Richard Wilde – Remembered

On the 24th September 2019 Richard Wilde, a highly talented yet modest life member of our club, passed away at the age of 73.

Richard Wilde 1945-2019

Richard was a Life Member of Manchester Harriers & Athletic Club serving at times on the committee as well as setting cross country courses. He had an illustrious running career but was extremely modest about his achievements and shunned publicity. He was successful over many surfaces and distances, excelling on the fells, cross country, road and indoors.

In 1970, at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Vienna, he won Gold in the 3,000 metres with a new world record time of 7:46.85. That same year he came sixth and took Team Gold in the International Cross Country Championships. His versatility was obvious when he achieved what was to become a legendary time in the Lantern Pike fell race. He is the only person to break 30 minutes for the race. He also won the classic Fairfield Horseshoe race as well as Lyme Park, Great Hill and Edenfield – some of them in record times.

Richard Wilde 1970 European Athletics Indoor Championships, Vienna, 3000m Gold

He improved his marathon time of 2:23.04 in the 1972 Maxol Marathon to 2:14.43 when he won the 1979 Grandma’s Marathon in Minnisota, USA. Two years later he ran the same race two seconds faster, 2:14.41, finishing fourth. In 1978 he won the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Iron County, Wisconsin, USA in 2:19.10. The hilly terrain, the humidity and the August heat contributed to the slower time but he had set a course record which stood for many years until the course was changed.

Richard Wilde 1977 setting the Lantern Pike Fell Race record of 29:12. This records still stands

Richard was in his prime in a very different era to that of today. Rather than huge sums of money, a typical prize would be a tea set. On one occasion, having won a race overseas, he was presented with a SHOTGUN which he brought home on the plane – a different era indeed!

Richard was a complex character and something of a perfectionist as he demonstrated on many occasions when setting cross country courses. His reluctance to talk about his own running, whilst regrettable for all those of us who would have loved to listen, added to his charm. He was well liked and respected and will be missed. It was a privilege to know him.

Arnold Bradshaw

Video: A.A.A. Championships 1969

Below is a highlights video of the 1969 A.A.A Championships at White City. Ricky is bib #21 finishing 3rd – at about 2 mins and 40 seconds into this video, direct link to the start here:

Other Articles and Tributes

Neil Shuttleworth wrote a lovely article with some insight into Ricky’s races.

Pike Racers includes him in their history of the Lantern Pike fell race.

Wikipedia has an entry.

It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Richard Wilde. Very much his own man and a wonderful Athlete and human being. His exploits are well documented of course and hard to imagine that behind that sometimes vague expression was a man of steely determination. I last saw him in January of this year when visiting Ron Hill, a near neighbour. After chatting for about 20 minutes in his lounge he insisted on walking back with me down the hill to Ron’s home. A caring attitude, much lacking in today’s world. Rest in peace Richard.

Stan Taylor

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