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Posts Tagged ‘marathon’

POSTED BY admin Tuesday 26th March 12:49

Out of Africa

It’s no secret to anyone with even the flimsiest knowledge of distance running that the top end of the sport is dominated by African athletes.  Perhaps with a dominance unique amongst all sports.

But is this virtual monopoly of almost every major race good for the health of sport?

On the surface, distance running appears never to have been in better health.  Ironically, participation in road running is at an all time high.  Big 40,000+ races like the Chicago and Berlin marathons sell out in hours.  The London marathon could fill its ballot places ten times over.  Even local races now fill up six months in advance.  A million people will line the streets of London in April as they always do in New York and elsewhere.

But ask yourselves what is it that raises the interest?  Mostly for the participants it is for their own running ambitions or charity fundraising.  For the spectators it is the colour and the carnival, and to support friends and family who are taking part.  Few have even the slightest interest in who wins.  In other words, these races are popular as mass participations events, not as sporting contests.  The TV people are far more interested in the human interest, charity and celebrity angle when there is only an African interest at the sharp end.  They reflect the public perception of the anonymous African presence and swiftly divert their attention elsewhere.

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POSTED BY admin Thursday 14th February 15:08

A mid-pack runner and his cash are soon parted

There are few things that running share in common with the game of golf.  But one of them is the mind-boggling array of gadgets, gizmos, aids and equipment developments that are designed and sold with the promise of helping you improve your performance.  Of course, the thing that sells best of all in golf is length.  Anything, with even the flimsiest scientific data to back it up, that suggests that the golfer might hit the ball a bit further than before, and they’ll be reaching for their wallet quicker than Tiger Woods in a Las Vegas casino.

And so it is with running. As Adidas launches its latest shoe, expensively promoted with the promise that it has a new type of cushioning with more “bounce” which in turn gives you more energy, which in turn makes you run further.  Or faster.  Or whatever.

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POSTED BY admin Thursday 6th September 10:12

Liar Liar…running shorts on fire

I posted on twitter this week the amusing story of US Vice Presidential nominee, who has attracted widespread scorn and ridicule this week from the running world.  His crime?  He blagged that he’d run a marathon quicker than he actually had. See here

In an interview, he had boasted of how he’d run a marathon twenty years ago in “under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.”  As it turns out his real time on inspection was a rather more modest (but still not wholly unimpressive 4:01:25).

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