Actually y'know what, my previous entry led me off on a mental tangent. No, no, don't worry this isn't train related. It's Radcliffe related. And I'm still gutted even today.
Paula Radcliffe is one of my heroes. Most long distance runners are heroes to me and for generally good reasons. And as the greatest female long distance runner of all time, Paula is top of the pile. Don't judge her on this Athens race. I've seen her run races that would make most others runners gasp.
So why long distance runners? Well take a look at the spinters. Muscle bound, hulking super humans with biceps that would make melons look puny in comparison. Both genders. They accelerate and BANG! They're gone, you could never hope to catch them. They're fast and exciting and they take drugs (except the ones that don't… legal arse covering). But isn't that just a little, I don't know, detached?
This is why football is more popular than polo. It's easier to be like Rooney then like some polo player (Prince Charles). And I prefer long distance runner cos it's easier to be one than a sprinter, at least for me it is. Where else am I going to find women in athletics who are physically like me? Tall, skinny, muscle free, flat chested and looking like they are in absolute agony with every step they take. I like Paula cos she looks like she's struggling and human and that's why what happened in Athens only makes me like her more. She's one of us. Steroids and other nasty drugs ruining the sprints don't work on long distance runners (although EPO does).
Anyone can run 100m but those charity fundraising runs are they over 100m? Nope. They are over long distances 5km, 10km or marathon length. It's in the world of long distance that an unknown like my dad can even consider running the big events, in his case the London marathon, as a competitor. For the record my dad never qualified as fast enough to run the competitive London marathon but he came close. When I run 100m in 22 seconds (my personal best which nearly killed me), ie in over twice the time of a proper athlete, it still feels like a disheartening failure. But to run a marathon in the same proportion (about 5hrs) would be amazing and an achievement to me. It may even be possible.
So there you are. I like long distance runners. Maybe you don't. Maybe you like sprinters. Or long jumpers. Or hurdlers. Or hammer throwers… does anyone like hammer throwers?