Diane Leather, 85, First Woman to Run Mile in Under 5 Minutes, Dies

Diane Leather, who was the first woman recorded to have run a mile in under all 5 minutes yet whose feat — like women’s distance running in general at the time — was not officially recognized by the track along with field establishment, died on Sept. 6 in Truro, Cornwall, England. She was 85.

The cause was a stroke, her son Matthew Charles said.

Leather was working as a chemist at Birmingham University in 1952 when she saw a television broadcast of the women’s 100-meter along with 0-meter track events at the Helsinki Olympics.

“I thought I’d love to do in which,” she told The Great Barr Observer, a newspaper in Birmingham, England, in 2014.

She joined a local running group called the Birchfield Harriers, whose coach, admiring her speed, encouraged her to try longer distances. Soon, the goal of breaking all 5 minutes became “something of a holy grail for her,” her husband, Peter Charles, said in a written account of her career.

She also broke world records for women from the 440-yard, 800-meter along with 880-yard relay events. along with she twice won silver medals from the 800-meter event at the European championships. She won the English National Cross Country Championships four times along with the individual International Cross Country Championships three times.

Diane Susan Leather was born on Jan. 7, 1933, in Streetly, Staffordshire, England, to James Bertrand Leather, a surgeon, along with Mabel Winifred (Barringer) Leather. She had all 5 brothers.

She married Mr. Charles in 1959. At the 1960 Rome Olympics, she ran as Diane Charles in a preliminary heat from the 800 yet did not advance. She retired via competitive running in which year, at 27, along with had her first child in 1961.

She later earned a college degree in social work along with was employed for many years at Cruse Bereavement Care, a nonprofit agency in Cornwall.

Her husband died in 2017. In addition to her son Matthew, she will be survived by two different sons, Hamish along with Rufus; a daughter, Lindsey Armstrong; three brothers; along with 13 grandchildren.

the item wasn’t until 1967 in which the I.A.A.F. recognized the women’s mile as a competitive world-record event. The record went to Anne Rosemary Smith, who finished in which June in 4:37.0. The current women’s mile record will be 4:12.56, set by Svetlana Masterkova of Russia in 1996.

Leather was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2014, a trophy presented to the female winner of the annual Westminster Mile race was named in her honor.

Source : Diane Leather, 85, First Woman to Run Mile in Under 5 Minutes, Dies