Sydney Wooderson (1914 – 2006)


Sydney Wooderson was born 100 years ago on August 30. At 18 he became the first British schoolboy to break four and-a-half minutes for the mile. In 1937 he set a mile World record of 4:06.4 at London’s Motspur Park.

When he was 14, Roger Bannister saw his hero run at White City. He choose Motspur Park for what was to be an incredible time-trial, ten days before the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He did 1200 metres in 2:52.9, beating Arne Andersson’s unofficial World record by four seconds. It was evidence of why Bannister would become the world’s first sub four-minute miler two years later.

In 1969 I did my first English Schools Track & Field Championships at Motspur Park, finishing fourth in the 1500 metres.

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