Whistler Spirit Run

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Run with Best jogging stroller

I have lived in Washington, D.C., for nearly two months, and for the first time complete strangers are saying hello to me. couple pushing a baby best jogging stroller smile and wave. A while-haired jogger gives a welcoming nod between strides. A walking threesome interrupt their gossip to offer hellos before they pass. A little boy on a bike weaves past me just as his mom manages a “passing on your left!”

Although I have taken a fitness walk virtually every evening since moving to the area, this is my first venture onto the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Trail. I am only five blocks from my apartment, but there are no blaring horns, no exhaust fumes, and no one glaring at my peculiar racewalking gait. The smell of fresh-cut grass tickles my nose while children’s laughter funnels into my ears. Couples discuss their crazy schedules and exercise away their tension after a typical Washington workaholic day. I feel my own shoulders ease and realize that for the first time, I feel connected to the community I am calling home.best_jogging_stroller

I ask an older couple if they know where the paved trail goes. They tell me that the W&OD (“that’s what everyone calls it”) is built on an old railroad line dating back to Civil War times. About forty miles of the rail-bed have been turned into a “rail-trail” connecting Arlington, Virginia, to the Appalachian foothills. With visions of a weekend bike trip, I thank them for the information. After traversing two community parks, crossing a creek, and greeting dozens of newfound “neighbors,” I retrace my steps, knowing I will return to this trail again and again. Feeling refreshed and relaxed, I head toward home mulling the brilliant simplicity of a rail line recycled into a trail….


Keeping records on track-part 2

THE INTERNATIONAL Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) is track and field’s only worldwide authority, and as such it is the only organization legitimately able to declare outstanding distances, heights, or times to be track-and-field “world records.”

New IAAF records are relatively rare. The IAAF does not recognize a world record in the hundred-yard dash, or in any race at a non-metric distance except the mile. Off-track races, such as the twenty- and fifty-kilometer race walks and the marathon, are not considered world-record events by the IAAE Nor are track performances indoors, although that situation may change after the IAAF holds its first indoor world championships, in 1987.track_and_field

Measuring up to IAAF standards is not easy. At the 1983 National Sports Festival, in Colorado Springs, the sprinters Calvin Smith and Evelyn Ashford ran world-record times in the men’s and women’s hundred-meter dashes. The morning after the competition the meet director, Bob Green, remeasured the distance between the start and finish lines with a steel tape measure. Green found the lanes to be a few centimeters too long, certainly not grounds for disallowing a record.

However, Green’s measurements, along with the original survey of the track, were not adequate to meet the IAAF’s stringent standards of certification. Before TAC could process the paperwork and forward it to the IAAF’s London office for ratification, a fully equipped survey crew had to be commissioned to certify that Smith and Ashford had run on a legal course. “It doesn’t make sense to keep records unless you’re playing on a level field–literally,” Hersh says. The survey crew found the course to be a few centimeters longer than a hundred meters, and level. The records were approved.

Keeping records on track-Part 1

AT AN INDOOR track meet during the 1984 season Mark McGavish, a sprinter from Idaho State University, ran 500 meters in 1:01.30. The time was the fastest ever recorded for that distance, and thus apparently a world record. But for sports in which the winner is determined by the clock or measuring tape, rather than by points scored, a world record is an objective measure of greatness, a bold statement that a performance is unequivocally the best in history. Moreover, track-and-field officials are reluctant to contaminate their record-keeping with explanatory asterisks. If not all the criteria for a world record are met, no record is allowed. Mark McGavish seemed to meet all the appropriate criteria and was guilty of none of the familiar reasons for disqualification. He was not South African, professional, paced, wind-aided, or a user of steroids or of shoes with too many spikes. The meet program had McGavish’s name in it, evidence that the race was run in a legitimate competition, rather than at an informal gathering of cronies. The banked, 200-meter board track had been measured and certified by engineers prior to the meet. Following the race, the automatic timing system produced a photo of McGavish crossing the finish line, with the record time superimposed on the photo. Jerry Quiller, McGavish’s coach, collected the verifying signatures of the starter, the finish judge, and the clerk, all veteran officials certified by The Athletics Congress (TAC), track and field’s governing body in the United States.

track and field

Then Quiller went to work filling in the standard record-verification form. “When I came to the checklist item about the curb, I decided to call [TAC] about it,” he says.

The TAC official told Quiller that if McGavish had run on a track that did not have an inside curb, his time would not be considered a record. Quiller argued that the track did not need a curb, because it was raised six inches off the floor of the field house, and centrifugal force was pulling McGavish to the outside of the lane. No matter. Rules, unlike records, are not made to be broken.

At issue was a two-inch-high strip of molding that had not been tacked to the inside of the track. “The curb intimidates,” Bob Hersh, the TAC national records chairman, explains. “It’s designed to inhibit runners from crowding the inside. Tracks are measured twelve inches from the inside line. If an athlete could run half an inch from the inside line, he would run a significantly shorter distance. It’s always been in the rules, and I think compliance with the rules goes without saying.”


The Olympic spirit: to modern Atlanta

A.D. 393

When the Romans conquered Greece in the first century B.C., the importance of the Olympic games began to decline. The games drew fewer participants and the contests became more bloody. The Roman Emperor Theodosius, a Christian, finally banned the Games in A.D. 393 because he considered them rites of the ancient Greek religion.


Baron de Coubertin

After Theodosius’ ban, the Olympic games quickly faded into history. By the 1800s, they had become little more than a topic discussed in ancient history classes. And had it not been for one man, the Olympics might still be nothing more than ancient history.

That man was Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), a French nobleman. De Coubertin had been impressed by what he had seen at schools in England. In those schools, sports played a big part in the social and moral training of the students. De Coubertin felt that sports might also be used to encourage friendly relations between the young people of the world. He wanted to find a sports event that would bring together the world’s people. “What better way,” he said, “than the restoration of the Olympic Games.”


De Coubertin soon had wide support for a renewal of the games. He was able to open the first modern Olympics on March 25, 1896, in Athens, Greece, about 100 miles form the ancient of Olympia. The 1896 Games marked the beginning of the first modern Olympiad (four-year interval between Games). The 1996 Olympic Games at Atlanta mark the hundredth anniversary of those first games and the beginning of the 26th Olympiad.


The Olympic spirit: from ancient Greece

Even if you’re just a tiny bit of a sports fan, you’re in for a huge TV treat beginning late this summer. From July 19 to August 4, the 1996 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world will travel to Atlanta to watch the Games firsthand. But more than a billion more – about one-fifth of the world’s entire population – are expected to watch the Games on TV. Viewers and spectators alike are certain to catch their fill of fast-paced action and high drama as the world’s best athletes compete for glory and for gold.


An Ancient Tradition

The 1996 Summer Olympics will be the most modern yet. High-speed communications and space satellites will beam the action throughout the world. Instant replays will capture the most exciting moments for the TV audience. But the Games themselves are part of a very old tradition – one began 2,772 years ago in the mists of ancient history . . .

Athletic contests were held in Greece from the very dawn of Greek civilization. Although no one knows precisely when they started, passages in both The Iliad and The Odyssey reveal that such sports as foot racing, discus throwing, and boxing were features of Greek life before the 9th century B.C.

The exact origins of the ancient Olympic Games are lost in myth and legend. One legend says that for many years the ancient Greeks had gathered in the beautiful Valley of Olympia to offer sacrifices to their gods. In time, this practice came to include games and contests in honor of the king of the Greek gods, Zeus. The ancient Greek poet Pindar adds to this legend by saying that the Olympic Games really became a huge event when the King of Olympia enlisted Hercules, the legendary Greek strongman, to take part in the Games. (No doubt Hercules won!)

776 B.C.

In any case, both legend and history say the first Olympics were held in the year 776 B.C. and took place every four years after that.

During the time the ancient Olympic games were being played, a truce was declared throughout Greece. Warriors laid down their arms and people went forth in peace to pay tribute to the nation’s athletes. Athletes and judges went to Olympia for months of training before the Games opened. They trained hard and ate well. Over six pounds of meat was not considered an unusually large dinner for an Olympic athlete after a day’s training.

All the athletes had to be Greek males. No females, either as athletes or as spectators, were permitted to even to step foot inside the sacred city of Olympia. In time, separate races were set up for woman and girls in a neighboring city. These games were known as the Herannic Games in honor of Hera, the wife of Zeus. They were held regularly, two years after each Olympic Games.

For the first 13 ancient Olympic games there was only one event – a 220-yard run. More events were added as the games grew in popularity. They traditionally lasted over five days.

The first day was devoted to sacrifices and ceremonies honoring Zeus, while the fifth and last day was devoted to closing ceremonies. Competition took place on the second, third, and fourth days. The second day opened with sacrifices to Zeus, then came the chariot race. The low, two-wheeled chariots were drawn by four powerful horses. In some years, more than 50 chariots were in the race. The racers had no lanes or barriers, and there were often locked wheels, overturned chariots, even head-on collisions. in the afternoon of the second day came the drama of the pentathlon – five events, including the discus throw and javelin toss, which emphasized the skills of warfare.

The Whistler Spirit Run

The Whistler Spirit Run is a one-day cross-country and trail running event that takes place at Whistler Olympic Park and features something for everyone

Come out and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Callaghan Valley and know that your participation is helping to build healthier communities right here in British Columbia.

Who is Frank Reynolds? See here.