In Steve’s blog entry a few weeks back he referred to me as a locomotive on the track. And, while I appreciate his compliment, I know that there was only one “Locomotive”. He is my running idol and his name was Emil Zatopek.
Emil Zatopek was born in 1922 in
In 1952, at the
Zatopek was not known for his gracefulness. His running form was not considered to be a very efficient style at the time. His head would roll, face contorted with effort, while his torso swung from side to side. He often wheezed and panted audibly while running, which earned him his nickname.
But, what Emil lacked in style he more than made up for in heart and courage. He just plain trained (and raced) harder than anyone else was willing (or able) to do. In the winter he would run through the snow in heavy army boots. And, when the snow melted, he was known to do as many as 80 - 400 meter repeats in one track session.
Here are a few of my favorite Zatopek quotes:
"Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast.”
"If you want to win something, run the 100 meters. If you want to experience another life, run a marathon."
"I was not talented enough to run and smile at the same time."
"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."
Sometimes, when I'm having a difficult time getting motivated for a run, I just think of how hard he worked at becoming such a great runner. And, that run usually ends up being my best workout of the week. If I could be one iota of the runner that Emil Zatopek was, I’d be pretty happy.