A recollection from the garage of athletics, enjoying the daily musings of Mike Fanelli, by Larry Eder


TFN Laris cover.jpgTFN cover, with Laris, Shorter, Fredericks, Bacheler, 1972

If one is fortunate enough to have Mike Fanelli as a Facebook friend, then one knows, that virtually each and every day, the man provides his friends with a glimpse into the best garage collection of athletics in the known and unknown world.

His stories, his photos make me smile. A comfort food on athletics for the soul with the daily amount of detritus that we get on athletics each and every day right now.

The following piece is a classic.

I have known Mike for three decades plus decades. I remember seeing him at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials. But, there were probably already a dozen races we ran in in the 1978-1979 time period. I ran my best 10,000m in a race with Mike, the NorCal Invite in April 1981, where Mike finished second.

Mike Fanelli changed my life. It was Mike and Pat Devaney, while at Reebok, that encouraged me to produce a coaching newsletter through RW custom pubs called Coaching Advantage. The newsletter reached 30,000 coaches and gave them training tips. The response was fantastic.

After I left RW, I wondered if a coaching magazine could make it, reaching only track coaches. Hence, American Athletics (renamed American Track & Field) was born in 1989.

Take a moment to enjoy Mike's thoughtful remininsces of a fantastic 10,000 meters in the year 1972!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT...AKA Cool Cover #3...are you old enough to remember the 1972 Outdoor National Championships meet (precursor to the Munich Oly Trials)? If so, then likely you've since traded in your AAU card for an AARP one. This was held in Seattle and featured wins by Jim Dare in steeple, Wottle over Wohlhuter and Rick Brown in the half, hometowner Fred Luke in the jav, Mike Keough dropping Len Hilton at 5,000, Dave Roberts becoming only 2nd American ever over 18' in the vault, and Randy Matson's 69'+ shot...then there was the 25 lap event typically about as exciting as watching paint dry (he says entirely tongue in cheek as a once upon a time former 10,000 meter 'specialist')...early on, Bacheler would lead training partner Shorter before Frank would take a turn...Tom Laris would take a long pull past 5 miles as well and the pace continued at 69s... at the bell, four Americans including the three aforementioned plus a Penn State collegian, Greg Fredericks, in his 10,000 debut..with 2/3 of a lap remaining, Fredericks would unleash his 49 second (relay), 1:12.1 indoor 600, 1:50.4 half mile foot speed to move from 3rd to first in a nano-second...a 26.6 final 220 was all he'd need to secure the win along with a new American record time of 28:08 followed by Shorter's 28:12, Laris 28:12.6 then Bacheler's 28:13.4 ALL FOUR RAN PRs !!! ... the other AMAZING footnote was that these four times placed the entire quartet of Americans onto the world's all time top 20 list AND in the words of Track & Field News "believe it or not, the US can now claim four faster performers on an all-time basis than any other nation in the world"...how do you track geeks like THEM apples????

-- with Tom Laris

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