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Brian Kilby, European and Commonwealth marathon champion, dies aged 86

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Published in Athletics
Tuesday, 09 July 2024 06:18
Coventry Godiva runner won major titles in 1962 and competed in two Olympic marathons, placing fourth in 1964

One of the greatest runners of the 1960s, Brian Kilby won the European marathon title in Belgrade in 1962 followed by the Commonwealth crown later that year in Perth.

The Coventry Godiva Harrier, who died on June 30 aged 86, also raced in two Olympic marathons, finishing 29th in Rome in 1960 and then fourth in the 1964 Games in Tokyo as team-mate Basil Heatley took silver behind Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia.

Kilby enjoyed success as a teenage athlete and became a draughtsman after leaving school. He failed a medical to join the armed forces it is thought due to his feet being in a poor state after a race the previous night and thereafter focused on marathon training with great success.

He won the AAA title at Welwyn Garden City in 1960 in 2:22:45 and went on to win a further four AAA marathon titles from 1961-64 before finishing runner-up to Bill Adcocks in 1965. These victories included a 1963 win in Coventry in 2:16:45 ahead of Heatley.

A prolific racer, his first Olympic experience saw him run 2:28:55 in Rome. But in Belgrade he clocked 2:23:18 to take European gold and then 2:21:17 in Perth for Commonwealth victory.

His best time came in Port Talbot in July 1963 with a 2:14:43 clocking.

The Tokyo Olympics saw him finish just outside the medals with 2:17:02 as bronze medallist Kōkichi Tsuburaya of Japan finished 40 seconds ahead.

For anyone wishing to attend the funeral it will be held at Alford Crematorium, Miles Cross Hill, Alford, Lincs LN13 9LH on July 29 at 2pm.

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