Born in England Fred Reid went to Southern Africa as an infant when his father was appointed an inspector of schools in Basutoland (now Lesotho). After schooling in South Africa, he studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where he established himself as an outstanding sprinter, winning both sprints at the Scottish and AAA Championships in 1932. Fred Reid had earlier won the Scottish 220y in 1930 and the 100y and 440y in 1931 and he won the Scottish 100y for a third time in 1933. After his fine form at home in 1932 he was expected to do well at the Olympics, but his chances were spoiled when he sustained a pulled muscle after only a few strides in his 100 heat. After completing his medical studies at Edinburgh University, he practiced as a doctor in Johannesburg and won the South African 220y in 1935. At the 1979 World Veterans Championship he represented Rhodesia and won the 100 title in the 70-74 age group, setting a new world best of 13.80.