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.

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...
I never had a record-breaking career, but early in my record-buying career I acquired a disc recorded by British comedian, Peter Sellers. One track tells the tale of a pre-teen pop music phenomenon whose 15 minutes of fame had clearly come and was going fast. Our popster, despairing he hasn’t had a chart-topper for all of three weeks, ends the track I’m So Ashamed with a sobbing plea: “Please Buy This Record.” It’s not a bad metaphor for sport in 2020. The devastating impact of Covid19 was felt early and has endured throughout. By the end of March the Tokyo Olympic Games had been postponed. We are assured that the Games will go ahead same time next year, yet we were assured they would go ahead this year until they didn’t.
Murray Halberg, who passed away on 30 November, was the first of famed coach Arthur Lydiard’s charges to make an impact on world distance running. Halberg and Peter Snell won Olympic gold medals in Rome in 1960 within an hour. Snell came first with his upset win in the 800...
Tiernan fastest Australian 10,000 debutant A Column By Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe For those of us yet to meet a statistic we don’t like*, there were some interesting figures surrounding Patrick Tiernan’s Zatopek win. One, Tiernan’s was the fastest debut 10,000 by an Australian male. Two, he became the first Australian...
Rio 2016, have you met Melbourne 1956? A Column By Len Johnson “Your projects have been changed several times. Your sites, even including the main stadium, have been changed several times . . . you are contemplating changing the rowing to a site I have never heard of. “There seems to...
Busier than santa's elves | A Column By Len Johnson Ron Clarke won three successive Zatopek 10,000s at the start of the 1960s, setting his first world records in 1963. Clarke likewise won the last two Zatopeks as the decade concluded. Which prompts the question – what happened in the years...
Women didn’t get to make distance running history. Paternalistic notions about the impact of physical stress on women which, in truth, were too often misogyny disguised as medical science, saw to that. Pheidippedes hijacked the whole marathon myth thing with his “rejoice, we have won,” message to Athens, collapse and...
If you want to change the country, change the government, Paul Keating once said. Or to put it the other way around, if you change the government, you change the country. So, how does the country, specifically the sport of athletics, change with the election of an ALP government led...
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...
Len Johnson - Runner's Tribe In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of...
                   

Brilliantly

SAFE!

2022