Like many expatriates I was proud when homeland heroes did well on the international stage and Ron Clarke toured Europe at just the right time to get my attention. Just a few months after my family settled in the UK in 1965, Ron toured the US and Europe, breaking 12 track world records, including becoming the first man ever to run 3 miles in less than 13 minutes, 6 miles in less than 27 minutes and 10,000m in less than 28 minutes. The times themselves didn't mean much to me, but Ron's style of running did. Although he seemed to lack the finishing kick to win tactical major Games titles, he was a machine when it came to world record attempts. He generally ran from the front and gradually burned off his competitors, often breaking world records by prodigious amounts. Ron was indisputably the best distance runner in the world during the mid-60s. Possessing the characteristics of toughness, discipline and excellence that I admired and aspired to, he was a worthy hero. I don't want to overplay it, but he certainly got me thinking that running might be my sport.
|Ron Clarke wins bronze in the 10,000m at the 1964 Tokyo |
Olympics behind Billy Mills (USA) and Mohammed
|Ron Clarke tracks Michel Jazy (France) during a|
1965 two mile race in France in which Jazy
broke the world record
No fibrillation or flutter for me today as I walked a flat 7km for exercise. I felt fine, but remain despondent that this is all the exercise I am allowed for the next six weeks. It's very tempting to see if I can jog around my usual Copa 5km course at an easy pace, but I guess I'll follow the doctor's orders.