Monograph on Alain Mimoun

The Destiny of Ali Mimoun

As long as he could remember, Alain Mimoun had wanted to be French. In fact, he wanted to be French even more than he wanted to

beat Emil Zátopek, and he couldn't say more than that. In any case, Emil was practically unbeatable. What's more, Emil was his friend. Whereas he, Mimoun had shed blood for France. That was the ultimate bond, the contract, the vouchsafe. Better than any birthright. Ironically, it was in the beating of Emil Zátopek that Alain Mimoun would come closest to his life's ambition.


Pat Butcher is a writer, journalist, television producer and commentator; and also operates a media service for several top road races around the world.

Although writing occasionally on subjects of general interest, his speciality is track and field athletics.

Pat running in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, early 2008
Pat running in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, early 2008

He first attended the Olympic Games in Munich 1972; and has covered all World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games as writer and/or commentator since 1980.

Please consult the menu for links to a variety of projects, from the highly acclaimed book, The Perfect Distance: Ovett & Coe, The Record Breaking Rivalry; to the television documentaries, Arabian Knight, The Story of Said Aouita and Race For Kenya; to the radio programmes Sport In the Movies and Coe & Ovett in Moscow; to various newspaper, magazine and website articles; and links to the events which he helps publicise across the world.

Unless otherwise accredited, all pictures on this site are from Victah Sailer at

Butcher's Blog

August 23, 2016


2016 Olympic Games

Whatever next? Apparently, the UK is a Sporting Superpower; and for once this is not a tabloid invention. Depending on who’s counting, Britain finished second or third in the Rio Olympic medals table. China won more medals, 70 to 67, … Read more

August 17, 2016



One can sympathise with Renaud Lavillenie after he was so rudely dispossessed of his Olympic pole vault title by Thiago Braz da Silva of Brazil on Tuesday. The Frenchman had led throughout the competition, clearing every height up to 5.98 … Read more

August 12, 2016


2016 Rome Diamond League

Almaz Ayana turned in an unbelievable performance in Rio earlier today, in winning Olympic gold while smashing the women’s world 10,000 metres record. But was it Unbelievable – Good! Or Unbelievable – Bad? Given the suspicion – bolstered by arrests … Read more

July 30, 2016



Oh dear! I watched Everest On The Track, the documentary of Roger Bannister and the four-minute Mile on BBC4 the other night with mounting interest, thinking that here we finally have a piece about sport, putting it into a political … Read more

July 27, 2016


Helsinky OH 52 - Emil ZÁTOPEK - maraton

At precisely 3.30pm Central European Time today, July 27, a group of runners will set off around Stromovka, the country park on the northern edge of Prague 7, to follow in the metaphorical footsteps of, while paying homage to their … Read more