World 100 record falls to Marlene Mathews

“A kiss for Barry before Marlene goes to practice.” April 10, 1958.Credit:Staff Photographer

Then it was Olympic representative Fleur Mellor’s turn to break, and she was warned.

On the third try the field got away, with Miss Cuthbert and Miss Hayes just ahead of Marlene Mathews.

Miss Mathews stopped and passed the pair near the half-time mark and continued to increase her lead.

Betty Cuthbert didn’t impress for the last 25 yards and looked like she was about to be beaten by Miss Hayes.

At the finish there seemed little doubt that a world record had been broken, but the crowd still waited in case wind support had been ruled out.

When it was announced that Miss Mathews had broken the record, there was a great roar that would have done credit to a crowd five times the paltry number chasing this classic race.

Her trainer, Bill Harrison, has made her lighter than ever in the past four years, and her leg muscle problems have disappeared.

Her victory was welcomed by everyone, including Betty Cuthbert, because Marlene had a difficult and brave career and was always overshadowed, first by Marjorie Jackson and then by Betty.

Marlene said after the race: “Bill Harrison was great. It’s the first time I’ve tackled a rave calmly and confidently.


“But it’s actually Wendy Hayes that I have to thank for my win. I was thrilled when I knew I had the track next to her.

“She started like a bullet and I was a bit slow. She ran so well that she just pulled me out and that made all the difference because I didn’t see Betty at all.”

Marlene cried with joy when she heard her world record time of 10.3 seconds announced. It was her seventh world record run, but only the second time she had a time finish. She lost the others because there had been wind support.

There was no wind tonight, although a strong breeze blew down the track a few seconds before the start. World 100 record falls to Marlene Mathews

Ryan Sederquist

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