David Griffiths (Mason 1954-1960), although not a household name can rightly claim to be one of our most successful Old Worksopians. Listing David’s achievements whilst still at Worksop is no easy task, but here goes:
- College mile and 880y records in 1958
- College mile and Dorm Run records in 1959
- Won every inter-school cross country match in 1960 and ran 5th at the England Schools Champs, helping Nottinghamshire to 3rd place
- Member of the College rugby sevens team that finished runners-up at Rosslyn Park in 1960
- 1960 was topped off with yet another College mile record of 4:23 (since 1960, only Jack Buckner has ever run faster)
At this point you are probably wondering why we are simply listing a few sporting achievements of an individual – yes he was good, but surely not that unique. It was after Worksop that David really got going!
He became Army Champion at 440y and 880y in the early 1960s and due to his posting abroad with the Army was selected to compete for Aden in the 1962 Empire Games where he took part in the 880y and mile. He then went on to compete in the 1966 World Orienteering Championships for England, alongside Chris Brasher and Gordon Pirie and played rugby for Waterloo and Wasps. Then came his marathon running – his first was Honolulu in 1979 in which he finished in 3:06, quickly followed by more. His best time ended up at 2:26.23 at Fukuoka in 1982 aged 42.
Obviously not one to rest on his laurels, David then decided to do something that had never been done before – he ran from Beijing to Hong Kong (that’s 2000 miles by the way). The run took fifty days and unsurprisingly attracted plenty of media attention. A Reader’s Digest article about his trip can be found here. In David’s own words:
Previously in my charity work, I have always supported disabled athletes so you can imagine how appalled I was whilst living in Hong Kong and running in the Beijing Marathon – to find that in 1982, Mainland China did not have ONE official disabled person in the 1 billion population. So I decided to do something about it.
I offered to run from Beijing to Hong Kong and raise money on the condition that:
- Mainland China ‘admitted their disabled into society’, by forming a Disabled Association. (they did)
- They sent a disabled team to compete in the Special Olympics in 1984 in the USA using the dollars I raised during and after my charity run (they did)
- The other 50 % would go to the Hong Kong disabled team to compete alongside them
- This they accepted, and agreed to support me and give me ‘special permission’ to run in what was then rural China
- After the Run and the aftertow of the event, the total proceeds approached $US 2 million
- So, 50% was paid to the China Sports Service Company and Deng Sho Ping’s disabled son headed their newly formed Disabled Association
On top of this, David also found time to be Managing Director of Wembley Stadium and was the person who bravely suggested that the venue might be a good location for a concert…! He even still finds time to run, although he is hoping to hang up his spikes on the same fields it all started – Worksop College – we hear 2015 may well be his last run.