Vol. 4 No.9 September, 1999




Since you are getting Runner's Niche free of charge, you

might wonder how we make any money on this publication. The

answer is, we don't! Not a dime. What about the small text

ads which appear here and there in the magazine? Don't

those generate some income? Nope. The ads are provided for

folks who sponsor contests or give us books or products for


That being the case, there are no fancy automatic computer

generated responses to your emails. New subscribers have to

wait until I have some free time to get on the subscribers'

list and get their first issue. And, each month I get about

100 error messages sent back after mailing the magazine.

Most of these are for email addresses that no longer exist.

Others are for people who have a full mailbox, and a few

are because of some sort of problem with the Internet

provider of the subscriber. I have to wade through these

error messages each month, deleting addresses that no

longer exist. There are nice people who let me know ahead

of time that they are changing their email address, and you

can see why I appreciate that.

I had an opportunity recently to subscribe to a service

that would manage my subscribers' list for me. This service

would automatically mail the newsletter, update the

subscribers' list, and provide almost instant service to

new subscribers.

The problem was the cost of this service. I don't mean the

monetary cost, but the cost of losing direct contact with

my readers. I enjoy the letters that come in from my new

subscribers. I learn a lot about why my readers run, what

their interests are, what they do for a living, and what

their favorite kind of running is.

We have a ton of people who like to run marathons, while

quite a few run as a part of a commitment to fitness or

weight loss. Many young runners who are just getting

started by running on their school's cross-country or track

team ask for Runner's Niche. We have elite runners who are

subscribers, and newbies who have yet to run a step, but

want a little information. Some have run seriously in the

past, and want to get back into it. Others are looking for

help with training or injury questions. And, these people

are from every continent on the planet, save Antarctica.

There is no way I would know any of that if I let some

computer automate the subscription process. So, even though

doing things "manually" can take a fair amount of time, how

else would I possibly want to do it?

So, if you send me an email, I'll try to get back to you.

Just remember that it will be me, not a machine, when you

do get a reply.


Please note that Runner's Niche has added a top ten list

contest to the already popular trivia contest. If you

aren't a trivia buff, maybe the top ten list will be more

your speed.



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

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Congratulations to last month's trivia winner, Oleg Shpyrko

of Somerville, Massachusetts. Oleg 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:

1. Who just set a new world record at the World

Championships in the mens 400 meter dash?

2. Who was the first male to break 44 seconds in the 400

meter dash?

3. Who held the world record for the mens 400 before this

year's World Championships?

4. Texas 400 meter runner Suziann Reid won the 400 meters

in this year's NCAA championships. In doing so she was the

first female 400 meter runner to accomplish a particular

feat in the NCAAs, what was that?

5. What team won the womens 4 x 400 meter relay in this

year's NCAA championships?

6. Clement Chukau of Eastern Michigan won the mens 400

meter crown at the NCAAs this year. What is Clement's


7. What does a 400 meter runner mean if they say they

"rigged up" at the end of the race?

8. Who holds the American record for the womens 400 meter


9. Marita Koch set the world record for the womens 400 way

back in 1985. What country did she compete for?

10. What Olympic 400 and 800 meter gold medalist was nick-

named "El Caballo"?

Last Month's Answers:

1. What is the length of the relay exchange zone (not

including the acceleration zone used by sprint relays) on a

standard metric track? - 20 meters

2. What is the height in inches of the barriers in the

men's 400 intermediate hurdles? - 36 inches

3. What is the height in inches of the barrier in the men's

steeplechase? - 36 inches

4. What is the standard distance for the men's

steeplechase? - 3000 meters

5. What are the distances run by each runner in the

distance medley relay? - 1200, 400, 800 and 1600 meters

6. What is the common name given to the final runner on a

relay team? - Anchor

7. What does the term "kick" mean in running lingo? -

sprint finish at the end of a race.

8. What does it mean if a track runner says, "the bear

jumped on my back" in a race? - It's that terrible feeling

of completely losing energy at the end of a race.

9. Which race is longer, 400 meters or 440 yards? - 440


10. The international governing body of track and field is

the IAAF. What does IAAF stand for? - International Amateur

Athletic Federation.


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The Pre Movie "WITHOUT LIMITS" will soon be available on

VHS videocassette. "Pre"-order your copy now at:





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First runner I SEE tonight. Being seen on the roads at

night can be, literally, a life or death matter. There are

a variety of reflective products on the market, from vests

to hats to jackets that glow when hit by headlights. There

are also miniature lights that a runner can wear so as to

be seen by drivers and cyclists at night.

One new company combines the reflective and flashing light

technologies into the same products. Uflash produces vests,

belts, leg and arm bands. They even have flashing collars

for your pet. All of these feature reflective fabric and

flashing lights. Any passing motorist would have to be

driving with their eyes shut to miss a runner on the road

with these products. I tested the belt, and found it to be

a great aid to visibility. It is quite light in weight,

using a tiny watch battery for power, and therefore it is

quite comfortable to wear.

The company literature indicates that these products are

visible from up to a mile away, and I don't doubt it.

Uflash has agreed to become a contest sponsor for Runner's

Niche, plus they are offering a special for Runner's Niche

subscribers. To find out about the special, see the ad at

the end of the contest rules that follow.





David Letterman fans will appreciate this contest. To enter

you will need to use your creativity and come up with your

own top ten list. The title of this month's list is "Top

ten reasons the marathon is actually TOO SHORT."

Email your entry with the subject "Top Ten List" to:


The top two entries will be printed in the next issue of

the Niche, plus they will receive a free Uflash Sportbelt!

(No profanity or questionable material, please, this is a

family oriented magazine.)

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Uflash.com would like to give an exclusive offer to Runners

Niche subscribers.

Purchase an illuminating SPORT VEST or SPORT BELT through

our secure online Yahoo! store at http://www.uflash.com and

receive a FREE flashing K9 COLLAR for your favorite running

companion or a FREE flashing ARM/ANKLE BAND! A $19.95


Please include your choice of either the K9 collar or

Arm/Ankle band and size you prefer in the comments box

within our shopping cart. This will enable us to include

your FREE GIFT with purchase.

Offer expires 9/30/99.

Remember, the best way to survive an accident is to

avoid it! Be Seen Not Hit!

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By David Jones

Last year David Jones, a keen amateur middle-distance

runner, enjoyed running around inner city Sydney and

Melbourne. Now living in Sarajevo, he enjoys delights of a

different kind- and a world away from the cosy surroundings

of the Harbour Bridge and Albert Park Lake.


Now that the airport is open, and the skies are clear of

trails left by NATO jets, and there are no more gut-

wrenching sonic booms, there are no excuses - come and

tramp the surrounding hills of the city often called

'Planet Sarajevo'. The town lies some two thousand feet up,

cramped between the mountains. Bitumen roads wind their

way up either side of town and eventually turn to gravel or

goat tracks, and small communities appear- ideologically

removed from the metropolis below. Three or four times a

week I run through these hilly back streets. My usual

circuit keeps my hamstrings taut and is great hill-

training, and the incredibly diverse scenery never ceases

to provide a stimulating and astounding experience as well.

If you want some running with a difference, then this is


I set off from my apartment block. About half a kilometre

up the road is Kosevo hospital. In silhouette against the

sky stands a giant construction crane which, as far as I

can tell, hasn’t been in operation for some years. Lying

abandoned beneath is a half-completed wing of the hospital-

evidence perhaps of the reduction in the population (many

fled during and after the war-referred to here as the

Diaspora). Right opposite, a new service station is

nearing completion. Like most constructions of this type,

it’s held together with bright stainless steel, glass, and

fresh concrete- and with its cheery blue and purple colour

scheme, is totally incongruous with the dull concrete shell

across the road. A little further on I scoot past

apartment blocks all dressed gaily with the day’s laundry

(one evening here I came across a wrecked car on the road.

With mangled fenders, crushed roof, and no wheels, it

looked like it had been dropped from a helicopter. More

unusual, it was gone the next morning).

Another kilometre on I pass by The Harp, a local drinking

haunt. This is the Irish bar here and is patronised mostly

by the international community. There are some 5000

internationals here working for one mission or another-

like the U.N, O.S.C.E, O.H.R, U.N.H.C.R, E.C, E.U, or the

oddly non-acronymic, Red Cross (I suspect many of The Harp

regulars have their own personal missions too —supporting

the A.G.F, the Arthur Guinness Foundation). Soon I pass

the row of kiosks that offers Bosnian snacks like cevapi

and burek. Delicious odours fill the air which often

distracts me from my rhythm.

I’m warmed up now, and as I cross the river I notice the

imposition of the Italian S-For barracks on the left that

occupies what was once part of the front line. Barbed wire

and sandbags still surround the area, and cheerless guards

consider my flight as my vista changes dramatically. One

hundred metres on the right a row of shelled out, bullet-

ridden buildings, now only vaguely resemble people’s homes.

Here, alone with the devastation, I often feel a little

uncomfortable and a chill ripples up my sweating back,

which is at odds with the heat of my step. On the left

side of the road grassy fields meander downhill until they

meet the road that goes west to Tuzla. A large cemetery

bears witness on the opposite hill.

A sharp right-hander and I’m at the foot of a winding 2-

kilometre hill. Halfway up, the scent of apple blossoms

fills the air and the freshness urges me to pick up my

pace, but the steep climb has me going no faster than a

quick walk. My calves are burning. Occasionally a herd of

bemused looking goats wanders across my path. More apple

blossoms. I am bewildered by the construction of a tiny

hut that stands isolated and totally inconsistent with its

surroundings (I am told later this is the beginnings of a

golf driving range. The nearest course is two countries

away, in Slovenia!).

I continue up and am now running along a winding lane with

lush, verdant countryside. Heady scented pine groves and

birds-a-chirping complete the picture. Apart from the

occasional burnt-out car (more often than not a tiny

Zastava-the Balkan Fiat 500), I could be in any country

lane in Europe. At the top of the hill I fleet-foot right,

and begin my return home. A quaint provincial village is

crested at the apex of my run. As I startle chickens,

scare cats, and rouse dogs, small children stand cheek-

soiled and agog at my passing. Their mothers pay little

interest as they hang washing or busy themselves in small

vegetable patches. Old men wearing berets sharpen tools in

their sheds or saw wood on the roadside. Anyone who

catches my eye I acknowledge with a wheezy Dobar Dan . The

children smile and shout ‘ciao’ and the animals go about

their business. The odd basketball ring does little to

contemporise this setting and a spectacular view of the

Sarajevo valley and the mountains beyond greets me as I

descend back down.

Soon I pass again the shelled and bullet-shattered remains

of the houses that once served as cover for front-line

Serbs in the years of the siege. At times I see a lone

worker carrying timber or mixing concrete; a tiresome and

unenviable undertaking to restore his former life.

Scattered, and almost covered over by the narrow thicket on

the left side of the road, stand old and oblique headstones

that bear reverential, but indecipherable epigraphs. The

high side of a park slopes away on the other side. As I

pass again the S-For barracks, I dart left through the park

gates. It’s serpentine path leading to a forlorn zoo. Its

unlucky inhabitants consist of a few rabbits, an odd

assortment of wild and domestic fowl, and a large, sad

looking bird that resembles a vulture. A pond in the centre

of the park is home to a medley of ducks.

The park also serves as a children’s playground, boasting a

small-scale train that runs on what looks like a giant

slot-car track- the whole thing about fifty metres in

length. Situated between an uninspiring mini-golf circuit

(soon to be renovated) and the pond, and looking like an

ominous sandbagged cubby house, lies a bomb shelter. Its

somber and muted colourings are in conflict with the

cartoon themes that surround it. As I exit the park I

scoot past a row of tulips almost too vivid so as to appear

artificial. I spy a lone sentry in his Perspex and barbed

wire attic in the barracks over the road. Large yellow

signs warn ‘no photographs’.

Back past the Harp and a few people are starting their

liver assaults in the beer garden. Joyful school children

giggle at my bare legs, which are an obvious sign of my

foreignness. Past them, a hundred metres away in the

valley, lies Zetra, the newly resurrected copper-roofed

sports stadium. During the 1984 Winter Olympics this

stadium enthralled Sarajevans and skating judges alike with

the perfect symmetry of Torvil and Dean.

Towards home I sweat my way past the rising minaret of one

of the many mosques being built with funds from a

benevolent, and different Islamic world. And I pass the

church of a different persuasion-the nearly completed House

of Oil (signs on street-lamps around town normally

heralding new exhibitions or up-coming music festivals

advertise the new peacock-coloured edifice as if it’s

another cultural event). Several of Sarajevo’s 1367 taxis

(90% of them are Golfs) are parked at the rank across the

road- their owners stand around in fervent conversations.

In my final uphill kilometre I pass by Breka - a huge

arrangement of apartment blocks that looks like a sort of

cream-coloured Battlestar Galactica. Finally, breathless

but revitalized, I stretch and warm-down outside my

apartment block while amused children look on. And once

again I contemplate the incongruity and harmony that so

much enlivens ‘Planet Sarajevo’.

Next time you’re in the tranquil Balkans and you want some

serious hill training, or you just need a little change

from your humdrum running routine, then pack your running

shoes and come on up.


The first golf balls were hit at the driving range last

weekend. Bring your plus-fours as well.




By Woody Green

Many a runner has been frustrated, overly fatigued or

injured when trying to increase their weekly mileage. The

same can be true of trying to increase the distance of the

longest training run. A few simple tactics can help.

1. When trying to run longer, slow down. This seems simple

and obvious, but most of us don't want to run slower, we

want to run faster. Stretching that 10 miler into a 12 mile

jaunt, though, may require that you slow your pace a bit,

at least the first time you try it. Later, as you build

endurance, the 12 mile run will be as fast or faster than

you used to run 10 miles. From their you can build to even

longer distances.

2. Don't try to increase mileage too quickly. Generally

speaking, avoid increasing weekly mileage by more than 10

percent, and don't stretch your long run more than 2-3

miles at a time. Trying to do more may work for a while,

but it will likely catch up to you later through injury or


3. When doing runs longer than an hour, make sure you are

drinking water. Dehydration will keep you from lengthening

your long run, plus it is bad for your general health and

well being.

4. When going 90 minutes or more, an energy drink or gel

might be what you need to power you through those last few

miles. "Hitting the wall" or "bonking" occurs when your

body runs out of glycogen. A carbo drink or gel can help

keep you going longer.

5. Remember that more is not always better. If you are

trying to post increases by pouring on more and more ultra-

slow miles don't expect positive results. More than likely

you will just injure yourself.

6. When increasing your training load, rest and

recuperation are even more important than ever. Make sleep

and good nutrition a priority.





*Fatheads Get Headaches?*

Research at the UCI College of Medicine indicates a low fat

diet can be linked to decreased incidence of migraine


*2-Mile Best*

At a recent all-comers meet in California, American Regina

Jacobs ran 2 miles in 9:11.97 seconds, which should qualify

as a world best. Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland ran 9:19.56

last year, which was considered the world best until now.






Innovative Logic Corp. announces the release of its newest

health and fitness software:


*Need a Coach?*

Coaching service at:


*Philly Marathon*

The Philadelphia Marathon, scheduled for November 21, has a

web site at:

http:// www.philadelphiamarathon.com





*Just What She Needed*

Dear Runner's Niche,

Thanks for sending the August issue - really enjoyed my

first issue and look foward to receiving more. I have only

been running since February of this year - began at age 47

- never could run barely a block before. It feels great -

thanks for the motivation and encouragement - it's just

what I need.






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