After a moment he says, "Funny about records and statistics. When I was 16 I knew everyone's times and what they'd done at what age. I thought Steve Prefontaine would win the 5,000 in the 1972 Games because of how fast he was improving. I didn't realize then there was so much else to it."
The visitor tells him about Prefontaine's goal of 63 seconds a lap. Moorcroft's face shows a flash of pride, then embarrassment. "I wouldn't have said I could do it," he says.
Moorcroft's father bursts in and lifts the ecstatic Paul to the ceiling. He is business-suited, with silver hair and a sparkling manner. "Oh, yes," he says, "from David's very early childhood I always said, 'The best in the world.' I think every parent feels that his child will be the best, or deserves to be. We realized that the fighting spirit we saw in swimming and later in cross-country was special. He was always eager to do the measured amount of training his first coaches asked. That eagerness increased as time went by, and because he wasn't the best yet, he learned to value personal improvement. One thing he knows is how to be beaten."
"And you learned how to be the father of someone who was beaten," says David.
"Right. I always said, 'The day will come.' On Thursday nights it was a walk, a wind-down before the Saturday school race. We'd go hand in hand, because he was at that age, with me trying to motivate him, to make him understand about the idea of a race, but making it clear that nothing in how he ran could change my unconditional support. There were occasions, you see, when we saw another child struck for not winning, for having the effrontery to run badly."
The visitor, impressed with Bob Moorcroft's instinctive confidence in his son, asks if he has any more predictions he would like to make about David's running future.
"The 10,000-meter world record," he replies without hesitation. "And the English cross-country title. [This is run over nine miles. Moorcroft was second in 1976.] He still loves the mud."
It happens that David Moorcroft's parents have kept an electronic scrapbook as well. "You haven't seen the last laps of the record?" says Bob, slipping a cassette into his video recorder. "Now you will."
The Oslo race lights the screen, Moorcroft striding freely, all in blue, his lead the length of the straightaway. Paul runs across the room, crying, "Dadda!" and smacks into the TV set. By the time he is caught and carried away, David has won and is being interviewed. "Is this your sweetest world record?" asks BBC-TV commentator Ron Pickering.
"Well," says Moorcroft, "it's my first one."