Home A Column By Len Johnson

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.

David McNeill’s athletics career could have been over almost before it began. On Tuesday night in Perth, he may have run his way into a third Olympic team. It was in 2005 that McNeill, along with Liam Adams and Toby Rayner, was a controversial non-selection for the junior team to...
If you were seeking signs that the sporting world is getting back to pre-Covid normality, best you didn’t go looking for them at the World Athletics Relays. We are still in the thank-heavens-there’s-something-on phase, it would seem, rather than back in full swing. Maybe the Tokyo Olympics will change that;...
Jack Bruce won his first national senior track title. Genevieve Gregson yet again emphasised her competitiveness, and versatility. Jude Thomas broke the national U20 record previously held by Ryan Gregson.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Athletics Australia (@athleticsaustralia) Such were the main takeaways from the national 3000 metres...
When Stewart McSweyn and Catriona Bisset checked in at the Australian championships, they picked up bibs bearing their names. They might just as well have borne targets. Each athlete faced dangerous rivals whose race plan would largely consist of hanging on as long as possible, then try to get past...
It’s been the practice of Athletics Australia for more than a decade now to take every athlete who can be selected. It has also been a practice that dare not speak its name: not too often, anyway. Now ‘pick ‘em all’ has been officially endorsed. In a nationals preview story...
The Stawell Gift may have had 138 previous runnings, but like most other major sporting events, it couldn’t put one foot in front of the other during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. The 120-meter handicap sprint, run on a manicured grass track at Stawell’s Central Park, has launched a million stories...
Linden Hall runs a 1500 metres in a time beginning with ‘three’. Rohan Browning runs the 100 metres in a time ending in ‘05’. Sometimes it’s just all about the numbers. Hall becomes the first Australian woman to break four minutes for 1500 metres. Browning hits the Tokyo Olympic automatic...
Jared Tallent’s retirement leaves Australia one champion short in the race walking department. Four Olympic medals – one gold, two silver and one bronze – over three Olympic Games eloquently attest to that. Coincidentally, Melbourne Track Classic, formerly Australia’s most prestigious invitational track and field meeting but now, in this...
This time last year – 12 March, 2020, to be precise - Georgia Griffiths ran 2:01.43 for 800 metres to beat national record holder Catriona Bisset, 2:01.54, by less than a step, with Linden Hall a further step back in third in 2:01.73. Madeleine Murray and Gigi Maccagnini were a...
How do you set an Australian record when 15 athletes – yourself, and the previous record-holder, included – have a superior legal performance. Simple, as it turns out. You just put a timer at the 100-yard point of a 100 metres race. That’s what happened in the New South Wales state...