Cross Country - General
Last amended at 4-08-14
Kent won the team race in the under 15 Girls race at the South
of England Inter-Counties, 14 December 2013.
Positions: Sabrina Sinha 1st, Kelsey Fuss 4th, Jess Keene 5th,
Georgina Taylor 6th,
Holly Page 8th, Naomi Kingston 12th, Yasmin Austridge 16th and
Emily Bond 45th. Photo by Charlotte Kingston
FRANK SANDO (14/3/31- 13/10/12)
An Apprecitaion of his life by Alastair Aitken
He was born in Maidstone, Kent.
There are several reasons Frank Sando stands out in my
As a boy of 12, I saw Frank Sando emerging from the
changing rooms at the 'Old' White City Stadium in 1952. I asked him if I
could have his autograph for my little book but an official ushered me away.
Frank was quite annoyed with that and told him not to do that and, signed my
From the age of 6 to 26 I lived near the extension of
Hampstead Heath and, when out for a walk I read a notice on a Hampstead
Garden Trust hoarding about of local events and, one of those was the
Southern Cross Country Championships (Over 10 miles) at Parliament Hill
Fields, Hampstead Heath that Saturday. I had never seen a big cross-country
before. As I was a young boy I was intrigued so, I decided to go and watch
that. End result was the Stan Eldon won the senior race from Mick Firth, of
the very successful South London Harriers club and Frank Sando third. Frank
ran for Aylesford Paper Mills.
Years later I met Frank Sando at the Kent Veteran
cross-country Championships several times, as he was officiating and I was
writing a report on the event. I interviewed Frank for 'Athletics Today' in
a City pub in the lunch hour in 1991..I found him a modest and quiet man.
One must remember that he twice was the '
International' cross-Country Champion, twice 'National' cross-country
Champion, a European bronze medallist, Olympic finalist and Commonwealth
About Frank Sando, Mick Firth, who came second in that
first 'Big' cross-country race that I saw, had this to say about Frank only
a few years ago:- " I still rank Frank Sando as one of the greatest
cross-country runners. Admittedly he is from my era, but he first ran in the
senior team as a junior. He ran nine consecutive years when he was in the
first nine in the 'National' . He could have carried on doing that, but he
He was in the first three in our international team in
those years. Imperceptibly he would drift over muddy ground. He was very
underrated. You look at his track record as well!'
'I can remember running in the Birchfield Floodlight
meeting. I thought I had the race sown up, and Frank saw me relax and he got
me right on the line. He is a very astute person as well "I did not pass you
before because I thought you would see my shadow cast by the floodlights. A
very clever guy, with a wonderful sense of humour as well."
I remember hearing the commentary on Frank's European
track 10,000 race on the 'BBC' radio (1954:- Bern. 1 Emil Zatopek (CSR)
28:58.0; 2 Jozef Kovacs (Hun) 29:25.8; 3 Frank Sando (GB) 29.27.6, 4 Herbert
Schade (WG) 29:32.8; 5 Franjo Mihalic (Yug) 29:59, 6 Peter Driver (GB)
30:03.6- out of ten in Final).
The Olympic 10,000 in 1952 in Helsinki was
extraordinary for Frank as he ran much of the race with one shoe on! One of
his shoes was wrenched off his foot in the very first lap. I remember there
was a picture of him after the race in the News Chronicle ' holding up his
shoe. Not only did he come fifth but he broke the British record in a time
doing 29:51.8. The winner was Emil Zatopek in 29:17.0 from Alain Mimoun of
France.In the AAA's 6 mile before that Gordon Pirie won from Fred Norris and
At Helsinki Pirie tried to go with the early pace of
Emil Zatopek and Alain Mimoun and paid a heavy price. Sando was moving into
the first half dozen on the first lap when the accident occurred. ' Posti of
Finland (who came fourth) put his spike in my shoe and took it off in the
first lap, and I had a choice: to drop out or run on. It was too early to
drop out, so I ran on. Afterwards my toes were all raw, but I ran three days
later so it was not that bad."
As Frank Sando did achieve the double of 'National '&
International 'World' cross country Championships in 1957 it would
interesting to see how he approached those.
" Up until Christmas I just enjoyed it, quite easy, no
real pressures; then the County Championships, and that was relatively easy.
Tony Weekes Pearson and Jobbie Myatt did push me on a couple of occasions,
thought latterly I had always a reason for not running the Inter-Counties
because it was too early in the season. The Area (Southern) in Sando's case)
was where you weighed yourself up, and aim for the 'National', and hopefully
finish in the first six in that. You did that and got the selection and ran
the International after the National'
Frank had been victorious in 1955 and, in 1956, he
dead heated with Ken Norris for second place in the International.'
What then was his training at the time " 10 miles on
Sunday, 5 on Monday, 7 miles fartleck on Tuesday, 3 miles of ordinary
running on Wednesday, 2 miles of fartleck Thursday; rest on Friday, Race on
Saturday. “Average miles a week 45.' I knew what I was prepared to do. If I
ran more than 45 minters I used to get fed up, and that was the amount of
time I would spend out training.
He retiring from racing at 32. “He gave a solid reason
for that " . I started working in my job in London as a civil servant
getting home late to be with the family and there was not enough time for
He appreciated thing were very different these days,
with the money in athletics and with more pressures because of that and
where athletes run and how they apply themselves to racing.
' I think I can say I was glad I ran in my day rather
than today, " he said.
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