Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Dick Taylor and Allan Rushmer (60's,70's & 80's)

Dick Taylor, born 3.1.45 (Coventry Godiva) & Allan Rushmer born 27.2.44
   These two runners who were 'Great' rivals and friends achieved a lot over the country, road and track in the late 1960's and early '70s.
   Rushmer went on, at 41, to win the highly contested British Veterans Cross-country Championships in Sheffield with Olympian Jeff Norman second and, with Andy Holden plus others from Tipton, won the M40's National Vets Road relay decisively at Sutton Park.
   Dick Taylor coaches his son Richard Taylor who has run 13:54.6 for 5000m and 8:04.81 for 3000 and is a very handy runner to have around in the current Coventry Godiva team. Where as Allan Rushmer's passion these days is not for athletics but supporting West Bromwich Albion Football club
   To illustrate the very first point I made, it was interesting to note that in the MIDLAND COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIPS in 1965 Dick Taylor won the 5000 in 13:38.8 and in 1966 he won in 13:43.2. In 1967 Allan Rusmer won in 13:21.3, 1968 in 13:35.8, and the 10,000 in 28:07.6 in 1967, the year before that.
   Dick Taylor won the National Junior cross-country Championship at Parliament Hill Fields in 1965 and went on to win the National Senior in 1967 in Norwich in 44.12. He was followed home by 1970 Commonwealth 10k Champion Lachie Stewart (Vale of Leven 44.19), Brian Rose (NZ), Jim Hogan (Polytechnic H) and Tim Johnston (Portsmouth). Allan Rushmer was 9th (I was 602 of 831 starters).
   In 1969 Dick Taylor came  2nd in the International 'World' cross country Championships behind 1964 Olympic 3k steeplechase Champion, Gaston Roelants of Belgium and  was part of England's winning team..
   He talked to me for an Athletics Weekly article in January 1970, when Mel Watman was the Editor.
About his National run in the senior race in 1969 at Parliament Hill Fields when, he came 2nd to Mike Tagg who went on to gain the silver medal in the European 10k in Athens that year he said:-.
   " I ran well, possibly well enough to have won it any other time, but it was Taggy's day. Tagg loves the mud and floats over it while I go through it like a flipping tractor. I spent most of the race trying to catch him on the dry stuff and there was not very much of it and I spent a lot of my energy doing this. Mike went great that day and he would have beaten anybody, he was just too good for me."
   Dick Taylor's favourite type of running:- " I enjoy road relays most of all. There is not a great deal of tension there and I like running the road. Cross-country to me is only a secondary event. I use it as a run-out to see how my winter training programme is going really."
   The downside of things in his athletic career was that he overheated in the intense heat of Athens in the European Games and finished well down the field and, in Mexico in 1968, with the high altitude at the Olympics he did not get to the final BUT he is certainly one of those who has been under-rated. '
  He won the 5000 in the USA v GB match at teh White City in 13.29
   " I hoped all week that Gerry Lindgren would make it very fast and, as sure as God made little apples, he did As soon as he slowed I was gone and Ian Stewart went with me. I kept going harder and harder, surging until he dropped, and I had not a clue what time I was doing although I knew it was fast. I out-thought Stewart, who had dominated all the other races all year running them how he wanted to. All of a sudden he came up against someone who was going to dominate him and he still has not sorted out what happened. It suits me! "
 Ian and Dick were rivals but great friends also. They shared a room in Athens. Ian won his gold medal in the 5k!
   Dick Taylor headed the World rankings for 3 miles that year with 13:04.6.
   On the 22nd of June at Crystal Palace, also in 1969 Dick Taylor beat the 'Great Multi Distance record holder Ron Clarke in a 10,000m in 28:06.6 to Ron Clarke's 28:21.00. Taylor achieved five UK National records in 1969.
   Regarding his race against Ron Clarke " I think if I had not attacked him at the right place he would probably have won it. But I think I knew enough about him to take the opportunity when it was there and seized it with both hands.
I had enough guts and training to go with him and I was determined to try and beat him. What ever speed he had gone at I was going to stay with him. basically all my training came right."
   Dick Taylor obtained his 'Big' Championship track medal coming third in the Commonwealth 10,000 on he 18th of July at Meadowbank in 1970. First six in that 1 Lachie Stewart (SC)) 28.11.8; 2 Ron Clarke (AUS) 28:13.4; 3 Dick Taylor (Eng) 28:15.4, 4 Roger Mathews (Eng) 28:21.4; 5 John Caine (Eng) 28:27.6, 6 John NG'eno (Kenya) 28:31.4.
   Dick comes in " That last 2, 500 metres of the race I never at any stage felt good enough to chance making a break for the gold medal, so I just 'contented myself', it that is the right  way to put it, with hanging on for six laps to hold a medal placing. Therefore since I had convinced myself that I really was in no position to do anything else, I would say that I made the wisest decision. (His stomach gave him trouble earlier in the race which tightened right up into knots making it extremely uncomfortable going for him. So under those circumstances he certainly did well to continue like he did!).
   '" I was in a better position to view the race than most people there. On the last lap, Clarke kicked past me decisively, but Lachie Stewart responded almost at once, and was round me in a flash and away after Ron. I thought that Lachie would get it in the end but, as probably like most others there, I hoped and prayed that Ron would just get it' for old times' sake if nothing else. "
   Ron Clarke told me in Edinburgh " Quite frankly, Alastair, as far as Lachie was concerned, I did not know that he had never been beaten in a the last 100m of a race. I had  raced him before of course, but he had dropped off and I had never seen him finish so, when I dropped Dick I was fairly confident that I would win the race. Strangely enough, it was the same way I found it in Tokyo. It was a very similar race."
   Lachie Stewart "Clarke did not move away with a jerk, he simply gradually built-up his speed, unlike me for I usually kick sharply if I am able, and go straight into top gear. I watched Clarke build-up his speed and by the time he had reached the crown of the bend I thought ;'he's going as fast as he would be moving and once I made my effort...well, that was it."


There were three outstanding international Championships for Allan Rushmer.
In the Commonwealth Games in Kingston Jamaica in August 1966 was one and the first six in the 3 miles were Kip Keino (Kenya) 12:57.4, 2 Ron Clarke (Australia) 12:59.2, 3 ALLAN RUSHMER (England) 13:08.6; 4 Naftali Temu (Kenya) 13:10.4, 5 Ian McCafferty (Scotland) 13:12.2, 6 Dick Taylor (England) 13:12.4.
   In the European Championships in Late August that year in the Budapest 10,000 Allan Rushmer was the best British runner fifth in 28:37.8 with Bruce Tulloh of England just behind him. The winner was Jurgen Haase of East Germany in  28:26.0.
   In the 5000m in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh the first six were Ian Stewart (Scotland) 13:22.8, 2 Ian McCafferty (Scotland) 13:23.4, 3 Kip Keino (Kenya) 13:27.6 4 ALLAN RUSHMER  13:27.6, 5 Ron Clarke and sixth Dick Taylor.
   In the 1967 Athletics Arena Vol-5 Number 9, 1967. Amongst the faces in the news was Allan Rushmer and this is what Charlie Elliott the Editor of Athletics Arena said at the time:- 'Allan Rushmer, at 23 years of age is a lad who has proved that he is one of Britain's most outstanding competitors. As an athlete, during the last five years, Allan has been dogged continuously by incessant injuries. Now, as a competitor, he has shown that sheer determination, will power and confidence are the main ingredients in the making of a World class competitor. He beat Kenya's Temu in a fast thee miles at the White City Stadium (13:09.2 to 13:09.6) just one week after becoming the 89th athlete to better 4 minutes for the mile (3:58.7 behind Alan Simpson, 3:58.1) on August the 26th.
   In 1986 he lived at Oakham, when I interviewed him there for Marathon and Distance Runner (Editor Geoff Harrold). Allan  was with his wife Kathy and they had two children Laura and Emily. Tipton Harriers meant a lot to Allan when I talked to him
   " I was made a life member in 1982 which is a big honour in our club because they don't give them just for the sake of giving them. You have to earn them. I knew once I had earn it - was one of thee big achievements for me. It really meant a lot to me.
   Allan Rushmer was a gardner and appreciated where he lived in Oakham :- " I was told that it was the highest point west of the USSR. Running  up it at night time I think proves it. You can see for miles to the Malvern Hills, out to Cannock Chase, the other way."
   Before he joined Tipton he ran for Oldbury AC and ran a mile in 4:13
   " I thought that was a great achievement then because I had come down from 4:17. The next time I ran a mile I ran 4:08, then I ran a 4:03 or a 4:02. After that I ran 3:58 but I must have only run ten mile races in my life."
   Allan Rushmer was third in he Commonwealth Games of 1966
       " It was great. We had a long day because we did not run until about 11.30 or 11.45 at night, mainly because the track shared  the facilities with cycling, and it was running behind schedule. The stadium was packed, you could just feel the adrenalin going, it was really good.
   I have never been coached as such but got friendly out there with Bill Wilkinson. I had asked people for advice but I have always ended up doing basically my own thing. Whether it has  been right or not I don't know. I did a couple of track session out there with Bill. I found he ran his track sessions slow, I thought that was good and it was amazing what confidence it gave me. It was only a grass track and up and down sort of thing.
   'We were out there for two or three weeks. I was determined because I was an up and coming youngster. The race was very fast from the start, basically a hang on job which I did. Clarke and Keino got away; Temu got away too, he had already won the 6 mile (27:14.6) I was running with Dick Taylor, and Ian McCaffery in the group. I just kept going and kept going and before I knew where I was we hit the bell. Bill Wilkinson turned to me and said, 'Go on, you idiot, you can get a medal here, you can! He obviously felt I was running easy. I just hared after Temu and caught him going up the straight. It was only my third trip, so I was really over the moon with that. The first thing I had ever done!
  'One of my trips was a cross country race in Tunis with Ron Hill, Gerry North and Walter Wilkinson. That really opened my eyes, especially with Gerry and Ron. They were classy as 'Big Boys'. Ron was second behind Gammoudi and I was sixth in what  was very classy field. As you know, some of the cross country fields can be pretty weak but this was an International! Germans were there and some Russians so, it was a really good run and that really gave me confidence but I could not run the National that year because I had moved from Oldbury to Tipton.
   After the race I bumped into Eddy Hardy and he asked me if I wanted a trip to of Brussels and that was a similar sort of thing where I finished about 16th. It was a revelation really to see how good people were as I had only been running at English level. I was never a big trainer, so I did not know how to tackle it then.
   I entered the Midlands six mile at Alexandra Stadium and that was one of those races where I went out like a bull at a gate but I maintained it and ran about 29.07 After that I really thought I was going to be good and I thought I had turned the corner.
   ' I ran for Worcestershire in the Inter-Counties six miles. In that one somebody made a break but Ron Hill and I fell over. We bounced up but Jim Hogan and Bruce Tulloh got away. Ron was second, I was third and Bruce Tulloh was first. Really a big breakthrough for me.
   ' I got an invitation to run in the 3 mile race at Kirby in Liverpool. I was running for England against All-Ireland where I partnered Bill Wilkinson. I won that one but then I had ambitions to make the Commonwealth six miles team so I entered the six miles AAA Championships.
   I finished fourth or fifth Englishman so I thought I had thrown it all away. But on the Monday I had a phone call from a press fellow and he said I had been picked for the three miles, they must have picked me off that England match at Kirby. I was really going in through the back door but Great Britain picked me for the 10,000 in the European Championships at Budapest 1 Jurgen Haase (GDR) 28:26.0; 2 Lajos Mecser 28:27.0, 3 Leonid Mkityenko 28:32.2; 4 Manfred Letzerich 28:36.8; 5 Allan Rushmer 28:37.0, 6 Drago Zunitar 28:46.0, 7 Bruce Tulloh 28:50.4, 8 Janos Szerenyi,me 9 Gaston Roelants, 10 Jim Alder, 11 Gennadiy Khristov.
    I was not too far down at the finish and equalled the British record held by Mike Freary, in a pressure race, it was not too bad really.
   Allan went on to finish third in the bitterly cold senior National at Sutton Coldfield in 1972.
   In 1986 Allan Rushmer, in his early '40's' said what he liked most in the way of racing.
" I think road racing is the thing that I really enjoy most. I find cross country hard now but if I can get results out of it I do it. Regarding cross country they used to say I floated over the mud, but it did not feel like that . Actually, I like all running but not track now because when you have run a lot of pressure races as I have in the past you have had enough. To be able to go and do cross country and road races, that is more enjoyable to me.

Alastair Aitken

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