A Column By Len Johnson

Len Johnson wrote for The Melbourne Age as an athletics writer for over 20 years, covering five Olympics, 10 world championships and five Commonwealth Games. He has been the long-time lead columnist on RT and is one of the world’s most respected athletic writers. He is also a former national class distance runner (2.19.32 marathon) and trained with Chris Wardlaw and Robert de Castella among other running legends. He is the author of The Landy Era.

Ours is a sport of precision. Following wind 2.00 metres per second – everything hunky-dory: 2.01 m/s – a different story. Run a 1:59:59 marathon on a course measuring 42.195km and you’re a barrier-breaking hero. If the course comes in at 42.194km, it just didn’t happen. Mostly precision is a good...
If one word defined the running career of Roger Gilbert Bannister, it would have to be the number ‘three’. Words came before it in Norris McWhirter’s ‘spontaneous’, rehearsed-in-the-bathtub-the-night-before, announcement of the result of the mile in the Oxford v AAA meeting on 6 May, 1954. Words followed, too, but they...
For quite a few years now, Athletics Australia’s selection policies have offered the selectors wide discretionary powers in considering the third place in any event. For almost all that time, many have advocated the selectors make more use of the discretionary clauses. Now, in picking the Gold Coast 2018 team,...
It took just one minute 45.71 seconds for Joseph Deng to throw a hand grenade into considerations of the three men to represent Australia in the 800 metres at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Oh, and let’s not forget the aiding and abetting party to this chaos: I refer,...
A column by Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe No sooner had all us ‘experts’ agreed on one thing – these are not the conditions for a good 5000 – than the Australian championships and Commonwealth Games selection trials delivered the best Australian in-depth 5000 in history. Never before had three Australians...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Two things surprised me at my first Commonwealth Games as a journalist in Auckland in 1990. The first, Andrew Lloyd’s victory in an amazing 5000 metres race, still surprises me to this day. I don’t know if ‘Lloydie’ still sometimes wonders if it...
A Column By Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe The cover of Track & Field News’s December 2017 edition depicts Mutaz Essa Barshim standing on the high jump mat at Zurich’s Weltklasse (and Diamond League final) meeting pointing triumphantly over the bar and out at the reader. On a cover headed, “Our...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Most years a runners’ panel is part of Falls Creek Running Week. It was again this year, featuring rising middle-distance star Georgia Griffith, Olympic and world championship distance representative Dave McNeill and London 2017 marathoner Brad Milosevic. Chris Wardlaw was the MC. Inevitably,...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe And the people passing by, stare in wild wonder . . .* My 2017 night of staring in wild wonder was 8 August: the venue, London Olympic Stadium. The race is the men’s 800 metres final. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse is in the field. He is...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe What if Australia hosts a Commonwealth Games and we don’t win. Not across all the sports. Not in athletics, either. Well, it can’t be ‘the blackest day in Australian sport’. That moniker has already been gifted – if that’s the right word –...
                                 
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