Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why I Believe In Fartlek by Percy Cerutty

"Man is an animal. Naturalistically he fluctuates from day to day---his feelings,strength,abilities,desires. Capacities vary from day to day,hour to hour. His strength ebbs and flows. Civilization,the daily routine of school and work,disciplines him, conditions him, and mostly reduces him to an automation,a robot. How futile to add to such a regime to his athleticism. How much better to use his training,conditioning and racing as a means,as it should be, to at least temporarily to remove him from this artificial,and harmful, civilizing mediums that result from normal school and work. In his ordinary life he has little chance to escape from the humdrum,the routine. Why,then, as I say,add his exercise,his athleticism,to the list of compulsions. Athletics should be, and with me is, the prime means to escape from these imprisoning conditions, to exult in our liberty,free movement,capacity to choose. Our training should be a thing of joy, of hard,battling exhaustion and enthusiasm,not a daily grind upon a grinding track,artificially hard and carried out under full circumstances and unaesthetic enviroments as a rule. How much better to run with joy,shear beauty and strength,to race down some declivity,to battle manfully to the top of another. At Portsea we train along paths that are found along the cliff tops,descending at times to beach level,in the midst of of some of the finest scenery in our state.We run for miles on the heavy sand with the great waves crashing and pounding and swirling,at times,to knee depth as we run. Or we run upon the the golf links,or moors,or some speed work,occasionally on the grassed oval in one of the prettiest and most natural amphitheaters,surely,in the world. Here, in this enviroment, over this terrain,the spirit of beauty and high endeavor enters our souls. Seek out your Portseas,train and run as the impulse comes on you. An hour,two hours of training slips away as so many minutes. You become tired,exhaustingly tired, but never unhappy. It is work,but it seems only fun. Exhilarating,satisfying fun." Whew--that about says it all to me as far as what is the essence of Stotan or Cerutty inspired running. Something to especially take note of is written near the end when he says: "Seek out your Portseas..." You can establish your version of Portsea somewhere around where you live. When you do, your running will reach a whole new level in regards to enjoyment and performance.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more---the fact that very few even know what Cerutty advocated says alot about the state of running in this day and age.