Earl of Jersey

Amateur Athletic Club 4 Miles Men’s Running Challenge Cup

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

The Story of the Event
With its classical image of the runner of Atlanta, the Earl of Jersey cup contains a potted history of international and British distance running. This event was first included in the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games as the 5000m.

Photo credit: Ruth Brennan

The first Olympic champion in 1912 was Finnish athlete Hannes Kolehmainen, who won this title the year before, with British athlete George Hutson, three times Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) champion taking bronze. Kolehmainen’s countryman, Paavo Nurmi, won the AAA title in 1922 and the Olympics two years later in Paris. A third Finnish athlete, Lauri Lehtinen, would take Olympic gold, as well as Nurmi’s world record in the Los Angeles Games in 1932. Australian athlete Ron Clarke won this trophy three successive times in the 1960s, as well as winning silver medals at multiple distances across three Commonwealth Games and 10, 000m bronze at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Clarke set a world record in winning the 1965 title, smashing his own record by 8 seconds to become the first man complete 5000m in under 13 minutes.

From a British perspective, Olympic medallists Gordon Pirie, Derek Ibbotson, Ian Stewart and Brendan Foster all won AAA championships in the 5000m, with some names appearing on the trophy on multiple occasions. In the 1980s, successive AAA champions achieved international success. Jack Buckner took World bronze and European gold, Eamonn Martin Commonwealth gold and Mark Rowland Olympic bronze. Their successor to this trophy, Jon Brown, twice finished fourth in the Olympic marathon. Two champions unselfishly set the pace for other great athletes, Sir Chris Chataway for Sir Roger Bannister in the 4-Minute Mile race, and Mark Draper for Sir Mo Farah when winning his first international track gold medal in Turin.

The Donor
Victor Albert George Child-Villiers (1845-1915), 7th Earl of Jersey, was a member of the young organising committee of the first Amateur Athletic Club Championships – precursor to the Amateur Athletic Association Championships – in 1866, along with J.G. Chambers and C.B. Lawes, donors of the trophies for the men’s 1500m and walk respectively. In 1880 he became President of the newly-founded Amateur Athletic Association, which brought together the different national and regional organising bodies of the sport. While at Eton College, Jersey won the mile race and went on to finish second in the mile in the 1865 Varsity competition between the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, with a fourth place in the 2-mile race.

Several members of the Villiers family were important politicians and diplomats, although the Earl was described as less effective as a political activist than his wife, Margaret Child, nevertheless he served as Paymaster-General to the government in the 1880s. In 1891 he became governor of New South Wales for a year, though locals commented that he was rarely seen in Sydney, preferring to stay at home with his family. Away from athletics he also enjoyed horse racing, to the extent that in 1885 he had to sell off the library from one of the family homes for £13,000 to pay off gambling debts.

History of the Trophy
AAA champions in the four miles received this trophy from 1880, when the trophies previously awarded to the winners of the AAC’s championship were inherited from J.G. Chambers.  From 1932 the distance was reduced to 3 miles, and from 1969 it became the 5000m.  Since 2010 the trophy has been presented to the winner of the England Senior Championships 5000m. 

Previous Winners*

1866 (R. Garnett)*1897 Chas. Bennett1930 L. Virtanen1967 R.W. Clarke
1867 (G. Kennedy)*1898 Chas. Bennett1931 J.A. Burns1968 J.L. Stewart
1868 W.M. Chinnery1899 Chas. Bennett1932 W.J. Beavers1969 Ian Stewart
1869 W.M. Chinnery1900 J.T. Rimmer1933 L. Lehtinen1970 Chris Stewart
1870 H. Riches1901 A. Shrubb1934 J. Kusocinski1971 M. Baxter
1871 J. Scott1902 A. Shrubb1935 A.V. Reeve1972 D. Bedford
1872 A.F. Edgar1903 A. Shrubb1936 P.D. Ward1973 B. Foster
1873 A.F. Somerville1904 A. Shrubb1937 P.D. ward1974 B. Foster
1874 W. Slade1905 J. Smith1938 C.A.J. Emery1975 M. Liquori
1875 J. Gibb1906 F.Hulford1939 C.A.J. Emery1976 B. Foster
1876 A. Goodwin1907 A. Duncan1946 S.C. Wooderson1977 D. Black
1877 J. Gibb (WO)1908 E.R. Voigt1947 J. Lataster1978 H. Rono
1878 J.G. Gibb1909 E.R. Voigt1948 W. Slykhuis1979 E. Coghlan
1879 J. Warburton1910 A.G. Hill1949 J.J. Barry1980 H. Hudak
1880 W. George1911 H. Kolehmainen1950 L. Theys1981 E. Coghlan
1881 G. Nehan1912 G.W. Hutson1951 W.R. Beckett1982 W. Waigwa
1882 W. George1913 G.W. Hutson1952 C.J. Chataway1983 S. Harris
1883 W. Snook1914 G.W. Hutson1953 D.A.G. Pirie1984 R. Flynn
1884 W. George1915 – No Championship1954 F. Green1985 D. Lewis
1885 W. Snook1918 (European War)1955 C.J. Chataway1986 T. Hutchings
1886 C. Rogers1919   Blackmann1956 G.D. Ibbotson1987 J. Buckner
1887 E. Carter1920 C.E. Blewitt1957 G.D. Ibbotson1988 E. Martin
1888 E.W. Parry1921 Wal. Monk1958 S.E. Eldon1989 Mark Rowland
1889 S. Thomas1922 P. Nurmi1959 M.B.S. Tulloh1990 Eamonn Martin
1890 J. Kibblewhite1923 C.E. Blewitt1960 F.G.J. Salvat1991 Eamonn Martin
1891 W.H. Morton1924 Cpl W.M. Cotterell1961 D.A.G. Pirie1992 Jack Buckner
1892 J. Kibblewhite1925 C.E. Blewitt1962 M.B.S. Tulloh1993 Jon Brown
1893 C. Pearce1926 J.E. Webster1963 M.B.S. Tulloh1994 D. Donnelly
1894 F.E. Bacon1927 B. Oehrn1964 L. Boguszewicz1995 Rob Denmark
1895 H.A. Munro1928 W. Beavers1965 R.W. Clarke 
1896 H. Harrison1929 W. Beavers1966 R.W. Clarke 
2010 M. Draper2013 A. Vernon2016 R. Weir
2011 J. Walsh2014 T. Farrell2017 A. Teuten
2012 M. Clowes2015 R. Weir2018 A. Teuten
  2019 B. Bradley

*N.B. Names are as recorded on the trophy and are not always as recorded elsewhere.  The winners of the first two championships are not included on the trophy, thus listed in brackets with an asterisk above.  The 1919 champion is listed elsewhere as E. Backman, the 1948 champion as Slijkhuis, and the 1950 champion as Thys