Article by James Fairbourn

Summer has passed and the track is (almost) but a memory. The nights are drawing in and road and cross country are nigh. The best time of year for any athlete is approaching and so James Fairbourn gives his predictions in this 2014 autumn lookahead.


James Dasaolu runs 9.77 seconds for the 100m in a late summer European meeting before being sidelined for ‘a significant period of time’ after an ALS ice-bucket challenge goes disastrously wrong.

Mo Farah wins the Great North Run comfortably despite being airlifted to hospital after choking on one of his multi-vitamins just days before. A tearful Brendan Foster pays tribute to his ‘fighting spirit’ after ‘all he has been through’.

seaa bannerThe Regional Six Stage Relays take place with Aldershot, Farnham and District bagging both male and female Southern titles with teams made up entirely of Under-16s.

Greg Rutherford is fined by Milton Keynes Town Council after Chris Tomlinson sent in photographic evidence of his car clearly parked half an inch out of its bay.

Michael Johnson criticises his son who – despite finishing top of his class in Advanced Mathematics – failed to better a mark he achieved earlier in the year. MJ tells the child that his success was ‘a fluke’ and docks him three weeks’ pocket money.

The World Health Organisation expresses ‘serious concern’ at the ‘apparent widespread nature of debilitating and potentially life threatening illnesses’ occurring in the Oregon area of the United States.


The National Six Stage Relays are cancelled after it was reported that a man local to Sutton Park visited Liberia once, sparking fears of an Ebola outbreak.

Will Sharman is left seething after a taxi is 30 minutes late to pick him up. The European Silver Medalist told the BBC that he ‘had only water and ice cream’ in the house and that the incident ‘wrought havoc’ with the end of his winter break.


The BBC Trust upholds 79 complaints made against the cow bell used during coverage of the European Athletics Championships. The official report called Gabby Logan’s impulse €500 purchase ‘an embarrassment’ and demanded the presenter apologise. It is later revealed that the expense claim for the bell had already been approved.

Lindsey Sharp tells her Twitter followers that she is relieved to have completed a session despite sneezing earlier in the day. The tweet receives 66,344 re-tweets and 110,322 favourites.

Usain Bolt releases a press statement saying that he is annoyed not to have received any attention in a while. Athletics Weekly drop plans to cover the forthcoming National Cross Country Relays to run a 14-page spread on Bolt instead.

The head of the Oregon State Water Board is summoned to Congress to explain what his organisation is doing to halt the spread of systemic disease within the state. Residents are advised to ‘drink only bottled water’ until the situation has been resolved.


Greg Rutherford is sent on a speed awareness course by Hertfordshire Police after Chris Tomlinson sent in video evidence of the Olympic Champion doing 33.1 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad is disqualified from a French Cross Country race after wearing his vest back to front. Steve Cram tweets his annoyance at the ‘overbearing’ athlete.Colin_Jackson_Eupean_Cup_2007

Colin Jackson announces the purchase of a new cardigan ‘in preparation for the winter months’.

The Liverpool Cross Challenge takes place, with the Brownlee brothers finishing 1st and 2nd. Both fail to appear at the prize giving after opting to go for a swim in the Royal Albert Dock as a ‘cool down’. It was later revealed that the pair had cycled to the event from Yorkshire via Edinburgh.

British Athletics announce the appointment of 6 emotional therapists to help athletes deal with ‘the mental traumas’ of being a full-time athlete.

Usain Bolt tells readers of NME that he is seriously considering a career as a rap artist. Athletics Weekly invites their readers to send in lyrics that could be incorporated into U-BOLT’s debut album. A music section is also added to the magazine in place of the results round-up.


Will Sharman criticises EasyJet after being informed that it was not possible to serve him an egg white omelet with spinach during a flight to Spain. The sprint hurdler tells the BBC that it ‘wrought havoc’ with his preparations for a session.

Lindsey Sharp marks 4 months since winning her Commonwealth silver medal by buying a handbag and tweeting 10 pictures of it. Andy Vernon is forced to retweet and favourite each of the photographs by British Athletics to show that there ‘were no hard feelings’.

A small Oregon pharmacy chain announces plans to open 10 new stores after a third successive year of record profits.

Mo Farah wins the European Cross Country Championships by over a minute despite getting trapped in one of the port-a-loos and missing the start of the race. Gabby Logan says he is an ‘inspiration to all those who suffer from claustrophobia’.

Michael Johnson cancels Christmas for a group of athletes he coaches after they fail to PB in a session.

Greg Rutherford is forced to pay an excess bag charge on a flight to the United States after Chris Tomlinson points out to cabin crew that his hand baggage was 5cm over the prescribed dimensions.

Photo credit: WikipediaBrian Minkoff & Michael Burger

By James Fairbourn (original article on