Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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DON TAYLOR (1936 TO 2012)

DON TAYLOR (Born 1-9-36 to 5-7-2012 when he died) was the first UK runner to get inside 29 minutes for 10,000m and, I will always remember Don as an enthusiastic helper to the younger generation of sportsmen, as well as being instrumental in encouraging the organisers of the London Marathon to have wheel chair racing in the event. Don outstanding victory was in the International duel match with West Germany on August 23rd 1963 and he ran 28:52.4.
   I interviewed Don after he ran at the White City Stadium nearly FIFTY years ago now. The article was published in 'Athletics Arena' in June-July 1963 along with my interviews with David Jones, the sprinter and middle distance runner Andy Green--The Late, Charlie Elliott did the editing. I thought that, as my interview does not appear to be dated really as Don Taylor's philosophy would still be applicable now in 2012! Here it is:-
       " Aim high, but you need the breaks! so said bearded Don Taylor. He was third behind Mel Batty and Buddy Edelen in the AAA 10 mile track Championship in April (63) to clock 49 minutes. Don had never even got under 31 minutes for six miles before, and yet on the day he passed the 24 laps mark in 28:54.7.
In the Indoor international on April the 20th, this versatile runner took second place to AAA indoor mile Champion John Whetton, just one second to the rear clocking 4:10.6. He had earlier this Winter, won the Middlesex cross country Championships; taken second spot behind Tim Johnston in the Southern Area Championships at Parliament Hill and, just missed the international selection by one place, when finishing 10th in the National race.
   Don takes up the story " Looking back, I was always the weakling, suffering from colds continually, and I am certain that if nothing else, athletics has given me health, so from that point of view I would keep on running even if I never competed again!
One of the most important things is the health of a nation, and I think that everyone, without exception should do some physical activity. I think that generally our nation is going soft, and they do not know how far they can drive themselves, or how much the body can take!
   I am luckier than most in this respect I suppose, because I am a Y.M.C.A Youth leader, so part of my work is my training too. For example I have to include circuit training, table tennis as well as gymnastics, so it keeps me basically fit Apart from that I do my actual athletics training, the running in the afternoons. I'm afraid I can't really give a typical weeks' training because every week is different, and I have to fit it in with my work. Just let us say I run. The main things though are variations in, and enjoyment of running. I really do enjoy my running, its really great fun, especially 6 mile cross-country running, and the track 3 miles, those are my favourites.
I don't worry with diet or anything like that before a race, I just eat a normal breakfast, but nothing else. I don't really think that one benefits from the last meal, so it is better to do without it.
So I suppose my advice to the up-and coming- youngsters would be simply: Enjoy athletics - and that means the  training  never expect the excuse that you have no time to train, and if you aspire to the top aim to be at the top! Aim high, and if you are a middle distance runner, then aim for the top by the time you are 25, because after then the incentive can go, and of course there are other things to think about then such as security at home.
I think that when you start running, jumping or throwing, you need a coach, he can be a great advantage to an aspiring athlete, but after 21, int he distance events, the athlete should know himself and what he needs."

Alastair Aitken

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