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Olympic injuries

July 29, 2012

The Olympics have started, in case you’ve been under a rock for the last few days. While Team GB’s cyclists have come off the back of the gruelling Tour de France, the marathon runners have been dropping like flies after a comparatively quiet few months.
Paula’s withdrawal with injury the week before the women’s race and David Webb out of the men’s team for similar reasons, the impact of long-distance running is clear to see. Since the Olympics only come round every four years, it’s hard to overstate the size of the decision to withdraw.
However, having got caught up (for the first time ever, I might add) in the drama and strategy of the Tour de France, I came to thinking about whether there is an equivalent running race. Since the Tour manages to capture such a large international audience and lure lucrative sponsorship, a running equivalent would be great for encouraging participation.
I might be wrong, but I don’t think there is an equivalent. In this instance I mean equivalent as in:

  • takes place over multiple days and stages, so there’s a clear story that develops for spectators
  • includes multiple competitions (e.g. the Tour’s points competition, mountain competition, etc.), so the race isn’t dominated by one team or just one type of runner
  • encourages runners to work as a team rather than to race as individuals.
  • Clearly we’re looking at something closer to an ultra than one of the main race-calendar events. Given the current upswing in cycling (and presumably sideburns) thanks to Wiggo et al, it feels to me like there’s an opportunity to inspire a new audience of runners.
    In the meantime as the Olympic traffic chaos grinds London to a standstill, I’m leading three Home Run groups a week and giving the tube a complete miss. It means running close to 20 miles a day, three days a week, so speedwork is out of the window for the time being. All the more time to grow some Bradley Wiggins mutton chops though…

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