Usain Bolt is tired. It's late 2019, before the world knew about the coronavirus, and he’s been the subject of a photoshoot for the best part of the day.
For the last hour, he has been interviewed a stream of wide-eyed journalists. All around him people fuss and rush, they talk in hushed tones about rather than to him, and the atmosphere around him is tense.
Not that Bolt knows it. When he eventually enters the room, he sits down on a low sofa that seems to elongate his already impossibly long limbs. He speaks in a quiet, low-key manner but is friendly and genuine. He makes eye contact and engages with even our most hackneyed questions.
And yes, to get the most obvious one out of the way early, he is challenged to races by strangers on a daily basis.
“All the time,” he chuckles.
Such is the life of the fastest man to ever live.
Since retiring in 2017 Bolt has spent his time launching businesses; he owns a chain of restaurants in Jamaica and London called Tracks and Records, dabbled in entrepreneurship and holds a number of sponsorships.
Said sponsorships are what brings him here today. A brand ambassador for Swiss watch makers Hublot, Bolt is an avid Big Bang wearer and is helping them launch their limited-edition Classic Fusion Eden Rock edition.
Today though, we’re talking to him about something he knows inside out. How to run faster. Really, really fast.
Afterall, if you want to get better at running (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t daydream about being able to run at breakneck speed like Tom Cruise in, well, any of his movies), there are few men better placed to answer than Usain Bolt.
During his world record-breaking 100m dash of 9.58 seconds in Berlin, 2009, Bolt hit a top speed of 27.79 mph. The man runs fast enough to get speeding fines in Abu Dhabi.
Unusual height for a sprinter, combined with an inordinate amount of fast twitch muscle fiber in his legs mean Bolt is naturally fast. Adding good technique to focus that speed, meant that he broke records and won races in spectacular fashion.
But what, if anything, could a man so naturally fast he had to time slow down and celebrate in races usually decided by thousandths of a second, teach the rest of us about getting faster?
Quite a lot, as it happens. From the best technique for maintaining speed to the one area of the body that really dictates how fast you can run (clue: it’s not your legs), right through to how you should dive for the line, Bolt graciously walked us through the perfect 100 metres race.
Will it be enough to have us pushing the sub-10 second barrier? It seems unlikely. But we can at least say we were coached by the best to ever do it.