Wednesday, August 5, 2015

V. 5 N.70 Old Guys Are You Considering a Grand Canyon Run?

Is a rim to rim run through the Grand Canyon on your agenda.  Read a few words from an old pro on his recent effort.    Jay Birmingham has been around several blocks in his running career.  He graduated from Wilmington College, a Quaker school in Southwest Ohio back in the 60s.  He's run Death Valley and also a run covering all 48 lower mainland states unassisted.  I joined him for about three miles of that run one day outside St. Marys, OH.   His 'help' was a credit card.

Anyway here is a recent correspondence between Jay and Steve Price concerning Jay's recent run on the Grand Canyon.
1980 Jay on steps of NYC  city hall upon completing his run across America

Jay is an old friend who was the second man to run across Death Valley. He was a student at Wilmington College and one of the early members of the Ohio River Roadrunners Club.......a great guy !

Steve Price
Sent from my iPad

Begin forwarded message:
From: Jay Birmingham
Subject: Grand Canyon

Corbitt was a beast!  I met him several times and he was instrumental in my 1980 Tran-America run as well as hosting me on my East Coast Run in 1982. He helped get me in touch with young Johnny Kelley in 1988 when I ran through CT before coming to Ohio that summer when you ran with me.

Grand Canyon kicked my butt but I got out of there with only leg cramps.  I doubt I will ever go across again unless I have someone carrying my gear/drinks.  The 7-mile descent from the south rim beat up my quads and the steps, hollowed out by mules, were gravelly and steep.  The middle 7 miles were gently uphill and I pushed hard (1500 feet elevation gain); but I was dead over the final 7 miles (4000 feet of climbing).  It was hot and the final altitude is around 8200 feet but I had trained all summer at 8800 so I think the leg cramps (biceps femoris and sartorius) were simple overuse.
I crossed in 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, and now 2015 on my 70th birthday. 
Four days later, we were in Nebraska for a reunion of my 1994-2003 cross country teams at Dana College.  About 30 runners, their spouses, kids, and a few fans of our program made it a wonderful event for me.
Just got home to Florida to prepare for the start of the 2015 CC season at St. Johns Country Day, my 12th.  I teach anatomy and physiology and also am head track coach.  CC and track are the two largest teams at the small college preparatory school, graduating around 50-60 kids per year.  I have about 40 CC runners and 60 on the track team. 
 I hope to swing through there in June 2016 en route to a New England vacation.

More on Jay

From Bob Roncker, Cincinnati, OH
"In August of 1978 Jay and I reunited in the mountains of Colorado and we both ran Pike’s Peak (I the ascent and Jay the full trip). He shared his tent space with me the evening prior to the race.  He had a running store in Jacksonville at the time.  Talking with him then re-triggered my desire to open a run specialty shop.  The ‘Rest of the Story’ is that Jay had some influence in the start of the Running Spot."

For those who don't know what 'the rest is history' refers to,  Bob went on to start and maintain one of the best independently owned running stores (several stores) in the country located in the Cincinnati metropolitain area.  He recently retired and sold the stores to a new owner.

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