Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Year Ago: Running and Racing in 1980

I recently dug up an old sheet of paper with my summer mileage for the 1980 cross-country season at Wheaton College. I was never that talented of a runner, but 1980 turned out to be one of my better and more interesting running years. I ran some personal bests that year that were very pedestrian by collegiate running standards, but it was the best I could do.The sheet shows that in 12 weeks of summer training, I accumulated exactly 1000 miles of running.My goal over the summer was to do more mileage than anyone else on the team and hopefully make the varsity squad for my last year of college cross-country.

Here are some highlights of an average, but determined runner in 1980 that saw me race distances from 1500 meters to the marathon, plus a 50 mile run on the track. I basically wasn't needed on the track team in college, OK I stunk and we had plenty of guys much faster, but I did race a few meets here and there and practiced with the track team often.

1979 ended with me running my second marathon on Nov. 25 right after the cross-country season was over. This was the Philadelphia Marathon and I ran 3:03:57. After the race immediately  took a train to NYC, then a bus to Worcester, Ma., where I met some friends and we then drove 20 hours straight packed into a car to get back to college. Somehow I unwound myself to run the cross-country teams 24 hour relay on December 7- 8. We went 250 miles and then stopped earlier than 24 hours as too many guys were injured and couldn't run anymore. I said, "Never again!" to doing one of those. I like my sleep too much!

March 22-I ran a 1500m in 4:27 and a 5000m in 17:07.
April 13 I ran the Aurora Marathon in 2:54:38 (my 3rd marathon and my first under 3 hours. I had not run a training run longer than 11 miles since running the Philadelphia Marathon back in November-although I did run 30 miles in one mile intervals on Dec. as part of that 24 hour relay). My time in the Aurora Marathon is very important to me now. If I can get my hip and stride fixed, my number one running goal is to run another sub 3 hour marathon. If I do, I will get on this list of Longest Time Spans Between First and Last Sub 3 hour Marathons. The longer it takes me to go sub 3 hours, the higher up the list I go.

May 8- I ran a 1500m in 4:17 and an hour or so later ran a 5000m in 16:02. It was a beautiful night at a North Central College all comers meet. The 5000m was won in 13:50 something by teammate Danny Henderson. Olympian Steve Lacy and other top level runners werealso in the race. The closest I got was when I was lapped by the lead pack, but I got to watch the sprint finish from across the track.  Earlier that night an errant hammer throw went flying over a screen and hit a guy in the head. He died later that week.
May 17 Gil Dodds Marathon in Wheaton, Illinois. I ran 2:50:07 just missing the qualifying standard for Boston. I lost some seconds running into a parked car with about a mile to go and running too far around the  track before heading up the football field with just about 75 yards to go. It was a disappointing race to miss a qualifying spot by seconds, but I was the first Wheaton College runner to finish. 1980 was the only year the race was held. A lot of it was run on a gravel "prairie path".

Heading to the finish. I thought it would be one lap around the track.

Nope, you had to cut up the infield to finish. It was my second 11th place marathon finish in a row.

Summer training started June 2
Weekly mileage:
1) 98 miles
2) 74 miles
3) 107 miles
4) 100 miles
5) 71 miles
6) 92 miles
7) 53 miles
8) 92 miles
9) 90 miles
10) 55 miles
11) 73 miles  Ran the Falmouth Road Race in 39:58
12) 92 miles

I did make the varsity team for Wheaton College:
November 1- At the conference meet I secretly decided to try to have a "breakthrough" race. I went out with the lead pack and hit the first mile at under 5 minute pace. I tried to stay with the lead pack of North Central runners and other top runners as long as I could. It was going good until someone put concrete in my shoes and I waddled home in 27:55.The coach was mad! I was trying to go sub 26 minutes. You'll never know what you can do, if you don't try! I tried. I couldn't! !I then developed a sore right hip-later diagnosed as wallet in the back pocket of too tight jeans pain. I wasn't sure if I could run my final collegiate race.
November 15-My hip still hurt but I used a lot of Atomic Balm on it. Hit the first mile of the NCAA Div. 3 Midwest Regional race and found myself in dead last place. I can't imagine how slow that first mile really was. Fortunately my hip loosened up and I decided not to let my last cross-country race end this way. I took off and started passing people by the score and had a blast! I ended up running  26:52.

The end of cross-country running.
 November 23 I ran the Cape Cod Marathon. I finished in 2:51:57. It was not run in Falmouth in those days, but rather on the desolate and windy Otis Air Force Base. I was hacking away the whole race with a terrible cold and cough. Every cough seemed to send me backwards a bit. There was a lot of pack running and that time only netted me 44th place overall.

Here is a picture of race winner James Murphy finishing the 1980 Cape Cod Marathon.

Dec. 5 The Wheaton College Cross-country team was doing another 24 hour relay. After running the previous year, I said never again. I decided to start at the same time as the relay runners and run 50 miles around the track instead. I did have a plan to walk a lap at regular intervals as I was seeing what it would feel like to be an ultra-marathoner, not to go fast. It took me 8 hours 41 minutes and 43 seconds. I don't recall if I ate anything or what I did for nutrition. The highlight was that somewhere around 40 miles, someone dragged a stereo system out onto the track and played Bruce Springsteen's album "Born to Run". The second best thing is that I walked home and went to bed that night. I came back the next morning to cheer on the still running relay runners.

The day after running 50 miles and getting a good night sleep.The 5 guys on both the top and bottom rows were the 24 hour relay runners.They look the part, too!

The loneliness of a 24 hour relay. Jon Orewiler handing off to Coach Jim Whitnah.
Final victory lap for the relay runners. Mark Faris and Dave Whitnah can be seen sleep-running.

In 1980, Bill  Rodger's won his fourth Boston Marathon and Jacqueline Gareau was the female winner after Rose Ruiz tried to steal the win. 

Here is a great old clip off someone's home movie camera showing the Boston Marathon in 1980. You can see Bill Rodgers and other top runners racing by the camera. Interestingly enough you can even see Rose Ruiz (yellow shirt-45 seconds) after she sneaked onto the course. At the end of the video you can see the 1979 NCAA Cross-Country Championships that Alberto Salazar won. You can also see teammate Danny Henderson finishing in 10th place (just days after winning the NCAA Div. 3 XC Championships-blue shirt-orange shorts-orange hat). Then he did that 24 hour relay with us weeks after this race!

Here is another clip. At 1:28 you can see Jacqueline Gareau and the 2nd place female Patti Lyons Catalano. Notice the police horses on the course. In 1981 Patti would slam right into the backside of one of the horses during the marathon.

Bill Rodgers also won his fourth New York City Marathon in 1980. Greta Waitz was the female champion.

Tony Sandoval won the USA Olympic Trials Marathon (to nowhere). Part of the course was in Canada. Women were still not allowed to run the marathon distance in the Olympics.

Craig Virgin won his first of two World Cross-Country Championships with an outstanding finish. You have to see this, if you have never seen it before.

The USA did not participate in the  Moscow Olympics, but Seb Coe defeated teammate Steve Ovett after losing to him in the 800 meters.

 Miruts Yifter won the 5000 meters and the 10000 meters.

There was lots of running and track on television in 1980.

1 comment:


Wow, this is awesome, You were way faster than me over 1500 m .
it's great to look back, a P.B. or maybe in the US you say something you can keep for the rest of your life and it's nice you have kept all your records.
back in 1980 i did no exercise, but I remember Steve Ovett and Seb Coe :]