Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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FRANK SALVAT (30th of October 1934 to May 2013)

Eric Shirley Junior got in touch (29/5) to say that Frank Salvat had died recently age 78.
Salvat ran with his friend Olympic Steeplechaser, Eric Shirley for Finchley Harriers and also went on to run for Portsmouth AC that had a very strong distance team 'Nationally'. Salvat, who incidentally had a glass eye, which sometimes made things a little difficult for him, particularly if he was leading the field in a local cross-country races. He represented GB in the Rome Olympics of 1960. In the searing heat, which the British runners  were unprepared for. He came 7th in is heat in 14:33.2 but ahead of American Jim Beatty, who became the top miler in 1962.
    Frank Salvat won the AAA's 3 miles at the White City in 1960 (13.33.0) bursting well clear of 1957 Mile World record holder, Derek Ibbotson, 1962 European 5k Champion Bruce Tulloh and running Policeman, Stan Eldon. Frank's effort all came in the last half lap of the race.
       I remember when he helped Gordon Pirie (in the two man team) to beat the French over 5000m in front of a packed White City Stadium then, came over to the pub behind the Stadium, to lift a few pints and smoke a large cigar. He introduced me to a drinking club in Kensington Church Street in the late 60's. He was one of the 'Greatest Characters' in athletics since the last Great War, of that there is no doubt. His exploits on and off the track, road and country are legendry amongst the clubs.
   A few of those  stories about him are related by well known North London officials and ex-athletes, who ran in races in the North London area with him - Martin Howard (Last year's President of the ECCU) and George Harrison (Well known coach now) in my last book 'Athletics Enigmas' published in 2002 under the Chapter heading 'Great Characters'  which of course Frank Salvat certainly was.


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