FAST TRACKS: The History of Distance Running by Raymond & Bill Squires Krise

FAST TRACKS: The History of Distance Running

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KIRKUS REVIEW

300 years of distance running, smartly recounted. Olympic coach and former miler Squires felt, with Krise, that ""formerly adequate channels of athletic socialization, whereby a new racer was introduced to the mores and norms of the road,"" were overloaded by the sport's explosive popularity; so they set out to teach the culture of running. The first chapter fills in the centuries from 776 B.C., when the Olympics began to include distance running, to 1890, when the Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) was formed in New York, giving a needed boost to college track. In subsequent eras: the modern Olympics begin (1891-1919); Finland's Paavo Nurmi captures the world's attention (1920-32); ""Scientific Running"" brings efforts--through changing track surfaces or training methods--to help runners set new records (1929-39). From 1956 onward, Squires and Krise pay special attention to the growth of running as a recreational pastime--in which casual athletes' efforts were fueled by the accomplishments of the Villanova teams, Emil Zapotek, Wilma Rudolph, and such. Throughout, women's running is taken note of (not just distance--from which they were long barred), and so are the contributions of athletes not primarily associated with running--like Jim Thorpe and Babe Didrickson. Satisfying even for amblers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Stephen Greene