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pat lowe/cropper

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Full Name: Patricia Barbara Lowe

Date of Birth: 15 September 1943

Born: Leicester.

Club: Birchfield Harriers.

Coach: Bill Marlow.

 
Career summary

 

On Top Of The World

When Pat Lowe retired from athletics, she did so having been part of five world records, and the race which stood out was one of the finest finishes in the sport at the European Championships in Athens. It was also an event which ultimately became tinged with sadness.

 

Relay Glory

It was a brilliant period for British one-lap runners by the time of those Championships in 1969 and the team combined to win the gold medal, but share the same time as France in a thrilling final when both countries were given times of 3:30.8. When they were rounded up eventually electronically, Britain had won by 0.03 of a second, but there was a tremendous spirit in the team, in race order, of Rosemary Stirling, Lowe, Janet Simpson and the tragic Lillian Board, who just over a year later died from cancer. In Athens on that occasion, Lowe ran 52.1 to help set up Board to anchor the team home and beat Colette Besson, who had pipped her to Olympic 400m gold in Mexico the previous year.

 

Schools Start

Like so many, then and now, the English Schools Championships proved a fabulous breeding ground for Lowe and in 1960, she was third in the 220y, making steady improvement to 2:08.7 for 800m in 1964 and then to 2:07.1 for 880y in 1966 when she made her international debut with a breakthrough to run 2:05.8 for to finish fifth at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston. But one of her greatest attributes was the spirit and fight she brought to her performances and this talent was demonstrated in the consistency of her performance. Lowe took her personal best for the 800m to 2:02.9 in 1968 before she made the Olympic final in Mexico where she finished sixth in 2:04.2, in a race won by American Madeline Manning in 2:00.9, an Olympic record.

In 1968, 1969 and 1971, she was in the world’s top 10 and in that latter year she achieved her greatest individual triumph when she was second at the European Championships in Helsinki in 2:01.66 when Vera Nikolic, of Yugoslavia, won in 2:00.00 with Lowe’s world record teammate, Stirling, third in 2:02.08. It was an important year in her life because she married David Cropper - and it was very much an 800m partnership. Cropper made the Olympic semi-finals in Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972. He later became Chairman of the AAA’s, whose 800m title he had won in 1969. By then, the new Mrs Cropper had also been part of teams which had set world records on two occasions at the 3x800m twice in 1967 and twice at the 4x800m.

 
Lesson Time

As with many 800m runners, she had a capability of extending her strength further and in 1969 she won the Midlands cross-country title and then in 1970 she represented England in an international on that surface. She had trained as a teacher at the Chelsea College of Physical Education in Eastbourne, and later she became a recreation centre manager and a county hockey player. In 1974, her sporting efforts were honoured when she was awarded the MBE.

 

International Championships

1966: 5th 880y Commonwealth Games, sf 800m Europeans

1968: 6th 800m Olympics

1969: 6th 800m, 1st 4x400m Europeans

1970: 20th International CC, 2nd 800m Commonwealth Games

1971: 2nd 800m, 4th 4x400m Europeans

1972: ht 800m Olympics

1974: ht 800m Commonwealth Games

UK Internationals: 28 (1966-73)

 

National Championships

Won WAAA 800m 1969.

Personal bests

300m 39.1 (1969), 400m 54.6 (1969), 800m 2:01.66 (1971)

Indoors: 600m 1:33.6 (1971)