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26-08-1985

Zola Budd sets 5000m world record

Best BuddsIt’s a Friday, which means we give a light, friendly hug to all things pacy and fast. And you don’t always need some kind of machine or ‘vehicle’ to go fast. No, not at all.

People can be fast, with their running and their legs. And it’s one of these  speedy mammals that we recognise today as it was on this occasion in 1985 that Zola Budd entered Crystal Palace stadium with a dream and left with the 5,000 meter world record, coming in at 14 minutes and 48.07 seconds and knocking a hefty ten seconds of the previous best time.

Though Budd isn’t really known or remembered for her records. Her career was dogged with controversy and acrimony. Born in South Africa, a British grandfather helped to fast track her to UK citizenship and so allowed her to run for team GB in the Olympics.

It was there in 1984, that she collided with US favourite and her main rival, Mary Decker. Decker failed to finish and Budd came seventh. Despite her records, Budd could never really get the British public on her side and eventually she returned to South Africa and didn’t compete again until apartheid had been abolished. Oh, and she ran barefoot. Which is weird.