Vol. 4 No.9 September, 1999
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
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
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
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MARATHON & BEYOND MAGAZINE - THE RUNNING PERIODICAL THAT
GOES THE EXTRA MILE.
Visit their web site at: http://www.marathonandbeyond.com
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RUNNER'S NICHE / MARATHON & BEYOND TRIVIA CONTEST
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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
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RUNNER LIGHT, RUNNER BRIGHT...
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.
UFLASH TOP TEN LIST CONTEST
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
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, hasnt 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,
its 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 days 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.
Im 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 peoples 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 Im 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. Its 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 childrens 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 its
another cultural event). Several of Sarajevos 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 youre 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.
WANT MORE MILES?
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
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
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.
THIS AND THAT
*Fatheads Get Headaches?*
Research at the UCI College of Medicine indicates a low fat
diet can be linked to decreased incidence of migraine
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.
WEB SITES OF INTEREST
*The CROSSTRAINER II*
Innovative Logic Corp. announces the release of its newest
health and fitness software:
*Need a Coach?*
Coaching service at:
The Philadelphia Marathon, scheduled for November 21, has a
web site at:
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
*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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