Stories indexed with the term ‘running’

Column: One Runner’s Road to Boston

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

In 1896, the first modern Olympics in Athens staged a marathon. The next year the Boston Athletic Association followed suit. Just 18 men ran that day, and the winner finished in about three hours – something office workers can beat today.

Most people thought they were crazy – if they thought of them at all. Many people probably still do.

Marathoners don’t care.

“We are different, in essence, from other men,” said Czechoslovakian star Emil Zatopek – and he would know.  After winning the 1952 Helsinki Olympic gold medals in the 5K and 10K, he decided at the last minute to enter the marathon – and won that, too. “If you want to win something, run 100 meters.  If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”

Greg Meyer knows exactly what Zatopek was talking about. Like Zatopek, Meyer wasn’t made to run the marathon – but he couldn’t resist it.

Meyer grew up in Grand Rapids, and enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1973. Before his sophomore year, Michigan hired a new cross-country coach named Ron Warhurst, another unlikely figure in this drama. Warhurst had returned from Vietnam with two Purple Hearts, and a hard-won lesson: “The world doesn’t stop because you’re scared.”

Warhurst had been a good runner, but was a great coach. He had an uncanny ability to get inside his runners’ heads, and get more out of them. [Full Story]

Barton Dam

Half naked (shirtless) runner emerging from the fog. [photo 1] I didn’t expect it to be this warm, or this foggy late in the day in December. [photo 2] [photo 3]. Weird and beautiful.

“There’s Always Beer Afterwards”

Shiggy trail

Motown-Ann Arbor Hash House Harriers on a recent run, navigating a shiggy trail in Ypsilanti Township.

At the sound of a toy plastic horn, a pack of runners jogs down a road to nowhere and onto a faint trail in an undeveloped subdivision in Ypsilanti Township. The front runners point out white dots of flour on the ground and holler “On-On!” to let the others know they’re on trail.

When they reach a floury white “X,” one runs ahead in each likely direction to look for the three white dots that mark the real trail. In moments, “On-on” echoes through the woods from one direction and the whole pack turns and plunges down a steep bank, crossing a flooded ditch on what looks like an old section of privacy fence.

As they disappear into the woods, “On-on”s blend with birdsongs and the squawking of a duck. When they emerge, scratched and dirty somewhere on the other side, there will be beer.

The Motown-Ann Arbor Hash House Harriers describe themselves (as do hashers around the world) as a drinking club with a running problem. Some of the club’s 80 members started hashing for the exercise, but they keep hashing for the camaraderie. Any exercise incurred along the way is somewhat incidental – a side effect of getting from one “beer check” to the next. [Full Story]

Tuesday Night at the Indoor Track

University of Michigan Indoor Track

The Ann Arbor Track Club and the Michigan All Stars shared the lanes at the University of Michigan Indoor Track Building on Tuesday night.

Last Tuesday evening at the University of Michigan Indoor Track building, runners were spinning  through at least two different workouts: (i) 400-300-200-meter ladder repeats with 30-second recoveries between rungs, and a 4-minute recovery between the four total set, and (ii) run at your goal 5K goal pace until you just can’t maintain it any longer.

If you were a member of the Michigan All Stars, a youth track club that competes in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) events, you did the ladder repeats. And if you were a member of the Ann Arbor Track Club, you did the run-til-you-drop drill.

The occasion actually gave The Chronicle the chance to renew a previously-made acquaintance involving another kind of drill – the kind of giant drill that’s used to bore for soil samples. [Full Story]