All Posts By

John Bingham

All posts by John Bingham

Part 3: What’s It’s Like Now

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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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Part 2: What Happened

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What happened? Simply put: WE happened. There was a giant community of runners and walkers who felt ignored by, or worse yet disdained by, the running industry. Many of us felt ashamed by how we looked, how slowly we ran or walked, and by the huge gap between what we were capable of and what we wanted to do.  To be honest, I never really, truly enjoyed running. Or, at least, not in the way that I enjoyed making music, or riding a motorcycle, or even riding a bicycle. Running was a constant battle between the strength of my will…

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Part 1: What It Was Like

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A Brief History of the Second Running Boom. The late, great, running writer and philosopher Dr. George Sheehan wrote that true effort galvanized the body, mind, and spirit. I agree. There is that moment at the very edge of one’s ability and preparation in which there seems to be a unity of all that we are. Where I disagree is in defining who is eligible to find that unity. Before Frank Shorter won the Olympic gold medal in the marathon in 1972 running was almost a secret activity. There were runners, of course, and there were running events, but it…

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Penguin Chronicle #1

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The Penguin Chronicles :: March 1995 :: You may be a Penguin 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.  The runner as Penguin? No way!! Gazelles, Cheetahs, thoroughbreds. The metaphors for runners always seem to conjure up images of fleet footed creatures moving swiftly across the landscape barely casting a shadow. What those metaphors miss…

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Starting Over

By | The Penguin Chronicles 2.0 | 2 Comments

It all began in the back seat of a Dodge mini-van coming back from a Half Ironman triathlon in Panama City, Florida. Somewhere in Alabama, while reflecting on my last place finish, the words “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” were written. And that, my friends, was the beginning of a 20 year journey of writing, speaking, and learning. [read the original column here] For those of you who don’t know the story: I posted my reflections on finishing last with an internet group called The Dead Runners Society, Marlene…

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The Penguin 2.0

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They say old writers never die, they’re just at a loss for words. After 14 years of columns for Runner’s World magazine, and 4 more for Competitor Magazine, I put the laptop down and figured I was finished. Well… maybe not. So stay tuned. I seems that there may be more that I want to say.

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A Truly Remarkable Year

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No Need for Speed: December 2005 Everything I meant to tell you about Long-times readers of this column, especially those of you who have made the transition from “The Penguin Chronicles” to “The Chronicles” to “No Need for Speed” with me, already know that the December column is the annual wildcard. Eleven columns are year are for you. December is for me. This is because December has been the time of so many special events in my life. I was born in December, got my driver’s license, got drafted, got married, and celebrated a lifetime’s worth of holidays with friends…

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Relativity

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When my twin grandchildren were first born, my son and daughter-in-law worried that they would never get past the constant care and feeding of the babies, the lack of sleep, and just the general chaos. I told them that, from my experience as a parent, the days were long but the years were short.  I was reflecting on this as I started to close the books on 2006. This is the end of my 15th year as a runner. 15 years! I can remember when I first started running I would hear people talk about running for 10 or 15…

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Giving and Getting

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The Penguin Chronicles :: December 1995 :: Giving and Getting December has always been a strange time of year for me. In addition to the holidays, my birthday is in December and so this month has become a watershed in my year and in my life. This was the month that society granted me important permissions. In December I became old enough to drive, old enough to get married, old enough to vote, and old enough to drink. I also got my induction notice in December. As a child, though, December could be summed up with one word: toys. Toys!…

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Frankly Speaking

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For  years I  had the privilege of interviewing many of the top runners of this and past generations. The one interview that is guaranteed to be filled with surprises, thoughtful nuance and outrageous proclamations is Olympic Gold Medalist Frank Shorter. Typically I’ll ask Frank what’s on him mind and 45 minutes later we stop. Recently I asked Frank how it was that he maintained his enthusiasm for running for so many years. His reply was that he simply loved to run. Training and racing weren’t things he had to do but things he wanted to do. More than that, he…

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