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Athletics in North East England

Athletics in North East England has a long tradition and many highly successful athletes, winning major international championships. The region is especially proud of:

Brendan Foster (born 1948 in Hebburn, County Durham). One of the most successful British distance runners of all times won the Bronze medal (in the 10,000 metres) at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Gold medal (5,000 metres) at the European Championships two years earlier in Rome and another Gold medal (10,000 metres) at the 1978 Commonwealth Games that were held in Edmonton. In 1973, Foster broke the World Record for two miles at the Crystal Palace and the World Record for 3,000 metres at the Gateshead International Stadium. He retired after the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and has been working for the BBC since 1983, commenting major athletic events. Foster is also remembered for founding the second largest half marathon in the world – the Great North Run that is held annually in September ever since 1981.

Steve Cram (born 1960 in Jarrow, Tyneside). Nicknamed “The Jarrow Arrow”, Cram dominated the middle distance running in the 1980s. In 1985, he broke World Records for 1,500 metres, 2,000 metres and the mile in just 19 days. He also won the Silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Gold medal at the 1983 Helsinki World Championships, two Gold medals at the European Championships (1982 in Athens and 1986 in Stuttgart). He also holds Bronze from the 1986 Stuttgart European Championships and 3 Gold medals from Commonwealth Games – 1 from the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games and 2 from the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games.

Jim Alder (born 1940, Glasgow). He was born in Glasgow, Scotland but he soon moved to Morpeth with his foster parents (his biological mother died of tuberculosis, while his father was killed during the Second World War). While growing up in Morpeth, he became interested in running but didn’t achieve international success until 1966 when he won Gold in marathon and Bronze in 6 miles at the 1966 Kingston Commonwealth Games. He also won Bronze at the 1969 European Championships in Athens and Silver at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

Chris Tomlinson (born 1981 in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire). He began competing in 100 and 200 metres as a child but in his early teens, he decided to focus on long jump which turned out to be an excellent decision. In 2002, Tomlinson set a new British record, while his first major international success came in 2008 when he won Silver at the World Indoor Championships in Valencia. He also took Bronze at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona.