The first day of a massive year for British athletics was sadly meant to be the last for legandary Frank Horwill, the man who identified with a revolution in the middle distance training, as he finally succumbed to cancer.

Born in 1927, he invented and laid down the famous now ‘5-pace training theory’ which was employed in full and epitomized by great Sebastian Coe on his way to two Olympic titles over 1500m and 12 world records in distances from 800m through to the mile, subsequently embraced and adopted by top runners like Said Aouita and coaches far and wide in the globe.

Horwill was also highly responsible for the foundation of the British Milers Club in 1963 which evolved as far as an institution that has formed the competitive core for home middle and long distance runners spanning a fifth decade of life now.

His main training charge was top athletics commentator nowadays Tim Hutchings who just missed out on Olympic bronze in a massive PB over 5000m in Los Angeles in 1984, a European bronze medallist in Stuttgart two years on, and won two World Cross Country silvers in 1985 and 1989.

For good measure, he proved a prolific writer with perpetual contributions to Athletics Weekly and authoring top coaching books like “Obsession for running” (1991) and the “Complete middle distance runner” (1972), the latter along with Harry Wilson and Denis Watts.

Horwill received an MBE for his voluntary services to British athletics in late 2011. May he rest in peace and he will be always remembered…

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