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Dave Stephens (runner)

Dave Stephens (born 11 November 1928) is an Australian former long-distance runner and local identity in Carlton, Victoria who competed in the 1956 Summer Olympics.[1] Stephens was known during his career as The Flying Milkman[2] for his milk delivery round in West Footscray.


Early careerEdit

Stephens attended Williamstown High School, and while in first form in 1941 he failed to qualify for his house sports team. After dedicating himself to track events, he became school champion in four years.[3] Still largely unknown in 1953, Stephens competed in the athletics competition of the 4th World Festival of Youth and Students in Bucharest, Romania, aiming to meet and learn the training regime of Emil Zatopek. The two formed a friendship, and Stephens trained with Zatopek for several days in Prague, Czechoslovakia before returning to Melbourne. He continued implementing these training lessons at home, and began achieving world-class times over distances of 3 and 6 miles.[4]

Championship performanceEdit

Stephens was further trained by coach Percy Cerutty.[5] Stephens won the 3 and 6 mile events at the 1955 Australian Athletics Championships in Adelaide. The temperature during the 6 mile race was 46 °C (115 F), and Stephens yelled abuse at race officials as he passed them each lap for scheduling the event during the peak heat of the day. An official enquiry was convened to consider disqualification, to which Stephens apologised, telling the panel that the "heat must have got to me ... and I went troppo!" He was awarded the gold medal.[6] Stephens set the 6 mile world record in on 25 January 1956 at Olympic Park Stadium with a time of 27 minutes and 54.0 seconds.[7][8] Prior to the Olympics, however, he suffered a heel spur injury and as a result finished 20th in that event.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

After his running career, Stephens became a teacher at Williamstown South School.[10]


  1. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Dave Stephens". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  2. ^ "The Age". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ High Tide, Williamstown High School, [1], pg 18, 1965
  4. ^ Allan Lawrence, "Olympus and Beyond: (A Story of Life, Sport, and Love on Four Continents)", ISBN 978-1-4809-1000-3, 2014
  5. ^ "Australian Athletics". Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ Allan Lawrence, "Olympus and Beyond: (A Story of Life, Sport, and Love on Four Continents)", ISBN 978-1-4809-1000-3, 2014
  7. ^ "Athhistory". Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Athletics Victoria". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Sydney Morning Herald". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  10. ^ High Tide, Williamstown High School, [2], pg 10, 1965