Arthur Robertson (athlete)

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Arthur Robertson
Arthur Robertson 1908.jpg
Arthur Robertson at the 1908 Olympics
Personal information
Birth nameArthur James Robertson
Born(1879-04-19)19 April 1879
Died18 April 1957(1957-04-18) (aged 77)
CountryGreat Britain
Event(s)1500-10,000 m (1-10 miles)
ClubBirchfield Harriers
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals1908
Personal best(s)Mile – 4:23.4e (1909)
5000 m – 15:01.2 (1908)
10,000 m – 31:30.4 (1908)
Hour – 18,479 m[1][2]

Arthur James Robertson (19 April 1879 – 18 April 1957) was a Scottish runner who competed at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. He won the gold medal in the 3-mile team race and a silver in the steeplechase.

The son of a Glasgow doctor, Robertson was educated at Kelvinside Academy, Glasgow, before moving to King's School, Peterborough at the age of 14. A brilliant all-round sportsman, he initially concentrated on cycling and only took up serious athletics at the age of 25, after a cycling injury.[1][3][4]

In 1906, he joined Birchfield Harriers.[3] In March 1908 he won both the English and International Cross-Country Championships and a second-place finish in the 4 mile race at the AAA championship earned him a place at the Olympics.

Robertson won easily in the first round of the 3200 metres steeplechase, finishing in 11:10.0. In the final, he trailed for most of the race. At the bell, he passed one of the two then-leaders, American John Eisele. Robertson was not quite able to catch the other leader, however, and trailed fellow Briton Arthur Russell by two yards at the finish. His final time was 10:48.4. At the same Olympics he won gold as a member of the 3-man 3 mile team race; the first Olympic gold won by a Scottish man and the first by a Birchfield athlete. He also participated in the five miles event and finished fifth. His brother David was a member of the British cycling team at the same olympics.[1][3]

On 13 September 1908 Robertson set a world record at 15:01.2 over 5,000 metres, running on a concrete cycle track in Stockholm. He retired from athletics after 1909 season and returned to cycling. Later, together with his brother, he ran a sports shop in Peterborough, and then passed it over to his son.[1][4]

Robertsone was posthumously inducted into the Scottish Sporting Hall of Fame in 2004.[4] In January 2010, a new J D Wetherspoon pub in Perry Barr, Birmingham (close to Perry Barr Stadium, the former home of Birchfield Harriers) was named 'The Arthur Robertson' in his honour.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Arthur Robertson.
  2. ^ Arthur James Robertson.
  3. ^ a b c d Philpotts, Chris (8 October 2010). "Pub runs with hero's reputation for unexpected triumphs". Great Barr Observer. Birmingham: Central Independent News & Media Ltd. pp. 4–5.
  4. ^ a b c Golden Scots: Arthur Robertson, the accidental athlete. BBC. 3 July 2012

Further reading[edit]