Warsop Vale runner who graced the Olympics

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When you think of famous Mansfield Olympians the name of Becky Adlington inevitably springs to mind.

But one man that perhaps does not register on the modern day sporting radar is Warsop Vale middle-distance runner Cyril Ellis.

Impressive Cyril was born in 1904 and went on to dominate his distance across the Midlands before eventually making it all the way to the sport’s highest level.

The middle-distance specialist began running for the elite Birchfield Harriers Club in Birmingham before making his Olympic debut in the 1,500m at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Cyril, who became a proof reader for the Essex Chronicle following his sporting retirement, came third in the first round with a time of 4:08:01, but did not progress any further.

But determined Cyril then built on his experience as he continued to enjoy great success, adding three successive AAA mile titles, the 880 yards eight times at the Midlands Championsips between 1925 and 1933 and a UK record for 1,000m in 1927 to his list of sporting honours.

And four years after making his Olympics debut, Cyril went to the Amsterdam Olympics where he won the first round with a much quicker time of 4:01:08.

Cyril, who broke the World Record in 1929, eventually claimed fifth spot in the final as he carried the flag for Britain.

Proud nephew Jack Winfield, of Warsop, said: “They were all amateurs in the days when my Uncle Cyril ran - he would have to go to work on a Friday before a big race on Saturday.

“But he was a marvellous athlete who always pulled a big crowd when he ran locally and I’m very proud of what he achieved.

“Although I only saw him towards the end of his career, he was still a very good athlete and was very well known in the area.

“I used to go and clean his medals every Saturday morning. It took me a while because he had so many.”

Second place in the 1932 AAA mile would almost certainly have earned him selection for a third Olympics in 1932, but he could not afford to take the time off work for the long trip to Los Angeles.

Cyril, who died in April 1973, finally hung up his spikes following the birth of his son Allan before he eventually settled in Chelmsford following a spell running a youth centre in London during the war.