All Posts By

John Bingham

All posts by John Bingham

Now what?

By | The Penguin Chronicles 2.0 | No Comments

I was interviewed this week by Mike Cosentino for his RunAtl podcast. I’m not doing that many interviews these days so it was both exciting and frightening at the same time. To his credit, Mike did a great job, was well prepared, and we had a wonderful conversation.  All that being true, however, at the end of the interview he asked me a question no one had ever asked before. Maybe it’s because I am technically “retired” and “the Penguin” has become something of a historical figure, I don’t know, but the question caught me off guard.  He asked me…

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Back to the Future

By | The Penguin Archives | No Comments

“I can see the finish line, and I feel an emotional rush that transforms me from a mere mortal into a mythical creature with winged feet. Well, OK, maybe not winged feet. How about a mythical creature with webbed feet? Forget eagles and sparrows, it’s time to celebrate the power of penguins.” Those words, originally written in May of 1994 on a lap top computer while riding in the back seat of a Dodge Minivan, on the way home from a half-Ironman triathlon, and intended to be seen only by me set in motion changes that no one could have…

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The Popeye Syndrome

By | The Penguin Archives | No Comments

People are always calling me names! I’ve been labeled a Baby Boomer, a Hippie, a Yuppie, Cool, Uncool, With it, and Clueless. I’m also, it turns out, a part of the Television Generation.  It’s true. I spent time every week with Roy and Dale, The Lone Ranger, Pancho and Cisco, and Sky King. I learned about truth, justice, and the American Way from Superman. A guy, who, by the way, ran around in a red and blue leotard wearing a cape. I thought families looked like Ozzie and Harriet and the Cleavers. Well, I thought other families did, because mine…

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Never Say Never, Again

By | The Penguin Archives | No Comments

It’s not too late to be what you might have been One of the insidious diseases that strikes at middle age, and trust me at 54 I am solidly into middle age, is one’s memory fading. I’m not talking about a serious medical condition, I’m talking about the blurring of what was with what might have been with what really is.  It’s not so much that the older I get, the better I used to be, but that the older I get, the MORE I think I COULD have been. What I used to think of as merely broken dreams…

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Both Sides Now

By | The Penguin Chronicles 2.0 | No Comments

Almost exactly 20 years ago, on the occasion of my 50th birthday, I wrote a column titled “An Out and Back Life.” I was reflecting on the similarities between getting older and looking back on one’s life and reaching the turn-around point of an out and back course. At 50 years-old my life was chaotic, complicated, with an uncertain future. The “Penguin Chronicles” had been in Runner’s World for a little over two years, I was beginning to get invitations to speak at running events, and I was just getting a glimpse at what the next chapter of my life…

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A Year in the Life

By | The Penguin Archives | No Comments

The Chronicles: December 1999 The late George Sheehan wrote that we are all an experiment of one. Considering how much experimenting I did in my 20’s and 30’s I must have agreed. I doubt, though, that what I was experimenting with would have please Dr. Sheehan. My running has been experimental, that’s for sure. Most of the time I’ve acted like a mad scientist mixing a potion in his basement laboratory. I tried new shoes, or a new training program, or a new diet and then stood back and hoped the results didn’t blow up in my face.   But…

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When to Say When

By | The Penguin Archives | One Comment

It isn’t always easy being a runner. It isn’t always easy being the Penguin. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to be both and to be true to either. One of the canons of the Penguin philosophy is that running – all running – is joyful in its own right. It’s the act of running, being in the moment of the motion, that brings satisfaction. And it’s the process that matters most, not the outcome. But some runners wrongly think that this focus on participation rather than competition means that performance doesn’t matter. Folks who routinely finish races before I reach halfway…

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Running With Friends

By | The Penguin Archives | One Comment

The “Penguin Chronicles” actually began in 1995 as a series of e-mails to a group called The Dead Runners Society. At that time the Internet was much smaller than it is now and most of the users were either academics or government workers. Marlene Cimons, a member of the DRS, sent several of the e-mail columns to the editors of “Runner’s World” and the rest is history. This column was one of the original e-mails, written in September 1995. Over the years, I’ve seen some really fast runners. I’ve actually known some pretty fast runners. And, I guess I’d say…

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The Art of Aging

By | The Penguin Chronicles 2.0 | 5 Comments

It’s funny how your perspective changes. When the best I could do was run a 12-minute mile I thought that a 10 minute mile was fast. As I improved and could run a 10-minute mile I thought an 8-minute mile was fast. When I realized that I would never be able to consistently run an 8-minute mile I gave up trying to decide what fast was. It’s the same with getting older. When you’re young you want to be older. You want to be 16 so you can drive, or 21 so you can drink [legally!] The age when you…

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Part 3: What’s It’s Like Now

By | The Penguin Chronicles 2.0 | No Comments

What’s it like now? This simple answer is: I don’t know. But, then again, neither does anyone else. The running participants, the running events, the running industry, and the running ethos continue to change like the colors and shapes in a kaleidoscope. Just look at the options in shoes. For years Nike was the dominant brand. There were other, less well known brands, like Brooks and Asics and – if you had wide feet – New Balance. And then, if you knew as little as I did when started running, you wore Saucony “Jazz” because you liked jazz. Now you…

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