Monday, October 01, 2007

Great North Run: Guardian Ignore T Abyu Breakthrough

It's not often that we can justifiably say that men have had a raw deal in the sports pages. Fair enough, Paula Radcliffe has returned to the fray and even if she is a couple of minutes off her best and well beaten into second in the Great North Run this is clearly newsworthy. But the Guardian's report of the men's race comprises one para of barely 30 words. There is more there on Steve Maclaren jogging it. The report fails to list the leading British competitor.

That was Tomas Abyu from my own club, Salford Harriers, who ran a staggering 1:02:50 for the 13.2 miles. This is I believe a minute and 15 seconds off his adult best, one of the fastest GB times of the past ten years, and a truly world class run from an athlete who sometimes races way too much - because of the absolutely barmy economics of UK sports funding.

We say "adult best" because Tomas, who came here as a refugee from Ethiopia and is now a citizen, ran 63 minutes as a prodigious 17 year old back in his homeland. Still a life time best. But we did know he had it in him.

Preselecting Tomas for the Beijing marathon now, subject to fitness, and giving him enough financial support to discourage the old four half marathons in 29 days (three in 15 days) routine of Spring this year would be a cracking idea.

Meanwhile Guardian Sport need to keep their eye on the ball. Did the others do any better I wonder? The BBC certainly missed the story too. And this greatrun link doesn't even mention the male winner! Maclaren gets several paragraphs.

Without Tomas, Andi Jones and Pumlani Bungani the club were a strong fourth in the Northern Six Stage. But Leeds City will be tough to beat in the National (20 October) even with the full side out and Tomas on fire.

TRIVIA: Four years ago when your LOLster was quite fit I was the third man in our team which won the 20th Tour of Tameside. Tomas won handsomely taking all of the six races in seven days comfortably from a field with the champion (from Kenya) and a number of GB internationals. Club physio Duncan Mason was around 5th and I was back in 24th, struggling in both first and last races.

Still, not bad at 45 years of age. Missed out on the age group award by just TWO SECONDS. Bit close after 52 miles and more than five hours of racing!

UPDATE: Tomas ran the fastest time by any GB qualified runner since 2000.


Anonymous said...
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Chris Paul said...

Er, "Iraqi government", you, STOP! That's off topic.