Saturday, October 20, 2018

V 8 N. 64 50 Years Ago Today (Oct 20, 2018) Dick Fosbury Showed World

Thanks to Mike Waters in Corvallis, OR, we were reminded that Dick Fosbury won the Olympic Gold at Mexico City with his revolutionary jumping style, still practiced today by nearly all the world's leading jumpers.  

This article in the Corvallis Gazette Times  by Anthony Rimel, commemorates the ceremony and unveiling of the statue on the OSU campus honoring Fosbury's incredible display of ingenuity and willingness to go against the grain.

The Flop that Changed the World

"Three Huzzahs for Mr. Fosbury"
  the Staff at OUTV

Sunday, October 14, 2018

V 8 N. 63 Being Old and a Runner ......and a Wonderful Memory

October 14, 2018
Thanks to Walt Murphy's reminder, today is the 54 anniversary of Billy Mills' victory in Tokyo.  Who of us will ever forget?

Tokyo 1964 Billy Mills

A few days ago I stumbled on this article in the New York Times by a guest writer Robert W. Goldfarb.  He is 88 years old and described as a 'competitive' runner.   He talks about attitude with aging and the view of the inevitable.  Since the overwhelming number of our readers are approaching or have already arrived at that state, I thought this piece might offer all of us an introspective moment.  We are indeed fortunate that our sport affords us the opportunity to remain competitive as long as we can shuffle down the road, trail, or treadmill.  We can be competitive with or without stepping to the line with 5000 younger runners.  It's just us and the front door and the weather outside and a clock that never stops ticking.    In tennis you have to search out someone as slow as you to play.  In team sports we run out of options relatively quickly or have to greatly modify the game ie. slow pitch softball.   We do have a few old polevaulters and throwers in our entourage, and they for the most part are still actively practicing their craft. 

I checked Mr. Goldfarb's credentials as a runner on the website and confirmed his competitiveness in recent years.  
In 2006 at the age of 76  Mr. Goldfarb ran a 5Km in 34.:21, a pace of 11:04 per mile, and on October 8, 2016 he ran a half marathon at age 86 in 2 hr. 58 min. or 13:38 per mile.  I think this qualifies him as a competitive runner.  P.S. Thanks to Richard Mach for correcting me on his 5km pace


Words of wisdom below from a 90+ year old friend (Richard Trace) who introduced me to road running about 1960 when I was a hot shot high school miler. It was a brutal lesson.
He is also , I like to think, the last living American to speak to General Tojo.  He was an army prison guard in Tokyo after the war.

" leaves old age at 90.  then one becomes ancient.  as an ancient i look back on old age with fondness.  up to age 47 I was either running or thinking about running.  At that time a heel spur ended the running and I walked and thought about running.  6+ years ago i went lame and can now only shuffle so I shuffle and think about running.  I think mother nature is gradually subtracting abilities as a way of preparing us to be more accepting of the eternal void.  A tip for those concerned about such things - Go sit in an eye doctor's waiting room.  They deal mostly with the elderly.  Look around and you'll see that most are worse off than you.  You leave thinking things aren't so bad after all.  

Richard Trace  (for more on Richard clik on his name.

Here is Mr. Goldfarb's piece

At 88, I remain a competitive runner, always sprinting the last hundred yards of a race to cross the finish line with nothing left to give. The finish line of my life is drawing close, and I hope to reach it having given the best of myself along the way. I’ve been training my body to meet the demands of this final stretch. But, I wonder, should I have asked more of my mind?

I have no trouble taking my body to a gym or starting line. I’ve done a good job convincing myself that if I didn’t exercise, I would unleash the many predators that seek their elderly prey on couches, but not on treadmills. The more I sweated, the more likely it was my internist would continue to exclaim, “Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll see you next year.” It was my way of keeping at bay the dreaded: “Mr. Goldfarb, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

My mind, on the other hand, seems less willing to yield to discipline, behaving as though it has a mind of its own. I have dabbled in internet “brain games,” solving algebraic problems flashing past and rerouting virtual trains to avoid crashes. I’ve audited classes at a university, and participated in a neurofeedback assessment of my brain’s electrical impulses. But these are only occasional diversions, never approaching my determination to remain physically fit as I move deeper into old age.
Despite having many friends in their 70s, 80s and 90s, I’ve been far too slow to realize that how we respond to aging is a choice made in the mind, not in the gym.

Despite having many friends in their 70s, 80s and 90s, I’ve been far too slow to realize that how we respond to aging is a choice made in the mind, not in the gym.

Some of my healthiest friends carry themselves as victims abused by time. They see life as a parade of disappointments: aches and ailments, confusing technology, children who don’t visit, hurried doctors.
Other friends, many whose aching knees and hips are the least of their physical problems, find comfort in their ability to accept old age as just another stage of life to deal with. I would use the word “heroic” to describe the way they cope with aging as it drains strength from their minds and bodies, though they would quickly dismiss such a term as overstatement.
One such friend recently called from a hospital to tell me a sudden brain seizure had rendered him legally blind. He interrupted me as I began telling him how terribly sorry I was: “Bob, it could have been worse. I could have become deaf instead of blind.”
Despite all the time I spend lifting weights and exercising, I realized I lack the strength to have said those words. It suddenly struck me I’ve paid a price for being a “gym rat.”

If there is one characteristic common to friends who are aging with a graceful acceptance of life’s assaults, it is contentment. Some with life-altering disabilities — my blind friend, another with two prosthetic legs — are more serene and complain less than those with minor ailments. They accept the uncertainties of old age without surrendering to them. A few have told me that the wisdom they’ve acquired over the years has made aging easier to navigate than the chaos of adolescence.

I continued talking with my friend, challenging myself to hear the noise, but to hold it at a distance. The discipline so familiar to me in the gym — this time applied to my mind — proved equally effective in the restaurant. It was as though I had taken my brain to a mental fitness center.
Learning to ignore a leaf blower’s roar hardly equips me to find contentment during my passage into ever-deeper old age. But I left the lunch feeling I had at least taken a small first step in changing behavior that stood in the way of that contentment.
Could I employ that same discipline to accept with dignity the inevitable decline awaiting me: frailty, memory lapses, dimming sound and sight, the passing of friends and the looming finish line? Churning legs and a pounding heart had taken me part of the way. But now the challenge was to find that contentment within me. Hoping that contentment will guide me as I make my way along the path yet to be traveled.
Robert W. Goldfarb is a management consultant and the author of “What’s Stopping Me From Getting Ahead?”
A version of this article appears in print on , on Page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: To Age Well, Train for Contentment.
P.S.  over 200 people commented on this article to the Times not to us.
Here is the link to the Times and the comments which you can scroll down to and click on Comments to see them.  The cover a wide latitude of beliefs and non beliefs, assisted dying, and other things.NYT Goldfarb  clik here


Thursday, October 4, 2018

V8 N. 62 Book Review by T&FN on 1968 Olympic Trials

Book Review  Clik Here   by Bob Burns The Track In The Forest: The Creation Of A Legendary 1968 US Olympic Team,  is being released by Chicago Review Press on October 2

This book review by Ed Fox recently appeared on the T&FN website.
Sounds like a great read.


I always look forward to receiving your blog.  I’ve been away from track for a long time, but I still miss it, so reading all the great things you include is always enjoyable.  I’m actually working with a young triple jumper that goes to the local high school, so I still have my finger in it a little bit.

I just finished reading a book review on The Track in the Forest.  I’m looking forward to reading this book l which I just ordered from Amazon.  Itreminded me of a great story.

Between the end of my Master’s classes at The University of Cincinnati and graduation, Jim Demo, Gary Truce and I took a trip to California.  Jim had just finished up as the track and cross country coach at Glenville High School in Cleveland where he won two state championships and was coming to Cincinnati as a graduate assistant.  Gary was the head track and cross country coach at SUNY Binghamton, and I was the assistant track and cross country coach at Cincinnati.  We took the northern route through the Black Hills, the Bad Lands, Mt Rushmore, down through Cody, Wyoming, Salt Lake City and out through Lake Tahoe.  Three track coaches at Lake Tahoe required a trip to Echo Summit to look at the track used for the Olympic Trials for the 68 Olympics.  It was the coolest track I’ve ever been on.  I believe I could still run a 60 second quarter on it if it still existed (well maybe not).  The day we were there they were tearing the track  up and moving to South Lake Tahoe High School.  There was a chunk of it lying on the ground, so I asked if I could have it. I’m not sure why, but having a piece of that track just seemed to be very special. They were going to throw it away, so they gave it to me.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but when I got home I trimmed it up and made a pen set for my desk. (see attached). 

A couple of years ago I was on my way to Las Cruces, NM for a conference. I flew into El Paso.  I’d never been to UTEP, so on my way to Las Cruces I took a short side trip to see the UTEP campus…really I just wanted to see the track.  As it turned out they were putting in a new track.  Part of it was complete, and the workers were there finishing up.  I had a chance to talk with the boss and told him about the 68 Olympic Trials track and having a piece of it made into a pen set on my desk.  He said wait a minute.  He disappeared for a few minutes, and when he came back he was carrying what appeared to be two pieces of the new track…the track was blue and the exchange zones were gray.  He said that was a great story you just told, then gave me a piece of both sections and said, “Here are some pieces of this track. Maybe you can make a few more pen sets.”

Keep up the great work!

Charles R. Hunsaker
Charles R. (Chuck) Hunsaker

Hi you guys
I remember the track and the trip to Lake Tahoe so very well.  It was a fantastic setting and I remember taking a part of the track as well.
What great memories! Three wild and crazy track coaches on a trip to California. 
Thanks for sharing the story Chuck.
It should be an interesting book to read.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

V 8 N. 61 A 2018 Track and Travel on the Eastern Front by Paul O'Shea

Track and Travel On The Eastern Front  

By Paul O’Shea

Track and Field News, the trade journal for those of us who pay obsessive attention to
athletes who run, jump and throw, offered an attractive travel package this past summer.

I took advantage of their plan: Attend three prestigious track meets in three countries.
Wrap them with tourist-type visits to six cities (Brussels, Zagreb, Ostrava, Budapest,
Krakow, Warsaw) in five European countries (Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Czech
Republic, Poland). Negotiate five separate currencies: kuna, koruna, florint and zloty,
in addition to the Euro. See first hand what the Nazis did in the most notorious of
concentration camps.

Ours was a well-traveled group of retirees, those still working, and other track and travel
enthusiasts.  The award for the most distant visitors went to a six-person group from
South Africa. Another contender came from Calgary.  Many were California and
Oregon residents. One tour member was retired from the National Security Agency, a
second was a homebuilder, a third a retired physician.

We had a city tour in each of the cities.  Most of our cultural and historical investigation
was done on foot, often on surfaces that were troublesome  bricks or cobblestones.
In Krakow, for example, we walked five miles, up and down to see the cathedral and

Red-Bulled daily in the States by political developments, keeping up with the news
overseas was a challenge.  CNN was available each day but only covered a few
international stories. The New York Times has a truncated international edition, running
op-ed columns primarily, and I was only able to get half-dozen issues over the eighteen
days.  No PBS NewsHour.

At the onset of my travels, the overnight flight from Dulles to Frankfurt was uneventful.
Then, two hours later another flight to Brussels, the site of our hotel and first track meet.
But I arrived too early (about seven a.m.) and couldn’t get into my room to get needed
sleep until two in the afternoon.  

Hotel Pullman was adjacent to the Brussels train station, so I waited inside, watching the
travelers and suitcases march by.  My room on the seventh floor gave me a good view of
some 22 or so railroad tracks sprawled below. The station was the final stop for sleek,
long distance trains and shoebox-looking commuters.  It wasn’t unusual to see as many
as five or six trains coming in to or out of the station, slithering past each other.

Some sixty of us convened in Brussels, with one of the year’s premier events, a Diamond
League track meet, kicking off the schedule.  A Diamond League event ranks just below
the World Championships and the Olympic Games, with many world-class athletes
performing in a one-day recital.
The Brussels meet concluded a fourteen-city competition that brings together the sport’s
elite.  This promise proved to be reality when we witnessed the fourth fastest men’s five
thousand meters ever run, by a nineteen-year-old Ethiopian.  From my view it was the
outstanding performance in the three meets we attended.

After Brussels we flew to Croatia’s capital and largest city, Zagreb, the only air travel on
the trip.  The next morning we toured the city and had the rest of the day free. On the
following day I elected to go to the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, Plitvice
Lakes, about two hours’ drive. The property has sixteen large and small lakes, and a
stunning 78-meter  waterfall. To get to them we had to walk down and up about two
miles of slippery stones and wooden planking. The only rain we saw in the two weeks
fell that day just as we were ending the park tour.

That evening we went to the Zagreb IWC meet at the snug Sports Park Mladost stadium,
and watched Nigel Amos of Botswana
win the 800 and Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi take
the 1500.

We motored a little over two hundred miles to our next destination, the beautiful city of
Budapest, split in two by the Danube River. Almost every evening we were on our own
for  dinner, so we sampled plenty of Eastern European cuisine, often meat and potatoes.
Gundel is reputed to be the city’s finest restaurant, and it does have some charm with its
Olde European d├ęcor, six-piece orchestra and  offerings of Hungarian Goulash Soup and
Breaded Quail. After a rhubarb and strawberry cold soup starter, I had venison.

At Gundel, I was joined by two other tour compatriots, and remarked how much it
resembled Luchow’s, the one-hundred-year-old restaurant with similar ambience, menu
and string orchestra I had come to know while working in New York City in the Sixties.
Sitting at the next table to us at Gundel were nearby diners who heard me suggest the
comparison, knew Luchow’s, and we talked about its demise in the 1980s.

Then on to Ostrava, a three hundred mile bus ride through the agricultural and light
industrial countryside.

Ostrava is the Czech Republic’s third largest city. There we saw the Continental Cup
track meet, an unusual competition with scoring that pitted continents, not countries
against each other.  The four competing continents were: The Americas (joining both
North and South), Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Internationally there is an unequal
distribution of track talent, so the principal competitors proved to be the Americas and
Europe, with the Americas winning over Europe, 262 to 233.

I have been to hundreds of track meets over the years, but the Continental Cup in
Ostrava provided a new experience: a glider passed over City Stadium a half-dozen
times. After conducting due diligence, with javelins jousting for air space, the pilot
decided it was not a desirable landing field.

Ostrava also provided one of the trip’s most unusual sites, Dolni Vitkovice.  After 170
years of continuous production, the manufacturing of pig iron was discontinued. The
rusty remains of the iron and coal industry were left as a site to be visited as huge,
abandoned industrial monuments.  It was the first in the Czech Republic to receive a
European cultural heritage designation.


Our penultimate tour leg was about 150 miles away in Krakow, the second largest city in
Poland. Situated on the Vistula River, it is one of Europe’s loveliest. The hotel in
Krakow proved a lodging challenge when I read the room number on the room key jacket
as 326 when it was actually 324.  Three trips to the check-in counter finally solved the
puzzle and I didn’t have to sleep in the halls.
As soon as the trip itinerary was announced last year, tour members suggested going to
Auschwitz, about thirty miles from our stay in Krakow.  And so we did. I knew that it
was one of the most notorious of the concentration camps, with an unimaginable
1.1 million executed, about 90 per cent Jews.

After passing under its extraordinarily ironic signage, Arbeit macht frei  (Work Sets You
Free), we walked through the grounds and inside buildings that housed the prisoners
waiting to die of starvation, bullets or gas.  We saw the huge accumulation of hair, shorn
from women before entering the gas chamber. There were collections of empty hydrogen
cyanide Zyklon B canisters used to asphyxiate the prisoners, further evidence of the
enormity of the catastrophe.

Just a few hundred meters away were small towns and villages, seemingly unaware of the
horrors committed less than seventy years ago.

But it wasn’t until I saw the photos of hundreds who were doomed, captured for the rest
of time, that the genocide became real.  On each wall of a long hallway were individual
photos of prisoners. The photographer, himself a prisoner, took 70,000 photos of men and
women, all wearing triangular badges which identified them as political prisoners,
common criminals, gypsies, Jews, homosexuals. William Brasse’s autobiography was in
the gift shop.

Finally, to Warsaw, which I thought the most interesting of the six cities.  We toured the
Warsaw Ghetto, famed for its uprising, commemorated by a magnificent series of
Warsaw Ghetto Today
We stayed at the Hotel Bristol, left undamaged because the Nazis occupied
it during the Second World War.
Hotel Bristol
 Chopin is revered here, and you can sit on a bench,

waiting for transportation, punch a button and hear his Polonaise.

Going home, on the first of two legs, I flew from Warsaw to Frankfurt with one of the
tour members, Michael Griffin.  When we disembarked from the plane in that city, a
pleasant surprise. Because we were flying Lufthansa and business class, evidently
Porsche has an arrangement with the airline, because idling next to the plane and awaiting
our arrival was a gleaming new Porsche Panamera (the four-door sedan),
deputized to

take the two of us about ten minutes away to our next gates. I resisted going to the Duty
Free and taking a Panamera home. Those overheads are always so crowded.

September, 2018

 I really enjoyed this piece because it coupled T&F with travel.  Most intriguing was their trip to Auschwitz, surely a grim experience at the world's worst death camp.  I visited Dachau near Munich which was set up for executions but not so much used for those purposes, mainly work and detention.  The pictures of those cities are spectacular but they are also places where most Americans, including me, have never seen.  The world is indeed a big and beautiful place.       Bill Schnier

Sunday, September 23, 2018

V 8 N. 60 Clifton 'Butch' Sower Remembered

Butch Sower in the late 1970s
(Sept. 23, 2018)
A few days ago we talked about the remarkable recovery of Marc Arce, former University of
Findlay (Ohio) track and cross country coach after a devastating bicycle accident.  Today we have to report on another tragic accident that took the life of Clifton 'Butch' Sower of West Liberty, Ohio, also the result of a bicycle crash.  I saw some reference to Butch's accident and passing in a series of emails, but I did not recognize the name.  A little sleuthing on Google led me to Butch's obituary published in the Columbus Post Dispatch. (see below).

In the late 1970's Butch was a standout track and cross country runner in Ohio high school representing West Liberty-Salem HS.  West Liberty (pop. 2000)  is a small town in Logan County northwest of Columbus that has a long history of tough runners.  The Big Orange Shoe Store , affectionately known as BOSS,  in town has  survived for years solely selling running gear in that  small market,  a testimony to the importance of running in West Liberty.  Runners often came from 30 or 40 miles to shop at Big Orange.

Butch had some flaws as you will see if you read his obituary, but there was a lot  more to Butch  than the flaws mentioned, and his good deeds and effort to redeem himself are what is truly  important.

Butch was the man in his high school days.  He didn't run in college, he didn't move on in the sport.  This blog normally only talks about the big names in the sport, but there was a sentence or two in Butch's obituary that told me something about his character.

"In 1977, Sower stopped to help a runner who had fallen, resuming a cross country race to win. The next year, he came in second in the 2-mile state championship, stumbling before the finish and being beaten by the same runner he had helped...."

This is a strong parallel  to the story of John Landy stopping to help a fellow runner, Ron Clarke, then a schoolboy, during a mile race that Landy went on to win.

When we judge people, it should be by these kinds of small, spontaneous acts that tell us more about a person's character than a long thought out act that weighs the pros and cons of what we do in life.  It tells us something about the inner workings of an individual more than what academic credentials in our resumes can say about us.  And for that I choose to honor Butch in this blog.

Butch at the recent BOSS run

He graduated from West Liberty-Salem in 1978.
Butch was All-Ohio in cross country and track.
He helped the Tigers win state titles in cross country in '76 and '77.

Headed home after a long bicycle ride in Logan County last week, Clifton “Butch” Sower might have been trying to avoid a large turtle before he was found thrown from his bike on Route 287.
The animal, which had been dead for some time, was found in the westbound lane near Sower on Aug. 29, according to a State Highway Patrol report.
Sower, 58, of West Liberty, was flown to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he died Tuesday. An autopsy will determine the cause of death. He was not wearing a helmet.
His sister, Ann Vogel, called the tragedy a fitting end for her older brother, whom she described as a “tortured, beautiful soul.”

“He loved his animals,” she said. He grew up with pets — chickens, dogs, cats. He built a two-story doghouse with carpet and windows.
Sower was raised in the village, was a standout athlete at West Liberty-Salem High School in the late 1970s and was known for his sportsmanship, his sister said.
In 1977, Sower stopped to help a runner who had fallen, resuming a cross country race to win. The next year, he came in second in the 2-mile state championship, stumbling before the finish and being beaten by the same runner he had helped, said Vogel, 51.
“That’s who he was. He was always fighting the good fight. He was a big tipper; he was a giver. He was an organ donor,” Vogel said.
Sower, a carpenter, also struggled with alcoholism.  He had been charged several times  with drunken driving - landing in jail after the last one three years ago.
After his release in May, he vowed redemption, Vogel said.  He resumed his life
long love of running, up to 40 miles a week.  He bought a bicycle and rode up to 100 
miles weekly with a friend.
As for the turtle: "It's a great mystery." Vogel said.  "We just don't know.  Maybe he 
hit it. Maybe he was going too fast."
His last footrace was 10 days before the crash.  The BOSS Run was to support the 
West Liberty High School cross country team.
I didn't know Butch Sower but I did know his teammates, Corey Frost and Earl Zilles as well as their coach, Ken Lehmann. WLS was an absolute powerhouse during the 1970s.  Nice article.     Bill

V 8 N. 64 50 Years Ago Today (Oct 20, 2018) Dick Fosbury Showed World

Thanks to Mike Waters in Corvallis, OR, we were reminded that Dick Fosbury won the Olympic Gold at Mexico City with his revolutionary ju...