Athletics: Pavey and Way blaze a trail at 40

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Another box ticked in the 2014 summer of sport with the closing of an outstanding Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The “friendly games” lived up to its reputation – a great competition underpinned by a spirit of fair play.

Drug suspensions and the controversial comments by Usain Bolt didn’t distract from great performances in the 800m by Nijel Amos and hometown favourite Eilidh Child grabbing an emotional 400m silver medal.

But as an (at the moment) average club athlete, it was two 40 year old’s who stole the show for me – Steve Way and Jo Pavey.

Pavey has been a favourite amongst all British athletes for her battling mentality and bravery in taking on runners who are on paper superior athletes.

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But the essence of sport is competition.

In that battle, it is what happens on the night that counts.

Jo Pavey winning bronze in Glasgow

Although giving birth only 10 months ago, Pavey tracked her Kenyan opponents before unleashing a blistering sprint finish – something she is not famous for – to claim an incredible bronze.

And with characteristic modesty, she took to the cameras to declare that mothers everywhere were capable of great sporting achievements.

Steve Way unlike Pavey who has run all her life, was  7 years a go, 16.5 stone, smoking 20 a day and a regular drinker who took up running to lose weight and get healthy.

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Now a top distance athlete, his time of 2hrs 15 mins in the marathon and with it a 10th place – is unbelievable given his background.

One wonders how good he could have been if he’d started sooner.

Working a 9-5 job and running 140 miles a week would be an achievement in itself. But for Steve to turn that training into elite level performance takes something special.

Steve Way on the BBC

Pavey and Way have both proven it is never too late to pursue sporting dreams.

And to all those who say running is ‘boring,’ the late great Steve Prefontaine summed it up perfectly:

 “Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”

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