Friday, December 23, 2011

One Runner's Christmas Wish List

For most of us, Christmas always brings back a flood of memories from years past. Hopefully, they are good ones for all of you out there and you are in the process of creating lasting memories this year. As kids, we at one time or another had our lists of what we wanted for Christmas. What follows is my grown up Christmas list. In no particular order:
1. I want running shoes that are the same year after year. Here's what I'm talking about and I'm sure many of you can relate to it: I've been buying Nike Pegasus for several years, I always get last year's model so I can get them cheaper. Each year they are changed in some way,the 27's I bought were,at least for me, negatively different than the 26's I bought the year before. The 25's were great and the 26th Pegasus' were OK. The same applies to the Asic Tigers' that go up in # each year,some are excellent one year and some are just plain bad the next. And now that I'm on the subject of shoes, what's with the, "shoe runs a half size small" warning? Right or wrong,I always get the feeling that this is a red flag as to the shoe's quality.
2.I want a truly great running novel to be published,one that incorporates the essence of long distance running. By essence I mean the sometimes hard to describe quality of distance running that causes some of us to have such a passion for it. Unfortunately, running novels are too often about someone going through various trials and then eventually competing in a national championship or the Olympics. You know,very formulaic stuff as some would say.
3. I want Yiannis Kouros' book to find an English language publisher. Let's see,the greatest ultra-runner of all-time,unquestionably,and he can't get an English language publisher? What is wrong with that picture? I will temporarily step out of my, "this is not a vanity blog" policy and say,in the 90's I attempted to find a publisher for his book,at his request, and was stunned by the lack of interest I encountered. It all basically came down to one problem, they didn't believe it would sell enough copies to warrant publication. For those who don't know the phenomenal personal records, and number of records Yiannis has set, do a search on the web and you'll be astonished. Begin with his record of 303km in 24 hours for starters.
4.I want a charismatic American born long distance runner to emerge who is able to compete with the best in the world. How 'bout another Pre,Shorter,Rodgers,Benoit,Slaney, or Salazar for starters? With this emergence would come a renewed interest in distance running in the U.S. Oh yeah,send along another charismatic coach like Arthur Lydiard,Bill Bowerman or Percy Cerutty while you're at it.
5. I want one more season of optimal running fitness and ability to race in peak form. That means no injuries and no interruptions in training.Come on, it's not as if I'm asking to be like the otherworldly and phenomenal Ed Whitlock.
6.I want new and challenging places to train.Preferably courses with trails and lots of hills that go on forever. If I must run on the roads may it be ones with minimal traffic and varying degrees of elevation.
7. I want a great running mag that I look forward to every issue that comes out.Remember when you used to anxiously await the arrival of a new issue of your favorite magazine? I do. You know what I'm talking about, a mag that has to do with distance running, not one that is filled with articles on cross-training,food,diet,dressing for bad weather,most beautiful marathon courses in the U.S., and 300 pounders that lost weight and have run marathons. Hey, I'll settle for an existing running magazine taking a small part of each issue and republishing their archived articles,interviews, and profiles from 30+ years ago.
8. I want more athletes like the one pictured in today's post,John Landy. Men who are not only great athletically, but men who possess intelligence,sportsmanship, integrity and dignity.Who hasn't read enough of the boorish,self-centered athletes from different sports that seem to predominate the athletic world these days?By the way,if you don't know much about John Landy,read the Wikipedia profile on him for starters.
Well,that's the list,I'm not asking for too much am I?
To everyone out there, have a great Christmas,may you get all you wish for,and,get your run in early tomorrow!

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