race, with veteran American, Sandra Kiddy, the winner, 36th overall. There was an official enquiry concerning the South African entries into the race, but in the end no action was taken.
In 1986 the R.R.C. was again faced by an athlete from South Africa, who was the first to arrive in Brighton, but was ruled ineligible to compete, and was disqualified. The second placed runner, Terry Tullett, was declared the winner. It was the first year that the town of Brighton had produced the winner, which was the cause of much jubilation in the local club. Of the official entrants, Tullett and second man Battye, alone broke six hours. The first woman was Eleanor Adams whose time was only 5 minutes more than that of Ann Franklin on the marginally longer but less hilly A23 course.
Peter Sugden
Peter Sugden made no mistake about winning the 1987 race. Veteran Don Mitchell had travelled from New Zealand for the Brighton as the prize for winning the New Zealand l00km. Championship.
Brighton race day in 1988 was the wettest ever, and this, together with strong winds, may have accounted for a winning time outside six hours. Mark Pickard scored a popular win, lying back until the closing stages. When the early leaders succumbed to the conditions, he came through with a magnificent stretch of running crossing the South Downs. Hilary Walker’s performance for the day was remarkable, and she finished 23rd overall.
The 1989 race was to be dominated by newcomers. Erik Seedhouse took the men’s race in 5:24:48, passing the 50 mile point in 5:04:18, with Greg Dell taking second place overtaking Mick McGeoch after 50 miles. Seedhouse’s time was the second fastest over the new longer route [53m495y/85.7km]. Hilary Walker retained the Northern Rock Trophy, only 42 seconds outside Eleanor Adams’ best time for the new route.
1990 saw David Beattie emerge as the eventual winner on his tenth run in the race. Second was the veteran Botswanan runner, Elias Marope, only seconds ahead of Paul Taylor. The women’s race was won yet again by Hilary Walker, who finished 23rd overall
The longest Brighton – 1991-1998
The following year saw David Kelly, a 40-year-old school master, win a cautious race over the longest Brighton course to date [55 miles/88.5km]. The first runner over 60, John Legge, who had run the first of the modern Brighton races 40 years before, said that it had been the toughest race ever. The first woman was Carolyn Hunter-Rowe, in a race that was to mark her entrance onto the international stage. A strong Russian presence was led by Nail Bairamgalin, who finished seventh.
The 1992 Brighton was to be dominated by South African Russell Crawford, who led for much of the race, only to be overtaken on the Ditchling Deacon climb by the eventual winner, Stephen Moore. Moore’s time was a new course record for the new Brighton route. South African Darlene Vermeulin faced stern opposition from Paula Bongers, but pulled away over the final stages.
The following year Crawford returned, and again led for much of the race, but once again Ditchling Beacon proved the decisive part of the course, and Moore came through again to win some four minutes ahead of Crawford. Carolyn Hunter-Rowe ran a well controlled race to set a new women’s course record of 6:34:10, slipping under six hours for 50 miles en route.
South African Shaun Meiklejohn, fourth placed runner in the 1994 World 100km Challenge, totally dominated the Brighton that year, setting a new course record in 6:01:02, although Greg Dell did close to within four minutes at forty miles. Jackie Leak made her Brighton debut and won in 7:06:22, finishing in 14th place overall.
Sarel Ackerman
The 1995 Brighton was to be won by the 24 year old South African Sarel Ackerman in a course record and by the second largest margin in the event’s history. He was followed by South Africans in the next five places; many of the top British runners had been on international duty at the World 100km Challenge. The first woman was Lesley Turner , making her Brighton debut, from Amanda Williams.
In 1996 Greg Dell led from early on, and was not headed, finishing in the second fastest time yet achieved on the new, longer course, well clear of Stephen Moore in second. Hilary Walker won the women’s race, completing her eighth Brighton finish.
Stephen Moore won his third Brighton in 1997, after the early pace had been taken out by South Africans, Renier Steyn, Danny De Chaumont and Clyde Marwick. Australian Carl Barker also came through to take second place. The women’s race was won by South African 100km international Rae Bisschoff, who finished well ahead of Hilary Walker in 7:05:56.
With most of the top British runners competing in the World Challenge in Japan in 1998, the South African visitors had little opposition, finishing in the first five places. The first of these was Colin Thomas who came through strongly in the later stages to win decisively in 6:02:17. Fellow South African Ina Sanders won the women’s race in 7:02:26, in 12th place overall. Peter Sargeant, at the age of 69, became the oldest man ever to finish the race within the time limit, and Christine Usher, the oldest woman at 63.
The two most famous trophies awarded at London to Brighton are:
The Arthur Newton Cup awarded to the men’s winner.
The Len Hurst Belt awarded to the winning men’s team. This award is in fact the actual championship belt awarded to Len Hurst for winning the 1903 London to Brighton race.
From 1992 awards have been made for first 0’45 and first 0’55 year old.
Individual Results
Arthur Newton Cup
L. Piper 6:18:04
J. Crossley 6:20:57
H. B. Lee 6:23:40
D. E. Reynolds 5:52:22
A. E. Hefford 6:08:26
J. Henning 6:09:50
W. H. Hayward (SA) 5:29:40
T. Richards 5:39:58
W. H. Kelly 5:41:30
W. H. Kelly 5:39:46
T. Richards 5:47:11
F. A. Mare (SA) 5:47:27
T. Richards 5:27:24
W. H. Kelly 5:43:20
R.F. Hopcroft 5:47:11
R. F. Hopcroft 5:36:26
T. Richards 5:42:22
W. H. Kelly 5:51:43
G. Walsh (SA) 5:26:20
R. F. Hopcroft 5:40:31
W. H. KeLLy 5:55:14
M. I. Kirkwood 5:47:44
J. W. Harrison 5:51:23
A. A. Mail 5:59:04
F. Madel (SA) 5:43:58
W. D. Turner 5:46:53
F.S teyn (SA) 5:56:08
J. Mekler (SA) 5:26:56
E. Elderfield 5:34:08
R. Linstead 5:36:14
J. C. Smith 5:37:43
T. Buckingham 5:47:19
W. D. Turner 5:49:56
J. C. Smith 5:35:22
W. D. Turner 5:37:59
L. Jones 5:52:55
B. Gomersall 5:47:55
P. A. M.Dyer 5:49:20
W. D. Turner 5:50:11
B. Gomersall 5:39:44
T. Corbitt (USA) 5:40:42
N. Stairs 5:48:00
B. Gomersall 5:40:11
T. Corbitt (USA) 5:44:35
G. Eadie 5:49:45
B. Gomersall 5:32:50
J. Kuhn (SA) 5:33:43
T. Malone (SA) 5:34:06
J E. Tarrant 5:41:50
R. W. Alcorn (NZ) 5:44:56
B. Gomersall 5:49:09
J. E. Tarrant 5:37:27
G. R. Baker (SA) 5:41:42
B. Gomersall 5:50:51
D. Bagshaw (SA) 5:28:35
T. Corbitt (USA) 5:38:11
P. A. Hampton 5:42:16
J. Clare 5:41:08
G. E. Johnson 5:55:08
J. Malpass 5:55:30
D. Levick (SA) 5:21:45
T. Parry (SA) 5:31:56
J. Malpass 5:35:09
A. J. Wood 5:11:00
M. Orton 5:19:28
C. Woodward 5:34:47
J. Keating 5:11:30
C. Woodward 5:16:36
D. Bagshaw (SA) 5:22:33
J. Newsome 5:16:07
C. Woodward 5:16:13
D. Ritchie 5:24:44
C. Woodward 5:12:07
J. Sutherland (SA) 5:26:54
M. Orton 5:30:54
T. O’Reilly 5:23:32
G. Muhrcke (USA) 5:32:33
A. Kearns 5:30:12
D. Ritchie 5:16:05
R. Heron 5:19:47
C. Woodward 5:23:36
D. Ritchie 5:13:02
C. Woodward 5:18:30
T. O’Reilly 5:28:57
A. Kirik (USA) 5:32:37
M. Daykin 5:45:06
R. Heron 5:47:05
I. Thompson 5:15:15
A. Kirik (USA) 5:21:55
R. O. Laitinen (Fin) 5:38:38
B. Fordyce 5:21:15
M. Pickard 5:24:55
A. J. Roper 5:26:16
B. Fordyce 5:18:36
G. Fraser 5:43:13
D. Anderson 5:44:43
B. Fordyce 5:12:32
G. Fraser 5:23:29
D. Ritchie 5:24:23
B. Heath 5:24:15
D. Ritchie 5:28:27
P. Supden 5:29:21
H. Tjale (SA) 5:31:26
D. Tivers (SA) 5:37:29
P.S ugden 5:47:38
T. Tullett 5:53:10
A. C. Battye 5:55:07
J. Zarie 6:05:57
P. Sugden 5:36:59
D. Kelly 5:51:07
A. C. Battye 5:52:04
M. Pickard 6:06:25
G. Williams 6:13:20
R. Dalby 6:15:30
Erik Seedhouse 5:24:48
Greg Dell 5:43:17
Mick McGeoch 5:46:10
D. Beattie 5:54:32
E. Marope (BOT) 6:08:33
F. Taylor 6:08:47
D. Kelley 6:13:56
C. Khudube (BOT) 6:17:02
P. Woolger 6:17:35
S. Moore 6:01:09
R. Crawford(SA) 6:03:59
M. Hartley 6:08:15
S. Moore 6:07:22
R. Crawford (SA) 6:11:49
S. Peacock (SA) 6:17:39
S. Meiklejohn (SA) 6:01:02
S. Williamson (SA) 6:01:48
G. Dell 6:10:18
S. Akermann (SA) 5:55:49
Z. Ndaba (SA) 6:18:24
J. Msutu 6:25:40
G. Dell 6:00:59
S. Moore 6:14:06
R. Gardner 6:33:51
S. Moore 6:05:32
C. Barker (AUS) 6:09:01
C. Marwick (SA) 6:10:32
C. Thomas (SA) 6:02:17
W. Mteto (SA) 6:10:08
E. Tsotetsi (SA) 6:16:34
Winning Teams
Len Hurst Belt 1951 Blackheath H. 1952 Blackheath H. 1953 Germiston Callies (S.A.) 1954 Blackheath H. 1955 Blackheath H. 1956 Belgrave Harriers 1957 Hull Harriers 1958 Thames Valley H. 1959 Durban A.C.(S.A.) 1960 Thames Valley H. 1961 Epsom & Ewell H. 1962 Epsom& Ewell H. 1963 Belgrave Harriers 1964 Tipton Harriers 1965 Cheltenham & C.H. 1966 Thames Valley H. 1967 Tipton Harriers 1968 Thames Valley H. 1969 Savages ‘A’ (S.A.) 1970 Tipton Harriers 1971 Tipton Harriers 1972 Tipton Harriers 1973 Germiston Callies (S.A.) 1974 Tipton Harriers 1975 Spring Striders (S.A.) 1976 Milrose AA N.Y. USA 1977 South London Harriers 1978 South London Harriers 1979 Gloucester AC 1980 Central Park Track Club, N.Y. USA 1981 South London Harriers 1982 Hillingdon AC 1983 Woodstock H. 1984 Leamington C & AC 1985 Ranelagh H. 1986 Crawley AC 1987 Crawley AC 1988 Crawley AC 1989 Crawley AC 1990 Crawley AC 1991 Woodstock H 1992 Crawley H 1993 Woodstock H 1994 Collegian H. (SA) 1995 Glengold H (SA) 1996 Woodstock H 1997 Crawley AC 1998 100 Kilometres Association
Veterans Over 40
The Wilf Richards Cup 1968 D Funnell 5:56:32 1969 T. Corbitt (USA) 5:38:11 1970 D. Funnell 6:08:27 1971 J. McDonagh (USA) 5:51:12 1972 D. Funnell 6:05:34 1974 R. Bentley 5:37:52 1975 D. Funnell 5:49:08 1976 G. Kay 5:49:13 1977 G. Kay 5:52:14 1978 G. Kay 5:45:53 1979 J. Cock 5:57:10 1980 C. W.Hunn 5:44:10 1981 P. R. Lawrence 5:37:16 1982 C. W. Hunn 5:52:16 1983 P. R. Lawrence 5:52:36 1984 D. Ritchie 5:28:27 1985 C. Allen (S.A.) 6:08:54 1986 J Zaire 6:05:57 1987 M. Newton 6:14:37 1988 R. S. Dalby 6:15:30 1989 A. Lenegan 6:08:59 1990 D. Beattie 5:54:32 1991 D. Kelly 6:13:56 1992 S. Moore 6:01:09 1993 S. Moore 6:07:22 1994 W. Sichel 6:37:58 1995 C. Matomane (SA) 6:26:54 1996 W. Hill 6:39:55 1997 W. Hill 6:42:23 1998 C. Thomas (SA) 6:02:17
Veterans Over 50
The Len Morse Trophy 1981 P. E. Harper 7:56:32 1982 R. Ratcliffe 7:50:22 1983 R. Emmerson 6:28:04 1984 R. Emmerson 6:15:41 1985 R. Emmerson 6:43:25 1986 G. Kay 6:17:34 1987 G. Kay 7:21:50 1988 G. Kay 6:47:13 1989 C. Walker 6:47:28 1990 L. Akensov (USSR) 6:20:28 1991 C. Hunn 6:32:24 1992 M. Lehmann 7:19:11 1993 G. Ridder (NED) 7:22:45 1994 D. Lacey 6:30:21 1995 P. King 7:10:00 1996 S. Mann 7:31:47 1997 D. Beattie 6:58:46 1998 C. Woodward 6:35:22.
First over 45
Peter Sugden Salava
1992 F. Kashiri (ZIM)6:17:41
1993 S. Lambourne 6:49:53
1994 M. Aris 7:37:09
1995 A. Hardy 6:48:22
1996 S. Moore 6:14:06
1997 S. Moore 6:06:32
1998 J.Foster 7:06:59
First over 55
100km Association Trophy 1992 D. Boxall 7:48:20 1993 K. Fozard 7:48:20 1994 K. Fozard 8:02:36 1995 R. Jones 7:58:59 1996 R. Grew 8:02:28 1997 P. Mann (GER) 7:45:21 1998 R. Grew 7:41:25
First over 60
Lou Myers Cup (from 1994 an award has been made to
the first O’60 runner — now the Lou Myers Cup)
1994 G. Oliver 7:36:08
1995 R. Emmerson 7:59:05
1996 R. Emmerson 7:40:45
1997 R. Emmerson 7:58:43
1998 G. Oliver 7:36:28
The Oldest Man to Finish
The “Ron White” Trophy 1985 P. Sargeant 8:07:07 1986 N. Paul 7:38:38 1987 N. Paul 7:55:30 1988 N. Paul 8:14:28 1989 J. Foden 8:21:40 1990 N. Paul 8:33:01 1991 D. Lock 9:04:21 1992 D. Lock 9:02:11 1993 J. Foden 9:19:54 1994 J. Borland 8:56:55 1995 P. Sargeant 9:05:13 1996 P. Sargeant 9:24:37 1997 P. Sargeant 9:02:28 1998 P. Sargeant 9:48:46
The Women’s Race
The Northern Rock Trophy 1979 L. Watson 6:55:11 L. Kirk 7:29:43 R. Anderson (U.S.A.) 7:46:16 1980 L. Watson 6:56:10 D. Hudson (U.S.A.) 7:31:50 C. Rodgers 7:41:17 1981 L. Fitzgerald 7:47:28 R. Paul 7:59:15 1982 A. Franklin 7:01:51 C. Jorgenson (USA) 7:41:16 1983 A. Franklin 6:37:08 C. Hargrave 7:10:36 C. Barrett 7:25:16 1984 No listings 1985 S. Kiddy (USA) 7:02:37 M. Besteubreur (Holland) 7:33:25 C. Gray 7:38 17 1986 E. Adams 6:42:40 R. Cox 7:38:39 H. Walker 7:47:04 1987 H. Johnson 7:15:40 C. Gray 7:54:29 1988 H. Walker 7:07:48 S. Ashley 7:29:17 C. Gunner 8:23:46 1989 H. Walker 6:43:22 M. Savage 6:56:59 S. Ashley 7:09:18 1990 H. Walker 6:51:24 S. Ashley 7:40:23 R. Young 7:48:54 1991 C. Hunter-Rowe 7:18:09 D. Nugent (IRL) 7:35:41 J. Stoddart 8:26:47 1992 D.Vermeulen (SA) 7:54:47 P. Bongers 8:08:33 1993 C. Hunter-Rowe 6:34:10 H. Walker 7:23:26 P. Bonner 10:04:53 1994 J. Leak 7:06:22 H. Walker 7:30:18 D. Nugent (IRL) 7:38:15 1995 L. Turner 7:11:39 A. Williams 7:58:54 S. Ashley 8:27:13 1996 H. Walker 7:40:13 L. Garrod 8:01:31 1997 R. Bisschoff (SA) 7:05:56 H. Walker 7:32:49 M. Gadams (USA) 8:39:37 1998 I. Sanders (SA) 7:02:26 J. Leak 7:42:53 L. Garrod 7:44:29
London to Brighton Record Progression (Men)
[Taking into account the route of the day
and the overall distance run by competitors] 1899-1937 1899 Frank Randell, Finchley Harriers 6:58:18 1903 Len Hurst 6:32:34 1924 Arthur Newton 6:11:04 1924 Arthur Newton 5:53:43 1937 Hardy Ballington, Durban Athletic Club (S.A.) 5:53:42 1951-56 1952 Derek Reynolds, Blackheath Harriers 5:52:22 1953 Wally Hayward, Germiston Callies (S.A.) 5:27:24 1957-68 1957 Gerald Walsh, Durban Athletic Club (S.A.) 5:26:20 1960 Jackie Mekler, Germiston Callies (S.A.) 5:25:56 1969-75 1971 Dave Levick, Witwatersrand University (S.A.) 5:21:45 1972 Alastair Wood, Aberdeen Athletic Club 5:11:00 1976-77 1977 Don Ritchie, Forres Harriers 5:16:05 1978 Don Ritchie, Forres Harriers 5:13:02 1979-80 1980 Ian Thompson, Luton United 5:15:15 1981-82 As in 1978 1983 Bruce Fordyce, South Africa 5:12:32 1984-86 1984 Barry Heath, Royal Marines 5:24:15 1987-90 1987 Peter Sugden, Reading AC 5:36:59 1989 Erik Seedhouse, City of Hull AC 5:24:48 1991-1998 1991 David Kelly, Barrow AC 6:13:56 1992 Stephen Moore, Hertford & Ware AC 6:01:09 1994 Shaun Meiklejohn, [SA] 6:01:02 1995 Sarel Ackermann, [SA] 5:55:49
London to Brighton Record Progression (Women)
1932 Lilian Salkied 12:20:00 1972 Dale Greig, Paisley 8:30:04 1979 Leslie Watson, London Olympiades 6:55:11 1981-82 1981 Lynn Fitzgerald, Highgate Harriers 7:47:28 1983 Ann Franklin, Mynyddwyr de Cymru 6:37:08 1984-86 1985 Sandra Kiddy USA 7:02:37 1986 Eleanor Robinson, Sutton in Ashfield 6:43:40 1987-90 1987 Hilary Johnson, Harborough AC 7:15:40 1988 Hilary Walker, Serpentine RC 7:07:48 1989 Hilary Walker, Serpentine RC 6:43:22 1991-98 1991 Carolyn Hunter-Rowe, Pudsey & Bramley AC 7:18:09 1993 Carolyn Hunter-Rowe., Pudsey & Bramley AC 6:34:10.
Course variances
The distance of the race have varied over the years:
1924 51 miles, 1607y/83.545km
1937 51 miles, 1737y/83.66km
1951 52 miles, 566 yards/84.203km
1957 52 miles, 876yards/84.486km
1969 52 miles, 1172 yards/84.757km
1976 52 miles, 1568 yards/ 85.119km
1978 53 miles, 856 yards/86.077km
1979 54 miles, 460 yards/87.325km
1981 53 miles, 856 yards/86.077km
1983 53 miles, 1082 yards/86.284km
1984 53 miles, 540 yards/85.789km
1987 53 miles 495 yards/85.747km
1991 55 miles, 88.514km
Although Alastair Wood set the fastest time on the old course, two other runners have maintained superior average speeds over longer Brighton courses. Don Ritchie [Forres Harriers] in 1978 ran 5:13:02 for the 53 miles 856 yards [86.078km] for an average speed of 5.85 mi. per mile, and in 1980, Ian Thompson [Luton United Harriers] ran 5:15:15 for 54 miles 460 yards [87.325km] for an average of 5.81 min. per mile. [Wood’s average speed was 5.89 min.per mile.]

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