(photo Maureen with Sir Roger Bannister at the BMC’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations)
We were very sad to learn of the passing of one of the BMC’s founder members Maureen Smith.
In 1963 Maureen was a founder member of the BMC and her importance to the club at that time was recognised,as she was made Vice-President with the first sub-four minute mile Roger Bannister as President. This was a recognition both of Maureen’s athletics achievements as a National champion and also of her willingness to contribute to the running community and challenge the status-quo.
As an athlete competing under her maiden name of Maureen Bonnano she was extremely successful. The late 1950s were a time when the range of events for women was restricted and Maureen helped pioneered the way. In a mile race at White City in 1957, in front of ten’s of thousands of spectators, she ran 4:53.6 to winner DIane Leather’s 4:50.6. It was the first time two women had gone sub-5 mins in the same race. The following year Maureen won the national mile title.
As an official in later year Maureen continued to support the BMC by officiating at our meeting and gathering others to make sure we had enough help. She also continued to push the cause of expanding the events women could do such as Steeplechase and Heptathlon.
In 2008 Alastair Aitken interviewed Maureen for their club Highgate Harriers INTERVIEW WITH MAUREEN BONANNO-SMTH OF HIGHGATE HARRIERS
Our sympathy to Maureen’s friends and family