As with anything you do in life there is always a higher power watching over you, or guiding you in the right direction. Some easy examples being teachers at school, a boss at a job. That's simple to understand, with religion it becomes more different, wars have started because of it. All because someone thinks the higher power is a fat guy sitting cross legged with a weird moustache versus a white dude with a beard in a bath robe. All and all maybe a crazy for the heavy church goers here, because of course your religion is correct. But for those of us out there on the road every day, hammering miles and what not, who should we look up to? Who are the runner gods?
Let me try to explain some of them.
Pheidippides: Obviously a legend, runs from the battlefield of Marathon all the way to Athens without stopping to deliver the message of victory, and then dies. He surely knew what a suicide pace was.
The Ancient Greeks: For creating the Olympics games, which started as a sole footrace every four years which was enough to stop wars for the time of the games.
Skjegg: The running god of cross country and base training, from his beard comes the strength to face the coming of the cold, wet, and windy season ahead.
Arthur Newton: Not to be mistaken with Isaac Newton but maybe more important, this man is the godfather of high mileage, he won the Comrades Marathon 5 times in his career and set records in races from 60-100 miles.
The Flying Finns: The Finnish runners competed throughout the early 20th century doing impossible things lead by the great Paavo Nurmi. The inventors of the Fartlek, which happened to inspire the next name on this list.
Emil Zatopek: The only human to win the 5'000, 10'000 and Marathon at the same Olympics. The inventor of interval training. He gains special recognition on this list due to the turmoil that took places years later when he was stripped of his status of legend and forced to work in uranium mines because he was a communist, but it did not break him.
Arthur Lydiard and Percy Cerutty: From New Zealand and Australia respectively, not runners themselves but philosophers of the sport, their athletes were some of the best in the world. They coached athletes to World Records without any science to back up what they were doing. To commit to their teachings is to commit to success in running and in life.
Finally I give you Steve Prefontiane: Maybe the Jesus of the running world, he died for us and died for the sins of the heal strikers, the head bobbers, and the race walkers. He made the sport appealing and more importantly put focus on two things that we all care for: winning and drinking beer.
An important thing to remember is this list does not include all of them, just some of the ones I believe in. The list extends to anyone who has made you believe you could accomplish something greater than yourself. I close this post with a prayer, I started praying to these guys when I was in grade 12, and most importantly when praying to these gods, its important to not only be serious, but also to let the humour in life come out as well.
Dear runner gods,
We thank you for the good weather you have given us, and the high mileage you have aloud me to run. I pray to you to allow me a healthy and happy season, allow me to run fast and run strong. On a side not, I wish not to have to poop mid race again..
Thats all folks.