Category Archives: 2001-2002

5. La vida latina – from Houston to Mexico


It was a stiff and increasingly hungry flight which I took from O’Hare that evening after the Chicago Marathon. Elation and relief surrounded me all across the dark expanses and sparse city lights of the Mid West, as I peered down through ten kilometres of space at a blue-lit arch of St Louis far below.

And after the sensory and emotional overload of experiencing, and even participating in, one of the greatest sporting events of the world set against the brilliantly-lit backdrop of a Chicago autumn skyline, it was an exhausted and fretfully REM-riven night which I spent in the softest and deepest pillows of the Westinn Houston Galleria.
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4. GO British ! Chicago Marathon 2002


We’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
‘Cause it doesn’t make a difference
If we make it or not
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot
For love – we’ll give it a shot

Whooah, we’re half way there
Livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it – I swear
Livin’ on a prayer
Bon Jovi – August 1986

“4:18 in London and trying to crack four hours in Chicago – it’ll be tough, but I’m going to have the fun of my life trying !” – so I wrote last month.
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3. Running in Shakespeare Country

I left my familiar tracks high on the Chalk of the Surrey Hills to find my 12 miler yesterday in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Started along the banks of the River Avon, then heading west into rural Warwickshire along The Greenway, following part of the route for the Shakespeare Marathon. We are having fabulous weather here in the UK – almost no rain for the whole of September – and the mist was still rising as I set out across the floodplain by Stratford racecourse. Views of the Cotswolds and Bredon Hill in the distance, with the leaves just showing a faint tinge of yellow.

Crossed the river again by The Four Alls pub in Welford-on-Avon before turning homeward in glorious autumn sunshine. Swans, canal boats and rowers were out in force alongside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre by the time I got back to town.

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2. My first marathon: London 2001

Why would I ever want to run a marathon ?


I had never really been a runner. At school, I had been a very poor athlete, always second-last on treks around the playing fields, although I did do cross-country for a season or two as a way of escaping the frozen rugby pitch. Strangely I was always happier running seven miles than four, but I never knew why. I just ran as slowly as I could, for as long as I could.
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1. Chicago 1, London 3

london-marathon-adidas-poster.jpgI have climbed highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you

I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Words and music by U2 – May 1987 (live in Washington DC, August 1993).

Two great cities, two great marathons. And if a marathon is a journey, which I firmly believe it is, then perhaps in all I’ve made seven journeys to come this far.

In all that time, I’ve run more than twice the distance of 3 952 miles which separates London and Chicago. And I’ve crossed that ocean which separates us, several times.

A marathon is the same distance, anywhere in the world. The experience of running one, or training for one, is a defining moment in anyone’s lifetime. The joy, the pain, the aspiration, the achievement and the exhilaration – these are aspects which unite all of us, runners right across the world.

This is a view from here in London. It’s a view of the world as seen on the streets, in the parks and across the fields of this small island of ours, perched at the edge of Europe and facing out across that vast ocean. It is just one view, from one country, in one lifetime. It’s a view through running.
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