Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How I Made Sports Illustrated Magazine!

O.K. This is slightly old news, but it is a bit relevant as there are many American Olympians who were not born in America. Some started running after arriving in America (Abdi Abdirahman in the 10000m) and others have Olympic medals from other countries (Bernard Lagat formally of Kenya who will represent America in the 1500 and 5000 races in Beijing. Unless we are paying them to come run for us, I agree with many others-but not all, that they are American runners if they are American citizens.

Anyhow back in 2002 Sports Illustrated had a short one page article "Catching up with" on Alberto Salazar. I read it and while appreciating an article on distance running and Alberto, Sports Illustrated missed the mark and did not even acknowledge the fact that Khalid Khannouchi (an American who came from Morocco) had just broken the world record in the London Marathon with a thrilling race against Ethiopia 's Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya's Paul Tergat.

I sent off this letter (the only letter I have ever written to a publication):

Marathon Man
It was nice to revisit Alberto Salazar (CATCHING UP WITH, April 22). However, the article begins, " Alberto Salazar has no desire to be known as the last great American marathoner, but that's exactly what he is." Well, in case you didn't notice—and it looks that way—an American set a world record in the London Marathon on April 14. Khalid Khannouchi broke his own mark in a long-anticipated, epic race against two of the greatest distance runners ever, Ethiopia 's Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya 's Paul Tergat . The often overlooked Khannouchi is an American citizen who was born and raised in Morocco , but this does not make him any less an American. Just ask Alberto Salazar , who was born in Cuba . The greatest marathoner in the world today is an American!
JIM HANSEN, Nashua, N.H.

I remember receiving my issue in the mail and seeing a large picture of racing greyhounds. I held it up to show my son since we had a greyhound at that time and as I held it up I was startled when I saw my name and letter printed on the reverse side of the page.

I was even more surprised when I was reading the Jan/Feb issue of Running Times and an article called "Foreign Born Americans". Imagine my surprise to see my letter to SI quoted in the article.

Anyhow in the 2002 London Marathon Khalid Khannouchi set the World Record against two of the greatest runners of all time. It was a classic race. I remember getting up early that morning and listening to the race on internet radio. Here are the top three times.

2 TERGAT, PAUL (KEN) 2:05:48

I wasn't really in running shape that Spring but decided to run a marathon that same day to celebrate the London race and also to celebrate my first Boston Marathon 20 years earlier almost to the day in Boston. That race was the "Dual in the Sun" between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley. My results there are another story but I died like I have never died in a race that day in Boston. I went out trying to run 2:42 and was on pace through the half, but it was hot and I dehydrated bad and stumbled in with a time of 3:23:58.

My school board was not going to let me run Boston in 2002 so I decided to do Fred's Marathon (a Boston alternative in Worcester, Ma). I had only run a couple hundred miles since the beginning of that year. My training was to do a 16 miler two weeks before the race and a 20 miler the week before. I ran Fred's in a time of 3:23:58. A week or two after the race I realized I had run the exact same time that I had run in Boston 20 years earlier. Fred's was basically an easy run on limited mileage. Boston 1982 was a dreadfully hard day when I was in the best marathon shape of my life. A week after that Boston I ran a 5 miler in 26:36 to break my 5 mile best PR set in college a year earlier. Two weeks after that Boston I broke my foot sliding into a base (sandbag) during a softball game and I have never run as fast.

Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley both suffered from that race in 2002 and never achieved the times or places in races that they had before that epic race. Here is a video of that race:

Here is Dick Beardsley talking about the "Dual in the Sun".

On a smaller scale, tonight the Gate City Striders had their Ultimate Runner workout. The Ultimate Runner consists of a 400, an 800, a mile, and then a 5k run. Then they age grade the times to find out who is the Ultimate Runner. It was a hot night like usual for this contest. I couldn't wait to get on the track because I really bumped my mileage up the week before. In the past 7 days I accumulated 64 miles of running and I feel like I am training for the first time in a long time. My times were 76 seconds for the 400, 2:44 for the 800, 6:00 for the mile, and 20:28 for the 5k. The heel lifts are helping although I still need adjusting. My left hip and adductor was tight all day today and during the races. My times were slower than normal but it was good to push and run for a change.

There are two good books on Dick Beardsley and the "Dual in the Sun" Boston Marathon race of 1982. I enjoyed reading "Staying the Course" by Dick Beardsley that talk about his running and what happened after with accidents and drug addictions. "Duel in the Sun" by John Brandt is another good read comparing Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley and their personalities as well as that great race and what happened afterwards to both runners.

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