John James of Severn Athletic Club had amassed an impressive competitive record in athletics.
Schooled at Central when renowned athletic enthusiast Austin Hill promoted weekly Saturday morning inter-school matches, James was his school 880 yard champion in 2 minutes 7 seconds and had a personal best of 53 seconds for 440 yards. He wasn’t the schools best as National Schools Champion Trevor Rodwell was running sub 50 seconds well ahead of him. John reminded us “ in those days it was daps and grass tracks”.
After leaving school he played rugby for Shire Hall and Sunday Morning football.
He returned to running when a friend started training for the first 1981 London Marathon “He wasn’t all that good so I thought I’d try again”.
Over time John had carefully compiled a record of all his races. Throughout his racing career he won numerous prizes and awards in all the 5 year age groups after turning 40.
His statistics in 1770 races are, most races in a Year: 90 & best year 1984.
Personal Bests: 440 yards 53 secs, 880 yards 2mins 7secs, Mile 5:08, 5K 17:53, 10K 36:02, 10 Mile 58:53, Half Marathon 77:00(1984), Marathon 2:49:17(1984), 50 Miles 7:24:45, 100 Kilometres 10:15:00, 100 miles 21:30:00, 24 Hour 102 Miles 876 yards, 48 Hours 173 ¾ Miles(4th in British Championship).
Footnote: In 2018 John was diagnosed with cancer(Lymphoma) and after successful treatment returned to racing in 2019. Unfortunately this returned in late 2020 with John passing peacefully at home at the end of January this year.
The club would like to pass on our thoughts to John’s family and friends.