BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce

Archives for September 2009

The longest day, the shortest hour

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Tom Fordyce | 08:57 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

After three months of problems with poles, high jinks with high jumps and shockers with shot puts, the one-hour decathlon is finally upon us.

I'm at Gateshead International Stadium - the time for training is over. The conditioning work with Dean Macey is done, the throwing advice of Goldie Sayers and Steve Backley in the past. Daley Thompson, sadistic architect of the most brutal session I've ever been put through, cannot help me now.

The nerves are clanging like fire alarms. The head is full of worry and doubt. I haven't done enough training. I'll forget how to pole vault. I'll mis-count my run-ups, land the javelin tail-first, catch a trailing leg on those monstrous high hurdles and bury my nose in abrasive orange track.

Worst of all, there's the hamstring. After six weeks missed training I've only been running again for four weeks. Two of those merely involved gentle jogs. I've just got to hope that it holds together for at least one more afternoon.

The 6pm start time seems hours away, and is then suddenly upon you. There's time to shake the hands of the four officials and wish fellow competitor and multi-event veteran John Stacey bon chance, and then the whistle goes.

One hour to complete a decathlon. On three months training, minus six weeks. Whose idea was this?

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