Diary of an also-ran 2013

Geoff Wightman shares a few extracts from his most recent ‘Diary Of An Also-Ran’, a collection of anecdotes from 2013

Posted on January 5, 2014 by
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Geoff Wightman with Charlie Grice at Bupa Westminster Run 2013 (Mark Shearman)

Friday February 15, 2013

This afternoon I hosted Mo Farah before an audience of 30 kids from Lordswood School in Birmingham. Best question of the day to Mo (which I had been told about in advance so we saved it until last):

“Would you rather have Boris Johnson’s hair or Bradley Wiggins’ hair?”

His answer was Boris, because the Mayor did the Mobot during the Olympics.

Wednesday April 17, 2013

Day one of the Virgin London Marathon Expo. BBC presenter Mike Bushell and former world superbike champion James Toseland were among those to take to the stage. They had both raced London before, in about four hours and 3:13 respectively, and are the only two runners I have ever met who both admitted to taking petroleum jelly from the open palm of a marathon volunteer and then eating it, believing it to be an energy gel. They both struggled after that, although perhaps ran more smoothly in a certain fashion, I would think.

Saturday July 27, 2013

The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games. Usain Bolt arrived first and I kept the questioning to him light. I think the tone was OK because he was laughing, especially at the audience questions which included:

“What really happened between you and the Swedish women’s handball team at the Olympics?”

And, from a lady in the audience:

“What attributes do you most admire in a woman?”

Mo Farah’s conference was even funnier, including his oldest daughter taking the mike from the floor with this:

“You know you had your Olympic medals engraved with the twins names and gave them one each (pause) – well can I have a pony?”

We also raised the prospect of him racing Bolt over 600 metres, which is a story that might run and run. Final question went to a familiar looking lady:

“Now that you have finished running for the day, what would you like for your tea?” It was Farah’s mother-in-law.

Sunday August 4, 2013

The first ever Pudential RideLondon. I was announcing at the start and finish lines.

The funniest moment for me was when I got to interview Laura Trott in the booth. I used to race against her manager Mark Sinclair and he kindly brought her along after a Radio 5 Live interview. She had won the classic women’s race the previous night.

It was also a year to the day since she had won Olympic pursuit cycling gold and she was requesting a Bruce Springsteen track to be played. We knew from the Expo that she was very much Chatty Spice and good fun but here’s how the mid-part of the interview went:

Me: “I noticed you were there beyond the finish line with the Mayor. Were you trying to get a deal on a Boris bike?”

Trott: “He stinks.”

Me: “What? You can’t say that. He’s the Mayor.”

Trott: “He does really stink though.”

Friday November 22, 2013

I hosted the British Athletics Writers’ Association awards at the Tower Hotel today. It seemed to go well, with about 100 in attendance. Christine Ohuruogu was the women’s winner, presented by Kris Temple on behalf of his late father, Cliff. She was very game. She agreed, seemingly at short notice, to pay tribute to Jean Pickering before the Ron Pickering Memorial Award was presented.

Asha Philip was also a good fun award winner. She has come back to top sprinting form after two years out with a knee injury sustained in trampolining. This is how the last part of our interview went:

Me: “So, you must be pretty excited about all these major events coming to the UK over the next five years. The World Mountain Running Championships, World Half Marathon Championships..?”

Philip: “Yes, my mother and I talk about those two all the time.”


» This is a small selection of entries from Geoff Wightman’s latest ‘Diary Of An Also-Ran’ available for Kindle from Amazon here. Further extracts can be found here and here.

» Read more from Geoff Wightman in the January 2 issue of AW, available here or digitally here, as he makes some tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2014.

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