So what do you do if you ran a 4:30 high school mile, go to Cornell
and get coached by LetsRun.com's Robert Johnson, who helps you reach
the NCAA XC Championships and earn an Ivy League 10k Championship? Why
try to run an Olympic Trials qualifying time in the marathon (attempted
twice!) with the coaches' blessing! Sage Canady achieved all of this,
and competed at the 2007 Olympic Marathon trials as the youngest
competitor, a race he did not finish. But he wanted more. His subsequent
decisions about what to do to try and develop a national, world-class
career is written about by Canady in his inspirational, blunt, and
humorous autobiographiocal account Running For the Hansons.
Like may post-collegians, Canaday had to make decisions about
whether to pursue job opportunites or test for himself what he could get
out of his running. Canady's philosophy unfortunately reflects the
options, stress, and economic woes which have continued to plague our
American distance runners since the birth of the modern Olympics.
most important factor to this day--Lack of Support-- plagues Canady just
as it had Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Steve Prefontaine, Tom
Fleming and others. If you are new to the sport, you have to wonder in
astonishment how one of the richest countires on earth, with it's
reputation for fielding great Olympic Teams, lets it young talent fend
for themselves economically while trying to train properly.
been around, Canady is sadly speaking for the current generation of
hungry, young, motivated distance runners who are experiencing deja vu
all over again! Canady writes, "I've always tried to be a realist. But
what does a 2:15 marathon get you these days? Not much in anything in
terms of financial incentive. I guess it is a matter of
self-exploration, curiosity derived from trying to find out where your
body's limits are and then testing them...I think that's why we keep
doing this shit." Bill Rodgers could not have said it better.
Like these runners before him, Canady does not let this deter him.
He eventually is invited to join the nationally recognized
Hansons-Brooks Distance Project and moves to Michigan to be trained
under the duo of Kevin and Keith Hanson, who have nobly and successfully
attempted to fill the void by supporting post-collegiate distance
runners in their dreams. Canadys' ultimate dream--the 2012 US Olympic
While a little jumpy in some sections of the book (where he goes
off on a few tangents), Canaday's book is a MUST-READ for any distance
runner curious about the next level. SACRIFICE, COMMITMENT and DEDICATION
are the major components of this book.
One cannot help but admire the
qualities of the athletes and coaches, who attempt to rise to the next
level, often at the expense of giving up years of their lives and future
to pursue something which is not guaranteed in the quiet, low key
lifestyle of Rochester Hills, Michigan . Add to that the tough winters
The book is also filled with great training ideas, as well as
little bios about fellow Hansoners' Desiree Davilla, Brian Sell, Clint
Verran and others.It is also replete with photos, training logs, and
solid training advice. The support and training given by the Hanson
Brothers and Brooks is very evident as well. Canady's social and body
issues also add hilarity and realism to the book as well.
But the book keeps playing the same theme over and over, which notes the sacrifice and the time given up by athletes like Canady and others
as they pursue their chance for glory. Even among the Hansons, one must
work in their stores, and though it is a much more supportive
environment than the average 9 to 5 bustle, it can also take a toll, as
Sage writes about when he discusses the departure of 2:13 marathoner
One would hope that this book would resonate not just with our
fellow runners, but also with the general public who might come to
appreciate the devotion of countless hours that Canady and other
athletes have trained in their pursuit of the 2012 Olympics. Has the
Hansons Project helped Canady? Well, he qualified for the trials by
running a 1:04:32 1/2 marathon and also dropped his marathon PR by 3
minutes to 2:16:52!
With the unpredictability of the marathon, one
cannot help but root for him as he attempts to put all his training and
inspiration into pursuing his dream! As he writes, "This was it...you
are only young once! I was willing to make some sacrifices to pursue
what most in society would view as a silly and selfish pipe dream. But I
did not care. I had lived the last decade of my life obsessing about
running...plus the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials loomed."
Sage, and good luck!!