5 years ago

May/June 2012 - Level Renner

May/June 2012 - Level Renner

Lane 3: Commentary drop,

Lane 3: Commentary drop, the course record is only 2:16 (2:15 on the old course). “Aided” records haven’t been a real problem. The fastest runners look for two things - the best competition and the best payday - before they start worrying about course difficulty. At about the same time as the IAAF started screwing with the courses, some races began to start the elite women ahead of the main race. They wanted to address complaints that it wasn’t “fair” that men might be pacing the fastest women. Yet runners have always used others to push themselves to greatness. Would Alberto Salazar have run 2:08 in the sun at Boston in 1982 without Dick Beardsley? Men’s races often have rabbits whose sole purpose is to ensure a fast pace and no one discounts those records. The most famous record performance ever was probably Roger Bannister’s first four minute mile, and he had TWO pacers! People also thought it was “fair” to start the lead women first since they weren’t getting the attention they deserved because they were lost among the men. Well, is it “fair” to take the pride of being the first to cross the finish away from the elite men, the fastest runners on the course? Is it “fair” to keep capable women who might be a minute or two under the cutoff for the elite group from competing with women only slightly faster? Is it “fair” to the spectators, volunteers, and local residents, to make a long day even longer, and to the slower runners, who are less likely to have as many people cheering for them at the end of that long day? What else isn’t “fair?” Hardly any records are more than a few years old. Is that because modern runners are inherently bet- For a practical approach to your nutrition needs Kathy Gorman, MS, RD, LDN Owner/Dietitian ter or because they have better training, better health care, and better support from their countries and shoe company sponsors? Who knows how fast Johnny Kelly or Abebe Bikila could have run if they didn’t have to work full time and train too? Is if “fair” that Derek Clayton and Emil Zatopek didn’t get to run with modern equipment and modern training methods? If you’re going to worry about a potential tailwind at Boston, shouldn’t you worry about other weather conditions? Was it “fair” to Patrick Ivuti when 88 degree temperatures at Chicago in 2007 kept him from running faster than 2:11? Do you think that Patrick Makau would have run 2:03:38 at Berlin in a snowstorm? Even competition within a single race isn’t necessarily “fair.” Some runners don’t have to work full-time because they’re wealthy or they’re personable and pretty enough to get sponsors while equally talented runners have to spend valuable training time earning a living. Is the Olympic marathon a “fair” test of who’s best when one country forces runners to sprint to the finish in their Trials mere months before the Olympics while another country picks their runners from a vast pool, allowing them more latitude to train to peak at the right time? Is it “fair” when runners who train in cold-weather countries have to run in a place like Athens in the summer? When you get down to it, is it “fair” that some people are blessed with physical gifts that allow them to run faster than someone who works just as hard? Racing, like life, isn’t fair. There’s no denying the essential truth: on any one day, in any one race, there’s only one person who’s the fastest. So it goes. It’s a generous impulse to strive for fairness, but at best, all you can do is provide equal opportunity and let the clock pick the winner. When you’re comparing results with a time from another day, on another course or in another year, and you start to mix opinions about “fairness” with the facts from the clock, inevitably you’re going to end up with another Radcliffe situation. Remember, baseball never actually marked Maris’ home run record with an asterisk, even though he did it in 162 games, not 154. Ray Charbonneau figures if he's going to run like a cranky old man, he might as well write like one. Read more at 30

Rat Re-Issues 2001 Amherst 10 Miler SAVAGE WEATHER BESETS AMHERST TEN ONLY THE STRONG ARRIVE – AND SURVIVE BOSS RAT JOINS GLADU, CATALANO, BUHL IN GPS JUNKYARD AMHERST, Mass – Sad story. Ratmobile cruising through snow, sleet and rain carefully heading south on I-91 in Vermont. Gotta make it to GPS #13. Get that? – GPS Race #13? 40 mph. Going with the traffic. Sudden ice. A fishtail. A 360 spinout. Crash. Over the guard rail and the next thing you know the HSR hisself is hanging upside down watching precious Rat subscription forms being blown out the back door – not to mention the 100 pristine brand new virgin Deerfoot singlets that I was transporting for distribution at the race. Traffic stops. A spectacular crash a la Al Catalano (see elsewhere herein). Everybody figures the Rat is dead. Not quite. Not a scratch. I unsnap the seatbelt and start collecting singlets and soggy Ratflyers. Car totaled. Head Rat does not have even one scratch or bump on his aging, lumpy body. Always wear your seatbelt. Always. Off to Cal’s garage in Bellow’s Falls in the tow truck. Cal starts her up. She runs. Massive Cal (butt cleavage and flatulence problems notwithstanding) hunkers down and fixes the tire. Cal can do nothing about the roof and doors, though. Start driving. Head towards Amherst. Might make it but late. Forget it. Alignment shot. Rain, snow. Head for home. No Amherst points for me, but I saved the singlets, dammit. That’s the important thing, eh? Oh, the race. I dunno what happened (see above), all I know is that if it wuzzn’t for the 50 or 60 Rats who somehow made it through some of the worse traveling conditions in recent memory, this field would have not even exceeded 300. They generally get 600 here. All Rats who made it should be proud of their resoluteness. We are often unappreciated by race directors. King Dunham won in dreadful conditions that saw runners slipping and sliding all over and getting tuberculosis after the ¼ mile walk from the finish line back to the junior high school. The course was as savage as usual, with many good runners walking the killer hill at 3 and unable to pick up safe speed even on the gentle downhills after 5. The was truly a Rat test of the first magnitude and upon consultation with the Mssrs. Buhl and Gediman, it has been determined that 0.50 weather points were appropriate. There were not additional points awarded for to- Ratsexy coverboys from (l to r) Iron John Noland, Mike Norton, and Steve Allison. taling a ’94 Ford Explorer (which was being driven with the 4-wheel drive turned OFF because said cheap driver was attempting to save on gas money). Post-race found many Rats in the great and cozy publick houses of Amherst to wait out the storm before the journey home. Nice stuff. Sterling work, all you noble rat savages of the macadam trails of New England. Spring is here. Official Race Songs: “It Was I,” Skip and Flip, 1962. “Roll over Beethoven,” Chuck Berry, 1960. CATALANO NEVER MADE IT From Al Catalano, Lynn, Mass Gil’s AC Why can’t I be like everyone else? Up at 6 am, stagger to window, hardly any accumulation, check out Brucie on ‘BZ: “Snow ‘til noon, mostly on coast, nothing north of 495 and inland.” OK – I got the 4-wheel drive, I’ll be going away from the storm and I got plenty of time – HELL I’M GOING TO DERRY!!!! Snowing Rats and dogs on 128 – almost miss the exit ‘cause it’s snowing so freaking hard, traffic crawling on 93 North but come top 495 and just like that the road is only wet with hardly any snow. What is it with 495? Does it have some magical power or is it that the storms possess some secret sense that Brucie said it ain’t snowing north today? Anyway – the driving becomes a Sunday am stroll to church as I head into NH. Pass Exit 1 – think about “The Cannonball” and all the good times as a kid and with my kid. Exit 2 and 3 come quickly, starting to snow a little HARDER now, pass the weight station (ever see one open?) when, faster than you can say “THERE GO MY 2001 HSR GRAND PRICK POINTS!” – the back of my vehicle is racing the front for the lead, the north bound is south, up is down, and some guy with a silly looking race shirt is upside down looking in my passenger window asking if I’m OK. Funny, I never realized I could change radio stations with my feet. Hanging with seat belt on, more upside down people looking in the windows, make my way to back of car – locked – sit dazed for minute, finally thinking of hitting “U” on power lock – climb out back window. Yes, it was I who flipped his car on 93 just before exit 4, so, King Rat, how about a point for at least trying to get to Derry? And for once in my life I’d like to be serious and give everlasting thanks to those runners who stopped, called 911, and rushed to see if I was OK. Thanks for NOT being like everyone else. (Ed – No points. None. Nada. Zilch. Same thing happened to Peter Buhl trying to get to the icy Leominster 5, only he didn’t flip. The flip was very creative and clever on your part – but you still get nothing in the Rat System of Scoring.) 31

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