The Stanford course was fantastic. The course was fast, with some good hills on the back of the course. There was, until about 1978 a bridge early on where I remember a team mate being just about impaled on one of the poles as runners just charged across the bridge.
As one would run the course, you could see and feel the fans running from one part of the course to another, and as we neared the last couple of miles, one could sense the battles upfront.
From my vantage point, about 3/4 of a mile from the leaders, I remember seeing Alberto Salazar and Henry Rono just flying over the last mile at Stanford, dust flying up and the fans cheering away. I just remember Alberto and Henry running faster than I ever imagined possible. It was as if each willed the other to run faster, faster and faster....
I hear from Henry Rono on facebook once in awhile, and Alberto Salazar, I get to see on the circuit, both quite pointed about running's influence on their lives. Alberto Salazar does not seem to slow down, with the Nike Oregon Project and his travels with Mo Farah and Galen Rupp.
Jeff Benjamin wrote this piece on the anniversary of Alberto Salazar's World Best, in his second marathon, in October 1981. It was a golden time in marathoning. Not only did we have colorful and passionate runners like Salazar and Waitz, but we had colorful race directors such as Fred Lebow and Bob Bright. Jeff captured much of Albertos' bravado in predicting a world best, and then, delivering on it!
We hope you find it enjoyable....
Alberto Salazar's 1981 New York City Marathon Victory,
courtesy of New York Road Runners
That didn't last long though, as Salazar ran hard over the last part of the race, clocking a 4:52 25th mile and a 4:58 last mile! Before an excited, hysterical crowd in Central Park (including TV announcers Marty Liquori,Jim McKay, and radio announcers Tony Reavis and Gloria Averbusch) where even Race Director Fred Lebow lost control and tried to run with him over the last few yards but was stopped by police and secutrity, Salazar shattered Clayton's mark by 21 seconds, vowing that he could have run faster if there was competition with him!
Yet, sadly, a few years later, in their so-called "expertise and wisdom" the governing bodies decided that the NY Marathon Course was not valid and found to be short by about 100 yards. But debate about the measurements, how they are performed and the validities of not only the New York Course, but other courses around America and the world continue to haunt our sport to this day (Even David Katz, one of the certifiers of the NY Course, who is known and respected for his marathon expertise worldwide, recently said on a forum in LetsRun.com, "I was involved with the re-measurement (I have all of the paper work). There were some politics involved.")
Also, here is what Allison Roe said to Kenny Moore after her World Best ; "The men running around me were wonderful," she said. "They called and cheered and wouldn't let me slow. I realized there was a chance, but my legs were tight. I felt I was going slower and slower." One wonders how that would play out today, in light of the recent IAAF ruling concerning women marathon records!
New York Road Runners Club: www.NYRR.org