Ed Whitlock – Last Lap

Ed Whitlock died on March 12 at the age of 86.   In running circles Ed Whitlock was an icon, an enigma, and someone who defied the aging process. He set world records at various distances after turning 70. Five months before his death he ran a 3:56 marathon in Toronto. Physiological tests indicated the highest VO2 Max of anyone measured at his age and his muscle retention astounding. He was a rail at 110 pounds, carrying no extra baggage. I had dinner with Ed and Bill Dixon a few years back at the Stockadeathon. Ed was a pretty understated and unassuming guy. Had a twinkle in his eye and clearly enjoyed being around the races. He didn’t like to train and was known for his endless laps around a local cemetery. He didn’t listen to music – just ground it out. Maybe he experienced a runners high in the races – he certainly did not in training. Ed did nothing but run – no weights, stretching, or cross-training. Ed died from prostate cancer that had apparently spread to his bones. He didn’t say anything publically about it, which is why it caught most everyone by surprise. Surely Ed knew something was … Continue reading

Running Times – Gone!

Running Times started in 1977, the year I took up distance running. There really weren’t good running books back then so the magazine became my go-to source. I devoured every issue, usually reading it cover to cover the day received. Without fail, there was something, usually many somethings that could be incorporated immediately into one’s training and racing. I kept piles of RT around, only discarding them when making long distance moves. There were regular features. I loved the Shoe Guy, J.D. Denton, who owed a Fleet Feet store in Davis CA. His offbeat articles on life in a running store were funny, refreshing, and educational. The Owner’s Manual, written by various authors but often Pete Pfitzinger and Owen Anderson, provided a plethora of training advice. I lost count the number of times I had developed an injury or training impasse that the current issue addressed, as if the writers had been talking to my training partners! Nutrition, coaching, shoe reviews, performance tips, race results, and the latest discoveries in sports medicine and psychology were regular topics. Generally an accomplished masters runner was profiled along with their training regimen, providing many good ideas to try. Every year they ranked the … Continue reading

Pre Lives On!

Forty years ago, on May 30, 1975, Steve Prefontaine died when his car flipped over on a winding road in Eugene, Oregon. Who was Steve Prefontaine, called Pre in running circles, and why do we still celebrate his life? Pre was America’s premier track runner in the early 70’s. A brash kid from Coos Bay, Oregon, he set an American high school record in the 2 mile and then attended University of Oregon under coach Bill Bowerman, the founder of Nike. It was less about what Pre did than how he did it. A notorious front-runner, Pre invariably pushed the pace. This was counter to the strategy followed by most top runners who would strategically let others lead and then pour it on toward the end. Pre thought that was cheating, that one should run the whole race. By running this way, Steve helped others run their best times. And made racing fun to watch! Pre brought intensity to everything he did. You might say Pre was poured, not born. Even as a youngster, he was hyperactive. He channeled this energy into running during his sophomore year in high school, showing an unusual amount of focus and commitment under the … Continue reading