Monday, September 05, 2016

TM Speech: A Run Through History (Yup - check it out if Running Content is what you seek)

Dearest Readers,

I have recently given some speeches in connection with my Toastmasters International membership. Some are related to running, and some are not. When possible, I will publish the speeches. This is one of them.

A Run Through History

Held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus
War and other hostilities were halted during the Games
They were for men only. And naked ones at that. Women eventually began their own games
Wrestling and running were the main events. To our knowledge, the main distance was 1 Stadia/Stadion – about 200 yards
The ancient Olympics were permanently halted in 393 AD, when the emperor Theodosius I decreed that all pagan cults and practices be eliminated

We all know about Pheidippides running from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC, don’t we?
BUT - did you know...
The distance was about 25 miles
He ran 150 miles (Athens to Sparta) during the prior days
The first marathon run for competition was in the modern Olympics (inspired by a poem)
The marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles in the modern Olympics in order to run by the Queen of England
In 2010 we celebrated the 2500 year anniversary – how’s that for a tradition
The entire Pheidippides is probably only a myth. But it sure is fun

Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894
Panathenaic Stadium was restored for the new games held in Athens
Games began in 1896
Events included different running distances, including a new one called the marathon, to commemorate the legend of Pheidippides
First “Competitive” Marathon won by a Greek named Spyridon Louis
Held Every Four Years, just like the ancient ones
Interrupted by World Wars I and II
Women’s track events were added in 1928
Until 1984, Women were not allowed to run distances farther than 1500 meters

Or third, if you count the one by Pheidippides
Guess what? It’s Boston – 1897
Founded by Boston Athletic Association, inspired by first Olympic Marathon
Boston’s Long History nearly matches that of the Olympic one
At the 1908 London Olympic Games, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria wanted the marathon race to begin at Windsor Castle outside the city, in order for the Royal family to view the start
This made the distance 26 miles
Runners ran an extra 385 yards around the track as they finished in the stadium
Boston and other marathons adjusted their distances

Katherine Switzer entered the 1967 Boston Marathon as K. Switzer. RD Jock Semple tried to manually remove her, but her boyfriend intervened. 
These photos appeared in Boston Globe
Bobbi Gibb had run it in 1966
Women were officially allowed to enter Boston in 1972

From Cleveland / Ohio State
American track and field athlete and Olympic gold medalist
At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens won international fame with four gold medals
As the most successful athlete at the games and as such has been credited with single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy

Became the first to run under 4 minutes in the mile – 60 years ago in 1954
Since then as many as 1,000 runners have broken the barrier, a select few whilst still in high school
Very few of them have been able to do it on a cinder track as Bannister did
Sebastian Coe was the logical successor to Bannister

F: Won Olympic Marathon in 1972
J: Won 1st Women’s Olympic Marathon
Boston, Chicago Winner
Former WR holder

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