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.

By Len Johnson They’re not necessarily the sort of figures you’d like associated with your name, but Stewart McSweyn now boasts a pair of impressive performances at 3000 metres. Seven minutes 30 seconds for 3000 metres represents 60 seconds per lap. Not many men have ever broken 7:30 for the distance. Even...
Hassan closes with deadly speed After Herb Elliott had destroyed Ron Delany and the rest of the field to smash the world mile record in Dublin in 1958, a priest asked Delany how would you beat the great Australian. “I don’t know, father,” replied Delany. “Maybe tie his legs together.” Sifan Hassan...
A Column by Len Johnson Last time Sebastian Coe was in this much trouble over something that happened in Russia was when he lost the Moscow 1980 Olympic 800 metres final to Steve Ovett. Coe was the world record holder, two seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Yet he...
A column by Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Only one event has had its Gold Coast 2018 trial and already selectors and athletes are in a quandary. Actually, make that two quandaries if we count the news that Australia may be restricted to a quota of 73 athletes in the able-bodied...
One of the endearingly frustrating things about athletics is its tendency for misplaced anxieties. One person’s imminent disaster is another’s ho-hum moment, I know, but we all too easily get into a tizz about things that aren’t as bad as we think whilst overlooking crises about to envelop us. Witness, say,...
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...
Kenenisa Bekele leaves us wondering as the marathon humbles one of its most prestigious challengers. A Column By Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe Say what you like about Kenenisa Bekele, but the man sometimes known as ‘King Kenny’ is never boring. Bekele’s latest interesting decision saw him jump into the Dubai marathon,...
The hands of time keep ticking at their backs: A Column By Len Johnson Among a slew of recent interviews with Usain Bolt one revelatory comment leapt out. Paraphrasing here, but Bolt acknowledged there had been a moment in training this year when he wondered why he was still doing it,...
Looks Good Enough To Eat My internet search engine (rhymes with poodle) regularly publishes doodles (also rhymes) commemorating various anniversaries. The import of these usually ranges from “I didn’t know that”, through “ho-hum”, to “I didn’t want to know that.” Occasionally, one strikes a chord and a resounding one was hit...
The first time I encountered Maurie Plant was at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. I heard Maurie before I saw him (a not uncommon occurrence over the next 43 years). I was on the concourse just inside the ticket entrance, Maurie was high above on the entry ramp to the...