Warning: This post contains some moans.
Marathon viewing breakfast of apple, muesli and granola. Seriously some of the chunks of granola were bigger than the apple chunks!
So on Sunday morning I was up (not that early!) watching the London marathon. The elite races were on the red button which got a bit annoying after a while as the feed kept on cutting out (although that could have been from the motorcycle/ car cameras), but that did not take away from the excitement. I am glad I did that because it seems that the BBC mainly showed Mo so that the front runners of the men’s race didn’t get much coverage.
It was almost ironic that the commentators were just talking about how Mo had been practising taking bottles from the wing mirrors of cars (as last year when he ran the first half he messed up his drinks station stops a few times) and then what happens? Poor Dibaba (also making her marathon début) messed up her water stop- I am not sure why she didn’t carry on instead of stopping to pick up her bottle, but anyway, it shows how important these little things are.
Then of course there was the men’s race. I think anyone who thought Mo would win was either deluded (hoping for some sort of miracle) or just mis-informed. The field was immense- the marathon world record holder, the world and Olympic marathon champion, the reigning London marathon champion and the course record holder to mention a few! If you are interested in a breakdown of the competitors, then this article explains it really well.
Mo set his sights high on breaking the British record of 2:07:13, which he was close to, finishing in 2:08:21. He also finished 2 seconds behind London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai and 3 seconds behind Geoffrey Mutai (who amongst his achievements won Boston in 2011 in 2:03:02)- I think anyone would be pleased with that on their marathon début! Mo is now 4th on the all time list of British marathon times (and the top 3 are all held by Steve Jones)- seriously, nothing wrong with that!!! He was a bit behind the main pack, but towards the end caught up some stragglers (can you call them that if they finish the race sub 2.10??) and even overtook one or two (I think he was 10th at one point and finished 8th, but I am not sure if there was one pacemaker left at that point).
First up, I want to rave about Mo’s attitude. He took on a challenge. Yes, he could have chosen a début marathon with a quieter field, had pace makers going to his exact request, and possibly won. But he wanted to run in London, his home town, and good for him. He also sets such high goals for himself- of course he has Olympic gold medals but running 5000m/ 10,000m on the track is a different discipline to a road marathon, and it takes time to adapt. He came out before the race saying he wanted to break the British record (and he now holds the English record) and was disappointed when he did not break it, but it is that attitude of aiming so high that shows why he is such a great competitor. No doubt he will learn from this experience and come back stronger for his next marathon. He is not finished with the marathon.
What I will rant about is the BBC commentary, and specifically Brendan Foster. I am not sure if they had begun to believe their own hype, but they were so negative towards him. I can’t believe that after one performance (where he didn’t blow to pieces or DNF or anything like that) they had the gall to suggest he should stick to the track!!! Seriously! I mean perhaps for the Olympics that is where he is strongest- he still has the speed in his legs for that. But to suggest that after one attempt he should give up is just ridiculous and laughable and idiotic, and many more things. As a nation we are getting more sedentary and more overweight, and Mo is such a great role model for children to look up to. I just think it is such a bad attitude for the BBC to put across- try once and then give up? Whatever happened to “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”? Grrrr.
Tony Audenshaw (famed for Tony’s Trials on Marathon talk) was interviewed after running the marathon and was just brilliant- his enthusiasm is what the sport should be about- he was encouraging kids to start training to beat the British marathon record- that is what we need!
I also loved Michael Owen’s post marathon interview- he had to sit down because his legs were so knackered, but he was so positive about the running community- he was saying that in football you get a lot of negative attention at matches and on twitter etc, but while he was running everyone was giving encouragement, everyone was friendly- he wanted to hug everyone he met on the way around. That is what running is about, and that is why the running community is so great, and that is why we should be encouraging children to take up running. Kids- ignore the idiots on the BBC- running is great, and if on your first run you don’t win, don’t give up!! Get to a local parkrun and see what the running love is all about.
Also another positive is that we are starting to have some other British runners coming through-Chris Thompson gave a hilarious post run interview where they showed him his final steps on the monitor- he was staggering about a bit and looked like he had no idea what was going on- he had given that race every last drop. (Think he finished at around 2:17). He was laughing at himself!
Finally, if you have ever run a marathon then you will appreciate this little video made by Tony to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma research (if you watch it then you can text or donate on the webpage)- it had me giggling away.
Not too much complaining I hope! What did you think of Mo’s performance? Or the BBC’s coverage?