R.I.P. John Sullivan: 300m Reps Will Never Be The Same!

I can still hear John’s voice resonating across Mile End’s floodlit track, on winter nights. “Ho!” would be the cry, signalling ANOTHER 300m repetition. The group would lurch forwards to speed, assuming a human steam train, as it hurtled through the night, heavy breathing becoming condensation, pluming into the cold air. “Right through!” would signal the end of every repetition, followed by his trademark chuckle and smile. I think I only saw him angry once.
John was easily recognized. Aside of the trademark smile, his pure white hair was never out of place and he was probably the ONLY man to carry fresh-pressed corduroy pants into the year 2000! Along with his everlasting stopwatches and small bounce, when he joked with his athletes, a key part of UK Athletics has disappeared. Judging from the many pleasant comments I’ve seen, and based on what I know of him personally, however, this disappearance is only in body. It’s very clear that his legacy and many pleasant memories still live on. To coin the statement of a good friend of mine, “300m reps, on 60s recovery will never be the same!”

John Sullivan, sir, salute.


9 thoughts on “R.I.P. John Sullivan: 300m Reps Will Never Be The Same!

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  1. John was a a wonderful man, giving up his life to dedicate to coaching and helping others for absolutely free.
    The sessions were tough and the group made up of Olympic finalists through to casual athletes, he didn’t mind who is was coaching as long as they were putting in the work and respectful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What years did you train under John, Dean? I was in his group for about 2 years. Around ’99 – ’01-ish. Back when Darren Burley was World Junior Champion and duked it out with Manu Miah and Tyrone Edgar for ‘alpha’ spot!


      1. That’s the time when I was in the group! Eddie is still a good friend. I haven’t spoken to Lawrence in AAAAAAAAGES, though!
        I was more in the group when Darren kinda left and Tyrone was battling with Manu Miah for ‘alpha’ spot!


  2. Fond memories of training and bring in John’s presence. Hard winter training over a Victoria Park (thanks Alf Vickers!) What a wonderful man and a great loss to the East London world of athletics. I will forever be grateful to the support and growth as an athlete thanks to John.

    Liked by 1 person

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