"He's the chief recreation officer for Nuneaton," says Moorcroft, "a town famous for nothing at all that I can think of."
Moorcroft clearly wishes to prepare the visitor for this meeting. "I went from being a runner who ran, to a runner who ran to win, because of John's influence," he says. "I learned what I was prepared to do, and not ever do, like take drugs. I remember when I received my first free gear [from a shoe manufacturer], and he said in dead, cold seriousness, 'If I ever find you've sold any of that, we're done.' "
It is raining as Moorcroft searches for a parking space near Anderson's office. "You'll see that he's a great motivator," David says. "He's capable of getting people to really believe that they can do something very difficult, so much so that he has to insist that when you go in a race, you go alone."
"I learned that lesson the hard way. In 1975, I'd just done my first sub-four. Before the national championships at 1,500, he said, 'You can take this field apart.' I won the semifinal with 3:40.5, relaxed. I was last in the final in 3:51.3. It was because John had gotten me to a state where when it hurt, I wasn't prepared. I panicked and let down. He said, 'Hey, I never said it was going to be easy.' "
Anderson is trim, with blond-gray hair and mustache, natty in a houndstooth check, and brisk, to say the least. He seems to hum with suppressed mirth. He starts at the beginning.
"Initially our relationship was that of a teacher and pupil," Anderson says. "I was a font of total knowledge. He was a kid with a pair of legs. Now, however..." Here he holds the tips of his index fingers on the same level, as if a spark is going to jump between them. "We're almost equal, but Dave is above me now. In theory and coaching, I'm still perhaps the richer, but his knowledge of the rigors of international competition makes him the senior member here. He can go on perfectly well without me, and that's the greatest coaching success of all."
In Anderson's judgment, the 5,000-meter record simply certified Moorcroft's splendid joining of the elements of his life. "It was the coming together of a whole running personality, a result of his father's help, of social awareness, of disciplining himself in school, in work, in planning a family. There are swarms of factors. He failed in his first goal, to make the team for the English schools 1,500. It was a struggle for Dave to get into college, yet he came out with an honors degree. The whole pattern is similar to a broken bone being stronger when healed. I see Paul's birth as important, too. It let Dave grow in the role of a father. His relationships are what make him tick. His running is supported by all the others."
Moorcroft himself is listening open-mouthed, fascinated. "One thing is," he says, "as I developed, it was as John wanted me to. My philosophy was based on his views, and yet we're poles apart in character. I'm nice, and he's..."