DIARY: A voice through time…

Two packets arrived to a joyful reception a few days ago in the Glendasan Cottage: One from Auckland, New Zealand, and another from Brooklyn, New York.

The first package contained “Running the Lydiard Way” in the original 1978 edition. While I have both “Run to the Top” and “Running with Lydiard”, even a quick skim confirms this book is even better than “Run to the Top” (which was published in 1962, but I own the 1997 version) in terms of understanding the masters teachings. Certain chapters of “Running with Lydiard” are better (such as the cross-country chapter) but the overall greater wealth of information and the large swathe of well-designed programs (from 200m to cross-country running up through all age groups and genders) engenders me to say that this 1978 work is the jewel in the crown as far as the Lydiard training manuals are confirmed.

After having read, discussed and listened so much to Lydiard’s teachings it never ceases to surprise me that I still learn something new every time I read another book penned by the Auckland man: Here, seven years after his death, the voice of the world’s greatest coach has still not taught his final lesson. As long as there are men running this Earth, I imagine his voice will still ring out to them. As a further sentimental anecdote, it warms the heart to see Lydiard reference Cerutty and Bud Winters, who I would rate as the two other coaches in a trinity from whom most athletic training worth knowing today has emanated.

The second package contained “A Clean Pair of Heels – The Murray Halberg Story” published in 1963. There’s no dust-cover left on the book, just the army-green hardcover. An inscription on the inside page shows the book once belonged to a P. Masters on 35 Mitchell Street, Wanganui. This book will have a very treasured place in my collection.

Murray Halberg, of course, was the winner of the Olympic 5000m in Rome in 1960 and a sub-4 minute miler (one of the first in 1958) and one of Arthur Lydiard’s greatest students (and Murray dedicates the book to him in a humorous phrase). A few pages in the language is crisp and clear and New Zealand of the 1950s has come to life. The no-nonsense simple honesty of the writing is typical of runners from this age. No high and lofty philosophising here, just colourful rendition of a life lived and the encounters and characters who played their part. Full review to follow…

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