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Derek Ibbotson

Full name: George Derek Ibbotson
Gender: Male
Height: 5-8.5 (175 cm)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Born: June 17, 1932 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, Great Britain
Died: February 23, 2017 in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Great Britain
Affiliations: Longwood Harriers, Huddersfield (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Athletics

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)


[Roger Bannister] Is immortalised in the athletics world as the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes but Derek Ibbotson has his own unique place in history as the first man to run the distance in exactly four minutes. In finishing fourth behind Herb Elliot’s 3:55.4 at the White City in 1958 his time was recorded 4:00.0, the first time this time had been recorded for the distance.

A Yorkshireman, "Ibbo" as he was affectionately known, was one of the many fine British middle distance runners in the 1950s. He was educated at King James’s Grammar School, Almondbury, and was the Yorkshire junior mile champion 1949-51. He then did two years National Service in the RAF, and in 1955 won the Inter-Counties three miles title and was second to [Chris Chataway] over the same distance at the AAA Championship. The following year, he beat Chataway to win the title and then became the first man to win the coveted Emsley Carr Mile in under four minutes, before going to the Melbourne Olympics where he finished third behind [Vlademir Kuts] and [Gordon Pirie]. After the Olympics, Ibbotson returned to the mile and in 1957 he had the most memorable year of his career.

Having set a new European mile record, on the day his first daughter was born, with the second fastest mile ever run at the time (3:58.4). Ibbotson then retained his AAA three miles title with a new British record, and on 19 July, he beat [John Landy]’s world best mark with a new record of 3:57.2. Ibbotson’s world record stood until August 1958, but a month later he claimed yet another world record as part of the England 4 x one-mile relay squad in the match against Finland at the White City. Ibbotson never replicated the success of 1957 again, despite competing in the 1958 and 1962 Commonwealth Games when he finished tenth and eighth respectively in the three miles. Ibbotson’s first wife Madeline was runner-up in the WAAA mile in 1962-63 and winner of the national cross-country title in 1963-64. Ibbotson was awarded the MBE in 2008 and was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. After he finished running, he took up squash and was twice the Yorkshire Veterans champion, and later in life enjoyed his time playing golf.

Personal Best:: 880y - 1:52.2 (1958), 1500m - 4:41.9 (1957), 1 mile - 3:57.2 (1957), 2000m - 5:12.8 (1955), 3000m - 8:00.0 (1959), 2 miles - 8:41.2 (1957), 3 miles - 13:20.8 (1957), 5000m - 13:54.4 (1956), 6 miles - 28:52.0 (1955).


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1956 Summer 24 Melbourne Athletics Men's 5,000 metres Great Britain GBR 3 Bronze

Men's 5,000 metres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T(H) T(A)
1956 Summer 24 Melbourne Athletics Great Britain Final 3 13:54.4 13:54.60
1956 Summer 24 Melbourne Athletics Great Britain Round One Heat Two 4 QU 14:18.8 14:18.78
id: 69,180