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My 25 Favorite Running Quotes

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October, 2001

For the last couple of years, I posted a "Quote of the Day" on the RW forums almost every day. Most of the quotes came from "The Quotable Runner", compiled and edited by Mark Will-Weber. My final Quote of the Day post consisted of my 25 favorite quotes, all of which had been previously posted by me as individual Quotes of the Day. The following are my 25 favorite quotes.

1. "Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of a runner. He learns the harsh reality of his physical and spiritual limitations when he runs. He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are his only means to betterment. Runners get promoted only through self-conquest."____Noel Coward. (Will-Weber's "Starting Line" chapter.)

2. "Talk to me not of time and place; I owe I'm happy to the chase."____Shakespeare, Epistle to David Garrick, Esq. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

3. "I like running because it's a challenge. If you run hard, there's the pain----and you've got to work your way through the pain. You know, lately it seems all you hear is 'Don't overdo it' and 'Don't push yourself.' Well, I think that's a lot of bull. If you push the human body, it will respond."____Bob Clarke, Philadelphia Flyers general manager, NHL Hall of Famer. (Will-Weber's "Voices From the Midpack" chapter.)

4. "The thinking must be done first, before the training begins."____Peter Coe. (Will-Weber's "Coaches" chapter.)

5. "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."____Juma Ikangaa, Tanzania. (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

6. "Good things come slow----especially in distance running."____Bill Dillinger, Oregon coach. (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

7. "Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not."____Dr. George Sheehan. (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

8. "Relish the bad training runs. Without them it's difficult to recognize, much less appreciate, the good ones."_____Pat Teske (Training and racing partner of mine in the 1980s.)

9. Someone reportedly asked Jack Daniels, coach of Div. III women's cross-country powerhouse Cortland State, about what kind of training was currently popular among distance runners. Daniels simply responded: "Overtraining." (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

10. "In my dictionary, the word 'overtrain' falls just a page away from the word 'overkill', defined as 'to obliterate with more nuclear force than required.' Consider the connection: If your target is top running performance, then to overtrain means to apply more force than is required to hit that target. In fact, overtraining may literally obliterate your target, or at least leave you without the will to pursue it."____Jack Daniels. (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

11. "Any idiot can train himself into the ground; the trick is working in training to get gradually stronger."____Keith Brantly. (Will-Weber's "Training" chapter.)

12. "Fear is the strongest driving force in competition. Not fear of one's opponent, but of the skill and high standard he represents; fear, too, of not acquitting oneself well. In the achievement of higher performances, of beating formidable rivals, the athlete defeats fear and conquers himself."____Franz Stampfl, "Stampfl On Running." (Will-Weber's "Fear" chapter.

13. "Make your last thought before the start of a marathon: 'If I'm not worried that I'm running a little too slow in the first half, then I'm probably running too fast.'"____Jim Fortner, aka Jim2. (I just had to sneak one of my own in here. )

14. "Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to different stresses. The result? You become a stronger runner."____Eamonn Coughlin. (Will Weber's "Hills" chapter.)

15. "Men, today we die a little."____Emil Zatopek, on the starting line for the Olympic Marathon. (Will-Weber's "Marathon" chapter.)

16. "To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who has never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind."____Jerome Drayton. (Will-Weber's "Marathon" chapter.)

17. "Why couldn't Pheidippides have died here?"____Frank Shorter's comment to Kenny Moore at the 16-mile mark in one of Shorter's first marathons. (Will-Weber's "Marathon" chapter.)

18. "For optimum progress and peak performance, practice the three P's of running: Patience, Perseverence and a Plan."____Jim Fortner, aka Jim2. (OK, so I snuck in another one of mine. )

19. "Mind is everything: muscle---pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind."____Paavo Nurmi. (Will-Weber's "Mind Over Matter" chapter.)

20. "The five S's of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit."____Ken Doherty. (Will-Weber's "Mind Over Matter" chapter.)

21. "In my 1976 Training Diary there is a photo of Jack Nicholson from 'One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest.' It's a facial shot of him trying to pull out the drinking trough and use it to smash one of the barred windows to escape. One of the other patients said: 'Don't be stupid, you can't do that.' Jack replied, 'Yes I can, anything is possible.' He strained his guts out working at it for a few minutes with the veins sticking out of his neck. Of course he couldn't move the bloody thing. They all said: 'We told you that you couldn't do it.' Nicholson looked at them and said: 'At least I tried, you bastards.' To me that summarizes what I think about life."____Chris Wardlaw, 2:11 Aurtralian marathoner. (Will-Weber's "Mind Over Matter" chapter.)

22. "Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body."____Lynn Jennings. (Will-Weber's "Mind Over Matter" chapter.)

23. "To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain----not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it."____Dr. George Sheehan. (Will-Weber's "Pain" Chapter.)

24. "Great is victory, but the friendship of all is greater."____Emil Zatopek. (Will-Weber's "Victories and Defeats" chapter.)

25. "Have a dream, make a plan, go for it. You'll get there, I promise."____Zoe Koplowitz, Achilles Track Club member with multiple sclerosis, who required 24 hours on crutches but finished the 1993 New York City Marathon. (Will-Weber's "Victories and Defeats" chapter.)

And a final bonus quote:

"There is no finish line"____Nike advertising slogan. (Will-Weber's "Finish Line" chapter.)