Donald (Don) Thompson
Kent Connections include: New Romney, Hythe,
Olympic Sport: Race Walking
Olympic Games: 1956, 1960, 1964
Don Thompson moved to Kent in 1975, taking up a teaching post in
In 1951, suffering from a minor injury, he switched from a
running event to a 5 mile Race walk. Winning this event inspired
him to focus on long distance Race Walking.
While competing in the 5km Race Walking final of the 1956
Melbourne Olympics, Thompson collapsed with dehydration. In
response, exercise in hot conditions became part of his training
regime. Thompson used a bathroom as a makeshift steam room. This
experimental approach paid off:, and in the high temperatures of
the Rome Olympics of 1964, Don Thompson won a Gold medal in the 5km
Don Thompson won the annual London to Brighton Race Walk on a
record 8 occasions.
In 1983, while running in the Thanet Marathon he fell, broke his
collar bone, but still finished the race.
In 1991, he became oldest ever Great British athlete competing
internationally, when he took part in the 200km walk in
In 1998 he ran the last of his 150 marathons.
Don Thompson died on 03 October 2006. He lived in Hythe for most
of the last 25 years of his life and trained with the Folkestone