800m/880yds Members of the
Team of the Century
Peter Sheales (VIC) 1950's
Chris Fisher (SA) 1970's
Peter Sheales (VIC) 1950’s
After Jack Fitt set a world professional 880 yard record in 1932 at Christchurch N.Z., the record stood for 26 years until Peter Sheales broke it at Whorouly in February 1958. Running from scratch in the final of the half mile handicap, Sheales ran 1min 52.8sec to finally break a record that was long overdue.
The record stood for three years before Sheales broke his own record in extremely hot conditions at Wangaratta , running 1min 51.1sec. on 28th January 1961.
At the VAL Christmas meeting on 22 December 1957 at Olympic Park, Sheales established a new Australian professional mile record, covering the distance in 4mins 10.4secs thus clipping 1.2 seconds off the previous record. What was remarkable was the track was in poor shape and the hot windy conditions were certainly not conducive to a fast time. Sheales ran the time winning the handicap mile off scratch.
Sheales ran off scratch numerous times in 880 yards event through the late 50’s and early 60’s, winning over 20 races.
His world pro 880 yards record stood until 1966, when it was broken by Harold Downes.
Sheales won the backmarkers mile at Stawell in 1957 off 15 yards in 4mins 8.8secs. The following year he won the Herb Hedemann Invitation mile off 5 yards in 4mins 5.8secs. In 1961, He repeated his Hedemann mile win, running 4min 6.2sec off scratch to break the Australian professional mile record.
Sheales went on to a stellar field umpire career in the VFL between 1965 and 1972, umpiring 136 games including two grand finals (1967 and 1971) in the days of one umpire.
Chris Fisher (SA)1970's
As one of the country's best amateur middle distance athletes in the early 1970's, Chris Fisher won three open national 1500m titles from 1970 to 1972, four SA state titles over 800 metres and 1500m and represented Australia in the 1970 Commonwealth and 1972 Olympic Games.
His best international performance was at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh Scotland, when Fisher ran fourth in the 800m final in then personal best of 1-47.78.
Fisher was the first SA athlete to ever break the four minute mile barrier when he won the Herb Elliott mile at an international meet in Melbourne on 18th March 1971. His best ever time for the mile was 3min 57.3sec.
After the 1972 Olympics in Munich, he was enticed to turn professional by the International Track Association and ran on the international professional track circuit against the likes of Kenyan champion Kip Keino and USA world record holder Jim Ryun. Fisher won and was placed in several ITA events over 800m and 1500m, running in front of big crowds across the USA.
In 1975 Fisher won the 1500m Herb Hedemann Invitation from scratch in 3mins 43.7sec - a new professional Australian record. He then spent more time overseas before returning to Stawell in 1979 to win the Energy Mile from scratch in 4mins 10.0sec.
In 1980, Fisher again won the Herb Hedemann invitation 1500m off scratch in 3mins 46.7sec. He won the Bendigo mile five years in a row and dominated the 1982 invitation distance series at Bendigo winning all three events over 800m 1600m and 3200m.
To this day, Chris Fisher still holds the SA (amateur) state record for 800m with his 1min 47.0s recorded in Oslo on 14th December 1971.