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RUNNER'S NICHE

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Vol. 4 No.5 May, 1999

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NOTES FROM THE EDITOR

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This issue of Runner's Niche is a sort of "theme" issue, with several

book reviews for your consideration. I really believe that one of the

best ways to improve your running, gain motivation and add to the

enjoyment of the sport comes through reading. Maybe that's why one of

my summer projects will be building an extra bookcase to hold my

constantly growing library. I hope these reviews can help you to make

some decisions on possible additions to your own book collection.

On another note, many of you are aware that I live in Colorado, and I

am certain everyone is quite aware of the terrible tragedy that

occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20.

As a life long resident of this state, it is very difficult for me to

accept that such a thing could happen here. As a teacher, it is doubly

hard to swallow.

The United Way has started a fund called "the Healing Fund" to help the

victims, their families, and to aid in anti-violence programs for our

schools. If you would like to contribute to that fund, the address is:

The Healing Fund

P.O. Box 46531

Denver, CO 80201

Please make checks payable to: The Healing Fund.

Thanks, and I hope your running is going well!

- WG

 

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

MANY GREAT RUNNING TITLES LISTED! PLUS YOU CAN SEARCH FOR ANY BOOK

TITLE IN PRINT WITH UP TO 40% DISCOUNTS!

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MILE.

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

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RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST

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Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Harold Orr of Singapore.

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

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. 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:

Indicate what manufacturer produced (or still produces) the running

shoes listed below:

1. Chariot

2. Terra T/C

3. Gazelle

4. SL 72

5. Mariah

6. Equator

7. Streetfighter

8. Marathon Trainer

9. Jayhawk

10. Jazz

Last month's Answers:

1. The New York City Marathon had the most running participants of any

marathon in the United States last year. What marathon had the second

highest number of runners?

Answer: Honolulu

2. What U.S. road race had the most participants last year? (Hint: It

was not a marathon.)

Answer; Bay to Breakers

3. The Flying Pig Marathon will be held on May 9 in what U.S. city?

Answer: Cincinnati

4. Where is the annual Prefontaine Classic track meet held?

Answer: Eugene

5. What city is host of the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon?

Answer: Los Angeles

6 - 10 Who were the authors of the following running books?

6. "Once a Runner"

Answer: John L Parker

7. "Best Efforts"

Answer: Kenny Moore

8. "Better Runs"

Answer: Joe Henderson

9. "Slaying the Dragon"

Answer: Michael Johnson

10. "The Complete Book of Running"

Answer: Jim Fixx

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SLINGER SANCHEZ RUNNING GUN

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Book Review by Woody Green

Bruce Glickin, a runner and writer from Houston, Texas, has created a

running novel that is both spellbinding and intriguing. The characters,

which include a tremendously talented 800 meter runner named Jesse

Sanchez and his coach Kevin McClanahan, are well developed. It was this

very character development and the involvement I felt with the book's

protagonists that made me forget some relatively minor annoyances in

the story line.

The plot centers on a young man, Jesse Sanchez, who is training to be

the best 800 meter runner in the world. His heritage is half-Mexican

and half-Irish. As such he has some battles with racism. Additionally

he has issues with his missing father, who was physically abusive to

his family. The discourse on various societal problems is repeated

frequently in the story, and is large part of the book's strength.

Adding to the difficulties Sanchez encounters is the fact that his

coach is not well liked by many in the running community, especially

those in the fictional "NATF", the National Association of Track and

Field. Dirty politics and behind the scene happenings force Jesse into

some non-athletic battles throughout the book. A wild, fantasy styled

romance is included for good measure.

Along the way there are a couple of pretty far-fetched athletic

performances and plot lines, but it is all in the name of telling an

entertaining tale. The book does have some weak spots and there were

some tactless passages. As an example, the author's repeated

description of a slimy athletic agent picking his nose became quite

tiresome. Some of the details were so far off as to be annoying to a

true track and field buff, too. For instance it is stated in the book

that sprinters use much longer spikes than distance runners use. This

is, of course, not the case. All track runners are generally limited to

spikes of 1/4 inch or less.

Annoying details aside, I found it impossible to put the book down

while reading the final few chapters. Interesting side plots and

unusual or unexpected story twists made for enjoyable reading, and my

heart rate soared as I read the final running scene in the book. All in

all this is a must read for anyone interested in running fiction.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 4 out of 5 possible winged feet.

(Available from Amber Fields Publishing Company, ISBN number: 0-

9663458-0-0.)

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PAIN

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Book Review by Woody Green

In his first novel, Dan Middleman takes a hard look at the life of a

top collegiate distance runner, Richard Dubin, in his senior year at

the Florida Institute of Technology. While the work is fictional, there

is a hard edge of truth in this story.

Middleman should know a good deal about the lifestyle of a top distance

runner in the U.S. system. An Olympian for the United States in the

1996 at 10,000 meters, Middleman is currently one of the best distance

runners in the country.

The internal struggles and external pressures of life as a top distance

runner are the book's focus. Hardly a feel-good tale, the book looks at

issues such as alcoholism, difficulty with relationships and serious

depression. There are lighter parts of the tale, such as the antics of

typically wild college students and events such as a naked relay. As

you might expect of a book with a title like "Pain," however, the

overall tone of the book is dark.

Middleman writes well, and the story is quite absorbing. The characters

seem very real, although for the most part they are a grim lot. Without

giving away the ending, I will only say that the climax didn't make

sense to me. It was sort of like the author trying to convince me there

had just been a train wreck when I never saw any tracks. Of course,

life can be that way at times, which might be part of Middleman's

message.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 possible winged feet.

(Available from Tafnews Press, ISBN number: 0-911521-52-6)

 

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RUNNING FAST AND INJURY FREE

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Book Review by Woody Green

Gordon Pirie, a top British distance runner and coach, wrote this book

before his death in 1991, but it has only recently been available. It

is published privately by the editor, Dr John S Gilbody.

Pirie was never one to avoid controversy, and this is part of the

reason the book is privately published. For instance, Pirie believed

that shoe companies design and develop shoes that actually inhibit

correct running technique, and contribute to what he called an "injury

epidemic." This is not a position that many publishers would be anxious

to promote.

The book outlines his fundamentals for running form, correct shoe style

and fit, race strategy, interval training, weight training, diet and

vitamins. Some of his advice runs contrary to popular opinion, such as

his insistence that all runners should be forefoot strikers, and not

allow their heel to land first with each stride. His feeling was that

static stretching, the mainstay of most modern flexibility programs,

could cause injuries rather than prevent them. He also was a huge

proponent of interval training, with example workouts from his own

training such as: 54 x 400 meters in 64 seconds with 45 seconds jog

rest. Hardly mainstream, but he did win a silver medal in the 1956

Olympic 5,000 and set five world records in his career.

This book may not replace "Gallway's Book on Running" for basic running

advice, especially for the novice runner, but it is an interesting and

thought provoking piece of work. If you value looking at things from

differing perspectives and feel that it is good to occasionally test

your beliefs against other points of view, this book is definitely for

you. I highly recommend this for serious runners, especially those with

an interest in the history of training technique.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 5 out of 5 possible winged feet.

Ordering information:

Dr John S Gilbody

One Rookswood Close

Hook

Hampshire RG27 9EU

ENGLAND

For delivery of the book airmail to the US enclose $25.00 (i.e.

all-inclusive price; US cash, check or IMO accepted, but not credit

card). For orders within the UK and Europe the all-in cost is UKú13.00.

For Australia/New Zealand the all-in airmail cost is Aus$40.00

(Australian checks are okay).

 

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RUNNING FOR DUMMIES

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Book Review by Woody Green

I have never been much of a fan of the "Idiot" and "Dummy" books. You

know the one's I mean: "The Internet for the Complete Idiot" or "Car

Repair for Dummies." Who wants to buy a book that indicates a lack of

brainpower on the part of the purchaser? Yet, these books have sold at

an astonishing rate.

One of the latest of these is "Running For Dummies" by Florence

Griffith Joyner and John Hanc. The book was nearly complete at the time

of Flo-Jo's recent death, and the decision was made to complete and

publish the book. Included is a special 16-page color photo tribute to

the controversial multi-gold medalist.

If you are wondering what a sprinter can tell any of us about distance

running, rest assured that this is a well researched book that presents

sound distance running fundamentals in an easy to read manner. Areas

included are training basics, advanced training, running technique,

cross training, and even specialized advice for women, kids and

seniors. The book also examines the mental side of running, nutrition,

injuries, and strength training. Further, there are chapters on some of

the major races in the country and even an Internet directory of

running sites.

There is a good deal packed into 256 pages, with very little fluff and

self promotion common in some books written by well known athletes.

As with other books of this type, there are various "icons" in the

margin denoting warnings, jargon alerts, fast facts, myth busters and

Flo-Jo says tips. There are many sidebars on topics as varied as the

mythical character Achilles and statistics about the use of treadmills

as a fitness device. A sprinkling of cartoons adds some fun along with

the informative reading.

I must admit that I am surprised to be highly recommending a book from

the "Dummy" series, especially one written, in part, by a controversial

sprinter. None the less it is an excellent resource for the beginning

runner, and entertaining reading for those with experience.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 winged feet.

(Available from IDG Books Worldwide, ISBN number: 0-7645-5096-9)

Thanks to RUNNING DELIGHTS for providing this book for review!

 

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RUN TO THE SON

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Book Review by Woody Green

If you are of the Christian faith and looking for a book of

"devotional" style, "Run to the Son" may be of interest to you. Author

Jerry Snider presents a format that is a bit on the non-traditional

side, with the 26 chapters being one for each of the 26 miles of a

marathon. Here the running connection pretty much ends, though. The

interesting tid-bits, each reflecting back to a particular gospel

verse, are not primarily running related. I have to say that I wasn't

always convinced of the correlation between the story and the verse,

but found the reading worthwhile all the same. Each chapter has a sort

of Readers Digest feel to it, being short and often humorous or

intended to pull on the heartstrings. "Run to the Son" is an easy,

light read intended to lift the reader's spirit.

Runner's Niche Book Rating: 3 out of a possible 5 winged feet.

(Available from Paper Moon Publishing, ISBN number: 09653027-6-8)

Thanks to RUNNING DELIGHTS for providing this book for review!

 

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