Vol. 2 No. 8 August, 1997
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
The World Championships of Track and Field begin on Saturday,
August 2 in Athens. This should be a runner's celebration. We
get to see the world's best going after a medal that
indicates he or she is the best on the entire planet. I urge
you to watch this event with the enthusiasm of a child. Try
to ignore the American media that whines when US athletes
"fail" to win a medal. Please try to put all the politics out
of your mind. Think about the athletes who are attending the
championships, and don't worry that some top athletes will
not attend. Enjoy this gathering of fantastic athletic talent
and let it inspire you.
Amy Wroe Bechtel, a marathon runner, is lost and was last
seen in Wyoming on a training run. Amy was last seen
Thursday, July 24, in the Wind River Mountains, on the Loop
Road, between Lander, Wyoming and South Pass where she was
training for a marathon! She was wearing a yellow tank top,
black shorts or leggings and Adidas Trail Response running
shoes, a Timex Iron Man Triathlon watch and a small double
Amy is 24 years old, 5'6", 110 lbs., and has blonde shoulder
length hair and blue eyes.
A picture and the previous information can be found at the
following web address:
Please take a moment to look at Amy's picture at one of these
Anyone who has seen Amy or has any information, call the
Sheriff's office at (307) 332-5611 or your local law
You can also send email to <email@example.com>
INTERVIEW: DAVE ELGER
Interview By Woody Green
Dave Elger has accomplished a great deal since he began
running competitively in the late 60's while in high school.
He has run 26 marathons and has a PR of 2:25 from the first
Chicago Marathon, then called the Mayor Daley Marathon. He
managed a 2:34 at the 1994 Boston Marathon at age 40, and
most recently he won the masters division in the Disney
Marathon in January.
He has a professional interest in running as well, having
studied with Dr Dave Costill at the Ball State Human
Performance lab from 1977 - 79.
A Florida resident until recently, he has moved to Okinawa to
do work for the Department of Defense at Kadena Air Base.
RUNNER'S NICHE: You have been running strong for quite a
number of years. At age 43 how have you managed to stay
DAVE ELGER: Good question. My last 2 years of college, and
first year following were crazy. I really did some
unbelievable training striving for that next level and ended
up with a chronic case of plantar fascitis. After battling
with it for nearly 2 years, I had surgery in 1979 and haven't
had a problem with it since, although I do wear orthotics for
training. That injury was due to just plain stupidity-
massive doses of high quality miles all on roads with poor
shoes, then continuing to train using tape, injections, etc.
once I was injured.
The other major problem I have had since the late 70s is a
chronic tight muscle in my hamstring that affects my
biomechanics when fatigued. I never have been able to figure
this one out, but over the years I have learned to deal with
it. 5 Ks are okay but 10 Ks are uncomfortable for me. I
estimate my marathons are 3 to 5 minutes slower than what I
could run if healthy.
RN: How has your training changed as you have aged?
DE: In my early 20s, the core of my training was one and a
half hour runs, which I did probably four times per week. I
ran them as I felt. Some days very, very hard, and other days
easy if I was not recovered. I had no structured hard, easy
program and other than in cross country, seldom, if ever did
any formal interval training.
As a master I have had great success by finding a consistent
groove encompassing speed workouts, long runs, and fast paced
45 to 60 minute runs. A key difference now is that I usually
know ahead of time when I am going to be ready to run hard.
RN: What do you think is the key to training for the marathon
as a master?
DE: There are three keys to my success as a master in the
First, following a good base of 4 to 6 weeks of 2 x 17 mile
runs per week, usually 48-72 hrs apart. I believe and
research supports, that recovery is too long for any distance
20 miles and beyond, and that should be saved for race day
I find that I can recover quickly from 17 miles run at 6:45
to 7:00 pace, and two per week gives me the endurance to
finish the last 6 miles very strong. My last several
marathons I have maintained 6 minute pace the last 6 miles.
Second, I do one run a week at race pace - for me 6 minutes
per mile - or faster for 7 to 10 miles. This run is nearly
And third, two weeks prior to race day I make a point to
start throwing in several shorter 5 to 6 mile runs at race
pace or slightly faster. My last 17 miler is two weeks
before the marathon.
I Also include things in my training that are not as crucial.
For instance, in training for Disney my long run was 80-85
percent on trails and grass. I think this speeds recovery.
I do one interval session a week - usually 4-6 x 800 meters
in 2:30 or a little under done on a straight road.
Also a 5 k race on the weekend or a short, hard substitute.
Using a program like this I have run the following:
Disney '94 2:38
Boston '94 2:34
Disney '95 2:38
Fox Cities '96 2:37
Disney '97 2:39
At Disney in '97 (Ed: In which he won the masters division.)
I was 1:19:30 at the half, so ran the most even paced
marathon I have ever done. I was in the top 30 and moved up
to finish 7th overall.
RN: What's your next marathon?
DE: I think my serious marathon days are about over. Right
now I am still adjusting to hills in Okinawa, and the age
factor is slowing me down. This is the first year that I have
not been able to break 16:00 for a 5 K. I think I am losing
flexibility in my hips, which is affecting stride length, so
I am trying to work on that, although not as consistently as
I should be.
RN: What kind of racing opportunities are there in your new
home of Okinawa?
DE: There are two marathons here. One is in December, I may
be in the states for that one, and one in February. Once it
cools off a bit I'll see how I feel. I may just train to
break 3 hours. Long runs are tough right now with this heat.
It's a similar climate to Florida where I lived the last 10
RN: Of all the races you have run, which one is your
DE: I've run easily over 500 races, and my favorite is
probably the 7 mile Bridge Run in Marathon, Florida. I enjoy
the Florida Keys and I have always run well there.
RN: What are your all time best performances?
DE: I competed for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
from 1971 to 76, and was NAIA marathon champ in 1976 with a
time of 2:28 in the hills and heat of Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
I ran a 9:25 indoor 2 mile with little or no speed work and
30:13 for 6 miles.
MY FIRST MARATHON
By Chris Amaker
I chose to attend Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota as
my first marathon with the Leukemia Society Team in Training.
I was already moderately fit but in no condition to run 26.2
miles. The Team in Training folks gave me a choice of
marathons. I could have chosen the Mayor's Midnight marathon
in Anchorage, Alaska too. However, all the stories about
running trails and the hills scared me away from that
marathon. No, I thought it best to go with the paved roads
for my first marathon. After all, moving this 6' 1", 240
pound, ex-football player body that distance was bound to be
My wife and I decided to stay at the Black Bear Casino/Hotel.
It was about fifteen minutes south of Duluth and the finish
line. Besides, all the hotel rooms in Duluth were booked
solid during the marathon days, imagine that!
Many of my pre-marathon dreams consisted of me completing the
run and coming back to the Casino and winning big on the
Blackjack table. That was until I reached mile 20 during the
run. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you
back a little bit.
The morning of the marathon we had an uncle drive us to the
start. The traffic was not too bad and we managed to get
there with thirty minutes to spare before the race began. The
pre-race jitters sent a sudden urgency to my belly. I had to
use the bathroom really bad. The day before we had taken the
tour of the route and noticed about 50-100 "Port-A-Potty"
bathrooms set up for the marathon about 300 feet from the
start line. As I snaked my way through the crowd over to the
Port-a potty I noticed that of the 7500 runners that day,
6000 had the same idea. The lines were long and they weren't
moving. I thought back to my group leader with the Team in
Training crew. She told us, "Head to the tree line." I had
said to myself using the tree line was barbaric and I could
exhibit enough control to avoid such disgrace. But, on your
training runs you have the bathroom at a supermarket or donut
shop on the route to let you avoid certain doom. I was stuck
now and had to answer the call of nature so, I headed for the
tree line. As I approached I noticed several "squatters,"
male and female all using nature's bathroom. I found a spot
and joined in, a little embarrassed but definitely
enlightened. I now knew what "head to the trees" meant. The
wisdom of my group leader surprised me and I was grateful I
I managed to make it back to the start line with plenty of
minutes to spare. I did notice back where we were standing
how talkative all the runners were. Near the front people
were quieter.I attribute this to the back of the pack being
those runners with
"penguinness" qualities. Whereas, the front of the pack, the
elite runners, were concentrating on hearing the starter's
pistol and getting off to a good start. The slow runners,
like me, were in it for the T-shirt or just to finish. We did
not need to hear the starter's pistol. We would start when
the crowd moved ahead. That is how it started for me. Three
and one-half minutes
after the pistol I came rumbling across the start line.
I was off and feeling great. I had trained the last 5 months
and was ready to prove to the world I could run a marathon.
The spectators and volunteers that lined the race were great.
Each had a special thing to offer us. Many had radios or
"boom boxes" blaring as we came running by. The spectators
really enjoyed us as much as we did them. After all, if it
weren't for us slower runners the spectator's participation
would be about 10 seconds. Those elite runners come whipping
by and don't even have time to listen to the music. I, on the
other hand, had plenty of time. I soaked in each person and
the scenery (Lake Superior). Where else but a marathon can
you get a, "Achy Breaky Heart" with Billy Ray Cirrus, "Push
It" with Salt 'n' Pepper and dance the "Macarena" better than
any democrat at a convention. My first 20 miles were filled
with joyous people and activities to divert my attention.
They were shouting, "Go Chris, You look great!"
Sewing my name on the front of my shirt made that possible.
My group leader struck again. She was really wise about this
marathon stuff. The course was described as flat with a few
"rolling hills." This description was probably done by one of
those elite runners. To regular runners like me they were not
rolling they were just "HILLS!" There was always an incline
except for the last 6 miles.
Miles 20 - 26 were hell for me. I could barely hear the
crowds. Not because they were thinning but because my ears
decided to shut down to conserve energy for my legs. The
cheers from the crowd had turned into muffled noises to me. I
could read the lips when I looked up from the road.
"Yeah, Chris only a little further!" They were clueless. A
little further seemed like 100 miles and I was not moving
that fast. Yet, I kept plugging along somehow. I could not
make it to the mile markers fast enough. The toughest part of
the run for me was at mile 24. There was an overly zealous
group of guys sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer. They were
watching the runners come by and cheering them on. They
decided to offer me a beer. They reassured me that I had it
made, why not stop for a beer? They had no idea how much I
gave up to run this marathon. My beer intake had dramatically
decreased during my training period because it could have
possibly affected my run the next day. I thanked them all and
told them that I would return but for now I had to struggle
on to the finish. I never made it back to them.
My wife finished thirty minutes ahead of me. She came back
about 400 meters from the finish line to look for me. I
noticed her mouth moving and from what I could lip read she
was saying, "Yeah, Chris I am so proud of you!" I normally
listen to her, (except during Pro Basketball games) but this
time I could not hear a word she was saying. I told her I
would meet her at the end.
At mile 26 I could see the finish line. I had a mere 200
meters left, so I stopped, raised my hands to the crowd, high
fived someone and looked around to cherish the moment. I
crossed the finish line and announced to the world, "I did
it!!" The marathon took me awhile (5 hours, 39 minutes) but I
Not everyone can say that. It was the most physically
demanding thing I had ever done. I got my medal and T-shirt
for completing the marathon. My wife and I hugged at the end
and began to plan our next run. We are going to run in the
Honolulu, Hawaii marathon in December.
The Leukemia Society Team in Training program trained me to
reach this goal. My group leader said I could do it and she
made sure to train me to achieve the goal.
I did go back to the casino. I lost 20 dollars in the slot
machines and called it quits, so much for the dream. The Hot
tub in the hotel was calling my name like the spectators,
"Chris, Chris, the water is good." This time I heard the
Once in the hot tub I was the one to shout, "Yeah, Chris you
did it! You really did it!"
By Woody Green
Most of the time we think of interval workouts as being
pretty tough. We go out and do several tough repetitions with
a short jog in between for recovery. At the end we are bent
over gasping for breath. For an anaerobic workout to be
worthwhile, you might think you really have to hammer and
leave yourself dead.
There is no doubt that this type of workout needs to be a
part of your normal, pre-race workout scheme. But, it isn't a
bad idea to add some easy, quick anaerobic workouts to your
training plan, as well.
Easy interval training? Sure. To help your nervous system get
used to running fast, to help with running form, to make you
more comfortable running at a quick tempo and to strengthen
your legs, think about adding some strides to your weekly
Strides are short runs of about 100 meters or so done at an
accelerated pace. Many of you probably do three or four
strides before a race as part of your warm-up. When you run a
short distance at a pace much faster than your race pace, you
make more complete use of all your leg muscles and you use
them at a greater intensity.
The best way to begin doing strides is to add them to the end
of a run. This way you are good and warmed-up, and you should
be able to run fast without fear of "pulling something."
Find a football field, a flat section of a park, or the
straightaway on a track and try doing four to six strides. Do
the first ones relatively easy and build the speed with each
repetition. This isn't meant to be an all-out sprint, but
rather a controlled, quick tempo run.
Think about running with good form, not letting yourself get
tight in the arms or shoulders. Flow with the effort and
don't try to fight your way through it. Take plenty of rest
between strides. You can jog or walk in between, just don't
sit or stand in one place since the blood will pool in your
legs and make it hard to get going again.
By doing just a few strides each week you can often see a
dramatic improvement in your running. Much like a car that is
driven at the same speed in traffic all the time, you can
benefit by "blowing the carbon out" and revving up the RPMs a
Reader Matt Rhoads got the following information on "Hashing"
in a flyer attached to his windshield after a race. He
thought we might find it interesting.
The usual description of a Hash club is: "A drinking club
with a running problem." Originally started in 1938 Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia, Hashing is a sport loosely molded after the
old English schoolboy game "Hares and Hounds." Back in 1938
Kuala Lumpur, the "Hash House" was the mildly derogative
nickname given to the Selangor Club by the British Civil
Servants who lived, dined, and ran there. They named their
running club after it. After World War II hashing spread to
the rest of the world. There are now more than 1500 clubs in
over 135 countries."
Here's the explanation of "Hashing" as found on the flyer:
One or more hares set up a trail, marked with flour. The
hounds then follow the trail. Trail markings consist of the
1.A trail mark indicating you are on the right trail (usually
a dot or splotch of flour.)
2.A "check" (usually an X) indicating that the trail now
branches in any number of directions.
3.A false (marked with an F) indicating that you've just
followed a false trail, and should go back to the previous
Hounds follow the trail because:
1.There might be beer along the way.
2.They don't know any better.
3.There might be beer at the end.
4.It might go interesting places (see items 1 and 3).
Some hash clubs exclusively use "live" hares, meaning that
the hares start marking the trail and fifteen minutes later
the pack takes off after them. There's a kind of honor
associated with catching the hares (usually the hare loses
his/her pants). However, most hashes have elaborate trails
set up hours in advance.
The running is cooperative, with the pack working together to
find the trail. Physical fitness varies greatly; some people
run ultra-marathons, and the only exercise others get is the
slow jog between checks. The length and difficulty of the
trail varies ranging from a half mile to fifteen miles (with
full sag wagons). Usually you can count on the run to be four
to six miles.
The course itself may traverse any or all of the following:
Dense Briar Patches
Urban Shopping Malls
There is usually a beer check somewhere during the run. Some
hashes just have a cooler of beer and soda at the end of the
trail, with a six-pack or two along the way, while others
have multiple kegs at the end. After the run there is food,
ceremony, beer drinking, singing, rejoicing and merry making.
And OF COURSE the usual pissing and moaning of runners after
a run. Sometimes there is a party at a bar or restaurant,
with everyone kicking in a few bucks.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
*The First Air Force Marathon*
Get info on the U.S. Air Force Marathon this October 20 at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Hash House Harriers Web Links and Info:
*Laughing and Grateful*
Dear RUNNER'S NICHE,
Just a note from a subscriber thanking you for your unique
combination of useful, amusing and just plain good "stuff"
related to running. I find myself both laughing and grateful
for the runner I am all over again when your newsletter
- Trish Gaffney
Ed: In response to a letter from <Jgracetri@aol.com> last
month stating that running is alive and well in Pensacola,
Florida and that elite runners are too aloof, one reader
...I think that it easy to tag our athletes with this quality
of being aloof, but really when is the last time that you got
all excited for the USTAF championship. How many times have
you flipped on the tube to watch 12 AMERICANS battling it out
in a mile race on AMERICAN soil. Our runners have to spend
time in Europe in order to stay off the roads. Road racing IS
the only other option. It is sad to say that our athletes are
forced to travel away from their families and we call them
It is simply not enough to have all of these road races. We
have solved the smallest problem, inclusion. The biggest
problem is high quality competition. We need races that will
fine tune our elite athletes.
Who knows, one day we may have the Golden Three (Grand Prix
track meets) here in the states -- Oregon, Maine,
RUNNING PERSONAL ADS
By Thomas David Kehoe
We need personal ads in the back of running magazines.
Dating hasn't gone well for me since I started running 3
years ago. If a woman has more than 17% body fat, or wears
shoes she can't walk in, or wants to spend a perfectly good
Saturday afternoon sitting around at a concert or something,
I lose interest. One woman, when I said that I was going
running at 8am Sunday morning, asked if I'd lost a bet!
Only an obsessive runner would date us. I tried dating an
obsessive skier, and then an obsessive rock climber, and then
an obsessive triathlete, but these didn't work out. The
triathlete looked promising, until I took her for an easy run
with my club, and she couldn't keep up with the 70 year-olds.
She never went out on another date with me.
I've set up a running personal ads page on my website. It's
free and easy to use, allowing you to directly e-mail any ad.
Even if you're not "available," leave us an amusing story
about running and dating. The URL is
There's a further problem: runners' personal ads, if written
honestly, wouldn't be interesting. After listing your PR's,
you'd have to list your hobbies and interests, i.e., your
Life Outside Running (LOR). Most of us don't have one! If I
wrote an honest personal ad, it would look like this:
SWM, Boulder, Colorado, 35, 6'0", 145 lbs, VO2-max 71, 17:17
5K, 36:39 10K, likes ultradistance trail runs. LOR (life
outside running): uh, let's see, I eat a lot of
carbohydrates, is that a hobby? :-) I have a job, I
volunteer organizing running club events, oh, that's not
outside running?...my dad calls me every weekend, but mostly
he asks how my running is going, I have friends, but I guess
they're all runners, wait, I've thought of something, I've
taken a couple rock climbing classes, of course I ran 10
miles to the classes, but I had fun climbing.
COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE
There is a new sister publication to RUNNER'S NICHE called
COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE. Unlike this cyberspace magazine, the
COLORADO NICHE is a regular print publication. If you live on
the front range, look for it at Runner's Roost in Ft. Collins
and Boulder, the Boulder Running Company, Mongoose Runner's
Den (Westminster) or Runner's Choice (Boulder). We hope to
expand or circulation in the future.
You can visit the COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE PAGE AT:
RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!
RUNNER'S NICHE has a web page! We have some cool links, and
past issues can be downloaded there. Also, we have a
Macintosh training log program for free download. Features
are continuously being added. If you'd like to visit, the URL
Pass the address on to your friends!
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