INSPIRATIONAL TALE OF VINTAGE SPRINTER GOES VIRAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Amazing story from the 1930s brought back to life in touching tribute online
THE amazing story of Florence Ilott, a 1930s athlete who ran across Westminster Bridge in London in record time, has been shared and liked tens of thousands of times in the past week.
It even attracted the attention of Dina Asher-Smith, with the UK 100m and 200m recordholder asking how far and fast Ilott ran.
Originally tweeted by Scott Pack, the grandson of Ilott, the viral post began by saying: “I want to tell you about a remarkable woman you almost certainly haven’t heard of.”
He went on to explain that his grandmother sprinted across the bridge in April 1934 – a distance described at the time as 1160ft (just over 350m) – before the 12th chime of Big
Ben at midday.
As she worked in the House of Commons, an MP who knew she was an amateur athlete suggested she give the challenge a go.
The feat was covered in the media at the time and received wide coverage but the story has been forgotten – until now.
Ilott died in 2002 aged 88, but her achievement back in 1934 is enjoying a fresh wave of publicity, with Pack’s posts including a number of nostalgic photographs and even an old video clip.
“How many seconds do they chime for!? And how long is Westminster Bridge?” AsherSmith tweeted, intrigued, when she saw the thread.
Don’t bet against someone organising for Asher-Smith to have a crack at this either. In the autumn of 1988 Seb Coe donned old-school athletics gear to beat Steve Cram in a charity race around Trinity College at Cambridge University, as the two supermilers recreated the classic scene from the film Chariots of Fire.
Florence Ilott: remembered in touching thread on Twitter