British Marathon Running Legends of the 1980s


Book Summary

After the running boom of the 1980s, British marathon running standards gradually started to decline.

This was despite the continued advancements in scientific backup, training methods, equipment, full-time professionalism and sponsorship.

As a consequence, in the late 1990s, Gabrielle Collison decided to research the factors as to why this was happening and conducted interviews with some of the top British marathon runners from the previous era.

Interviewees include London Marathon winners: Hugh Jones, Mike Gratton, Veronique Marot and Joyce Smith; Olympic bronze medallist, Charlie Spedding; and several other "Big City" marathon winners.

The stories about their lifestyles and training make riveting reading, and it is certainly a must read for any aspiring marathon runner.

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About the Author

A Londoner by birth, I later moved out to Surrey where I attended Nonsuch High School for Girls in Cheam. Being a rather free-spirited person and finding the constraints and curriculum of an all girls’ grammar school a bit too much, I left at 16 (to the probable consternation of my headmistress) and started an apprenticeship in structural engineering in London. However, after not developing much of a passion for designing oil rigs, I decided to return to academic life and studied Sports Science at university to post-graduate level.

During this time, I became a decent runner, gaining an Athletics National Championship (AAA) medal in the 3000m and various vests for road, track and cross-country. I also spent time as a part-time teacher and coach.

After having surgery on a calcaneal bursitis and cyst, I decided to retire from athletics and travelled about for a while pursuing other interests, including spending long periods of time in Portugal where my parents were living. Having already dabbled with French and Spanish, and some Italian, I soon picked up a working knowledge of Portuguese and began to get involved in helping non-Portuguese-speaking expatriates with bureaucracy and property purchase problems. It therefore seemed the logical next step to write a book in order to pass on the knowledge that I had gained in this area, and I was lucky enough to get two editions of Buying Property in Portugal published by Bookshaker and Summertime Publishing.

After moving back to London for a few years, I am now based in Somerset and have recently released a third edition of Buying Property in Portugal book under my own publishing name of Gabrielle Lea Publishing.

As well as this title, I have published British Marathon Running Legends of the 1980s, a project that was originally the basis for my MSc dissertation, and which was kindly sponsored by Sir Eddie Kulukundis, and I have also helped Life Coach & NLP Master Practitioner, Midgie Thompson, publish two books: Winning Strategies for Sports and Life and Winning Strategies Workbook.

When I am not writing, I can usually be found in the gym lifting weights and performing a variety of cardiovascular exercise, body weight exercises and circuit training. For relaxation, I enjoy nothing more than drinking wine with good friends and going to the odd rock or metal gig. You can read more about me at

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