Marathons are go, but is anyone watching?
It is always amazing to see such talented runners in action, but when each year it’s a new set of faces, the sport loses its narrative thread
Two weeks have gone by, with two major marathons run, and I haven’t watched either of them. In each case, I had good reason - while the Berlin marathon was on last weekend I was out running 111km through the mountains of southern France, while this past weekend my son had a football match. But the truth is, I wasn’t that bothered in either case. What’s going on? A few years ago, the build up to each major marathon fizzled with excitement for me. I’d drool over the line-ups in anticipation. So many big stars, race after race, breaking new barriers, huge head-to-head rivalries unfolding.
Is this still going on? Have I just stopped paying attention? Or has the marathon world lost its fizz?
Of course, we have the King at the top of his game, with Eliud Kipchoge breaking his own world record again in Berlin. He is a true phenomenon and it is a pleasure to watch him run. But also, he is so good that his races are a little predictable.
And apart from Kipchoge, who do we have on the men’s side? The London Marathon, which usually goes for the biggest, brightest stars it can get, clearly sought to set their race up this year as a head-to-head between Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele. The fact that both these men have been around for decades and are both past their prime made that policy a little questionable, but who was going to get excited about Amos Kipruto versus Sisay Lemma?