James Peters (athlete)

James ("Jim") Henry Peters (born October 24, 1918 in London – died January 9, 1999 in Thorpe Bay) was a former long-distance runner from England, who set new marathon records four times during the 1950s, including the first authenticated timing of under 2 hours 20 minutes, regarded as the equivalent of the sub-4-minute mile; this feat was achieved in the Polytechnic Marathon of 1953, a point-to-point race from Windsor to Chiswick, west London.

Later that same year he set the first sub-2:20 clocking on an out-and-back course, at the Enschede Marathon, Holland. However, he is most remembered for when he entered the Vancouver, British Columbia stadium near the end of the 1954 Commonwealth Games marathon with a five-kilometre (three-mile) lead but, severely dehydrated, staggered and collapsed several times and could not finish the final lap.

After retiring from competitive athletics, he worked as an optician in Chadwell Heath, Essex.


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