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Galloway and Bingham

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10/18/03

I’m not going to comment on Gallowalking, per se, in this post. I've made my comments many times previously on these forums....both before and after giving Gallowalking a try. If anyone is interested in my comments, they can be found in two posts ("A Gallowalking Experiment" and "Galloway - Devil or Angel?") under the heading of Gallowalking on my Running Page.

 

Concerning the original intent of Sparkie's post, I agree with him. I think that it's interesting, but not surprising, that Galloway has never appeared on the RW forums to discuss, much less debate, his philosophies.....and I have been here since May, 1996, which was shortly after RW created the forums. However, I think I understand why he doesn't pop in here.

 

Jeff tends to "come out and play" in environments that are favorable or that he can control....and group settings at races fit that criterion. He's a positive, upbeat kind of guy. I think that he avoids controversy and negativism, which are almost impossible to avoid or control on a public forum such as this where his personal magnetism can't project, because it's bad for business. True, he showed up on the Nashville Club's forum that Sparkie referenced. However, there were more Galloway-positive than Galloway-negative posts in that thread at the time he made his post. Plus, it is a relatively obscure forum with very limited activity; thus the potential for a damaging controversial, even hostile, environment was limited.

 

At a relatively small (50 people) dinner the night before the 1999 MCM hosted by the Penguin, John Bingham, I tried to give Jeff some feedback concerning my experiment with Gallowalking the year before, as reported in the above link. He was polite and cordial, even friendly when I first approached him....he was standing against a wall and not occupied with anyone else at the time. However, as soon as he discerned that my feedback was going to be critical, he quickly brushed me off when members of his adoring public approached. He didn't want anything but positive discussions re Gallowalking in a public setting. I understand that. It's a business for him. I suspect that he would have reacted differently if we had been one-on-one over a beer. Then, we just might have been able to enjoy a constructive dialog.

 

John Bingham, the Penguin, entered the real lion's den a year ago and made an appearance on Merv to defend his running philosophies after having been trashed there, along with Galloway. He gained a lot of respect among Mervites, who consider him to be Darth Vadar Junior (Galloway is Senior) within the competitive running community. They appreciated his willingness (and guts!) to show up and make his case amidst a bunch of non-believers. Heck, they even archived his comments in the Merv's “Hall of Fame” of preserved posts.

 

But, Galloway show up on Merv or here?? Don't hold your breath.

 

I think there is another reason why Galloway or Bingham....or Joe Henderson and Hal Higdon, for that matter....don't appear on these RW forums. They are important monthly columnists in the RW magazine. Why should RW risk any potential controversy, even conflict, which could arise from letting their stars communicate here with lots of critics? It could potentially cost them subscribers, if the stars didn't shine in an interactive setting. Another example....has anyone seen Bart Yasso appear on the RW forums to discuss or answer questions concerning Yasso 800s? That's a subject that resides completely within the RW staff....Bart (RW Race and Event Promotion Director) originated Yasso 800s, which is one of the most misunderstood "training tools" in marathoning, and Amby Burfoot (RW editor) wrote the article that publicized them as a training tool....but neither comment on the many threads that appear on the subject on their own forums!

 

A couple of years ago, RW instituted a policy whereby a RW editor would monitor selected forums every day for posts addressed specifically to "Editor". The "duty" was rotated among several RW editors, but none of the columnists. Amby, himself, replied to a few "Editor" posts. But, it was mostly Wish, Parker Morse (Melanie's predecessor), and a couple of other editorial staff members who handled the duty.

 

Let me conclude these ramblings by saying that I have met Galloway and Bingham on more than one occasion. I really like both guys. I would be very happy to be able to call both "friends". How do I view their roles in the running community? In a word....positive. Do I think they hurt competitive running? Indirectly, yes, because their "less is better", "there's an easier way" and "just relax and have fun" attitudes contribute to the "dumbing down" of running. Do I think they are a major reason why American runners as a group are slower and American elites no longer competitive on the international scene? No. They have contributed to that decline, but it's more due to other sociological factors. Do I think they are making a net positive contribution to the running community? Absolutely!!! As a "peoples' sport", running is "healthier" today than it was 10-20 years. There are more participants from 5k to marathon than ever before. Galloway, Bingham and RW have contributed to that. OTOH, it's also true that American competitiveness has declined....and Galloway, Bingham and RW have played a minor role in that. But their net impact is a plus!

 

Jim2