Loving the London Marathon

If I had fallen into a pit, blacked out and forgotten what date it was, this is one of those weekends where Facebook would come in handy. My feed has been dominated by the two big events this weekend: Anzac Day, and the London Marathon.

 

Tufa wins the women's race in 2:23:22

Tufa wins the women’s race in 2:23:22

Having run my first marathon last year, I watched the the London marathon with a mix of envy, excitement and relief that I didn’t have to run 26.2 miles today! Argubaly the biggest running event in the calendar in the UK, it attracts not only all the professional runners (of course), but the glamorous smattering of ‘normal’ celebrities who give the route a bash. Which combines two of my biggest passions in life: running and celebrity-spotting. Don’t laugh.

 

Only a celeb would be this tanned in April in the UK: Jensen Button.

Only a celeb would be this tanned in April in the UK: Jensen Button.

This year is Paula Radcliffe’s last marathon before retiring too. Before I was a runner, the only thing I knew about Paula Radcliffe was that she once peed on herself when running a marathon. And it turns out that’s not even correct. I didn’t know that she held (and still holds) the world title for the women’s marathon, of 2:15:25, nor that during that infamous race she also got the world’s best record for a women’s only race. So as well as being a running hero and general badass role model she’s also a reminder of how people’s huge achievements can sometimes be overlooked by the most stupid things if we’re (I’m) not careful.

Paula Radcliffe

Anyway. All the celebrities were interviewed before the race and promoting their charities. It was very exciting. And then Chris Evans (a 49 year old DJ on the UK’S Radio 2 for any Aussie readers) popped up as a ‘surprise’ runner: he only announced yesterday that he had entered. He said his aims were to finish in one piece, and to finish in time for dinner at the pub. Before Christmas, he couldn’t run for one mile without stopping, but gradually built it up and today finished in a super time  of 4:53:15.

Chris Evans

My local running group always represents well, and we had times ranging from 2:52:56 to 5:16 – and everyone did so well! So today I wanted to celebrate all the runners who ran – especially those like Chris Evans, who hadn’t run much before, but decided they would sign up to the marathon and give it a go. It’s no small feat! I hope the ends made the process worthwhile – I know that it did for me.

One of my running colleagues is in this pic as clear as day….

One of my running colleagues is in this pic as clear as day….

I cannot wait to run this one – it’s officially on My List of Races to Definitely Run. This is a list I have just started to compile while watching everyone finish at the Mall with Buckingham Palace behind them – that would be AMAZING. SB is already getting annoyed/worried/tired of hearing me talk about running it next year. I’m sure that 7 months is enough time to recover from childbirth and drag myself around a 26.2 mile course isn’t it……??????

 

Ellie B

Why Kiprotich isn’t as famous as Rooney

Today I read this article. It’s so true that running has never been more popular – here I am sat on the train and I just saw a blur of multicoloured running vests running down a country lane. Forget tractors – running groups are the car’s new nemesis.

If I think about the distance runners that I know, I run out pretty quickly: Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe, The-Olympic-Winner-Whose-Name-Begins-With-K…. Sally Gunnell …(ok, I know she’s not a distance runner. And there are way too many English names on that list – my Aussie subconscious is so mad right now).

Australian Jessica Trengove, 39th place in the 2012 Olympics. She means business. And I am proud.

Here’s an Aussie: Jessica Trengove, 39th place in the 2012 Olympic Marathon. She’s having a ball. And I am proud.

The article says that there are three main issues: money, the ability to relate, and the distinction between a hobby and “serious” running.

I googled "serious running" and got this. I like it!

I Googled “serious running” and got this. I like it!

I agree with money. Footballers’ appearences in the media are fuelled by their money as much as their skill. Not a week goes by when we aren’t reading about new hair transplants, or he who is meant to have had an affair but we’re not allowed to talk about it.

And I agree with being relatable. Being able to relate to our heroes is important, or else they might not be our heroes. There has to be something that we spot and think “that’s like me! I do that!” I have a sneaky feeling that when we watch the successes of the African champions, many of us are thinking “yeah, but long distance is part of their lifestyle“. As if our lifestyle is so alien to long distance that it’s all we can do to shower each day.

Personality comes into it as well. When I think of Mo Farah, I see his face when he realises he’s won. Tennis is the rivalry between the four Big Guns*, and their different approaches to the court. In particular Andy Murray’s misunderstood grumpiness. And who can forget Muhammad Ali’s charismatic taunts?

Which country had the T-Rex on their team? Isn't that cheating?

Which country had the T-Rex on their team? Isn’t that cheating?

For me, it’s a combination of all, so I think the writer has done pretty well! There are some awesome pole superstars out there, but at least you can learn an isolated move that you’ve seen your hero do. In running, there’s the distance – and running your target distance is an amazing achievement – but for me, the pace will always mean I view our running champions as different specimens to me. But in the 2012 Olympics – I was gripped by the end of the marathon when the Ugandan Kiprotich pulled away from the Kenyan runners, so it does exist if we have the opportunity and the desire to get behind the sport (I may have Wikipedia-ed his name. Whatever). 

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda

2012 Olympic Gold Medalist for the Marathon, Stephen Kiprotich, Uganda.

Earlier on in the year, I read this article in Runner’s World, and it really struck a chord with me: Julius Achon‘s running story and subsequent work with orphans is more commendable than anything I could hope to achieve in my lifetime. There are times when there are definite cultural/lifestyle differences between athletes, and these shouldn’t be ignored but celebrated and highlighted.

And now that’s done with, let’s talk Wimbledon. I am extremely upset that Nadal is out already.

Poor Nadal yesterday :(

Poor Nadal yesterday :(

He is my favourite of the top 4 because he is so serious, and is a great defence player. Plus, and this is obviously low down on the list, he has nice arms. Now I don’t know who to cheer for – the tortured Murray or the smooth Djokovic?

Ellie B

Click here to find out more about Julius Achon’s Uganda Children’s Fund. 

Who is your favourite Athlete/Sports person? 

What do you think about Runners in the world of fame and sports?

nadal 2

Hang in there Nadal! You’ll be back!

* The tennis four Big Guns are: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and Federer. But the biggest of these is Nadal. Apart from right now.