If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that marathon running is the rock n’roll of sports.
Joe Strummer of The Clash ran the London Marathon twice (in 1981 and 1983) and the Paris Marathon in 1982, and he claimed a personal best of 3 hours 20 minutes. In March 2012, Irish pop twins Jedward – who carried the Olympic torch through Dublin – ran in the Los Angeles Marathon. (Although we still haven’t found a finishing time for them, the two lads were schools athletes so we can give them the benefit of the doubt.)
But trumping both the rock icon and the pop idols is Bjorn Ulvaeus, who you’ll know as the non-beardy guy in ABBA. In 1980, when ABBA were the biggest music act on the planet, Bjorn ran in the Stockholm Marathon – his local race, as it were.
Unlike the sketchily-documented performances of Strummer and Jedward, we have Bjorn’s exact time from the race – an impressive 3 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds. That’s four minutes and three seconds faster than my personal best, but I appreciate that we’re dealing with a high achiever here. Well done, that man.
I’d like to think that Bjorn is more proud of his marathon feat than his other accomplishments:
Scene: Fireside in a well-appointed drawing room, Stockholm:
Benny from ABBA: You know, Bjorn, I have earned millions, written loads of catchy pop hits and was married to one of the women in ABBA.
Bjorn from ABBA: Why, Benny, I too have earned millions, written loads of catchy pop hits and was married to one of the women in ABBA. But I also ran a marathon in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds.
Benny from ABBA: I see. [Pause] I have wasted my life, haven’t I?
Bjorn’s hit-making cred and 26-miler PB put him in a commanding position at the top of our Rock n’ Pop Marathon league table, at least until we get confirmation of Strummer’s 3:20. Apart from Jedward (who also need to show us some documentary proof) would any current-day pop stars manage a marathon? Are the likes of Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach too far gone in years to embellish their pop-genius status with a finisher’s medal? And perhaps Benny from ABBA has something up the sleeve of his sequinned jumpsuit…
Here’s Bjorn’s second-finest moment: