Cram’s world out of kilter as ‘crown jewel’ Farah loses his bottle Mary Hannigan
Commentator in for a four-year wait if he still expects Big Ben to chime
There is always the danger that you can become so engrossed in sport that you miss what’s going on around you on the planet. Like when Amir Khan was being a celebrity in the jungle and asked “has a woman ever become prime minister?”
Or like Steve Cram during Sunday’s London Marathon when a person dressed as a rhinoceros jogged by, their cause being to prevent the bulky mammal from becoming extinct. “Have we not saved the rhino yet,” asked Steve, kind of assuming it was mission accomplished on that front. Paula Radcliffe was unable to help him with his query.
If Steve had waited around two hours after Vivian Cheruiyot and Eliud Kipchoge had crossed the winning line he’d probably have concluded that the dinosaur is alive and thriving when a chap calling himself Roary popped up on our screens.
Rubbery dinosaur suit
Dressed in a very, very large rubbery dinosaur suit you could only guess that he must have been feeling a bit delirious in the heat of the day, although you’d hope that didn’t colour his judgement when he stopped to propose to his girlfriend at the side of the course. She said a tearful but enthusiastic “yes” and then tried to kiss him, but couldn’t locate his lips, a problem the BBC’s Radzi Chinyanganya also experienced when he tried to figure out where to point his microphone.
There were times, to be honest, during the elite race that Steve sounded like he wanted to propose to Mo Farah, his love for the man knowing no bounds. “The crown jewels are locked away in the Tower,” he said, “Mo is our crown jewel, isn’t he?”
So distracted, in fact, was he that at one stage he said the runners would soon be able to hear Big Ben chiming, when it won’t be chiming for another four years because it’s currently being renovated.
Anyway, Mo might be useful at this running business but he’s rubbish at finding his drinks bottle, a calamitous early visit to a bottle station resulting in him picking up someone else’s beverage. It left you wondering if, say, the dinosaur picked up Mo’s bottle would he end up winning the race? Mo later told the BBC that the problem was caused by the station staff busying themselves taking photos of him when he dropped by, rather than helping him locate his bottle, and possibly the last thing you need when you’re rapidly dehydrating is to be asked to pose for a selfie.
But Paula didn’t have a great deal of sympathy for Mo, suggesting that he should have busied himself on the day before the marathon decorating his bottle so that it was unmissable and practicing locating it. But the matter was resolved in time, Steve noting that Mo “seems to have got over his drink problem”. Which was a relief.
By then, though, we had spent more time watching slow-motion replays of Mo’s bottle station battles than we had viewing Kipchoge striding towards victory, while the bulk of the focus on the women was whether Paula would still be the world record holder by the
‘‘ Steve sounded like he wanted to propose to Mo Farah, his love for the man knowing no bounds
time Cheruiyot’s race was run. It was, and Paula fought hard to sound quite disappointed for the Kenyan.
It took Cheruiyot two hours, 18 minutes and 31 seconds to seal her victory, which was two hours, 17 minutes and 51 seconds slower than it took Amir to seal his on Saturday night. Our commentator Adam Smith reckoned the crowd had got their money’s worth. “Do they feel short-changed? Not one little bit!”
By then queues for a refund were probably forming. “Talk us through the fight,” Amir was asked. That didn’t take long, Amir turning his attention to Kell Brook at ringside, a likely opponent at some point. “He can go in the jungle and chase stars,” said Kell, “but when he gets in there with me, I’ll make him see stars.”
In no way rehearsed, that. But if the fight happens, who knows, Theresa May might even attend. On being introduced to her, Amir could probably be knocked out by a feather.