The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!
I’ve been watching the World Athletics Championships all week. I really like watching the athletics and after a few turbulent weeks for athletics coming into the championships, with rumours of drug cheats throughout the sport, it was nice to forget about all that and just enjoy the competition.
With Mo Farah winning two Golds, there was talk of the ‘greatest’ athlete ever and that got me thinking. I don’t think that Mo Farah is the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen, but who is? It’s impossible for me to consider people like Zatoplek, Jesse Owens or Fanny Blankers Koen because I never saw them compete but there are many others whose performances who I did see that put them right up there in the ‘greatest ever athlete’ league.
There is no doubt that Farah’s achievements are fantastic but I still think that there are others whose performances outshine his. I’m not sure it’s possible for me to say who is the best ever but these are some of my favourites.
I’m no hurdler but I loved watching Ed Moses. He was amazing. He won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) between 1977 and 1987. He dominated his event for a whole decade and broke the world record 4 times. That’s pretty impressive.
Haile Gebrselassie has to be on my list of favourites. It wasn’t just that he was a phenomenal 10,000m runner (2 Olympic Golds and 4 World Championship Golds) but with all that, he had a captivating smile. He wasn’t limited to the 10,000m distance though; he could run anything from 1500m to the marathon and that made him special. He won the Berlin marathon four times running a world record 2:03:59.
Talking of marathon runners, I have to mention Paula Radcliffe. I wonder how long her 2:15:25 will stand but it doesn’t look like anyone is even close to breaking that time at the moment. She still has the 3 fastest times ever and 4 of the top ten times for women’s marathon. However, no Olympic medal, so she doesn’t fall into my ‘greatest ever athlete’ category but definitely the best ever female marathon runner if not the best marathon runner ever.
I’m British, so my absolute favourite athletes are going to be British. My formative years were during the Ovett-Coe era. I loved the battles between them over 800 and 1500m (and sometimes the mile). As a middle distance runner, I aspired to be like them and to be as successful of them. I loved Ovett’s style. He was flamboyant often celebrating way before the line. If he knew he couldn’t win then he just let the others go. It was all about winning for him and I loved that attitude. Although I preferred Ovett, in my mind, Coe was the better runner. He always had that extra gear going into the home straight and his 800m world record stood for an unbelievably long 16 years.
But for characters and as an all round athlete, you need look no further than the great Daley Thompson. To compete in successive Olympic decathlons is a challenge, to win both times is incredible. Maybe Ashton Eaton will do that too but I doubt that he will whistle the National Anthem on the podium!
Since I was watching the athletics today, I wasn’t actually running. Sunday’s are difficult for running due to being a vicar’s wife. Today the church service was a bit unusual as we had the service in the play port in the ferry terminal building. On the way Dominic spotted this interesting creature.
After the athletics, we walked to New Brighton. It’s about 2 miles each way, so quite a hike for the kids. The destination in New Brighton was the ice-cream shop.