It would be fair to say this charming octogenarian had us all listening attentively as he paraded the bronze medal he won in the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. I know Barry, as he is my running coach, but I didn’t know the story that he had cut about twenty holes in his black New Zealand singlet to combat the heat in Rome. What a laugh!
Following the talk we all adjourned to the balcony for a barbecue lunch. The fundraiser resulted in nearly $1000 being collected for Cure Kids. Read more about our other Cure Kids fundraising efforts.
Barry, running and going the distance
Barry coaches people of all abilities, ranging from people with major health problems through to the top marathon runner in New Zealand, Sam Wreford.
When I met Barry and signed on to his school of running, I told him “I think I could be a better runner”. I had just run 1:37 in the Auckland Half marathon – self trained. I had no idea what he was going to ask me to do. He said “I’ll teach you running - the Lydiard way”, whatever that meant. “You’ll turn into a tiger”, he said, then hitting my left thigh with a hammer fist* “with thighs of steel” (* thankfully runners fists are not very strong). When I received my first training schedule from Barry, it was a forehead slapping moment as I realised what I had overlooked in my years of running. That missing factor was distance. My first week amounted to around 80km, which was far more than I had ever run in one week. It was tiring but after a few weeks it started to get a bit easier. Within three months I had run a half marathon in 1:28! Five minutes better than I’d run ten years earlier, at a much sprightlier age. Another three months later I had bettered my only marathon time by thirty five minutes. From that moment I became an instant fan of Barry’s training and have continued to improve in running strength and speed in the last two years. If I continue with the training it is likely that I will continue to get stronger and faster for several more years. That is the way that aerobic conditioning works – it takes years. Barry trained with Arthur Lydiard for ten years to build himself up to the level where he could win Olympic Bronze in the marathon.
It is fair to say that I am hooked on running. Last year I ran one marathon. This year I have run three so far, and the Auckland Marathon coming up in a couple of weeks will make four.
I’m proud to have an association with Barry and was really pleased to be able to invite him along to talk to us. He lives his life with a vitality and a passion for running that I admire – he’s a great role model who shows, by example, how to follow your passion.
The Marathon Team
A few of the team have been running up to twice a week during lunch time. It is great to maintain a social focus to the running and the banter and discussions make the training process enjoyable. We have a team of seven runners: myself and David White running the full marathon (David didn’t blink when Barry told him he wasn’t ready for the marathon – to be fair it may have been an example of how a master-coach pushes a runner’s buttons, and David may have been aware of this tactic). Running the half marathon we have Daniel Compton, Jason Free, Rob Lee, Dave Mason, Adrian Simpson and Andrew Trainor (in spite of his name has not been training much as he has been on the road to recovery from an injury – among other really good excuses – but is definitely up for the challenge and keen to enjoy the day).
Onwards and upwards – and perhaps a bigger team next year?
We're running the Auckland Marathon on 2 November 2014 – watch this space for a race-day report…