All-time fastest British Milers on Cinder Tracks

Dave Cocksedge is an athletics journalist and statistician of the highest calibre.   He is also a member of the British Milers Club and that is where I met him.   It was at a BMC Annual General Meeting  and Coaching Weekend at Cheltenham in the late 80’s and we jogged a couple of miles while the athletes were warming up for their session on the Saturday afternoon.   He has done a lot of work for the BMC and one of his latest in a list of the fastest British milers of all time on cinders.   There is no doubt at all that the all-weather tracks of today are faster than the all-weather tracks of the 70’s, 80s and 90s which were faster than cinders.   There is always work being done on faster tracks and there is no doubt in my mind that many near-misses of the 50’s, 60s and 70’s on cinder tracks would have been a couple of seconds quicker on current surfaces.   Enough philosophising – let’s have the list.

3:55.68     Alan Simpson     White City     30th August 1965

3:56.8      Ian McCafferty     Reading     11th June 1969

3:57.2      Derek Ibbotson     White City     19th July 1957

3:57.3     Ian Stewart              Reading       11th June 1969

3:57.5     Mike Wiggs              Dublin     5th July 1965

3:57.68     John Whetton     White City     3rd July 1965

3:57.74      Andy Green     White City     3rd July 1965

3:58.0     John Kirkbride     Motspur Park     23rd July 69

3:58.01     Stan Taylor     White City     18th August 1962

3:58.4       Nick Rose     Motspur Park     25th July 1973

3:58.5       Jim Douglas     Motspur Park     23rd July 1969

3:58.6     John Boulter    Motspur Park     24th July 1968

3:58.7     Allan Rushmer     Northampton     26th August 1967

3:58.7     Peter Stewart*     Reading     11th June 1969

3:58.8     Roger Bannister     Vancouver, Canada     7th August 1954

3:58.9     Brian Hewson     White City     3rd September 1958

3:58.96     Tony Harris     White City     3rd July 1965

3:59.2     Derek Graham    White City    20th Aug 1966

3:59.2      Walter Wilkinson     Stretford     28th May 1968

3:59.24       Mike Berisford        White City     18th August 1962

3:59.3      Ken Wood     White City     19th July 1957

3:59.4      Bill McKim     Motspur Park     22nd Jul 64

3:59.4      Roy Young    Motspur Park     14th Jul 71

3:59.80     Maurice Benn     White City    3rd June 1968

3:59.8     Chris Chataway     White City     28th May 1955

3:59.8     Rayfel Roseman     Motspur Park     23rd July 1969

3:59.9     Gordon Pirie     Dublin     23rd September 1960

4:00.0     Mike Blagrove     White City     3rd September 1958

4:00.0       Steve Ovett        Motspur Park     25th July 1973

4:00.1     Brian Hall     Witton Park     6th June 1962

4:00.3     Frank Clement     Scotstoun   17th May 1975

4:00.4     Phil Banning     Motspur Park     25th July 1973

4:00.5     Bill Cornell     Eugene, Oregon     16th June 1962

4:00.5     John McGrow     Brighton     21st August 1966

4:00.5     Chris Stewart     Motspur Park     14th July 1961

4:00.6     John Cadman     Motspur Park     25th July 1973

4:00.7     Peter Keeling     White City      3rd August 1964

4:00.9     Chris Barber     White City     24th July 1974

4:01.0     Mick Gowan     Motspur Park     21st July 1965

4:01.0     Hugh Barrow     Stretford     28th May 1968

4:01.0     Andy Carter      Motspur Park     8th July 1970

4:01.1     Ken Ballantyne     Motspur Park     21st July 1965

4:01.3     Derek Haith     White City     29th May 1961

4:01.3      Alan Mottershead     Motspur Park    15th July 1981

That’s the top 33.   Scots are marked in red – only five of them of whom two go back to the 1950’s.   And only one Scots track listed as the venue for any of these races.    The Scots mentioned ran at Reading, Stretford and Motspur Park.   Going solely on the times noted above, the best races were at Reading in 1969 where McCafferty beat the two Stewarts, and the one in 1965 at the White City where John Whetton defeated Andy Greeen and Tony Harris.

(20th Dec 2015)