“You what?” said Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to David Weir CBE, moments after the Weir Wolf won the gold medal for the marathon at London 2012 Paralympic Games. David Weir had just told Boris Johnson the secret of his success in the 26.2-mile race and he was stunned.

I suspect many would be stunned to learn of David Weir’s secret. The man who must surely rank as one of the greatest competitors the UK has ever fielded won gold in the 800m, the 1,500m, the 5,000m and the Marathon. “The first five miles were tough,” he told Johnson, “I was really sluggish. And then I had a shot.”

“A shot?” questioned the Mayor.

“Yes,” said the fastest man on three wheels, “I had a boost.”

Johnson was unsure he wanted to hear anymore and had visions of some galvanic serum for reviving half-dead horses or patients in the throes of cardiac arrest: adrenalin, ketamine, a pint of brandy, perhaps. He didn’t need to be so concerned…

“I had a shot of beetroot juice,” Weir said, “and that made all the difference.”

“Look it up,” said the Weir Wolf. “Beetroot. It’s much better than caffeine.”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, one of the greatest athletes in the world is powered by no stimulant more sinister than beetroot juice.


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