KEEPING TRACK - Frank Shorter

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KEEPING TRACK - Frank Shorter

Written by Rod O’Donnell on 29 September 2016.

Whether you were a runner during or before the “running boom” of the early ‘70’s or have joined the millions who now take part in the sport, you will enjoy My Marathon, Reflections of a Gold Medal Life, by Frank Shorter, with John Brandt. Shorter, the 1972 Gold Medalist in the marathon at the Munich Olympics and the second place finisher at the ’76 games in Montreal, recalls the quest for these medals. Equally interesting are the stories of the camaraderie that he shared with his Florida Track Club teammates, and the impact that an abusive father had on his life.

Brandt is a noted sports writer. Among his publications are articles in Runner’s World Magazine and the books, Duel in the Sun and 14 Minutes, about the life of legendary runner and coach, Alberto Salazar.

Many refer to Shorter as the “father” of the explosion of distance running in this country. His dramatic win in Munich is considered a major catalyst that encouraged the average person to take up the sport for both fitness and competitive reasons. Symbolic of this pattern is the number of participants in the New York City Marathon. In 1970, 127 runners entered the race. The number increased to 50,229, in 2015.

The accounts of training during his storied career and the relationships with the other members of the Florida Track Club will rekindle memories of those who shared similar experiences in other settings. Names such as Jack Bachelor (Miami of Ohio,) Jeff Galloway, and Kenny Moore, all members of the F.T.C. will add to the memories. All three of these men went on to have an impact on running, as coaches or authors. Shorter also tells of the time spent training with the great Oregon distance legend, Steve Prefontaine; the fact that he was the last person to see Pre before an accident took the distance legend’s life is especially poignant.

Another interesting part of the book is the description of the major role that Shorter played in changing the rules concerning amateurism and his fight against performance-enhancing drugs in the sports of track and field and road racing.

In contrast to the modern approach seen in many training programs, he competed frequently, did not back down significantly before races, and ran high mileage consistently. The Olympic champion describes his training from 1970 to 1980 as averaging 17 miles a day, running seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Much of this was done at an altitude of 8,000 feet.

The reader will be inspired, informed, and impressed by one of America’s greatest distance runners. His story will make a lasting impression, as it tells of a time when the love of running served as the primary motivator to achieving excellence in the sport.

Yours in track,

Rod O’Donnell

Read more of Rod O’Donnell’s Keeping Track articles on -

KEEPING TRACK, Two Iconic Coaches -

KEEPING TRACK -  Caldwell Story -

KEEPING TRACK - Furman Elite Training Group -

Keeping Track - 2 Divisions for 120 Lacrosse teams?

Boy's Division II and Division III -

Boy's Division I -


KEEPING TRACK - Football and Track Athletes -

 The Ohio High School Athletic Association State Cross-Country Championships -

Cross Country -

 Track Faces Challenges that could have adverse effects thus causing severe damage -

Marketing Track & Field -

Student Athlete’s Questions -

The Need to Speak Up -

A new book by John McDonnell -

KEEPING TRACK - From September-October 2013 print RUNOHIO -

Random Thoughts -

Another Division I institution has dropped its men’s track program -

 Ohio University Athletic Department's Worst Decision -

Life Lessons from Cross Country -

Ten Pledges for Cross Country Coaches -

London Olympics -

 Improving as a Coach –

You Only Go Around Once -

Dear Jesse Owens –

West Virginia State Cross Country Championship –

SPIRE Institute -

Why is the OHSAA Treating Cross Country Different than All of the Other Sponsored Sports?

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