Sunday, August 5, 2012

Carrying On the Stotan Message, Please,No Merchandising

A couple of things prompted me to post this article. The first was a question I read directed to a prominent running writer years ago asking,in so many words, who was going to carry on the Stotan  message now that Cerutty was gone? Obviously,this person had not read the book Training With Cerutty by Larry Myers,because if he had, he would have seen that in the foreward, Percy designated Myers as the man to carry on in his place. Unfortunately, that didn't work out too well,Larry seemed to disappear from the public scene sometime after 1980.It's a familiar occurrence though, a charismatic leader dies and his movement loses momentum or just fades away.When you think about it,the Stotan philosophy would be an increasingly "hard sell" to most in the years since Perc's death. I mean,with it's disdain for consumerism,materialism and pretension, as well as it's emphasis on keeping it natural with all that means and entails,it only takes a peek in a running mag or running catalogue these days to see that Stotanism is not going mainstream in the running community anytime soon. Come to think of it,I wonder what Percy would think of spandex tights,headphones and heart rate monitors? But,again,I digress.
The other thing that inspired the following pertained to a link someone sent me,it was entitled Stotan Racing.This person wanted to know if this was THE group that was carrying on the true Stotan way.A quick look over the site revealed that it was a Nike sponsored club described as an, "excellence driven distance club."  Nothing wrong with that, I saw they had a page taken from Percy's bio,Why Die? which quotes what some call the Stotan Creed or Code, also a very nice touch. Their training grounds had access to parks and hills which certainly fits in with Stotanism. They did say they were a place where post collegiate runners could come  in order to continue to develop their potential, something that is badly needed in this country. I was a little put off  by their seeking donations so they could finance their runners but I've  always had a problem with this type of thing just as I do appropriating the name Stotan to promote something that is not truly Stotan all the way through. To their credit though, they did say that their athletes worked.As most of us are aware,the greatest athletes from decades past, like Derek Clayton for example, were employed and still managed to do a prodigious amount of training.
Well,I got back to my friend and told them that,no,this group was not THE group that was carrying on Percy's legacy and all things Stotan. However,I did say they were performing a good work that used some of what Stotanism involved but the key word here is some.As anyone who has read Cerutty's books,his bio, and posts on this site will realize, Stotanism is an all encompassing philosophy.It's more than just a way of training.You can't take bits and pieces out of what I'll call the philosophy and use it as you choose, not at least if you want to be considered truly Stotan. But let me quickly add this, a little bit of any kind of the Stotan principles in your life or training is a very good thing.
Herb Elliott summed it up best years ago in an interview he did for a British radio program. In responding to a question that asked,"who's going to carry on Cerutty's philosophy?", he said their wasn't a need for a specific person because we have his books and articles to guide us.How true that is, it's all there in his writings,what being a Stotan really means. Now it's up to us to read and act on what we've learned,it is THE way to live,we can be the messengers.

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