Bill Adcocks passes a Japanese competitor in Greece (Getty Images)
With the Olympics in full swing, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Duncan Jones has been talking to local Olympians past, present and, hopefully, future. The latest in our series focuses on Bill Adcocks, who represented Great Britain in the 1968 Games in Mexico City.
Coventry and Warwickshire can boast a proud tradition of Olympic marathon running. Basil Heatley, born in Kenilworth, claimed a silver medal behind the great Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in the 1964 Games in Tokyo.
Four years later, it was the turn of Coventry's Bill Adcocks to challenge Bikila.
Now 66, Adcocks has given his life to athletics in Coventry but, although it is now 40 years ago, his bid for Olympic glory might just as well have happened yesterday.
"You know what they say," Adcocks told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. "When you get older, you remember things that happened years ago more clearly than the things that happened yesterday."
Adcocks' memories of the Games of 40 summers ago are certainly vivid. Though he had recorded the fastest marathon time in the world that year in the build-up, his chances of winning gold in Mexico were slim because of the challenge of running at altitude - Mexico City is 7,500 feet above sea level.
"My first experience of altitude was when I got off the plane," he remembers. "I had no idea of how I was going to manage and it was a relief just to get to the finish.
To be away for six weeks doing the thing you loved every day, watching athletics - it was almost like being at Butlins
"There had been a quote from the coach of Bikila two years ago that someone would die in Mexixo City."
Happily, that prediction did not come true but Adcocks was still affected by the altitude and could only finish fifth, a result he describes as respectable.
If he was secretly disappointed at not winning a medal, he did not let it spoil his Olympic experience. To give the British team a chance to acclimatise, they were away from home for six weeks and for Adcocks, who combined his athletics with a full-time job as a self-employed gas-fitter, it was the experience of a lifetime.
"To be away for six weeks doing the thing you loved every day, watching athletics - it was almost like being at Butlins," he enthuses.
The team's accommodation certainly had a holiday camp feel about it. Adcocks shared a two-bedroom flat in the Olympic village with ten team-mates.
Four athletes slept in the lounge, which caused one or two minor problems, as Adcocks recalls. "We went to bed at different times and so, at night, you'd be lying in your bed and there would be someone sitting on your bed, playing cards," he says.
In fact, the greatest moment of Adcocks' athletics career was to come a few months after Mexico City. In April 1969, he won the Athens marathon, from the town of Marathon to the Greek capital, in an astonishing two hours, 11 minutes and seven seconds.
To understand just what an achievement that was, Adcock's time that day was almost three minutes faster than the personal best of Dan Robinson, who'll be running the marathon for Great Britain in Beijing.
Along with other Olympians, Bill Adcocks' achievements will be celebrated when the Coventry and Warwickshire Olympic legends are recognised in the city on 24 August.
Enthusiasm undimmed, his example remains a shining beacon for would-be Olympians.