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

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports -

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.

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