Christopher William Brasher

(1928—2003) athlete, journalist, and businessman

Quick Reference

(1928–2003) A British Guiana-born English amateur athlete of the mid 20th century. Brasher lived in Jerusalem before, at the age of 7, moving to England, and attending preparatory school, Rugby School, and St John's College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was an outstanding middle- and long-distance runner, representing the university and the Achilles Club (the club, formed in 1920, for past and present members of the Cambridge and Oxford athletics clubs). Brasher was pivotal to the success, in May 1954, of English runner Roger Bannister in breaking the four-minute mile barrier, and went on to personal glory at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, winning the gold medal for the 3,000-metre steeplechase. Retiring from competitive athletics after his Olympic triumph, Brasher worked in sport journalism, serving four years as sports editor of The Observer, and then working as a freelance writer, broadcaster, and sports promoter. A keen outdoor all-rounder, he founded the British Orienteering Federation in 1966, and diversified into business—sport equipment chain Sweat Shop, and his own-brand Brasher Boot—as well as organizing London's first marathon in 1981, two years after running the marathon in New York City. Allegations of financial mismanagement of the London Marathon were made against Brasher by Channel 4 television and the magazine New Statesman, but he successfully defended himself against these in the courts and gained considerable damages. Brasher also supported initiatives for the protection of the countryside and open spaces, combining the legacy of a high-performance career with a continuing commitment to the benefits of physical exercise for all.

From A Dictionary of Sports Studies in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

Reference entries