Vol. 1 No. 3 June, 1996




Do you have a running related you'd like to write about? If so, send

it on, I'd like to see it! RUNNER'S NICHE would like to include more

reader contributions. We want to offer a real variety of running

stories in these electronic pages.

Please don't feel like you have to be a professional writer to send

something along to RUNNER'S NICHE. Most of our contributors are not

professional writers, just folks with a love for running.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Sorry it is a couple of days late!

- Woody Green




RUNNER'S NICHE now 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. We will add features as

RUNNER'S NICHE continues to "grow up." If you'd like to visit, the URL

is: http://members.aol.com/woodyg3/web/runiche.html . Pass the

address on to your friends!




A new web site you might want to visit is the Boulder Road Runners

web site at: http://rainbow.rmii.com/~benjid/brr.html.

Another great spot is the RUNNING STATS web site, which features

race results from around the world. Their address is:






By Conrad Truedson

The National 12-stage Relay.

Sutton Coldfield, England

27 April 1996


Relays are always an exciting part of athletics. Who can forget

that incredible 2:54 1600 meter relay at the 93 World Champs.

(Probably most people, but that is another story.) Road racing in

the U.S. does not have much of a tradition in this area.

There are a few regional events such as the Hood-to-Coast relay and

the old Plymouth-to-Provincetown relay in Massachusetts. But

without some sort of club system there just is not the incentive to

put on these events. New England has such a system of local running

clubs and that is why the P-to-Ptown relay was so successful. In its

heyday there were over 250 clubs running the 86 miles from

Plymouth Rock to the centre of Provincetown on the tip of Cape

Cod.It was so popular that it was pushed out of the area to its

present race site in New Hampshire.

The last year of the P-to-Ptown race was in 1988. The winning team,

that year, Nike Boston, setting a new course record. Anchoring that

team was none other than England's Richard Nerurkar, who, not

coincidentally, played a key role in Bingley's attempt this year at the

all-time best mark on the Sutton Park course. Bristol A.C. in 1980,

with Steve Jones and Nick Rose among others, set the existing

standard of 4:00:37 for the 50+ miles.

Running in good conditions, sunny, cool and not much wind, Bingley

set the tone for the day by leading from mile 3 until the end. The

twelve stages are made up of six long legs of 5 mile 706 yards

alternated with six short legs of 3 miles 109 yards. At the end of the

stage 1 long leg Bingley's Mark Peters was in front and the Yorkshire

club never looked back after that. The only question was; will they

break the record and possibly go under 4 hours?

Bingley was slightly behind pace through the first six stages then

on stage seven it was Nerurkar's turn. Running solo (Bingley was

already 3 minutes ahead.) the Oxford grad blazed the long course to a

time of 24:50, the =8th fastest time ever behind Dave Moorcroft's CR

24:27 (1982). However, Bingley could not sustain the pace and in the

end came up short clocking 4:02:06 the 4th fastest time ever. The

next team, Tiptom anchored by former 2:09 marathon Tony

Milosorov, was over four minutes back.

From an American point of view it is this sort of activity that is

missing from the U.S. scene. Watching these guys bust-a-gut for

their club is true sport. Sadly missing in all the hype of athletics





By Michael Sandrock

Gary Bjorkland got his first inkling into the power and mystique of

the Boston Marathon one day not long after returning to Minneapolis

after competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. His running

store had just opened for the day, and Bjorkland was up front, saying

hello to customers.

"I had just gotten back from the Olympics and really thought I was

hot stuff," Bjorkland recalls. "My business partner in the retail store

we had opened was a 2:38 marathoner. Here I am, standing at the

doorway, greeting customers. One man comes in and I start talking to

him. 'Have you ever run a marathon?' he asked me. 'No. My partner

has run Boston three times, but I ran the 10,000 meters in the

Olympics.' The guy pushed me aside, and said, 'The Boston Marathon!

Get out of my way. I want to talk to a real runner.' That's when I

realized the importance of Boston"

Bjorkland eventually made it to Boston, and was one of the many

starts leaving his sweat on the famed course. Here's what a few of

them remember about their Boston Marathons:


"I won Boston the first year I ran it, in '86. I was a bit disappointed,

because I thought I would run faster. (She won in 2:24:55), but

because of the conditions that year I didn't. What I remember is that

the crowds are so nice. I wanted to set a world record at Boston, so

I'd go as fast as possible from the start and try to keep it going. The

Boston Marathon is easy at the start, but when it came to 25 K, I

couldn't keep it going."


"I always dreamed of running Boston, because of its tradition. It's the

oldest one, and I think all the runners want to do the Boston

Marathon. But I never did until 1987, because I didn't want to run a

spring marathon before the big championships. But when I wasn't

afraid to run a spring marathon, I chose Boston, of course. I came to

Boston for the first time in 1987 and won. It is the race with the

most history. After the Olympics, Europeans and World

Championships, Boston is number one. What I liked was the fans

cheering along the course. There is a big Portuguese community and

they cheered me, too. They knew a lot about runners, and about the

feeling of the runners. It is not an easy course, and when I was

running Boston I was competing against the course and against

myself. I wanted to do better every year."


"My most disappointing Boston was the first one I ran, that I

dropped out of 1973. That led me to quit running. Or, in 1977, when

I was a contender to win. It was a warm day and I ended up

dropping out. Both were disappointing, and I had some in between...

"Certainly winning it in 1975 is my fondest feeling about Boston.

That marathon, in terms of racing and how I did, was a big surprise

for me. I broke Frank Shorter's American record (with a 2:09:55),

and it came out of th e blue. That would have to be my Number one


"It was a windy and cold day, and Charlie (his brother) went into the

hardware store and bought some gardening gloves for me to wear,

because we were hanging around before the start. Don't forget, there

was no Gore Tex in those days. Those gloves later became a part of

our (running apparel) line. Charlie used to go along the course and

hand out water, along with Billy Squires= and other friends. That

always helped me a lot. I knew the course well. The fans knew me

and it was deafening when I ran."


"How did I beat Billy (in 1983)? I trained harder than him. I just got

very fit. I set some personal bests from 10,000 meters through 30 K.

I give Benji Durden credit for making that race. He took off and I

chased him. I had a series of weeks around 130 miles, along with

some good quality. I ran sub-28 minutes for 10 K. and set a world

best for 10 miles.


"My best memory? Winning it.I can remember I was absolutely

amazed at how many people were on the course. I went into the race

thinking I was going to win. I was leading up to the '84 Olympic

games, and I didn't have a qualifying time yet. Either I had to

impress the qualifiers, or that was it. I did a Moller trick, once you

think I'm gone, I come back.

"The hills didn't bother me. Being from New Zealand, we are used to

running hills. I grew up training with a lot of men and got used to

running the downhills hard to keep up.:


The memories are not all good for the elite runners who've made the

pilgrimage to Boston. The Boston Marathon may have cost Kenny

Moore an Olympic medal.

"I wish I had never run the Boston Marathon. I ran it once really

hard in 1970 and sustained an injury chasing Ron Hill in the sleet

and rain. That injury dogged me the rest of my career and affected

me in the Olympic Marathon two years later. I was an Oregon boy,

not used to running in that. There was a little bit of freezing rain and

wind, and Hill was just running magnificently as was Eamon O'Reilly."

"Hill ran 2:10:30, which for my money is worth 2:08:30, and Eamon

ran 2:11:15, breaking my American record. I was expecting to run

2:13 and ended up running 2:19 something, just under 2:20.

The injury came when Moore made a push to go after Hill. "I ran the

hills hard to maybe try to get warm and rev up the engine. I was a

good downhill runner, and I ran off the hills as hard as I could, and

in the cold I tore the hell out of my right hamstring."

Unfortunately, the leg cramped in the same spot during the Munich

Olympic Marathon, when Moore was running with Ethiopian Mamo

Walde in second place behind Frank Shorter. With his leg cramping,

Moore had to drop back with four miles to go, finishing forth.

**** This is part of an article appearing in the Boulder Road Runners

Newsletter. It is written by running author Michael Sandrock, and is

reprinted here with his permission. Michael Sandrock is the sports

editor for the Colorado Daily. He has also written articles for many

running magazines.****





Michael Sandrock, author of the above article, has a great new book

out entitled RUNNING WITH THE LEGENDS. The book includes training

and racing insights from 21 great runners such as Frank Shorter,

Emil Zatopek, Priscilla Welch, Grete Waitz, Seb Coe, Uta Pippig and

many more.

Scott Douglass, Editor of Running Times had this to say about

Sandrock's writing: "It's a joy to read RUNNING WITH THE LEGENDS

and to indulge in its expansive treatment of some of running's

pantheon. As one who lives the life he describes, Sandrock is a

natural to write this book."

The book is published by Human Kinetics and can be purchased by

calling 1-800-747-4457. The book is also available in better running

and book stores.




By: Mike Morrisey

January 20, 1996, Boston, Massachusetts. At its annual All star game

the National Hockey League ushered in its latest television

innovation, Fox's Comet, officially titled Fox Trax. A little blue dot

that highlights the puck and turns into a red and gold comet tail as

it's shot towards the goal, or down the rink. The NHL's concept is to

make a hard to watch sport, hockey with its tiny and hard to follow

puck, fresh, new and viewer friendly.

How was it done is not the question, the real question is did it work?

Yes, and if you look at all the hype surrounding the live coverage on

Fox it worked 50 million times better than the actual game coverage.

The ratings for the game were as expected, but ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN,

ESPN and many local affiliates hyped the "technological advance"

with over a dozen major feature stories, as well as playing the

highlights in the hours after the game on hundreds of news and

sports news shows. That exposed the sport to 50 million non-hockey

fans, and hopefully whet their appetite for further hockey viewing.

There were also thousands of yards, not inches, of Fox Trax hype in

the printed sports media. USA Today hailed Fox Trax as the most

exciting innovation in television sports. The experiment was such a

success that Fox is using Fox Trax in many of its Stanley Cup playoff

coverage broadcasts.

How was it done? A two word answer, Digital Technology. Can road

racing utilize digital technology?

Beginning in the summer of 1996 innovations in digital television

production can alter road racing more than if a real comet impacted

an NHL rink. This summer a computer/camera manufacturer will

introduce a tapeless camcorder for broadcast television. Combined

with their existing nonlinear computer editors the time to edit a half

hour program goes from six to ten hours, with existing video tape, to

two to three hours max. Better specs and production values

included. By August 1997 the Falmouth 7 mile road race with a

10AM start can nationally air, on a cable sports network with a half

hour coverage program at noon, same day, via a "tape delay" - a soon

to be archaic term. Road racing will become viewer friendly 20

times per year, seen within four hours of the race, and technically

newsworthy for the first time in over ten years.

Unlike the NHL, no tractor trailers full of extremely expensive

equipment with about one hundred technicians to fit the NHL rinks

with special sensors will be needed. For road racing it's ten people or

less and barely enough gear to fill the trunk of a 1960 Mercury

Comet, compact car. And the video will be as perfect as the million

dollar NHL telecast, at a tiny fraction of the cost.

The NHL hopes to ride its comet tail to a rise in popularity. An

astrological comet circumnavigates the solar system about every one

hundred years. Should road racing wait that long to hitch a ride on

its own technological upshot? Lets hope not.

****Mike is a TV sports producer who has covered many road races

for TV networks.****




By Woody Green

Every serious runner would like to run a few more miles each week,

or do an extra interval workout, or get in some extra cross training.

The human body imposes it's limit on our training, though. It must

recover between workouts, and if it doesn't, your body has ways of

letting you know.

There are ways to help your body recover more quickly and / or

more completely, though. Aiding your body in it's recovery might

allow you to make the breakthrough you are looking for in your


So, what can you do to improve recovery between workouts?

Snorting elephant tusk powder while taking a bath in mud from the

Nile River, perhaps? Well, maybe, but there are some more basic and

practical methods.

1. STRETCH. "Nothing new here," you say. "Everyone knows to

stretch." Yes, everyone knows, but does everyone do it? Tell the

truth, do you ALWAYS stretch after EVERY workout? Do you do

several stretches for all your leg muscles, or do you just fly through a

couple of hamstring stretches and call it quits?

At a very minimum you should stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps,

groin, calves and outside hip. Better yet, take 10 - 15 minutes and do

a wide variety of leg stretches, and add an upper body stretch or two

as well.

If you have been neglecting flexibility, a few minutes of stretching a

day can give a huge boost to your running.

2. SLEEP. Your body needs down time to rejuvenate itself daily. You

can't expect to "catch up" on sleep on the weekends while catching

only a few Z's during the week.

Eight hours a night has been suggested as the right amount of sleep

by folklore and scientific studies alike. Frank Shorter used to say he

got ten hours or more a night when he was in marathon training.

3. POST WORKOUT CARBS. Studies have shown that the muscle tissues

absorb glucose more readily in the half hour or so after a training

effort. Further, one of the leading causes of chronic muscle fatigue

during periods of high training is depleted glucose stores in the


Take advantage of the muscles "thirst" for glucose right after a

workout by having a high carbohydrate snack or drink shortly after

your workout. This will aid your recovery time!

4. WATER. My massage therapist tells me that drinking more water

is a great help in recovery between workouts. She says this is

especially true in athletes who are nearing or into the masters age

groups. I guess she's telling me that I am starting to get old and dry


Good hydration is very important to the body is a wide variety of

ways. This just has to be good advice.

5. MASSAGE. Speaking of my massage therapist, massage is a great

way to help muscles rebuild and stay flexible. If you can find a good

sports minded massage therapist, it can make a world of difference.

Don't wait until you are injured or tight as a drum, go see a massage

therapist now!

6. RUN ON SOFT SURFACES. Swimmers, cyclists and other athletes

who do not pound the ground thousands of times a week can recover

much quicker from workouts than runners. Scientific evidence

suggests that running causes all kinds of micro-trauma to the

muscles and connective tissue. Swimming and cycling are much

easier on the muscles and joints because there is much less jarring

and pounding.

Short of doing all your workouts in the deep end of the pool, the next

best thing is to run on grass or dirt trails. If you live in Eugene,

you've got miles of wood chip trails to explore. Lucky you! The rest

of us can surely find grassy parks, dirt roads and trails or an old

fashioned cinder track.

By running on softer surfaces, you can help to cut the trauma to your

soft tissues. (It's kind of like hitting yourself with a rubber mallet

instead of a sledge hammer.) Your muscles should be able to heal and

build back faster as a result.

7. DO A WARM-DOWN. After a hard workout it is best to jog easy or

walk to warm-dowm. There is a controversy among coaches as to

why this helps. Some say that easy running helps remove lactic acid

from the legs, and thus cuts soreness and irritation.

Others say lactic acid has nothing to do with it, but by moving around

you flush the blood and fluids that would pool in your legs. This

prevents swelling and aids muscle recovery.

Whatever the reason, anecdotal evidence is strong. Warm-down

running helps recovery. But, don't do it just to add miles or get in an

additional workout. Warm-downs need to be easy to be effective.

8. HYDROTHERAPY. Oh, yes. The good old hot tub, you are thinking.

Well, hot water therapy can help to loosen muscles, and it does

promote circulation. But, some exercise physiologists think it can

promotes muscle swelling and may actually promote bleeding from

the tiny tears in muscle fibers.

Cool water, on the other hand, will help reduce swelling, stop

bleeding, and it feels pretty good once you get used to it. Some

runners find a couple of easy swimming laps in a cool pool does

wonders. Others like to wade in a creek or lake.

Dave Welch, husband and coach of Priscilla Welch, once told me that

she used to fill the bath tub up with cold water and sit in it after her

workouts. He found that too uncomfortable for himself, but believed

it helped her a great deal.

9. NUTRITION. There are thousands of books on nutrition, many of

them about nutrition for athletes. Find a good one and read it. If your

diet is poor, your body will not rebuild as quickly or completely as it


I hope this list of suggestions helps you to get more out of your

training. Maybe a little extra work on these items will help bring the

PR you are looking for.





Most every serious runner has heard of Mary Slaney. Her maiden

name was Mary Decker, and she was already a running superstar in

her early teens. Many people remember the young Decker battling

much older athletes in international track meets in the early 70's.

What many people do not recall is Decker's short college career at the

University of Colorado. She spent much of her time at Colorado

recovering from serious shin splint problems that had sidelined her

and taken her out of international track and field competition. Mary

had nearly decided to quit running, but then CU coach Rich Castro

talked her into attempting a comeback at Colorado.

After surgery and some good high altitude training, she got back into

shape. She managed a 2:01 800 Meters in the 1978 track season. By

the Fall of '78, she seemed ready to take on the nations best again.

The NCAA was still a male only organization back then, and women's

athletics were under the jurisdiction of the AIAW (Association of

Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). The AIAW Cross Country

nationals were in Colorado in 1978, held around Kent Country Day


The favorite in the race was Kathy Mills of Penn State. She had won

the '77 Nationals, and was running strong. She was the early leader,

and with a half mile to go, she and Julie Shea of NC State looked to

have the top two spots sewn up. Decker was back, but a strong third

at that point. Mary, figuring she had nothing to lose, surged to catch

the leaders.

Shea took a momentary wrong turn on the last bend before the home

stretch, but recovered. Decker, Shea and Mills were nearly even

coming onto the final straight. Decker used her superior sprint speed

and altitude training to break away and win in 16:59. Shea managed

second at 17:01. Mills, tiring badly, hit the line just behind Shea in


Colorado had a shot at the team title as well, but a normally strong

Dana Slater, 8th the year before, could manage only 39th. A depth

laden Iowa State won, followed by NC State, Penn State and Colorado.

Other finishers you might recognize included Margaret Groos

(Virginia) forth, Joan Benoit (NC State) sixth, and Lynn Jennings

(Princeton) ninth.

Decker left Colorado after the Fall semester that year. She had come

to Colorado out of shape and injured, but she left strong and ready to

re-enter the international track arena. The 1978 AIAW Cross

Country Nationals title helped boost Mary back into running







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There have been two positive drug test results of note recently.

Kazakhstan's world 100 metres hurdles silver medalist Olga

Shishigina has been banned for four years pending a hearing after

testing positive for the steroid stanozolol. The test was taken in


Yoshitaka Ito, Japan's top sprinter, tested positive for

methyltestosterone in a drug test by the IAAF in March. Ito, a 10.22

100 meter runner and national record holder, said ha has never even

heard of the drug and has asked for another test.

In a drug related incident,IAAF officials have demanded the U.S.

federation suspend athletes who competed in Mt. SAC Relays in April

against heptathlete Gea Johnson. Johnson tested positive for a banned

substance, but received a court order to allow her to compete, saying

her positive drug test was erroneous.




The BAA is offering a 100th Boston commemorative video with

historical footage, parts of this years race and more. It is available

for $24.99 by calling 1-800-457-4189




There wasn't any! Come on, you guys, drop a line. Just e-mail your

comments to: Woodyg3@aol.com!!!




- Olympic Trials

- Undertraining Trap

- Blast From the Past: 1985 Chicago Marathon

- Other cool stuff


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