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Back in the olden days, I was a member of the American Medical Jogging Association and the National Jogging Assn.  Now there is something called the ARA.

Barbara Baldwin, MPH, Information Services Director explains it all.

The American Medical Athletic  Association (formerly American Medical Joggers Association) and the American Running Association (formerly the National Joggers Association) merged in 1995. The AMAA is now the professional division of the ARA.


I hope you took notes, because there’s going to be a test.

In any case, the kilometer and mileage ribbons and patches awarded by the National Jogging Assn. (American Medical Jogging Assn., the American Medical Athletic Assn., the American Running Assn.) provided wonderful incentive during my first years of distance training.

Although these patches are no longer available, the organization is considering issuing a new series. 


The company is named ASICS, but I, along with thousands of others, still affectionately think of them as TIGER!

I’ve been running in TIGERS for a zillion years, and have probably put in sufficient mileage to circumnavigate the globe several times.



There are a lot of great training flats out there, made by a number of fine companies, but I first chose TIGERS because they were the only shoes that allowed sufficient room for my long, semi-prehensile toes...and I love the stripes!



These flats always held up well, but cheapskate that I am, I further extended their life by slapping Shoe Goo, Household Goop, or Hot Melt Glue on the soles.

Even after I got semi-famous, from books and TV appearances, and received my equipment free, I still “Gooped my Shoes.” Talk about cheap!



My dog Spark loves TIGERS too, for breakfast!



I would have shown more pictures (after all, I’ve been wearing these things for about 25 years), but Sparky ate the rest.



In recent years, mid and outer soles seem to last forever (if your dog doesn’t eat them), so the application of Goop, at least in that area, is no longer necessary.



While soles now seem to last three or four times as long as they used to, the mesh uppers are not quite so indestructible.  Not to worry...mesh uppers can be repaired with a little square of t-shirt material and a dab of Goop.




Some people never learn - and I seem to be one of them.  The Bayou City Fun Run, 5 miles of hills, was the first race I ever entered as an adult (sic).

I ran my guts out the first time around, and looked (and felt) like death warmed over at the finish.  As the number on the right attests, I came back and did it again in following years.




When my buddy Ralph ran in the first Houston Marathon ever, there were only about fifty participants - and they ran around and around in circles in Memorial Park

Now there are so many runners, they have to use two starting lines, and the race meanders throughout the city.




This was a strange marathon, strangely marked:  runners were coninuously lost, and the high point was getting to pass the pig farm twice.

The strangest part of the race was the fact that I came in 1st in my category...must have been a very slow field.




This was a really tough race, for an unusual reason. The sponsors stuck me up with the elite runners, and when the gun went off, I had to run like h*ll just to keep from getting trampled to death.

I believe I ran the first mile faster than I have ever run a single mile - before or since.




By the time Ralph and I ran the 1980 Houston Marathon, it had become clear that we would never be world beaters at that distance...we decided to move up to ultra-marathoning: 50k and beyond.





Finishing my first marathon in 1976, Lafayete to Crowley, Louisiana: temperatures were in the mid 80s to low 90s, there wasn’t a bit of shade, and the only sights of interest were baked and flattened “road kill.”

It was murderous, but during the final half mile, I was already planning training for the next marathon, just a few weeks hence.




Crowley, Louisiana, one year later: with a half dozen marathons under my belt, the second running of The Crowley Rice Festival Marathon was faster, easier and a lot more fun.




Twenty-five years later and still going strong (half-way point of Cleveland Marathon).



The Houston Marathon has always been a great one for finisher gifts and mementos.  At various times we’ve received trophies, medals, mugs, plaques, paper weights, and, of cource, great t-shirts.

Here you see a Lucite paper weight from the 1980 race, and a medal from the 1999 race.



This trophy is from one of the many Dallas White Rock Marathons Ralph, Jim and I took part in.

During one of these races, Jim and I developed such tremendous blisters on our big toes, that when we popped them, blood squirted across the room and splashed on the hotel room wall...ah, the joys of marathoning.



Although there’s no deneying that Boston has tremendous crowd support, nothing can surpass the enthusiasum of the folks that line the way at the Houston Marathon.

Every ethnic neighborhood offers it’s own brand of runner support and prepared to experience Belly Dancers, Mariache Bands, Oom Pah Pah and Hot Jazz.



The Laurel Highlands Trail Mountain Challenge was originally a seventy mile race.  Later, when I ran it the first time, it had been extended to seventy-one miles. Like seventy miles wasn’t far enough, right.

When I was trying to search out a truly challenging race, a guy in the office at The Western States 100, told me about Laurel Highlands.  He said it was so difficult, it made their race seem like a walk in the park.

Hyperbole? Perhaps, but the Laurel Highlands application came with a warning not to enter, because it was so difficult.

Here is a map of most of the Laurel Highlands Trail. What you can’t see on the map, is that the trailhead is so steep, logs had been layed into the hillside so you could scramble mile further on, it got worse.

Also, not indicated on the map, is the quarter mile uphill finish.


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