Tipton Harrier Allan Rushmer Dies Aged 80

Tipton Harrier Allan Rushmer dies aged 80

Popular distance runner won Commonwealth bronze over three miles in 1966 and later excelled as a veteran runner

One of the most iconic athletes during the 1960s and early 1970s, Allan Rushmer won bronze in the Commonwealth Games three miles in 1966, placed fifth in the European 10,000m in the same year, and represented Britain at the 1968 Olympics.

Tipton Harrier

A Tipton Harriers stalwart from the Black Country of the West Midlands, he died on April 23 in York aged 80.

Rushmer was a relatively late starter as he began running at 16 when he joined Oldbury AC and soon began to make an impact in national competitions. In 1965 he joined Tipton Harriers and began to break through to international level while holding down a full-time job as an upholsterer.


His GB debut came alongside Bruce Tulloh against the Soviet Union at the White City in June 1966, but later that summer, just days after England had won the World Cup at Wembley, he finished third in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, behind Kip Keino of Kenya and Ron Clarke of Australia in the three miles, clocking 13:08.6.

Returning home, he then finished fifth – and first Brit – in the 10,000m at the European Championships, running 28:37.8 to equal Mike Freary’s British record.

“Rushie”, as he was affectionately known, enjoyed many clashes with fellow iconic athletes from the period such as Ron Hill, Gerry North and Dick Taylor. He went on to run a sub-four-minute mile with 3:58.7 in 1967 and 13:29.8 for 5000m in 1970, whereas he also ran a 2:20 marathon despite only dabbling with the distance.

In 1968 he earned selection for the Olympics in Mexico but was knocked out in the heats, describing it as a “disaster”. He was also unlucky in 1970 to finish fourth in the stirring Commonwealth 5000m in Edinburgh behind Ian Stewart, Ian McCafferty and Keino, but ahead of multiple world record-holder Clarke, who he passed on the last lap.

Stewart went on to be his best man at his wedding in 1972 and Rushmer went on to have two children, Emily and Laura, with his wife Kath. His Olympic dreams were ruined that same year, though, when bronchial asthma put paid to his attempts to make the team for Munich.

He had been in fine form, too, placing third in the infamous 1972 English National where a sudden sleet storm with plummeting temperatures at Sutton Park left the athletes shivering with, in some cases, hypothermia.

The illness ended Rushmer’s career prematurely but he would return a few years later as a masters athlete, winning the European veterans’ 10,000m title in 1984.

Yet more than anything, Rushmer was renowned for being a club stalwart and few races excited him more than national road relays or battling for team medals at the National Cross Country Championships.

“Small in stature but massive in heart and soul,” Tipton Harriers said in a statement. “Allan was truly one of the greats that have graced this club and had one of the longest competitive associations with us.”

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