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.

Is it just me, or is the pace of indoor record breaking picking up. Jakob Ingebrigtsen took almost half-a-second off the men’s world indoor record in Lievin, France on Thursday night, reducing it to 3:30.60, a time which is still extremely handy outdoors. But we’re not talking world records here,...
The past couple of years of Australian women’s 800 has been all about Catriona Bisset. Bisset broke through the two-minute barrier in 2019, before breaking Charlene Rendina’s long-standing national record – set in 1976 - in London that same year.
A column by Len Johnson Back in the day, Ireland’s Eamonn Coghlan was known as Chairman of the Boards, a nickname which acknowledged his mastery of indoor track racing. Good enough outdoors to have won the gold medal over 5000 metres at the first world championships in Helsinki in 1983 and...
High heat and oppressive humidity have hung around Melbourne through January like the last, unwanted guest at a New Year’s Eve party.
With most of Australia gripped in a heatwave, how’re you going to cool down. How else than by talking cross-country. We’re coming up to the ‘one year to go’ date for the twice-postponed World Cross-Country Championships, now set down for 18 February, 2023. I would have said “settled on” but when Olympic Games and world championships have been postponed during these crazy times, all schedules are aspirational.
When this column drew the curtain on 2021 with a look at the annual Track & Field News rankings, I commented it had been a notably strong year for Australian athletes. I hadn’t realised how strong until former Athletics Australia president Terry Dwyer drew my attention to the magazine’s analysis of the rankings.
Not much interrupts the runner’s lifestyle at Falls Creek. It is pretty much run, rest, eat, repeat from day one of stay to departure. Nirvana for aspiring distance champions – and aren’t or weren’t we all, aspiring that is – boring as bat s**t for anyone else. New Year’s Eve...
By Len Johnson The years 2020 and 2021 have successively been “a year like no other” (even if 2021 seemed depressingly like 2020). I don’t know about a year like no other, but when it comes to Australia and the Track & Field News annual rankings, 2021 was certainly a year...
how then to assess athletics in 2021. There were good things and bad things to be sure and good and bad monarchs still run the sport. But was 2021 a good year, a bad year, or a first taste of some new normal.
Standing on the outside, looking in The ACT Cross-Country Club grew organically from a handful of runners gathering for cross-country races in 1957 to an entity which nurtured and managed distance running in Australia’s capital city. Nurtured because club members planted the seeds, managed because, in an early example of...