1959 London to Brighton & Back (106 miles)

Due to detours caused by the extension of Gatwick Airport, the London to Brighton & Back course was lengthened by just over 1½ miles, making it approximately 106 miles.

52 started the race in pleasant conditions.

Frank O’Reilly of Lozells Harriers (who finished in second place the year before) soon went to the front and built up a substantial lead. By the turn at Brighton he was 40 minutes ahead of the field and having held a steady pace of around 6 mph was up on Billy Baker’s 1926 record time. His time at the finish was 18 hours 56 minutes 28 seconds.

The competitors included 7 member of L.A.T. Club of Amsterdam and a Swiss. They were led by Lieuwe Schol, a Finnish born Dutchman who qualified along with his team mate Herman Stakenburg to become the first of a long list of Dutch Centurions.

In total 20 completed 100 miles, 15 of them for the first time. 9 of the 20 completed the full distance, Lieuwe Schol being one of them.

Another to complete the full distance was Leslie Dennis of the promoting club who became the second St Dunstaner to join the Centurions.

The team race was won by Highgate Harriers, all three of them becoming new Centurions.

The winners and new Centurions were presented with their awards by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Harold Gillett M.C. at the Mansion House as had previously been done in 1947 and 1955.


1959 London to Brighton & Back – Programme