Martin Hyman

05 April 2021

Martin Hyman

The club are saddened to learn of the death of Martin Hyman. Martin was a member of the club for 65 years and was one of Britain's best and most respected athletes, competing in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and many internationals. His 10000m track record, set in 1962, still remains a club record.

A Tribute to Martin

Martin came to England from Jersey as a World-War-Two refugee. “As the Germans invaded Normandy, we could hear their big guns just across the sea,” he recalled. “I got out two weeks before the invasion and my father one week before. Martin had an unsettled childhood as he was moved to ten different schools. “I learnt some things twice,” he recalls, “and missed other things altogether.” That he managed to get to university at a time when entrance was difficult says a lot about his intelligence and industry.

Martin entered Southampton University at 18, He competed in the cross-country team and by the end of the season was ranked 5th, and at end of the next season was the best. In his third year Martin was the best in the southern universities circuit.”

In an evening track meeting with Portsmouth Athletic Club in his last university year he was approached by Andy Gibb, the Portsmouth AC Club Secretary: Martin recalls “He came up to me and said, ‘D’ye want to join a guid club?’ I said, ‘I am only a weak lad and a novice, and I run for the university and in the holidays I need a rest.’ He said, ‘I’ll give you an annual report and a fixture card.’

Martin joined Portsmouth AC and became one of the club’s leading runners. But first he had to do his national service. This was a problem because Martin was a conscientious objector. He was stationed in the ambulance division at Linz in Austria, working with Hungarian refugees who had fled after the Soviet invasion of their country. Linz boasted the best club in Austria, so he was able to train at their track. He was there with a ban-the-bomb logo on the back of his tracksuit!

On returning home he took a Teaching Diploma course at Southampton University, Martin was still eligible to compete in university competition and won the National Universities cross-country title.

Martin claimed that he had little natural running ability. He suffered from asthma and hay fever. Despite this, he became one of Britain’s best and most respected runners, competing in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and many internationals. Above all else, Martin loved road racing and claims his most enjoyable race was beating the great Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian Olympic champion, in Brazil in 1962

Martin never had a coach; he educated himself in training theories, working with his Portsmouth team-mate Bruce Tulloh.

Hyman was also a fine club man. He was a major factor in the success of Portsmouth Athletic Club and served as Club Captain. “I ran for them every week unless I was running for GB or England,” he asserted. “It wasn’t a sacrifice; it was a joy and a pleasure.”