Alastair Aitken reports on .......
|JIM McNAMARA an IRISH LEGEND (May 2013)|
|Mike Gratton Looks Back (April 2013)|
|Aldershot Champions Again (April 2013)|
|NATIONAL 12 STAGE ROAD RELAY (April 2013)|
|VICTORIA PARK WOMEN'S RACE (April 2013)|
|VICTORIA PARK 5 WITH MARTIN & HICKEY (April 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part Three (March 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part Two (March 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part One (March 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part Three (February 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part Two (February 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part One (February 2013)|
|MIDDLESEX CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS (January 2013)|
|HARRY TEMPAN RETIRES AT 87 (December 2012)|
|Running Still - 133 years of Highgate Harriers (August 2012)|
|FRANK SANDO (14/3/31 - 13/10/12)|
|GREG RICHARDS (October 2012)|
|THE MIDDLESEX & OPEN 10K (September 2012)|
|NINA ANDERSON (September 2012)|
|MO FARAH - HIS BREAKTHROUGH YEARS (August 2012)|
|WILLIAM SHARMAN (August 2012)|
|DWAIN CHAMBERS (August 2012)|
|JOB KINYOR from Kenya (JULY 2012)|
|CHRIS TOMLINSON (July 2012)|
|ARIES MERRITT (July 2012)|
|TYSON GAY in London (July 2012)|
|CHRISTIAN TAYLOR TRIPLE JUMP WORLD CHAMPION 2011 (JULY 2012)|
|DON TAYLOR (1936 TO 2012)|
|THE MAN WHO CHANGED 10,000m RUNNING HISTORY (JULY 2012)|
|THE LAST TWO BRITISH OLYMPIC WALK MEDALLISTS (July 2012)|
|JIM RYUN with MARTY LIQUORI and JOHN WHETTON (JUNE 2012)|
|TWO OF THE GREATEST OLYMPIC THROWERS - JANIS LUSIS and AL OERTER (JUNE 2012)|
|BASIL HEATLEY THE GREAT ROAD/CC/TRACK RUNNER (MAY 2012)|
|RON RODDAN COACH TO A 1992 OLYMPIC CHAMPION (MAY 2012)|
|BRONISLAW MALINOWSKI STEEPLECHASER '1960's to 81' (MAY 2012)|
|GASTON ROELANTS 'THE STEEPLECHASER OF THE 1960'S' (APRIL 2012)|
|JOHN DISLEY THE UK'S OUSTANDING STEEPLECHASER OF THE 1950'S|
|MEN'S NATIONAL 12 STAGE ROAD RELAY (April 2012)|
|Women's National 6 Stage Road Relay (April 2012)|
|THE 46th VICTORIA PARK '5' (April 2012)|
|SIX OUTSTANDING OLYMPIC MEDALLISTS- 800m to 10000m (APRIL 2012)|
|EIGHT AFRICAN OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS (March 2012)|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 3|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 2|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 1|
|THE ENGLISH NATIONAL 2012 - part 2|
|THE ENGLISH NATIONAL 2012 - part 1|
|THE LATE BMC COACH FRANK HORWILL (FEBRUARY 2012)|
|SEAA Cross Country Championships - Juniors (January 2012)|
|SEAA Women's Cross Country Championships (January 2012)|
|SEAA Senior Men's Cross Country Championships (January 2012)|
|Six Olympic 110 Hurdles Champions Talking (January 2012)|
|CHRIS FINILL'S RUN ACROSS AMERICA IN 2011 (January 2012)|
|'HUSTLING HERB' ONE OF THE FIRST JAMAICAN OLYMPIANS (January 2012)|
|SEAA Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships 10/12/11|
|Dick Taylor and Allan Rushmer (60's,70's & 80's)|
|Lynn Davies (Looking back in November 2011)|
|Scott Overall (October 2011)|
|Keith Gerrard (October 2011)|
|National Six Stage Relays (October 2011)|
|National Four Stage Women's Road Relay (October 2011)|
|David Hemery (1968 & 75, Updated October 2011)|
|Tony Simmons an Underrated 'Star' Performer (September 2011)|
|Kenya's First 'Great' Sprinter - Serapheno Antao|
|The Vets Athletic Club's Championship (August 2011)|
|Mel Batty (August 2011)|
|Tiffany Townsend (August 2011)|
|Coach John Smith (August 2011)|
|Jason Richardson (August 2011)|
|Lisa Dobriskey (August 2011)|
|Mark Lewis-Francis (August 2011)|
|David Rudisha - IAAF World Athlete of the Year 2010|
|David Morwood (June 2011)|
|Rosemary Chrimes - A Star for 40 Years (June 2011)|
|Paul Dickenson Commentator and Athlete (June 2011)|
|Larry Achike (May 2011)|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 3 - SEB COE|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 2 - JOHN WALKER|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 1 - SYDNEY WOODERSON|
|Three very great curve runners of the past and their views|
|Derek Ibbotson (Interviewed Oct 1962 - updated 2011)|
|Walter Wilkinson (Interviewed Summer 2000)|
|Dave Chapman (Interview Autumn 1998)|
|'Never Say Die' Les Roberts (April 2011)|
|David Cannon (Interview April 2011)|
|Bruce Tulloh (Interviewed April 2011 and September 1962)|
|Geoff Harrold remembered (Born 25/5/39 died 1/4/11)|
|Nick McCormick at the Victoria Park '5' (March 2011)|
|The Victoria Park '5' A World Renown Road Race (March 2011)|
|Bernard Plain MBE (March 2011)|
|South London's Historic Mob Match (March 2011)|
|World Trials and Inter-Counties - report 3 (2011)|
|World Trials and Inter-Counties - report 2 (2011)|
|World Trials, Inter-Counties and Mike McLeod (2011)|
|North of the Thames Championships - Kingsbury (Feb 2011)|
|Memories of Peter Hildreth (1928 - February 26th 2011)|
|Jonny Hay and Richard Goodman at the English National Junior 2011|
|Louise Deman and Hatti Dean at the English National 2011|
|Steve Vernon - English National Champion 2011|
|Chris Smith and Serpentine - Outstanding in the Met League Final (2011)|
|Nielson Hall and others at the the SEAA Championships 2011)|
|Dave Clarke (The Great Runner from Hercules Wimbledon)|
|Chris Finill the Outstanding Ultra Distance Runner|
|Three New Stars at the 'PREMIER LEAGUE' Jo Smith Cup (Sept 2010)|
|Gladys Bird - Woodford Green & Essex Ladies|
|Bob Smith - Newham and Essex Beagles|
|Richard Thompson - August 2010|
|Danielle Carruthers - August 2010|
|Angelo Taylor - August 2010|
|Michael Rimmer - August 2010|
|British M45 javelin record holder Roald Bradstock|
|James Shane with his Coach Martin Brown JUNE 2010|
|Tony Jarrett JUNE 2010|
|Andy Turner Interview JUNE 2010|
|Southern Counties Track & Field Championships at Crystal Palace JUNE 2010|
|The Aldershot National Womens 4 Stage Champions 2010|
|Grenville Tuck Interview (May 2010 and in 1975)|
|The stage winners at the National 12 Stage Relay - Sutton Park - April 2010|
|Anthony Whiteman Interview - April 2010|
|Bill Adcocks Interview - 13th March 2010|
|Wendy Sly Interview - 13th March 2010|
|Peter Clark A Forgotten Hero|
|Dic Evans A Runner for Wales for 45 years interviewed in 2009|
|Douglas Alistair Gorden Pirie (Born Leeds 10th February 1931 Died 7th December 1991)|
|Peter Browne: British Milers Club and Racing Against Ovett and Coe|
|Peter Browne: Born 3rd of February 1949|
|Six of Belgrave's Winning 12 Stage Team|
|Newham & Essex Beagles 6 Stage Winners and Course Record Breakers 2009|
|Dave Moorcroft Through the Years|
|Bob Smith the Successful Newham & Essex Beagles Manager August 2009|
|Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie Interviewed in London Summer 2009|
|Martyn Rooney at Croydon July 2009|
|Felix Sanchez in London 2009|
|Kerron Clement interviwed on 24th of July 2009|
|Simeon Williamson in London (July 25th, 2009)|
|Dayron Robles interviewed in London 2009|
|Irie Hill at the British Master Championships 2009|
|Roy Fowler - The Red Fox|
|John Hall - Race Walker|
|Mara Yamauchi - Outstanding British Performer in the London Marathon 2009|
|Nick Goolab - The Revelation of the UK Cross Country Season 2008/2009|
|Joyce Smith M.B.E|
|Mike Barratt The 'Evergreen' Running Legend|
|Clare Elms A Revelation of Age Athletics|
|Harry Tempan The Rennaisance Runner|
|Kermit Bentham - A man who has run over 500 one lap races in his life!|
|Andretti Bain 2008 Olympic 4x400 relay silver|
|Bernard Lagat in London July 2008|
|Usain Bolt in London|
|Charlie Williams - Outstanding Master Sprinter|
|Where Are They Now - John Greatrex|
|The Truly Remarkable Tony Bowman|
By Alastair Aitken
KEN NORRIS must go down in athletics history as one of the greatest racers who never achieved a 'Big' Games track medal.
In the 1950's he was virtually unbeatable in his prime on the road and achieved two silver and two bronze medals in the International' World' cross-country Championships. He won the National cross country in 1956 and the AAA's 6 mile in 1955 and ' 56; the latter in in 28:13:6 which was an English Native record. At the end of that year in Melbourne he was fifth in the Olympic 10,000m in 29:21.6.
Ken Norris, now enjoys playing table tennis and organises the largest club in the local league at at High Wycombe.
He is a Vice President,and life member of Thames Valley Harriers, which he joined back in 1948 and, he is a level 2 qualified field events coach and level 2 distance coach so, with all that in mind It was interesting to read his thoughts about six of the most prominent top-class runners he ran against.
Gordon Pirie, 1956 Olympic 5000m silver medallist and ex-world record holder also three times National cross country champion.
"There was no doubt he was a great athlete, perhaps a little arrogant but I got on with him very well. He did not have anytime for fools but I found that he was quite willing to give credit where he felt credit was due. He once said to me, after I had been running a London to Brighton Leg and set the record, that he thought I was the only athlete he could visualise who could actually go right through the card and set a record on every stage. I actually set it on four stages. We got on quite well. We obviously represented Britain a number of times together. There was no ' I am going to beat you at all costs!. We invariably ran together.
Frank Sando, twice International cross-country Champion, European and commonwealth track medallist
"The person I have the greatest admiration for probably is Frank Sando. The only better cross-country I ever met, was Alain Mimoun. He is the only guy who ever beat me over the country that I never subsequently beat.'
' Frank was very unassuming, very modest, a great guy enormous potential and did not give up"
George Knight the 1957 AAA's 6 mile Champion.
" He was one of the up an coming people towards the end of my career. Early on I found I was able to beat him. All of a sudden he really came to the fore. He used to have an unusual diet. He once went to an abattoir and was so horrified by what he saw that he vowed he would never eat any sort of meat again and virtually lived on egg and chips."
Mike Barratt, who ran well into his 60's. He won countless races in the North London area for many years and eventually beat international Tim Briault to win the Middlesex cross country, after Ken Norris retired.
"I was ahead of Mike Barratt in six senior Middlesex cross-countries. he was always a nearly runner I am afraid.
I certainly had a hoodoo sign over him. I only ever met one person who actually stayed with me running down hills, but did not beat me and that was Derek Ibbotson (World one mile record holder in 1957). Anybody else I could run away from. The Middlesex was held at Trent Park. Just a mile and quarter from home we went into a wood and, if you were in the front you could stop anyone else getting by. I always used to take the lead going into that wood and could afford to rest because nobody could pass me. I came out and there was this glorious 500 yards run downhill and 200 yards up the other side to the finish and I could just run away from them. Mike lived very much in my shadow but I would like to point out he is a good servant to athletics and a good friend of mine now.
In my career I always tried to dominate the competition that was extremely succesfull.
Stan Eldon the 1958-59 AAA's 6 mile Champion, 1958 International cross country Champion and British record holder for 10,000m
"There was a determined man. I met him when we were in the Army. It was his first year and my second. I became his target. I think he decided one day ' I am going to beat Ken Norris', which had did when I was starting to go down at the end of my career. I picked up some injuries that effected me. Stan was a nice guy but He did not want to be beaten"
Emil Zatopek, the triple Olympic Champion of 1952 met Ken Norris, when he was still a formidable competitor but towards then end of his career
"I beat him at the White City over 10,000m in the London v Prague match (18/10/55 . 1 Pirie 29:19.00; 2 Norris 29:21.4; 3 Zatopek 29:28.6). It was a much greater race a month beforehand (5000m 14/9/55-1 Pirie 14:03.8; 2 Zatopek 14:04.0; 3 Norris 14:04.0) In Prague there was a 44 thousand crowd and at least 43 were chanting Zatopek! Zatopek! Zatopek!. 43,000 is a lot of noise. I thought 'Thank God' this is not the first international I had run because some people would be totally overawed by that. However, in the middle of the back straight there was a small section of the crowd shouting Pirie!, Pirie!, Norris!, Norris!. I found I was listening out for them. All three of us, at sometime, were trying to break the other one. We were continually changing places. Pirie made a break at the bell. I went after him and Zatopek was behind me. Coming into the home straight I was still 10 yards ahead of a Zatopek and 5 behind Pirie. I tore down the straight. Zatopek came past me on the line, throwing himself horizontally forward to split us up. I look back on that as one of my best races I had run, all be it I finished third. I Had run as well as I could. I had a great race and could not have done better on the day.'
Beside Ken Norris's supreme runs in the premier UK road relays from London to Brighton (where he set 5 stage records), along with Martin Hyman (1961) Ken Norris, was the only UK athlete to win the famous Sao Silvestre Road 'Midnight' race.Norris won on New Year's (1955 into 1956).It was in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was a 4.5 mile road race that year in front of a crowd of 500,000 with fireworks and, streamers even thrown over the runners. However it was at 2,700ft altitude in 80% humidity, 80 Fahrenheit, and to make things worse outriders, television vehicles, cars surrounded the lead runner belching out fumes. The following year, the hot favourite collapsed while in the lead and nearly died, having to have two weeks in hospital, suffering from petrol fume poisoning. Norris certainly had a good lead of some 60 yards at one stage, then felt some terrible effects but despite finishing up a cobbled street he just managed to hang on to beat Stritof of Yugoslavia by a few feet. Two days later he won a 5000m track race in Sao Paulo in 15:04.9 and then, immediately flew home but his plane was diverted to Amsterdam and he had to go by boat and, eventually got in to London at 9.30 in the morning, had two hours rest at his home, then went to the Middlesex cross country Championships where he had a comfortable victory.
Regarding Ken Norris 'National' senior win in 1956 over a four lap course at Warwick. He was not feeling that great in a bunch of 12 after one lap, but as they went into the last lap there was Ibbotson, Fred Norris and Ken left to fight it out. A mile from home Ken Norris opened up a 20 yard lead with Fred Norris in second place.
Undoubtedly one of his most enthralling races was against the Olympic silver medallist Jozeph Kovacs in Budapest in 1956. It was a 'Cat and Mouse' race throughout and Norris summoned up his fastest last lap of 58 seconds to beat the Hungarian.29:56.4 to 29:56.8.
Ken Norris was born on the 11th of July 1931 in Hampstead. His parents were supportive particularly his Father Bert (Edgar) Norris, who often came on the bus to events with his son. Ken has been a salesman for Sports goods and for twenty two years a computer stationary salesman before he retired. He got married to Audrey in 1958 and has two daughters Allison 41 and Susan 43.
'I was a complete failure'
After his primary school Ken Norris went to Wembley County School but said regarding sport at the school 'I was a complete failure'
He loved cricket, even bought himself a bat but was out for no runs half a dozen times on the trot.
With football he was hopeless. He headed a high ball on one occasion and it came down so hard he could not get up for five minutes.
Swimming, he took five minutes to do a width.
He said athletics was even worse for him, as he could not make any of the standards set out for track or field events.
It did not really dawn on Ken Norris he had any real talent as a runner, till he was forced to fill the extra place of eight for the Middlesex schools trials cross country over three miles. The race was run at Northwick Park. Except for just a couple of runners, all the athletes sprinted off at the start in the heavy rain and Ken felt absolutely humiliated, unable to do anything about it but slowly but surely some of them dropped off and he found more and more were coming back and he ended up sixth. He followed that up with sixth again but out of 270 in the Middlesex Schools championships.
It was not till he was 17 that it all really began when he joined TVH. Alec White was a coach there and he was brilliant at treating every one of his athletes completely differently and, in Ken's case he used sarcasm and Ken Norris would try and do better sessions than his coach would tell him to do. For instance Ken Norris wrote in his diary 'Best last lap' in a mile race and his coach wrote in red underneath 'Worst ever third lap! That would goad him on'
Ken Norris found that interval 440's on grass or on the track were his speciality as he found he could only concentrate for 440yards at a time, rather than longer reps. He would often do twenty of these with say 100yards recovery. Some of his club athletes joined in for some. Ken would try and reduce his intervals which gave him immense strength as a racer.
He brought his mile time down to 4:11.4.
When Ken Norris was sixth in the National youths, Alec Olney, from his club was 2nd in the National senior race and Ken thought at the time, I would love to be in the International team one day. Taking each race as it comes he had that aim in the back of his mind, always targetting the man immediately ahead of him.
I have memories of Ken Norris winning a couple of Southerns' over the tough 9 to 10 mile course at Parliament Hill Fields in 1954 and 1957 also the Inter-Counties of 1954, 55 and 57. Also, when I was doing information work at Crystal Palace for the BBC Outside Broadcasts on a Saturday in the early '70's, Ken was doing the same sort of thing for BBC television, with his walkie talkie.
The one thing that stands out about Ken Norris for young athletes to try and emulate is that if you find you can run and wish to take up the sport from humble beginnings, you train hard, taking each step at a time to improve and beat the next man ahead of you, the sky is almost the limit. He was hopeless at school till the latter part of his school days yet, obtained over 150 cups and medals in eleven years representing TVH. He ran in 43 international races.
|Gerry North - The Most Consistent cross-country runner of the 60's|
|Robert Slowe - Outstanding Clubman|
|Anthony Noel - World Masters Champion|
|Andre Bucher - 2001 World 800m Champion|
|Wallace Spearmon (2006)|
|Derek Johnson (1985)|
|James Carter - USA 400m hurdles Champion 2002 and 2004|
|Dorothy Manley - Silver medalist London Olympics 1948|