Just in case you missed it, there appears to have been some sort of sporting event happening in London these past few weeks.
As much of a total cynic as I was about certain elements of the Games (LOCOG in general, the sweeping powers granted to them, the massive tax dodge that sponsors were allowed to indulge in), the actual Games part itself was always going to be enjoyable. Despite the general naffness of the British part of the handover ceremony in Beijing in 2008—which seriously made me cringe at the prospects of our opening ceremony—Danny Boyle’s gloriously daft opening sucked me in, and the performance of the athletes kept me watching.
There were a number of athletes I was looking forward to seeing this year, and they did not disappoint: Jessica Ennis, Michael Phelps, Victoria Pendleton, Chris Hoy (hell, the whole GB cycle team), Ben Ainslie, Rebecca Addlington and the titan who is Usain Bolt.
But there was one man I really looked forward to seeing, and that mas Mo Farah. Maybe it’s because he’s a local boy (grew up in the London Borough of Hounslow where I live and teach, went to school at Isleworth & Syon Boys’ School which is minutes from my home and frequently passed on my running routes). Maybe it’s because he runs the 5k and 10k distances, the ones I feel most comfortable with. Maybe it’s because he’s just a bloody nice guy.
At any rate, on Saturday 4th August I was screaming at the TV set in celebration as Mo Farah stormed home in the 10,000m.
By this point, Royal Mail had already begun painting postboxes gold in the hometowns of the gold medal winning athletes. So the question was, where would Mo Farah’s gold postbox be?
As it turns out, just down the road from me! That’s his postbox, just outside our local Post Office and not far from his old school.
I had the pleasure of racing against Mo Farah in the BUPA London 10,000 in May of this year. I waved at him and cheered him on as he passed me at the 8km marker. Needless to say, that was his8km marker. For those of us still running in the opposite direction, it was the 3km marker…
So like the nerd I am, I had to have a picture with the postbox.
Then on Saturday 11th August Mo only went and won himself a second gold medal in the 5000m, a race which I think had me screaming louder than the 10,000m and the 100m and 200m sprint finals that Bolt won.
So now Mo has a second postbox, and this morning I found it is has already been painted and is in Teddington. I think a little trip down to Teddington may be called for in the very near future…