Keep Informed > Alumni Profiles > Charlie Spedding

Alumni Profile

Charlie Sppeding


Charlie Spedding

BSc (Hons) Pharmacy 1974

“The early 70s was the time of very long hair for men. Nearly everybody had hair down to their shoulders! I have vivid memories of being in Sunderland when the football club won the FA Cup in ’73 and the whole town was out on the streets celebrating. I used to go running through the city streets and Barnes Park every day and was constantly getting the mickey taken because it was so rare to see anybody out running then.”

After graduating Charlie went to work in London at St Thomas Hospital for a year and then came back to the North East to work in the community. He left his pharmacy career to pursue a lifelong dream of running professionally – a dream that came to fruition in spectacular style in 1984.

“In my late twenties I decided to concentrate on running and left pharmacy for a few years because I found it impossible to do both things to the best of my ability at the same time.”

In 1984 Charlie Spedding won Bronze in the marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics – breaking a 20 year medal drought for Team GB.

“I had been a runner for 16 years before I made it to my first Olympic Games at the age of 32. I remember being incredibly nervous for the entire week before the race. I had convinced myself that I was going to run the greatest race of my life, which meant that I didn’t know how well I was going to do. I was shaking with nerves half an hour before the start, but as soon as we began to run I felt calm, clear and determined.

“I remember standing on the podium, squeezing the medal in my hand to make sure it was real.”

The Olympian returned to his career as a pharmacist in 1988, and set up C Spedding Ltd in 2003. After a stint of eight years Charlie stepped back from the day to day running of his business to campaign for increased physical exercise for school children.

“New research shows that physical exertion produces neurotrophic factors, which enhance learning and cognition. Extra physical activity improves academic achievement as well as benefiting health.”

Charlie is also a published author with two non-fiction books to his name. 'From Last to First'  is the story of his running career and  recounts many of the psychological aspects that were vital to his success. His second book, 'Stop Feeding Us Lies', exposes many of the myths and misinformation involved in the dietary and health advice commonly seen in the mainstream media.

University of Sunderland logo

Development & Alumni Office | +44 (0)191 515 3664 |

Privacy Policy