Chris Brasher

Last updated

Christopher William Brasher
DOMREP 1957 MiNr0591 mt B002.png
Personal information
Born(1928-08-21)21 August 1928
Georgetown, British Guiana
Died28 February 2003(2003-02-28) (aged 74)
Chaddleworth, Berkshire, England
Occupationathlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon

Christopher William Brasher CBE (21 August 1928 – 28 February 2003) was a British track and field athlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon. [1]


Early life and education

Born in Georgetown, British Guiana, Brasher went to Rugby School and then St John's College, Cambridge.

Sporting career

On 6 May 1954, he acted as pacemaker for Roger Bannister when the latter ran the first sub-four-minute mile at Iffley Road Stadium in Oxford. Brasher paced Bannister for the first two laps, while his friend Chris Chataway paced the third. Two years later, at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Brasher finished first in the 3,000 metres steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes 41.2 seconds, but was disqualified for allegedly interfering with another runner, Ernst Larsen of Norway. The following day, after an investigation, he was reinstated as gold medallist. [2] Brasher had been celebrating for several hours before the delayed medal ceremony, and later claimed to have been “the only Olympic champion to be totally and absolutely slaughtered when he received a medal”. [3]

He was one of the pioneers of orienteering in Britain and can claim the first public mention of the sport in an article in The Observer in 1957:

"I have just taken part, for the first time, in one of the best sports in the world. It is hard to know what to call it. The Norwegians call it 'orientation'..." [4]

Later career

He had distinguished careers in print journalism, as sports editor for The Observer newspaper, and in broadcasting, as a reporter for the Tonight programme.

He founded Chris Brasher's Sporting Emporium in 1971; this later became Sweatshop. [5] In 1978, he designed the innovative Brasher Boot – a walking boot with the comfort of a running shoe. In their time these were amongst the best products, but declined in quality, were merged with Berghaus under Pentland ownership in 2014, and were finally discontinued before 2017. [6]

In 1981 John Disley and Brasher founded the London Marathon. [7] In 1983 he became the second president of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, an office which he held until 1987. [8]

Also in 1983 Brasher partnered with his longtime friend John Disley to found Fleetfoot Limited in Lancaster, England. Fleetfoot distributed The Brasher Boot and other sporting goods to retailers. Fleetfoot acquired the rights to be the UK distributor of Reebok and subsequently traded as Reebok UK before becoming a subsidiary of the Pentland Group in 1988. [9]

After the acquisition by Pentland, Brasher remained active in the company as chairman of the board. Reebok UK was sold to Reebok International in 1990 when Pentland Group sold its 55% ownership of Reebok United States and Reebok International.

Personal life and honours

Memorial in St Peter's Church, Petersham St Peter's Church, Petersham, Chris Brasher memorial.jpg
Memorial in St Peter's Church, Petersham

Brasher married the English tennis champion Shirley Bloomer in 1959. [10]

Brasher was awarded the CBE in 1996. He was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Livingstone Medal in 2002. [11]

In 2003, he died at his home in Chaddleworth, Berkshire, after struggling for several months against pancreatic cancer. [12]

Related Research Articles

London Marathon Annual race held in London, UK

The London Marathon is an annual marathon held in London, United Kingdom. Founded by athletes Chris Brasher and John Disley in 1981, it is typically held in April but has moved to October for 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The largely flat course is set around the River Thames, starting in Blackheath and finishing at The Mall. Hugh Brasher is the current Race Director and Nick Bitel its Chief Executive.

Roger Bannister English athlete who ran the first sub-4-minute mile

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister was an English neurologist and middle-distance athlete who ran the first sub-4-minute mile.

Horace Ashenfelter American athlete

Horace Ashenfelter III was an American athlete. He competed in international athletics from 1947 to 1956. During his career he won fifteen national AAU titles and three collegiate national titles.

Volmari Iso-Hollo Athletics competitor

Volmari "Vomma" Fritijof Iso-Hollo was a Finnish runner. He competed at the 1932 and 1936 Olympics in the 3000 m steeplechase and 10000 m and won two gold, one silver and one bronze medals. Iso-Hollo was one of the last "Flying Finns", who dominated distance running between the World Wars.

David Hemery British hurdler

David Peter Hemery, is a British former track and field athlete, best known as the winner of the 400 metres hurdles at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Eric Shirley ran the 3,000 metres steeplechase final at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia for Great Britain with team mates Chris Brasher and John Disley, coming in 8th with a time of 8.57. He also competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome Italy. He was a member of Finchley Harriers. In 1966, this club was amalgamated into Hillingdon Athletic Club.

Reading Half Marathon Half marathon road running event held on the streets of the English town of Reading

The Reading Half Marathon is a half marathon road running event held on the streets of the English town of Reading, first held in 1983. The race is normally held on a Sunday in March or early April of each year. The race is open to everyone from fun runner to elite athlete, and was one of the first town races to include wheelchair athletes.

Ranelagh Harriers is a road running and cross-country club based in Petersham, Richmond, south-west London, England. The headquarters are its clubhouse, which is behind The Dysart restaurant and right next to Richmond Park, allowing plenty of opportunity for off-road running. Ranelagh athletes compete in many events from the 5k to ultramarathons on a variety of terrains, and in the Surrey Road League and the Surrey Cross Country League.

Pentland Group British company formed 1981

Pentland Group is a British privately owned global company that owns and invests in, primarily, retail and wholesale businesses in the sports, outdoor and sports fashion sectors. The Group is the majority shareholder of JD Sports, which operates 2,420 stores across 19 territories. The Group owns Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura, Boxfresh, Ellesse, Red or Dead, SeaVees and Mitre. It’s also the UK footwear licensee for Kickers and has a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear. The Group also holds interests directly and indirectly, through fund managers, in activities and businesses operating in sectors outside of its core trading activities, to provide the Group with an element of diversification.

John Ivor Disley CBE was a Welsh athlete. He competed mainly in the 3000 metres steeplechase before co-founding the London Marathon and becoming active in sports promotion and administration. He was born in Corris, a village in Gwynedd and attended Oswestry Boys High School in Oswestry before studying at Loughborough College.

Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova Russian long-distance runner

Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova is a Russian runner. She is a former specialist in the 3000 metres steeplechase, and won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She later moved up to marathon and won the Olympic bronze medal in that event at the 2012 London Games.

Roger Bannister running track Athletics running track and stadium in Oxford, England

The Roger Bannister running track, also known as the Oxford University track, is a 400-metres athletics running track and stadium in Oxford, England. It was where Sir Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile on 6 May 1954, when it was known as the Iffley Road track. The track is owned and operated by the University of Oxford.

British Orienteering Federation

The British Orienteering Federation Limited, generally known and branded as British Orienteering, is the national sports governing body for the sport of orienteering in the United Kingdom.

Jan Alvar Kjellström was a Swedish orienteer who played an important role in the development of the sport of orienteering in Great Britain.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to running:

The running boom of the 1970s occurred in high- and middle-income countries. It was particularly pronounced in the United States and occurred in other countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and in Europe.

Robert Stephen Rubin, is a British billionaire businessman. He is the chairman, and co-owner of Pentland Group, the holding company for a number of sporting goods companies, based in Finchley, north London. As of May 2021, his net worth was estimated at £6.4 billion.

John Andrew Holden was an English long distance runner whose athletic career peaked in the 1970s. His strongest event was the 3000 m steeplechase, a discipline at which he represented his country in the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Sweatshop is a chain of running equipment shops in the United Kingdom with 12 branches and an online shop. It was founded by runner Chris Brasher in 1971, with the first shop in Teddington. Its original name was Chris Brasher's Sporting Emporium, and changed to Sweatshop in 1978. In 2014 Sports Direct became a major share holder.

John William Bryant was a British journalist with interests in marathons. He was the editor of The Daily Telegraph from 2005 to 2007, and also served as editor of The European, editor of The Sunday Correspondent, deputy editor of The Times and executive editor of the Daily Mail. He helped establish the London Marathon, with Chris Brasher.


  1. John Ezard (1 March 2003). "Athletics world mourns the man behind the London marathon". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  2. David Walsh (2000). "Great British Olympians:Chris Brasher". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2007.
  3. Bryant, John (2012). "Chris Brasher, The Man Who Made The London Marathon". London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 104.
  4. "History of British Orienteering". Archived from the original on 10 April 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  5. Sweatshop. "Sweatshop – About Us". Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2008.
  6. Brasher Boot Co. "About Us". Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  7. Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Track & Field (Men): 3000-Meter Steeplechase". London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 170.
  8. "AIMS Executives". Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  9. "Home".
  10. "Sports Stars Go To Altar 1959". British Pathé. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  11. "RSGS - Royal Scottish Geographical Society". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-29.
  12. BBC Sport (28 February 2003). "Marathon founder Brasher dies". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2007.