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ADCOCKS IN ATHENS

Guest of honour at the Athens Classic Marathon this weekend

2002-10-31

Bill Adcocks will be the guest of honour at the Athens Classic Marathon this weekend, to watch the latest attempt to break the course record of 2.11.07 that he set on the original marathon course over 33 years ago.

On the face of it, that is one of the most unlikely statistics in world athletics, that after one World and two European Championships and a World Cup on the classic Marathon to Athens course in the meantime, the diminutive Coventry Godiva Harriers time has endured. But Adcocks, who now works for UK Athletics is not so surprised.

"Up until the 80s, nobody really paid (money), they just relied on invitations, and since then, the Greeks haven paid for the fastest runners of the day. And, in fairness, I ran in March/April, when the temperature was around 65F, while the championships have been in mid-August, and with those sort of temperatures, its bound to have an effect". But to be fair to Adcocks, Douglas Wakiihuri won the World Cup on a rainy Spring weekend in the mid-90s, over a minute slower.

Adcocks had finished fifth in the Mexico Olympic race in Autumn 1968, then won in Fukuoka, in a personal best of 2.10.48, six weeks later. His Athens run, in which he beat the four men ahead of him in Mexico, came another three months after that.

Adcocks, now a fit 60 year old will fire the gun at the start on Sunday morning in the village of Marathon, which gave its name to the race. And he may yet witness his record broken, for there is the inevitable group of fast Kenyans, headed by Keneth Cheruyiot, who ran 2.07.18 in Rotterdam last year. But in contrast to that flat course, the road from Marathon climbs for the first 20 kilometres.

Pat Butcher


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