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OB Achievements

If you'd like to stick up an account of an interesting event that you've been part of, please e-mail me.

Ed Donati finishes 2nd in Last Man Standing

March 2009

Under construction - Last Man Standing.

Matt Barnes runs sub 4-minute mile

August 2007

It is with great pleasure that I pass on to you an e-mail I have received from Matt Barnes quite rightly blowing his own trumpet about his rather fantastic achievement of a sub 4 minute mile!! (that's 7min 26sec pace for 3Km in case you need a comparison!). A truly remarkable achievement from Matt, who tells it best in his own words:

Just a quick one to say that on Sat 11th Aug 2007, I managed to run a sub 4 minute mile - 3.59.57 to be exact in the BMC Grand Prix at Stretford.

Needless to say, extremely sad statistical analysis of my run has taken place - apparently I am the 158th Briton to achieve the feat and at the moment I am led to believe that other fellow Oxford grads to have done it include Simon Mugglestone and someone called Sir Roger Bannister. Im fairly sure that I am the first Oumpite tho.

From my point of view it was very special night, only 15 mins from my home and witnessed by plenty of friends (in case you don't believe me....) To use technical terminology, I was dying on my ass as we came into the home straight, but found something extra to make sure that I wouldnt be denied. In the end I was 6th in the race, behind an american, a somalian, a kenyan, an aussie and one other Brit. It rounds off a pretty successful month in which i made the AAA's final at 1500m and running a new 1500m PB too of 3.42.41.

Clearly there is still life in the old dog yet.

Steph Cook wins Gold at Sydney Olympics

August 2000

Sunday, October 1, 2000, at 6.45a.m., the Olympic modern pentathlon competition got under way. The first event was the shooting. Steph scored 178 target points, the leader had 185. She was in eighth place and still in touch with the leaders.

After a one-hour break, the fencing began. Fencing is not her strongest event and it started badly. Each competitor fences the other twenty-three competitors. Steph lost four of her first five fights. “When I found myself five hits into the competition and four down, I knew that I had to turn things around. It was make-or-break time. I needed to go into the next bout with the same confidence I had started with.” She finished the fencing with 10 victories and slipped to 14th place overall.

By midday the competitors were at the Olympic pool. Steph swam a personal best, to remain in 14th overall but having closed the gap somewhat on the leaders.

Then came the show jumping, with competitors confronted with 12 Australian horses they had never seen before. Steph drew a horse called Wagga Wagga. A good ride moved her up to eighth.

Just before 5 p.m. the final event, the 3000-meter cross-country race, began. Points convert to time. The leader after four events starts first, and then everyone else so many seconds later according to the points they have accumulated in the previous four events. Steph started 49 seconds behind the leader, but running is her event. By the first corner Steph had passed the girl in seventh. After 500 meters she had cut the lead to 33 seconds.

By halfway she was fourth. Then she passed Mary Beth Iagorashvili. “That was one of the most exciting moments,” she remembers, “when I knew I had a medal. It was hurting quite a lot at that stage and it was quite tempting to leave it there and settle for a bronze medal but then I thought, no one will forgive me if I don’t really go for it.”

With 500 meters to go Steph passed Kate Allenby to move into second, and with 300 meters left overtook Emily deRiel to take the lead, holding it to win by two seconds. At 5.30 p.m., almost 12 hours after the competition started, the British national anthem was played as the gold medal was presented to Steph Cook.

She had set out for Sydney as a doctor who was rather good at her hobby, but returned home as a celebrity. She was totally unprepared for the demands on her time. There were the TV appearances, endless interviews, awards ceremonies, charity functions…there was the shock of being recognised in the supermarket, being stopped in the street

After the Olympics she continued one more year and consolidated her position as number one in the world, and then walked away from it. “I knew it was the right thing to do. I was reigning world, European and Olympic champion so there was only one direction to go from there! I had always planned to resume my medical career and this seemed the right time. I have never had any regrets. Sydney was so special and unrepeatable. I am so thankful that I was able to do it but I am happy to be back in medicine.”

This story was contributed by Stuart Weir, executive director of the international sports ministry, Verité Sport.

Hugh Boustead - the first Oxford pentathlete to compete at the Olympics

August 1920

Hugh Boustead came to study Russian at Worcester College in April 1920. He took up Pentathlon in Trinity term and was selected to captain the British Team at the Antwerp Olympics of 1920. He finished in 15th place. This occured 38 years before OUMPA was founded!

Below is a short biography gratefully researched and written by Michael Egan.

John Edmund Hugh Boustead (1895-1980) had a most active life. As a midshipman, he deserted from the Royal Navy (but was pardoned) in World War I, joining the South African Scottish, to avenge the death of his brother in France. He was commissioned in the field and won the MC. Thereafter he joined the White Russians, fighting the Bolshevik Army, in the course of which he was awarded the Vladimir with Bow and Cross Swords. He was an army boxing champion. He competed in the Modern Pentathlon in the 1920 Olympic Games. Subsequently he commanded the Sudan Camel Corps; climbed on the 1933 Everest Expedition; was awarded the DSO for his services in expelling the Italians from Ethiopia; became a colonial administrator in the Sudan, Oman and Abu Dhabi.

Read an extract from Hugh Boustead's autobiography here.

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