Are you inspired by Alex Vero's ambitions, or slightly insulted?

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  • All the same, she's now a world champion at a sport that she took up 2 years ago.  Not sure what your point is.

    There are historically plenty of Olympic rowers around with 3 - 4 years experience in the sport too.  And as I say, lots of countries have programs to create Olympic competitors in similar timescales for all sorts of sports. 

  • There are plenty of sports other than running where inexperienced people get to Olympic standard in very short timescales.  Rebecca Romero just became world cycling pursuit champion having taken it up just 2 years ago

    You implied that she was inexperienced and has become a World Champion in 2 years. I'm pointing out she wasn't inexperienced and was a World Champion at rowing as recently as 2005. It's not like she was "inexperienced" as British Cycling don't just give out help willy-nilly. She was tested and found to be an elite-level athlete.
    Similarly, Jamie Staff was a BMX World Champion in the 1990's and turned to track cycling once he was tested by the British Cycling system. He has since become a World Champion at the Keirin and Team Sprint and picked up Olympic medals

  • She had never done track cycling before.  That's "inexperienced" by pretty much any definition.  Various posts in the thread have claimed that in other sports it would be preposterous to attempt to achieve Olympic standard in 2 years; in fact, similar achievements actually happen quite often.

  • I keep going back to Paul Evans who off no specific training oher than pub football went from running a debut road 10k to taking part in the tour of britain (does anyone else remember that) and a world class runner winning several stages.

    I'm sure there will be other instances where Athletes have come from no where to win or qualify against the odds. 

    - I would get hold of the AW article as you should remember that Alex is a film maker and has taken on a project to make a film charting the decline of Britain's male distance runners. A sort of Quote from Richard Nerurkar - when he said in this article that he sometimes goes to a valley in Ethiopia wher ehe sees large groups of athletes gathered to train - and as they set off he thinhs 'the British have no chance'

     If our top distance runners are threatened by this film, then  so be it, they don't have to be, they are doing their best, when even runners of the calibre of Craig Mottram are left in the wake of the Africans then there is nothing for them to be ashamed of.

    That Britain can compete against the best is beyond dispute - go to You Tube and search for Steve Ovett and Henry Rono, also Tim Hutchins fine second to John Ngugi at the world cross in (I think 1989) - I appreciate that perhaps the strength was not quite the same - but the point is proved that good british/european runners can compete.

    I''m hugely impressed with Alex's efforts; we're getting to the point where treating a marathon as a competitive sport is rather frowned-on and we need to get away from that.

     I really do believe this - when you get posts on these pages asking where is the best point on the marathon course to meet my friend/wife/husband so we can run together - I know that everyone is entitled to run, but Chris Brashers dream of increasing the standard of British distance running has been long forgotten.

    But well done to the junior woman yesterday and also to Liz Yelling who was top European fnisher in any race.

  • The problem is that even the standards of African runners have increased massively in that time.

    FOr instance look at the "records" Haile Gebressellasie set at the start of his career- only 15 odd years ago. He's running the same times now more or less over 10k and getting left behind!

    Liz Yelling wasn't top European finisher in any race incidentally. She wasn't even top European finisher in her own race. Top European born perhaps, but I'm sure as hell not going to deny someone their right to citizenship of a country because I'm annoyed that British and European runners aren't doing better.

    Tmap - You are being extremely naive if you think there's no difference between someone who hasn't done any competitive sport in a long time and are in bad/poor shape thinking they can take up a sport and become a world champion and a world champion in a serious athletic sport being specifically identified as being suitable to transfer over to another sport achieving success there. Regardless of sport, top level athletic performers have some degree of cross-sports which means their fitness is more easily transferred leaving aside diet, sleep, physio, psychology etc. related issues which are a massive part in getting to elite level.

    I was mainly posting here just to say that the focus of the documentary has changed and will be focusing on how a young British runner namely Ben Moreau will be progressing and comparing that with how the Ethiopian lad Mengistu does. In my opinion this is how the documentary should have been done from the very start and makes it a much more worthwhile effort.

    Alex - if you're still on the thread am veyr impressed with the change in direction and will let you know regarding London. Unfortunately the time when I was likely to be training there has co-incided with when I'm back at Uni so will not be around for a while but will let you know and hope you enjoyed the world cross as I heard you were there.
  • Liz Yelling wasn't top European finisher in any race incidentally. She wasn't even top European finisher in her own race. Top European born perhaps, but I'm sure as hell not going to deny someone their right to citizenship of a country because I'm annoyed that British and European runners aren't doing better.

    European could be used to denote citizenship - but it could also properly be used to mean continent of birth (or even racial background as in African American)  which is what I assume  G3 is doing.    If I took Kenyan citizenship and gave up UK citizenship I could still accurately be described as European.

  • Tmap - You are being extremely naive if you think there's no difference between someone who hasn't done any competitive sport in a long time and are in bad/poor shape thinking they can take up a sport and become a world champion and a world champion in a serious athletic sport being specifically identified as being suitable to transfer over to another sport achieving success there.

    If you can find where I said that I'll give you £100.

  • Just above in italics where you quote Hobbling Harrier
  • good point popsider - darn it!

    I read the Athletics Weekly account by Will Cockerell too - I do enjoy his writing; picked up his "50 greatest marathons of all time" at the FLM expo a couple of years ago.  Interesting stuff.

  • Well personally i think Vero can be considered a bit of a hero; not only to all of us averagely talented runners out there, but to anyone who has ever had an ambition or wanted to be better at something. He's been open and honest about his targets and he's going for them. As someone who makes only the odd reasonably achievable target, I admire him. It's good to dream and I'm sure (genetics and talent aside) by striving towards such a great target Vero has achieved much more than he otherwise might have.

    The publicity that he has managed to attract can only be good for running in general. Any Joe Bloggs can dream of being an elite runner and if enough do then we're bound to strengthen British running and even inspire the odd couch potato to get a bit fitter along the way.

    And who would deny that a bit of confident ambition and sporting determination isn't an attractive quality?

  • Nicely put Elaine, as someone who strived and never quite got there you have to admire what he has achieved - alright he did not make the Olympics but he has gone from a 16 stone porker to a decent club class runner - and maybe genetically he has some talent - what he has acheived can be achieved on a lot of hard work.

  • genetically he has some talent - maybe indeed but not in running for sure. If 100 UK Males (as per his own website) can run sub220 in just one race in 1983(-ish) wearing Dunlop greenflash and drinking water without dedicating EVERYTHING towards it (I bet they all had jobs)  then I can't see where a (not yet run) 2:30 shows a great deal of genetic talent at all given the effort.  Sub220 maybe but 230 no way that can be achieved by hardwork over a number of years.

    As you were.

  • I think it's great what he's done regardless whether he makes the cut for the olympics or not. As has been stated, this guy was a 16 stone obese male. In the space of a few months he had lost 4 stone and was taking regular exercise. How can anyone not be inspired by his achievements?

    Good luck to the bloke.
  • Agree with you both -

    I do think though that you need some form of genetic talent to run 2:30 I never managed it depsite many years of 70-100 miles per week.

  • Graeme, I'm not inspired by his achievements.

    The level he has reached is only that of a reasonable club athlete, the same as myself, the same as many of the people I compete against. In the whole scheme of things what he's achieved is pretty unremarkable and its light years away from his originally stated intentions

  • Depends so much on where you are coming from.

    If you have had a go to discover how good you could be, and perhaps discovered only how hard it is, it is difficult to respond in any way more positive than "good luck chum", and very easy to chuckle sourly and think "he'll learn, some cheek to imply the rest of us haven't tried".

    If your own experience of running is a matter of personal fitness and satisfaction, the concept of taking up the challenge to join the elite is a thrilling one - there is nothing apparently stopping him, you or me.   You need feet.  You need roads.  You need time.  You need determination.  The game is open to anyone.  That is really exciting...

    if you haven't bruised your heart chasing the elusive goal before that is.

    I spend most of my lurking time on the daily training thread.  For a lot of folk there, running is infinitely more driven than any logical development of the fitness and satisfaction theme.  Miles may make champions, but its the long term focus that makes the miles. 

    I get heaps and heaps of inspiration from my mates on dt thread.  I am hugely touched that they pay attention to my efforts.  Their generosity of spirit endows me with the courage to keep going.  Again and again their encouragement has lifted me off the ropes and back into the ring as it were.  That's inspiration.   Not the story of one man whose efforts imply that others haven't really tried.

    Having said all that, I side with the view that if he inspires some - well and good.  There's room for him in the world, and I am happy for him to run in the limelight.  It doesn't hurt me, and it shouldn't hurt anyone.  Let him try. 

  • Stickless, thankyou for that beautiful post.

    The remarkable, and the inspiration that arises from it, usually come frm quiet corners, not from people making a song and dance about what they do. I admire the circumspect and abhor the arrogant

  • "I think it's great what he's done regardless whether he makes the cut for the olympics or not. As has been stated, this guy was a 16 stone obese male. In the space of a few months he had lost 4 stone and was taking regular exercise. How can anyone not be inspired by his achievements?"

    Maybe I'm a hardfaced so and so but I don't find someone not eating to excess inspiring.   

  • here here.  someone not eating to excess is hardly inspiring, but then again hardly insulting, either.   likewise, somebody saying he's going to qualify for the olympics, or fly to the moon under his own steam fuelled only by a large slice of peperoni pizza held under his left armpit, is neither inspiring nor insulting.

    a much more salient question is why you can't buy those mathbox miniature army men about 10mm tall any more, that came in those little boxes about 6 inches square by 2 inches.  they were great!  i had 2 boxes of the japanese ones, they kicked the ass of my mate percy's americans.

  • Nothing to do with running I suppose but they were good - I had romans and 8th army, robin Hood, etc great fun
  • romans? i'm quite envious.  i had their enemies the ancient britons, they were pretty cool. 

    but not much good against WWII japanese infantrymen in a stand up fight though, to be honest

  • I had those little moulds for Dungeons & Dragons where you melted your metal and made your own... had a great stash of those... wonder where they are now? Must raid mum's attic when I get over during the summer.
  • http://www.airfix.com/airfix-products/dioramas-and-figures/figures/

    I used to use my bed to create whole battle fields, now my bed IS a battle field...

  • I had loads of those soldiers - Desert Rats, Africa Corps, Ruski's......

    I took a break from running for 20 years and still can't run as fast as I could when I was 12 or 13.
    I was a 2min 800m, runner when I was 17 and couln't get a race cos I was too slow, and now clubs would bite your hand off for that sort of competitor.

    If GB can't do better than 2:15 for the Olympics then that is shameful - Steve Jones used to bang out 2:09s after spending all day fixing Jets for the RAF.
    Dave Bedford used to bang out 200M per week too - and he only ran 10k's.

    Nowadays folks are too interested in cut-back weeks or studying their training spreadsheet.

    Sub 2:30 is no more than the reasonably dedicated amateur can do and there's plenty of those on these Forums.

    I don't want to see people in the Olympic team that are not much better than me, cos I'm just a Dad who keeps fit.
  • Lardarse, you beauty!!

    I'm getting the britons and the romans, plus the japs and the marines 

  • and the gun emplacement and the pontoon bridge!  i had hours of fun with those!
  • I know this thread has been rambling on for a bit now, but I just want to put my opinion across!

    I think this bloke is doing / has done very well. In my opinion, it takes a lot longer than a couple of years to get good at this running lark, so he's progressed nicely. There are always people who will knock him saying 'eee, in my day, we were knocking sub 2.20 out for marathons left right and centre and that wasn't brilliant' but these types rarely congratulate the runners these days that strive to do the same.

    I'm friends with several runners who have come from the heady heights of 3.30 for marathon to about 2.45 for the same distance using hard work and yet holding down a steady job and juggling the busier life that seems to be around at the present, where we have to work around 12hour days just to keep the wolf from the door.

    Leave him alone and focus on something else such as why is the funding for sportsmen and women getting so bad in this country?

    OK, I'm done.

  • In the Uk,funding for sportsmen and women has never been better,so I don't think that's the reason for the evident decline in distance performance.

    That's not to knock today's Uk elite.I'm sure they are doing their best and giving 100%:the question is why their best isn't as good as their equivalents from 20-30 years ago,when logically,it should be as good or better.

  • I know this is a very daft question and I can almost disagree with my self but is the world we live in very different from not that long ago?with polloutions etc I know this has some negative input and for example the marathon in beijing being heavily critisised could it be runners from the african countries etc dont have to be exposed to these modern day difficulties?

    By all means I know this is a very rough and maybe wrong observation but I agree that there shouldnt be a genetic reason for not being better we should have evolved further

    I am also in awe to elite runners for their dedication and sheer effort that is exercised in races in any disapline especially marathon distances so well done!

    Could we be too technically advanced and reliant than our counterparts from 3 decades ago?

  • you can still get 1:72 scale airfix miniature soldiers, so the world clearly hasn't changed that much in the past 30 years.  hurrah!
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