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.

A column by Len Johnson Few runners kept up with Emil Zatopek during his brilliant career. Even fewer got past the Czechoslovakian champion. And of those who did, hardly any stayed ahead of ‘Zato’ all the way to the line. If it was hard enough catching up with Zatopek through his...
Ryan Hall: best actor in a supporting role | A Column By Len Johnson Ryan Hall never quite achieved the stardom for which he seemed destined, but if the best actor Oscar somehow eluded him, the American marathoner certainly has a sound claim to a gong as best actor in...
Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Have we got a dog in the fight is the basic question self-interest asks itself whenever a dispute flares. In other words, have we got an interest beyond the fact that many humans are drawn towards conflict – provided they are a safe non-participant. As many...
Thanks Coach | A Column By Len Johnson There’s probably almost as many different athlete-coach relationships in athletics as there are athletes and coaches. Some athletes have a coach from the time they start out in the sport as a junior. Usually, that’s a club coach. Others never have one, though...
We need to talk about drugs: A Column By Len Johnson We need to talk about drugs, performance-enhancing drugs. Sorry if you think there has already been enough discussion on the matter, but we need to talk some more. Everyone from Lord Coe to Vladimir Putin – and that encompasses a...
Turn up the thermostat | A Column By Len Johnson  As a lawyer, Dick Pound has never been able to resist a pithy summation. A few weeks ago, the current head of WADA was pontificating on Maria Sharapova. Critiquing the Russian tennis star’s defence of the failure by either her, or...
Tiernan echoes of Melbourne ‘56 A Column By Len Johnson It might be drawing a long bow, but there’s nothing wrong with drawing long bows: when Patrick Tiernan became NCAA cross-country champion last weekend I saw a link going back to the Melbourne Olympic Games 60 years earlier. How so? Well, Tiernan...
Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe One of the beneficiaries of the decision to compete in Moscow was Rob de Castella, who made his first of four Olympic teams in the marathon. ‘Deek’ finished tenth in the marathon in Moscow, his first experience of the surging sort of running required to win...
A Column By Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe Rankings ‘bang’ pre-empts Nitro I’m as gung-ho for Nitro as the next bro’, but we should not become so bedazzled by the Big Bang Theory of Australian athletics as to ignore minor, but just as spectacular, explosions along the way. Reference the annual merit...
A column by Len Johnson – Runner’s Tribe  Last weekend, 5-7 May, was one of those times when, to dip our lids to Roy Slaven and H.G.Nelson, “too much sport was barely enough.” To recap, we had off-field shenanigans with the John Coates v Danni Roche election for the Australian Olympic...
                         
X