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Chris Brasher

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Title: Chris Brasher  
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Subject: Christopher Chataway, Roger Bannister, List of orienteers, Orienteering innovators, Cambridge University Hare and Hounds
Collection: 1928 Births, 2003 Deaths, Alumni of St John's College, Cambridge, Athletes (Track and Field) at the 1956 Summer Olympics, British Male Athletes, British Middle-Distance Runners, British Newspaper Editors, British Sportswriters, British Steeplechase Runners, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, English Athletes, English Journalists, English Male Journalists, English Middle-Distance Runners, English Olympic Medallists, English People of Guyanese Descent, English Sportsmen, English Steeplechase Runners, Male Middle-Distance Runners, Male Steeplechase Runners, Olympic Athletes of Great Britain, Olympic Gold Medallists for Great Britain, Olympic Medalists in Athletics (Track and Field), Orienteering in the United Kingdom, Orienteering Innovators, People from Chaddleworth, People from Georgetown, Guyana
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Chris Brasher

Christopher William Brasher
Personal information
Born (1928-08-21)21 August 1928
Georgetown, Guyana
Died 28 February 2003(2003-02-28) (aged 74)
Chaddleworth, Berkshire, England
Occupation athlete, 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]


Born in Rugby School and later a graduate of St John's College, Cambridge.

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]

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'..."[3]

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

In 1971 he founded Chris Brasher's Sporting Emporium which later became Sweatshop.[4] 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 but recently there have been product quality issues.[5]

In 1981 Brasher founded the London Marathon.[6] In 1983 he became the second president of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, an office which he held until 1987.[7]

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 Pentland Industries in 1988.[8] 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 USA and Reebok International.

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.[9]

In 2003, he died at his home in Chaddleworth, Berkshire, after struggling for several months against pancreatic cancer.[10][11]


  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. Retrieved 23 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "History of British Orienteering". Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  4. ^ Sweatshop. "Sweatshop – About Us". Retrieved 12 August 2008. 
  5. ^ Brasher Boot Co. "About Us". Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  6. ^ Wallechinsky, David and Jaime Loucky (2008). "Track & Field (Men): 3000-Meter Steeplechase". London: Aurum Press, Limited. p. 170.
  7. ^ "AIMS Executives". Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Retrieved 29 June 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ BBC Sport (28 February 2003). "Marathon founder Brasher dies". BBC News. Retrieved 22 April 2007. 
  11. ^ Wooldridge, Ian. "Farewell Chris, you gave us gold, and your fighting spirit". Mail Online. Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-10-29. Chris, at 74, died of incurable pancreatic cancer and I'll tell you the measure of his courage by informing you what he did last Saturday afternoon, knowing he had only a few days to live. 
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