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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 2 No. 1 January, 1997

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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The board of directors of the governing board of track, cross country

and distance running in the U.S. has done what so many have asked

of

them. Ollan Cassell has been voted out as the head of USA Track and

Field. Under Cassell's leadership, we have seen track and distance

running slowly falling to pieces in this country. It was time for Ollan

to move aside.

The debate runs wild as to what needs to be done to revamp our

sport.

Some say we need to do a better job of developing our talent. I sort

of

disagree. I think we develop our talent pretty well in this country.

The

high school and college system, while not perfect, still does a good

job. There are good coaches in most parts of the country, and a good

athlete really doesn't need to look too far to find an advisor.

The problem is that we don't have enough athletes involved in the

sport.

Track and Field needs to recruit bodies. Many of our best athletes

pass

track up in favor of soccer, basketball, baseball, football, tennis etc.

Every one of these sports does a better job of promoting themselves

than

track.

I hope the new leadership in USA Track and Field will find the best

promotional people they can find. Tell America about some of the

great

up-and-coming athletes we have, promote them and make them well

known to

the public. That way they can watch them as they mature and

become

interested in their future.

Two young athletes who should be promoted terrifically right now

are Bob

Kennedy and Amy Rudolph. Both set American records in the 5,000

in 1996,

and both competed well in Atlanta.

Some other relatively young distance runners who could make their

mark

in the coming years include Kate Fonshell in the 10,000 meters,

Gwyn

Coogan and Anne Marie Lauck in the 10,000 or marathon, Todd

Williams

(despite his Olympic woes) in the 10,000, Marc Davis in the

steeplechase, Steve Holman in the 1500, Brandon Rock in the 800

and Mark

Coogan and Jerry Lawson in the marathon.

USA Track and Field can't wait around for ABC to do an "up close and

personal" spot on these folks at the next Olympics. They have to do

the

job of promoting these athletes now.

Maybe even more important is highlighting our fully developed

stars. All

the time we hear that there is no top distance running talent in our

country today. Nonsense.

Lynn Jennings is the best example I can think of. This year she won

her

NINTH national cross country championship. She won the World

Cross

Country Championships three times in a row from 1990 to 1992.

Lynn

earned a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters in the '92 Olympics, a

bronze

in the World indoor 3,000 in 1993 and a silver in that same event in

1995. She should be a household name in this country, someone who

young

runners strive to emmulate. Sadly, many Americans who run

regularly

don't even know who Lynn is!

Nike has done a good job of promoting Michael Johnson and Carl

Lewis,

but USA Track and Field needs to promote our top stars and not

leave it

to the shoe companies.

Best of luck to the new leadership. It will be an uphill battle to

restructure Track in this country. The job might be easier if Amy

Rudolph became a household name before the 2000 Olympics in

Australia!

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SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS!

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Congratulations to Steve and Annette Pierce on the birth of their new

baby boy, Joseph, on December 13th!

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MICHAEL'S NEW BOOK

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Review by Woody Green

Michael Johnson may be the very best sprinter to ever grace the

track.

There are those who would say his 19.32 world record in the 200

meter

finals at the Atlanta Olympics is the best performance in the history

of

track and field. (I am one of those, by the way.) Fans of Michael are

eager to know more about the man. I think they will be pleased with

what

they find in his new book "Slaying the Dragon."

It is hardly surprising that Michael picked this time to put out a

book.

Published by Regan Books only months after his historic double gold

performance in the Olympics, the book will be an obvious money

maker.

Many athletes have done the same. Books often appear shortly

following

the Olympics. All too often, they are disappointing, quickly scribed,

unsubstantial biographies. I'm happy to say that "Slaying the Dragon"

is

a well thought out, stimulating and entertaining work.

This book is not a biography as such, although there is a good amount

of

biographical information included. The inner sleeve explains: "This

book

is about how to identify what you really want and how to get there;

to

set goals based on realism and confidence; to work with discipline

and

resolve; to learn from the requisite failures and the too-early

successes; to achieve a clarity of focus and a sense of purpose; to

stick to your plan; to deal with pressure, to thrive on it, and make it

your own; to carve away the distractions that slow us down; and

perhaps

most important, to keep going after you lose the biggest race of your

life. Because you will. I did several times."

With tips highlighted after each chapter, this book offers a system of

setting and meeting goals in your life pursuits - a sort of pathway to

success which Johnson uses in his own life. I believe that young

people

and adults alike will find useful insights here.

The book, for me, was much more than a self help book, though. We

learned a good deal about what makes this athlete tick.

Johnson values his family highly, and credits his mother and father

for

showing him the way to success. He doubts the value of athletes as

role

models and says: "My parents were my heroes; their sacrifice and

discipline were the things I aspired to." In fact, the book's dedication

reads: "To my parents, Paul and Ruby Johnson, who are my role

models."

The now famous superstar had his share of disappointment. We

discover a

Michael who considered quitting track in college due to a string of

injuries that kept him from winning an NCAA crown until his senior

year.

Johnson reveals how he dealt with the disappointment of illness right

before the Barcelona Olympics, and his failure to make the finals in

the

200 meters there.

Of different personalities Michael tells us a little of what he thinks

of Carl Lewis, and why he admires Muhammad Ali and Jesse Owens.

We learn

about the close relationship of Michael and his coach, Clyde Hart.

Other interesting tid bits include the class he nearly failed in

college, why his seven or eight fishing trips a year are so important

to

him, the kind of music he listens to before a race, why he looks so

mean

when he is getting ready to run on the track, the reason he kept the

old

pick-up truck his father gave him even after earning a good bundle

of

money on the European track circuit, and even what made him cry

on the

victory stand in Atlanta.

The book's layout is fun. There are some great photos and interesting

graphics. Also, included are inspirational quotes from such varied

individuals as Benjamin Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre (a rap

artist), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Albert Einstein, Malcolm X, and

Martin Luther King Jr.

I can honestly say I couldn't put this book down. I highly

recommend it

to anyone, whether they are a track fan or not. Go get a copy. Now.

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RUNNER'S NICHE INTERVIEW: ANDERS SZALKAI

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This month we were fortunate enough to get an e-mail interview

with top

Swedish runner, Anders Szalkai, a 2:15 marathoner who represented

Sweden

in the Atlanta Olympics.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Anders, how old are you and how long have you

been

running?

ANDERS:I'm 26 years old now, and have been running on and off

since I

was 13 years old. In the beginning, I played soccer like "every" boy

in

Sweden, and did some track running. All sports were for fun but I

did

have some good results in running. At 16 years of age I ran 800

meters

in 1:59, and 3000 meters in 8:50.

When I was 17, my father died, and I didn't run as much but

continued

running by myself. Not so much track but rather cross country, just

training.

At 19 I was on my "high school celebration trip" with my class in

Paris, France. At the time we where there, the Paris marathon was

going

on. So some boys from my class had a bet with the girls that we

should

finish it.

With new shoes we ran , and for me it went well. Around 8,000 were

running and I placed 32nd. in 2:32:48.

Home again I was thinking of running the marathon, but you have to

train

so much, and there were much more interesting things in my life

then.

In 1992 I took up the running again, along with my university

studies.

In 1993 I ran the Stockholm marathon in 2:20:30, and after that I

was

really in the running again.

In 1994 I ran 2:16:02 at the same race and placed second. Then I

was at

the same level for a while. I couldn't do better without training more,

and my studies wouldn't let me train more. I trained around 90-110

km a

week. (Roughly 55-65 miles a week.)

In 1996 in January I ran 2:15:34 in the Houston Marathon and

placed

14th. Then I got the information that if I broke 2:16 once more I

would

represent Sweden in the Olympics at Atlanta. So I tried to increase

my

training, but it led to some bad study results. I should have been

finished with my studies

by the summer of 1996, I didn't finish until December of 1996.

Anyway I

had good luck in the Stockholm marathon because I broke 2:16, I had

2:15:53...

So I was in for Atlanta, but there I got a good lesson in how difficult

the marathon is. I had 2:24:27 for 64th place! And, it was the most

tired I have ever been in a race. It was a big thing to be there, but

next time I also want to do good...

So now my studies are over and I will try to see if I can be better

than

2:15 and if a can, I hope to have revenge in Sydney.

RUNNER'S NICHE: It must be hard to run in the snowy winters in

Sweden.

What do you do for training in the winter?

ANDERS: Now it's a little hard to train, but I think if you like running

you can run in all weather. This winter it has been between 32 to 5

Fahrenheit , and now there's a lot of snow too. So I do the distance

out

in the snow, and then the quality at an indoor track. I also do some

runs on a treadmill when it's too cold outside. You can also use the

snow to train heavy snow pulsing, and "long runs" on cross country

skis.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Do you lift weights as a part of your training?

ANDERS: Not yet, I think I will now when I will increase my training.

RUNNER'S NICHE: You've told us some of your best times. What are

your

bests for 5000 through the half marathon?

ANDERS: I haven't run so much on track since I was young, in 1992 I

did

30:36 for 10,000 meters. I haven't run it since then. This summer I

did

14:39 for one 5000m race, not so good but I think I will run a little

more track in 1997, starting with some indoor 3000 meter races in

February.

My half-marathon best is 1:04:42.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Do you have a coach?

ANDERS: I have a club coach, who helps me. His name is Ulf Kalin, but

I

so far have trained much by my own head.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Are you sponsored by someone?

ANDERS: In Sweden we have track and field clubs, and I'm in one of

the

best called Sparveagen Athletics. They help me with travel expenses,

and

if you win the Swedish-championship you get some bonus.I won in

the

marathon in 1996. Then I have free clothing and shoes from Nike in

Sweden. That's what I have today, but if I get little better I think I

maybe can get some more sponsorship.

This Autumn I worked a little besides school and saved some money,

so if

I live not expensive I can train until the Stockholm Marathon in June.

If it goes well there is some prize money in the race.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Are there many big races in Sweden?

ANDERS: Yes and no, our country is not so big so we only have one

big

marathon: the Stockholm Marathon in June, with around 10,000

starting

the race. Then we have one really big half marathon in Gothenburg

with

around 25,000-30,000 starting. Then our club is the organizer of a

womens race "Tjejmilen" with last year 33,000 participants.

In the autumn there is the world's biggest cross-country race called

Liding-loppet, I don't know how many run, but its from small kids

up to

a real elite race (30 kilometers on a hilly course for the men).

Then there are a lot of smaller races, and if you run good you can

live

on it for the moment. Some Tanzanian, and Kenyan runners come

here in

the summer, so there is good competition.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Do you travel to other countries often to compete?

ANDERS: Yes, when I run the marathon I like to run big races, there

you

can "feel" the crowed, then it's also nice to see different parts of the

world. In 1997 I plan to run the Los Angeles marathon on March

2nd. I

hope my full time running will show a little results by then. I think I

will arrive some days before, to run on snow free ground.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Can you tell us what you do for training? For

instance,

how many kilometers do you run in an average week? Do you do fast

running on the track?

ANDERS: My goal in 1997 is to increase my mileage to around 150

km a

week,(about 90 miles a week) and still have around 2 quality

sessions a

week, and one long-run every 14 days (30-35 km).

This week the quality was 10 X 1000m indoors with 60 seconds rest

averaging 2:57. Then 25 minutes up and down a hill of 200 meters.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Do you have special foods that you think help you

to run

well?

ANDERS: No, I eat everything. When you train a lot, I think, you need

to

think to eat a lot. The Swedish food is healthy.

RUNNER'S NICHE: What are your future goals as a runner? Will we

see you

running in the 2000 Olympics in Australia?

ANDERS: I will try to see how good I can be, and hopefully I will get

so

good that I can take a revenge in 2000 for my bad race in Atlanta.

RUNNER'S NICHE: Do you have a runner from the past that you try to

be

like?

ANDERS:I admire some runners but I don't want to be like any other

runner,I want to be myself and create my own way.

 

 

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BLAST FROM THE PAST:

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Here are some interesting long sprint to distance running results

from

the inaugural World Cup meet held in Dusseldorf in September of

1977:

Mens 400:

1. Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 45.36

Mens 800:

1. Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 1:44.0

2. Mike Boit (Kenya) 1:44.1

Mens 1500:

1. Steve Ovett (GB) 3:34.5 - National Record

2. Thomas Wessinghage (WG) 3:36.0

Mens 5000:

1. Miruts Yifter (Ethiopia) 13:13.8 - National Record

2. Marty Liquori (USA) 13:15.1 - National Record

Mens 10,000:

1. Miruts Yifter 28:32.3

2. Jorg Peter (EG) 28:34.0

3. Jos Hermans (Hol) 28:35.0

5. Rodolfo Gomez (Mex) 28:45.5

6. Frank Shorter (USA) 28:52.5

Mens 400 Hurdles:

1. Edwin Moses (USA) 47.58

Womens 400:

1. Irena Szewinska (Pol) 49.52

2. Marita Koch (EG) 49.76

Womens 800:

1. Totka Petrova (Bul) 1:59.2

Womens 1500:

1. Tatyana Kazrankina (USSR) 4:12.7

2. Francie Larrieu - Lutz (USA) 4:13.0 (Name later changed to Larrieu

-

Smith)

Womens 3000:

1. Grete Waitz (Nor) 8:34.5

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PLUG FOR A GREAT PUBLICATION

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

Joe Henderson is a name that most runners are familiar with. Joe has

written numerous books on running, and has written articles for

virtually every running magazine ever in existence. Currently he is

the

west coast editor for Runner's World magazine.

Some of you may not be aware, however, that Joe puts out his own

monthly

publication. Joe Henderson's RUNNING COMMENTARY is a newsletter

style

magazine filled with every type of running information you can

imagine.

Joe is a master wordsmith, and he makes running news, training

advice

and personal anecdotes flow seamlessly together in an entertaining

manner. Joe is an expert both on the elite running scene and the

world

of the average jogger. Every runner will find plenty to to interest

them

in each issue of RUNNING COMMENTARY.

A subscription will not break the bank, either. U.S. subscriptions are

$19, Canadian $20 and the foreign air mail rate is $22. If you are

interested the address is:

61 West 34th Avenue

Eugene Oregon 97405

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THIS MONTH'S LIST

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*12 RUNNING DAYS OF CHRISTMAS*

A little late, but here is Lorraine Green's version of "The Twelve Days

of Christmas"

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A really cool

heart rate monitor.

Second day: Two brand new Nikes.

Third day: Three running books.

Forth day: Four ripe bananas.

Fifth day: FIVE POWER BARS!

Sixth day: Six cans of beer.

Seventh day: Seven free race entries.

Eighth day: Eight massages.

Ninth day: Nine pairs of shorts.

Tenth day: Ten multi-vitamins.

Eleventh day: Eleven large pizzas.

Twelfth day: Twelve pairs of socks.

Editors note: Approximate cost of above items: $1,088.00.

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WEB SITES OF INTEREST

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*Once A Runner / Pictorial History of the Mile*

Last month's article on running novels elicited a response from an

avid

fan of the novel "Once A Runner" by John L. Parker Jr. A web site

devoted to this book has been set up by Joel Kress.

Joel has other running sites of interest, including a very nice

pictorial history of the mile. Visit his home page at:

http://www4.ncsu.edu/eos/users/j/jckress/www

From there you can access any of his pages, including the "Once A

Runner" page.

*Badgerland Striders*

A site devoted to the Badgerland Striders - the largest running club

in

Wisconsin - can be found at:

http://www.altcom.com/bls

*Swedish Web Page*

Our friend, Anders Szalkai from Sweden, tells us there is an

interesting

web page at:

http://www.marathon.se

 

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READER'S MAIL

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I'm specifically interested in anything you may have on I.T. band

injuries. I am currently trying to heal one that is not being

cooperative.

- tmrkshay@juno.com

Ed: Last month shin splints, this month I.T. band. Our readers are

certainly asking about the most notorious running ailments lately!

This

is the very injury that felled Bob Kempainen a few weeks before the

Atlanta Olympics.

I.T. band is short for iliotibial band. This is a sheet of connective

tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to the outside of your

knee. The pain is caused by friction and swelling of the tissue.

Usually

it hurts at the knee, but the pain can be in the hip as well.

This injury almost never goes away if you don't stop running. You

need

to take this injury seriously, because it can be very difficult to get

rid of. Most sports doctors suggest 10 days to two weeks off.

After taking time off with icing and plenty of stretching, avoid

running

on uneven surfaces and sharp turns as this can stress the I.T. band,

which is there to support and stabilize leg. You might want to have a

trainer or sports doctor check your leg length, as differing leg length

can compound this problem. Keep stretching and make sure your

shoes are

in good shape. Also avoid hills and speedwork for a while.

Please see a trainer or physician if the problem does not go away

within

a couple of weeks. I.T. bands are nothing to fool around with! Bio-

mechanical instabilities in the foot can sometimes be the root cause

of

this problem, so don't rule out the possibility of being fitted for

orthotics.

Good luck and we hope you have a great new year of running!

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ODDS AND ENDS

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- Boston Marathon entry will now cost $75, up from $50 last year.

- The Houston Marathon, to be held on January 12th, charges "only"

$40

by comparison.

- Sorry to say, Casio no longer makes the popular 30 lap memory

watch

that so many of you love. If you've got one that still works, treat it

gently!

- While there may be a ton of foreign athletes getting athletic

scholarships at U.S. universities, it should be pointed out that

Stanford won both the mens and womens NCAA cross country titles

with 14

American runners.

 

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RUNNER'S NICHE IS ON THE WEB!

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

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

issues

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

program

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

like

to visit, the URL is:

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

Pass the address on to your friends!

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