The photo is from when I was 18 years old in 1966 and running for Pierce Junior College against USC Frosh. The other, much cooler looking, runner is Lennox Miller…later to become Dr. Lennox Miller. Two years later, Lennox won the silver medal in the Olympics in the 100 meters and then won the bronze medal in the 1972 Olympics, also in the 100 meters. Dr. Miller passed away some time ago at age 58, but not before seeing his daughter win an Olympic gold medal. I am proud to have been his friend and not quite as proud to have been beaten like a drum by him on the track. The photo is a bit deceiving…I had the lead AND the inside lane when I got the baton…and never heard him coming until it was too late…would have made no difference anyway.
Ran across this photo and it reminded me of some great coaching I got from Coach O’Rourke, my terrific high school coach and from Arnold Schwarzenegger…from one of his books or documentaries about his bodybuilding career.
Be here now. That is the one I heard from the Arnold. He was talking about…if you are in the gym to lift…lift. Don’t waste your time talking and joking around…be here now and get it done. Great advice.
The same advice was given me about my track races and workouts. If we were to run to the gate and back, touch the gate, don’t just turn around a few yards from it and think you did the workout…touch the gate. Track is a sport of inches, especially in the sprints and hurdles I ran…so a bad habit that cheats you out of a full workout could cost you at the finish line. Touch the gate.
Last one, run through the finish line. I got to see the wisdom of this over and over again. Coach used to always say that the finish line was two yards past the tape. I have repeatedly watched runners take their foot off the gas just yards BEFORE the finish line and, you guessed it, LOSE. I have seen Olympic medals lost in this manner, world championships and team championships. Works the same on the football field or in life. Run through the finish line.
All these years later, when I see this photo (which Lennox loved) it is hard to realize how fast of a runner I was back then…and how much faster a true champion was as he beat me to pieces while looking like he was asleep. God bless you Lennox…you made those in your home country of Jamaica and your adopted county of the USA forever proud of you and your family. And you always ran through the finish line.