August 10 - World Champs Women's Marathon

A wonderful race fantastically covered by the combined BBC expertise of Steve Cram and Paula Radcliffe. WIth 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted coverage of the race it was a rare chance to see in full how a marathon unfolds. With very high temperatures (start time of 2pm was determined by the Japanese TV deal!) it was a real battle of attrition and heat is always a great global leveller in marathons. In these conditions the likes of Japanese, Italian and Spanish athletes who have prepared just for this day can fare better than the East Africans, whose high altitude often brings milder weather. So although we have a Kenyan winner there are no other Africans in the Top 10, with a multitude of nations filling the top places. I also think the names and nations in the Top 10 give some indication that the anti-doping campaign is becoming more effective.

All very different in the Men's 10,000 metres that evening. Of course, great to see Mo Farah confirm his current dominant status and just hold off Jeilan of Ethiopia. It was very disappointing that in a field of 35 entries only two European natives toed the line. This from about 45 nations with a population of over 600 million. Even Oceania, with 5% of the Euro population, had 3 entries.  It's very strange how some National Federations think that the best way to stimulate high level endurance running is to make it ever harder to run for your country.