My running club is turning 35 years old this year and one thing we have in the works is compiling a history from over the years. I’m spearheading this project and right now I’m in the process of collecting information from some of the club’s “old timers” who have been around since its early days.
Friday night I sat down with a couple of these folks and as they reminisced about the “days of old,” it confirmed what I suspected–the runners from back in the ’70s and ’80s were seriously hard core and fast in a different league than most of the runners I know today. Frankly, they make us look like a bunch of wimps!
I made this comment to one of the men there and he laughed and said, “Yes, but we didn’t know what we were doing!” They’d run a hard marathon one day and come back to run one of our club races, hard again, the very next day. Fueling or water for training? What’s that? They did it with nothing in their systems and took nothing in during their runs.
And their times? There was no fooling around with these guys. It was balls to the walls, 100 percent of the time. They kicked butt each and every time. Now, are all these guys still out there and able to keep it up? Definitely not–I think their approaches were pretty rough on their bodies. But I’m still in awe.
I sifted through some of the materials they shared with me. I stumbled upon an old Boston Marathon program from the early ’80s that revealed the qualifying standards of the time. Are you ready for this? All men had to run a 2:50 or better; women, a 3:10. Hmmmm….maybe the latest revision to the standards isn’t so bad after all?