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16 October 2014

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Athletics

Ian Stewart

On 8 May 1977 Stewart produced arguably his most remarkable athletics performance when he got away from the field in the first mile to complete the Michelin ten miles Road race in Staffordshire in a time of 45 minutes 13 seconds. Because the time was so unusually fast, the race organisers remeasured the course and found it to be the correct distance. World Cup Marathon winner Richard Nerurkar recorded the next fastest time by a Briton of 46:02 sixteen years later in October 1993.

In June 1977 Ian again ran solo to win the inaugural UK Championship 10,000m in 27:51:3 at Cwmbran and recorded what was to prove to be a career best time of 27:43 at the end-of-season Coke Meeting at Crystal Palace.

In 1978 Stewart was runner-up in the English National Cross Country Championship at Leeds in what was his last serious tilt as a competitor on the national stage, although he subsequently ran as a veteran. That summer his sister Mary who had become an Olympian two years earlier, was crowned Commonwealth 1,500m champion in a Games record time in Edmonton.

For the past eight years Ian Stewart has been employed by Fast Track, the commercial wing of UK Athletics as Meeting Director to negotiate and assemble the best athletes in the world to compete at all the televised international athletics meetings staged in this country.

Ian Stewart

© SCRAN

Like many great champions, it was said in some quarters that Ian Stewart could be "mean, moody and magnificent." The man himself attributes his success to a strong work ethic and a positive mental attitude. "I always believed that if I was in shape I could beat any one in the world. It all came down to how close I could get to my best."

Stewart feels deeply honoured to have been included in the first tranche of sportsmen and women to be inducted into the Scottish Sporting Hall Of Fame. He recalled, "It was a great initiative and I greatly enjoyed a most memorable occasion."

Retaining his slim muscular build, Stewart has lived in Worcestershire for about five years. He enjoys walking his two Scottish deerhounds (Hector and Archie) for miles across the fields and bridle paths. Three times a week his brother Peter, who is also a former European Indoor 3,000m champion, joins Ian and "his lads" for a run in the country at a more leisurely pace than at the height of their powers in the 60's and 70's.

Written by: Tom McCook

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