Swansea-born Roger Hackney’s Welsh record for the 3,000m steeplechase has stood for almost a quarter of a century and still stands at 8 mins 18.91 seconds. It is the 6th fastest of all-time by a British athlete. The fastest time by a British athlete in 2012 was only 8 28.48 secs.
Such is the quality of his Welsh record, set in Belgium, and stretching back to 1988 is that the time would have ranked him the number one British athlete in each of the 10 years until 2012.
He competed in three Olympic Games, reaching the final in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, competing also in Moscow in 1980 and in Seoul in 1988.
Amongst Welsh athletes, only Colin Jackson and Christian Malcolm have competed in more Olympics than Roger, although 1964 Olympic Champion Lynn Davies and fellow steeplechaser Justin Chaston have also competed in three Olympics.
His finest run on the world stage came in the inaugural world championships in Stockholm in 1983 when he finished 5th in the 3,000m steeplechase clocking a Welsh record at the time of 8:19.38. He also reached the final in the next world championships in 1987 in Rome. His first Welsh record was set in 1982 when he clocked 8:21.41 to better the record set by another Welsh Commonwealth silver medallist, John Davies eight years earlier.
Roger competed in three Commonwealth Games for Wales winning the silver medal in the 1986 Edinburgh Games in 8:25.15 and twice ran in the European Championships and reached the final in 1986 finishing 8th in 8:20.97.
He was also a fine cross country runner, and took the 1982 Welsh cross country title in Heath Park Cardiff to prevent former world marathon record holder and RAF colleague Steve Jones from equalling the record of six successive wins.
Surprisingly, he only won two Welsh steeplechase titles – with a 10 year gap between the wins – in 1979 and 1989. His winning time in 1989 still stands as the championships best – 8:32.16. He took three other Welsh titles, the 1,500m in 1982 in a championships best 3:44.43, and two 5,000m titles in 1986 and 1988 (13:44.04/14:08.00).
He took the AAA title twice – firstly in 1980 with 8:39.8 and then two years later with 8:28.98 .
Roger’s versatility as a fine all-round middle distance runner is clearly emphasised with his range of personal bests:
24 Jun 87
13 Jul 86
13 Jul 84
14 Jun 1986
30 Jul 1988
He was rightly inducted into the Welsh Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
Clive Williams/ October 2012