Vol. 4 No.12 December, 1999
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
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!
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that focuses on the specific needs of marathoners and
ultrarunners. M&B offers in-depth articles on training, race
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RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST
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: email@example.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
5. Italian Pietro Mennea was the world record holder in what
6. Yelena Nikolayma posted a world record of 41:04 in 1996 in
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
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.) -
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? -
4. In what city is the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon held? -
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
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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.
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MY CHRISTMAS BONUS TO MYSELF
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
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?
A TOUR DE FARCE
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
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. Patricks 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 lOpéra, as if waiting
edgily for their owners to return from coffee or a long dinner.
Shouldnt those motos be racing in the road in our stead?, I
thought. As for us runners, shouldnt 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 Christians 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 lAnche, where clear blue
skies reflected off a perfectly still pond.
The French didnt 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 Philippes massage. As Philippe
assumed his place on a table, a Ringard named Gérard, the editor
of the sports newspaper LEquipe, announced this headline:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the masseurs are going to attempt to find
Philippes 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
Philippes. 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 nights 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 teammateyes, an endurance athletehad
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 ones 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 Philippes 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, youre on
Some vacation. After Philippes stage we sped to Sennecé, that
nights 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,
Philippes 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
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
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 caravans police escort
to catch me in the act. Had I been French, I probably would not
Morning began to break at 5:30 AM, while we were following
Clautildes 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 Philippes 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
nights 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 Races 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 nights 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 years Tour de
France, another Race volunteer passed around granulated chocolate
and a straw to sniff it. I refused to partakethe 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, "Cest 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 Races 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
UFLASH TOP TEN LIST CONTEST
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.
From Polly Ekin:
10. Random "Power" outages will cause a shortage of our favorite
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
4. Those anti-odor coolmax fabrics will come in handy if we can't
3. If "the grid" goes down, we'll still have the Saucony grid
2. Discreetly peeing on bushes will become a valuable skill
1.When tissues become unavailable, we'll all know how to blow
AND FOR THIS MONTH'S CONTEST???
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
--- --- --- --- ---
http://www.uflash.com, your online night safety store is now
OPEN! Visit our website and give us your feedback! Be Seen, Not
--- --- --- --- ---
THIS AND THAT
*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 Franks 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.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
* 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:
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
* 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.
*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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