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Tim Johnston, GB distance star of the 1960s, dies


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Portsmouth AC and Cambridge University athlete represented Britain in the Olympic marathon in Mexico and won the Inter-Counties cross-country title twice​

Tim Johnston, an Olympic marathon runner for Britain in the 1968 Olympics, has died aged 80.

Best known for racing in Cambridge University and Portsmouth AC colours during his career, Johnston set a British record of 27:22.2 for six miles in 1964 and world record of 92:34.6 for 30,000m on the track in 1965.

On the country, meanwhile, he won the Inter-Counties crown in 1963 and 1965, the Southern title in 1963, 1966 and 1969 and competed five times in the International Championships – the forerunner to the world cross-country championships – with a best place of second, to Gaston Roelants of Belgium, in 1967.

At Olympic level he won the British marathon trials for Mexico in 1968 but despite spending some of the previous year acclimatising for the altitude, he struggled in the thin air with a stitch and finished eighth in a race won by Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia as Johnston’s team-mate Bill Adcocks was fifth.


Tim Johnston (Mark Shearman)

Elsewhere he was a fine steeplechaser with a best of 8:53.6 and despite Achilles problems ending his senior athletics career, he went on to win European and world masters titles.

Outside athletics he trained as a solicitor and taught English in addition to enjoying a spell as a lawyer-linguist in Brussels.

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