Sir Christopher Chataway Passes Away at Age 82

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2014

28 Nov 1997:  Portrait of Sir Christopher Chataway during the British Athletics Press Conference. \ Mandatory Credit: Alex  Livesey/Allsport
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Former British middle-distance runner Sir Christopher Chataway has passed away after a two-and-a-half-year battle against cancer, aged 82. 

The official Team GB Twitter account confirmed his passing:

Chataway won the first ever BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 1954, the same year that he broke the 5,000-metre world record and also won the Commonwealth Games title over three miles.

After his athletic career came to its end, the London native had success as a television broadcaster and was also a Conservative politician.

In recognition of his services to the aviation industry, Chataway was knighted in 1995 after being appointed as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority four years before.

The British legend's son, Mark Chataway, is quoted by BBC Sport as saying that his father held a very firm interest in running up until his death:

We were struck by his amazing qualities of humility and strength, especially in these last few years.


He ran with a couple of my brothers in the Great North Run about three years ago, doing it in a very respectable time.

Chataway will be fondly remembered for his running partnership alongside Roger Bannister and Chris Brasher, the former of whom famously broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, largely thanks to Chataway's work as pace setter.

It was during these days with the Amateur Athletic Association that Chataway enjoyed the peak of his running abilities, retiring from the international stage two years later after the conclusion of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. 

Despite his advanced years, Chataway never lost the spirit of the race. In 2010, he was reported by the Independent as saying of his desire to complete the Great North Run in a shorter time of one hour and fifty-two minutes: "If I manage to do that then I'll feel that 80 is not such a ghastly dead-end place to be."

An Olympic title eluded the veteran, but Chataway won't soon be forgotten for all that he contributed to his trade.