Archives // usain bolt

Where the fuck did that come from?

Tuesday 10th April 2012

In athletics, as in other sports, there are some things that make you sit up and say “where the fuck did that come from?” In recent years, Usain Bolt jogging to a world record in Beijing comes to mind, as does the memory of Ibrahim Jeilan chasing down Mo Farah in the final lap of the World Championships 10,000 last year. Or for those who have more interest in longer distances, Moses Mosop ran 2:03 last year on his debut at the Boston Marathon and didn’t even win.

Moments like these are what makes our sport so exciting. Of course, there are the predictable moments, but unexpected results and performances happen often enough to keep most fans interested.

Some might argue that anyone who had followed Bolt’s progress as a junior athlete, or that anyone with knowledge of Jeilan’s career in Japan shouldn’t have been too shocked. Maybe they are right, but the wider public still sat up and took notice.

This happens to average Joe athletes like me and my friends too. A couple of guys in my training group refer to something called a ‘Lazarus run,’ a training run or race that seemingly comes from nowhere, the kind of run you don’t deserve, haven’t trained for, and frankly, pull out of your arse.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my regular long run companions (let’s call him Dan) decided his hip injury was too painful and didn’t join us for the usual Sunday 20-something miler. Just to clarify, Dan is no slacker. If a man who regularly needs 3 digits to log his weekly mileage avoids a long run, it’s usually because there is something wrong. We met up the next day for the usual Monday recovery run and Dan surprised us all by recounting the story of how he went out the evening before and knocked out a 10 miler in under an hour. He couldn’t explain why his hip had recovered sufficiently to run a hard tempo run but it had.

I had a similar experience a few days ago; my Jeilan moment involved running a 10 mile PB in training despite feeling pretty terrible when leaving the house. Again, where the fuck did that come from? But just as the good runs (and races for that matter) can come along unexpectedly, so can the bad ones. All runners have a stinker now and then and I had a prime turd of a run this morning. After two days of easy running I was pumped for my session of 3 x 1 mile with 90 seconds recovery. Leaving the house to go to the park where I train, I felt stiff and sore but kept going, last week’s tempo run acting as motivation. The heaviness still hadn’t cleared after my warm up so I settled for my back-up session of 4 miles at marathon pace. How hard can it be, I thought to myself. Very, came the answer from my quads 100 metres after I started my watch. It hurt. I convinced myself that I could work my way into it and speed up but after a while it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. After busting my balls to run a 5:50 mile I stopped my watch and gave up. I ran home. In fact, to call my homeward shuffle a run would be an insult to proper runners the world over.

Next week I’m running the London Marathon. I’m hoping for a ‘where the fuck did that come from?’ moment. But only if it’s the good type.

IAAF to make it easier for Bolt to win

Wednesday 31st August 2011

The IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, has today announced that it will be changing the rules in some sprint events to make it easier for Usain Bolt to win.

The news follows the Jamaican athlete’s recent disqualification from the world 100m championships final, where Bolt was judged to have false-started. The proposed rule changes involve the abolition of the false start rule for any athlete ranked in the world top 10, giving byes to the final for anyone whose first name begins with the letter ‘U,’ as well as the option of a head start for anyone who has broken 9.6 seconds before.

Lord Sebastian Coe, vice president of the IAAF, said in today’s press conference: “It is morally wrong that someone with such an enormous, er, reputation, should have to suffer the indignity of disqualification for an offence as minor as starting five seconds before everyone else.” The former Olympic champion also told the world’s press that “It would be a real tragedy if Bolt were not to win the 100m, 200m, 400m, relay and long jump at my, sorry, London’s Olympics next year.” Coe also added, bizarrely “When can I be Prime Minister? This microphone is off, right?”

The new rules are not without critics, however. Several leading newspapers such as the Views of the World and the Daily Male have questioned the fairness of the rule changes. Meanwhile, a group of athletes is planning legal action against the IAAF. The group will be led by Bolt’s compatriot Asafa Powell, who told reporters “I really want to win this case. Oh, and a major championships too.”

Bolt himself was unavailable for comment on the matter, and was last seen eating chicken nuggets in a South Korean branch of McDonalds.