"The "Dogs" have a core membership of six, associates and other runners can increase the total number to close to twenty. At one time group runs were done once during the week and on each weekend day. Once a month they'd head out to the Virgil,N.Y. area on a weekend to camp and run along the Finger Lakes Trails. Gut wrenching runs that involved lots of hills and fartlek were the norm. Participation in area trail races were viewed as a necessary evil to gauge ones' degree of fitness. The highlight of each season was a 21 mile race called the Virgil Mountain Madness, an excellent test of speed,toughness and endurance.
The "Dogs" despise what they perceive as the commercialization of running.Comfortable,durable running gear is favored over the colorful polyester outfits that are the norm these days at local road races. No $100. running shoes,boxes of Powerbars or stacks of Runners World are to be found amongst their ranks. Athletics:How To Become A Champion is their Bible as is the other works by Cerutty.About two months ago five of their members packed up their belongings and moved to Dryden,N.Y. The impetus for this move was to be closer to the Finger Lakes Trails which go for hundreds of miles throughout the northeast. They have rented a five room cottage and some have taken on jobs for a nearby Ithaca landscaping company. Talk about a leap of faith! Crazy? Maybe. Sacrifice? Not to them. They take literally the teachings of Cerutty that says there are no sacrifices in the pursuit of excellence while doing something you love. The "Dogs" now chase their individual goals while in a group enviroment. A few have indicated a desire to make the 1998 U.S. 100k team while another wants to race the Pikes Peak marathon. All want to race well at certain trail and road marathons. They all are in agreement that they want to go far into the Cerutty philosophy and see where it takes them. Workouts now center around a 15 or 20k time trial each Wednesday and 4 hour plus run/hikes on Saturday and Sunday. At their cottage the "Dogs" have turned their biggest room into a place for weight and strength training. Pictures of their heroes cover almost every area in that room. And just to let you know that it's not all work and no fun for the boys,weekends bring many guests and much "partying". The large tent in the front yard and what appears to be empty cases of beer would seem to confirm this statement. For those who desire to be a part of this group it is by invitation only and that comes after a lengthy process where a prospective member proves his mettle on the trail and by what he sincerely professes and by how he lives.In closing, the Raw Dogs" commitment to "walk the talk",disregarding what many close to them may think, is why they are featured in this month's issue."
Next post, an update, a move out west and where they are now.