Great Britain & N.I.

Alan Pascoe - Great Britain & N.I. - His career as an International hurdler.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 03 July 1976

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      Saturday, 11 October 1947
      Portsmouth, England
  • Great Britain & N.I.
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Alan PASCOE - Great Britain & N.I. - His career as an International hurdler.


Alan Pascoe was one of Europe's top hurdlers for the best part of a decade from the late 1960s onwards and, in 1975, the undisputed world's best at 400 metre hurdles. He began his career as a sprint hurdler in 1966, setting a UK junior record of 14.2 at 120y hurdles and also winning the English Schools title. Continuing to progress, in 1967 he equalled the UK senior 110m hurdles record (13.9) and was awarded his first Great Britain international vest after claiming the AAA Indoor 60y hurdles title (7.5). In 1968, he captured his first AAA 120yH title (14.1) but illness and injury marred his quest for Olympic glory in Mexico and he was eliminated in his 110mH heat despite again tying the UK record (13.9).


Returning to full fitness in 1969, Alan began the year well by taking gold in the 50m hurdles at the European Indoor Championships, his time of 6.6 a UK best. Outdoors he lowered the UK 110mH record to 13.8 and the 200m hurdles record to 23.0 and then took a bronze medal (13.9) in the 110mH at the European Championships in Athens, beaten only by two world class hurdlers: Eddy Ottoz of Italy (the 110mH bronze medallist from the Mexico Olympics), who took gold, and compatriot David Hemery (the 400mH champion in Mexico), who won silver.


After a quiet 1970 season, Alan completed an unusual 200m/110mH double at the 1971 AAA Championships, before claiming the silver medal in the high hurdles (14.09) at the European Championships in Helsinki. He ended a successful season by running a 46.1 anchor leg in a 4x400m race and then clocking a very promising 50.9 in only his fourth attempt at 400m hurdles. He warmed up for the 1972 Olympics by retaining his AAA 200m title (20.92) but his hurdles form at the Munich Games proved very disappointing and he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the 110mH after finishing 7th (14.24). However, he gained ample consolation by taking a silver medal as part of Great Britain's 4x400m relay team (with Martin Reynolds, David Hemery and David Jenkins), Pascoe contributing a superb leg of 45.1 to help set a European record of 3.00.46 (Kenya winning gold in 2.59.8). Having already broken 51 seconds for 400mH, that relay leg in Munich persuaded him to switch from the high hurdles to the 'lows'. (Martin Greensill).




Now concentrating on the 400m hurdles, Alan Pascoe improved his personal best to 50.6 early in the 1973 season and then, more significantly, lowered it to 49.5, before winning the 400m Hurdles at both the AAA Championships (49.77) and the European Cup Final. Improving rapidly, Pascoe began the 1974 campaign in fine style by claiming the 400mH gold at the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, his time of 48.83 not only a personal best but one that put him into the world's top 10 of all-time for the event. His path to that year's European Championships was littered with injury and health problems but he recovered just in time to win the 400mH gold in Rome, his time of 48.82 a new personal best.


Alan then completed an excellent championships by combining with Glen Cohen, Bill Hartley and David Jenkins to win gold in a memorable 4x400m relay final (3.03.3). He ended the year ranked No 2 in the world by the authoritative American magazine Track and Field News, behind only Jim Bolding (USA), but managed to claim the top spot a year later after a brilliant 1975 season in which he suffered just one defeat. He started it by lowering the UK all-comers record to 49.07 with victory at Crystal Palace over the 1972 Olympic 400mH champion, John Akii-Bua of Uganda, and then improved his personal best to 48.59 by defeating Akii-Bua and the top American, Bolding, in Stockholm on 30th June. After returning from a hamstring injury, he lost narrowly to Akii-Bua at Gateshead (both men recording 49.8) but then tasted success in a GB v Soviet Union match at Crystal Palace in a time of 50.05 secs (the photo above is during the fixture). Five days later, and at the same venue, Alan lowered his own UK all-comers record to 48.85 with a win in the the IAC-Coca Cola Floodlit meeting. (Martin Greensill)