Opinion: It’s about taking part

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they certainly don’t make them like Ernest Harper anymore.

Now there was a runner who wasn’t about to be deterred by the small matter of a lack of water. In fact, the three-times Olympian preferred to run without taking liquid on board during his marathon feats in the 1920s and ’30s.

Health and safety clearly wasn’t a phrase in this super-athlete’s vocabulary.

The man from Stannington was a real life Tough of the Track – training by running behind buses, pounding mile after mile with blistered feet, and running in searing heat that left competitors hospitalised.

But he was also a good sport, a gentleman runner, whose advice to a fellow athlete allowed him to snatch Olympic gold in the marathon at the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, leaving our man to be content with silver. “The gold is mine but I owe it to the Englishman,” said the victorious Kitel Son of Japan.

There were 30,000 good sports running their hearts out last Sunday in the London Marathon.

For most of them, it wasn’t a case of chasing athletic glory, but of seeing through a personal challenge and, most importantly, raising a fantastic amount of cash for so many good causes up and down the country.

The Sheffield area was well represented by runners, some of whose stories we relate in today’s newspaper.

How about Andy Moore, who after finishing in a very respectable four hours 21 minutes, then headed over to see his team, the Blades, at Wembley, even jogging at times to make the kick-off. Now that’s determination!

Sally Salter lost six stones to enable her to pull on her running shoes and take up the marathon challenge.

Personal tragedy spurred on Sarah Ludlam, having lost both parents to cancer by the time she was just 26.

Andy Howarth, running for the Neroblastoma Society, perhaps summed it up for all of those courageous souls when he said it was the hardest thing he’d ever done in this life.

Well done from The Star to everyone who took part on Sunday.