(Granted, Sillitoe's story has a better ring to it than the title of this post.) Probably already well-known among modern mathematicians and computer scientists, Alan Turing was quite an accomplished distance runner. When I first saw his 1947 Lecestershire marathon time of 2:46, I thought there might be some confusion; Europeans use the term "marathon" much more loosely than North Americans. On this side of the Atlantic, a marathon is 26.2 miles, period. So I looked it up and there's even a newspaper clipping image which specifies that yes, this is a real marathon time. 2:46 would be a damn good time in 2010, let alone in 1947 with bad running gear and probably bad nutrition and training. My own PR is 3:13 and I will likely never approach Turing's time regardless how much EPO and 'roids I consume.
"...there is good and bad speculation, and this is not an unparalleled activity in science...Those scientists who have no taste for this sort of speculative enterprise will just have to stay in the trenches and do without it, while the rest of us risk embarrassing mistakes and have a lot of fun." - Dan Dennett