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Roland Hardy

Full name: Roland Hardy
Gender: Male
Born: June 11, 1926 in Sheepbridge, Derbyshire, Great Britain
Died: June 14, 2016 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Great Britain
Affiliations: Sheffield United Harriers, Sheffield (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Athletics


Roland Hardy was the third of eight children and was a keen sportsman, representing his school at both football and cricket and it was as a footballer that he caught the eye of Sheffield United manager Teddy Davison who signed the youngster but two years National Service in the Royal Artillery ended his footballing career before it had really begun. After his demobilization Hardy was talked into taking up race walking in April 1949 at the age of 22 and within two months of taking up the sport had joined the Sheffield United Harriers and won the prestigious 12-mile Sheffield Star Walk, breaking the old record by 53 seconds. He soon gained a reputation for being an excellent walker and was regularly beating more senior members in the sport.

Competing in a 10,000 metres event at the White City in August 1951 Hardy knocked nine seconds off [Harry Churcher]’s world 5-mile record with a time of 35:24. Breaking records was second nature to Hardy who knocked 43 seconds off the British 7-mile record at the Inter-Counties Championship at the White City exactly one year after breaking the world record and in the process he reduced his own world 5-mile record by a further nine seconds. Hardy was then selected to represent Great Britain at the 1952 Olympics and with just four laps to go in his 10,000 metres heat he was disqualified for “lifting” when lying third.

Roland Hardy won the AAAs 2-mile championship three times between 1950-52 and the 7-mile title in 1950-53 and 1955. He won the Road Walking Association’s 20-mile title in 1956 and the 10-mile title five years in succession, 1950-55, knocking 83 seconds of the record time in 1951. He also won the CAU individual road walking title three times between 1954-56 and was selected for his second Olympics at Melbourne in 1956, finishing a commendable eighth in the 20km.

An engineering fitter for most of his working life. Roland carried on walking competitively and for fun into his 40s and on his retirement enjoyed playing crown green bowls to a very high club standard. He was also a keen gardener.

Personal Bests: 10kmW – 43:43 (1952); 20kmW – 1-34:41 (1956).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 26 Helsinki Athletics Men's 10 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR AC h1 r1/2
1956 Summer 30 Melbourne Athletics Men's 20 kilometres Walk Great Britain GBR 8

Men's 10 kilometres Walk

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank
1952 Summer 26 Helsinki Athletics Great Britain Round One Heat One AC DQ

Men's 20 kilometres Walk

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T
1956 Summer 30 Melbourne Athletics Great Britain Final Standings 8 1-34:40.4
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