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My top 5 athletes, by Dubai marathon runner Lee Ryan

Words by Rob Chilton

Runners past and present who changed the sport

British runner Lee Ryan spoke to EDGAR about the athletes who have inspired him to train harder.

1. Charlotte Purdue

She was the fastest British finisher in the 2019 London Marathon with a time of 2hrs 25mins and 38secs. The video of her finishing outside Buckingham Palace gives me goosebumps. She is a little pocket rocket filled with determination and always looks like she is battling, but you know she is composed mentally to get the job done. I’m expecting big things from her.

Charlotte Purdue celebrates victory in 2019

2. David Rudisha

Such a technically gifted runner who came from a deep pedigree of athletes in what some call the Mecca of running, Eden in Kenya. But his performance in the London 2012 Olympics blew the world away – we had never seen such a composed and dominant performance. The documentary that partners his story adds so much more context to what he had to do to win the gold medal and smash the world record.

Olympic gold for David Rudisha in London, 2012

3. Paula Radcliffe

The queen of British marathon running, Paula Radcliffe held one of the longest unbroken world records in road running. She was an unorthodox runner in terms of form and technique, but that bobbing head became her trademark and it’s not to be mistaken for fatigue. To break the world record in London in 2002 and then break it again in Chicago six months later showed she was so mentally strong and had the grit, passion and hunger to be the best.

Paula Radcliffe at the Athens Olympics in 2004

4. Mo Farah

Super Saturday at the London 2012 Olympics was one of the most successful days in Olympic history for Team GB as Mo Farah made it a double gold by winning the 10,000m after winning the 5,000m earlier in the week. I still watch these races now with nerves as if I’m watching them for the first time. The story behind where Mo came from, his success and his humble beginnings make him a lethal athlete and a nice guy. His famous kick at the end of races fits well with my own mantra, which is ‘always finish strong.’

A stunned Mo Farah wins gold

5. Eliud Kipchoge

This guy changed the culture of running by winning nine out of the 10 marathons he has run and shocking the world not once, but twice, with his Sub-2 endeavour. I remember watching it live and crying at what he achieved with his words “no human is limited.” But his standout race for me was the official world record-breaking marathon in Berlin in 2018. He crossed the line in 2hrs 1min with a huge smile, saluted the crowds and ran to his coach straight away. With all his success and fame, he is still humble enough to go back to Kenya and work on his family farm and get his hands dirty. His love for the sport, his poetic running style and infectious smile makes him the GOAT.

Eliud Kipchoge wins the 2018 Berlin Marathon

Lee Ryan

Lee Ryan is the head of Adidas Runners GCC and wears the Adizero Prime X running shoe

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