Distance running expert to host clinic

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

SOUTH POINT - If you want to know the most about a subject, you go to the person who knows the most.

If the subject happens to be middle or long distance running, then go to the man who virtually invented jogging and perfected the training techniques.

Who is the man? Arthur Lydiard. How do you find him? It's going to be real easy this weekend.

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Lydiard, the premier international running coach visiting from New Zealand, will conduct the "Coach of The Century" Distance Running Clinic Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Point Grandview Inn.

Cost is $20 and includes lunch. Anyone interested should call (740) 377-3377 during the day, 377-9178 in the evenings, or e-mail rsmith@southpoint.k12.oh.us

Lydiard, now 87, has coached 30 Olympic medalists in distance running and is credited with inventing jogging.

Born in Auckland in 1917, Lydiard was a rugby player into his 20s. He also enjoyed swimming and believed himself to be fit because of his physical activities.

But by the age of 27 with his metabolism slowing down, Lydiard said he felt himself getting fat and lazy. A six-mile run with a friend was all he needed to open his eyes as to the poor shape he was really in, thus causing him to seek ways to improve his health.

Lydiard used himself as a guinea pig. He increased his distance to 15 miles a day and began his career as a competitive runner.

He continued to improve his stamina and speed as he grew older and by the 1950s became New Zealand's top marathon runner.

Lydiard began coaching other runners and in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Peter Snell won the 800 meter gold medal and Murray Halberg the gold in the 5000 meters. Both were from New Zealand and trained under Lydiard.

The clinic is being sponsored by Smith Insurance of South Point, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, NECCO, Scott Orthopedic, 7-Up Bottling Co., and RUNOHIO.