Alan Pennington was a brilliant junior who won the AAA Junior 100y and 220y in 1934, the LAC Schools' 10y in 1935, and set a British junior record of 49.6 for 440y later in the year, shortly after he had arrived at Oxford as a freshman.
Running for Oxford vs. Cambridge he won the 100y in 1936 and 1938 and the 440y in 1939. A finalist in both sprints at the 1936 AAAs, he made his international debut at the Olympic Games that year. He missed the 1937 Championships as he was in American with the Oxbridge team and was unbeaten throughout the tour. On his return he placed second to Cyril Holmes in the 100m at the World Student Games and was a member of the winning team in all three relays. In the 1938 European Championships he won the silver medal in the 4 x 400 metres relay (with Godfrey Brown and the non-Olympians John Barnes and Alfred Baldwin) and the bronze medal in the 200 metres. He placed second in the AAA 440y in 1938 and was the winner in 1939 when he was the leading Briton and third-ranked European over 400; he equaled the English native record and defeated Godfrey Brown for the first time. The outbreak of war ended his hopes of bidding for Olympic honors in 1940. He spent most of the war years serving abroad but occasionally produced some fine performances, notably a 48.7 440y in 1942 when he beat the Canadian star, John Loaring, by two yards. After the war, he entered the insurance business in the City and took his own life while on a business trip to Portugal.
Personal bests: 100 - 10.6 (1936); 220ySt - 21.3 (1937); 200 - 21.5 (1937); 400 - 47.3 (1939).