Vol. 1 No. 9 December, 1996




Yikes, Christmas is coming up pretty soon. What are you going to get

everyone? An important question, but sometimes more a difficult


is what to tell your significant other or close relative if they ask you

what you would like.

Since you are reading this mag, you are apparently literate and enjoy

running. What better item to ask a friend or relative for than a book



Had enough on training advice and personal biographies of famous

runners? Not to worry! Believe it or not, there are some great


novels worth a read. I'll tell you about my favorites.

One book, which certainly deserves cult classic status, is "The Purple

Runner" by Paul Christman. This unique tale is set in London's


Heath. The story has some interesting parallels to the "Phantom of


Opera", and it will certainly keep you entertained until the very last

page. There is even a weekly run in Boulder named after the book.

A Trans-America race set in the early 1930's is the subject of

"Flanagan's Run." This yarn may be a tad unbelievable at times, but


characters are gripping. There is historical truth to to the novel since

there were many Trans-America races in the 20's and 30's. The book


penned by Tom McNab, who was a consultant on the movie "Chariots



Less Hollywood and more real to life is "Long Road to Boston" by


W. Tuckman. This is a story of overcoming the odds and putting

demons to

rest. Bradley Townes, the main character, will become a friend as you

read his story. While brutally realistic in some regards, "Long Road"

could also be regarded as a modern fairy tale.

A book I have not read but will none the less recommend is "The

Olympian" by Brian Glanville. I felt it worth a mention since so many

people regard the book highly.

The literary classic among running books would, of course, be "The

Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner." Alan Sillitoe's social

commentary is actually a short story, not a novel. None the less, you

really do HAVE to read this one.

While every book thus far mentioned will provide you with great

enjoyment, there is one running novel that stands out above all


"Once A Runner" by John L. Parker, Jr. is THE running novel. The


explains what it is to be a runner more clearly than any writing I've

seen. The humor will make you laugh out loud and the racing


will quicken your pulse and make you sweat. If you haven't read this

one, don't ask for it for Christmas, go buy it yourself!

Maybe some of our readers have additions to this list. Fire me an e-


if there is a great running book I haven't mentioned. I'd like to read


Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your running prospers in the




- Woody Green




New Balance shoe company has announced an offer of one million


to any U.S. runner who can break the U.S. record in the marathon.


records are 2:08:47 by Bob Kempainen at the '94 Boston race, and


by Joan Samuelson at the '85 Chicago race. We received a couple of e-

mails from folks wondering who we thought had the best shot at


the U.S. record and collecting the big pay-off.

We asked Conrad Truedson, who always has an opinion on anything


oriented, to put forth his prognostication.


Which Americans have the best shot at collecting New Balance's one

million dollar offer for a new American marathon record? Really, on


men's side the only possibilities are Todd Williams, Mark Coogan, Bob

Kempainen, Bob Kennedy, Jerry Lawson and, with faint hope Keith


Of that group Kempainen is, unless he changes his mind, out with


studies and Bob Kennedy, while he certainly has the capability with


great season he had on the track, has given no indication he wants to

run a marathon yet.

I just don't see Brantly at this stage in his career making that big a

jump. Of course, Paul Evans made a huge breakthrough at Chicago


remember, he had run 27:49 on the track in the past year, far in

superior to anything Brantly has run. Jerry Lawson has run 2:10


but, is very erratic. He certainly is a possibility, however a long one

at best.

Todd Williams is without doubt the man with the superior skills on


road, as demonstrated, among other things, by his AR 15K 42:22 at

Jacksonville last year, winning I might add by 1:25. However, we will

have to see how he recovers from his Olympic fiasco. Time will tell

whether he comes from that disappointment a stronger and a wiser


Finally I come to who I think has the best shot, Mark Coogan. He has


wonderful fluid stride, good sub-four mile speed, and knows what it

takes to run a fast marathon. At the age of 30 he is coming along


and has shown the ability to achieve what he sets out for. It would

be a

big jump from his 2:13 PR, but if anyone could do it he could.

As for the women. I just don't see anyone remotely capable of 2:21


the world let alone in the U.S.. As shown at New York this year, even

the Kenyans at this point have problems at that pace.

The final question is where? If I was planning to go for it I would

look at Boston, Chicago and as a last resort in December, Sacramento.

Boston and Chicago, given the right conditions, are fast with good

fields to insure the pace is adequate. Sacramento is a smaller race

but, it's slightly downhill course has been proven by Lawson's first

2:20 back in 1991.

- Conrad Truedson





By Woody Green

By April of 1982, Alberto Salazar had already won three major


He was planning on running Boston again, but wasn't all that excited

about it. In fact, it almost seemed he was sabotaging his hopes for a

Boston victory.

Just nine days prior to Boston, Alberto was running a 10,000 meter


in Eugene. This was to be a part of a dual meet that the University of

Oregon was holding. Alberto wanted to increase the attendance for


event to help promote the Ducks track program now that he was a


of that institution.

A 10,000 meter race so close to a marathon didn't seem to make


sense, but Alberto explained that he had lined up an excellent field


the 10,000, and that this was much more important to him than


Road racers may find this hard to understand, but the 10,000 meter


at Eugene was actually more star studded than Boston.

Henry Rono, then world record holder, was to be in the Eugene


along with such superstars as Suleiman Nyambui, Michael Musyoki


Adrian Royle.

This was a classic race between the best. Salazar burned the pace


and runners quickly faded back in the Oregon drizzle. As the crowd


six thousand went nuts, Rono was the only runner that could stay


Salazar. Even Rono was not sure he could hang on. At the three mile


Rono later commented that he only promised himself another mile at


astonishing pace.

Somehow Rono held on and even pulled ahead with 600 meters to go.

Salazar moved back even and the two battled side by side on the


stretch. Rono managed to scratch out a slight lead at the finish, but

Salazar came away with the 5th fastest time in history with a


That was a scant .84 seconds slower than the American record held


Craig Virgin at the time. Rono's winning time of 27:29.9 was now the

forth best time in history.

Now the real test was to come. Boston was going to be a hell of a race,

it seemed. And it was. Alberto's hamstring was already bothering

him 2

miles into the race. He had terrible cramps the last seven miles, as

dehydration began to nail him. This iron willed runner pressed on,


rival Dick Beardsley in the last mile and set a new Boston Marathon

record of 2:08:51. He collapsed at the finish, a victim of heat stroke.

Later that year, Alberto set American records in both the 10,000 and

5,000 meter distances. But this April double may have best

displayed the

fortitude and determination of Salazar in his prime. Some feel it may


a prime example of his eventual undoing, as well. In the years to

follow, Alberto was blitzed with injuries and chronic fatigue that led

to his resignation from the ranks of the elite track and field athletes

of the world. Perhaps this was one runner who simply pushed

himself too






Top 1 Mile Performers of 1926:

1. Paavo Nurmi - Finland 4:11.9

2. Randolf Rose - NZ 4:13.6

3. Edvin Wide - Sweden 4:13.7

4. Gunnar Sjogren - Sweden 4:15.9

5. Lloyd Hahn - USA 4:16.0

Note that women were still decades away from being permitted to

run 1

mile races on the track in 1926. Only men's times are listed as a






Question: I am an experienced short distance runner. Recently, I've

been getting shin splints a lot more frequently. My stretching


has remained the same; my stride actually has gotten longer over the

years, yet I can't seem to lose these pains. I've even tried to mentally

concentrate on lifting my knees more so that I don't lift my calves as

much. Any ideas?

Ed: Shin splints are a devilish problem. They can be quite persistent.


know a 10.3 100 meter dash runner who nearly quit running

because his

shins were so sore all the time. Mary Slaney had to have surgery to

correct a problem with her muscle sheath to make her shin splints go


Usually, though, shin splints can be handled in a more conservative

manner. There are a great variety of possible causes, and it would be

tough to say what might be causing your sudden increase in pain


more information. Still, here are a few ideas.

First, you say that you are trying to increase your knee lift more in

order to decrease "lifting your calves." I think this is the wrong

approach. When you increase your knee lift you must increase the

toe off

force on your opposite leg. Further, by increasing knee lift, you are

increasing stride length and you will be hitting the ground a bit


with each stride. This alone could be enough to cause shin problems.


might be best to permit yourself to run with your natural stride.

The question remains, what to do for the problem? Shin splints are

caused by inflammation, so ice is indicated. An antiinflammatory

such as

aspirin or ibuprofin can be helpful, as well. Stretching of the


muscle group, i.e. the calves, is very important. 5 or 6 stretching

sessions a day would not be excessive.

You say you are a short distance runner. I don't know how far that


you normally run, but perhaps you should consider running on a nice


grass field or dirt trail for a while. This will reduce the impact on

your legs.

Finally, what about your shoes? Are they in need of replacement? Or,


you have recently purchased new shoes, perhaps they aren't working


you. Worn out shoes or shoes that just don't work for you

biomechanically are one of the main causes of shin splint problems.


new pair of shoes might be a help. You'd be surprised how often shin

pain is caused by an imbalance in the foot. (This is often the cause of

knee and hip problems, as well.)

If the problem persists, see a sports physician or athletic trainer.

I hope this helps, and good luck with your running!







USA Track and Field plans a new masters (age forty and above)


circuit with prize money of $5,000 to $25,000. Distances range


one mile and the marathon. Races on the circuit include the


Life 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, the Twin Cities Marathon, the Steve

Scott Festival of Miles, The Las Vegas Half-Marathon, the Carlsbad

5,000, the Gate River Run 15 K in Jacksonville, Freihofer's Run for

Women 5 K in Albany(women), the Chicago Distance Festival 5 K

(men), and

the Tulsa Run 15K.


The following is a press release sent to RUNNER'S NICHE for your



Call for contributions: Anthology. Women Runners: Stories of

Transformation. How has running transformed your life?

We are looking for fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, cartoons, and

photographs by women runners of all ages, sizes and speeds (from

occasional joggers to marathoners or longer). We are particularly

interested in work by women of color, lesbians, young women and


older women, disabled women, and working class women. Possible


include: Running as a form of adventure/travel/fun; Friendships


through running; Running and body image; Running and self-


confidence; Running as a form of healing from illness, grief, loss;

Running as part of recovery from alcoholism, smoking and other

addictions, the History of Women in Running. Payment in copies. To


published in 1998 by nationally known feminist press, HerBooks.


submissions to Irene Reti/ Shoney Sien, HerBooks, P.O. Box 7467


Cruz, CA 96061. email ihreti@cats.ucsc.edu. By December 1, 1997.


Irene Reti



If you've got old running shoes laying around, they may be worth


It seems that there are folks out there (especially Japanese) who

collect old running and basketball shoes. Quite popular with


are old Nikes like the LDV, LD 1000, Waffle Trainers, etc. Air Jordons

are big , too, especially unusual colors. Tigers, Pumas, Adidas and

other athletic shoes are collectible as well.

If you want to know about some of your old shoes and what they are

worth, try calling "The New Store" for information. Their number is:


888-499-6453. They make offers over the phone, and they pay the


if you send them your shoes.




RUNNER'S NICHE has a web page! We have some cool links, and past


can be downloaded there. Also, we have a Macintosh training log


for free download. Features are continuously being added. If you'd


to visit, the URL is:

http://members.aol.com/woodyg3/web/runiche.html .

Pass the address on to your friends!




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


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


SUBSCRIPTION IS FREE. Just write via e-mail to: woodyg3@aol.com.


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



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.

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Vol. 2 No. 12 December, 1997




Many running magazines feature articles on indoor cross-training this time of year.


For most of our readers, December means snow or rain and cold temperatures. The

sky turns dark much earlier in the evening and the streets, paths and trails can get

muddy or icy. Tough time to run, eh?

Maybe, but what's wrong with that? Since there aren't many races this time of

year, December is a great time to do those long runs to build a base for the Spring.

It can be hard to get the miles in if the weather is bad, but so what? Running in

bad weather can only make you tougher as long as you dress right and use

common sense. Running outside when most folks are huddled around their

fireplaces indicates that you are a real runner, not a fair weather one.

Certainly there are times when safety concerns can cut into your training. Glaze ice

is nothing to fool with, and running in the dark can be hazardous. But this presents

a challenge, not a road block, to your training.

If you like indoor cross training, there's certainly nothing wrong with it. Still, this is

a great time of year to run, and I see no reason to start thinking about using a stair

step machine any time soon! (Unless you are into that sort of thing.)

- WG





By Allan Brown

My wife was never a runner - well at least not a distance one. She was always fast

over the 100 metres, but anything further than that and she was reduced to a

breathless heap. Being a smoker didn't help of course. Her fortieth birthday came

last year and with it a real downer as she struggled to come to terms with the

march of time. She began to see herself as fat and old. Imagine my surprise when

she ditched cigarettes as a New year's resolution and announced that she was

going, as she put it , "to take up jogging."

That very night, January 1st. 1997, shod in a battered pair of Nike cross trainers

and my old jogging suit she took to the suburban Glasgow streets and did a 3 mile


in about 38 minutes.

When she got back she threw up over the driveway and wept bitterly.

However she's made of stern stuff - we Scots all are - and the following night 'she

got back on the horse' and did it again, cutting about 20 seconds off the time.

More was to follow, and slowly over a few weeks she did make some progress.

Eventually she learned something about running equipment and bought her first

serious pair of road shoes. These things don't come cheap in the U.K. - about twice

as much as you might pay in the States. I didn't mind though because I could see

she was a woman with a mission. Soon the house was full of magazines, catalogues

from Adidas, Nike, Asics etc. and as her distances began to increase - four and

sometimes five miles - she found that ordinary T shirts and Lycra were no good.

So the running wardrobe began to materialize: serious female support garments,

double layered socks and real running shorts. No more blisters and bleeding

navels! I was watching a woman rebuild herself. She had the technology. (And I

was paying for it!)

Eventually, around March of this year, she began to consider the thought of

actually doing a race, in this case the Glasgow Half Marathon, all thirteen miles of


I managed to persuade her that this was entirely possible given that she was

beginning to show some signs of fitness and had a few months to train. So she

went for it!

First she joined a Women's running group and then she got herself a training

schedule. Weird terms like 'fartlek' became a household norm and pretty soon she

was boring me to death with times, distances, warm ups and the rest. She worked

out with weights as well. "My god, she'll be stronger than me!" I thought.

The new knowledge also ran to food, and meat began to disappear from her diet to

be replaced by strange pastas and heaps of vegetables. All of this summer she

trained, even when we went to France on holiday. It soon became obvious that her

sheer determination would get her through this race and to hell with the training!

We knew by that point that she would run it no problem at all. Her regular runs

were now approaching 10 miles and she was averaging 50 to 60 miles a week.

Could this be the gasping sausage of a woman I had watched losing her lunch on

the driveway? No longer!

That first great goal - the Glasgow Half Marathon - has come and gone. She

managed fine. Not a great time but she ran non stop the whole way, with

temperatures in the high 70s, hot for Scotland, and she returned proudly with her


"Well!" I thought. "That's it. What now?" Did I think it was over? Had she proved it

to herself and now she would sag serenely into mid-life?

23 medals, several half marathons, numerous 10k road races and 3 pairs of

running shoes later I know that I was wrong. She's 20 pounds lighter and looks

magnificent (Believe me, fellas!). She trains with some really accomplished athletes

and can run the socks off of a lot of men. A female colleague at work - she teaches

High School - asked her recently how her 'jogging' was getting along, and before

she could reply the Head of Phys.Ed. snapped,

"Odette doesn't jog. Odette runs!"

The metamorphosis was complete!

Her goal now is, wait for it, to run the New York Marathon. I don't know how we'll

afford to send her but I know that one day she'll go. She's already booked up for

the Dublin Marathon and is turning her eyes towards Europe. I don't think they're

ready for her!

She watched the New York this year on cable TV and she wants to run across that


I'm not trying to glorify her. What she did just took determination. If there is even

one person out there who needs a change of lifestyle and thinks "I can't do that"

then think twice and remember my wife, the runner!

- Allan Brown is a RUNNER'S NICHE subscriber from Glasgow, U.K.





By Woody Green

When people think about strength training, the usual exercises that come to mind

are those for the arms and legs. Runners in particular tend to consider upper body

exercises since running does little to strengthen the arms and chest.

Perhaps the first spot runners should consider, however, is the torso. Particularly

the abdominal muscles.

We have all heard the expression "a chain is only as strong as the weakest link." In

many runner's bodies, the weak link is the abdominal muscles. Our abdominal

muscles have the important job of functioning as a foundation for the rest of the

body. Weak abdominals cause poor posture, inefficient breathing and bad running

form. One of the main causes of back pain is weak abdominal muscles.

Abdominal exercises are, therefore, very important and should be a part of every

runner's exercise program.

To strengthen the abs, it is best not to use good the old sit-ups that most of us grew

up doing in our physical education classes. Traditional sit-ups strengthen other

muscles more than the abdominals.

The easiest exercise to do for the abs is the "crunch." Simply lie flat on your back

with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Cross your arms over your chest

and slowly pull your shoulder blades off the floor. Go no further, just concentrate

on tightening your stomach muscles to pull you into this position. Hold there for a

second, then slowly lie back. Repeat this exercise 20-30 times the first time out,

then add a few reps as you feel stronger.

There are several variations on the basic crunch. One that I like is the "side crunch"

which helps to strengthen the outer abdominal muscles. Start with both feet flat on

the ground and knees bent. Put your hands behind your head, and lift one shoulder

off the ground while reaching the elbow on that side in the direction of the knee

on the opposite side. Repeat several times, alternating direction on each repetition.

This is a good starting point for abdominal fitness. There are hundreds of other

good exercises you can add if you like. Just remember to always make sure your

back is protected when doing any abdominal exercise.

Also, as you are likely aware, there are hundreds of various machines and gizmos

on the market to help strengthen the stomach muscles. Some are pretty good,

others a waste of money. If using these helps motivate you, and you are certain

they are safe and effective, go ahead and try them. Don't be fooled into thinking

that they are necessary, however. For most people a few simple crunches each day

will certainly do the trick.





*Karl Gruber's Super Run For The Cure*

Karl managed to run 52 marathons in a year! Check his site at:



*Atlanta Track Club*

The Address for the Atlanta Track Club is:


They have the results for the Peachtree race up on the day of the race, along with

much more good information!



Sporthill's updated web site is located at:






The following is a letter sent to the Financial Times in Jolly Old England by our

European Editor...

The Times,

The recent outbreak of the return of the Chinese women on the world record scene

in athletics has caused much speculation, mostly negative, as to how they can run

so fast. John Bryant's defense of Ma's methods is a welcome addition. However, he

misses some crucial points. Firstly, Mr. Bryant points out that China has a huge pool

of talent to draw from, with a population of a billion. Surely, he argues, with that

and an extensive sports system as China has, such performances are not impossible.

But, then where are the great male runners? No Chinese male has ever broken 28

minutes for 10,000 metres or 13:20 for 5000 metres, times that even several of

Britain's male athletes have been able to achieve this year. Yet, at the same time

their women athletes are running times that would trouble Paula Radcliffe staying

on the same straightaway! It makes no sense whatsoever, a point that was brought

up in 1993 when this same explosion of incredible times occurred. The other point

he gleams over is all these great times only happen in China. In 1994 there were

efforts made to bring some of these phenomenal women to the European circuit.

Unfortunately, at that time, they were`unavailable'.

As for Ma's request that his athletes be tested for drugs, this leaves me a bit

suspicious. I wonder how he would feel about tests for gender. Presently, the IAAF

has no sex testing. Perhaps, this sounds a bit far fetched, but back in the early

1960's a couple of women, the Press sisters, from the then Soviet Union were

making a big impact on the athletics scene, breaking a number of records in the

hurdles and shot put. Then the IAAF introduced sex testing at which time they

both conveniently retired.


Conrad Truedson

Phd Student

University of Nottingham




*Ignoring Injuries*

In response to last month's Editors Notes about ignoring injuries, one reader wrote:

Dear Runner's Niche,

Boy did your story remind me of where I was last year at this time, only to find

that where I was several months further on was even worse. I ran myself into

severe patellar/pain problems and kept thinking I would somehow run through it.

You are right, when the pain is still there - or worsens - the next time, it needs

attention. The orthopedist told me the same thing for a lot greater cost in time and

dollars. And the PT took a few months. And my attitude toward hard training

sure took a backseat to just wanting to be able to run again. For more than a few

blocks before it was too excruciating.

And then I did the next level of denial, AFTER consulting the doctor and finding

that the x-rays showed no structural problems or arthritis, and AFTER the orthopod

said it was not actually chondromalacia, I thought then "Well it's not really

anything then, I should be able to run." And not until I could not ride the bike

without searing pain did I accept the inevitable. There is a problem here.

The folks at Union's Sportsmedicine Clinic, along with the PT and MD who had been

working with me, really assisted with acceptance when they did the video of me

running, identifying serious misalignment from hip to knee, telling me that it was

not a wonder I was injured but that I could run at all (much less be competitive

which I am) and then validated my own experience that I am ok until I go over 35

mpw (or at least used to be). And I thought I was just making excuses....

You know, the funniest thing is that I thought that because, like most runners, my

pain tolerance is high and my excuse tolerance is low. I don't make excuses not to

work hard. What is wrong with us anyway???

So the end to this sad tale is a good one -- I have learned not only moderation but

also to listen to my body and adjust, actually, on a weekly basis. I have ACCEPTED

that I cannot run daily and must cross train with bike and weights. I can SHOW

you the muscles that hold my patella in place and I have even come to look

forward to the cross training days. Some weeks I even take a day off of anything.

And, wonder of it all, I have kept my promise to race no longer than 5 miles

(though a 10k may show up next season again, it won't be longer) and my PR's

have dropped by a minute or more, continuing to come down all season. And I still

cannot tolerate real speekwork without breaking down. By the end of last season,

my times were UP by nearly 2 minutes and my training was interrupted ONLY by

pain, never by the greater part of valor, which is wisdom.

Life is a full and complete teacher. Congratulations on being one of the many

learned ones still out on the road after 40!

- Trish Gaffney




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 is:


Pass the address on to your friends!

Also visit the COLORADO RUNNER'S NICHE site at:


This publication is a print version of the electronic RUNNER'S NICHE, with an

emphasis on Colorado running.




"Runner's Niche" is free, but it's 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:


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.

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Vol. 3 No. 11 December, 1998





Christmas is coming, and so the annual pursuit of the perfect Christmas

present for your loved ones begins. Just what should you get for the

runner in your life?

There are many high-tech options, like heart rate monitors,

chronographs, computer running log programs and even body fat measuring

equipment. These are pretty cool toys, especially if your runner likes

gizmos. They can be pricey, though.

Books are usually a safe bet. Relatively new books like "Road Racing

for the Serious Runner" by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas, or

"Daniels Running Formula" by Jack Daniels would be a good bet for

scientifically oriented runners. Those more bent toward literary

pursuit might enjoy one of the new running related novels like "Slinger

Sanchez Running Gun" by Bruce Gilkin or "Pain" by Dan Middleman. The

true classic among running novels has to be "Once A Runner" by John L

Parker, and this is a sure winner under the Christmas tree. A great

book which details the careers and life stories of many great runners

is "Running With the Legends" by Michael Sandrock. This is another

"must have" in a runner's library.

Clothing can be a good choice. What runner doesn't need another pair of

shorts or a new wind jacket? Speaking of clothing, what about socks?

No, not the kind with your name on it hung from the hearth. Wild

running and cycling socks might make a great present. Some of the best

can be found from the DeFeet sock company. Look for them on line at:

http://www.defeet.com. They have socks with peace symbols, smiley

faces, rubber duckies, Mercury's feet, goldfish and tons of other fun


Presents are certainly fun, and an important part of the season. Still,

the best gifts are the free ones, like a five-mile run on a trail

through freshly fallen snow or a nighttime jog to look at the Christmas

lights and decorations in your neighborhood. Taking some time to relax

and enjoy yourself can be the best part of the season.

Runner's Niche would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and

many healthy miles in the New Year!



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


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



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



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

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





Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Dan Pierce of Boulder,

Colorado. Dan receives a free issue of Marathon & Beyond Magazine and


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. Good Luck!

1 - 5 In what city is each of these well-known road races held.

1. Cherry Blossom 10 Mile

2. Peachtree Road Race

3. Bay to Breakers

4. Mardi Gras Marathon

5. Marine Corp Marathon


6-10 Multiple Choice

6. How many American males have held the world record for the marathon

(26 miles 385yards.)?

a. one

b. two

c. none

7. Where was the Pole Vault WR first set with a fiberglass pole?

a. Eugene

b. Boulder

c. Boston

8. In 1965 Ron Clarke was the first to run under 28 minutes. How many

seconds did he break the old record by?

a: 3 seconds

b. 12 seconds

c. 36 seconds

9. Which of the following have won the Boston Marathon?

a. Frank Shorter

b. Ronald Macdonald

c. Grete Waitz

10. Who was the last American to win a 5000 meter gold medal?

a. Steve Prefontaine

b. Bob Schul

c. Bill Dellinger

Thanks to Conrad Truedson for the last five questions.

Last Month's answers

1 - 5. In what individual event did each of these athletes win an

Olympic gold medal?

1. Frank Shorter - marathon

2. Joan Benoit - marathon

3. Fermin Cacho - 1500 meters

4. Venuste Niyongabo - 5000 meters

5. Lee Evans - 400 meters


6. Where will the 1999 US National Track and Field Championships be

held? - Eugene, Oregon

7. What former Villanova miler has recently been hired as the new head

track coach at his alma mater? - Marcus O'Sullivan

8. Who is the only 40-and-over athlete ever to run a sub-4 minute mile?

- Eamonn Coghlan

9. What track did he accomplish his sub-4 on? - Harvard Indoor Track

10. During what meet was this mark set? - Massachusetts High School

Indoor State Meet.

(Thanks to Mike Morrisey for the last three questions.)





Product review by Dan Matthews

I have been wearing a heart monitor that I bought from an outfit called

"Health & Fitness Medical" (See web link in the Web Sites sections of

this month's niche) of Mill Valley, California which I am very pleased

with. It is the Sensor Dynamics Phoenix. The wristwatch receiver

features date, time, stopwatch, and lower & upper heart rate limit

alarms. I especially like the illuminated dial - push a button and the

watch face stays lit for 4 seconds with big bright numerals. I've tried

running and holding the little night light button down on my old heart

rate monitor but couldn't easily read my heart rate after dark. That's

a problem here in Seattle where the sun is starting to set at 4:30 in

the afternoon on rainy winter days. The receiver watch and chest band

transmitter both seem to be holding up well in the rain.

Suggested retail price: $99. Mail order prices as low as $79.




1. Freshly fallen snow is a great shock absorber. If you have the

chance to run on a trail or grassy field with three or four inches of

the new stuff your joints will thank you.

2. Better traction can usually be found where the snow is less packed.

Be careful, though, since newly fallen snow can cover a slick sheet of

ice underneath it.

3. Snow can nicely hide roots, sidewalk cracks and fallen objects, too.

A pair of sunglasses with yellow lenses will help you to see the relief

patterns on snow.

4. It's okay to cut your mileage when running through snow. You are

working harder to travel through snow than you ever do running on a dry

surface. Don't overtrain just to jot down the same distances you ran

this summer in your logbook.

5. Remember that running through snow will force stabilizing muscles on

the inner and out part of your legs to work harder than usual. Try to

ease into snow running to avoid injuries to these muscles.

6. Walking may seem like wimping out, but it beats slipping and falling

when you try to dash across a slick stretch of glazed ice.

7. Snow can be used as a tool to give you a good resistance workout.

Try vigorous bounding through deep snow for a great strength workout.

Naturally, be careful of your footing.

8. Snow gives you a couple of great cross-training possibilities. Why

not give Nordic skiing or snowshoeing a try?





Review by Woody Green

A nice two cassette tape package has been released by Paul Kennedy and

Olympic marathoner Peter Fonseca that you might want to add to your

running information library. This set of tapes is filled with 90

minutes of advice, stories, history and motivation from some of the

very best and important runners in the sport. Names like Alberto

Salazar, Grete Waitz, Bill Rodgers, Joan Samuelson, Frank Shorter and

Katherine Switzer are just a few of the voices heard on these tapes.

Anecdotes from races like New York, Boston, Chicago and the Olympic

marathon are featured. The tape is more than just big names, though.

The tapes really get into the guts of running. The bond between all

runners, whether elite or recreational, is very clear when listening to

the tapes.

The advantage of a taped format over print is the ability to hear the

tone of voice and so the excitement, disapointmet or humor in the

inflections of the storytellers. These tapes are clearly the work of

people who live and love the sport, and this is no commercial gloss-

over to try to glean cash from the hundreds of thousands of people who

train for and run a marathon each year.

I found that even the stories I had read about many times, like

Katherine Switzer's run in the Boston Marathon before women were

permitted to officially enter, where fresh and interesting when told by

the people who actually lived them. Alberto Salazar's admission that he

trained himself into the ground takes on an interesting ring when your

hear the disappointment in his voice. And Bill Rodger's effervescent,

enthusiastic voice alone is worth the price of the tape.

While I found the music to be of the trite, elevator, pop type, this

was easily ignored and I highly recommend this tape to anyone

interested in the marathon. Runner's Niche rating: four and a half out

of five possible winged feet.


This tape is available from the Run For Your Life web site. Just go to

the Runner's Niche Running Links site at:


and click on the link to the Run For Your Life site.






5 km 15:05 Rose Cheruiyot KEN at Carlsbad, CA 4/2/95

8 km 24:48:00 Liz McColgan GBR at Nike Women's Race Washington DC


10 km 30:39:00 Liz McColgan GBR at Red Lobster FL 3/11/89

12 km 38:23:00 Delillah Asiago KEN at Examiner Bay to Breakers San

Fransisco,CA 5/21/95

15km 46:57:00 Elana Meyer RSA at Ohlsson's S.A. Champs RSA 11/2/91

10 mi 51:16 Coleen DeReuck RSA at N. Telecom Cherry Blossom Washington

DC 4/5/98

100 mi 13:47:42 Ann Trason USA at Sri Chinmoy NY 5/4/91

Half-mar 1:07:36 Pending Record Elana Meyer RSA at Kyoto, Japan 3/9/97

(ratified record 1:07:59 Elana Meyer at at Ohlsson's S.A. Champs RSA)

Marathon 2:21:06 World Record Ingrid Kristiansen NOR at London 4/21/85

(2:20:47 by Tegla Loroupe KEN at Rotterdam not ratified to "coaching







A team of 70 runners from South Jordan, Utah managed to log 250 miles

190 yards in 24 hours. The event, a fund-raiser for the Bingham High

School cross-country team, was staged on November 21-22.



Japanese billiards player Junsuke Inoue, 58, has been removed from the

Asian Games billiards team after failing a drug test. He was also

suspended form competition for two years.

Inoue tested positive for and admitted to using methyltestostereone.


The American Lung Association Running Club (ALARC) is sponsoring a

four-day, three-night group trip to the Las Vegas Marathon & Half

Marathon Feb 7. Round trip air and three nights at the San Remo Hotel

is available for $325. Then, February 28---the Hong Kong Marathon &

10K---Round trip air from Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, transfers, four

nights hotel, and a half-day sightseeing bus tour will cost $860.

For details contact Ted Esau via email at:






---Hoffman's Fitness---

Running physiology and much more at this great new site:


---CariFin Cross Country---

Site devoted to a Caribbean cross-country race:


---Tons of Links---

Find a ton of great running links at Joe's Running Links:


---Womens Sports Specialties---

Women's sports gear:


---Uta Pippig---

Uta's web site in German and English. Find out her side of her positive

doping test, plus much more on Uta. Nice site.


--- Health & Fitness Medical---

A good variety of heart rate monitors and other high-tech fun stuff at:









Dear Runner's Niche,

I am a student at the University of New Brunswick and a member of the

UNB cross-country and track team. I am writing just to tell you to keep

up the good work. As a student athlete, I am tight on time, and it is

always a pleasure when I find an e-mail from Runner's Niche

in the mess of work related incoming mail. Runner's Niche is quite

possibly the greatest thing I ever got for free! Even better than most

magazines that you have to pay for!

Again I thank you for your service. I am anxiously waiting the next


Scott A. Davis






"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:


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.



-----------------------------118231102538445 Content-Disposition: form-data; name="userfile"; filename="December99.html" Content-Type: text/html --------------




Vol. 4 No.12 December, 1999




Well, the weather outside is frightful!

But Gore-Tex makes my runs delightful.

So there's really no excuse not to go,

Outside for a run in the snow!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Millennium!

- WG

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

MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - Marathon & Beyond, the only magazine

that focuses on the specific needs of marathoners and

ultrarunners. M&B offers in-depth articles on training, race

strategies, injuries, nutrition, race profiles, running history,

and more. Visit their web site at:


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




Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Toby Tanser. Toby

receives a free issue of Marathon & Beyond Magazine and FAME!

Trivia contest entrants are limited to one prize per calendar


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. What event did Ben Johnson win in he Olympics, only to have it

taken away when he tested positive for drugs?

2. Julius Kariuki of Kenya ran an all-time best of 5:14.43 in

1990 for what rarely run track event?

3. Johnny Gray of the United States owns the world best in

another seldom run event. His time was 1:12:81. What was the

distance of this run?

4. In what event do the Kenyan men own all of the top 52 best

all-time marks?

5. Italian Pietro Mennea was the world record holder in what


6. Yelena Nikolayma posted a world record of 41:04 in 1996 in

what event?

7. In what event has Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia held

the world record since 1983?

8. Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland ran 8:21.64, the fastest time ever

by a non-Chinese athlete, in what event?

9. Ingrid Krisiansen's old world best in the marathon has been

topped by Kenyan Tegla Loroupe, but Kristiansen still holds the

world best time of 1:06:40 in what event?

10. Curt Clausen set an American record of 3:48:04 this year in

what event?


Last Month's Answers:

1. Marathon star Moses Tanui, second at Chicago this year, is

from what nation? - Kenya

2. Bobby McGee is coach to what top female distance runner?

(Hint: She finished in the top ten at Chicago this year.) -

Colleen DeReuck

3. Khalid Khannouchi became the first runner to break 2:06 in the

marathon this year at Chicago. Who was the first to break 2:07? -

Belayneh Dinsamo

4. In what city is the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon held? -

Anchorage, Alaska

5. What year was the first Boston Marathon held? - 1897

6. Former world record holder for the marathon, Ronaldo Da Costa,

is from what nation? - Brazil

7. In the 1985 version of the Chicago marathon, the mens winner

missed the world record at that time by one second, running

2:07:13. Who was that runner? - Steve Jones

8. Who won the womens division of Chicago that same year of 1985

at Chicago? (She missed the then current world record by just 15

seconds.) - Joan Benoit

9. What Boston winner holds the womens Ethiopian national record

for the marathon? - Fatuma Roba

10. Who is the fastest female marathoner of all time from

Ireland? - Catherine McKiernan

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

RUNNING DELIGHTS - all occasion and holiday greeting cards,

novelty gifts, t-shirts, bracelets and many others items.


Our entire catalog is now online with secure ordering.

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




By Michael Selman

As you know, we're getting to the time of year where we can't

help looking back to see where we are in our running life. Did we

achieve our goal race times for the year? Have we stayed healthy,

and not missed days due to injury or time constraints? What is

our annual mileage looking like with a month left?

During this morning's nice 11.07 mile run (which, of course, I

logged as 11 miles) I started to think about that little bit

extra on the right side of the decimal point. I've been building

up fractional mileage all year long, which I've never logged.

That's just how we are. If our standard course is not exactly to

the 1/4 mile, we have no choice but to round down. We can't round

up, because we would never think to log a run longer than we

actually ran. The simple truth is, the totals just round better

to the quarter of a mile when you add up your mileage at the end

of the week. So down, we round.

Ever since June, when I started running my 5.32 mile weekday run,

I've been logging it as 5 1/4. That has left .07 miles each time

I've run this route which has sadly gone unrecognized.

All my other neighborhood courses I've run during the year have

similar attributes. My 10 mile route was actually 10.13 miles. My

8 mile route measured in at almost 8.2 miles, but I could never

call it 8 1/4. ( It actually started out as a 7.8 mile route, but

I needed it to be at least 8 miles, so I added an extra little

out and back, and it ended up being 8.2, or

a very nice 8). My 7 1/2 mile route was probably closer to 7.53.

The only route right on the money was a 5 mile route which was

right on 5 miles.

So today, on my run, I started thinking about all those

fractional miles.

Almost every day, another deposit has been made in the mileage

bank. Are these the "Junk" miles of mythical lore? I decided that

it might be interesting to tally up the complied totals for the

year. When it comes to annual total mileage, every tenth of a

mile counts. Here's what I came up with:

7 1/2 mile routes = 8 @ 7.53 .03 X 8= .24 "Junk" miles

8 mile routes = 5 @ 8.2 each .20 X 5= 1.00 "junk" mile

10 mile routes = 6 @ 10.13 .13 X 6= .78 "junk" mile

5 1/4 mile route = 32 @ 5.32 .07 X 32= 2.24 "junk" miles

18 mile run (an 8 plus a 10) = 1 @ 18.33 .33 X 1 = .33 "junk"


20 mile run (2 10 mile loops) = 1 @ 20.26 .26 X 1= .26 "junk"


TOTAL = 4.86 total junk miles

Do I round it down to 4.75? Of course I do. Still, it's 4.75

miles I wouldn't have had any other way. Now, I know I can sleep

late on Christmas Day. And when I wake up, and go to my stocking,

hung from the chimney with care, I'll find an extra 4.75 miles to

apply to my log anywhere I need it. It's my Christmas bonus.

How much is yours?





By Christopher Goebel

Journalists whom I knew from my two years living in France

invited me to return there last March to participate on their

running team in the 13th annual Course du Coeur (Race from the

Heart). My prior experiences in that country, while generally

positive, made me anxious about the prospect of two hundred

Frenchmen under the stress of a four day/four night endurance

event. More arm-chairs than athletes, my teammates would

eventually do justice to our team name, the "Ringards" - French

for "old and worn out." In the process, they showed me, the only

American in the Race, sides of the French that I had never before

seen and, at times, even disproved some common misconceptions

about themselves.

First, a brief primer on the Race from the Heart. Seven teams,

each having fourteen runners divided into Groups A, B and C,

competed against each other around-the-clock. The Race covered

704 kilometers (440 miles) of backroads, from Paris, through

Burgundy, along the foothills of the Alps, and ending at the La

Plagne ski resort. I participated in 8 stages of a total of 38

in the Race, over 190 kilometers.

Along the way, a race caravan always followed the runners, who

numbered anywhere from seven to 100 depending on the format of a

particular stage. The support vehicles in the caravan included

the four vehicles per team carrying the three Groups, as well as

the extra runners called the "jokers"; a travelling stage for

Russian musicians; a food truck; an ambulance; referees and


Prologue, Wednesday Evening, March 17

The entire pelaton ran together in the 7-kilometer, ceremonial

first stage of the Race. We trotted leisurely from the Eiffel

Tower, along the Seine, past the Concorde, the Madeleine, the

Opéra and the Pyramid of the Louvre, and finished at Notre Dame

cathedral. Eighteen motorcycle policemen from the elite

Presidential Guard, our escorts for the entire Race, blocked off

the streets as we passed. Navigating the middle of four-lane

thoroughfares on foot, at 10 km/hour, afforded a perspective on

the city that was as rare to the French runners as to myself.

On that clear and chilly St. Patrick’s Day night, the prologue

gave us runners an advance glimpse at the Spring fever that would

soon engulf Paris. The city was beginning to recover from an

unusually harsh winter that, in the Alps, had caused several

killer avalanches. The water that had overflowed onto the banks

of the Seine was just beginning to recede. The Bateaux Mouches

tour boats, idled at their docks because the high waters were

preventing them from steaming, lit up the sidewalks with their

twinkling lights. These illuminated the Parisian women who

smiled at us teasingly as they walked along the Seine, to test-

drive their Spring outfits.

Besides Springtime, the prologue also presaged the madness that

would mark the next four days and nights. At one point, we ran

past a pack of some one hundred motorcycles and mopeds, parked up

on the sidewalks along the Avenue de l’Opéra, as if waiting

edgily for their owners to return from coffee or a long dinner.

Shouldn’t those motos be racing in the road in our stead?, I

thought. As for us runners, shouldn’t we assume our rightful

places on the walkway? What was wrong with this picture?

Perhaps nothing at all, according to the dazed gazes of the

drunken masses spying us from the long lines in front of Irish

pubs. The French waiter in his pressed white apron must have

concluded that everything was amuck, as he exited his café to

gander in disbelief at the passing spectacle.

Thursday, Day 1

Total distance covered by the Race: 201.8 km, in 10 stages

After the prologue, the Race continued all night into the

outskirts of Paris. However, the four of us in my team car, who

constituted the Ringards’ Group B, were entitled to four hours of

sleep in Paris before rejoining the Race at 8:30 AM, just south

of the forest of Fontainebleau.

When not running in a daytime stage of the race, members of all

teams would follow its progress from inside their team vehicles.

My Group would not be competing until mid-afternoon. As the

serpent of Race vehicles following the runners wound through the

gentle slopes of this region, the change from cityscape to the

rich green scenery of this region totally relaxed me. The

morning fog rose off the fields surrounding us, exposing the dark

richness of newly tilled soil.

Despite the open space, the Race still came in contact with its

share of spectators. The presence of the convoy agitated grazing

horses, as well as sheep and an occasional cow. That afternoon,

runners from the Groups B and C of each team, together with one

joker, ran an 8.9-km stage. A yellow butterfly followed our team

for an entire mile as a blooming cherry tree kept a still watch.

We passed children from the village of Juoy who held heart-shaped

drawings with messages meant to encourage the one team in the

Race that was composed of organ transplant recipients. These

courageous individuals were the inspiration for this event, which

aimed to raise public awareness for the cause of organ


The ease of the relatively flat countryside ushered in a sense of

conviviality among all participants. For me that sunny day, the

Race was less a competition than a travelling festival

celebrating many of the highlights of life in France: including

the pace of life_the clock in virtually every village church

that we passed was at least 20 minutes off; the French women_my

group included Clautilde and Valerie, the only females on the

Ringards; and the appreciation for food and drink.

Following along during our team captain Christian’s individual

stage (meaning that he competed against one runner from each if

the other teams), our car approached the official Race gagsters

(petits farceurs) along the roadside with a sign in their hands

that read "French restaurant." Suddenly they hurled fake vomit

all over our windshield. Who says the French are too intense

about their food? Our noon meal, which followed, tasted better

than the petits farceurs had predicted. We lunched in the

backyard of the château at Domaine de l’Anche, where clear blue

skies reflected off a perfectly still pond.

The French didn’t take their countryside too seriously, either.

The next time we passed the petits farceurs, next to a pig pen,

they were dressed as a cow and bull making love. Appropriately,

this occurred during a stage called the "Fat Man and His Woman."

The heaviest member of each team trekked together with a female.

Teams were handicapped based on weight. Philippe, the fourth and

last Ringard in my Group B, weighed in at 260 pounds. Needless

to say, none of the competition could overcome the initial

Ringard lead. One-hundred pound Clautilde literally had to push

Philippe up one hill, but they combined to give the Ringards our

second stage victory of the Race.

Forebodingly, that stage ended in front of a monument called the

"Dedication to the Dead." As the day wore on, the Ringards wore

out. In the next stage, a 33-kilometer bike-‘n’-run, two of my

teammates took last place.

Then, to the live sounds of the Race musicians playing "O When

the Saints Go Marching In," my Group B, plus our joker, departed

on a 33.4-kilometer relay called the "twilight marathon." The

format called for six runners from a team to freely substitute

for one another. We recruited a masseur to fill in for our

second joker, who had missed a plane. Needless to say, we

finished in last place.

Our results notwithstanding, the good life in France continued

through the evening of Day 1. At the Race hotel, five of us,

dining together, finished nearly a bottle apiece of wine,

accompanied by a variety of appetizers, and a straightforward but

delicious chicken basquaise. Afterwards, we made our way to the

massage room. Nearly naked men and women got rubbed down in the

same room, ten at a time. Besides the sensual Clautilde in her

underwear, the highlight was Philippe’s massage. As Philippe

assumed his place on a table, a Ringard named Gérard, the editor

of the sports newspaper L’Equipe, announced this headline:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the masseurs are going to attempt to find

Philippe’s muscles." It took two of them, working side-by-side,

with clamp-like utensils, to penetrate one of his calves. A

member of the Belgian team stripped off his pants and lay next to

Philippe. He showed how two of his thighs equaled one of

Philippe’s. A petit farceur, making the rounds in the massage

ward, told another Belgian athlete that he could not possibly be

Belgian since he did not have a beer in his hands.

Throughout Day 1, the French disproved some of the rap they

commonly receive from Americans. Contrary to popular belief, the

French are self-deprecating. Philippe readily accepted his fate

as the designated fat man. Clautilde accepted hers as the Race

babe. Three masseurs at a time wanted to attend to her in the

massage room. Members of the Presidential Guard tried to scam on

her, even while on their motorcycles in the midst of escorting

the Race. Not only did she tolerate this, she relished it.

Moreover, the French can be self-effacing. Rarely, if ever,

would any commercial tour, even one organized for the French,

take the time that the Race did to pass through these areas.

After the Race left behind the familiar confines of Paris, our

exceptional but uncomplicated intimacy with the backroads of

France seemed to smooth away the self-importance of even the most

pretentious of Parisians.

In a fitting end to an enjoyable day, the Race schedule called

for my Group B to benefit from a rare, full night’s sleep before

setting out to rejoin the Race on Day 2. However, Philippe and I

could not both fit on the narrow bed expected to accommodate two

hotel guests. Philippe took the floor until one of our teammates

vacated another room at 1 AM to run the all-nighter. Philippe

hacked all night long from the lingering cigarette smoke due to

the two packs that this teammate–yes, an endurance athlete–had

smoked in the room before leaving.

Friday, Day 2

Total distance covered: 193.3 km, in 12 stages

What was, until Thursday evening of the Race, a true tour de

France, would gradually become a tour de farce.

That morning, between stages in the town of Chaux, the food-truck

volunteers posted what they called a "news flash," next to an

enormous banana dangling between two oranges:

Did you know that this is a race for organ donations?

Do you know which ones?

The best ones and the hardest ones.

Did you donate your organ at the hotel last night?

Was it chewy?

The benevolent cause for the Race was being hung in effigy.

This, to me, was an ominous sign.

Also that morning, my stomach gave me another indication that

Day 2 of the Race would bring changes. My daily carbohydrate

intake had doubled since the start of the Race. The bread,

chocolate, cookies and gruyère cheese that the canteen workers

were spreading out after each stage had begun to bloat my

stomach. What happened to that healthy French diet, you know,

the one known for producing a low rate of heart disease?

Alas, the missing element: French wine. Day 2 brought the Race

into Burgundy wine country. For a while that sunny day, the

impressive scenery alone diverted my attention from my stomach.

The stages meandered through never-ending vine stocks, punctuated

by tiny, often stone, villages known for their excellent

vintages. We went through Meursault, Chalon and Nuits St.

Georges, to name a few, as well as lesser-known wine villages

such as Santenay.

Outside another town, Cheilly les Maranges, the sun peaked out

from behind the clouds that were draping the valley. Most

farmers tending the vine stocks there marveled at the spectacle

of the brightly colored snake. One, however, threw dirt at our

cars and screamed, "Your Race makes me want to shit!" He was, it

turned out, a petit farceur.

Still physically uncomfortable, I skipped lunch, but not the

accompanying wine, a 1993 Hautes Côtes de Nuits. The alcohol

helped me endure the ribbing I received at lunch from my

teammates because of the fact that I, a 33-years-old

heterosexual, had not tried to hit on the two female members of

our team who were always in the car with me. What would have

passed for respectful camaraderie in the U.S. was, in France,

grounds for questioning one’s sexuality.

That afternoon, I ran a 11.7-kilometer, individual stage that

passed through Beaune and finished in Volnay, meaning that I

competed against one athlete from each of the other teams. The

local chamber of commerce feted our arrival by serving a nice

1993 Volnay. During the leg, the runner from the Belgian team

preferred to drink a beer. He downed it gradually over the first

kilometer as I jockeyed for position alongside him.

Psychological warfare, I thought: he must know the sorry state

of my stomach. Either his fuel or the psyche job worked, because

after he finished the brewsky, he went on to edge me by 30

seconds despite my running 5 minute, 52 second miles.

Later, as the sun was setting in the final kilometers of

Burgundy, the occasional glow from pyres of burning vine stocks

lit up the face of Philippe while he plodded through his 9.4-

kilometer individual stage. His head hung low, bringing to mind

the image of a disgruntled grizzly scavenging for scraps.

Occasionally lifting his head and recognizing the disappearing

sun, he would then raise his arms up in the air, as if summoning

our Group B to eulogize the dying light.

During Philippe’s stage, the Burgundy scenery seemed to me to

lose much of its magic. While these last fields would later bear

the renowned Mercurey vintages, this time of year the barren

landscape actually showed very few signs of life. The vine

stocks were bare. Some even incinerating.

My favorable impression of the French also began to fissure. The

French became impatient, as they were anxious to reach the

Savoyard-style fondue that the food-truck volunteers were serving

at the end of this stage. Cars from other teams were trying to

squeeze by those few vehicles that still bothered to follow


And the French were so damn subtle. We passed a petit farceur,

wearing nothing but a wine barrel and dancing as the Race

musicians played that tune I learned in grade school: "Tra la la

boom, dee aye, we have no school today." Darned if I could

figure out the connection. But relax, I told myself, you’re on


Some vacation. After Philippe’s stage we sped to Sennecé, that

night’s site for the race hotel, arriving after 9 PM. We

showered and scarfed down dinner in 20 minutes while sipping a

1997 Savingy les Beaunes. Simultaneously, a physical therapist

applied electrical stimulation to both of my legs instead of a

massage. After 1-_ hours of sleep, myself on the floor,

Philippe’s alarm rattled us at 1 AM. It was our turn to pull an


Saturday, Day 3

Total distance covered: 210.8 km in 8 stages

Before I could think "what happened to the supposedly high

quality of life in this county?," I was off and running into the

darkness at 2 AM from the village of Vonnas. Soon after the

start of this 18.3-km individual stage, one runner, from the

Paribas team, dropped out. He had quickly succumbed to the false

sense of power that nighttime racing on these empty, narrow roads

created. The headlights from the race vehicles following us

shone only a few meters ahead of us, causing this particular

athlete to feel that he could cover that short distance faster

than he was capable of doing.

The runner from each of four other teams, including myself,

formed a pack to chase another runner, from the La Plagne team.

As we ran side-by-side to avoid tripping one another, the narrow

beam from our police motorcycle escort could light the way in

front of only one of us at a time. I felt fortunate when it

happened to be me. Occasionally, an invisible barking dog added

to the creeping sense of solitude. I could count on one hand the

number of non-race vehicles I had seen over the previous hour.

After a 10-kilometer chase, the synergy of the pack propelled us

past the leader with five kilometers to go. Our group effort had

helped us overcome the physical shock of competing at a time when

the body knows only sleep. I managed to finished in only third

place, in the village of St.-André-le-Bouchoux, 37 seconds behind

the winner.

At the end of the stage a more violent physical disturbance

overtook me: diarrhea. All that wine from Burgundy, all that

chocolate, all those other carbos and gruyere cheese, together

with the meal-on-the-fly from only hours beforehand, had finally

totaled me.

The good life would wreak its revenge on me six times while I

followed the other stages that night. In one instance, Philippe

accelerated our car well ahead of the caravan. As I crouched

down on the roadside, my calves were killing me. With the stars

above and the gentle sounds of the backwaters around me, it was

still one of the more beautiful dumps I had ever taken. True to

form by this point in the Race, I had to hurry as I did not want

the rapidly approaching lights from the caravan’s police escort

to catch me in the act. Had I been French, I probably would not

have cared.

Morning began to break at 5:30 AM, while we were following

Clautilde’s stage near the village of Le Roset. Frost covered

the ground. The rosy ladyfingers of the sunrise reflected off a

church ensconced between two sharply sloping hills. Just what

the Ringards needed_the terrain was becoming steeper.

Our car moved up alongside Clautilde. After she drank from the

Evian bottle I had handed her, I immediately took a swig from the

same bottle. The closest I would ever come to her, I resigned to

Philippe. His 12.4-kilometer stage came afterwards. At 8:00 AM,

stocky work horses dotted the foothills. Philippe trudged along

so slowly that his catatonic motorcycle escort teetered back and

forth, nearly falling over.

At the conclusion of Philippe’s stage in the village of Oncin, I

recalled that during the prologue back in Paris, the Race

musicians had played majestic baroque music by composers such as

Marc Antoine Charpentier and Jean Baptiste Lully. At this point,

however, they managed only a French version of that ridiculous

unicorn song. Those who had just rejoined the caravan after a

night’s sleep mindlessly sang along while mimicking in unison the

whiskers of a cat, perch of a rat and swaying trunk of an

elephant. Three days of this race had reduced us to animals.

All we did was eat, drink, sleep on occasion, migrate_and, in my

case, go to the bathroom.

According to the Race’s roadbook, my group had the rest of Day 3

off. Nearly comatose after the all-nighter, we blearily followed

the sun-drenched stages. These legs followed the emerald-green

Ain river, over a stone aqueduct bridge, and through quaint

villages such as Bolozon, Condes and Chancia. They continued

along as the river morphed into Lake Coiselet, itself emerald

green, and surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. From time

to time along the roadside, the petits farceurs, in various

disguises, would sketch out obscure French films. As we rolled

down the window to guess the title of one film, a Nazi machine-

gunned us with shaving cream.

My respite would soon end. At 3 PM, our team captain pleaded

with me to assist Group C by participating in the final stage of

the day, their 80-kilometer Supermarathon. I was tempted,

instead, to join many of the support volunteers who, by then, had

seen their fill of the Race. Right before this stage, they

abandoned the caravan and went ahead to that night’s hotel to

watch the France-England rugby match on TV.

One of the canteen workers that remained with the caravan gave me

a raw egg. She was playing a French game in which the recipient

of the egg has no idea what to do with it but dares not drop it,

lest it break. This is my brain, I thought of the white object

cradled in my hand. If I allowed it to hit the ground and

splatter, this would be my brain after three days of this

(expletive) Race. No, I would not let myself drop the ball: I

agreed to do the Supermarathon. Not officially scheduled to run,

I would be a ringer Ringard.

Poking fun at the drug scandal that scarred last year’s Tour de

France, another Race volunteer passed around granulated chocolate

and a straw to sniff it. I refused to partake–the breathtaking

scenery would provide all the doping I needed to keep me going.

Shortly after the departure from the village of Les Neyrolles,

snow, glistening from the sun, began to linger over the Alps

foothills. As we ran through the increasingly steep slopes of

the Cîmes foothills, green pastures alternated with thick


By then, the Ringards had a firm hold on last place. What the

hell, the six of us running this stage were going to enjoy it.

At the end of one of his relays, Gérard threw the baton behind

Christian instead of handing it off to him. At the conclusion of

another, Gérard tossed the baton under the team car trailing him,

causing us all to roar with laughter except for Christian who

went to fetch it. I was running a relay at the 28-kilometer

mark, when a food-truck worker on the side of the road handed me

a glass of heated wine. Surprising the few Race volunteers at

hand, all of our runners emptied out of our two vehicles for a

toast that lasted 5 minutes. By this point, the next-to-last

team led us by so much that we could no longer even see them.

At the 38-kilometer mark, near the town of Craz, we passed

another group of food-truck workers standing in the twilight

around a glowing fire pit. They had actually driven ahead of the

Race caravan at noon to prepare the fire and cook for us weary

warriors. Recognizing this Herculean effort, all the Ringards,

of course, just had to stop again. We were the only team to stop

there. For half an hour, we cracked jokes around the fire as we

downed potatoes gunked with sour cream, warm bananas and eggs,

and more chocolate. And we sipped more warm wine. The

motorcycle cops were so fed up with our antics that they

abandoned us and sped ahead to rejoin the other teams.

Full, without an escort, and an hour behind the next team, we

realized that cheating would be our best option. Instead of a

runner continuing the relay, we all piled into our two team cars

and drove off. Ten kilometers later, we heard Algerian music. A

scantily clad Race volunteer was performing a belly dance. We

jumped out of our cars and shared a dance. Afterwards, we drove

22 kilometers before catching up to the team ahead of us and

relaying again. Our legs ached all-the-more from the extended


We finally arrived at the town of Rumilly at 9:00 PM, to the

cheers of villagers and the unsuspecting others from the caravan.

We quickly entered the bar La Grenette for a celebratory drink.

The patrons, watching soft porn on prime-time French TV, cheered

every time they saw a love scene.

Sunday, Day 4

Total distance covered: 82.7 kilometers, in 5 stages

During a steep, 25.5-kilometer stage from Pomblière to Aime in

the Alps, an estranged lover of Valerie appeared out of nowhere,

in jeans and chugga-boots, backpack in tow, and began to jog,

shadowing the four Ringards running together. A Guallist Forrest

Gump, with criminal intent? To the contrary, "C’est beau,"

opined my male teammates, who let him be despite a distraught

reaction from Valerie. What would have been stalking in the U.S.

was, in France, a beautiful gesture.

Before the last stage up the access road, the entire Race caravan

sat down, blocking the way, to stage a mock strike. We were

protesting the Race’s short supply of hotel rooms, women and

beer. Even the Presidential Guard crossed the picket line.

Actually, the Belgian team claimed that the organizers were

overly generous with hotel rooms. Those who were not running an

all-nighter spent the entire night drinking at the hotel bar.

Arriving at the ski resort, we were met with an outdoor

celebration. In a final act of tacky yet playful disrespect, the

French pelted the team of organ transplant recipients with

snowballs as they took the stage to receive public





First and Second place winners of the Top Ten List Contest for

December will receive a Uflash Sportbelt! And here they are:

Top Ten Effects Y2K will have on our Running

First Place from Chase Duarte:

10. Once you've withdrawn your entire savings account in

preparation for the end of the world you will now be able to

purchase that lifetime supply of running shoes.

9. Without the nuisance of that pesky job you used to have, there

will be more time to run.

8. Also, you can sleep in everyday since you'll need full

sunlight in order to clock your training runs with that new

SUNDIAL wristwatch. (Note: Patent this idea now.)

7. Hill training will be the meat and potatoes of your training

even on easy days since we will be hiding in the mountains,

unless you opted for the underground shelter, in which case

running in place would get the heart rate going. Might as well

stay in shape.

6. The roads will be crowded with at least 10 times as many

runners in the new millenium since we forgot about making those

cheesy electronic exercise machines Y2K compliant.

5. Since airplanes will be landing or crashing everywhere but

their intended destinations, AIRPORTS will be the new and safe

places to have races. For example: The Airport Agony Marathon,

Run the Runway Relays, First Class 5000

4. I hear technology is on the verge of developing

teletransportation in Y2K. This could help run some unbelievable

PR's. "Beam me to the FINISH LINE, Scotty"

3. This new technology would be beneficial for setting new world

records, age group records and course records especially since

all the computer saved times will revert back to the year 1900.

2. If predictions of "FIRST CONTACT" with other civilizations in

outer space come true, it will be necessary to create a new

category for ALIENS. The competition would be out of this world.

1. And the number one effect that Y2K will have on our running

would be if we couldn't receive RUNNER'S NICHE and all those

monthly running tips we would be lost in the new millenium.

Second Place:

From Polly Ekin:

10. Random "Power" outages will cause a shortage of our favorite

Powerbar flavors.

9. FEMA will declare running a Y2K compliant transportation


8. Running will be recommended as a way to stay warm in case the

heat goes off.

7. Those space blankets you've collected from past marathons can

be made useful.

6. Since foreign runners will be unable to travel, American

runners will start winning distance events once more.

5. In the absence of electricity, "Fartlek-ing" will become a

national pastime.

4. Those anti-odor coolmax fabrics will come in handy if we can't

take showers.

3. If "the grid" goes down, we'll still have the Saucony grid


2. Discreetly peeing on bushes will become a valuable skill

(right ladies?)

1.When tissues become unavailable, we'll all know how to blow

snot rockets.



This month we will again have a top ten list contest. To enter

you will need to use your creativity and come up with your own

list. The title of this month's list is "Top ten things other

runners do that annoys me."

Email your entry with the subject "Top Ten List" to:


The top two entries will be printed in the next issue of the

Niche, plus they will receive a free Uflash Sportbelt!

(No profanity or questionable material, please, this is a family

oriented magazine.)


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

http://www.uflash.com, your online night safety store is now

OPEN! Visit our website and give us your feedback! Be Seen, Not


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




*Chicken Soup for a Runner's Soul?

The inaugural Chicken Soup Loop 10K race will be run in New

York's Central Park on Sunday, January 23 at 10:00 a.m. The race

is presented by the 92nd Street Y in partnership with the New

York Road Runners Club. For registration and information call the

NYRRC at 212-423-2284.

*Frank teams with RRCA

Olympic Marathon Champion and Hall of Famer, Frank Shorter, and

his sports enterprise, FRANK SHORTER SPORTS, have signed a multi-

year, exclusive agreement to produce high performance running

apparel and related items for the 190,000 members of the Road

Runners Club of America (RRCA). The products will bear the RRCA

logo and Frank’s signature and will be sold to the RRCA members

as the MEMBERS’ COLLECTION by Frank Shorter. This exclusive

product will be available in early 2000.




* May the Circle Be Unbroken...

Runners will appreciate you informing them of a way that they can

run in competitions throughout the world by allowing them free

accommodations with fellow members!


* New Women's Running Site:


* Gordon's Book:

Gordon Pirie's book "Running Fast and Injury Free" can now be

read in full, for free, online.


*Covered Bridges Race

The Ninth Annual Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Quechee and

Woodstock, Vermont will be held on May 13, 2000.

This popular 13.1 mile footrace features 4 Vermont covered

bridges along the scenic and pastoral Ottauquechee River and

through the beautiful Village of Woodstock. There are several

musical bands and lots of good post race grub.

The event will again be limited to 2,000 runners and registration

will only be available at:





* 2000 in 2000!

Dear Runner's Niche,

My name is Randy Moore. My Son, Christopher, and I are building

up to run 2000 miles in the year 2000. He runs cross country for

his school, and I have one marathon (1998 Chicago) under my belt.



Randy Moore

*Fire In the Belly

Dear Runner's Niche,

I loved your opening about the second boom. "Fire in the

belly..." is a phrase that has a lot of meaning. For me it

means logging my 30 to 45 mile weeks, 12 to 14 hour days at work

with 5, 6 and often 7 day weeks, including coaching, in order to

get out there on those special days to check what's left in the

gut from mile 23 on. The marathon is a special flame for all of

us- let's light this candle!

- Daryl Anderson




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Destiny Earned


By Woody Green

Uta Pippig has a contagious condition. Her genuine, gleaming white

smile spreads to everyone around her. I witnessed this a few weeks

before this year's Boston Marathon, as she and her coach and

companion Dieter Hogen addressed a group of runners in Boulder.

The crowd was restless when she arrived, having waited over a half

hour past the scheduled start time of the talk. Uta melted any edge

to the groups temperament quickly with her soft, friendly voice and

ready laugh.

If anyone had a right to be on edge, it was Uta. Unsure if she would

be going back to Boston, her training not quite where she wanted it

to be, a chance at another Boston victory was none the less dangling

like a carrot before her nose.

Even without another Boston win Uta has certainly made a place for

herself in marathon history. A best of 2:21:45 makes her the third

fastest marathoner of all time. She won the Boston and Berlin

marathons three times each, and also managed a win at New York. As

impressive as this list of accomplishments may be, many remember

her best for the way she wins.

Uta normally blows kisses to the crowd as she approaches the finish.

She celebrates her victory without the common self-centered

approach of so many athletes. Instead, she makes the crowd a part of

the experience, she shares it with them and people love her as a


This evening in Boulder, the crowd clings to each word with the

attention normally reserved for royalty.

As dramatic as her come from behind win was at Boston last year,

the first question put to Uta was about her disappointing show at the

Atlanta Olympic Games. Much had been made of the hardship she

went through in Boston, and the media was certain she would never

recover in time to run well at Atlanta. In fact, she did not run well,

eventually dropping out of the race with a noticeable limp. Uta put

the record straight, however. She said her training had been going

very well, she was quite fit, and there were no left over problems

from Boston.

"I hope you have a tissue," she told the crowd as she began her story

of the Atlanta Olympics.

In great shape and ready to go for the gold medal, Uta decided early

in the race to make a move. She pulled to a 30 second lead by the 5

kilometer mark.

"I didn't go out too fast, only 17:00 at five kilometers. That is slow,"

she claimed.

Uta recalled talking to Joan Benoit a few months before the race. Joan

made a very similar move early in the 1984 Los Angeles games and

won that race. None the less, she warned Uta not to go out too fast in

Atlanta. Uta laughed at the comment. "But Joanie," she said," what did

you do at LA?"

Uta is no stranger to bold moves. She and Dieter left East Germany

after the fall of the wall, but she was technically a deserter since she

was still officially a part of the old East German army. She and Dieter

were on their own.

On her own at the front of the Olympic marathon, she clearly had no

fear. The early move was not a desperate act as some in the media

thought. It was a calculated approach to the race by a very confident,

fit runner. In fact, 17:00 for five kilometers is about 2:23 marathon

pace. This was a pace she felt confident she could maintain.

Uta's undoing was not a mistake in pace or pre-race training. It

involved her racing flats. These were the same shoes she wore to

victory in Boston, and they had been occasionally used in training.

Unfortunately, these comfortable shoes had a worn outsole that made

them a little slick on the rain wetted pavement at Atlanta. In

addition, there was a little too much room in the shoes. Perhaps they

had stretched with use. In any event, the slipping both on the

pavement and inside the shoe cost her dearly. She got a severe pain

in her midfoot first, her shin later. Sciatica shot up her leg. She

continued until it was apparent there was no reason to go on. When

she left the race she had slipped all the way to eighth place.

Uta handled the disappointment better than her parents, who

couldn't stop crying when she visited them after the race. She told

them this wasn't so bad.

"I can run, at least," she told them. "There are people out there who

would like to run and can't." Such is Uta's outlook.

Dieter handled the disappointment in his usual, scientific, manner. He

had to dissect the problem. He made use of ultra high speed cameras

to photograph Uta's foot inside the racing flats. He discovered a

serious twisting of the metatarsals as a result of the slipping motion,

which caused a stress fracture in her foot and in her tibia.

After twenty marathons, Uta said, "it was a stupid mistake. I should

have known better." Neither she or Dieter blamed bad luck.

Did luck have a part in her come from behind win at the 1996 Boston


Late in the race Uta was well behind race leader Tegla Loroupe, who

had taken the lead at the 18 mile mark. Uta had bad cramps from

both intestinal problems and menstruation. She had visible diarrhea

and bleeding associated with these problems, and yet she didn't stop.

Behind by over 100 yards with a mile to go, she pressed on. Then

Loroupe was hit hard by leg cramps. She was reduced to a shuffle

which permitted the diligent Pippig to take the lead and win in

dramatic fashion. It hardly seemed like luck at the time, it appeared

to be destiny.

It has been said that people often create their destiny, and perhaps

the extreme training Uta puts in had a lot to do with her ability to

persevere. At times she puts in as many as 180 miles in a week. She

lifts weights, does specialized resistance exercises and follows a strict

diet. In the past Uta indicates she has been so involved in training

that she doesn't even go shopping for months at a time. All of this is

carefully prescribed by Dieter.

Hogen was a coach in the old East German sports system. If this

brings to mind the injection of various banned substances, put your

mind at ease. Dieter was a rebel in the East German system. He felt

trapped by the political system. Before the fall of the wall, East

German officials would not let Uta and Dieter leave the country.

"They were afraid if we left the country, we wouldn't come back,"

Hogen relates. "They were right."

The very calculated, scientific approach of the East German sport

system fit Dieter well, however, and he takes a highly cerebral

approach to Uta's training as a result. Training paces are still

calculated in the old East German method of meters per second, for


As precise as the training approach is, Uta let us in on a secret. Each

day she takes note of how she feels and adjusts the training plan

accordingly. Plans may even change mid-workout if need be. Uta and

Dieter feel strongly that an athlete must learn to read their body.

Uta's diet includes plenty of vegetables and whole grains. Vitamin

and mineral supplements are employed, as well as sports drinks

before, during and after workouts.

"Dieter is the cook," Uta says. He figures the number of calories that

Uta burns each day and cooks just the right amount of food to

replace those calories. There is no deficit and no overage. "Except on

ice cream days," Uta laughs. "Dieter hates ice cream days."

It sounds as if no nutritional stone had been left unturned, yet Uta

had been making a nutritional mistake that contributed to the colon

problems that were so evident in the Boston race. She wasn't

hydrating enough. It wasn't that she wasn't drinking water. She was

making a real effort to drink water daily. It just wasn't enough.

The stress of training and the dry air in Boulder had taken its toll.

Uta now drinks at least a gallon of water a day. This is in addition to

sports drinks and other fluids she might consume.

Twenty marathons and still learning. Such is the life of a world class


As the enchanted group that had listened to Uta filed out of the

church meeting room, I wondered about the future.

We didn't know then that Uta would be running the 1997 Boston

Marathon. There we saw the same Uta we have always seen. Granted,

she did not win this time out, placing fourth. She wasn't in her best

shape, which she and Dieter knew before the race. None the less, her

2:28:50 proved to endear her even more to marathon aficionados. As

she ran, she shrugged her shoulders as if to say "sorry I can't run

faster for you today." She smiled, waved to the crowd and put a lump

in the throat of everyone who watched her.

After she ran 2:21:45 at Boston in 1994, many wondered if Uta

would be the first woman to break the 2:20 barrier. If she does, it is

likely that sports statisticians will remember her primarily for that

accomplishment. Most of us, though, will remember the kisses she

blew to her fans, her dramatic 1996 Boston finish, and that infectious


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