Archive for March, 2016


I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee


Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb










AUTHOR: Jack D. Welch
PUBLISHER/DATE:  D & B Publishing / 2014

      This book will best appeal to those runners who have a lot of miles over a long period of time under their belt…or, to those who appreciate the history of our sport, be it a recent history.  It is not a dry, monotonous  historical tome.  It is a collection of articles written by the author.  Welch wrote for Running magazine and for Track & Field News.  In those articles, he chronicled the development of running  in the U.S.A.  This book is a selection of those articles.

      The meat of the book starts with a  1978 article and zooms through to the last pieces, Remembering Pre and Go Pre!  In between are the articles that give us a picture of the roots of modern American distance running, the springboard of where we are today. Welch gives the reader the representative story through a personable account of the successes and failures of some of the giants of the sport.

    Some of the runners will not be familiar to the reader, but their story will be interesting.  Welch is a runner himself and a good writer, so he can relate the things the reader, as a runner, will appreciate.  This helps make the book enjoyable.

    Other runners will jump off the pages through their familiarity.  Some of the stuff you will know; some you will not know.  Just some of the runners are Dick Beardsley, Alberto Salazar, Jon Sinclair, Greg Meyer, Mark Nenow, Ed Eyestone, Chris Fox, Bob Kennedy, Patti Catalano, Lynn Jennings, Ingrid Kristiansen, Gerry Lindgren, Joan Benoit, Jeff Johnson, Mary Decker, and Steve Prefontaine.  Benoit and Prefontaine are highlighted with more in depth information.  One of the better articles is the next-to-last, Remembering Pre.

    At times, the book can get repetitive, but the overall work is a very good read on the sport of distance running.  You don’t have to be an “old” runner to enjoy it, but that may enhance your enjoyment.  It puts the modern history of our running on a personable, individual level.  

    It needs to be on the bookshelf of every serious runner.

Richard Westbrook