Saturday, April 23, 2011

I Think I Have a New Hero...and Ultrarunning

Emil Zatopek

I ran across this quote somewhere on the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners web site, and Googled Emil Zatopek to try to find the context of the quote.

There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions.

Emil Zatopek was a Czech runner--much along the lines of the later American runner, Steve Prefontaine--who kicked some serious butt at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Zatopek not only won the 5,000 meters, the 10,000 meters, and the marathon, but he did this within a span of only 8 days, and set Olympic records in all three events! 

Zatopke was a road runner, not a trail runner, but his passion for perfection ceratinly has parallels in Ultrarunning:

"When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical.  Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either.  Then willpower will be no problem."

And:

We forget our bodies to the benefit of mechanical leisure. We act continuously with our brain, but we no longer use our bodies, our limbs....We have a magnificent motor at our disposal, but we no longer know how to use it."

I found more, much more. We would all do well to emulate Emil Zatopek.

 

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