Saturday evening was rather good fun. I went to a favourite local restaurant to watch the athletics because there seemed a decent chance it would be a good night for the Brits and best enjoyed in company.
What was rather strange was that Miss Ennis's romp to triumph was met with smiles and a sense of inevitability, while Mr Rutherford's success in the leaping game caused an almost unanimous reaction of "never heard of him". By marked contrast Mr Farah's long trot captivated people from the start. The telly is in the bar area of a very large restaurant divided into a number of sections, a few minutes before the race started diners moved from their tables and crammed into the bar (I was eating at the bar - I've played this game before and guaranteed myself a prime seat). As he accelerated to victory over the last three laps the atmosphere was quite frenetic. Lots of "come-ons", "he's in control" and similar sentiments. When Mr Farah (or Sir Mo as he must surely become if he can nail the 5,000 metre race as well) made his final move at about 200 yards from the tape people were cheering and shouting and even I abandoned my normal reserve by applauding as he crossed the line.
There is something about running that excites people and there is something about Sir Mo that people like. It cannot just be his silky smooth running style or the fact that he sometimes wins the most important races. He does it all with a smile on his face and makes it clear to everyone how grateful he is for the support he receives, that cannot be it either because others do the same. Perhaps the secret to his popularity is that he came to this country as a youngster and was given a home free of the poverty, misery and violence that dominated his early years in Somalia. Not for him moans about discrimination and attachment to the cult of victimhood, he tells us all how lucky he feels and how welcome he has been made here. He is married to a pudgy white girl and has a pudgy brown daughter. He is just like a normal person with an engaging air of modesty about his extraordinary sporting achievements and we all enjoy someone like him being British and running for Britain.
The greatest thing is that his dietary advisor has the surname Fudge.