DERBYSHIRE HERITAGE Derbyshire Peak District - higger-tor
 

Tom Hulatt, Tibshelf athlete
Tom Hulatt Tom Hulatt
On the Five Pits Trail at Pilsley there is a plaque commemorating the part a local man played in the first sub four minute mile race at Oxford on 6th May 1954.
Tom Hulatt, a former miner, came from Tibshelf just a short distance away from Pilsley. In fact there is a signpost by the plaque indicating a one mile run from it to Tibshelf. He was a Northern Counties champion runner invited to join the field of runners when Roger Bannister broke the sub four minute mile barrier.
There were six runners in the race in which Tom Hulatt finished a very respectable third behind Chris Chataway who had trained with Roger Bannister and was part of the so called three man record breaking team.
Although pace making is now accepted, back in 1954 it was frowned upon, in fact illegal. Thus if an admission of pace making was made then the record would have been deleted and it is thought that these suspicions were allayed due to Hulatt being in the field. It was only a year earlier, in 1953, that Bannister had a near record time of four minutes two seconds disallowed because of pace setting suspicions. In some respects Tom was the odd man out as everyone else in the race was a well educated graduate.
After the race he quietly went home with his brother, was never interviewed by the national press and quickly faded into obscurity.
Despite his great achievement of third place in the record breaking race he was never invited to run for the AAA again. In 1960 he suffered a serious achilles injury which meant the end of his running career but he continued to live in Tibshelf until his death in 1990, aged 59.

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