Athletics: Brave Jim Peters dies at 80

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The Independent Online
THE MARATHON legend Jim Peters, who caught the imagination of the public at the 1954 Empire Games in Canada when he staggered round the last lap, has died aged 80.

"Jim was a class runner when marathon running, unlike today, was unfashionable," said David Bedford, the international race director of the London Marathon and a former 10,000 metres world record holder. "He trained harder than most - often 100 miles a week - and believed in the work ethic with his thousands of miles run in plimsoles. My first memories of him were from newspaper pictures showing him collapsing when in sight of the finish. Few athletes push themselves to such exhaustion."

Peters entered the Vancouver stadium around three miles ahead of his rivals but dehydration had taken its toll. He fell six times and his English team-mates at trackside could not help for fear that he would be disqualified. They were finally able to go to his aid when it was clear he was not going to cross the line. The race was won by the Scot, Joe McGhee, but Peters' efforts are fixed in the minds of millions who watched it on Movietone News.

Peters, who had broken the world record four times previously, retired from athletics after the Games - "It cost me my killer instinct," he said.