Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sometimes overlooked is the fact that besides coaching Herb Elliott and 20+ other national and international champions,Percy Cerutty always kept himself in peak condition. He once said, "Herb may race faster than me ,but never harder." Lafayette Smith tells of a special moment in early 1960: "Not long ago Percy was timing Elliott and several other runners on a grass track at Portsea when another athlete appeared with a newspaper clipping from America. It described how Joie Ray of East Gary,Indiana,a world champion miler before World War I,always ran a mile on his birthday.That year,at age 64,he had run it in 5:50 and the papers heralded the achievement as a world's record for men over 60. Percy calmly handed his stopwatch to Elliott and trotted quickly around the quarter-mile track.Panting heavily he asked Elliott:"What does it say?" "5:32.5," said the young miler. "So much for Ray's record," triumphed Cerutty,"Now,back to the workout."