Tag: Emile Zatopek

WHO IS THE G.O.A.T?

Never Done Better

In light of his other-worldly 2:01:39 marathon world record in Berlin last Sunday, there are some who are hailing Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge as the G.O.A.T, the greatest of all time male distance runner.  Berlin was arguably the crowning achievement of his career, but does that mark added to the rest of his curriculum vitae  make a case for GOAT?  Let’s dig in and see.

GOAT Marathoner?  Yes, indisputably, with ten wins in 11 starts, which include an Olympic gold medal and a 2:00:25 fastest ever exhibition, there isn’t anyone who can argue that point. But GOAT distance runner? That, I think, may be a step too far, though certainly he is in the top five. 

A century ago the GOAT title was first held by Paavo Nurmi, the “Flying Finn” who dominated running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1500 meters and 20km, and won nine gold and three silver medals in Olympic competition. At his peak, Nurmi went undefeated in 121 straight races from 800 meters up, and was never beaten in cross country or the 10,000 meters.

In the 1950s the great Emil Zatopek, known as the “Czech Locomotive”, re-wrote the record books and introduced the concept of interval training. His Olympic Triple in Helsinki 1952 where he won the 5000, 10,000, and the marathon in his debut at the distance, all in Olympic record times, remains an unparalleled achievement. From there the GOAT crown moved south to East Africa where it resides to this day.  (more…)

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“DON’T TRAIN TOO HARD, DON’T MAKE IT TOO EASY”

Ron Clarke
Ron Clarke

San Diego, CA —  I recently watched a documentary about 1960s Australian running great Ron Clarke, a true phenomenon in his day now known primarily for breaking records while never winning an Olympic gold medal.  Especially intriguing in the film was a quote from his  countryman John Landy — second man ever under 4:00 in the mile — who sent young Ron a letter just as Clarke was gaining national  recognition.

“Not giving you sessions,” Clarke read from the five-page missive, “but describing the way you cope with training, really, the essence of simplicity. ‘Don’t train too hard, don’t make it too easy’. Just in that balance.” (more…)