Charles Bennett biography

Charles Bennett

Olympic athlete

1870 – 1949


Who was Charles Bennett?

Charles Bennett was a British athlete, winner of the 1500 m at the 1900 Summer Olympics and the first British track and field athlete to become Olympic champion. He was a member of Finchley Harriers which was amalgamated into Hillingdon Athletic Club in 1966.

Bennett, a train driver born in Shapwick, Dorset, was one of the top British middle distance runners in his years, winning the AAA 4-mile championship in 1897, and the cross country running title in 1899 and 1900. In the latter year, also the Olympic year, he won the British title in the mile, qualifying himself for the 1500 m in Paris. That distance had a rather weak field, and Bennett lead throughout the race, defeating local favourite Henri Deloge in 4:06.0. That time was an official world record, although many athletes had already run faster in competitions over the slightly longer mile.

Together with the combined British/Australian 5000 m team, Bennett won a second Olympic title. Bennett finished first in the race, with an unofficial world record 15:29.2, beating teammate John Rimmer. His third event was the 4000 m steeplechase, in which he just failed to catch up with the same Rimmer in the final part of the race, settling for second place.


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Dec 28, 1870
  • United Kingdom
Mar 9, 1949

on July 23, 2013