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21st Oct, 2020, Alastair Aitken

On October 8th, George Gandy, the international coach, died in hospital aged 80. Anyone who is or was involved with high-level athletics will remember him as, countless Loughborough University students would testify, like Jack Buckner, Seb Coe, Tim Hutchings and Dave Moorcroft. I can remember in the 1970's and 1980's the Hyde Park Road Relays, the un-official European Colleges Championships, when George Gandy, the Manager of the Loughborough team, came down to encourage Loughborough to several victories. We talked over a few drinks each time and I found him a modest, amusing and friendly character, who will be missed by so many including quite a few Highgate Harriers who have studied at and competed for Loughborough.


Roger Low of Highgate Harriers at 76 ran through the wind and rain in quite cold conditions at times on the London streets and pathways and through the parks to record a time of 5:06:00 in the virtual London Marathon (4 October). That may not sound remarkable except that he has run every single London Marathon which now counts as 40 consecutive London's. 

Roger was the fourth fastest 'Ever Present' runner this year. He has run well over a 100 marathons but it is the London record that gives him a unique distinction. Living in the Camden area it was Highgate Harriers that he joined. Roger's fastest London marathon time as young man was 2:33.47 in 1983 but to do all 40 races is really good. I did the first 19 before a motor accident ruled me out, but I more than doubt I could have ever achieved such a feat as Roger's. 

The fastest runner of the 'Ever Presents' once again was young 61-year old, Chris Finill of Harrow A.C. who did 3:13.0. Chris is the Middlesex over-60 Cross Country Champion and has also run right across America 'coast to coast.'  On Sunday there were other Highgate runners running their separate London marathons. They were Ross Cattell (M 60-64) 3:56.00; Pat Davis (45-49) 3:05.2; Alan Gold (70-74) 5:16.47; Damian Lane (50-54) 3:28.47; George Leontiev (UKR) 4:9.38; and James Thompson (55-59) 3:49.33

Roger Low adds:  

“I completed my 40th London Marathon, accompanied by my son, Niels Bryan-Low.  Time 5:06.  At the halfway point, Niels stopped to help a girl who had fallen off her horse.  He's not certain whether the girl or the horse was more frightened.

The 9 other "Everpresents" also completed their races.


Another Harrier who ran the race is Alan Gold, after a nearly 20-year hiatus.

I'm not certain if Ross Cattell is a member, or not, but he also completed the race, losing his phone, in the process. Best regards and stay well.”