Yesterday, the 22nd of April, saw the 32nd London Marathon take place, putting runners through a gruelling 26.2 mile course, all in aid of charity and personal achievement. The sun was shining, there was a predicted £50m sponsorship total, and 37,000 participants flooded the streets of London to do their bit.
To have completed the London Marathon is a great accolade to be able to confess to. Being able to say you ran the Marathon will be a story you will never, ever forget. It singles you out from the rest.
But singling yourself out from the rest can be the difference between great, and the best. And this year, another runner can put himself forward to be known as the Greatest Ever. His name is Usain Bolt, and 2012 could be the biggest year of his life.
The Jamaican sprinter has risen to prominence over the last five years, and has brought athletics to a new generation. Gone are the days of Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson being the pin-up boy for athletics - Bolt and his trademark arms have become idols for thousands around the world.
But 2012 is, in Bolt's own words, 'The One'. He firmly believes he can change the face of athletics - again - this year, and become the best we've ever seen. Arguably, he already is.
The Olympics in 2008 shocked everyone. The Bird's Nest Stadium, in Beijing, have become synonymous with that night, in which Bolt not only destroyed the other athletes on the track, but beat his own 100m World Record, setting a blistering time of 9.69 seconds. Upon further analysis, many believed he could, in fact, have run somewhere in the region of 9.4 seconds, had he not slowed towards the end of the race.
And that's exactly what he believes he can do in London this summer - 9.4 seconds. The fastest human being we've ever seen. He subsequently beat his own record in 2009, now standing at just 9.58 seconds - that's less than a second for every 10m run. He also reckons his training regime could lead him to beat his own 200m record, too - the 19.19 seconds he rain in 2009 - and Bolt thinks it might even be sub-19 seconds. If he does that, he will hold that record for decades. Put it into perspective - it took Bolt, or any athlete, twelve years to beat Michael Johnson's previous 200m record of 19.32 seconds by just 0.02 seconds. Imagine trying to find 0.4 seconds...
Bolt is currently the world-record holder, and Olympic Gold medal holder, of the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m relay. He won the Golds at the 2011 World Championships in both the 4x100m and 200m, too. He has a 100% record at the Olympics, seeing as his first Games on such a scale was in Beijing. Oh, and did we mention he's just 25?
Based on figures and statistics, Bolt is most definitely the greatest we've ever seen. But it's like football - you can't compare Pele to Messi, and vice versa. So much has changed in the world of athletics, that the athletes themselves are different machines to previous greats in history. Diet & nutrition; speed; training; doping control; even money. There's so much cash involved with sponsors and other deals that athletes can afford to plough all of their time into training now, and not sharing it between training, media work and the like in order to put food on the table.
But the sheer force this is Usain Bolt could write, re-write, then re-write again history this summer. And if, and probably when, he does that, there's no way we can deny the man the title of the Greatest Ever.
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I'd love to see him run the 400 but I don't think he ever will.
So much anticipation for the sprints at London. Yohan Blake ran 19.26 in the 200 recently - the second fastest time ever, faster than Johnson's record and Bolt's olympic run.
He has always had challengers in the 100, Tyson Gay being the second fastest man ever over that distance - unlucky! - a whole load of Jamaicans (Yohan Blake probably now the strongest of those over the 100 as well).
But the 200 he has always been in a league of his own. I just wonder if we could see something VERY VERY special in the 200m final between Blake and Bolt.