In true British style the chances of Mo winning a second gold tonight were underplayed. No pressure. After all he'd already got his Gold at his preferred distance last Saturday, five of the other athletes in the race had run faster times at 5000 metres this year and remember he'd disappointed at this distance four years ago when he didn't even qualify for the Beijing final. A couple of weeks after that I'd spotted early one morning as I cycled into work. He was running on his own around St Mary's running track an anonymous and lonely figure. He was beginning again.
So when 7.30pm came round and the TV coverage switched to Olympic Park I was rather taken by surprise. Suddenly it was race time again and no matter how much time had been spent playing down the possibility of glory the butterflies were fluttering when he stepped up to the starting line.
The first laps were slow and I wondered whether the Ethiopian team, in particular, were trying to box him in. Mo bided his time, sat at the back, in touch but looking for the opportunity to move safely up onto the shoulder of the leaders. A mile out, he stepped up, perfect positioning, ready to strike. The slow pace now became an advantage for Mo. Hold the ground and wait to kick. No one surely can out run him over the last 600 metres. The laps were counting down 4...3...2... come on Mo!
At the sound of the bell the runners were still bunched. It had come down to a fairly straight 400. Come on Mo!
He gritted his teeth, his eyes began to bulge. On our feet now. Come on Mo! With 100 metres to go another kick and although Ethiopian Dejen Gebremeskel and the Kenyan Thomas Longoslwa tried to respond it was in vain and unbelievably... really unbelievably Mo crashed over the line, arms out stretched, mouth wide open in a scream of joy. St Mary's favourite son is a double Olympic gold medallist!!! Arise then Sir Mo? I should coco!
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.