#tbt – The Jim Bevins Story

March 26, 2015

I recently found this clip in the April 1965 Long Distance Log:

Click image to enlarge

Click images to enlarge

The clip was 50 years old, and I wasn’t starting with a lot of information, but I was curious about how that story turned out so I did some searching.

My Google-fu was powerful and luck was with me, and shortly Jim Bevins’ energetic voice was on the other end of my line.

Jim just turned 77 earlier this month. He lives in Prescott, AZ and he’s still running strong.

When I asked him about the LDL clip, he told me that, “She knew that [running was important] going in.” Even before they were married, when they’d go somewhere Jim’s future wife would drive them back to her place, and afterward, Jim would run the 8 miles from her house to where he was staying.

Jim’s an extremely competitive runner. In his career he has run well over 1000 races on the track, roads, and trails. When he was younger, he’d run as much as 161 miles a week. He hasn’t done that for a while, but he was quick to assure me that, “I got my 1000 miles in for the year,” in 2014.

Jim has run marathons in seven different decades. His first was the Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City, CA in 1957. He was 19, and finished 4th overall.

Culver city marathon Aug57

His PR was a 2:36 at San Francisco in 1982 when he was 44.

Jim’s run five marathons since turning 70. He prefers to avoid the pounding of road marathons, so all of them have been on trails. He’s found that as you get older, even trail racing is tough, especially out west. “Your eyesight isn’t as good…those rocks blend right in with the dirt in the desert and your balance isn’t as good so I can never make any time coming downhill with all those rocks in the trail.”

Last year he only ran one race, the Moab Trail Marathon in November. He found he Moab course particularly challenging. “I was in the Special Forces and I don’t remember doing anything like that.” He figures he could run sub-5 “in one of those Rock and Roll Marathons at sea level”, but the difficult trail at Moab affected his time. “You can look it up,” said, Jim, “so I can’t fudge about it. It was 7 and a half hours and I know you’re going to laugh.” Jim’s time, however funny, was good enough to earn him the national championship for his age group.

He’s won many other championships over the years. “I don’t care about running against the clock to see how fast I can run. I just want to win my age group. Time’s not important. I’m old school – time will come if you run against good competition.”

The marriage mentioned in Long Distance Log has been over for a while. For the last 22 years Jim has been with Margie, who supports his running habit.

Here’s Jim (in the pink shorts) after winning another USA Trail championship, at the 2010 Dirty Half-Marathon in Bend, OR:

jim_bevins_don_hildebrand

Don Hildebrand, Paul Kirsch, and Jim (R. Bolt photo)

Margie made the shorts from material they picked up at a Wal-Mart. Jim says that women tell him they like them, “though men don’t have much to say.” They also serve a useful purpose. “If you’re 28, and you’ve got some guy who’s 77 beating you, they might say, ‘Hey, he didn’t run the thing’. That’s why I wear those pink shorts, because people say ‘oh yeah, I saw him at the 2 mile mark, the 8 mile mark, the 10 mile mark…’”

Running isn’t everything. Jim says, “If I had to choose between fishing and running, I’d never run another step.” He’s not happy with the recent trend toward exorbitantly high race entry fees. “I’d rather spend my money going to the Caribbean and going fly fishing in the ocean.”

But he’s got no plans to quit running any time soon. He’s driving his RV to Montana for a fishing trip this year, and he hopes he can find a race or two that he can run in along the way.

When I asked him why he kept running, Jim said, “I enjoy running. I enjoy pushing myself.” At 77 years old, “47.5 (seconds) for 200 meters isn’t bad, much less eight of them.” Also, “I love to eat…I was 133 the other day and I really like being light like that. I like to be in airports and have people come up to me and say, ‘You’re a runner, aren’t you?'”

So the story continues. And I’m pleased to find that with running, fishing, eating, and good companionship, the Jim Bevins story turns out to be a happy one.


#tbt – Lt. Jerry D. Jones, USAF: Running in Vietnam

March 12, 2015
Weather station at

Weather station at Tan Son Nhut

In 1963, 1st Lt. Jerry D, Jones was serving in Vietnam at Tan Son Nhut Field near Saigon. Jones was a member of the USAF’s 30th Weather Squadron, responsible for providing the weather information required for combat operations.

Jones was also a runner. He managed to put in about 40-45 miles each week within the confines of the airfield:

Click to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

I thought it would be interesting to see whether I could find out more about Lt. Jones and his running career. The letter appeared in the Feb. 1964 Long Distance Log, so Jones’ tour probably ended before the major buildup in 1965. He apparently returned home, as his name doesn’t appear in the casualty list found in this history of the Air Weather Service in Southeast Asia, nor on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

To this point, further research (with help from other veterans of the 30th Squadron) has been unsuccessful. If anyone can provide any additional information, please contact me.


#tbt – “Look at Mills, look at Mills!”

March 5, 2015

mills

 

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Billy Mills became the only US runner to ever win the 10,000 meter gold medal, upsetting world record holder Ron Clarke of Australia.

 

This video isn’t great, but Dick Bank’s call makes up for it:

NBC management disagreed, firing Bank the next day.

Here’s another look at the race. The picture is much better, but the announcer just doesn’t have the same enthusiasm:

Mills’ winning time of 28:24.4 was an Olympic record, less than 9 seconds off the world record, and a PR by almost 50 seconds.

Mills’ victory made him a national hero. The subsequent tour of the rubber-chicken circuit turned out to be more of a challenge:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

After taking a break, Mills came back in August of 1965 to set a US record of 28:17.6 for the 10,000.

Mills is a member of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame, the Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, the South Dakota Hall of Fame, the San Diego Hall of Fame, and the National High School Hall of Fame.

Today, Mills is the national spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth, an organization he helped found that provides aid to some of the most impoverished American Indian communities in the nation.


“A Pair of Bulls” in the Mar/Apr Level Renner

March 1, 2015

issue-25-cover-mar-april-2015-trautmann-navas-2.28.15One of the cover stories in the latest issue of Level Renner is my “A Pair of Bulls”. The story itself is waaaay in the back of the magazine, but there’s plenty of good stuff to read before you get there.

Every issue of Level Renner continues to be free, and worth many times that amount. Click here and check it out.


I will try to use my power wisely

February 27, 2015

Two weeks after my ‪#‎tbt‬ post about the Cortez running shoe, Nike announces their return. Who knew I had that much influence?

Nike-Cortez

 


#tbt – Running With The Monster

February 26, 2015

Just in time for spring training, a little baseball to go with the weekly dose of running history…

dick_radatz_autograph50 years ago, Red Sox relief pitcher Dick Radatz (aka “The Monster”) was coming off his second Fireman of the Year award in his three seasons in the majors. In 1964 he led the league with 29 saves and his 16 wins (as a reliever!) led the team. His intimidating fastball helped him set a record for relievers that still stands by striking out 181 batters in 157 innings.

In the off-season, Radatz added running to his training regimen:

radatz-feb65

Unfortunately, 1964 was Radatz’ last great year. In spring training before the 1965 season, Ted Williams convinced Radatz to add a sinker to that fearsome fastball. Radatz thought the changes he made to his pitching mechanics caused his fastball to lose the power and accuracy that had made him a star. Perhaps, but pitching over 400 innings of high-intensity relief in his first three years probably didn’t help any either.

Radatz’ career wound down from that point, ending in 1969 with the expansion Montreal Expos.

 


#tbt – Dusting Off the Runner’s Bookshelf

February 5, 2015

When I started running, back in the days before the Internet, most of what I learned about running that didn’t come from sweat came from books.

Three of the books I read early on have remained on my bookshelf ever since. These books taught me the essentials of what I needed to know about running, training, and racing, and they helped me understand some of the reasons why I run.

gallowayJeff Galloway’s Book on Running is still the book I recommend to anyone who wants to start running. The book is based on the training principles of Arthur Lydiard, which have held up remarkably well while other fads come and go. Galloway presents them in a friendly manner that anyone, no matter how fast or slow, can use. His book helped me set up a training routine that still forms the basis for what I do today. The most important thing I took from Galloway was the focus on the long run, in particular the longer-than-race-distance long run, even (especially) during marathon training, and the use of walking breaks as a useful tool to help those of us who are less gifted survive those extra-long runs (and eventually, ultramarathons).

sheehanGeorge Sheehan is the original philosopher-king of running. Running and Being was the first book of his I read, and it’s still my favorite. It contains what is probably Sheehan’s most famous quote, “Each of us is an experiment of one.” His books were the first to focus on the spiritual side of running, but in a completely grounded and practical way. Sheehan is an inclusive elitist. All he demands is that you do what everyone can – strive to do your best, because that’s how you, “discover the wholeness, the unity that everyone seeks.”

noakesTim Noakes’ massive tome Lore of Running attempts, in more than 800 pages (the edition I have – the current one weighs in at over 900), to cover every last detail that you might ever need to know about the science behind how your body reacts to running and training. It’s long and often dry, but there are liberal doses of history and commentary to help pass the time and make the book enjoyable. Anyone who’s obsessive about the details of their running (for example, someone who ended up writing a book called Overthinking the Marathon) will find a kindred spirit in Noakes, and his book to be a worthy read.

Each one of these books is authoritative in its own way, but still encourages the essential process of taking that information out on the road, trying different things, and figuring out what works for you, even when that sometimes means failing. Their age shows up in some of the details, but even the outdated brand-specific info is good as a history lesson, or at least a quick laugh.

Most books from pre-Amazon days of the first running boom (including the one mass-market success, Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running), went out of print in a relatively short time, but these three are still available today, a testament to their lasting value.


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