It is with great sadness that Coventry Godiva Harriers note the passing of Life member Basil Heatley on Saturday 3rd August. Basil was the consummate club man in a time when other competition opportunities were limited outside of the annual round of national, regional and club events. His forte was cross country running. He won the English ‘National’ cross country title three times in the early 1960s and in 1961 triumphed in the International Cross Country Championship.
He set a world record for 10 miles with 47:47 to beat his hero Emil Zatopek’s mark.
again for six years. Basil didn’t run in any of the major Games until 1964 which was the culmination of two years of training specifically for the distance and a last effort to make a major games. In the lead up to Tokyo in 1964 he won the AAA/Windsor to Chiswick marathon in a world best time of 2:13:55. He went into the Games as the fastest man over the distance but took the silver medal behind Abebe Bikila (Ethiopia) who in turn broke the world best with 2:12:11.2
A lovely gentleman but fierce competitor he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Thanks for the memory Baz