AL’S GOT ME IN SUB 2:40 SHAPE

Homage to my H-Town homey Doug Storey.  Doug was a competitor of mine back in the good (fast) old days.  His coach was 1956 Olympic 10000 Bronze Medalist (28:53) Al Lawrence.  Al also qualified for the 5000 final but didn’t compete due to a strained let.  Doug would show up on the starting line with today’s column title on his lips.  We were in a decade long pursuit to see whom would be the first under the magical 2:40 mark in the marathon.  Neither of us made it. There were a lot of races in a lot of different years where Al did have Doug in <2:40 shape.  And I’d need more than two hands to count the times I was on pace in the late stages of my own attempts.  Alas, the marathon is 26.2 miles and you give it what you’ve got on any given day, despite the conditions.  That is part of my love/hate relationship with the distance.  I’ve often said that I’ve never had fun running a marathon, would never dream of running one for fun, its true.  That sets my generation apart from most marathoners these days.    We had lofty goals and gave everything we had to meet them, would rather crash and burn (often did) than not give it our absolute all in hopes of that one magical race, weather conditions be damned.

But there are still those that are willing to lay it on the line.  Cory Logsdon did just that yesterday.  So did Justin Mollak.  The only two Nebraskans under 3 hours on one of the most dreadful Patriot’s Day in the history of the Boston Marathon.  We had 6 athletes in the Red & White, all soldiered on, all finished, and we are proud to call them mates.
Cory Logsdon- 2:47:07
Justin Mollak- 2:52:49
Emily Kraus- 3:34:54
Jacque Parker- 3:51:53
Matt Heesch- 3:53:22
Anne Medeiros -5:12.36

That is the fickle nature of the marathon then.  Getting in your best shape, giving it everything, knowing that you will only have one or two Great Races in your entire marathoning lifetime, and that if you are lucky.  Last year’s Boston was ideal with the cool temps and huge tailwind, you’ll only see that once in a generation, Buddha willing and the creek don’t rise.  It takes the dedication of a running career to hit that one perfect day where everything comes together.  Doug and I never got that day but I hope someday you do.

Heat 2 of the 1956 Olympic 5000 meters won by Al Lawrence in 14:14.60.  Right to left- Vladimir Kuts, Al Lawrence, Herbert Shade, Derek Ibbotson, Lazlo Tabori, I’m not sure who the last two pictured are.