Chris Brasher

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Christopher William Brasher
Born (1928-08-21)21 August 1928
Georgetown, Guyana
Died 28 February 2003(2003-02-28) (aged 74)
Chaddleworth, Berkshire, England
Occupation athlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon
Olympic medal record
Men's athletics
Competitor for  Great Britain
Gold 1956 Melbourne 3000 m steeplechase

Christopher William Brasher CBE (21 August 1928 – 28 February 2003) was a British athlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon.[1]

History[edit]

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, Brasher was a student of Rugby School and later a graduate of St John's College, Cambridge.

On 6 May 1954, he acted as pacemaker for Roger Bannister when the latter ran the first sub-four-minute mile at Iffley Road Stadium in Oxford. Brasher paced Bannister for the first two laps, while his friend Chris Chataway paced the third. Two years later, at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Brasher finished first in the 3,000 metres steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes 41.2 seconds, but was disqualified for allegedly interfering with another runner, Ernst Larsen of Norway. The following day, after an investigation, he was reinstated as gold medallist.[2]

He was one of the pioneers of orienteering in Britain and can claim the first public mention of the sport in an article in The Observer in 1957.

I have just taken part, for the first time, in one of the best sports in the world. It is hard to know what to call it. The Norwegians call it 'orientation'...[3]

He had distinguished careers in journalism as sports editor for The Observer newspaper and in broadcasting, as a reporter for the Tonight programme.

In 1971 he founded "Chris Brasher's Sporting Emporium" which later became "Sweatshop".[4] In 1978 he designed the innovative Brasher Boot — a walking boot with the comfort of a running shoe. In their time these were amongst the best but recently there have been product quality issues.[5]

In 1981 Brasher founded the London Marathon.[6] In 1983 he became the second president of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, an office which he held until 1987.[7]

Also in 1983 Brasher partnered with his longtime friend John Disley to found Fleetfoot Limited in Lancaster, England. Fleetfoot distributed The Brasher Boot and other sporting goods to retailers. Fleetfoot acquired the rights to be the UK distributor of Reebok and subsequently traded as Reebok UK before becoming a subsidiary of Pentland Industries in 1988.[8] After the acquisition by Pentland, Brasher remained active in the company as Chairman of the Board. Reebok UK was sold to Reebok International in 1990 when Pentland Group sold its 55% ownership of Reebok USA and Reebok International.

Brasher was married to tennis champion Shirley Brasher née Bloomer.

Brasher was awarded the CBE in 1996.

He was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Livingstone Medal in 2002.[9]

In 2003, he died at his home in Chaddleworth, Berkshire, after an illness lasting several months.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Ezard (2003-03-01). "Athletics world mourns the man behind the London marathon". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  2. ^ David Walsh (2000). "Great British Olympians:Chris Brasher". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  3. ^ "History of British Orienteering". Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  4. ^ Sweatshop. "Sweatshop - About Us". Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  5. ^ Brasher Boot Co. "About Us". Archived from the original on 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2007-04-22. 
  6. ^ Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Track & Field (Men): 3000-Meter Steeplechase". London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 170.
  7. ^ "AIMS Executives". Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  8. ^ http://www.pentland.com/about-us/history.aspx
  9. ^ http://www.rsgs.org/awardsandmedals/
  10. ^ BBC Sport (2003-02-28). "Marathon founder Brasher dies". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-04-22.