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.

Some readers may be familiar with The Goon Show, an inspired BBC radio comedy program of the day based on the vivid imaginings of Spike Milligan – the grandfather of modern British comedy - as interpreted by Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers. One episode concerns a mysterious epidemic of...
Barely a minute after the start of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games women’s 400 metres, Cathy Freeman was sitting in a crumpled heap on the track. This was scarcely the pose you would expect of a gold medallist, but it was all Freeman had left after defying one of the...

Marathon Musings

Maybe it’s because I’m from Melbourne where the AFL media bubble is such a humungous beast that it makes the elephant in the room look miniscule. Or maybe it’s because we are only a couple of weeks on from a ‘local’ world championships in Beijing. Then again, maybe it’s because...
In writing last time about the Melbourne-Echuca marathon relay and the toughness of the distance runners of that era I wondered about the training they used to do. I made the observation: “These men may not have done the high training mileages of today, but they certainly were tough when...
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say, and the idea of the Ekiden relay has long since gone international. Well, at least to Victoria, anyway. Athletics Victoria paid homage – or should that be hommage – to the tradition of Japan’s road relays by adding an Ekiden to...
‘And all that I knew was the hole in my shoe which Was letting in water’, (Traffic, 1967) I blamed Carl Lewis. There I was, on the steps of the old Parliament House in Canberra, squinting into the sun and trying to explain to a national television audience on the Today show...