Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Sunday, October 21, 2018

V 8 N. 65 Earl Young, Alive and Swabbing

A few years ago while researching names and contacts of former 1960 Olympians, somebody gave me Earl Young's address and said I better contact him quickly, because he had an acute form of blood cancer and was on his way to cashing in his chips.  Most of you may recall Earl's being on the winning 4x400 team at Rome and his years at the top with Abilene Christian University.  Over some time I finally did get in touch with Earl to learn that he wasn't about to die of his cancer.  He had received a bone marrow transplant from a donor in Germany.   The donor living in Germany had  a genetic  connection  with DNA similar to Earl's.  He  received the transplant and  has since recovered from his illness.   

Earl is not a person to forget a good turn and has for the last four years been running his own program to encourage people,  especially those in the age range of about 18-40 years,  to permit a mouth swabbing be made and put on a potential donors list.  Donors need to fall in this age group to increase odds of success.  In the life of the program's existence, 34 donors have been found.  Finding a match is a needle in the haystack operation.   Not many people are listed as having DNA that will match a recipient in need.  This may not sound like a huge number, but we're still talking about 34 people walking on the planet who might remember that someone helped them in a time of need and in turn be a good Samaritan for others.  It took 11,000 people on the list to find matches for those 34, giving you an idea of the odds someone is facing when diagnosed.     Congratualtions to Earl and all those courageous people who have provided the mouth swab DNA test to be on the list.  And huge congrats to those 34 who actually were called and gave.  You can reduce those odds by doing the swabbing test and getting on the list.  Unfortunately most of our readers are a bit too old to do this, but they could pass this link on to their children and grandchildren.

Earl Young's Team  Clik Here to Learn More About Earl's Team.

When Earl Met His Donor

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

When I first saw Fosbury jump I thought it looked ugly, probably because it was different.  So much for my taste and appreciation of inventiveness.  I did not know that he was given an ultimatum at Oregon State University to chose between civil engineering and the high jump.  Not very smart of OSU because about 20% of our athletes each year at U. of Cincinnati were engineers.  I saw him jump the next year at the NCAA in Knoxville and I believe he won.  Craig Whitmore and I attended that meet together.  At that 1969 NCAA almost all of the stars of the Mexico City Olympics were present since in those days there was no professional T&F so the Olympians were mostly collegians.  It was an NCAA like no other.       Bill Schnier

Yeah good. A memorable achievement. But we Marathon runners, struggling to complete those final 365 yards on the track, didn't appreciate it at the time!



This note is from Tim Johnston (Great Britain) who finished 8th in the Marathon in 2hr 28min 4 sec.  There was a Japanese runner just 4 seconds behind him, so it is pretty certain Tim wasn't focusing on  the HJ as he was finishing. Ed.

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 athlinks.com 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.

"..one 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.


V 11 N. 3 "Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil Zatopek" by Pat Butcher, a Book Review by Paul O'Shea

When we come across books to review, we know that there is a particular skill set needed to be fair and honest and at the same time literary...