RIP Derek Ibbotson

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Derek Ibbotson has died at the age of 84.

The Longwood Harriers clubman passed away in a care home near Wakefield, last night after suffering dementia.

A bronze medalist at 5000m in the Melbourne Olympics of 1956 and the World Mile record holder – he was the first man ever to run exactly four minutes for the classic distance – Ibbotson became a great favourite with the British public and was awarded an MBE in the 2008 New Year’s Honours.

Born George Derek Ibbotson on June 17, 1932, he became part of an incredible era for British middle-distance running in the 1950s.

A student at King James’s Grammar in Almondbury , he was Yorkshire junior mile champion between 1949 and 1951 and after serving in the RAF, he shot to world class status in 1955 when he won the Inter-counties three-mile title in 13 minutes 34.6 seconds.

A year later he became AAA champion and selection followed for the Olympics in 1956, where he was on the podium behind Vladimir Kuts and compatriot Gordon Pirie.

After Sir Roger Bannister became the first man to break four minutes for the mile, Derek succeeded him as world record holder by running 3-57.2 in July 1957.

Derek also ran in the Commonwealth Games of 1958 in Cardiff and 1962 in Perth.

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