Sunday, June 19, 2011

More From Ron Clarke

I got alot of good response as a result of the Ron Clarke post I did the other day. Many told me that they had heard of him but did not realize what a great runner he was. Others said he was known as a guy that came up short in the "big" races. This is an unfortunate and inaccurate statement. We mentioned previously how many records he set but didn't note that he was a bronze medalist in the '64 Olympics(10k) and that he competed in about 760 races,winning 650. That's an incredible 85% winning percentage. Clarke,in response to those who thought he did poorly when the races"counted", told Brian Lenton the following during an interview: "I thought I competed more than anyone else in history. I sought out people and ran against them over their distance in their country and circumstances and at their racing peak.I raced all the time and loved it." Compare that to what goes on today among elite distance runners in the world. When asked whether he felt too many athletes are preoccupied with high training mileages and forsake competition, Clarke offered some good insights into training and preparing for competition: "One's total mileage is just not relevant. An individual running 60 miles a week could experience the same training effect as someone running twice as far. You can run too long just as you can run too hard and fast particularly on a track.Training is always a delicate balance between doing too much and too little. Of course most individuals don't do enough." So true. Each athlete is unique with different training strengths,weaknesses and needs. As Cerutty wrote,the athlete must be willing and able to look at himself and recognize what he is and where he is at physically and mentally. There are many reasons why Track & Field is relegated to the back pages of most sports sections of the newspapers. One of the big reasons for this is because we don't have guys like Ron Clarke around.

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