Three weeks down and two to go in this summer’s races to complete The Running Decathlon in my 60th year.
This week, the scene changes from Italy to the Netherlands, where on Friday, August 29, at 9:00am in the Fanny Blankers-Koen Stadion in Hengelo, Netherlands, I will attempt to run the 5000m in twice the time – or half as fast – as the standing world record of 12:35.37. The record was set on my sister Sudie’s birthday, May 31st 2004, by the great Ethiopian distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, the current world record holder in both the the 5000m and the 10000m.
This distance presents a new challenge for me and I am looking forward to running it on the track that was named after the great Dutch Olympian. In 1948, Fanny Blankers-Koen, a mother of two, won not one, not two, not three, but four Olympic Gold Medals in the London Summer Games. Her legacy is amongst the greatest in all of track and field history. I will have more on this event this week, as we get closer to Hengelo.
The following week calls for me to attempt a 100m and 200m double in the same day. On August 5, in Berlin, I will run both of those races in an attempt to run half as fast, or twice the time, of Usain St. Leo Bolt’s marks of 9.58 and 19.19 that he put up in 2009 at the World Championships. We are having a few challenges currently in gaining admission to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on that date, but we shall persevere and keep you all posted.
Then the final race of the summer tour will take place, but not in London’s Olympic Stadium as I had hoped. The pending start of home side, the West Ham United Football Club has resulted in the stadium removing the track.
So instead, I will head to Oxford, England, and run the 800m on the Roger Bannister Track. I think this is an excellent alternative. It is the site where Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in history.
Again, more on that race as we move forward.
This leaves the 400m in Seville, 10000m in Brussels, the Half Marathon in Lisbon and the Marathon in Berlin for next spring, when I plan to return and complete The Running Decathlon.