David Chalfen takes his unique voice and perspective to those cherished UK records…
It’s clearly going to be a quiet time on the endurance PB front with maybe a postponement of debate about those shoes or whether some uber-fast marks were sourced via correct “course landscape” (Jeez, all the runners just wanted ten thousand metres, not vistas of wildebeest darting across the savanna under a crimson sun).
It was Alex Lepretre that got me thinking. Not the runner himself, though it’s always a pleasure to see a Barnet athlete making waves, but the circumflex in his surname that so stymied Mr Britton’s diligent research.
So the thought process is as follows with both “thought” and “process” applying in only the very loosest way.
Our whole approach to record breaking has become sooo staid. Men, women, age groups, it’s all too narrow. At some point soon, though perhaps not as soon as before the world took a swerve from the usual track season ebbs and flows, I expect this interestingly appellated Highgate hero will go sub 14 for 5k and I think that the barrier breaking circumflex should get full media focus when this happens.
There are quite a few others to add too; the acute and grave accents over the French ‘e’, the German umlaut, that really hard to pronounce Scandinavian O with the slash through it, and to avoid it all becoming too Northern European, fastest times by Spaniards with that double L pronounced y.
Yes, yes I know what you are thinking.. ….this will just open up the floodgates for what I believe government policy calls “tens of thousands ” of runners pitching up to tear into our cherished athletics records just because they have a VO2 max north of 65 and a borderline quirky name.
So, to make the whole process equitable and robust, they’d have to be UK citizens, as per UKA criteria, so the standard critical tests of giving a toss about The Ashes and marmalade, and putting a pin in a map correctly on the old county of Westmoreland. From thirty paces.
There’d need to be birth certificate validation otherwise we could see no end of abuse. It would be just too easy for say, plain Ernie Ballbuster, the Viz AC relay stalwart, to dip under 30 minutes for 10k and then suddenly reappear as Erne Ballabuse, little accents all over the shop (although sadly not on this author’s laptop keyboard), and claim undue record status.
I know this might all look a bit premature and you may just spot it hasn’t been fully thought through yet (too right,Ed, but not the real Ed. You really ought to get out more, but not just yet). But if sometime next summer you are sitting there thinking it’s all gone a bit quiet since Paula, Mo, Laura and Mark (yes, youngsters, Mark; no clues) were hacking into the mighty UK endurance records in yesteryear, don’t say nobody warned you.
David Chalfen currently has some time on his hands in between single daily strolls across the Highgate and Shaftesbury heartlands