Thursday, 14 January 2010

A good read-"From last to first".

Yesterday I went for a walk and did some easy jogs every 10 min as I have been struggling with my left knee since Christmas Day. This is the first time in over 30 years running I have ever been injured with a sore knee and it didn't even happen while running. It gradually has improved and after yesterday there doesn't seem any soreness in the knee, so easy walking and jogging for a few more days yet. 

Last night I finished reading Charlie Spedding's autobiography "From Last to First" and it was a very enjoyable read, with the chapter on his bronze medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 giving us an insight into his involvement in, in my opinion, the greatest Olympic  marathon of all time.  In 1984, the field assembled contained all of the world's best including Salazaar, De Castella, Seko, Lopes, Inkangaa, the So twins, Dixon and many others. Spedding was certainly not one of the favourites, but on that day Charlie ran the race of his life and with a strong belief that he was going to perform well, he reached the pinnacle of his career.  I remember screaming at the tv as he hit the front with 5 miles to go and was just about sprinting as the big guns hung  on and then one by one dropped off  leaving just 3 in the race for medals.  Brendan Foster was doing his usual commentary  for the BBC but he couldn't contain himself as Charlie is his clubmate and longtime friend and was screaming "Charlie's sprinting, go Charlie, sprint, sprint"- they still had 5 miles to go!  Sitting on his shoulder was Lopes, who Spedding mentions in his book and he writes that at this point it was as if Lopes wasn't even breathing.   The 3 left included Ireland's John Tracey, one of my boyhood running heroes, running in his first marathon. That day Lopes was awesome and strolled away to win gold in a Olympic record and Tracey outsprinted Spedding on the track to take silver in his marathon debut with Charlie collecting bronze.  But that scene where Charlie went for it to destroy the remaining runners and guarantee himself a medal sticks with me to this day. I have the full marathon on tape and intend to sit down this weekend at some point and watch those last 5 miles again now that I have read his book. It's hard to believe it was 26 years ago but it still remains my favourite Games with some of Britain's all time greats competing - Coe, Ovett, Cram and Thomson, .  It was the first one to become a commercial success and from that day on there are countries desperate to hold the Olympics when bidding is started every 4 years.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rab, long time no see! I found your blog yesterday from John Kynaston's WHW list. Those old Springburn photos certainly bring back memories!

    Good luck with the Fling and WHWR. I'm sure you'll do well. I really enjoyed the experience last year.


    Billy Minto