Chris Brasher

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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 was married to tennis champion Shirley Brasher née Bloomer.

Brasher was awarded the CBE in 1996. He was awarded the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Livingstone Medal in 2002. [10]

In 2003, he died at his home in Chaddleworth, Berkshire, after struggling for several months against pancreatic cancer. [11]

Related Research Articles

London Marathon

The London Marathon is an annual marathon event held in London, United Kingdom. Founded by athletes Chris Brasher and John Disley in 1981, it is typically held in April. 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 British athlete who ran the first sub-4-minute mile

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

Elizabeth McColgan-Nuttall is a British former middle-distance and long-distance track and road-running athlete. She won the gold medal for the 10,000 metres at the 1991 World Championships, and a silver medal over the same distance at the 1988 Olympic Games. She was also a two-time gold medallist over the distance at the Commonwealth Games, as well as winning the 1992 World Half Marathon Championships, 1991 New York City Marathon, 1992 Tokyo Marathon and 1996 London Marathon. Her 10,000 metres best of 30:57.07 set in 1991, made her only the third woman in history to run the distance in under 31 minutes. Both that time and her marathon best of 2:26:52 in 1997, still stand as Scottish records.

Horace Ashenfelter

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

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David Peter Hemery, is a British former track and field athlete, 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.

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.

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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 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.

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Scott Overall British athlete

Scott Overall is a British athlete who runs for the Blackheath & Bromley running club. Scott was officially named part of the 2012 GB Olympic team on 5 December 2011 after achieving "A-Standard" at the Berlin marathon. He finished 61st in the London Olympic Marathon of 2012 in a time of 2:22:37

Robert Stephen Rubin, is a British 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.

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.

Tom Hulatt

William Thomas "Tom" Hulatt was an English athlete notable for finishing third behind Sir Christopher Chataway in the historic race in which Sir Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile on 6 May 1954. He was from a working-class family and the only runner in the race who was not a university student.

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.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. BBC Sport (28 February 2003). "Marathon founder Brasher dies". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2007.