London, England (UW) - This history of the historic London to
Brighton Race was published originally by the Road Runners Club of Britain and
has been updated for Ultramarathon World by Andy Milroy,
international ultra statistician, and the Road Runners Club, and Ian Champion,
Race Director for the Brighton and its historian.
The London to Brighton running race, organised by the
Road Runners Club, has a unique position in the world of athletics. Arguably
it has the longest history of any ultra marathon event, and possibly of any
road race in the world. Many epic feats of long distance running have been
performed in this race, on the most sporting road in Britain, the famous
This article aims to give a concise history of the race
up to and including 1998. The fame that the Brighton has created for itself
attracts competitors from many countries; it has pioneered ultra-distance
running world wide, and for many years from the 1960s until the 1980s it was
the premier ultramarathon in the world -- effectively the Ultra Distance World
Championships. Those days may be passed, but the Brighton still has a unique
and unrivalled place in world ultrarunning.
Every man and woman who finishes the Brighton race may
be justly proud of the achievement. It is not an easy race; the Brighton road
is not flat, the hills are mostly on the second half of the route where
competitors may also face a headwind.
The distance of the race has varied significantly, owing
to road construction, and re-routing to avoid increasing traffic. The start at
Big Ben, Westminster, and the finish at the Aquarium in Brighton, have
remained unchanged throughout. The distance is now 55 miles/88.514km. Entries
are vetted and qualifying standards set to ensure that, as far as possible,
all competitors have the capability of finishing within the time limit.
The size of the field did not alter appreciably during
the first twenty years of the race, averaging a round fifty, three quarters of
whom reached Brighton within the 8 hours 15 minutes time limit. The field
doubled in the following ten years, reaching one hundred for the first time in
1974, the largest entry being 191 in 1989..
The R.R.C. is proud that it financed the race from entry
fees and its own resources for the first quarter century of the event.
However, owing to escalating costs, it has become more than grateful for
sponsorship. The R.R.C. is also grateful to the Mayor and Corporation of
Brighton for their continued support, and to the many individuals and clubs
along the route who help with the organization.
Early feats of pedestrianism on the Brighton Road
The popularity of Brighton as a spa town began in
1754 when Dr. Russell took residence there and made sea bathing popular. The
Prince of Wales frequently visited the town in the 1780s. In July 1803 a
Captain Robertson walked from Brighton to London and back in 45 hours , and
repeated the feat in November of that year, covering the first 53 miles from
Brighton to Westminster Bridge in 14 hours. The following year another
pedestrian, John Bell, went from Hammersmith in London to Brighton by a
somewhat longer route in 13:00:45 to become first recorded person to contest
the London to Brighton.
Improvements in the road meant that by December 1825 a
run of 9:50 from Brighton to London by a pedestrian called Tomlinson was
possible. One of the first recorded races on the Brighton Road was on January
30th, 1837, when two professional runners, John Townsend and Jack Berry, set
off from the Elephant and Castle in London, about a mile from the start of the
present London to Brighton races.
Townsend was 45 and known as "The Veteran". He
entered Brighton in triumph, having covered the distance in 8 hours 37
minutes, but Berry was forced to ride for the final four miles. Fourteen years
before, Townsend had made the journey of 396 miles from London to York and
back in 5 days, 14 hours, 50 minutes, some 25 minutes faster than the great
Foster Powell in 1773.
The next recorded feat of pedestrianism was another
double journey, from London to Brighton and back. Benjamin Trench, late of
Oxford University, was reported to have walked from Kennington Church to
Brighton and back in 23 hours for a heavy wager in 1868. Four years later, the
Amateur Bicycle Club promoted a cycle race, which was won in 5 hours, 25
minutes; slower than the existing running record.
The era of carefully controlled and authenticated
performances may be said to have commenced in 1897 with the Polytechnic
Harriers London to Brighton walk. The race was won by E. Knott in 8 hours, 56
minutes, 44 seconds. The start was at the Polytechnic in Regent Street,
although the times were also taken at Big Ben.
F. D. Randall - 1899
The first amateur running event was a
go-as-you-please contest organised by South London Harriers in 1899, which
started from Big Ben soon after 7 a.m. on May 6. The winner, F.D. Randall of
Finchley Harriers, ran the distance in 6 hours 58 mins. 18 secs., with Saward
second in 7:17:50 and Pool third in 7:31:53. On the strength of this run,
these three runners were selected to compete for Great Britain in the 1900
The Evening News promoted a similar event in
1903, this time open to professionals. The field of 90 sped on their way at 5
a.m. The winner was Len Hurst, probably the leading professional distance
runner of the period, in 6 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds.
Twenty-one years elapsed before a runner again assailed
the London to Brighton journey. Arthur Newton, an Englishman who had emigrated
to South Africa, and was 41 years old, returned to England to attack the
record. This he did in two solo runs, the first taking 6 hours, 11 minutes and
4 seconds., and the second, five weeks later in 5:53:43.
These performances were quite outstanding at the time,
beating handsomely all amateur and professional records around 50 miles.
Newton reached the marathon mark in 2 hours, 43 minites, which was only 1 ½
minutes slower than the winner's time in the Olympic marathon of that year,
and some nine minutes faster than the first Englishman in that race, great Sam
Ferris., who had finished fifth.
Joe Binks the organiser said: "I helped Newton
on with his coat and then out came the inevitable pipe. Newton was no more
distressed than if he had just strolled along the front."
In 1937 the News of the World sponsored an
international London to Brighton race, and the leading South African
ultrarunner, Hardy Ballington, was invited to compete. Also in the field was
Norman Dack, one of Canada's leading marathon performers. Ballington succeeded
in just clipping Newton's time for the event, despite the very difficult
conditions, with Dack finishing second.
Arthur Newton had been the driving force behind the 1937
race, and indeed, he was the inspiration behind the present R.R.C. running
race because it was he who aroused interest in running to Brighton amongst his
athletic friends, notably Lew Piper and Charles Busby of Blackheath Harriers.
The first amateur running races 1951-1959
The possibility of emulating the feats of Hurst,
Newton and Ballington on the Brighton Road by the establishment of a race, did
not become a reality until it reached the ears of Ernest Neville, who had
spent a lifetime organising walking races on the Brighton Road. The first open
amateur running race was held in 1951, and proved an outstanding success. The
promoting club was the Surbiton Town Sports Club and the organiser was Ernest
The winner was Lewis Piper of Blackheath Harriers, who
took the lead four miles from the Aquarium. Thirty-two of the forty-seven
starters, who had left Big Ben on this historic occasion, reached the
Aquarium, having fought their way through wind and rain.
The Mayor of Brighton presented the prizes in the Royal
Pavilion, while the considerable expense of organising such a race was borne
by the then existing News Chronicle as part of the Festival of Britain
celebrations. It had been shown that this race, over twice the marathon
distance, was within the capabilities of the average marathon runner, the
amateur to whom athletics was a pastime only. This may appear strange today,
but the competitors who started across Westminster Bridge in 1951 were
exploring territory unknown to them.
It must have given Ernest Neville considerable
satisfaction, before he died in 1972, to see how the London to Brighton race
flourished and became the goal of ultra-long distance runners from all over
Arthur Newton predicted that the Brighton record
would soon be beaten, and this came sooner than many thought. Indeed it was
Newton, at the Brighton race the following year, who told Derek Reynolds, at
the top of Dale Hill, that the record was within his grasp.
The R.R.C. had been formed in the meantime and became
responsible for the promotion of the race as an annual event. The organisation
was again undertaken by Ernest Neville. The Brighton race was now established
in the long distance calendar, with both individual and team awards.
It was not long before the leading long distance runners
of South Africa, men inured to the rigours of the 54-mile Comrades Marathon,
came over to the Brighton. Indeed next year, 1953, the major honours were
taken by a team from the Germiston Callies Club of Johannesburg. Wally
Hayward, the best 50-mile runner in the world, won the race in under 5 ½
hours, thus reducing the best performance by 23 minutes. The entry of South
Africans in subsequent years added much interest to the race and also involved
them in considerable expense.
The popular Bill Kelly from the Isle of Man was the
first to reach the Aquarium next year with Tom Richards second and Franz Mare
from Johannesburg third. Jackie Goldie, a young runner who came over with
Mare, had the supreme mortification of being unable to start owing to
mysterious leg trouble, which the best medical attention was unable to remedy.
Tom Richards had, in the meantime, got ideas about
the Brighton best performance and in 1955, he and Kelly ran stride for stride
to beyond Crawley until Tom forged ahead up the long hill to Handcross.
Richards caused great jubilation by reducing the best performance by 2 minutes
16seconds. Ron Hopcroft was third and Tom Ryan of the U.S.A, fifth. Ryan was
the first US runner to compete in the Brighton. He subsequently set a US
record for the Hour.
Hopcroft beat Richards next year and the race was
notable in that there were no fewer than 45 starters, including 60 year old
Ernie Simmons, who gained a second class standard. The best performance for
the race was lowered again the following year by Gerald Walsh of Durban. Walsh
ran at a great pace, maintaining six-minute miles, until the South Downs were
in sight. He crossed the finishing line 5 hours, 26 minutes, 20 seconds after
leaving Big Ben, the road having been lengthened by 182 yards by the extension
of Gatwick Airport.
Ernest Neville had handed over the task of organising
the race to Arthur Whitehead, which was subsequently taken on by Peter Tharby
for a number of years, and then by members of the R.R.C. Council, John Dixon
for nineteen years, and most recently by Ian Champion.
Young Mike Kirkwood won the 1958 race from more
experienced opponents and he made it look easy. 1959 was marked by a visit
from another South African club. The Durban Athletic Club raised a special
fund to enter a team. Fritz Madel was the individual winner. Frikkie Steyn was
third, Gerald Walsh was fifth with Trevor Allan and Nick Raubenheimer
following. It was a very interesting race with Don Turner moving up fast
towards the end and finishing less than three minutes behind the winner.
1960 - 1970
The 1960 race was memorable for the high level of
performance amongst the leading competitors. Jackie Mekler created a new best
performance for the race of 5 hours, 25 minutes, 56 seconds. He took the lead
at eight miles and was never headed; his intermediate times fluctuated inside
and outside those of Walsh, eventually finishing 24 seconds to the good. The
first eight men were inside 6 hours, and 18 gained first class standards.
Thames Valley Harriers with Eddie Elderfield, Harry Dennis and Reg Minchington
beat Germiston Callies of South Africa for the team award.
John Smith came to the fore in winning the 1961 race
after several years of steady build-up and the result was of special
significance as the first three, together with Ron Linstead, were sent next
year by the R.R.C. to compete in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. This
they did with considerable distinction, taking four of the first five places.
Smith won the Brighton on his return from South Africa
and thus became the first man to win the race on more than one occasion. Ted
Corbitt, representing the R.R.C. - U.S.A. was fourth on the first of his five
appearances in the London to Brighton race.
Smith did not compete in 1963 and a new name appeared on
the scene. Bernard Gomersall was the winner. The winning margins were small,
just over two minutes covered the first three individuals, and one point
decided the team race.
Gomersall won again in 1964 with Ted Corbitt less
than a minute behind. No fewer than 10 teams were entered, Tipton Harriers
beating Millrose (New York) and Germiston Callies of South Africa. Sixty-two
runners were entered, the best so far. A fund was raised to send Bernard
Gomersall to South Africa where he won the 1965 Comrades.
Gomersall continued his reign in 1965, winning for the
third time with Corbitt again second. Cheltenham and County Harriers defeated
bigger clubs in the team race.
In 1966 Gomersall won the Brighton for the fourth
consecutive time against strong opposition from overseas. This outstanding
achievement was crowned by his best time of 5:32:50. J. Kuhn of Savages A.C.
(Durban) and T. Malone (Germiston Sports) were second and third. Seventy
seconds covered the first three in what might be described as a record
Brighton, there being 70 starters, of whom 56 finished, eight being from
either South Africa or U.S.A.
Mani Kuhn, who had won the Comrades Marathon four months
previously, was the favourite for the 1967 race but retired after an
unfortunate accident at 33 miles. While running with Alcorn (New Zealand) and
Gomersall, he stumbled on a stone, and in falling to avoid the other two, hit
a concrete post at the side of the road. Tarrant, who was leading at the time,
maintained his lead to win from Roger Alcorn. Gomersall, who had not taken his
training so seriously, was third. A special fund had been raised in New
Zealand to send Alcorn over. Tipton Harriers, now the leading club team in the
ultra-distances, won the Brighton for the second time, starting a run of five
wins in eight years. The race was held for the first time on a Sunday, when,
at that time, traffic was considerably lighter than a Saturday.
In 1968 John Tarrant returned to the race and retained
his title, leading from the start, with G.R. Baker from South Africa second
and Gomersall again third. Tipton were defeated by Thames Valley Harriers but
were to regain the team award the following year.
In 1969 Brighton witnessed a determined attempt on
the best performance by Dave Bagshaw, an English immigrant to South Africa.
Bagshaw had broken the Comrades record on the Down course that year, and he
was accompanied by Dave Box, another expatriate Englishman, who had finished
second to Bagshaw in the Comrades.
Dave Bagshaw shook off Tarrant soon after Redhill, and
reached Crawley in 2:55:54. He still had five minutes in hand on the record at
Bolney, but fatigue set in over the last gruelling miles. He won the race in
the fast time of 5:28:53, some three minutes outside Mekler's best performance
for the race made nine years before. Ted Corbitt was second in his fastest
time, although he was now approaching 50 years, while Phil Hampton, the
Polytechnic Marathon winner was third. There were sixty-four starters, seven
of whom finished inside 6 hours.
John Clare won the 1970 Brighton on his first appearance
in the race on a rather warm day for the end of September. Tipton Harriers,
who had built up a strong team which had competed with consistent success in
the ultradistance races for several years, wiped out all opposition. Four of
their competitors followed Clare home; G. Johnson, J. Malpass, A. Burkitt and
R. Bentley were covered by only seven minutes thirty-five seconds at the
1971 - 1980
In 1971 there was a record overseas entry of 22, one
of whom, Dave Levick, won the race, breaking Jackie Mekler's race best, which
had stood for ten years. His margin was more than four minutes. Tipton won the
team race, as Witwatersrand University, which placed three runners among the
first four finishers, was deemed ineligible by recent alterations in I.A.A.F.
rules. A special award was made to Witwatersrand.
Hitherto top class marathon runners had not tackled the
Brighton. It was thought that such athletes were quite capable of making a
considerable dent in the existing best time for the race, and this proved to
be the case in 1972. Alastair Wood, in winning the race, knocked more than 10
minutes off Levick's best performance for the race. Mick Orton in second place
also broke the previous best time. Tipton took the team race for the third
The Mayor of Brighton presented Ernest Neville with a
special plaque in recognition of his seventy years association with the
Brighton Road. The advent of 6-minute miles the whole way was repeated in
1973, when Joe Keating, who the previous April had set a world best
performance on the track for 40miles, won a well paced race only 28 seconds
outside Wood's time.
Cavin Woodward, in second place, ran the third fastest
Brighton time thus far. Max White, who was the first official representative
from the U.S.A., was fourth. [Tom Ryan had been the first American to contest
the Brighton in 1955.] Germiston Callies won the team race and Ron Bentley the
veterans award. A month later, he was to set a world's best for 24-hours. John
Dixon was the race organiser for the first time, a task he undertook for many
In 1974, the closest finish in the 30-year history
of the race occurred. John Newsome managed to hold off a fast finishing Cavin
Woodward, with only six seconds separating the two after nearly 53 miles of
running. In the team race Tipton beat Leamington by one point.
In 1975 Woodward blasted away in characteristic style to
lead from start to finish, recording a time only 65 seconds outside the race's
best ever time. The number of starters exceeded a hundred for the first time,
and ten clubs finished teams. There was a record entry from South Africa, with
Spring Striders and Vaal A.C. taking first and third places, while two other
South African teams closed in.
This was to be the last appearance of the South Africans
in the Brighton for many years, as a consequence of the suspension of South
Africa by the I.A.A.F. There is no doubt that with their tradition and
experience in the Comrades Marathon, they had played an important role in the
development of the London to Brighton race, and had, indeed, produced six
winners. Derek Funnell won the veterans award for the fourth time.
Next year there was a large entry from the U.S.A., and
for the first time from Finland. The winner was Tom O'Reilly, who overtook
Orton on entering Brighton. Millrose A.C. won the team race, and the American
presence was also evident when a 62-year-old runner, Dr. Logan of Arizona,
finished within the time limit.
In 1977 there was again a good overseas entry,
including a team from Rhodesia. Tom Reynolds, Chief Timekeeper at every
Brighton, missed this race, as he officiated at the Lugano Trophy World
Walking Championship on the same day.
Don Ritchie, who was to rewrite the record book from 50
kilometres to 100 miles on the track, won a well judged race, overtaking Rob
Heron on the notorious Dale Hill, before the descent from the South Downs into
Brighton. Torrential rain at times added to the troubles of the competitors.
South London Harriers won the team race for the first time.
A keen contest was anticipated in 1978 from a number of
the best ultradistance men entered. Don Ritchie again paced himself admirably,
and had taken the lead from Woodward by Bolney. The race was rerouted through
Crawley because of the closure of the pedestrian tunnel at the level crossing,
thus adding extra distance. Had Ritchie run over the previous year's route, he
would have broken Wood's best time for the race by about 1 ½ minutes.
In 1979, a record 140 set off across Westminster Bridge,
including several from abroad. Three women ran unofficially, with Leslie
Watson reaching the Aquarium in 6:55:11. Ritchie retired with cramps, leaving
Heron in the lead, but he was overtaken by Allan Kirik of New York, again on
the stretch to Dale Hill. Kirik became the first American to win the Brighton.
Martin Daykin was a surprise second with his club, Gloucester, winning the
team race. At 54 miles, 460 yards, this was the longest Brighton to that date.
First women's race
There was an excellent entry in 1980, including a
women's race for the first time, won by Leslie Watson in 6:56:10. Ian
Thompson, A.A.A., Commonwealth and European marathon champion, showed his
class by winning at a record pace. Allan Kirik tried hard to retain his title,
and although he ran 10 minutes faster than the previous year, could not hold
Thompson, who was leading at Crawley. However, there was some compensation
when his club, Central Park T.C., was the first team home.
1981 - 1983
The 1981 race, which attracted a record entry of
175, reverted to a distance of 53 miles, 856 yards. In the previous two years,
a diversion from the A23 owing to road construction at Gatwick, had added an
extra 1366 yards.
Bruce Fordyce of Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg,
a British passport holder who had won the Comrades Marathon earlier in the
year, was the winner over Mark Pickard and A.J. Roper. Fordyce bided his time,
but was a clear leader at Pyecombe, the highest point crossing the South
Downs. The race organiser was faced with the problem of finding new facilities
in Brighton for the competitors. The Aquarium baths, a few yards from the
finish, a happy haven which had provided for the needs of the weary runners
for 30 years, had been closed down.
Fordyce returned the following year and stamped his
authority on the race earlier than in 1981. He led by over a minute at Crawley
to win by the largest margin ever of 24 minutes, 37 seconds. Two other South
African based Britons took second and third places. Ann Franklin finished in
just over 7 hours on a very windy day.
Bruce Fordyce won the 1983 Brighton in the outstanding
time of 5:12:32, only a minute outside the best time for the race, thus
achieving the double of the Comrades and Brighton for three consecutive years.
His remarkable career continued with a total of nine Comrades wins.
Graeme Fraser was again second and Don Ritchie, who had
contested the lead before Crawley, was third. The race was notable for the
high standard of performances. Fourteen finished within six hours, and Fordyce
was credited with a world best road performance of 4:50:21 for 50 miles. Ann
Franklin recorded 6:37:08, eighteen minutes less than the previous best time
by a woman.
The new route 1984-1990
Ever increasing traffic over the years had made
problems of road safety very evident. In 1984, therefore, the race was
re-routed on a course which reduced by half the distance run on the busy
Brighton main road.
The first diversion leaves the A23 at Coulsdon to rejoin
the main road some four miles further on. The major re-routing now began at
Horley to avoid the urban industrial sprawl which has arisen round Gatwick and
Crawley since the race was first held. The new route on country roads led
through Balcombe and Cuckfield and skirted Burgess Hill. It was an attractive
alternative, albeit more hilly than the main road.
Peter Sugden led the 1984 race for 35 miles, but was
overtaken in the final stages by Barry Heath of the Royal Marines who won in
5:24:15. Don Ritchie was second in 5:28:27 and Sugden third in 5:29:21. The
entry of 186 included 27 from overseas. Eleven teams closed in, including one
from Rhodesia A.C., Zimbabwe
Re-routing the race had caused no difficulties and in
1985 was again well supported with 170 entries. Two Comrades men from South
Africa, Hoseah Tjale and Derrick Tivers , finished first and second, with
Peter Sugden third. Four women finished the race, with veteran American,
Sandra Kiddy, the winner, 36th overall. There was an official enquiry
concerning the South African entries into the race, but in the end no action
In 1986 the R.R.C. was again faced by an athlete from
South Africa, who was the first to arrive in Brighton, but was ruled
ineligible to compete, and was disqualified. The second placed runner, Terry
Tullett, was declared the winner. It was the first year that the town of
Brighton had produced the winner, which was the cause of much jubilation in
the local club. Of the official entrants, Tullett and second man Battye, alone
broke six hours. The first woman was Eleanor Adams whose time was only 5
minutes more than that of Ann Franklin on the marginally longer but less hilly
Peter Sugden made no mistake about winning the 1987
race. Veteran Don Mitchell had travelled from New Zealand for the Brighton as
the prize for winning the New Zealand l00km. Championship.
Brighton race day in 1988 was the wettest ever, and
this, together with strong winds, may have accounted for a winning time
outside six hours. Mark Pickard scored a popular win, lying back until the
closing stages. When the early leaders succumbed to the conditions, he came
through with a magnificent stretch of running crossing the South Downs. Hilary
Walker's performance for the day was remarkable, and she finished 23rd
The 1989 race was to be dominated by newcomers. Erik
Seedhouse took the men's race in 5:24:48, passing the 50 mile point in
5:04:18, with Greg Dell taking second place overtaking Mick McGeoch after 50
miles. Seedhouse's time was the second fastest over the new longer route
[53m495y/85.7km]. Hilary Walker retained the Northern Rock Trophy, only 42
seconds outside Eleanor Adams' best time for the new route.
1990 saw David Beattie emerge as the eventual winner on
his tenth run in the race. Second was the veteran Botswanan runner, Elias
Marope, only seconds ahead of Paul Taylor. The women's race was won yet again
by Hilary Walker, who finished 23rd overall
The longest Brighton - 1991-1998
The following year saw David Kelly, a 40-year-old
school master, win a cautious race over the longest Brighton course to date
[55 miles/88.5km]. The first runner over 60, John Legge, who had run the first
of the modern Brighton races 40 years before, said that it had been the
toughest race ever. The first woman was Carolyn Hunter-Rowe, in a race that
was to mark her entrance onto the international stage. A strong Russian
presence was led by Nail Bairamgalin, who finished seventh.
The 1992 Brighton was to be dominated by South African
Russell Crawford, who led for much of the race, only to be overtaken on the
Ditchling Deacon climb by the eventual winner, Stephen Moore. Moore's time was
a new course record for the new Brighton route. South African Darlene
Vermeulin faced stern opposition from Paula Bongers, but pulled away over the
The following year Crawford returned, and again led for
much of the race, but once again Ditchling Beacon proved the decisive part of
the course, and Moore came through again to win some four minutes ahead of
Crawford. Carolyn Hunter-Rowe ran a well controlled race to set a new women's
course record of 6:34:10, slipping under six hours for 50 miles en route.
South African Shaun Meiklejohn, fourth placed runner in
the 1994 World 100km Challenge, totally dominated the Brighton that year,
setting a new course record in 6:01:02, although Greg Dell did close to within
four minutes at forty miles. Jackie Leak made her Brighton debut and won in
7:06:22, finishing in 14th place overall.
The 1995 Brighton was to be won by the 24 year old
South African Sarel Ackerman in a course record and by the second largest
margin in the event's history. He was followed by South Africans in the next
five places; many of the top British runners had been on international duty at
the World 100km Challenge. The first woman was Lesley Turner , making her
Brighton debut, from Amanda Williams.
In 1996 Greg Dell led from early on, and was not headed,
finishing in the second fastest time yet achieved on the new, longer course,
well clear of Stephen Moore in second. Hilary Walker won the women's race,
completing her eighth Brighton finish.
Stephen Moore won his third Brighton in 1997, after the
early pace had been taken out by South Africans, Renier Steyn, Danny De
Chaumont and Clyde Marwick. Australian Carl Barker also came through to take
second place. The women's race was won by South African 100km international
Rae Bisschoff, who finished well ahead of Hilary Walker in 7:05:56.
With most of the top British runners competing in the
World Challenge in Japan in 1998, the South African visitors had little
opposition, finishing in the first five places. The first of these was Colin
Thomas who came through strongly in the later stages to win decisively in
6:02:17. Fellow South African Ina Sanders won the women's race in 7:02:26, in
12th place overall. Peter Sargeant, at the age of 69, became the oldest man
ever to finish the race within the time limit, and Christine Usher, the oldest
woman at 63.