TV View: Liverpool and Big Ben man both foiled by millimetres

Sunday almost saw a marathon record set for fastest man dressed as a landmark building

Lukas Bates, dressed as Big Ben, struggles to get over the finish line during the London Marathon. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Lukas Bates, dressed as Big Ben, struggles to get over the finish line during the London Marathon. Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

 

It’s possibly no consolation to Liverpool fans after 29.1 millimetres banjaxed their Sunday, but there’s always someone worse off.

Like that man dressed as Big Ben who couldn’t fit under the frame at the finish line of the London Marathon because his costume was too tall. Lukas Bates was eventually manoeuvred over the line by a steward, but it took around 30 seconds, leaving Lukas even further short of the record for the fastest marathon ever run by a person dressed as a landmark building.

Some of us hadn’t known that this was a thing, but the BBC’s Andrew Cotter had earlier taken us through some of the existing Guinness Book of Records categories, among them the fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable/Elvis/a telephone box/a zookeeper/a toilet. Not all at the same time, mind.

Richard Mietz’s record is, then, safe, the fella having run the 2018 Berlin Marathon in 3:34:34 while dressed as Lubeck’s Holstentor city gate. So if you’re considering an attempt on the record while dressed as, say, Áras an Uachtarain, that’s your target time.

Not that Steve Cram noticed any of these runners in their quirky costumes, he only had eyes for Mo Farah, to the point where you’d have thunk he was the sole runner in the men’s elite race. “Everyone wanted Mo to win,” said Steve, which isn’t strictly true, certainly not Haile Gebrselassie or anyone who thinks it’s a bit weird to sign your text messages “Sir Mo”.

Sir Mo had to settle for fifth in the end while Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history, wearing the look of a man come the finish who’d taken on nothing more taxing than reaching for the remote to switch over to Sky for the bonkers-ness that was Leeds v Aston Villa.

‘Morally wrong’

“I’m not even going to describe the goal, it’s morally wrong,” said an aghast Don Goodman after some ungentlemanly conduct by Leeds when they didn’t put the ball out when a Villa lad went down and only went on and scored a goal. Uproar ensued, we were even treated to the sight of Villa assistant coach John Terry remonstrating with Leeds gaffer Marcelo Bielsa. John being a man who, as we know, has always been affronted by ungentlemanly behaviour.

Any way, the highlight of the shemozzle was Bielsa instructing his players to allow Villa equalise, thereby shifting the narrative from the Spygate man being an unscrupulous sneaky Italian who has no respect for Blighty’s sense of fair play, to sort of being crowned the Mother Teresa of the English game. “Very moral,” as Lee Hendrie put it back in the Sky studio. But while Pontus Jansson, incensed by Bielsa’s instruction, attempted to block Villa’s passage to goal, the rest of the resistance put up by the Leeds rear-guard pretty much resembled the efforts put in by Manchester United’s back four of late. ‘After you.’

Speaking of which. Has Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aged two-ish decades in the last month, or does the telly need calibrating? Maybe it’s just those post-match interviews he’s had to do of late, like Sunday’s one with Patrick Davison. Eg: “Olly, how down are you – a bit, a lot, or an enormous amount?”

On the issue of goal-line technology, Liverpool-loving folk would say they were down on it by ‘a humongous amount’, knowing that if it didn’t exist they’d now most probably be a point clear of Manchester City with just two games to play. Instead, as Geoff Shreeves informed Sergio Aguero, his poke crossed the line by 29.1 mms, Sergio’s grin saying ‘more than plenty’. Which it was.

Liverpool, then, need snookers – or Leicester or Brighton to score 147s – as a somewhat tired and emotional Ronnie O’Sullivan ended up requiring against James Cahill. Cahill kept his cool, though, Steve Davis noting that “he didn’t play like a frozen rabbit in the headlights”, the chilled bunny knocking Ronnie out of the World Championships.

Out too is defending champion Mark Williams whose effort against David Gilbert was hardly helped by having to take himself to hospital on Friday after experiencing chest pains.

Come the final session on Saturday, Eurosport commentator Phil Yates spotted one of Williams’ sons in the family section. And then the little fella plugged in earphones to hear Yates’ dulcet tones. “Hello son,” said Phil. “Your Dad’s doing okay, not dead yet!”

[Silence]. “In this match of course,” Phil speedily added, “Thank heavens he’s okay in terms of health . . . but, eh . . . snooker health?”

Next year, Phil will run the London Marathon with his foot in his mouth.

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