Are you inspired by Alex Vero's ambitions, or slightly insulted?

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26/03/2007 at 14:42
Serpentine Runner Alex Vero has set himself the ambitious target of finishing inside 2 hrs 15 mins in the 2008 London Marathon (and being in the first three UK men). See his website for more details.

He has made good progress so far, seeing his half marathon time drop by 20 minutes in the past year, to just over 1 hr 15 mins in February 2007. However, he has suffered some setbacks along the way, including yesterday’s Reading Half, where he finished just inside 1 hour 22 mins.

He is aiming for 2 hrs 30 mins at the Paris marathon on 15th April.

Whether or not he succeeds, his improvement thus far has been impressive.

Does his story inspire you, or does the extravagance and public nature of his ambition in some way belittle the achievements of other runners (even if unintentionally)?
26/03/2007 at 14:53
Dunno... I personally don't feel belittled because I know I will never ever be an elite runner, hence there is no direct competition. When the elite runners lapped us in Bath yesterday I didn't think "rub it in why don't you"... I genuinely thought "awesome!".

If he has got the skill to be in the top 3 runners I think he's got a right to a spot of publicity? I don't know what kind of a person he is. I like it when successful people are still a bit humble about it and have regard for the achievements of others.

I don't know how I would feel if I were that good and saw him as competition. I assume in that came my life would be totally assmed by running and perhaps I would feel different? I don't know.

I don't know him but he's probably worked very very hard for it so i wish him well.
26/03/2007 at 15:01
Not inspired(obviously that will change if he runs sub 2.15!!!) or insulted to be honest. It will be interesting to follow though, all the best to him...
26/03/2007 at 15:03
having met him he is quite matter of fact about what he is trying to do and accepts it is asking a lot.

It has motivated me to train a bit better as 12 months ago he was slower than me over a half.
26/03/2007 at 17:14
I think most of us have extravagant ambitions at one time or another. Most of us also acknowledge that we probably won’t achieve them either, although that doesn’t stop us dreaming, like Alex Vero, and doing our best to achieve them.

I think where the dreaming takes a more public form, then it becomes a bit uncomfortable for onlookers. Do we say what we really think, or is that impolite or mean spirited?

There’s another aspect to this that disturbs me a bit. It’s exemplified by the current popularity of the “Celebrity” shows like yesterday’s “Jo Brand plays the organ in front of 5,000 people after only 4 months practice”. Never mind that professionals hone their craft over a lifetime, why not give it a bash? Most of the notes were played in the right order, even if they weren’t all played at the right time. Impressive - a bit like the dog dancing on its hind legs.

I'm always inspired by the tales of ordinary folk like Tracey Morris. I suppose I prefer my heroes to be quiet and self-effacing. I don’t really care whether Vero succeeds or not, but I’d rather he shuts up about it until he does.
26/03/2007 at 17:17
I wanted to do a sub 2:15 mara 15 years ago - coz a big Aussie runner (same build as me but minus the fat I had) had done a 2:08 -I thought it was poss-lol. For a reasonably talented runner 2:15 is a worthwhile goal though.
26/03/2007 at 17:37
good luck to him.

I suspect however he will find that training and determination will only take him so far and then gentic makeup will prove to be the limiting factor.

1:15 for a half is nothing special in the context of marathon running at speed equating to only 2:40 -2:45. Taking 30 minutes off those times is where it gets really hard..........................:-)))
26/03/2007 at 17:41
If he does it in the public eye then he may inspire other people along he way, who might think well if he can give it a go then why can't I. If he tries and fails in private then no one will know, and no one will be inspired. Similarly it will be far more inspirational if he gets to Beijing after we've been able to watch his progress from couch potato.
It's very different to Jo Brand playing the organ, if he runs a 2:15 marathon, or even 2:30 for that matter it is hardly insulting to anyone. He has got all the notes very much in the right place, and at the right time. Doesn't matter if other runners have struggled for years, he'll have still put the work in and got the times.
As for Tracey Morris, she is a different case having been a very talented athlete when she was younger.

I'm inspired and watching with interest.
26/03/2007 at 17:44
there is a wisdom that states the higher you aim the further you get. If I'd have aimed for a more modest time I'd have been doing 12min mile as opposed to 8 at best:O)
26/03/2007 at 17:44
I like people who have the courage to go for their dreams and aspirations, even if they are a bit over the top.

I too got lapped by the winner during a half marathon and, like Namaste, I though WOW!
26/03/2007 at 17:49
Inspired - why not. Do we not all wonder what could have or would have been if life had taken another path and we had been 'spotted' at school or at the very least had a go at running before the ripe old age of 35?.

If he makes it (and I hope he does or at least gets close) then it says to me that with determination, a bit of luck and lots and lots of hard work, you can do just about anything. Which should be a cause for celebration.

I absolutely fail to see how this denigrates elite athletes. They are still human beings - why do we 'need' them to be better than us to still be special. Unless it is as an excuse for not excelling ourselves.
26/03/2007 at 17:50
I think what some people might find insulting is a three-hour marathon runner saying that, give it two or three years' hard work and a bit of talent, and you can be ranked top three in the UK. What does he think other dedicated athletes are doing? Watching the TV and eating doughnuts?

If he does it, then obviously nobody would be insulted but, as TS says, going from 2:45 to 2:15 is an order of magnitude different from getting down to 2:45 in the first place (which he hasn't done yet).
26/03/2007 at 20:47
I like people like him. To one of the earlier posters saying they 'know they will never be an elite athlete' - it's quite ironic. Here you have a seemingly ordinary runner who has set himself a high goal to reach, who before it, may have been in the category of never becoming an elite runner too, but it's not stopped him before he started.

Personally, good luck to the guy. I believe he'll do it. And it's just ordinary people like that, aiming to do an extraordinary thing, who inspire me to reach some damn high heights in running, in the future, too.
26/03/2007 at 20:50
why on earth would i be insulted???????

good luck to him
26/03/2007 at 21:01
Personally, I'm inspired by ordinary people who doextraordinary things. Not ordinary people telling me that they are going to do extraordinary things!
26/03/2007 at 21:03
I've run a sub 2:30 marathon and this weekend was chatting to a couple of guys who have GB championship vests for the marathon (who have run sub 2:15) and some of his statements have wound them up a bit. He's making it seem so easy (and not producing the goods) when we have all spent years trying to be the best we can, working full time, learning our craft along the way.

For a more full and frank discussion of him check out:
Do2    pirate
26/03/2007 at 21:03
If he fails to hit his stated goals than the elite will be able to (should they wish) say "told you so - its tougher than it looks isn't it"

If he succeeds then what can anybody take away from him? He'll have won a personal victory and become a folk hero to many along the way.

If he gets somewhere near, but doesn't hit his ultimate goals then the elite will be reinforced (in my eyes) as somewhat God like, and he will have demonstrated what one man can really achieve - and thus be inspirational to me.

The proof of the pudding...
26/03/2007 at 21:07
Well yes, there's that too. I'm as sceptical as most, but I find something of this magnitude inspirational - maybe I find the inspiration in this seemingly impossible situation. A challenge is always more exciting than something that's not isn't it? That would drive me anyway.
26/03/2007 at 21:07
Good luck to him.

I did notice he had a fairly good 10k but not that fast and wondered if he has the basic speed to run sub 5 min miling for 26.2 miles.
Do2    pirate
26/03/2007 at 21:07
Mike B - surely thats the whole point.

He is not making it seem easy unless he does come up with the goods.

For people who have already run 2:15 or 2:30 I congratulate you - you have proved yourself at the highest level in my eyes.

For such people to be insulted or threatened by words not backed up with actions strikes me as a little fragile on the ego front.
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