Running is no fun. Shanghaiist knows this because, having tired of frequent comments about our growing beer paunch, we hit the treadmill last night for the first time since — wait for it — the fall of the Berlin Wall. And man was it hateful.
Which is why we have a lot of time for a person like Justin Gatlin. He wisely tries to spend as little time running as he possibly can: 9.85 seconds, for example, which he clocked on the way to winning gold in the 100 metres at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
From now on Shanghaiist is going to follow Gatlin’s sterling example by setting the timer on the gym’s treadmill to just 9.85 seconds. If that’s long enough for a world beater like Gatlin, then it’s long enough for us.
For further inspiration, we’ll probably head out to the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, to be held at the Shanghai Stadium this Saturday. Gatlin is just one of a host of international stars who’ve made the trip to China for the country’s “biggest and most important track and field meeting”. Joining the American sprint champion will be five other Olympic champions, including local hero and winner of the 110-metre hurdles in Athens, Liu Xiang.
All of which is obviously a pretty big deal for both Shanghai and China, especially according to the barrage of statements in this article.
- “the perfect warm-up for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, China’s most important sports event in history.”
- “[it] will most certainly lift the city’s image further.”
- “China’s entrance to the big time of world athletics.”
- “a milestone for China.”
- “an extremely important event in China’s sporting history.”
- “lifting Shanghai to a new level of sports excellence in organisation and management.”
Mind you, the final word in hyperbole must go to Justin Gatlin himself, who had this to say about his recent World Championship victories in Helsinki, Finland: “Everyone’s perspective of me has changed. People see me as a greater athlete, an ambassador of track and field … It really put my name in the history book.”
On a completely irrelevant note, one person who won’t be at the Shanghai Grand Prix is South African pensioner Flying Phil. Last year the 100-year-old set the world’s fastest time for “centenarian sprinting”, 30.86 seconds, demolishing the old mark of 36.19 seconds.
For the record, this is a good deal faster than Shanghaiist managed on the treadmill last night.
Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, Shanghai Stadium, September 17. From 7:15pm. Tickets: 50-1880 RMB. Tel: 6217 2426 or 6217 3055. More information here.