On Jun 13, 1953, 63 years ago, Jim Peters who represented England ran a world record in the Marathon clocking in a time of 2:18.40.2. This was his second world record. He would later break the world record for the men’s marathon four times in the 1950s.
He won the Polytechnic Marathon three times and went to the Olympic Games on two occasions. His first Olympic appearance was in 1948 at London where he placed
8th in the 10k clocking in a time of 31:16. His second appearance was for the marathon in 1952 where he ended up with a DNF in Helsinki.
With an accomplished world record setting career, Jim Peters would also become the first runner to finish a marathon under 2 hours 20 minutes. This was an iconic stepping stone in marathoning history. For milers, this achievement which could be equated to the breaking of the four-minute mile.
Jim Peters truly was a role model in never giving up. At the 1954 Vancouver Commonwealth Games he was seventeen minutes ahead of the second place runner, but not only that, he was also ten minutes ahead of the record. Unfortunately, he collapsed multiple times and failed to finish. He ended up only running just 200 meters in elevan minutes, he showed what it meant to give it all on the track.
After the Vancouver Commonwealth Games, he never raced again.
Here is the ending of the tragic Vamcover race.