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1954: Chataway beats 5,000m world record

Chris Chataway, the 23-year-old Oxford blue, has broken the 5,000 metres world record by five seconds in what has been described as one of the most remarkable races seen on a British track.

He beat European champion Vladimir Kuts after a nail-biting finish in the London v Moscow match at White City athletics stadium in West London.

His time was recorded as 13 mins 51.6 secs.

Kuts led the race nearly all the way but despite the furious pace Chataway stuck to him like a limpet, never more that a metre behind.

The first mile was covered in just 4 mins 24.4 secs, after which Kuts put in an extra burst of energy to get away from the other runners. But he couldn't shake off the Briton.

Thousands chant for Chataway

Seven weeks ago the two competed in the 5,000m in Berne at the European Championship. The Russian had won but Chataway had learned his tactics.

An ecstatic crowd, numbering around 40,000 and chanting "Chat-a-way", was joined by millions of TV viewers watching live via a Eurovision link-up.

Kuts finished the second mile in 8min 54.6sec as the tension mounted.

Then Chataway drew on his reserves of strength to beat the Russian in the last few strides.

Overall Moscow won the athletics match by a long margin - 103 points to 56 - but the event will no doubt be best remembered for this dramatic duel.

In Context
Vladimir Kuts won back the 5,000m record just 10 days later beating his Czech rival and triple Olympic gold medal winner Emil Zatopek.

It has since been broken by Moroccan runner Said Aouita in the 1980s and Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, the dominant long-distance runner of the 1990s.

Chris Chataway was one of Britain's finest middle-distance runners in the 1950s.

He was a member of the Olympic team in 1952 and then 1956.

In May 1954, he helped Roger Bannister break the four-minute mile before achieving his own world record in the 5,000 metres four months later.

By the end of the year he had become the first person to be awarded the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year.

In 1959 he entered parliament as a Conservative MP. He was made minister of posts and telecommunications (1970-1972) and minister for industrial development (1972-1974). He then left politics for a career in the City.

From 1991 to 1996 he was chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.

He was knighted in 1995.


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