Sydney Wooderson

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Sydney Wooderson (born August 30, 1914 in Camberwell , † December 21, 2006 in Dorset ) was a British athlete who was successful over the middle distance in the years before and after World War II .


He ran three world records and was twice European champion. His parade route was the English Mile - as an 18-year-old he was the first student to run it in less than 4:30 minutes.

From 1935 to 1939 he was AAA champion five times in a row over the mile . He could not take part in the European Championships in 1938 because his law exam was just at that point.

year 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1946
Time (min) 4: 17.2 4: 15.0 4: 12.2 4: 13.4 4: 11.8 13: 53.2 (3 miles)

The only 1.68 m tall trained lawyer ( soliciter ) started for the Blackheath Harriers. His trainer was Olympic champion Albert Hill . He completed extensive endurance training at a time when there was much less (and more intensive) interval training in Germany.

Wooderson died on December 21, 2006 in a Dorset retirement home .


  • 1934 to 1936
    • Wooderson can defeat the New Zealand world record holder (4: 07.6 min) Jack Lovelock four times in six races. When they first met in June 1934, Wooderson wins. This is followed by two defeats at the British Championships and at the British Empire Games in London , where Wooderson is 6 tenths slower than the New Zealander who won 4: 12.8 minutes. There was no duel at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin because Wooderson did not reach the final due to an ankle injury.
  • 1937
    • On August 28, 1937, Wooderson improved the three-year-old record of the American Glenn Cunningham in Motspur Park by four tenths of a second and provided with
      • 4: 06.4 min over 1 mile set
        a world record that is said to last for five years.
  • 1938
  • 1945
    • On September 9th in Gothenburg Wooderson set two British records as second behind the Swede Arne Andersson : 3: 48.4 min over 1500 meters and 4: 04.2 min over 1 mile.
  • 1946
    • At the European Championships in Oslo in 1946 , the now 32-year-old Wooderson won the gold medal straight away in the first 5000 meter run of his life with a lead of more than five seconds over Dutchman Willem Slijkhuis . His time of 14: 08.6 min is the second fastest ever run (the British record had previously been 14: 31.6 min).
    • At the end of his career, which was interrupted by the war, he won the cross-country title at the AAA championships in 1946 and was the first Briton to stay over 3 miles under 15 minutes.


  • Gentle Cyclone: ​​The Racing Career of Sydney Wooderson , Published August 1999, ISBN 0953659704

Individual evidence

  1. Arnd Krüger : Many roads lead to Olympia. The changes in training systems for medium and long distance runners (1850–1997) . In: N. Gissel (Hrsg.): Sporting performance in change . Czwalina, Hamburg 1998, pp. 41-56.