Olympian- an evening with real runners.

So it’s Great Scottish Run weekend and prior to my 10k on Sunday (that I’ve done nothing for) I was fortunate enough to be invited along to Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel for a question and answer session with four of Scotland’s Olympians. From this year, Andrew Butchart and the Hawkins brothers, and from 2008 US based Andrew Lemoncello. 

Myself, the Legend and Kitbag Kev made the journey through to be met with this stern sign. 

Well since my number is different colours that means I’m allowed eh? 

Aye ok, I know I’m not but I took a bottle anyway.

And then put it back. We were all looking forward to this. A different world. Look at us. Then look at them. 

Aye I know. As we got ready to start Kevin asked if we thought they knew each other outside running. I suggested that maybe the Hawkins brothers did, and thanked him for the blog material. Obviously he denied having asked the question but we know the truth. The evening was compered by another Scottish Olympian Lynne McDougall and after introductions it was to the floor for questions. Now I’m not going to go over everything that was said but certain things that I found interesting. The big thing for me was how different all four guys were. The Hawkins brothers, so different. Derek the statto, the man of science, almost lost to the sport but having found his way back finding his event. Callum the younger man driven by his body, not science, someone who seems to have never doubted that he could compete at a higher level. The two Andrews, Butchart full of enthusiasm, confidence and with perfect hair. Clearly loving the road he is on, savouring every minute and learning as he goes. Lemoncello, the experienced one, now coaching as well as running, based in the USA and with an undiminished running passion. When he spoke everyone listened. The three younger runners already looking forward to Tokyo and looking to improve. I asked the four of them if there was one defining moment when they knew they were destined to compete at an international rather then national level. For Derek it was Stuttgart, for Andrew L moving to the US. Interestingly the two younger runners never had that moment, just constant improvements with set goals. I found the difference surprising. I thought you would know the difference, but I guess some folk just know when they are already destined for a better level? I was enthralled as the talk turned to drugs, and some of the stories from the US as athletes shunned known drug takers and lied about drug testers coming to races on online forums to stop the known cheats racing and taking the prize money. The differences in the training schedules and being fascinated to hear that even 5k runners do Sunday long runs of 14-18 miles. It really was a surprise to see how different all their approaches were but one thing that remained the same was the focus and desire. There was so much more but if you want to know all the answers and stories you should have been there 😉 

Thank you to Jo Moultrie, Lynne McDougall and all the organisers and of course the athletes themselves for a greatly entertaining and informative event. Afterwards the guys stayed around for chats and pictures and a few stories I can’t repeat….

I’m rejuvenated after that. Will it make me a contender? Oh hell no, but it makes me appreciate the talent these guys have, the immense work they put in, and the enjoyment they continue to get out of it. And managing to keep their hair impeccable. I don’t have the talent, the confidence, or the hair. But as they lads all said it’s about being the best you can be despite who you are against, be they drug cheats, superior talents or whatever. Be true to yourself and keep trying to better yourself. You can do that and you’re a winner. 
Wee reminder:
I’m very happy to say that my wee blog has been nominated for blog of the year at the annual Running Awards. It would mean a lot to me if you considered giving me your wee vote if you enjoy what you read. The blog section is under community and it takes only a minute to register. Ta:)

see you at http://www.facebook.com/markgallmac

This one is apt. And the singer Martin had nice hair too. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s