Tribute to a former Olympian Andy Holden

ACE: Andy Holden (photo couresty of Tipton Harriers)

ACE: Andy Holden (photo couresty of Tipton Harriers)

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Former Lancashire runner Andy Holden – who competed in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games – has died aged 65.

Holden, who was brought up in Leyland, was a member of Preston Harriers as a youngster and represented Lancashire many times in cross country events.

He went to university in Birmingham in the late 1960s to study dentistry, and his athletics career really blossomed.

In 1969, Holden won the National Junior Cross Country Championship in London.

At international level he competed for Great Britain in various age groups in a number of disciplines – cross country, fell racing and indoor and outdoor track.

A real high point of his career came in the early 1970s, with Holden competing in a series of major events.

He raced at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, and the following year at the European Championships.

Then in 1972, Holden took part in the Olympics held in Munich.

In 1979, he won gold with the England team in the World Cross Country Championships.

Later in his racing career, Holden stepped up to running the marathon, clocking a personal best of 2:15.18.

He was also the course record-holder for the 36-mile Two Bridges Race in Scotland with 3:21.46.

Holden, a father-of-four, lived in the Midlands and was a member of Tipton Harriers, also doing the job of membership secretary.

A statement on the Tipton Harriers website said: “When he joined Tipton Harriers so began a competitive club record that remains to this day.

“Andy’s presence persuaded other top runners to throw their hat in with the club.

“He enjoyed the simple thrill of running and racing, he has a long career.”