The Way It Was
Reflections on running and walking in the past century.
1. How Were Distance Runners Viewed in the 1960s Prior to the Running Boom?
Here are common medical reactions as recorded in a newspaper article
When a nurse or doctor took a runner’s pulse and found it to be much lower than the general population, their first reaction was that something was wrong. Here is an account taken from a 1969 newspaper article.
One of our local marathoners is something of a medical oddity. He has been the subject of much head scratching by doctors. Early last year he volunteered to donate blood. When the nurse made a routine pulse check, she was alarmed to find that his pulse rate was only 40. He was told to see his doctor immediately. Needless to say, his offer of blood was refused. His doctor took him off his training schedules and ran a series of electrocardiograms. The tapes resembled those of a garter snake more than humans. They pull sheets over people with faster heart action than that. After a two-week stay in the hospital, his heart checked normal and he resumed training. Since then, his pulse again has dipped down to incredible lows upon occasion, but he seems to suffer no ill effects.
This is another article asking why runners run marathons
Although interest is mounting rapidly in distance running, it is not expected to replace bowling or golf. After all, it does take a rather unusual person to train for a thing like this. It Is as one spectator inquired, “Why does anyone want to run 26 miles anyway?” It certainly isn’t for profit. Recognition, outside of a small circle, is almost nonexistent. The training schedules make strongmen blanch just reading them. Many swear off the marathon several times in every race but they usually begin planning the next one a few hours later.
The answer must be that marathon racing shares the same attraction as mountain climbing. The only reward, besides the obvious one of being strikingly more fit than the general run of your neighbors, is the knowledge that you have the endurance and determination to do what’s so few men dare to attempt.
It takes a certain kind of moral standard to do what some call courageous and others–perhaps the majority–call merely crazy. These men have it, however, along with the physical stamina it takes to keep at it.