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andy holden 1948-2014

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Andy Holden

6 January 2014

The athletics world was saddened to learn of the untimely passing of distance runner Andy Holden at the weekend, aged 65.

In an individual sport, Holden was the consummate team player - a loyal member of the Birmingham University team and a stalwart of Tipton Harriers for decades. In 1969 he won the English National Junior Cross Country title at Parliament Hill, ahead of Dave Bedford. 20 years later, he won the National Veteran's Cross Country title in Newcastle.

In between he set a British record for the 3000 metres steeplechase (8.26.4) and also enjoyed a fine marathon career, with a best of 2:15.18 for third place at the AAA Championship Marathon in Milton Keynes in May 1980, one year before the first London Marathon.

Andy qualified for the Commonwealth Games in 1970, the European Championships in 1971 and the Olympic Games in 1972. Uniquely, he competed for Great Britain on the track (indoors and out), cross-country, road and fell running. He raced internationally as a junior, senior and veteran. His range of distances extended right through to ultras, notably a course record at the 36 mile Two Bridges race in Scotland.

He was widely admired as an athlete for his team loyalty, his racing determination, his good company in the bar post-race and also for his work for charity, notably 'Crisis at Christmas'.

Outside his own running (he competed through to v55 age group), he worked as a dentist in various practices in the Midlands. He also opened a running store in Birmingham in the 1980's and occupied a number of administrative posts at club and area level.

In recent years he also coached several generations of young athletes, including his sons Joe and Tom, who went on to run 3.58 and 3.48 respectively for 1500 metres.

His contribution to our sport was immense. We mourn his passing. He will be greatly missed  but we also salute an outstanding life in athletics.