Laura, Eliza, Andy, Jamie and Seb. 

What constitutes a perfect weekend?

For me it’s a new experience with family or close friends, maybe some running at the side, or even at its centre. So this weekend scored well. Jamie and I saw fantastic running, I ran (albeit in Hyde Park) and got to understand how world class runners work. The race day preparation, the to-the-minute organisation, the system.

My company, Müller, has become a partner for British Athletics. And this weekend we sponsored the Müller Anniversary Games at the Olympic Park in London.

World records, season bests, personal bests – unbelievable athletes peaking with two weeks to go before the Rio Olympics. Scottish athletes were extraordinary. Laura Muir broke Dame Kelly Holmes’ British 1500 metres record. Andy Butchart took on a quality international field in a fast 5,000 metres, beating everyone apart from Mo Farah. He’d have been happy with a top 6, according to a friend of a friend from Dunblane.

And a word about another er, daughter of a friend of a friend. Eliza McCartney, an Auckland pole vaulter will appear at her first Olympics in two weeks aged just 19. Think about that. 19. When most kids are heading off on their first train wreck summer holiday with their mates. She finished third, despite being up most of the night before with food poisoning. Awesome.

So what can a world class athlete expect when he or she pitches up at an event like this? Well.. They get their own private warm up track, identical surface and no more than 50 metres from the stadium track – space where they can spend time with coaches, get warm, comfortable. This track is new – during the Olympics in 2012 the athletes used a facility which was so far away they had to hitch rides on golf buggies to get to the stadium.

Athletes also have to be good at timekeeping because if they’re not, they might not make it on to the track. It was explained to me that if, say, Mo Farah pitched up at the First Call station at 1607hrs instead of 1606hrs, he’d have to BEG to race… I doubt it. But check this out:

But most of all what I’ll remember are two moments. Jamie politely but firmly telling Lord Coe that the seat he was about to sit on was his Dad’s (I wouldn’t have minded).

And Laura Muir, the morning after breaking the British 1500 metres record, sitting quietly in the stand taking photos of the scene of her amazing run, with her Mum and Dad exuding the kind of quiet contentment that comes with knowing that your kids really are capable of amazing things.


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