RUNNING & RACING

This was the title of a weekly series that ran on ESPN between 1986-1989.  Produced by Salmini Films and hosted by my old buddy Tony Reavis.  I have almost every episode recorded on VHS.  If any of you techno-types want to help me transfer to a more durable format I’d love to hear from you.

In the pre-internet days this was a true gem as it often covered events that had occurred just the weekend prior.  And all the Majors were covered extensively.  Features on the favorites, including masters as well as open athletes.  Footage from the back of the press truck or motorcycle, it was a bird’s eye view into Real Racing, something we sadly just don’t get anymore.  The gutsy battles between warriors from another age, heroes all to me.

The weekly show stoked my competitive spirit.  And more.  I came to realize during that time that I wanted nothing more than to be involved in running and racing as an avocation and maybe even eventually a vocation.  So I ran and raced all across Texas, honing my craft as it were.  It wasn’t until 1996 that I would get my “big break” with USATF and the rest is history.

And it is the future.  I’m still fortunate enough to have courteous discourse with the leadership of our sport, from national to local.  On the national level, and with Team Nebraska, we still aspire to develop the Very Best from our Most Talented athletes.

On the local level, through the Omaha Endurance Group, and my membership with the Omaha Running Club, I still hope to cultivate a spark.  Sometimes that spark results in a 15 minute miler dreaming of becoming a 13 minute miler.  Sometimes it is manifested by someone losing 100 pounds.  Most often it is as simple as someone choosing a race and training with a goal that will signify a major personal accomplishment.

And that is where the convergence lies.  All athletes are human, put their britches on one leg at a time.  David Adams’ goal of making the USA Olympic Steeplechase team, to me, is the same as Joe Everyrunner’s goal of breaking 50:00 for the 10K or making a marathon debut.  While David has been blessed with Incredible Talent, I see just as much hard work and determination from Joe towards his goals.  This we all share.

I have been posting on our Omaha Running Club fb page some of my training results.  This in hopes of igniting that little spark in my fellow ORC members.  I’m very much in the merely mortal category but am hoping that by modeling hard work and ambition, they too will find the courage to dare to dream.    To push just a little harder, aim just a little higher, realize the satisfaction of exceeding once unfathomable personal success.  That is Racing.  Getting just that little bit more out of our own abilities and talent.  Not compared to anyone else, only to your own expectations.  Personal achievement.

And I’ve been around long enough to understand that there are runners as well as racers.  Some people really do get out and run just for fun and fun alone.  And that too is a great goal.  To keep oneself active and alive and healthy is as admirable and praiseworthy as any other life goal.

A great article on our mate Ivan Marsh on the front of today’s OWH Living section.  Some good quotes by him and also Brian Wandzilak about Ivan’s quest for 6 in a row at this coming weekend’s Trek To The Top.  Full story here: http://www.livewellnebraska.com/