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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.

Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Courtney Frerichs crossed the line in second place in the women’s 3000 steeplechase with a look of absolute shock and incredulity on her face. But shock at what. Incredulous about what. That she had improved by over 15 seconds in a...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Luke Mathews could scarcely have had a worse Rio Olympic experience last year than if he had decided to go out partying with the US swimmers. Selected for the 800 metres after he had run David Rudisha close in Melbourne and...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Day six at the world championships and it was one of those this way, thataway, haven’t we been here before scenarios so beloved of film directors. Sliding doors, chances taken, chances missed – that sort of thing. One place we definitely...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Another night in the London Olympic Stadium thin on finals turned out to be thick on drama as Conselsus Kiruto maintained Kenyan honour in one of the events where traditional hegemony was under challenge only to lose another in which...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Note to future event organisers: when you’ve got a program which is fairly light on finals, make sure you finish off with a real barnburner. London 2017 did just that on Monday. The night had just four finals, but it finished...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe The British are proud of their ability to deliver an ‘event’. London 2012 was the best Olympics ever. The pageantry of the Changing of the Guard. And so forth, and so on - and on, and on. To a large extent,...
Len Johnson Reporting from the World Champs, London – Runner’s Tribe Usain Bolt finished his last individual championship race with a touch of class, warmly embracing the winner, Justin Gatlin, and clapping him heartily on the back. It’s a pity spectators in the London Olympic stadium didn’t show the same amount of...
That sinking feeling - Len Johnson Reporting from London - Runner's Tribe Pink Floyd famously imagined an elephant flying over Battersea Power Station. I fancied I saw a kitchen sink on the first night of the world championships, flying over Queen Elizabeth Park. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at...
A Column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Joseph Heller’s incomparable anti-war novel, Catch-22, is populated by a collection of bizarre characters, from the squadron commander, Major Major, to minor minor players. Take Dunbar, who decided to live as long as possible by making time pass as slowly as possible. Dunbar...
A Column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Cross-country: something for everybody. Just step outside and run. Invented by cave-dwellers fleeing mastodons, cross-country simply involves running as fast as you can – faster than a pre-historic predator, in any case – for as long as you can, over whatever terrain confronts...