Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Runners Run: Frank Shorter

I'm starting a new series on the blog called "Runners Run." I intend for it to talk about all levels of runners, as the Doctor says, there's only one requirement, they have to be "amazing." Picture Matt Smith saying that last part, it works better.

Anyway, today, I am going to talk about Frank Shorter and in light of Boston, I think it's a good idea. I read about Frank last summer in Runner's World in anticipation of the Olympics. He is generally credited with starting the distance running boom and won a gold medal in the Marathon in Munich. If you don't know, Munich was marred by a terrorist attack. A group called Black September took nine members of the Israeli Olympic Team hostage. Two of them were killed immediately, the rest died during a botched rescue attempt. It was a black mark for the Olympics, the nation of Germany and the city of Munich, the latter two who were desperate to shake off the specter of the Second World War. Then terrorists came.

One of the consequences of this was that the Olympic Marathon was delayed by a day. The athletes had to wonder if they should race, if they could race, what was the point? I even read that one athlete had worked out his fueling strategy so scientifically that the delay was a disaster for him. This shook the athletes understandably, but Frank Shorter won the gold. What nobody knew for years was that Frank Shorter had grown up with an abusive father. Running had been his solace. Those terrorists couldn't shake him, he had lived in terror his whole life. To endure, to succeed after such abuse, that's pretty amazing to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment