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I've noticed a few mentions in RW and other mags about a 'boom' in running in the early 1980's. What exactly caused the increase in popularity around that time?
 

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The simple answer to that it The London Marathon

That's the main reason why I started running more...and I ran 5 London marathons in the 80's, including the 2nd ever. Obviously it was much smaller back then but it was still a major experience.

I gave up running in about 87/88 basically coz I blew up... ran too much, ran through injury, ran at all hours of night and day etc etc

I started again about 4 years ago but don't run like I used to...much more sensible 20 years on ;)
 

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The 80's running boom was the begining of the end for distance running in the UK in my opinion!
Suddenly finishing was more important than the time you finished in.
This is why my very slow Marathon PB of 3hrs and 6 minutes is somehow fast in the eyes off all the joggers out there today. I am ashamed of my pb and will not be happy if I don't break 3 hrs this autumn. people are not driven to do the work anymore and think that they can run a marathon on 25 mpw.
 

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How on earth can you say that Steepler... I guess that is ok if you are a male in your 20's or early 30's but so many people take up running later in life now and a sub 3 isn't that easy as you start getting older.

And what about us women who are not as naturally fast as men??

My PB from the 80's when I was in my 20's was 3.17... I very much doubt I could have got much faster... I was doing 70 to 80 miles a week then too.

Now I'm in my 40's and last year I ran a marathon in 3.40, maybe I could get sub 3.30 but that will probably be the limit my body can give me now....and I do not slack on training!!

The majority of marathon runners are serious...maybe with the exception of those who feel the need to join the 100 marathon club and focus more on getting the marathons 'under their belt' than breaking PB's. I cannot see the attraction of joining that club myself but each to their own I guess.

It's at FLM that you see more of the so called 'joggers' and they are usually raising thousands for charity, so they are excused your accusations too!
 

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the london marathon was a big help, but it just became trendy. no longer were you considered odd if you were seen running in the streets. the advent of decent shoes such as the nike air max meant that we large boned chaps could run without ruining the knees. a lot of people took up running as they became too old to play football and rugby without injury.

as for standards, they are undoubtedly lower than 10 years ago. i now finish in the top 100 of the north midlands xc whereas when i ran 10% faster i was lucky to get in the 120's., and runners doing 1hr 25 halfs are considered in the same light as 1hr 20's were.
 

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Steepler So what if the standards at the bottom end of the field drop. Start at the front and stop having a whine. As for jogging - what a load of daft faster runner snobbery. I've plodded many a mile but I've never jogged apart from warm up. I can assure you that my "plodding" requires me probably to make as much effort as someone who has the natural ability to run a lot faster. My heartrate is near the max in races and I have also lost a lot of weight. I was running 55 miles a week pre Mara and with the effort I have put in an 8 minute mile half marathon still isn't within my grasp just yet.

I think we are in the midst of another boom but many people are not entering races so its difficult to quantify.
 

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My point is that the overall standards have slipped across the board.
London was also started to raise the level of UK distance running and has had the opposite effect. One of my mates ran sub 2.19 in the 1980's and had over 25 brits in front of him. He would have been inside the top 5 brits last year!
My point is that people plodding round in 6 hrs are really not 'running' as most people imagine it. An example of what I mean is this.
I ran the GNR in 2002 in 83 minutes. This to ME is still slow.I had warmed down,had a sandwhich and a cup of tea and as I was driving away people were STILL finishing! You can't seriously label that as 'running' or even 'jogging'. That speed is WALKING!
 

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steepler said:
My point is that the overall standards have slipped across the board.
Any theories on exactly why the standard has dropped? I would agree that in mens races the standard is not what it once was. Womens running in general though appears to be getting better. Perhaps this could be attributed to the current lack of male UK role models for young althletes?
 

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My theory is that the marathon becomes the be all and end all for lots of runners.
When I first came to the South East I was running 4.45 ish for a mile and finished dead last in an open mile race. Last year when the track at Crawley closed they had a mile race and it was WON in 4.50! Nobody serves their 'apprenticeship' on the track any more. You can't run a fast marathon if you don't have good speed at the shorter distances.Track racing at club level is almost dead in the south east. Meetings that had 3 1500m races 8 years ago now have Seniors,Juniors both male and female in the same race. 4 runners in a county steeplechase!
Kids are not keen to do the longer distances on the track and I think we protect kids from competitive sport. Sport for all has a lot to answer for.Fitness for all yes,but Sport is about winning! We give lottery money to people who seem keener to get sponsored rather than go out and race. We need to ask our top guys from the 80's what they were doing in training and ask why our lot can't do it now!
I'm not belittleing the achievements of people on this forum. I'm not that fast these days anyway...but I was pretty good and I did that by training as hard as I could!
 

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steepler... you haven't answered some of my point, but it doesn't matter, I guess you can't.

I feel offended though, by what you are implying.

I do train hard, and consider every part of my training...ie the nutrition, rest, massage etc etc, but I am a 3.40 marathoner. Don't get me wrong, I am pleased with that am continuing to get PB's (a 10k and a 20 miler already this year).

It's a simple fact that some people are more able to run fast than others, this is due to all kinds of factors such as physique, gender, age, health, talent etc. Are you saying that someone who puts as much effort as they can into their race, say for instance a half marathon, and achieves 2 hours 30, as another person who puts the same amount of effort in and achieves 1 hour 15, is not classed as a proper runner and shouldn't be in the race?
 

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Allright everyone.
I'm not trying to offend anyone,just making my point. Surely not everyone on this forum is that easy to offend?
Anyone that is out there trying to get faster is a 'real' runner in my mind.
My problem is with the people that have hijacked what is a sport and turned it into a mass fun run. I know we can't all be fast, but if we are trying to be as fast as we can then we are well on the way. Anyway,off out to do some hills in the freezing cold!
Carpe Diem!
 

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My belief is that running lost its glamour as a serious sport but gained appeal to the masses as a way to improve your lifestyle, lose weight etc. Paula has changed that relatively recently so its too early to say what will happen at the top of the field in a few years in UK running.

I can assure you that 6mph is running to many people. The speed they achieve is almost immaterial. Their hearts will be pumping at 95-100% of max so how can you define this as walking?

Again I can assure you that running at 6mph when I first started running I was going almost as fast as I could so your 83 minutes and my 130 minutes probably meant I made more effort than you on the day.
 

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That is the moot point my friend.
For me running is not a lifestyle choice. I run because I love the feeling of being able to move over the ground under my own power. I'm not elitist as you may all think!
I have run for over 20 years and have seen what was once a sport be eroded into a lifestyle choice. Running in my mind is and always will be a sport. Long may that contiue!
 

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dahill said:
I've noticed a few mentions in RW and other mags about a 'boom' in running in the early 1980's. What exactly caused the increase in popularity around that time?
Messrs Coe, Ovett and Cram perhaps?
British middle-distance running was on top of the world.
Athletics had the media coverage to go with that.
Now everything plays second-fiddle to inescapable, overexposed, 24 hours-a-day-7-days-a-week.... football! :mad:
 

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My dad has some really 80's looking running kit, that he threw out not so long ago.

Running is a personal thing, so you shouldn't really watch what other people are doing too much.

If your not at top level, then no one really cares too much about your running.
People at work will never understand what you PB means to you.
They might say well done, but they don't really care unless they are a fellow sports person.
 

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I see this happening in track meets in Lisbon.
Juniors and Seniors racing together just to try to get all 8 lanes filled in an 800m race.
I have ran a Steeplechase ALONE!
I have never ran a steeplechase race with more than 5 people in it!

But then you watch the Veterans' 800m and you have 20 or 30 men running as hard as they can.

As for racing/running...
I think everyone can take something good out of running.
Halie Gebreselassie was happy when he ran 2h04'26'' for the Marathon, I was very happy with my 2h54'45''. And I was so happy when I finished my first one in 3h36'33'' that in the end I crossed the line and cried like a baby for 2 or 3 minutes.

Of course Haile would look at me like he would at a slug.
But still, it was MY achievement.

That's why I admire every runner who goes out to give his best.
Even if his best means that I will be having my lunch when he is just approaching the finish line.
After all, there are many Gebreselassies who are heading home when I am still covering the last miles.

And I still respect those who, like my mother, go on a fun run (someone had the brilliant idea of calling them mini-marathons over here hehe) and walk half the way but then 9 months later start thinking - "what if I trained a bit and managed to run the whole way?"

See you in the Lisbon Half Marathon in March mum!
 
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