Point of View

Bart Smith, an exceptional Masters runner and once a US record holder in speed skating, gives us his view of the World Track and Field events of a few weeks ago:

When Chico and Harpo Marks each managed to pull an ace of spades out of the same deck of cards, Chico told the on-lookers “that’s what ya calla finesse!”
I suppose finesse has many definitions to many people but for runners it was certainly obvious during the World Track and Field events this past week who had the finesse and who didn’t.  I certainly hope you had a chance to watch the women’s 5,000 meter final and the women’s marathon.   Ndereba has be the poster girl for running finesse and technique and a great example of what ChiRunning is all about.  The straight up and down running style of her competitors did not leave them the juice over final kilometers to answer the surge Catherine the Great put in under the hot and humid conditions…
Another good example was the women’s 5,000 meter final where the medal contenders were all of the “lean and lift” category as opposed to our own Jen Rhines and Shalane Flanagan.  I am not trying to take anything away from our girl’s great performances; seventh and eight positions were splendid in a field of top finalist.  However it was clear to even to a casual observer that our girls were weaned on the “power running” concepts and that simply isn’t going to allow them to use their conditioning as effectively as it could be.   When competing against the world’s best who are all superbly conditioned, conditioning alone will not stack the cards in your favor.   When all else is equal the runner with the better technique will win every time.

As Chico would say “that’s what ya calla finesse!”  – Bart Smith