Percy CeruttyPrint Page Print this page

The plaque commemorates Percy Cerutty (1895-1975) who was an athletics coach.

Percy Cerutty was born in Prahran, a suburb of Melbourne. In 1939, at the age of 43 Cerutty was faced with a formative challenge in his life; a nervous breakdown that necessitated taking leave from work at the Postmaster -General`s Department and which prompted a reassessment of his life. After this, he began educating himself in healthy living. He focused on a vegetarian root-based diet, weight lifting, and of course, running. His tactics evidently worked because his health radically improved, sustaining him into an energetic old age, and they informed his coaching and running philosophy.

After World War Two, Cerutty began competing in distance running events. At the start of his career he failed to do much more than a jog. However, over the years he started making good strides towards being competitive in the running world. Right before he turned 51 he completed his first marathon in a time of 3 hours and 1 minute. Not long after that, he retired from running and began the coaching for which he is renowned.

Cerutty's unique "Stotan" philosophies were a blend of Stoic and Spartan principles, a combination that provided Cerutty a base for training his athletes. 

In 1946, Cerutty acquired 3/4 acres of land in Portsea with Dorothy Clara Barwell whom he had married in 1921, so that they could start a training camp there. In order to bring this new camp some attention, he ran 80 miles from Portsea to Melbourne. This act is reflective of his overall approach to the sport of distance running.

He introduced this approach to the athletes he trained at his Portsea headquarters. Training would involve running amongst idyllic environments, along beaches and over dunes, and it mixed poetry and philosophy with athletics training. His athletes would undertake a routine of challenging runs up sand dunes, on bark or wood chip paths, barefoot running and lifting weights frequently.

Cerutty coached Herb Elliott to a series of world record performances, culminating in an Olympic gold medal in the 1960 Rome Games. 


Address:37 Blair Road, Percy Cerutty Oval, Portsea, 3944
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.324071
Long: 144.712981
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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