Alan joined RHAC when he was 14 years old. He lived in Rotherham, and still
does, but was born in Coventry.
winning the Sheffield & District
His first international success came in 1961 when he finished second (behind Colin Robinson of GB) in a
junior cross country event
During the early 1960’s he continued to improve his times at both 1500m and one mile, and represented England and GB in both track and cross country, where he ran against Gammoudi of France – arguably one of the best distance runners in the world at that time. The photo is taken at Lyon.
On the track Alan caused some surprises and upsets, beating
the then world’s fastest 1500 meters runner in Warsaw This was certainly not expected, since Alan was only in the race to
replace Ken Wood – a fellow Yorkshire athlete.
Alan ran in his RHAC vest!
Alan won the 1963 AAA’s mile race, beating his training partner Peter
Keeling., and went on to win the 1963
Another photo taken at Helsinki in July 1964 shows Alan again displaying those trademarks, this time beating team
mate, John Whetton, in the process.
As the 1964 Olympic games approached, Alan ran 3:39.1 for 1500m, just weeks
before the Tokyo games. This was the 6th fastest time in the world and a new UK record, and
did put some pressure on Alan, with the British press stating that he could
beat the favourite for the 1500m title – Peter Snell.
It is interesting to look back now, when our athletes are mainly full time and supported or sponsored, to when Alan was preparing for his Olympic effort , going out training from work in the steel industry during his lunch break
|In the event Alan finished fourth – just out of the medals, in what the American magazine Track
& Field called “the greatest ever race for second place”.
The race was won by Peter Snell in 3:38.1, 2nd place went to the Czech Odlozil in 3:39.6, 3rd place was John Davies of New Zealand with the same time.
Alan’s time was 3:39.7. Alan later said that he had put in too much effort
trying to go with the pace set by Peter Snell, having to then run very wide to
get back into contention. He felt sure that if he had sat in and let Snell go
he could have got a silver medal.
This link takes you to the Sporting Heroes site & shows the finish photo.
Alan’s efforts to get a medal caused him to collapse onto the track, and he had to be helped up by John Whetton, who had finished 8th.
In 1965 – which Alan considered to be his best year – he set
an indoor world best time for 5000m; 13:58.4. He also won the Northern 3 miles champs in 13:30.4. It is interesting to note that he was persuaded by Bruce Tulloh – (the then
leading UK 5000m runner) to concentrate on the mile and 1500!
This he did, going on to set a new UK mile record of 3:56.6. He further improved the record to 3:55.3 later in the same year. Alan was coached by Ian Ward at this time.
In 1966 Alan finished second in the Commonwealth Games mile race, running 3:57.1. The race was won by the legendary Kip Keino, in 3:55.3. Alan considers Keino to be the best mile
racer he ran against.
In that year Alan also finished fourth in the European 1500m
In July 1967 Alan finished 3rd in a 1500m race in Los Angeles. Jim Ryun won the race in a new world record time of 3:33.1. Kip Keino was second.
After 1967 Alan lost the drive and determination to compete internationally. He did continue to run – and still does.
Alan also coached Angela Creamer, and guided her to her own Olympic appearance.
Alan held the UK record for 1500m for 5 years, and the UK
mile record for 7 years.