Ian Stewart (athlete)
|Representing Great Britain|
|Bronze||1972 Munich||5000 metres|
|Gold||1969 Athens||5000 metres|
|Gold||1970 Edinburgh||5000 metres|
Ian Stewart (born 15 January 1949) is a Scottish athlete. Ian Stewart was one of the world's leading distance runners between the late 1960s and mid-1970s. Stewart won the bronze medal in the Men's 5000 metres at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (a race won by Lasse Virén). Stewart also won the following championships: European 5,000 metres (1969), Commonwealth 5,000 metres (1970), European Indoor (1969 and 1975) and World Cross Country (1975).
In 1965, at 16 years of age, he ran a British age best of 9.12.8 for 2 miles and two years later set a European junior 3 miles record of 13.39.8. In 1968, he broke European junior records at four distances: 3000m, 2 miles, 3 miles and 5000m. Moving up to the senior ranks in 1969, Stewart took the European Indoor 3000m title in a UK record (7.55.4), claiming the AAA 5000m title (13.39.66) and then winning 5000m gold at the European Championships in Athens in a time of 13.44.8.
In 1970, Stewart set a European record at 5,000 metres when he recorded a time of 13:22:8 to win the Commonwealth Games title. This was one of the greatest races of all time and he defeated current world record holder Ron Clarke, Olympic 1,500 metres champion Kip Keino and fellow Scot, Ian McCafferty. Stewart produced a last lap of 54.4, Keino and Clarke could only finish 3rd and 5th, respectively. Stewart won acclaim for an excellent season by being ranked No 1 in the world over 5000m in 1970 by the authoritative American magazine Track and Field News.
The 1971 campaign proved an anti-climax as injuries halted his progress, he was back to full fitness in the Olympic year of 1972. In the Olympic 5000m final, he suffered a heavy knock from American Steve Prefontaine on the last lap but produced an amazing burst in the home straight to gain the bronze medal (13.27.6), the Finn, Lasse Viren, taking gold in 13.26.4. In fact, Stewart ran the home straight faster than even Virén (see, for example, Mauno Saari, "Lasse Viren: The Secrets of Running" / Lasse Viren: Juoksemisen salaisuudet, published in Finland in 1979; YouTube videos on 1972 Olympic 5K or 5000m).
After a disappointing 1973 season and a mediocre effort in the Commonwealth Games 5000m final (5th in 13.40.4) in early 1974, he decided to take up cycle racing that summer to recharge his batteries. Suitably refreshed, he returned to athletics in fine style the following year, completing an excellent double in March 1975 by taking the European indoor 3000m crown (7.58.6) and the World Cross Country 12 km title. He remains Britain's last male winner of this world title and it proved to be his last major international honour. Stewart still produced some quality performances in later years, such as his 7th place in the 5000m final at the 1976 Olympics (losing to Virén by 2.89 seconds after dropping from second to seventh place in the last 300 metres - see, for example, Matti Hannus, "Montreal Olympic Book" / Montreal Olympiakirja, Helsinki: "Runner" / Juoksija magazine, 1976; YouTube videos on 1976 Olympic 5000m) and a 10-mile world road best (45.13) in 1977. He hung up his spikes in summer 1978, bringing down the curtain on a long and illustrious career.
Stewart set other British records: 1,500 metres 3:39.12 (1969), 2,000 metres 5:02.98 (1975),2 miles 8:22.0 (1972). Other personal bests: Mile 3:57.3 (1969) and 10,000 metres 27:43.03 (1977).
Stewart is the current Head of Endurance of UK Athletics (UKA).
|Men's 5000 m Best Year Performance