John Disley at the 2015 London Marathon.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Mr John Disley CBE. Mr Disley taught physical education at Isleworth Grammar School from 1951-55, and passed away peacefully on Monday evening after a short illness.

Born in South Wales in 1928, Mr Disley was a well-respected teacher with an extreme sporting pedigree, competing in several major international athletic championships, including two Olympic Games. In 1952, Mr Disley earned a bronze medal in the 3000m steeplechase at the Helsinki Olympics, which no doubt made him quite a presence in school afterwards! Many speak of Mr Disley as the first genuinely world-class British steeplechaser; indeed, he lowered the British record for his chosen event five times during his peak years.

Following the culmination of his teaching career, Mr Disley stayed in athletics, serving for eight years as Vice-Chairman of the UK Sports Council. In 1979, he was awared a CBE for his work in outdoor education.

Also in 1979, Mr Disley, along with his athlete friend Chris Brasher, competed in the New York Marathon. The pair were so impressed with the standard of the event that they resolved to create a similar event in London. Thus, the annual London Marathon was born, with Mr Disley designing the course for the event, which first took place in 1981. At that first event, 7,474 runners took part; by 2015, that number had risen to a staggering 37,675.

Our condolences go to his family at this time.


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