This episode was going to be our World Indoors Preview. But the fact that the World Indoors in Nanjing has now been postponed for a year has not got in the way – we’ve done a preview anyway! We’ve got massive jumps, massive vaults, and massive hops, steps and jumps. We’ve got a reprise of David’s 2019 Random Prandini predictions, which inexplicably still involve a Random Prandini. And we have trackside interviews from the British Championships in Glasgow with everyone’s favourite domestic bam, Guy Learmonth, and Girvan’s finest Decathlete of Europe, Andrew Murphy.
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On today’s show: How amazing was Glasgow! Dozens of athleticos descended on the west of Scotland for the European Indoors, and we reminisce about all our favourite moments. Feel all the feels from Glasgow, hear all about the Pozzi Patrol pep talk with Pozzi, enjoy the Trackcastic v Backstraight Boys #decathletesofeurope face off, and feel the joy from our mixed zone interviews with the stars of the heptathlon.
Are you ready for the Trackcastic panto and end of year awards?
Of course you are!! Join the Trackcastic crew in our magical festive panto “Kat-derella” and friends. Will Kat-derella thwart the dastardly plans of the evil Countess von Cakir? Will Pozzi Patrol save the day? With a twirl of a glittery baton and a brandish of a festive rake, all your dreams can come true too!
And who will win the Trackcastic Festive Panto awards? Enjoy the final podcast of 2018, athleticos.
KAT-DERELLA: CHAPTER 1
Once upon a time there was a young girl called Katarina. She had travelled a long, long way from home and arrived in a magical place called Mont Pelly Air. She had left her family behind to seek her fortune, but now lived with her great step-aunt and her two step-cousins. And Katarina loved nothing more than to run, jump and – if she absolutely had to – throw things in the forest outside her house.
But Katarina’s step aunt wasn’t a very nice person. No-one knew what her real name was, but instead everyone knew her by the very grand name she had given herself, Countess Marta Nadezhda Fani-Thanou Von Cakir. Countess Von Cakir was notorious throughout the villages around the forest. She would shoplift from the boulangerie and patisserie, terrorise children on her moped, and had even been caught swapping the offal in the charcuterie for suspicious looking substances in plastic bags. Indeed, she was so jealous of Katarina’s lovely name that she insisted that she be called Kat-derella
Countess Von Cakir was never seen without her ratty, bad-tempered lap dog Lupu, who would yap and bite at anyone who came to visit. But worst of all were her two daughters, Blonska and Chernova. With their misshapen teeth and trapezoidal shoulders, they were constantly slapping themselves, and each other, on the face and thighs, screeching and roaring.
Kat-derella – as she came to be known – didn’t like to spend too much time with her step-cousins, so most days she went to the forest. Kat-derella loved to play among the trees with her friends Nana and Kevin. Together they would gallop over logs as fast as they could, leap over tumbling streams, and throw apples to each other when they became tired and hungry.
One day, when Nana was visiting her Uncle Bertrand, Kat-derella and Kevin were strolling through the forest.
“No, Kevin” said Kat-derella , “You’re not saying it right. It’s “Liver-pooooooool”.
“Leev er pou? What ees thees words? What ees thees language?” replied Kevin, scuffing along in the warm grass.
Kat-derella sighed. She had been trying to teach Kevin Liverpudlian for over a year, but it wasn’t going so well. More often than not it ended up with Kevin sobbing at his inability to express himself in Scouse. She heard a stumble behind her, and turned round to find Kevin on his knees, weeping.
“C’mon Kevin, we need to get back for our lessons, do you have to express yourself right now?”
“Non, non” replied Kevin, blowing his nose loudly. “I am not expresseeng myself, I stubbed my toe on ze rock and it hurts”.
“Well you should wear shoes then, Kevin” said Kat-derella in an exasperated tone. “Walking around in your bare feet all the time, no-one wants to see your corns and bunions and blisters.” Helping Kevin back to his feet, the friends returned along the forest path to their afternoon lessons.
The sun was beating down on the garden as Kat-derella returned home. As she entered the house, her eyes adjusted to the dingy darkness within. Suddenly a mangy ball of fur threw itself at her, teeth bared and yelping. “Lupu!” came a deep voice from the shadows. “What have I told you about keeping my useless step-niece from her chores!”
“Chores?” asked Kat-derella
“Yes,” replied the haughty Countess Von Cakir, “I would like you to strain my yogurt until all the fat is removed. Until no fat is left. No fat. At all.”
“Fat-free?” said Kat-derella.
“Completely fat free” replied the Countess. “King Kipchoge is planning six months of celebrations to mark the retirement, and then the return, and then the retirement, and then the return again of his brother Prince Mo. The grand finale will be a magnificent ball, and I will need to lose weight to squeeze myself into my ballgown.
And you, my girl, you will be spending no more time in the forest with those good-for-nothings Kevin and Nana. You will be making ballgowns for my darlings Blonska and Chernova, and you won’t see the light of day again until you do!”
And with that, the evil Countess Von Cakir pushed Kat-derella into the cellar, threw a pile of fabric down the stairs after her, and locked the door with a wicked cackle.
For almost 6 months, Kat-derella toiled away in the cellar. It had only taken her a few weeks to make the dresses, but nothing pleased Blonska or Chernova. They would seize the dresses and, flying into a hormonal rage, rip them to shreds. Kat-derella saved some of the rags to wear herself, but most of them were collected by the local rag and bone business, Rupp’s Holey Rag Rickshaw.
The cellar was cold and draughty, and Kat-derella only had the embers in the fireplace to keep her warm. From time to time, Blonska or Chernova would bang a mug of watery soup on the floor for Kat-derella, often laced with what she suspected was Lupu’s drool. Kat-derella thought fondly of her friends Nana and Kevin playing in the forest, and a tear fell from her eye.
The tear landed on the sooty mug, and created a little rivulet of white among the dust. Kat-derella wiped away the soot with her raggedy skirt, and slowly some words began to appear on the mug. “Po-zzi Pa-trol” she mouthed. She continued wiping the mug, and slowly, a handsome face appeared. He had kind eyes and a winning smile. “Why, who is this?” she wondered. She placed the mug carefully on the hearth and returned to her dressmaking, pausing from time to time to smile shyly at the eyes watching over her.
The day of the grand ball approached. King Kipchoge was a benevolent ruler, and ensured all his subjects had access to the very best healthcare. So that his people would be fit and healthy to attend the ball, he arranged for a doctor to visit every household, unannounced, and to take urine and blood samples. Completely unrelated to this, and in no way a coincidence, Blonska and Chernova’s hormonal mood swings seemed to improve, and they ceased raging at Kat-derella long enough for her to finish their dresses.
The evening of the ball arrived. Blonska and Chernova piled into the sidecar of Countess Von Cakir’s moped, and disappeared to the castle in a stream of fumes. Kat-derella gave a deep sigh, and resigned herself to a night with the cinders. She sat down by the hearth, and picked up the mug she had looked after so carefully.
“Pozzi Patrol, Pozzi Patrol, Pozzi Patrol” she whispered to herself.
Suddenly, there was a flash of light and a dazzling figure with a magnificent smile appeared before her. She wore a tiara that sparkled like the stars, and had a pair of wings that twinkled like the moonlight.
“I am your Fairy Godmother Dina” said the glorious figure in a kind voice, “and you shall go to the ball!”
“Oh, I didn’t know I had a godmother,” said Kat-derella , startled, “but I’m so glad you’re here. Only, how will I get to the ball, locked in this cellar?”
Fairy Godmother Dina smiled her dazzling smile, and took from her pocket a glittery baton. She waved it in the air and chanted
“CJ, Danny, Zharnel, Harry,
In this cellar no longer tarry!”
There was a crash at the top of the stairs and a giant German man charged through the heavy wooden door, blasting it off its hinges.
“Arthur, you total Unit” cried Kat-derella. “you’ve saved me from this cellar!” She turned to her other visitor, who was picking splinters of wood out of her chiffon. “Fairy Godmother Dina, thank you for sending Arthur, but I really think I need my other friends to help me get ready for the ball”.
“The glittery baton says it shall be so!” declared Fairy Godmother Dina.
“Lovely Adam’s Lovely Bends,
Send me forth my girl’s dear friends!”
A shower of glitter appeared in the hearth, and out from the embers stepped Nana and Kevin.
“We’ve brought reinforcements”, announced Nana, as a stream of people followed her out from the hearth into the now crowded cellar. “Michelle Carter is here to do your makeup, Michelle Sammet is here to do your braids. Queen Val has brought you a corsage and Katharine Merry has brought her spangly IAAF Awards dress for you to wear.
Kat-derella quickly changed. The transformation was amazing. She glowed like a shining star.
“Oh Kat-derella”, sobbed Kevin, tracing a pattern in the sooty floor with his bare foot “I can’t express how happy I am for you.”
Fairy Godmother Dina rolled her eyes. “Yes, Kevin, that’s lovely but we have a party to get to!” The group dashed up the stairs and outside to the garden. The garden was deserted, except for a tall hooded figure raking the soil in the vegetable patch.
“Oh, but how will I get there?” cried Kat-derella. “The castle is too far to walk and there will be no carriages at this late hour.”
The hooded figure straightened up from her raking and the cape fell from her head. “I am your other Fairy Godmother Heike and I have taken care of all your transportation needs!” She waved her rake in the air and sparks flew into the night sky.
“Arthur, the carriage!”
The giant German man transformed in a flash of light into a sturdy unit of a carriage.
“Borlees, Ingebrigtsens, Dibabas, Kambundjis! The horses!”
Several dozen people emerged from the vegetable patch and with a wave of Heike’s Rake turned into beautiful white stallions, with feathered plumes in their manes.
“Yuki, the reins!” A small Japanese man jogged into the garden, checked his watch, and leapt onto the carriage”
She waved her magic rake and both Kat-derella and Kevin felt a tingling in their feet.
The soot on Kevin’s bare feet rose into the air, spinning, and turned from black particles into a thousand tiny crystals. The crystals settled onto Kat-derella’s feet and turned into a beautiful pair of glass vaporfly slippers.
“Let’s go!” cried Yuki Kawauchi from the top of the carriage. And Kat-derella sprung lightly into the carriage and with the whinny of an Ingebrigtsen, the entourage disappeared out of the village and onto the castle.
“Wait!” Shouted Fairy Godmother Heike, “you need to leave by midnight!” But the carriage was out of sight.
The castle was lit with hundreds of fairy lights, and was a spectacular sight to behold. At the grand portcullis, every person going in was stopped by two people, a man and a woman, brandishing microphones.
“What’s your name?” The blond woman asked a stocky gent who was strolling over the drawbridge, with two smartly dressed friends
“Christian Coleman” he replied.
“Are you the new Bolt?” asked the man with the microphone, who was wearing a lovely scarf.
“No”, Christian replied wearily.
“What about you?” asked the blond woman
“My name’s Noah Lyles and no I’m not the new Bolt” replied his friend.
“What about you? Are you the new Bolt?” The scarf-wearing gentleman probed, crossing 2 names off his list.
“No, I’m Ronnie Baker. Just Ronnie, not Bolt.”
From the shadow of the castle walls, a handsome prince watched his friends join the ball-goers. He was grateful to his father King Kipchoge for arranging the ball and providing a distraction for him. Prince Pozzi had been very lonely since his best friend Sir Lawrence had inherited a far away kingdom. He missed him very much and his father was always telling him to get out and mingle.
Prince Pozzi returned to the grand ballroom in the castle. As he entered the room, a woman dressed in green and gold leapt in front of him and started bouncing up and down and from side to side, desperately trying to get his attention. He smiled politely and side-stepped the jiggling Antipodean.
In the middle of the floor, a lean man with a flash of silver through his dark hair was energetically directing a game of Musical Chairs, alongside a round of Pin the Tail on The Donkey. As people clattered to the floor, squeals erupted as pins pierced posteriors, and a suave Ukrainian man whispered to Prince Pozzi. “Seb is trying out new formats for the Continental Cup. They really should have made me President.”
The Ukrainian man suddenly dashed away “Mondo, you come down from that chandelier this second! What have I told you about hiding Renaud’s walking stick up there where he can’t reach it?
Prince Pozzi laughed and leaned against a pillar. Suddenly, the festivities paused as the Diamond League theme tune blasted across the ballroom. The doors opened and a vision, the likes of which the prince had never seen before, entered the room.
“Who is she?!” the prince gasped.
Slowly, the vision in glass slippers walked down the grand staircase. King Kipchoge rushed forward to give her his arm. “How lovely your shoes are, my dear. I enjoy a nice Vaporfly myself” the King said. “Have you met my son, Prince Pozzi?”
Kat-derella – for it was she – took King Kipchoge’s arm and looked around to see the King’s son. And all at once, her eyes fell on Prince Pozzi – it was the handsome man from the mug on her hearth.
“I know you,” she whispered “from the mug”.
“Yes” Prince Pozzi replied, “I have the best and most devoted servants a Prince could wish for, and they, my Pozzi Patrol, have travelled all around the land sharing their love for me by way of crockery and kitchen utensils. But enough of me – we must dance!”
And so Kat-derella and Prince Pozzi danced the night away, oblivious to the gasps and stares from the edges of the floor. Even Blonska and Chernova looked up from their cocktails and shots to wonder, jealously, who this dazzling figure was who had so captured the attention of the Prince.
The hours passed like minutes. Kat-derella had lost all track of time, dancing with the Prince, and paid no attention when the chimes of a grand clock sounded in the ballroom. A wiry man sprinted down the staircase towards Kat-derella and the Prince. Kat-derella recognised him at once. It was her school friend Bram Som. She would have been late to all her classes if it wasn’t for him. “Fairy Godmother Heike sent me. You need to leave by midnight” he whispered to her “or the magic will disappear!”
Kat-derella dropped Prince Pozzi’s hand and dashed up the staircase after Bram. She paused to look back at the Prince, who looked confused and sad at her sudden departure. “Hurry!” cried Bram.
The pair sprinted out of the castle and through the portcullis, ignoring the cries of “Wait, are you the new Bolt?” that followed them. The carriage and horses were just a few metres away as the penultimate chime of the clock sounded in the castle grounds. “Jump!” shouted Bram. And Kat-derella hoicked up her gown and leapt the 7m into the open door of the carriage. Yuki whistled to the horses and they set off at a gallop, as the last chime sounded.
“Wait, I’ve lost my shoe!” cried Kat-derella but before her eyes the carriage began to dissipate and she found herself sitting on Arthur’s shoulders. In front of her, the beautiful horses had turned into a giant pile of Borlees and Ingebrigtsens and the rest, limbs flailing. And Yuki Kawauchi turned to Kat-derella. “I’m sorry, dear friend, but it’s midnight and that means I have a marathon to run in Doha. farewell!” And he ran off into the darkness.
“What a night”, sighed Kat-derella. “Give us a piggy back home, will you Arthur.”
The Prince ran out of the castle after Kat-derella, hurdling passed out revellers on the way “No, I’m not the new Bolt!” he shouted to the man and woman with the microphones.
As he saw the dazzling figure leap into the carriage, and the carriage disappear into the darkness he cried after her “I don’t know your name!” A twinkle caught his eye on the ground. It was a glass slipper.
“I will not rest until I return this shoe to its owner” he said.
“Oh, that’s a good idea, I might throw that into the qualifying for the Continental Cup!” came a voice from behind him.
“Now is not the time for your harebrained ideas Seb”, came a second voice. And King Kipchoge put his arm around his heartbroken son and led him back to the castle.
For weeks, Prince Pozzi scoured the land searching for the owner of the shoe. He travelled to Liverpool, to Loughborough, to Lee Valley. He even tried to get to Birmingham, but all the transport options were cancelled due to the weather and he had to give up. He returned back to Mont Pelly Air, and wondered what to do next. As he wandered along the road, he saw a flyer on a telegraph pole.
“Have you lost something? Found something that doesn’t belong to you. Try Uibo’s Lost and Found Emporium. Ten times better than the rest. 200m on the right, then 400m on the left.”
“I suppose it’s worth a try” thought the Prince. He followed the directions on the flyer, and soon arrived at a small shop, with a Bahamian and an Estonian flag flying outside. “Welcome!” a tall elegant woman greeted him from behind the counter. “Welcome to Uibo’s Lost and Found Emporium. How may we help you?”
“I’m looking for something I’ve lost” said Prince Pozzi. “I’ve lost the owner of this shoe”.
“What an unusual shoe” the woman said. Let me check with my husband. Maicel!”
A tall man emerged from the back of the shop. He was wearing an Estonian scarf, although it was clear from his sheepish demeanour that the scarf didn’t actually belong to him. “Missing shoes?” he said. “There’s a pair of spikes that have been here a while. Initials RK on them. That any good to you?”
“No, it’s the person I’ve lost, rather than the shoe. What’s that over there?” The prince pointed at a shady corner, with a dark fireplace. Above the mantelpiece was a plaque. It read:
“I broke Pauline’s record and Shaunae broke mine. Records were meant to be broken so stop the shade, Statman Jon”
“Ah, that’s Debbie Ferguson’s shady corner. Nothing in there but some chipped mugs.”
Prince Pozzi crouched down and peered into the hearth. He lifted out three sooty mug. He wiped away the dust on each one and read the words “Pozzi Patrol. Pozzi Patrol. Pozzi Patrol”.
And with a bang and a flash of light he found himself sitting in a vegetable patch outside a house on the edge of the forest. By his feet lay a rake and a glittery baton. Prince Pozzi dusted himself down and knocked on the front door.
The door was flung open and he was grabbed by four clawed hands, and dragged inside the house. “Blonska, Chernova PUT THE PRINCE DOWN!”
“You must forgive my daughters, Prince Pozzi” the Countess Von Cakir simpered. “I heard that you have been searching for a girl you met at the ball. I’m sure that she must be one of my darling daughters, and they are just so excited to see you again.”
Prince Pozzi was far too polite to show what he thought of that proposition. Instead he looked around the room. “I was sent here by the spirit of Debbie Ferguson” he said. “I feel that I will find my true love in the shade with a fireplace. Do you have such a thing?”
“Only our stupid step-cousin in the cellar” Blonska cackled to Chernova, slapping herself at her clever jibe.
“In the cellar, you say?” And Prince Pozzi darted around the three women and disappeared through the door to the cellar.
“You PED-addled idiots!” screeched Countess Von Cakir, charging down the stairs after the Prince.
In the cellar, Kat-derella was doing her exercises with Nana and Kevin. She was wearing a pair of plastic socks while Kevin, as usual, was barefoot. She was doing chin-ups on an old drying pulley, and missed her days in the forest.
Kat-derella dropped from the bar and turned round. It was Prince Pozzi! She had not stopped thinking about him since the night of the ball, but knew that her evil step-aunt would not let her leave the cellar to return to the castle.
“It’s me! Oh, you have my shoe” she said, spotting the twinkling glass slipper in his hand.
“Why do you still have my shoe when everything else turned back into its original form? For example, Arthur isn’t a carriage any more. Why is my shoe still a shoe?”
“Kat-derella!” hissed Nana, gesticulating at the Prince. “NOT THE TIME”.
Prince Pozzi smiled at Kat-derella. “I don’t know what magic happened, or how I got here, but will you try on this shoe? I think it belongs to you. Will you take off your socks and we’ll see if it fits?”
“Oh, but I can’t!” wailed Kat-derella. “I told Kevin not to go around in his bare feet so much, and now I’ve caught a verruca from him”.
Kevin looked sheepishly at his bare feet as Nana cuffed him round the ear.
“I think I can help”, said Prince Pozzi, with a twinkle in his eye. He reached into his pocket and took out a small tube.
“Ooooh, is that some stanozolol?!” Blonska and Chernova lunged for the tube, flailing at the Prince with their grabby hands. Prince Pozzi ducked out of the way, and Nana and Kevin pulled the pair off him, each sitting firmly on one of the wriggling step cousins.
“No it’s not,” said Prince Pozzi.
“It’s Bazuka gel, and I’m going to Bazuka that Verruca. Kat-derella, will you let me Bazuka your verruca, come and live in my castle and be my princess?
“I will!” said Kat-derella, as Nana and Kevin cheered and a rabid Lupu bit Countess Von Cakir on the ankles. “and my name is Katarina”.
And Katarina and Prince Pozzi joined King Kipchoge at the castle where they all lived happily ever after and EXPRESSED THEMSELVES 100%