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
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.