Tripp Hurt USA athlete

What's your runner name?

'Fartleki De Hills' asks: What's in a name...?

A quiz question on telly got runABC writer Alan Newman thinking about runner's names – both real and made up. The question that featured on Richard Osman's House of Games on BBC 2 on Friday 18th November was: "A 2014 competition by USA Runner's World magazine to find the best name in running was won by a steeplechase athlete called what?" 

The multi-choice answers offered were: Jonathan Legg-Mann; Lee Poverett; Fiona Hurdle-Jones and Tripp Hurt! As a former steeplechase champion, Alan's ears pricked up at this point. None of the celebrities knew the answer and neither did our roving reporter.

The correct answer was ... Tripp Hurt (pictured). The other three names were fictitious. At the time of the USA Runner's World survey, Tripp Hurt was a junior steeplechaser at Furman University. He had defeated genuine athletes Gretchen Speed, Michael Atchoo and Maverick Darling for the best name in running title. Gretchen Speed's maiden name was actually Gretchen Chick and it was reported that she had considered adopting the married name Speed-Chick!  

We are pleased to report that Tripp stayed on his feet to become one of America's finest middle-distance runners with personal records of 3:36.83 for 1500m; 3:56.02 for a mile; 13:57.79 for 5000m and 8:30.69 for his first love, the 3000m steeplechase.

Meanwhile, our writer's favourite genuine runner name will always be Bigboy Matlapeng. Alan was in Edinburgh for the Commonwealth Games, supporting the 10,000m champion Jon Solly, whom he coached as a junior at Newbury AC, when he ran part of the marathon course to keep warm on a frozen 1st August 1986. The men's champion was Rob 'Deek' De Castella (Australia, 2:10:15) and Bigboy Matlapeng (Botswana, 2:24:05) finished 14th overall. 

So, who on earth is Fartleki De Hills? Well, this is the fun bit. If you click on this Pinterest link and follow the simple guide you can create your own alter ego. Alan is quite pleased with his new moniker but his wife Sue James is less enamoured with hers: Runna O'Vomitz! 

It's amazing what a wet and windy November afternoon with nothing on the TV but the World Cup can produce. So go on, what's your favourite runner name (real, imagined or created)?

Image courtesy Tripp Hurt on Twitter

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