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Save the Date September 29th 2019
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Funny Running: Pushing an Orange to a World Record

Any distance runner would like to set a record, thats only natural. But how do

you do it, since Bekele, Gebrselassie and Tergat dominate the scene? A former

marathon runner of international calibre found the answer. You find a world

record that no-one in Addis Ababa or Kenyas Ngong Hills would be so mad as to

try to waste time doing.

Thats how Geoff Wightman from Britain, possessor of an admirable

personal best for the marathon of 2:13:17 and a participant in the 1990

European Championships in Split, found his challenge: pushing an

orange with his nose four times round a track. In other words, a mile on hands

and knees, propelling an orange in front of you. And this wasn just any old day

for the world record attempt, it was May 6, 2004, 60 years to the day that

Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four minute mile.

Wearing the black and light blue stripes of Dartford Harrier, a long

established south London club, Wightman went to the startline. Preparations had

been ideal, hed "crawled" three time trials over 400, 800 and 1200

metres, though his nose and knees were left feeling especially tender.

At trackside stood the timekeeper, another official was ready with the video

camera and a crowd of Wightmans clubmates were ready to lend support. Though he

wasn exactly in the role of pacemaker, his brother Derek was also on the

startline and would set off 30 seconds behind him.

Crawled right to the end and a world record in 44 minutes, 22

seconds ...

Shortly before half past five, the gun went off. His brother gave up after

three laps in 42 minutes, but Geoff crawled right to the end and a world record

in 44 minutes, 22 seconds. Geoff Wightman had achieved his place in the

"Guinness Book of Records". From whom had he taken the record? No-one

knew but the new world record holder, surrounded by celebrating supporters, was

sure of one thing, he would never try this again! His nose, knees and stomach

muscles told him so. And one last curiosity, he finished a few minutes after

six in the evening,

Andy Edwards

 

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