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1956 National Championship in Melbourne…in the third lap, Ron Clarke (Australian and World Junior Mile record holder) and John Landy moved forward at a strong pace. They were shooting for a new world record! Then Alec Henderson tried to squeeze between the two runners and the inside edge of the curb and in so doing, clipped the heel of Ron Clarke with his spikes. Clarke stumbled forward onto the cinder track while Henderson was knocked onto the side arena. Landy then tried to leap over the falling body of Clarke but ended up stepping right on Clarke’s shoulder with his spikes. Everyone else either jumped over Clarke or ran around him as he lay there on the ground.


Just then, Landy stunned the sporting world with his incredible selfless act of kindness. Forgetting about the world record and the approaching Olympics, he stopped and ran back to help the fallen Ron Clarke. He got him back on his feet, brushed the cinders off, checked his bleeding shoulder and said “Sorry”. Clarke was ok and told Landy, “Keep going, I’m alright. Run! Run!”


Together Landy and Clarke set off to catch the other runners who were at this time over 60 yards ahead. As they pressed on they began passing the field of runners one by one. On the home stretch, Landy sprinted leaving Clarke behind with the most powerful finish ever. In the last ten yards, Landy passed the leading Henderson and Lincoln to win the Australian Championship in four minutes, four seconds.