Under my Y42K Publishing Services hat, I recently completed updating the Kindle edition of Joe Henderson’s Long Run Solution. It was a great pleasure to work with Joe to give one of my favorite running books a new and improved look.
As part of my continuing series of posts on running gear through the ages, I present to you this ad for THE ELEKTRO-PACER! from April of 1964:
Doesn’t that earplug look comfortable? And once you’ve set the metronome to the appropriate rate for MAXIMUM EFFORT WITH MINIMUM FATIGUE, how do you keep from jostling the knob while you run?
While I have no reason to believe this device did not operate as promised, the fact that it was sold by Radionics of Georgia doesn’t help. Radionics is a pseudoscience that claims disease can be diagnosed and treated with a kind of energy similar to radio waves. Sort of like minimalist running. right? <ducks>
I recently found this clip in the April 1965 Long Distance Log:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
One 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.