Home A Column By Len Johnson

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.

Time is marked out in finite units – seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc. But neither time nor events seem to work out that way. Sometimes nothing much seems to be happening. Other times everything seems to be happening at once. That’s the way it’s been for the week beginning Sunday...
It won’t be easy making the team to represent Australia in the men’s middle-distance events at the World U20 championships in Lima, Peru later this year.
It’s early in an Olympic year. An unknown young man breaks through at 800, running 1:45.77. A scarcely better-known young woman breaks the national record in the 100 metres, speeding down the straightaway in 11.10 seconds.
This writer has long adjusted himself to the fact of not being lord of his own household. Even so, being told not to sit in any chair I chose at the empty kitchen table was a confronting reminder of my status. That it was because one of the world’s greatest marathoners had recently occupied it took a little longer to sink in.
Someone recently had the temerity to suggest that this column lives too often in the past. We could respond that there’s a lot more history in the past than there is in the present. And who knows the future anyway? But fair comment we replied and since then have tried to avoid the past as much as possible.
Since assuming the leadership of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe has repeatedly championed the need for change.
Catriona Bisset ended a 49-year drought as she was named in the world top-10 in Track&Field News magazine’s annual rankings for 2023, one of ten Australian athletes to garner a top-10 ranking.
Monday – Fitzy’s Hut; Tuesday – fartlek; Wednesday – Spion Kopje; Thursday – trackwork; Friday – Tower Run; Saturday – Mt McKay; Sunday – Pretty Valley.
We’re beginning this look at 2023 with the world cross-country because . . . well. Because it is the world cross-country, it was being staged in Australia and it is the biggest international event staged here since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games (due respect to the 2001 IAAF Grand Prix final and the Melbourne 2006 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
How to solve a big problem? Create up to six more problems almost as difficult as the one you were trying to solve in the first place.