PETER BROWNE first came to prominence as a junior 400m runner with a best of 48.00 (47.1on a relay). He was AAA's 800 Champion in 1971 with a time of 1:47.5 and fifth in the European that year in Helsinki in 1:47.00.
His fastest time for 800 was 1:46.2 in 1973. He held World Age Bests' for M40 outdoors 800 in 1:51.25 in 1990 and World Best Indoors for an M45 of 1:57.32. He was World Masters 800 Champion in 1989 and, in 1990 still as an M40 won the European Veterans 400/800/1500 Finals in Budapest. Peter Browne won the Middlesex County 800m twelve times and he was British League Manager for Thames Valley Harriers. He also was a Southern, England and British Team Manager in his time.
Saying all that I felt he would be well equipped to give his opinion on the British Milers Club:- "The BMC has provided an enormous range of opportunities for middle distance runners for many years. It is not the only thing about middle distance running but one element in running fast times. Till you run those times and feel you are approaching the sort of times you need to run in a predictable way, you can't really move on to racing them so, it does provide an enormous boost to individual athletes. You have only got to look round the country currently regarding the events the BMC put on and how well they are supported. People are flocking to races because they are providing what people need, providing the opportunity to run fast times in a predictable way in predictable races.'
' When I was younger, competing internationally and Nationally, those opportunities weren't available with the BMC, though they were in their early days. They tended not to be producing super fast times. I was able to get a sufficient number of competitions and I did not need to take those opportunities BUT BMC races now regularly are run at 1.46 - 1.47. They would have been perfect for me to actually have the opportunities which were not around at the time.
I often regret I did not join or be a member of the BMC. The BMC is synonymous with middle distance running in the UK"
Steve Ovett & Seb Coe
Pete Browne with his long career of running, loving it since he was 10 years of age and still competing at the age of 60 years of age, remembers racing the 'Greats' like Seb Coe and Steve Ovett.
He did beat Steve Ovett a few times when Steve was a late teenager and, had a close race with him when he came second in the AAA's Championship 800 in 1975, in his second fastest time ever of 1:46.4 to Steve Ovett's 1:46.1.
" Steve was always a competitor. An athletes' athlete as it were. I always got on very well with him. Some people found him awkward or difficult to deal with. To people he was competing against he was always fair and honest.
' In that particular race in 1975. I was leading at 600metrs. Steve started kicking just to pass me before the bend. I accelerated which caught him by surprise--He cut in on me and forced me to break stride. We finished and we were a yard or so apart. The first thing he said to me afterwards was ' Have you complained to the referee' I said ' No I haven't done' and he then said 'I think you ought to because' he said 'I cut you up and it was unfair!"
"I ran against Coe several times. I ran against him in the Middlesex for example (1984) when he was starting to knock out World class times on a regular basis. He ran 1:45.2 and I was 3rd in 1:51.00'
'Coe was a different kind of runner. Coe was much more technical and clinical in his approach but again he was a personable guy. I always got on very well with him and hold him in the highest regards. He is not the sort of person who would blank you at a current social function. He would wander up and say 'How are You', which with people in his position of power it is not always the case.'
Had Peter Browne any idea that Steve Ovett would become as great as he was when he ran against him?
"Steve Ovett was always destined for greatness and with due respect to Harry Wilson, anybody could have coached Steve Ovett I think. He did not actually and still doesn't realise how good he was!'
Pete Browne looking Back
" The only thing I would not do again is venture into the high range of high mileage. It really did not suit me. I did run 90-95 miles in a week but typically doing 60-70 .I would not venture further because when I did 80 to 90 it did not work out for me over an extended period. I just did not recover as, I was holding down a full time job and had a family.
The legendary Charlie Elliott was his coach
"I think he was persuaded to coach me as I had not got any great heritage at the time. No superlative times to indicate I was going to develop into an international athlete. I had been running with Queens Park Harriers for a year and a half and he started coaching me in January.In six months I competed internationally in the first ever junior international against France at Portsmouth and was ranked that year in the top three juniors in my age group. It is 40 years ago now but I consider Charlie Elliott, if not revolutionary was evolutionary and developed the ideas of others and refined training techniques. He was ahead of his time."