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.

Bring back the mile – has it ever gone away? A Column By Len Johnson In outlining his vision to make athletics more appealing to a younger audience, Sebastian Coe recently observed: “The average age of those watching track and field is 55 years old. This is not sustainable.” How does...
Almost 68 years ago, an athlete was plucked from obscurity to represent Australia in the marathon at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games. Amazing. More amazing still was the fact that the athlete in question, Claude Smeal, was serving with the Australian armed forces in the Korean war. A national-class marathoner,...
Runner's Tribe At the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham last weekend (16 February), Joseph Deng set an Australian record in winning the 800 metres in 1:47.27. Or did he? According to the records section of Athletics Australia’s website, the mark Deng bettered was the 1:47.48 by Ryan Foster in 2010. All...
Published 12-09-2020 It’s 20 years to the day that the Olympic Games kicked off in Sydney. Or it will be on Tuesday, 15 September. That’s if you’re reading this on 15 September, and you reckon the Olympic Games commence with the Opening Ceremony, which would seem to be the implication of...
Jessica Hull broke the Australian record for 1500 metres in Berlin on Sunday (13 February), taking it down to 4:00.42 in finishing third behind Britain’s pair of Lauras, Muir and Weightman.
By Len Johnson Eliud Kipchoge is re-defining men’s marathon running. An Olympic gold medal, a world record, 11 wins from 12 major marathons (12 from 13 if you include the Breaking 2 project), the last 10 consecutive - will tend to do that. A better question might be: is Kipchoge also...
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 –...
By Len Johnson (reporting from Doha) - Runner's Tribe For eight of her nine throws in Doha, Kelsey-Lee Barber was struggling. All the throwers were. No-one was finding it easy to produce good throws in the heavy atmosphere inside Khalifa International Stadium. “Trust the feel, trust the rhythm,” coach and husband...
What is the best performance by an Australian team in a world distance running championship? Close, but no cigar, if you said the bronze medals won by Australian women’s teams in the short race at the 2006 world cross-country championships and at the 2008 world cross-country championship (by which stage,...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe There were two gongs for athletics at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame dinner in Melbourne this week. Raelene Boyle was elevated to Legend of Australian Sport status and Steve Hooker was admitted to the Hall of Fame. They don’t admit mugs to...