This 24 hour track race was organised to give Centurions and other long-distance specialists an opportunity to match themselves against the performances of others over the previous 50 or more years.
Some of the fast men were also invited to attack records up to 4 hours and 50 Km and in the shorter event, Don Thompson C631, recent winner of the 50 km gold medal at the Rome Olympics, broke his own National records at 20 miles, 3 hours, 25 miles, 4 hours, 30 miles and 50km.
For the first 12 hours a thrilling race was in progress, but the record of E.C. Horton, C63, set up in 1914 remained intact. At this point some of the competitors began to fall by the wayside.
One of the first to go was Frank O’Reilly, he was lying in third place at the time having dropped back from second. He had covered 70 miles in just over 12 hours, such was the quality of this race. He was feeling very unwell but struggled on to reach 78 miles in 14 hours.
In the meantime, Hew Neilson was having a terrific race at the front with Colin Young, a consistent 2 miles adrift in second place.
At 13 hours Neilson claimed his first record of the race with 77m 30y as opposed to 76m 930y by Richardson in 1936. His second came at 80 miles in 13h 34m 37s as opposed to 13h 55m 12s. From here he broke records all the way up to 24 hours. Young was closing slightly but it would be a few more hours before he also started to better the previous British figures.
The Centurion Handbook gives full details of Hew Neilson’s performance.