During the time Doug was at School, Roger Bannister, who could be seen training in Harrow, ran a mile in under 4 minutes. Before that day in 1954, many experts believed that no human could run a mile in under 4 minutes, but within a year 4 other athletes had also run the mile in under 4 minutes - a lesson to us all in the power of psychological barriers!
It seems that Doug suffers no such barriers and has enjoyed a successful summer of athletics, since turning 80 in May. Masters athletics is organised in 5-year age groups, and Doug has taken full advantage of his first year in the 80-84 category, having achieved number one UK ranking in every event on the track from 800m to 10,000m, plus 1 Mile and 10,000m on the road.
In the process he won BMAF (British Masters Athletic Federation) gold medals in five track events from 400m to 5,000m (including the 3,000m walk!) at their main championships, in 2 days at Birmingham. He later won silver in the BMAF 10,000m track championship at Jarrow, only 3 days after setting the fastest time of the year (53:36.7) in his age group for that event. He blames getting beaten at Jarrow on having to get up at 04:15 to catch the 06:55 train to Newcastle on the morning of the race!
Doug has also set two age 80-84 UK records: 1 mile on the road (7:36) and 3,000m outdoor track (14:26.69, taking 11 seconds off the previous record). He is now looking forward to the Cross Country season with his clubs, Hillingdon AC and Veterans AC.
Doug admits that the older he gets, the less opposition there is in his age group. "The fish is no bigger, but the pond is an awful lot smaller!"
While Doug snacks on running a mile, most of us find it a more challenging experience - read here
a humorous article from the Lyonian 1954 of the perhaps more common experience of running a mile at School.
We also would like to congratulate Doug on his 70 years of service to the choir at St Mary's, Harrow on the Hill, which was marked by St Mary's with a celebratory choral service on 15th September.