The Len Hurst Belt

Black and white image of a man wearing tshirt and shorts
Leonard ‘Len’ Hurst, was born in Kent, on the 28th December 1871. As a brick maker by trade, Len didn’t make much money and quickly moved into running professionally, winning his first race at the age of 15.

He retired from running in 1908 at the age of 37, using the money he had made to become a pub landlord. After his death in 1937, his wife Ethel presented his championship belt, which he had won in 1903, to the Road Runners Club, to be awarded to the winning team of 3 runners in each of the subsequent London to Brighton runners races.

Black and white image of four men holding a belt in wooden frame

Tipton Harriers were the leading ultra distance running club in the 1970s and are pictured here with the Len Hurst Belt. In 1972, partly funded by the Road Runners Club, they travelled to South Africa to compete in the Comrades Marathon. They claimed the Gunga Din Trophy awarded to the winning team and returned to the UK in triumph.

The London to Brighton run was held from 1951-2005, the ‘Len Hurst belt’ was been awarded to the winning team. In 2005, due to the London to Brighton no longer safe for runners the race was stopped. The belt was presented to the Crawley Athletic Club as the team that had won the race the most.

In April 2024, the belt has been presented to Crawley Museum where it remains in our collection for use in future exhibitions and displays.

table of results for the Crawley Athletic Club London to Brighton run.
Three men holding belt mounted in wooden frame.

12 times Team Winners of the London to Brighton, Jeremy Carmichael, Walter Hill and Dave Beattie

Three men holding belt mounted in wooden frame.

Robin Gardner, Tom Glare and Paul Taylor, Woodstock Harriers (4 times winners).

Newspaper cutting from Crawley Observer, Wednesday 4th October 2000. Veteran trio win London to Brighton road race.

Press cutting from Crawley Athletic Club winning the Len Hurst belt in 2000.

Tables of the winning runners for Crawley Athletic Club in the London to Brighton road race.
Tables of the winning runners for Crawley Athletic Club in the London to Brighton road race.

Find out more about Crawley Athletic Club here 

Leave a comment



© 2024 Crawley Museum  All Rights Reserved

Website created by Creative Pod