Archive for March, 2011


RUNNING WRITING ROBINSON

03.20.2011

Roger in full flight

I was thrilled a few days ago, to receive a notice about a new book of the same title as this post.  To those familiar with running (the doing) and writing (about it) the name Robinson will be quite familiar.  Roger, among his many other credits is a contributor to Running in the Zone, both the original book and this blog – just a matter of days ago, as it happens.  When I first saw the title and handsome cover, my first thought was that Roger had published something of a memoir.  On further inspection and communication with the man himself, I learned that the book is ABOUT Roger and written and published BY his many friends from both his professional career and his life as a runner and writer on that topic.  The best way to introduce this book is to just quote from the release I received.

Running Writing Robinson

Edited by David Carnegie, Paul Millar, David Norton & Harry Ricketts 

Roger Robinson, Emeritus Professor of English, has been honoured by his wide circle of close friends and admirers from the worlds of elite distance running, sports journalism, creative writing, academia and many others with the publication of Running, Writing, Robinson by Victoria University Press.

Edited by colleagues in the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies, the volume has over fifty contributors, ranging from Lorraine Moller and Roger’s own son Jim among the runners, Tim Chamberlain and Lynn McConnell among the journalists, Fiona Kidman and Joy Cowley among the creative writers, Patrick Evans and Lawrence Jones among the academics, and Mike Hill, Phillip Mann, and Jeremy Commons among former colleagues at Victoria University Wellington.

Anne Else read the poem with which that her late husband, Harvey McQueen, saluted Roger in the book, including lines that acknowledge Roger’s service to both running and university:

            I recall gyroscopic feet pounding

            track & pavement, mile stretching to

            marathon, athlete’s gossip, speaker’s

            rostrum, announcer’s microphone

                                    * * *

            Unsung, the diplomatic bureaucrat

            weaving easily through university,

            educational & public service politics

Another contributor and colleague, Stephanie Pietkiewicz, was quoted at the launch for her reminder of Roger as a teacher and writer as well as a runner: “He opened the lecture. . . . His objective not merely to get to the destination, but to show us meaning’s journey through language. This was no mere intellectual examination; it was textual cross-country. . . . His writing pulls you into its pace, all slow acceleration or sudden surge, unput-downable, unstoppable till the very last full stop.”

Made up of memoirs, tributes, poems, running essays and literary essays this book will please anyone who shares Roger’s love of running, writing and fascinating people.

Even the few words of the release information will create an appetite among those who know Roger’s career from any of the many obvious perspectives mentioned.  Just to be clear, Roger is still very much with us.  Most people never get to read such writings about themselves as they seldom get written until the subject has gone on to that “great marathon in the sky”.  No, Roger, is not only “with” us, for those in Vancouver, he will be physically with us at the beginning of May when he and Kathrine Switzer, his goodly wife, will be helping to celebrate the BMO Vancouver Marathon’s 40th Anniversary running.  Roger has a long and glorious history with the Vancouver Marathon including that in 1981 he set (and still holds) the masters event record at 2:18:45, which in that particular running was also good enough for third place overall and many years could have been good enough to take the win.

So, if you are a fan of Roger, get yourself a copy of this fine tribute, then come out and hear him speak in Vancouver (details from the marathon web site).  Maybe you can come up with some out of the ordinary questions to put to him that go beyond the usual “so what was your favorite – best –  most satisfying race?”

Congratulations Roger!

INTERESTING WEB SITE FOR STATS JUNKIES

03.11.2011

A running friend and rival sent me to an interesting site, that has been around for a while and which I have learned, others knew about well before me.  It is a fun and useful (to a point) web site where you can create your own racing record from on-line results.  The site is Athlinks.

The guy who sent me there is about a week older than me and a great (friendly) rival here in our local running community.  I think he must have known that although we have been aware of each other for a couple of years now, we have run against one another for considerably longer – that is, in the same races.  I think he also knew, before he invited me to get onto this site and set up my own racing records, that he actually had me over the long term 12-9 in head to head encounters.  We will have to see about that!  The bad news for him is that he clearly nailed me almost every time in the early encounters but of late, I have him almost as often.  I’m catching you Ben!!!  Competitive?  Who’s competitive?  Not him.  Not me.  OK, maybe just a little.

He told me he had assured himself that he wasn’t getting spammed to death before sending me to the site.  I have also been waiting for some time before posting the link here, for the same reason.  There is no doubt Athlinks is a commercial site with potentials to follow certain products and work through to areas where you would at least link to a site where purchasing of athletic products (Athlinks isn’t just for runners) could be done.  But, that would be up to you as the “surfer”.  No problem there.

A lot of results are already on-line.  However, if you know you did a race and can give them the URL for the event/results, they will add the event if it isn’t already in their listings.  Generally, that goes fairly smoothly.  I have successfully added several.  Once a race is included in the database, it is there for anybody who did the event.

I have found that like so many things today, nothing exists before the digital age. That is why in the opening segment I said “to a point” re the site being fun and useful.  That said, if race directors or club execs or race organizers want to include historical results on their event sites and have an accessible database, it seems Athlinks will try to add it to the results they hold.  As an example, Athlinks has just become a sponsor of one of my favorite events, the Hood to Coast Relay.  Yes, even that kind of data is included.  I commented back to the Hood to Coast folk re their sponsorship announcemenet that it was too bad that older results (I did H2C in 1987 and 1989) were not available and got a response along the lines of “just wait – they are coming”.  Another event I know is preparing a database of historical results (I’m watching for 1988) is the Vancouver Marathon as it gets ready to celebrate its 40th running on May 1, 2011.  In summary, if organizers are willing to put old results on-line, Athlinks can probably pick them up into the database.

Of course, I raise this matter because this blog is at least notionally, for “seasoned” athletes and most of us “seasoned” athletes do have results that date back earlier than about 1998 (where almost any race I could come up with, could be found on-line).  Before 1998 I have had trouble with locating race results.  Now, that is a matter of the events to some extent and my own running career.  I did a lot of (my best) running from about 1985 to 1990, but then, although I kept running, I did not race much until the late 1990’s.  That is, there isn’t much to find in my own case.  Anyway, that is just a minor caution.  The Athlinks site is good fun and may even drive you to search out info you had forgotten about.  It certainly did in my case, with one very exciting and fun personal result being unearthed that I had indeed forgotten, and which was actually a 5K PB! How a person could forget a career PB is another story, which I won’t recount here.

As a useful and fun resource for readers of this blog and members of the cadre of Seasoned Athletes, you may want to check out Athlinks and set up your own membership and record.  Even if you don’t create an account, you can still search for races and results from the home page.