Great Britain's Budding Zolas, the Tulloh Twins, Are 15-Year-Old 1,500-Meter Running Sensations
12/16/1985 at 01:00 AM EST
One fleeting double take at this barefoot brace of British girls as they fly by is bound to leave you with a famous Olympic name on your lips. But don't say "Hey, Budd!" so they can hear you, or twins Katherine and Jojo Tulloh will treat you to looks of pure distaste.
Put these Zola clones on the track, however, and the look is one of pure speed and competitive desire and, most often, the only looking they do is over their shoulders. Their best time so far is 4:32 for 1,500 meters, and Jojo currently holds England's under-15 national 1,500-meter title; in that race Katherine finished third. They like to cross the finish line simultaneously, although Katherine admits that Jojo, the elder by six minutes, has a better finishing kick. Jojo in turn feels that Katherine is the stronger cross-country runner. Their talent clearly runs in the family. Their father and low-key coach is Bruce Tulloh, who won the gold medal in the 5,000 meters at the 1962 European Championships and once held the record (64 days and 23 hours, at the time)for running across America from L.A. to N.Y.
Tulloh's coaching philosophy seems to be one of not pushing his daughters too far too fast. The twins, who run barefoot because that is how their father used to compete, only race about twice a month, and didn't start to run competitively until they were 11. They train for 45 minutes a day, four or five days a week, some of which includes weight and gym work. If the weather in their hometown of Marlborough in Wiltshire "is too wet or cold, Dad just says 'forget it,' " says Jojo.
Judging by their energy, effervescence and youthful zeal, Dad may not be running his girls enough. Over a recent lunch of tomato soup and ice cream sodas ("part of a carefully controlled nutritional diet," giggled Jojo), the winsome twosome revealed an ability for another kind of running, namely, running off at the mouth.
On the inevitable comparisons with you-know-who:
Jojo: "I hate people saying I look like Zola Budd. She's so ugly."
Katherine: "No, she's not ugly, but if I had her money, I'd get better clothes."
Katherine: "I hate getting beat."
Jojo: "I hate getting beat, but I am not going to go around weeping like Mary Decker."
On movie idols:
Chorus: "Matt Dillon!"
Katherine: "Harold Lloyd, Groucho Marx, Omar Sharif about 20 years ago and James Dean—he's my all-time best. The other night we took the portable television upstairs to the attic to watch Rebel Without A Cause."
Jojo: "It was about 12:30 at night and school started early the next day."
Katherine: "Mummy thought we had been robbed when she found it missing. Anyway, I am a bit of a rebel."
The twins laughed and after this exhaustive running commentary, it was their mother, Sue, who kicked in the finishing word on her dynamic daughters: "Zola Budd will win all the races, but these two should do all the press conferences."