--------------

RUNNER'S NICHE

--------------

Vol. 4 No.4 April, 1999

**********************

NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

**********************

I greatly appreciate the work of race directors. Their jobs are

stressful, thankless and time consuming. Without their hard work, we

wouldn't be able to enjoy multiple running events every weekend through

out the running world. Most runners agree that the most important thing

any race director can do to assure a runner's gratitude is an

accurately measured course and good timing system. Beyond that, though,

there is something race directors might want to consider as another

important factor in the enjoyment of the post-race festivities.

Awards ceremonies after most road races are certain to be too long,

agonizingly dull and incredibly frustrating for people who want to use

the rest of the day for other activities. The announcers at these

events are just trying to do their jobs, but it is amazing how long-

winded they can become. After a race people are tired. They may be cold

in foul weather, or roasting on a hot day. Many are ready to get

something more substantial to eat than the usual post-race snacks, and

hungry folks tend to be grumpy, too. A talkative announcer who works

his or her way slowly through set of each age-group awards can be

enough to make a tired runner's blood boil.

It doesn't have to be this way. The best awards distribution system I

have seen was at the Arturo Barrios Race in Chula Vista, California. At

this race the results were posted a few minutes after the race, and

runners who placed in the top three in their age category simply walked

up to an awards table, showed their race number as proof of who they

were, and picked up their prize. Okay, so there is no thunderous

applause and glamour with this system, but people don't have to wait

around all day, either. I wonder how many races are using this system?

For the race organizer, there is a great side benefit to this. Runners

are free to look around the race expo, and are not tied to sitting in

front of an awards podium. Race sponsors are happy when runners are

looking at their displays. Runners are happy when they don't feel like

their precious week end free time is being taken from them. Everyone is

happier. It's an idea that I hope catches on.

 

 

-WG

 

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

!!!TAKE A LOOK AT THE RUNNER'S NICHE BOOKSTORE!!!

Point your browser to: http://home.netone.com/~woodyg3/bookstore.html

MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR ANY BOOK

TITLE IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS!

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - THE RUNNING PERIODICAL THAT GOES THE EXTRA

MILE.

Visit their web site at: http://www.marathonandbeyond.com

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

 

**************************************************

RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

**************************************************

Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Arthur Thiry, Gothenburg

Sweden. Arthur receives a free issue of Marathon & Beyond Magazine and

FAME!

This month's winner will also get a free issue of the running

periodical that goes the extra mile - Marathon & Beyond Magazine.

Trivia contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar year.

When answering, email your answers with the subject "trivia contest"

and answer the questions in the order they appear below. Mail to:

woodyg3@netone.com. The FIRST person to answer all ten questions

correctly wins. If nobody answers all ten correctly, we will award the

prize to the person who answers the most questions correctly. Good

Luck!

This month's Questions:

1. The New York City Marathon had the most running participants of any

marathon in the United States last year. What marathon had the second

highest number of runners?

2. What U.S. road race had the most participants last year? (Hint: It

was not a marathon.)

3. The Flying Pig Marathon will be held on May 9 in what U.S. city?

4. Where is the annual Prefontaine Classic track meet held?

5. What city is host of the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon?

6 - 10 Who were the authors of the following running books?

6. "Once a Runner"

7. "Best Efforts"

8. "Better Runs"

9. "Slaying the Dragon"

10. "The Complete Book of Running"

 

Last Month's Answers:

1. Who has the record for the fastest one mile time ever by a high

school athlete in the United States?

Answer: Jim Ryun

2. Who won the gold medal for the men's 1500 meters at the Mexico City

Olympics in 1968?

Answer: Kip Keino

 

3. What top U.S. runner fell in the preliminary round of the 1500

meters in the 1972 Olympics and thus failed to make the finals?

Answer: Jim Ryun

4. Top British middle distance runner Seb Coe was coached by...

Answer: Peter Coe

5. Former one mile world record holder Filbert Bayi was from...

Answer: Tanzania

6. John Walker, also a former one mile world record holder was from...

Answer: New Zealand

7. Former indoor world record holder for the mile Eamon Coglan is

from...

Answer: Ireland

8. Eamon Coglan was coached by...

Answer: Jumbo Elliot

9. Mary Slaney is currently married to Richard Slaney, but had a

previous marriage with marathon runner...

Answer: Ron Tabb

10. Mary Slaney, then Mary Decker, set a world record in 1982 at an

all-comers meet in Eugene, Oregon for what distance?

Answer: 10,000 meters

**************************

TROPICAL HALF-MARATHON FUN

**************************

By Darius Baer

My wife, Joanne and I flew to Aruba in early March for a vacation. I

had read on the Internet that there would be a half-marathon. However,

I was unable to contact anyone about it. So, since we got to Aruba at

midnight on March 12, I began investigating the race particulars the

next morning. By that afternoon, I was registered at the local

recreation center in Oranjestad for the race, which was to begin the

next morning at 6:30 a.m. local time (which was 3:30 a.m. Colorado

time).

Aruba is a very small tropical island 15 miles north of Venezuela. Only

90,000 people live there year round. Because Aruba was a former

territory of the Netherlands, there is a strong Dutch presence there

and some of the racers were of Dutch descent. Aruba is 19 miles long

and 6 miles wide. So, the half-marathon took us 2/3 the length of the

island. Because the race organizers liked me or because I told them

that I would run the race in 1 hour and 25 minutes, they agreed to pick

me up at my hotel at 5:30 a.m. and drive me to the race start at the

end of the island in San Nicholas. When we got to the start, there

were no bathroom facilities. We were told to use what we could find.

I was totally discombobulated, and because my body still felt that it

was the middle of the night, was unable to do anything but wander

around wondering what I was doing.

Just as the dawn's early light appeared, it was 6:30 a.m. on March 14th

and the race started. There were about 75 participants, almost all of

them from Aruba and its two neighboring islands of Bonaire and Curacao.

I was among only 5 Americans, 3 men and 2 women. We started out by

running a half mile to the shore highway that would be the course for

the rest of the race. As normally happens in the U.S., the younger

runners started out faster and I found myself in 14th place running

along side a Dutch fellow. Within a couple of miles, I left him behind

and had moved into the top ten and was gaining. Although the sun had

come up, it was obscured by a nice cloud cover. Temperatures were in

the upper 60's with a pleasant tail wind. By 6 miles, I was running

about 6:15 pace per mile although all measurements were in Kilometers.

I pulled even with the second place runner while the front runner was

way out of sight. He was a 19 year old whose family was continually

cheering him on by pulling to the side of the road every mile or so. I

ate my Mini Power Bar and fell back from him. Shortly after the 11

kilometer water stop, I caught him and passed him. Not knowing at that

time that the front runner was so far ahead, I had visions of winning

the race.

However, that was not to be. When we passed through Oranjestad at 18

kilometers, I began tiring and the Dutch fellow I left at 3 miles

passed me and eventually became the second place finisher. I held on

for 3rd place in the exact time that I had predicted for the race

director: 1:25:00. I guess I know my capabilities. The male winner's

time was 1:12 and the first women was 1:35. Second place was 1:23:53

and there were 10 men under 1:30.

After everyone had finished, they had an awards ceremony which was

spoken in Papiamento, the local language. They took their time because

in Aruba you don't hurry. I was given a big plastic trophy which I had

to carry home. what was more enjoyable was that they made a big deal

about me because I finished 3rd in the race. I had my picture in the

local paper and the activities director at the hotel had a special

ceremony the following Wednesday to announce the women's winner,

another American, and me. All and all, a fun time which I would

certainly repeat.

 

********************

DON'T BE A FAT HEAD!

********************

By Woody Green

For some odd reason, runners are quite interested in what percentage of

their body weight is fat. I saw many folks lined up in front of a booth

at the Las Vegas Marathon expo, all interested in a new little device

used to measure body composition. The little instrument looked like a

bathroom scale and after stepping on it with bare feet you got a

readout of percentage of body fat. Some of the Las Vegas crowd walked

away from the test scratching their heads. Others were laughing, still

others crying.

Measuring the percentage of your body that is made up of fat on the

basis of "bio impedance" is a new and controversial method. More

standard methods include skin fold measurement with calipers and

underwater weighing. But, why all the fuss about body fat?

For one thing, it has become a sort of physiological triumph for

runners to measure their body fat percentage and discover that they

rank with the elite runners in this category. If you can't run as fast

as they can, at least you can try to be as skinny!

Women have a physiological need for more body fat compared to men, and

even women who are elite marathon runners need a greater percentage of

body fat than men do. The average man has between 15-18% body fat,

while the average woman has 22-25%. Runners can be a good deal lower

than this, and it is not unusual for a male runner to have below 10%

body fat, or a woman to be below 18%. Some are much lower.

You might think that lower is better, but at a certain point, this is

not true. Your body needs fat for normal body functions, to pad vital

organs, and to provide for energy needs. When the body doesn't have

enough fat stored up, it can actually start to use muscle as an energy

source. Certain chemical needs in your body can fail to be met, as

well. That isn't a good scenario!

Of course, we know it is very bad for our health to carry too much fat

on our bodies, as well. Greatly increased health risks are associated

with body fat over 25% for males and 32% for females.

Naturally, losing unneeded fat will reduce overall weight and so the

energy cost of running. That means that lowering body fat to a certain

level will increase performance. There is no evidence that decreasing

body fat below about 8% for men or 14% for women will improve

performance, though. Certainly there are many good athletes with lower

percentages of body fat, but there also many athletes who are starving

themselves and actually decreasing their performance potential and

possibly doing harm to their health. While you think about this, have a

bagel, for crying out loud!

There is really little reason for someone exercising regularly to worry

much about the exact value of their body fat percentage. If you just

have to know what your body composition is, though, the best way to get

an accurate measurement is to go to a human performance lab or health

club with the proper equipment and be weighed underwater. A fairly

accurate assessment can be made with skin fold calipers, too, although

this test begins to lose accuracy at the lower end of the scale. The

jury is still out on some of the other, newer methods such as

electrical impedance.

But, let's back up the alfalfa sprout and Romaine lettuce truck a

minute, here. If you know you need to lose weight, you're on the right

track already by running. There's no real need to have exact figures on

your body composition. And, if you are already skinny, just be happy,

for heaven's sakes!

 

 

 

 

*************

THIS AND THAT

*************

*Cross-Country Fun*

On Sept. 25, 1999 you might want to travel to the Greensboro Cross-

Country invitational. Divisions are available for high schools,

universities, middle schools, open, and masters with 14 great races on

100% grass/trails. Distances vary from 4,000 meters to 8,000 meters.

2,000 athletes are expected.

Contact: Charlie Brown, Greensboro Pacesetters Track Club

2304 Gracewood Dr., Greensboro, NC 27408-2509 ph. 336-282-8052

*Ramble On*

The 16th running of the James Joyce Ramble will get under way April 25,

1999 at 11 a.m. in the historic town of Dedham, a suburb of Boston,

Massachusetts. For entry information, call 781-461-1365 or visit the

Ramble's website at:

http://www.ramble.org.

 

*********************

WEB SITES OF INTEREST

*********************

*Active USA*

Find events in many sports including running, cycling and triathlon

across the U.S. at:

http://activeusa.com/

*All-Time Track and Field Performances List*

Listings of the best performances in all track distances at:

http://www.algonet.se/~pela2/index.html

*Waddle On Over*

John Bingham, writer of the Penguin Chronicles, and a new book, "The

Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life" has a site at:

http://www.waddle-on.com

 

*************************

LETTERS FROM OUR READERS

*************************

Dear Runner's Niche,

I feel a little guilty and as time passes and I read the odd running

mag it gets worse. I ran the last Seattle marathon that was set on a

brand new, very challenging course. Last year's Seattle was not very

well organized and things weren't too well received in several running

publications- a number of people complained. This year's race was

awesome. The course was super, the support lavish and enthusiastic.

Great fuel stations, fabulous finish line reception, great music in the

toasty warm field house where we were fed like Olympians. I feel

remiss in not having written about this earlier. Thanks and congrats

to the Seattle crew.

- Daryl Anderson, Abbotsford, BC, Canada

 

********************************

LEGAL STUFF / SUBSCRIPTION INFO.

********************************

"Runner's Niche" is free, but its contents are copyrighted. Nobody may

use the content without permission of the author and "Runner's Niche."

SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to:

woodyg3@netone.com.

Include your e-mail address. We'll send you an issue via e-mail every

month or so.

If you don't want to continue receiving "Runner's Niche", simply mail

with your e-mail address and ask that your subscription be stopped.

Article Submissions are always welcome. Unfortunately, there can be no

monetary reimbursement for material used in Runner's Niche. It is

normally best to send a query letter to the editor before sending

finished articles.