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.


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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

April 18, 2014


Wilson_Kipsang (1)

Emil Zátopek would have enjoyed seeing Wilson Kipsang and Edna Kiplagat competing on one of his old stamping grounds, in Olomouc. The provincial city was in Czechoslovakia back in Zato’s day, and just about the only reason anyone outside the … Read more

April 14, 2014


Pat graphic CD

You may have noticed, dear readers, that this blog has gone quiet in recent months. On the one hand that was inevitable after five years of regular pontificating without payment – anathema to the professional journalist. On the other hand, … Read more

April 1, 2014



It is a long established truth that runners are inherently awkward people. They run where and when they want, without heed for irate farmers, golfers, motorists, or police, for that matter. They are not given to taking advice on anything, … Read more

January 20, 2014



With the death of Chris Chataway on Sunday morning, British and world athletics has lost not only a champion and world record holder, but a Renaissance man. Sir Christopher Chataway was a world class athlete, broadcaster, government minister, businessman, and … Read more

October 30, 2013



Daniel Radcliffe is best known for his wizard tricks in the title role of the Harry Potter series of films, based on the hugely successful JK Rowling books. Now Radcliffe is due to play an equally famous but very real … Read more