Journalism: it’s a marathon, not a sprint

Eve LangfordBy Eve Langford

I’m not much of a crier but there a few things that are guaranteed to set me off and one of those is the London Marathon theme tune.

The image of the colourful crowd crossing the Tower Bridge to the triumphant tones of Ron Goodwin’s 1966 classic is a sure fire way to start the waterworks, and a testament to how athletics brings us all together.

But, with knees that a 90-year-old would feel trepidatious about walking on, I’ve always known I would never be able to be a part of the sporting event I’ve idolised since childhood – that is until I was selected from my course at News Associates to work on the 2016 edition.

 

I was chosen due to my great love of athletics – I volunteer as a writer and social media officer for the British Athletics Supporters Club – which proved what I’ve believed all along; that there are often rewards for taking an interests in other sports, rather than just the mainstream ones.

Naturally I jumped at the chance, as I have been doing all year at the fantastic opportunities to cover nationally renowned sporting events with Sportsbeat, afforded to us on the News Associates courses.

I was part of the quick quotes team at the finish line, typing up quotes from the medallists and celebrities and sending them round to a slightly intimidating list of seasoned sports journalists.

It was a great day, absolutely freezing but great nonetheless! The team I was placed with were very welcoming, professional and supportive and the food was unbelievable – teriyaki salmon!!

The media centre on the Mall was by far the largest I’ve been in so far and, wearing my London Marathon events team top, I felt right at home after a nearly a year on my NCTJ course.

 

There were some huge names in marathon racing for us to interview, Eliud Kipchoge, Jemima Sumgong and Britain’s David Weir but it was the presence of Game of Thrones’ beauty Natalie Dormer that seemed to cause the biggest stir!

Interviewing marathon finishers is something wholly different because emotions are so high; many runners burst into tears as they crossed the finish line, perhaps realising their great achievement, or maybe they could hear the London Marathon theme tune as they were finishing!

For me, events like this make the studying, weekends spent freezing in wintery press boxes and shorthand practice worthwhile.

I’ve tried to make the most of the opportunities available during my NCTJ; I’ve covered cycling, rugby and even managed to learn the rules of taekwondo in order to ask sensible questions to the British stars of the sport.

My advice to anyone considering a career in sports journalism would be to throw yourself into every opportunity, big or small, volunteer your time, look beyond football and rugby for some truly unique experiences and buy a dictaphone – just in case you meet your idol and forget how to do shorthand (it happens!)