Fred Appleby

Frederick "Fred" Appleby (30 October 1879 – 7 April 1956)[1] was a British long-distance runner. In 1902 Appleby set a world record for 15 miles and twice defeated the leading distance runner of the time, Alfred Shrubb. Appleby competed in the 1908 Summer Olympics as a marathoner, but failed to finish.[2]


Appleby had a number of top six finishes at the AAA Championships between 1900 and 1902, placing runner-up to defending champion Alfred Shrubb over 4 miles (6.44 km) in 1902.[1]

Appleby twice defeated Shrubb over 15 miles (24.14 km) that year.[1] The first of these races was held at Fallowfield on 19 April;[3] the field also included twelve other runners, including Albert Aldridge, who went on to win the AAA 10 mile championship in 1905 and 1906.[3][4] Shrubb was the world's best distance runner at the time,[5] and although he was better at shorter distances,[5] he still started the race as the favorite.[3] Shrubb did build a large lead early on, while Appleby started slow; however, he moved steadily up the field, catching and passing Shrubb, who had problems with his right leg, with one mile to go. Appleby won the race in 1:22:41, ahead of Aldridge, who also passed Shrubb in the final stages.[3]

The second race was held at Stamford Bridge on 21 July and ended in another victory for Appleby, whose time of 1:20:04.6 broke both Sid Thomas's amateur world record of 1:22:15.4 and William Howitt's professional record of 1:22:00.[6][7] This time Appleby led most of the way; Shrubb stayed with him until the last lap, and although he eventually lost by 11 seconds he was also well under the previous records.[6][8][9] Appleby's splits at 13 miles and 14 miles were also world records,[1][6] and his split at 12.5 miles (20.12 km) was a best both for that distance and the shorter 20 000 metres.[1][6][7]

After 1902 Appleby concentrated on his career as a dentist, although he continued competing in cross-country races.[10] He was selected for Britain's twelve-man marathon contingent for the 1908 Summer Olympics; the reasons for his selection are unclear, as he did compete in the main tryout race but failed to finish.[10] In the Olympic marathon he dropped out around 19 miles while among the leaders, having problems with his feet.[1][11]

Appleby briefly became a professional runner in 1909, running several races on the North American professional circuit.[1][10] He twice faced Paul Acoose,[12] an upcoming Native Canadian runner, over 15 miles;[13] Acoose won the first race by a lap, running 1:22:22, an indoor world record for the distance,[13][14] while Appleby won the rematch after tacks were thrown on the track.[13][15] Appleby, with his thick rubber-soled shoes, was not inconvenienced by the tacks, while Acoose, who had been in the lead, used moccasins that they easily penetrated; he was forced to quit.[15] Gamblers backing Appleby were suspected, and all bets on the race were eventually declared void.[16]

Appleby represented the London club of Herne Hill Harriers.[1][10] He returned to dentistry after his short professional running career.[1][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fred Appleby Bio, Stats and Results". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Fred Appleby". Olympedia. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "A Sensational Race". The Star. 16 June 1902. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  4. ^ "British Athletics Championships 1876-1914". Athletics Weekly. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Jukola, Martti (1935). Huippu-urheilun historia (in Finnish). Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö.
  6. ^ a b c d "Athletics". New Zealand Herald. 13 September 1902. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b "World Record Progressions- Track". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  8. ^ "Pedestrianism. New World's Records". The Mercury. 18 February 1911. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Records Expected". The Winnipeg Tribune. 6 May 1911. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e "The true value of the British runners in the 1908 Olympic marathon – selected on merit or influence?". Track Stats. August 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  11. ^ Cook, Theodore Andrea (1908). The Fourth Olympiad: Being The Official Report. The British Olympic Association.
  12. ^ Zieman, Barbara (September 1982). "Run for Acoose". Saskatchewan Indian. 12 (7): 59–63.
  13. ^ a b c Warick, Jason (27 March 2010). "Paul Acoose". The StarPhoenix. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Great Indian Runner In City". Victoria Daily Colonist. 14 September 1909. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  15. ^ a b "Tacks Thrown On Track". The Montreal Gazette. 25 May 1909. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  16. ^ "All Race Bets Declared Off". The Winnipeg Tribune. 25 May 1909. Retrieved 30 October 2014.

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