Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
Interviews and

Steve Brace (May 2018)

Steve Brace (Born 7/7/61) a well known official, organiser, and of course at one time an International marathon runner, from Bridgend AC. The club he has always belonged to since he started out in athletics. Like so many Welshman he loved rugby, which he played for a local team but, did running for fitness. He had a go in the Peoples Marathon in 1981 in Solihull and ran 3:36.37, which was a good start. He liked running and rugby but they would not be compatible and, running then, took a front seat.

These days he is Head of athletics Development in Wales and Director of the Cardiff and Newport marathons. After the Peoples marathon he went into running seriously
“I trained hard for many years through the club system and I was at the Olympics of1992 (Barcelona 27th in 2:17.49) so it was 11 years it took me to my first Olympics, from being a rugby player, to learning along the way with a lot of mistakes”

Regarding his position in athletics over the years. “My whole career and life I have given to it and, I was a professional athlete for nine years. It was very much at the cutting edge of the 90’s of professionalism in the sport. I went into the development of athletics and, as head of athletic development in Wales and a race director. I have moved through the sport and seen changes along the way.

Here are some of the highlights of his running days
He was part of team (trio) who won the first Word Cup in the London on the 24th of April 1991. The team 4th Dave Long (2:10:30); 7th Steve Brace (2:11.45) and 20th Hugh Jones (2:12:46). The winner was YakovToistekov (URS) in 2:09:17.
It was the 29th of September that year he won the Berlin Marathon in 2:10:57. He ran slightly faster with his personal est time of 2:10:35 in Houston Texas on the 21/1/96.
Steve is reasonably prolific in major Championships as well,  as he is in the London Marathons. In 1990 at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland (9th in 2:16:11); European Games in Helsinki in 1994 (2:24:16); Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 (2:29:21) as well as the two Olympic Games I have mentioned.
His personal PB’s on the track were 3000- 8:14:47; 5000 14:33.17 and 10,000 29:55.73.

I said to Steve, when I ran 56 to 58 minutes for 10 miles in the late 60’s & 1970’s I would be half way down the field in a 10mile road races but, now things appear different and I would have been much higher in a road race?
“Mediocrity is acceptable now. When you see the performance levels we had in the 80’ - 90’s. It is hard to see with the work ethic as; now other distractions mean people are not competing as hard anymore. The marathon is a big challenge. I think half marathons have taken over. Half marathon is very strong at the moment. People are finding they don’t have to do as much training and it does not hurt so much. At the same time, 346,000 entered the London this year and only 50,000 got places so, that speaks for itself. It is different—you are only to look round at the cubicles at the London Marathon exhibitions to see the charity sector is very much involved.

I did the first 19 London Marathons and found the first one was the most friendly and unique compared to the others?
“It is a business now. My wife Jacqueline did the first one in 1981(Her fastest was in 1986 with 2:39.26).

Steve continues. ‘In 1981 was when the race was imbedded in the sport. Club culture. That was the people that ran then. It has evolved’
‘The London is brand leader as a classic event, it is a fantastic event’
‘The elite side at World level is strong. Maybe the domestic side is not quite so strong. It is not the race to do race that everyone used to do, at club level, for various reasons. Nothing is the same as it was back in the 80’s & ‘90’s when I was running’
‘I was lucky enough that I was good at something and I was in the right place at the right time with a lot of good runners. In the 80’s & early 90’s running was very strong.
It was the last running boom the 1980’s It has dropped a little bit since then but there is a new momentum, a tidal wave or racing everywhere”

Alastair Aitken

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