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UK Athletics

Anne Smith

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Full Name: Anne Rosemary Smith

Date of Birth: 31 August 1941. Died: 9 November 1993

Born: Amersham.


Coach(s): Gordon Pirie, Frank Mitchell.


Career summary
Wrong Era

Gordon Pirie, one of Anne Smith’s two coaches, had won silver in the 5000m at the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956, but the athlete could have gone one better and become a gold medallist. The only problem was, her specialised distance, 1500m, did not become part of the Games programme until 1972.


Chiswick Flyer

On June 3, 1967, in Chiswick, London, a day of celebration for Smith when she broke two world records in one race - not that she was new to landmark performances. She had begun running as a 17-year-old and won the WAAA 800y titles between 1964 and 1967, setting the British record with a time of 2:04.2 and also finishing third in the Commonwealth Games in Kingston in 2:05.0 as Abby Hoffman, of Canada, won in 2:04.3 with Judy Pollock, of Australia, second in 2:04.5. After a British women’s mile record of 4:44.2 in 1966, Smith had set a world record for the mile earlier in 1967 when she ran 4:39.2 to win the Surrey Championship at Wimbledon Park on 13 May (British record 4:21.0 for 1500m en-route), but her success at Chiswick was the first mile mark officially ratified by the IAAF for the event.

She worked as a PE teacher, and wrote her own piece of history when she won that mile race in 4:37.0 because incorporated within that performance was a 4:17.3 for the 1500m. Both times were world records.


No Games Glory

Having finished eighth in the Olympic 800m in Tokyo in 1964, after breaking the British record with a time of 2:04.8 in the semi-final, Smith had the misfortune of not being able to run the longer event. The 1500m was not introduced onto the Olympic programme until Munich in 1972, but had it been earlier, when Smith was at her peak, she would have been one of the gold medal favourites.

Smith died in 1993 following a brain haemorrhage.


International Championships

1962: 3rd 880y Commonwealth Games

1964: 8th 800m Olympics

1968: 4th International CC

1971: 45th International CC (for New Zealand)

UK Internationals: 12 (1963-6)


National Championships

Won WAAA 880y 1964-7.

Personal bests

pb 440y 56.0 (1967), 800m 2:03.2 (1966), 1500m 4:17.3 (1967), 1M 4:37.0 (1967).