Monday, 30 September 2013

Running in Another Direction: Northern Soul & Running as the new Raving

Paul Mason's excellent BBC documentary 'Northern Soul - Keep the Faith', first broadcast last week, examines its continuing appeal forty years after the first Northern Soul all-nighter at the legendary Wigan Casino. Catch it if you can, if not read his recent article for Vice magazine which explores similar territory:

'Even without speed you were able to experience the massive euphoria that was the defining atmosphere about an allnighter. I am convinced it was the product of the collective empathy that took place on the dancefloor, and not just the drugs. You could feel it kicking in outside before the Casino opened, in the two hours after midnight: people became tense, elated, subconsciously connected.

I might be the only person who’s experienced both Wigan and, say the Taksim Square occupation in Istanbul this year, so this is hard to verify: but I think these very different atmospheres shared something in common. There was something overtly rebellious and subconsciously political about Wigan. Like with a riot, or an occupation, you could tell immediately, through eye contact, who was feeling the buzz.

What we were doing, back then, was rewriting the rules of being white and working class. We knew exactly what it meant to dance to black music in the era of the National Front and the racist standup comedian. Ours was a rebellion against pub culture, shit music and leery sexist nightclubs. Our weapon was obscure vinyl, made by black kids nobody had ever heard of'.

So what's all this go to do with running? Well one thing that I've been thinking about recently is whether there is a link between the popularity of running amongst people past their clubbing peak and the popularity of dance music when these same people were younger. Marcus Ryder (Sound of Running) has recently suggested that for some of us running shops are the new record shops - well, maybe in the same way running is the new raving. 

I recently found that I had crossed paths with another blogger, Run Don't Run, on South London dancefloors in the late 1980s. I'm sure he's not the only one. By definition a large proportion of the 35-55 generation were dancers, as their (our) youth coincided variously with Northern Soul, Disco, Funk, Acid House, Rave, Techno etc. 

But I think the connection goes deeper. Running reconnects us with a sense of our bodies in motion, just like dancing. Not just in isolation but as part of a collective. There's also the endurance aspect, pushing ourselves beyond our normal boundaries and coming out the other side buzzing with endorphins - whether as a result of staying up all night dancing or running that extra mile.

Northern Soul specifically was very athletic from the start - Fran Franklin speculates in Paul Mason's film that some of the dance moves might have been influenced by the popularity of Bruce Lee's kung fu movies in the early 1970s. It also pioneered British youth culture's fascination with sports wear - Adidas was mostly associated with continental football teams like Bayern Munich before soul boys and girls started using Adidas bags to carry their gear to Wigan and wearing Adidas t-shirts.

Paul Mason and his adidas-sporting friend Kev outside Wigan Casino in 1977
Despite loving the music and checking out some Northern Soul clubs over the years, I was too young for its heyday. But its template certainly followed through to the clubs and raves of the 1980s and 1990s which were more my period. In Paul Mason's programme, Elaine Constantine (director of the soon to be released 'Northern Soul' movie) makes the running comparison explicit:

'every single person is going through every beat of that record with you, and you know that when you do that [makes clap sound] it's all going to happen at that moment... it's almost like you're all running the same race together'.

And yes I still pack talcum powder in my bag when I go out... to stop chafing on long distance runs rather than to sprinkle on the dancefloor though!

On BBC I-Player until Wednesday

Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday Photos (6): Runners in Space

This week's Friday photo appears to be an unremarkable image of four athletes running. Even the knowledge that it comes from the 1972 Olympics doesn't add very much to it. But what does make it extremely special is that this image is now travelling through space aboard the first spacecraft to leave our solar system. Earlier this month it was announced that Voyager 1, launched by NASA in 1977, had reached interstellar space. And amongst the images of life on earth included on Voyager for the benefit of any curious aliens who one day intercept it is this one. 

Voyager famously includes the Golden Record with sounds and images from our planet, selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. There is music from Bach to Chuck Berry and pictures of landscapes, animals, buildings and humans engaged in various activities - including running. Despite the Cold War aspects of the space race, there is something very optimistic about this selection, a kind of planetary humanist vision that celebrates life on the third rock from the sun in all its diversity while simultaneously affirming what we have in common as a species beyond political and social divisions.

So who are the runners?  The NASA site just says that it is Soviet/Ukrainian sprinter Valeriy Borzov in the lead, and Borzov's wikipedia entry says that the photo was taken in the 200m heats at the 1972 Olympic Games (he went on to win the Gold medal in both the 100m and 200m). A look at the records of the Games, cross referenced to other photos, allows us to identify them left to right as follows:

- Su Wen-Ho, Republic of China (Taiwan) - who finished fifth in this heat;
- Motsapi Moorosi, Lesotho - who finished 4th;
- Valeriy Borzov, USSR - the winner;
-  Edwin Roberts, Trinidad - who came 2nd

(thanks to Spikes on twitter for getting me started on this by mentioning the photo)

The Golden Record

Previously in this series:

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Running London (5): Hackney Marshes 5k Your Way

The start - photo by Adnan Mohamedy (more at facebook)
Last week (18th September) I ran in '5k your way', an event on Hackney Marshes bringing together more than 800 council workers and other public sector employees to run, jog or walk for 5000m. Teams in colour coded t-shirts took part from London Boroughs including Bexley, Camden, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, as well as Leyton Sixth Form College and  'Central London Finest' with people from Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.

Team Southwark, complete with British Heart Foundation mascot
 I was definitely in the running camp, and the front was fairly fast (too fast for me anyway). Glad to report that one of my work colleagues (David White from Southwark) came first with a chip time of 16:05; fastest woman was Claire Mcmahon from Islington in 19:05. I was pleased enough to get a 5k PB, and come 2nd in age category.

With the Marshes' wide open skies and green expanses (home to 82 football, rugby and cricket pitches), you feel like you're way out in Essex rather than in London. It makes for a good scenic run - nice and flat too - with changing rooms and a decent roof terrace bar at Hackney Marshes Centre (where we retired afterwards, walking back to the station under the full moon I half expected to bump into one of the Hackney Marshes 'bears' of urban folklore renown)

Of course you are in Iain Sinclair territory there, the writer even worked on the Marshes painting white lines at one point. In his book 'Ghost Milk' (2011) Sinclair mentions a 19th century running track nearby in Hackney Wick, started by one James Baum of the White Lion public house in 1857.  It was here that 'William "The Crow-catcher" Lang came down from Middlesbrough in 1865, to take the  world one-mile record with a time of four minutes seventeen and a half seconds. Not bad for an uneven track with an uphill section and a mob pressing tight to the verge. John "The Gateshead Clipper" White established a six-mile record that stood for sixty years, before it was broken by Paavo Nurmi, the legendary Finn, in 1921'. Thousands turned out here to watch 'Louis Bennett, a Native American known as Deerfoot'.

As Sinclair also notes, round there 'Everything begins with the fact of the river. the Lea and its tributaries. Like a wig of snakes. A dark stream sidling, fag in mouth, towards the Thames at Bow Creek; foam-flecked, coot-occupied, enduring its drench of industrial pollution'. Running alongside the River Lea was very evocative for me. I spent most of my childhood living by the river close to its source in Luton, playing football and cricket on the 'Riverside Walk' green by its Birdsfoot Lane banks, and more often than not arguing about who was going to fetch the ball out of the water (there was also the time I smashed my next door neighbour's glass door after whacking a golf ball with the cricket bat, but that's another story). Like the river, my journey brought me from there to London.

Something else got me musing about Luton on '5k your way', the experience of running in work teams reminding me of all the time I spent in the late 1960s/1970s hanging out at Vauxhall sports grounds, watching my dad play football or going to Vauxhall sports day, a big annual event with fair rides and games. In those days of one big company dominating a town (my dad worked for the car firm along with many others in Luton), there would often be sports clubs and facilities linked to it - Vauxhall in Luton even had its own running track up until the 1980s. I guess most of these facilities have vanished along with the manufacturing jobs that many assumed would be 'for life' - Vauxhall, which had once employed 30,000 people in Luton, ceased car production there in 2002. Still in a small way, 800 council workers on Hackney Marshes were still flying the flag for workplace-based sports and sociability last week!

You can run a 5k on Hackney Marshes every Saturday with the parkrun there, starting from Hackney Marshes Centre at 9 am. 

Terrain: mainly on tarmac paths, with some grass.

Getting there:  308, 276, 236 and W15 buses run close to the start of the course. The closest rail stations are Homerton and Hackney Wick.

Post-run refreshments: Hackney Marsh Centre has a cafe/bar.

Previously in the Running London series:

See also Run Don't Run's report of the Hackney Marshes 5k Your Way 2013

Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday Photos (5): Tom Longboat (1887-1949): Canadian First Nations Marathon Runner

These photos are of Tom Longboat (1887-1949), the Canadian/First Nations long distance runner.

As summarised by Deseronto Archives: 'One of the most famous Canadian athletes of 1908 was Tom Longboat, a marathon runner with a string of successful races to his name. He was born in 1887 to Onondaga parents in the Six Nations of the Grand River Indian Reserve. His first major race victory was at the 1906 Around the Bay Race in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1907 he won the Boston Marathon and the following year he went to London, England, to run in the Olympic Games'. After leading for much of the 1908 London Olympic Marathon, he collapsed and did not finish. Like many runners of that time his career was bedevilled by the division between 'amateur' and 'professional' athletics, and it has even been suggested that his 1908 run might have been sabotaged by his own manager trying to fix the race for gambling interests. In 1979 a street was named after him in Toronto.

In a reversal of the Olympic outcome, Longboat won a professional track marathon race in February 1909  at New York's Madison Square Garden, beating English runner Alfred Shrubb who collapsed near the end of the race. It was big news - taking up most of the front page of the Montreal Gazette the next day (extract below from the paper, 6 February 1909):

'Tom Longboat, the Canadian Indian, tonight won the Marathon race at Madison Square Garden from Alfred Shrubb, the English long distance runner. Shrubb, after leading all the way many laps ahead, collapsed in the fifth lap of the twenty-fifth mile and could not resume running, while the Indian, who never tried to follow Shrubb's early fast pace, continued to the end'

Previously in this series:

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Record Sleeve Athletics (5): Three Degrees - The Runner

Here's a slice of 1979 disco: The Runner by The Three Degrees, produced by Giorgio Moroder no less (of 'I feel love' fame). The trio's outfits on the cover nod to sportswear - albeit Las Vegas style - with white stripes down the side.

The label drives the point home with a semi-circle of running shoes:

And if that isn't cool enough there's the blue vinyl 12":

As for the lyrics... well is it a complaint of a running widow, neglected by her's partner's athletics training schedule? Or is it just about a man running away from emotional commitment?!

' How many times have I felt down inside, 
The Need to be loved by you.
 I wanted to show you how good it could be,
 If you would only show a little interest in me 

 But you run, you just won't show love 
That's the thing you're frightened of... 

 He's a runner, he's a runner 
 Runaway... Runaway'. 


See previously in this series:

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Running London (4): Hilly Fields parkrun birthday

Today was the first birthday of Hilly Fields parkrun, with a record attendance of 108 runners braving the September showers.  As noted at Transpontine, 'In the last 12 months, 887 different people have come to the park on a Saturday morning and run 5 km. The combined distance they have run is 17,640 km - which is further than from Hilly Fields to Sydney, Australia'.

Hilly Fields in SE London  is my home parkrun, where I started and where I run most often. You develop an intimate knowledge of a place by regularly running round it, with your body registering every variation in gradient and your eyes noticing every tree root. As it was the first anniversary though we ran the course in the opposite direction to usual, three anti-clockwise laps, which gave a different perspective. The dreaded final uphill stretch was now a rather slippery downhill grass section. I thought it was a bit faster overall - well it was for me as I got a Hilly Fields PB.

Was a bit miffed not to get fastest in my age category, but then saw that the guy who pipped me (well OK quite a bit more than pipped) was Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun back in 2004 in Bushy Park. Since then it's become an amazing volunteer-led phenomenon with more than 200 free, timed 5k runs taking place in the UK every Saturday morning and more starting all the time both here and in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Poland and Denmark. More than 330,000 individual runners have taken part in the UK alone - that's a significant social movement by any standards.

I don't think many people get their fastest 5k at Hilly Fields, the clue being in the name - at its highest point it is 175 feet above sea level. It's more like a hilly cross country course than a run around an urban park track. But it's the Lewisham equivalent of Kenyan hills training and if you run there regularly you will cruise around some of the flatter London courses!

There was cake at the end, including this delicious chocolate sponge, with chocolate icing, chocolate filling and bits of chocolate - hey, we'd all just burnt off 300+ calories. Note those parkrun trees decorations. Photo from set by Lizzie Wilkinson on facebook, cake made by Fit Artist's husband.

History of Hilly Fields

Like many other green spaces, we have to thank the people who saved Hilly Fields from urban development for the fact that we can still run around it. In the late 19th century Octavia Hill and the Commons Preservation Society campaigned against plans to build on what had once been part of Deptford Common (by this point it was a mixture of farm fields and a brickworks). They organised a fund with contributors including William Morris and Jewish philanthropist F D Mocatta, with the park being officially opened in 1896.

Hill wrote in 1888: 'These fields lie within moderate distance of the large, poor district of Deptford. If ever I happen to see a glass of wild flowers in the homes of the people there, I am invariably told that they were gathered in the Hilly-fields, probably on the Sunday afternoon's walk. What a source of pure, healthy enjoyment and refreshment such a walk is to those living in a neighbourhood like Deptford'. And yes, many of us walk and run there still.

Prendergast girls school is in the middle of the park, previously Brockley County boys grammar school and before that West Kent Grammar School. No doubt generations of school kids have run cross country around it. A more recent feature is the stone circle, erected for the Millennium in 2000. When it first appeared I thought it was a bit Spinal Tap - remember the bit in the film where they have the model Stonehenge on stage? But now it feels an organic part of the landscape, and yes I have watched the sun rise over Lewisham from there on the solstice!

The park also has lots of musical connections, including  a couple of songs of its own: the 1980s cult psychedelic track 'Hilly Fields (1892) by Nick Nicely, and Lucky Soul's 'On Hilly Fields'. A trig point on Hilly Fields was redecorated by locally-based label Angular Recording Corporation, who helped launch the careers of Art Brut and Bloc Party with their acclaimed New Cross compilation in 2003.

Getting there: close to Ladywell station, 484 and 122 buses go nearby (further details here)

Terrain: approx. half/half grass track and tarmac paths.

Post-run refreshments: Pistachios cafe in the park do great coffee.

See also: Hilly Fields parkrun 1st anniversary report

Previously in the Running London series:

Southwark Park
Richmond Park
Nunhead Cemetery: Life's race well run

Friday, 13 September 2013

Friday Photos (4): New York High School Runners 1970s

New York running 1970s style - caption from New York Daily News says 'George Washington High School runners (left to right) Jose Fernandez, Abdidas Suero, Kevin Brown, and Ramon Severino getting ready for New York Relays in 1976':

Also from the New York Daily News 'Power Memorial High School runners (l. to. r.)  Maurice Weaver, Julio Rivera, Frank Rafferty and Alfred Fiorentino prepare for the 1975 New York Relays. The Manhattan-based Catholic school was a long distance powerhouse during the three decades' (1960s-80s):

More in this series:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Art of Athletics (3): Jindřich Heisler

Jindřich Heisler (1914-1953) was a Czech surrealist poet and artist. Half Jewish, he hid out out at a friends' apartments in Prague for much of the 1940s Nazi occupation to avoid deportation to the death camps. During this time he produced a diverse body of work in very challenging circumstances - interestingly a couple of the images he produced feature running figures. As he was rarely able to go outside I wonder whether for him the runner represented freedom and/or his condition as a man on the run.

Untitled [Running figured pursued by bird], from De la même farine (From the Same Dough), 1944. Gelatin silver print with hand-applied color.

In this untitled work from c. 1943,  Heisler has attached a spring/toy foot to a photograph of an athlete  - making a kind of prosthetic leg.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Running London (3): Southwark Park

It was the first parkrun in Southwark Park yesterday. A good turn out of 150, with the rain holding off after earlier showers.  I am pretty familiar with the park, having run round it a few times with people from work in our lunchtime runs. The course is flat and fast with tarmac almost all the way round - the 20 fastest runners all finished in less than 20 minutes. Mind you there were some very experienced runners taking part, including three with more than 250 parkruns under their belt.

David White (Croydon Harriers, as well as Southwark Council's Run! Co-ordinator) had the fastest time amongst the men (16:57), and Janet Worster (City Runners) was the fastest woman (19:35). But as usual at parkrun it was an inclusive field with plenty of runners who had never taken part in parkrun before - some of whom will no doubt become the bedrock of Southwark Park as it establishes itself.

As it was an inaugural event, the run attracted quite a few runners from around London and beyond, including Parkrun podcast presenter Danny Norman and a contingent from Orpington Road Runners there to celebrate Zoe Wright completing 50 parkruns (Zoe has struggled with cancer and family tragedies, and writes enthusiastically about parkrun at her blog)

The history of running in Southwark Park

Just south of the river Thames in Rotherhithe, Southwark Park was opened in 1869. It has a long history of athletics, as local historian Pat Kingwell has documented in his Some Races Run: Glimpses of Athletics in Southwark Park. Seemingly in its early days cricket was pretty much the only sport catered for, but from 1890 Cambridge Harriers started having regular running events in the park. The club grew out of Clare College Mission, a philanthropic endeavour involving Cambridge graduates doing charitable works amongst the Bermondsey poor - the Dilston Grove art gallery in Southwark Park was formerly the Clare College Mission Church. Cambridge Harriers Athletics Club continues to this day , though now based in Bexley and training in Eltham.

By 1898 Cambridge Harriers events were attracting crowds of 2000 to the park and in 1903 they had a membership of 150 runners. In October of that year, in his annual report to the London County Council, the Park Superintendent James White commented that athletics was thriving on Monday and Wednesday evenings and early mornings from 6am, the latter “mostly men employed in the printing trade.”

Also in 1903 another club, St. Katherine’s (Rotherhithe) Harriers, were holding meetings in the park which attracted 2000 spectators to the oval - the cricket ground area sometimes used for athletics. In July of the same year, Southwark Schools Athletics festival attracted over 1800 child participants in a day-long event, watched by 8000 people. School sports days continued in the interwar years, as well annual Children’s Sports and Gala Days throughout the 1930s organised by the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Trades Council and the Bermondsey Labour Party at the time of the May Day celebrations.

The park was close to the Surrey Docks and to the factories of Bermondsey, so the privileging of cricket over other sports such as football and running can be seen as disadvantaging local working class people. Even when athletes were allowed to use the cricket oval for training, rules stipulated that this was  'provided he is attired in proper University costume' (1898).

In the late 19th century Cambridge Harriers campaigned for a dedicated running track in the park, and in 1910 the Southwark Park Improvement Committee (which included representatives of the dockers union) took a deputation to the London County Council calling for an athletics track. These demands were rejected, and it was not until 1980 that a running track was finally opened in Southwark Park. The following year the very first London Marathon route included a diversion through the park, though from 1982 this was changed so the route goes past it rather than across it.

Today the track is in disrepair, though plans are being developed to refurbish it. The park is having a bit of resurgence as a running venue, with London City Runners now training there and a 10k taking place there next month - all this plus the new weekly parkrun which will no doubt go from strength to strength.

Getting there: Parkrun (every Saturday, 9 am) starts at the corner of the park nearest to Surrey Quays station (London Overground); Canada Water, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe stations are also nearby to the park. Local buses 47, 188, 381, C10 and P12 all stop near the Jamaica Road entrance.

Post-run refreshments: there is a cafe in the park, never seen it as busy as yesterday. There also various cafes just across the road in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, including one in Decathlon Sports.

Blog7t has another report of the Southwark Parkrun with lots more photos:

Southwark Park showing parkrun route - the shape of what was the oval cricket ground, also used for running,
can be clearly seen in the centre

Friday, 6 September 2013

Friday Photos (3): Running in Tel Aviv 1942

On a Rosh Hashanah tip, this week's Friday photos come from Tel Aviv in 1942. I came across these images at the US Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Catalog (there's more here). They were taken at a United Services Athletic meeting at the Maccabiah Stadium on Sat. May 2, 1942. 

The Stadium was built in 1932 for the Maccabiah Games, the international Jewish athletics event. Come the outbreak of war,  Italy had bombed Tel Aviv in 1940, and by 1942 Nazi forces commanded by Rommel were heading towards the Suez Canal from North East Africa. Hence the presence in Palestine of  personnel from across the allied forces, chiefly from Britain as the colonial power there but also from the United States and elsewhere. 

An article from that year in the Jewish Telegraph states: 'American soldiers on the Middle Eastern front are the latest to enjoy the hospitality of Palestine’s “Service Clubs,” which are the Holy Land’s version of the U.S.O., according to a report received here today by the United Palestine Appeal. The “Service Clubs,” whose welcome mats have already been trodden by thousands of British, Fighting French, Polish, Czech, Yugoslav, Dutch and Belgian troops, as well as Palestine’s own Jewish fighters in the Allied forces, are subsidised by U.P.A. funds. The clubs furnish information, arrange parties, dances, sightseeing trips, sports, etc., and even provide home-cooked meals at the homes of Jewish families'.

So who took part in this United Services meeting in 1942? Certainly British military - note the Union Jacks draped around the side of the ground - and presumably Americans (the photos being collected at US archive). I wonder whether the black athlete in the photo below below is an African-American?

The winner of the 800m was J.V.Powell, pictured below in Tel Aviv. This was John Powell, one of the best 800m British runners of the 1930s - he ran in the 1932 (Los Angeles) and 1936 (Berlin) Olympics.. According to Track Stats (November 2007) 'Powell served in the Middle East with the RAF as a Squadron-Leader during World War II, being mentioned in despatches three times. He also organised sports competitions for the troops and managed some more running in 1941-42, winning Palestine titles at 800 and 1500 metres. After the war... He went to Iraq on behalf of the British Council and was instrumental in Iraq sending four athletes to compete in the 1948 Wembley Olympics'.  So perhaps Powell was one of the organisers of the Tel Aviv event. Note his Amateur Athletics Association vest in photo.

There were also Indian athletes - the caption to this photo says  'Centre figure Indian 'runner up' in a running race.

Given that the event took place in the Jewish sports club stadium I wonder whether local Jewish athletes also took part, possibly Palestinian Arabs too as both Jewish and Arab soldiers fought with British forces during the war. So what does the 'M' signify on the runner's vest in the top photo? I wonder whether it has something to do with 'Maccabiah' or the Maccabi Tel Aviv Sports Club, which started in the 1930s. Anyone know?

More in the Friday Photos series:

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Record Sleeve Athletics (4): Blackbyrds

Next up in our collection of musical athletes cover stars it's The Blackbyrds, as seen on the front and back of their 1977 album Action.

The front cover has them crouched and ready for action on the starting line. I like the back cover image though where all the runners are a blur except for one solitary Adidas shoe (product placement?).

Can't see any particular running references in the songs on this album, but their big 1974 hit Walking in Rhythm could certainly be adopted by runners!

Walking in rhythm
Movin' in sound
Hummin' to the music
Trying to move on

I'm walking in rhythm
Singin' my song
Thinkin' about my baby
Tryin' to get home

It's been so long since I seen her
I'm tired and so all alone
I've travelled so very far
I've got to get back home

Thanks to Marcus Ryder (The Sound of Running) for suggesting this one. See previously in this series:

Monday, 2 September 2013

Running History (5): Advice to Runners from 1895

The Book of Athletics, edited by Norman W Bingham Jr., was published in Boston in 1895 by the Lothrop Publishing Company. If there's any doubt what it's about, just check out the full title: 'The book of athletics and out-of-door sports : containing practical advice and suggestions from college team-captains and other amateurs, on football, baseball, tennis, rowing, golf, sprinting, bicycling, swimming, skating, yachting, etc.'

There are two chapters for runners. The one on 'Running and Hurdling' was written by Bingham himself:

'Scarcely any form of athletics has so many followers who differ so absolutely in physique from the popularly accepted idea of an "athlete," as do the so-called " pedestrian " sports, which include running and hurdling. The frailest and palest youths have  sometimes proved themselves the most powerful racers ; and it is no uncommon sight on the track to see a thin, weak-looking boy run a big, muscular fellow "off his feet." The possession of a pair of long legs is no assurance that their owner will be able to get over the ground quickly, nor, as has often been proved, do decidedly short ones prevent his doing so. The fact is, there is absolutely no means of judging off-hand what sort of a racer one will make...

The most popular distances with amateurs in America are the one hundred yards' dash, the two hundred and twenty yards' dash, quarter-mile, half-mile, and mile runs. The three-mile and five-mile runs are less often attempted, and the still longer distances are seldom covered except in " cross-country" running.

There are many theories as to the best method of preparing for each one of these distances. One trainer may tell you to do one thing, and another will say that is just wrong. Moreover, persons of different temperaments and dispositions will not always do well under the same treatment. Experience alone will prove just how much and what sort of work will bring a man into the best possible condition...

Men who are training for distances from the quarter mile up scarcely need to be sent beyond their distance oftener than once or twice a week. The rest of the time may be spent in running from half to two-thirds the distance at a much sharper pace.

As to a man's "style" in running, there is not much to be said, except that he should be as natural as possible. He should stride out freely, getting his knees well up in front of him, but should not attempt to step too far. The arms should swing easily backward and forward, and should not be hugged up to the chest in such a way as to contract the lungs. Above all, don't attempt to run with your mouth closed. It is pitiful to see some men half strangle themselves in a race by attempting to breathe through the nose alone'.

The chapter on Hare and Hounds Runs was written by David W Fenton, of Harvard and Manhattan Cross-Country Teams. As discussed here before, the popular school game of hare and hounds (or paper chase) was the basis from which developed much college and adult cross country running in Britain and the United States. Fenton writes that most events took place over five to ten miles, and offers observations including the following:

'Long before cinder tracks and spiked shoes were known, our ancestors settled their disputes of superiority in regard to their powers of speed by running across the meadows and plains. It is an interesting fact to note the decline of this long-distance running during the past century, and its revival again, chiefly through the medium of hare and hounds runs, in the larger American universities.

Any one who has enjoyed these runs on brisk fall afternoons, and experienced their invigorating effects, will never avoid an opportunity to take part in this popular out-door sport. The delicate youth who is urged into it by the enthusiasm of the old runners, increases his powers of endurance, gains health and strength, and sees Nature in all her beauty...

In the past, college hare and hounds chases have been confined to the fall ; but any number of fellows thus inclined can enjoy this sport at any season of the year. Those who are accustomed to the routine work of chest weights and dumb-bells should take part in this out-door exercise, by going out for a five-mile spin twice a week, and, on the return, experience the reaction of a cold shower-bath'