Ian Stewart was one of the world's leading distance runners and claimed a series of European, Commonwealth and world titles in the late 1960s and mid-1970s.

Born in England in 1949 to a Scottish father, he soon showed a precocious talent on the track. In 1965, he ran a British age best of 9:12.8 for two miles and two years later set a European junior three-miles record of 13:39.8. The following year, he broke European junior records at four distances – 3,000m, two miles, three miles and 5,000m.

By now he’d developed his unorthodox strategy of breaking far away from the field at the midpoint of the race instead of the last lap, leaving his rivals confused as to what to do.

Moving up to the senior ranks, Stewart took the European Indoor 3,000m title in a UK record time, claimed the AAA 5,000m title and won 5,000m gold at the 1969 European Athletics Championships in Athens.

Representing Scotland at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, he ran one of the greatest races of all time to claim victory in the 5,000m final. Roared on by a partisan crowd, he defeated world record-holder Ron Clarke and Olympic 1,500m champion Kip Keino, setting a new European record of 13:22.8.

After battling back from illness and injury, he headed to Munich for the 1972 Olympics. In the final of the 5,000m he suffered a heavy knock from American Steve Prefontaine on the last lap, but produced an amazing burst in the home straight to win the bronze medal.

After a couple of disappointing results, hetook up cycle racing to recharge his batteries in 1974 and, suitably refreshed, returned to athletics in fine style the following year. In the space of eight days in 1975 he won the European indoor 3,000m title, then the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships – the last Briton to win the event.

After finishing 7th in the 5,000m final at the 1976 Olympics, he ran a 10-mile world road best in 1977, before retiring the following year. He was awarded the MBE in 1979.

One of six children, Ian came from a talented athletics family – his brother Peter was 3,000m European indoor champion in 1971 and a British record holder at the mile. His sister Mary won the 1,500m indoor title in 1977 and was Commonwealth Games champion in 1978.

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