Fifty years ago running legend Bruce Tulloh completed his record-breaking 2,876‑mile run across America in just under 65 days. To celebrate this outstanding achievement his family are re-publishing his long out-of-print book, ‘Four Million Footsteps’ (often described as “the greatest running book of all time”), which chronicled his amazing transcontinental adventure.
— a foreword from Olympic gold medallist David Hemery
— a new overview of Bruce’s development as a runner from childhood onwards
— new and previously unseen photographs unearthed from the family archive
— extracts from the transcontinental log book that evidenced his daily progress (lost for thirty years, it reappeared at Bruce’s memorial).
Bruce retired from competitive athletics at the age of 32 in 1967 having achieved a gold medal in the 5,000 metres at the 1962 Eurpoean Championships, run a sub-four-minute mile and broken the British record over three and six miles. Facing the prospect of running in the 1968 Mexico Olympics at altitude, he decided to call it a day.
Ironically what he chose to do instead was far more challenging. In the Guinness Book of Records Bruce chanced upon the world record for running across America, at that time held by Don Shephard, who had done it in 73 days. Breaking this, thought Bruce, would be “a piece of cake” but the reality proved to be a little bit tougher.
‘Four Million Footsteps’ is a detailed account of that run, a run undertaken with a fairly rudimentary support system and not that much knowledge of what lay on the road ahead. Accompanied by his wife, Sue (who drove ahead in a caravan each day, waiting at campsite with a hot meal), son clive (aged 7) and teenage cousin Mark, who stayed in closer contact, providing him with drinks, food and information on how far ahead Clive and Sue were – it was far from plain sailing. Afflicted by cramps and passing out early on he was, after ten days reduced to walking with a stick. Slowly his body adjusted to conditions, held up by his indomitable will, and by the end he was up to running 40 miles a day – “a running machine” who ended the run in better shape than the beginning.
To make this a reality a Kickstarter campaign has been launched [click here] which will help fund the creation of this 50th anniversary edition which will make this iconic book accessible to a new generation of runners. Everyone involved in this project is working for free.
Bruce had a long association with Marlborough, as teacher of Biology at The College for more than twenty years and also as an inspirational coach to generations of Marlburians both in cross country and athletics. Earlier this year in recognition of his athletic achievements and coaching the Marlborough College Athletics Pavilion was renamed in his memory.
Bruce died last year on 28 April at his home here in Marlborough and hs obituary on marlborough.news can be accessed here.