Tom Hulatt

Last updated

Tom Hulatt
Tom Hulatt athlete.jpg
Derbyshire champion
Personal information
Born(1930-09-07)7 September 1930
Derbyshire, England
Died21 May 1990(1990-05-21) (aged 59)
Event(s) 1 mile

William Thomas "Tom" Hulatt (7 September 1930 – 21 May 1990) 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.



The Tom Hulatt Mile Plaque - - 324663.jpg
The Tom Hulatt Mile

Hulatt was born in Tibshelf, Derbyshire, and after leaving school he joined the army but bought himself out. [1] He worked as a miner at Williamthorpe Colliery and he would run five miles there and back each day. [2] He also worked as a council rat catcher and in his spare time he ran for Alfreton Athletics Club, [1] Chesterfield Harriers, Hallamshire Harriers, and London Polytechnic. [2] He was the Derbyshire and Northern Counties One Mile Champion in 1953 and 1954. [1]

The four-minute mile

The historic four-minute mile event took place during a meet between British AAA and Oxford University at Iffley Road Track in Oxford and was watched by about 3,000 spectators. Bannister's time was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds and Hulatt recorded a time of 4 minutes and 16 seconds. Hulatt ran in the same AAA team as Bannister, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher but Chataway and Brasher were pacing Bannister in order to help Bannister break the record. [3] Hulatt was told before the race by Bannister to run his own race and he was not involved in the pacing. [3] Hulatt was not interviewed after the race and he returned home with his brother [4] with a programme signed by Bannister, Chataway and Brasher. [3]

Hulatt suffered an Achilles tendon injury in 1960, and in his later years he did some coaching, but only ran at the annual Tibshelf Horticultural Show. He died aged 59 and was buried in the grounds of St. John the Baptist Church, Tibshelf. On the fiftieth anniversary of his run, a one mile stretch of the Five Pits Trail was designed as the 'Tom Hulatt Mile' [1] identified by two marker stones, with inscribed plaques, in coal measures sandstone donated by the National Trust. [3] [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

Four-minute mile Completion of a mile race in under 4 minutes

A four-minute mile is the completion of a mile run (1.6 km) in four minutes or less. It was first achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister, at age 25, in 3:59.4. The "four-minute barrier" has since been broken by over 1,400 male athletes, and is now the standard of all male professional middle distance runners in cultures that use Imperial units. In the 65 years since, the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds, and currently stands at 3:43.13, by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, at age 24, in 1999. Running a mile in four minutes translates to a speed of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h).

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.

Chris Brasher

Christopher William Brasher CBE was a British track and field athlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon.

Christopher Chataway

Sir Christopher John Chataway was a British middle- and long-distance runner, television news broadcaster, and Conservative politician.

Daniel Kipngetich Komen is a Kenyan middle- and long-distance runner. Remembered for his rivalry with Haile Gebrselassie, Komen's most notable achievements came in a two-year period between 1996 and 1998, during which he broke a string of world records.

George Derek Ibbotson was an English runner who excelled in athletics in the 1950s. His most famous achievement was setting a new world record in the mile in 1957.

Pacemaker (running)

A pacemaker or pacesetter, sometimes informally called a rabbit, is a runner who leads a middle- or long-distance running event for the first section to ensure a fast time and avoid excessive tactical racing. Pacemakers are frequently employed by race organisers for world record attempts with specific instructions for lap times. Some athletes have essentially become professional pacemakers. A competitor who chooses the tactic of leading in order to win is called a front-runner rather than a pacemaker.

Tibshelf Human settlement in England

Tibshelf is a village and civil parish in Derbyshire, England. It is in the Bolsover district of the county. Its population at the 2001 UK census was 3,548, increasing to 3,787 at the 2011 Census. Tibshelf shares its boundaries with the villages of Morton, Pilsley, Newton, Teversal and Hardstoft.

George William Nankeville was a British middle distance athlete who won the AAA mile title four times in five years between 1948 and 1952 and ran a best recorded time of 4:08.8 in 1949. He was born in Guildford, Surrey.

Mile run

The mile run is a middle-distance foot race.

Gordon Pirie English long-distance runner

Douglas Alistair Gordon Pirie was an English long-distance runner. He competed in the 5000 m and 10,000 m events at the 1952, 1956 and 1960 Olympics and won a silver medal in the 5000 m in 1956, placing fourth in 1952. Born in Leeds, Pirie grew up in Coulsdon, Surrey, and ran for the South London Harriers. He died of cholangiocarcinoma in Lymington, Hampshire.

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.

Brian Hewson British middle-distance runner

Brian Stanford Hewson is a retired middle-distance runner, who represented Great Britain at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics. He won the gold medal in the 1500 metres at the 1958 European Championships.

Five Pits Trail

The Five Pits Trail is a rail trail in Derbyshire, England. It consists of a network of surfaced walkways for recreational use. The approximately 5.5-mile-long (8.9 km) trail links Grassmoor to Tibshelf. The Trail can be extended to 7.5 miles (12.1 km) by continuing along the route to Williamthorpe Ponds and Holmewood. Derbyshire County Council created the Five Pits Trail in 1989, following the route of the former Great Central Railway which served the five main coal mines of Grassmoor, Williamthorpe, Holmewood, Pilsley and Tibshelf.

Franz Ferdinand Leopold Stampfl MBE was one of the world's leading athletics coaches in the twentieth century. He pioneered a scientific system of Interval Training which became very popular with sprint and middle distance athletes.

Diane Leather Charles was an English athlete who was the first woman to run a sub-5-minute mile.

Athletics at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games

At the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games, the athletics events were held at Empire Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in July and August 1954. A total of 29 athletics events were contested at the Games, 20 by men and 9 by women. A total of twenty-four Games records were set or improved over the competition, leaving just five previous best marks untouched. The 1954 edition saw the introduction of the shot put and discus throw for women, as well as the first 4×110 yards relay for women.

Emsley Carr Mile

The Emsley Carr Mile is an annual invitational athletics running event held in the United Kingdom over one mile for men. The race has been part of the London Grand Prix since 2008, and was won in 2017 by the Scottish athlete Jake Wightman.

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.

Kenneth Wood was a British middle-distance runner. He ran one of the early Four-minute mile runs and represented Great Britain at the 1956 Summer Olympics.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Tom strikes into Hall of Fame, Derbyshire Times, 2012, retrieved 27 April 2014
  2. 1 2 Tom Hulatt Derby Heritage Archived 27 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine , Tibshelf Parish Council, Retrieved 1 May 2014
  3. 1 2 3 4 How running has changed since the 4 minute mile by Mary Beard at BBC News. Retrieved 27 April 2014
  4. 1 2 Tom Hulatt at Derbyshire Heritage, Derbyshire Heritage, Retrieved 27 April 2014
  5. Platts, John. "The First Four Minute Mile with Tom Hulatt". platty at North Wingfield. John Platts. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2014.