Tuesday, 16 March 2010


We are all aware of the tremendous performances which the best paraplegic athletes achieve particularly in the Olympic arena every 4 years.  But yesterday's comment on the use of arms in running inevitably brought back to mind the great New Zealand runner, Murray Halberg.   It's hard to think it's nearly 50 years since he won the 5000 metres in the Rome Olympics wearing the famous all black strip emblazoned with the silver fern.   He ran 13:43.4 to win the event within the same hour as his team mate, Peter Snell won the 800 metres.  Both were coached by Arthur Lydiard  whose training methods are still invaluable for runners looking for improvement in middle and long distance events.

Murray Halberg was memorable at the time because he won the Olympic title despite effectively running with one arm. His left arm had "withered", the legacy of a school rugby incident. His success could be used as an argument that arms are not important.  But as Percy Wells Cerutty said at the time "Had Murray Halberg the use of two strong ,effective arms,he might well have proved the greatest distance runner the world has known".   I would agree but I still maintain my position that we have to be happy that we have ticked all the necessary running boxes, appropriate to our given distance before we  think about whether  weight training or other methods of conditioning can be added and when.   Meanwhile,  week 12 of the year started with a gentle jog around the reservoirs after two solid days at the weekend with the tempo run on Saturday and yesterday's canal 9.  The plan is to train on the basis that I'm in the "C" team for Sunday but I shall not be surprised if they have sufficinet younger faster athletes.                     

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