28 July 2021

Distance runner Ritchie collects new Milson Trophy from his Lyonian predecessor

A new School trophy bearing the name of an illustrious Old Lyonian athlete, has been awarded to the School’s current star distance runner.

The Milsom Trophy, inaugurated to recognise the achievements of Doug Milsom (OL1957), was awarded to Year 9 pupil Ritchie Grant at the end of Summer Term, an award that recognises his commitment to his sport and excellence in long distance running.

To go with the awarding of the trophy, the School and Old Lyonian Association arranged for the pair to meet, where they were able to talk about their time at John Lyon, running, and the records they hold.

Now in his 80s, Doug continues to run and has held a number of records throughout his many years of running, including a UK record of 7’36” for the 80+ mile, and competition regular medal hauls, including five golds from distances ranging from 400m to 5,000m at a single British Masters Athletic Federation championships.

Similarly, 14-year-old Ritchie has some impressive achievements under his belt, including winning the Ealing Mile and setting numerous Parkrun records.

In conversation, Doug shared some memories of his time at John Lyon: “I used to run everywhere from an early age. At nine, I ran nearly a mile each way to and from school two or four times a day. Athletics opportunities for non-sprinters were limited until I was 14, since it was considered unhealthy for young children to race further than 220 yards! Our cross-country championships were at the Finchley Harriers headquarters at Ruislip, which is how I came to join that club in 1955 when I was 16.”

Ritchie’s recent running, especially at School, has been limited by the various lockdowns and restrictions, but is clearly a passion he found early and hopes to continue with. He said: “I first started running competitively in my old school in Year 4. We used to do inter-school cross countries and I was selected for the first one based on little to no running. I then won the first one I did and I wasn’t really expecting it. Over time I kept doing more and kept winning and I guess I never really looked back from there. Before lockdown this was my only experience of running, and I had never trained before. In the lockdown I took it up a bit more and I did some training with the time I had and then when the restrictions were lifted I started doing some more races outside of School. My future running plans are still to be decided, as I have not run much since my other sports have become available, but this summer I will be hoping to get back into a bit more and compete as much as possible.”

For distance runner Doug, there are no plans to hang up the spikes just yet, as he continues to eye up new records: “I hope to continue regular 5k Parkruns and a few Masters’ event. If I’m able, I would like to have a crack at some more UK records in 2024, in the M85-89 age group. The joy of running keeps me motivated, especially in the company of other runners.”

Ritchie added: “Meeting Doug was great and it made me realise that anything is possible. To be running at his age is incredible and it inspires me to keep running and being active for as long as possible.”