The workouts Haydon prescribes for his athletes are based on quality rather than volume, and they are basically the same for a 1:44 half-miler like Wohlhuter and, say, Julian Brown, a sophomore miler on Haydon's Chicago varsity whose major, "disciplines in the humanities," requires substantial amounts of reading.
"You can't read for many hours if you run a lot," says Brown. "I do 10 miles a week at most, and that's down from 15 miles a day in high school. This method works just as well, and I can study better."
The pattern for each runner is the same; only the times are different. "The emphasis is on getting each one to improve, whether he's good, bad or indifferent to start with," says Haydon. "We don't tell a guy to go out and run 10 miles or jog 20. We'd rather see him run six quarters at 70 seconds than five miles at six minutes a mile. If he's running 70-second quarters he's always running a 4:40-mile pace, and if he's ever going to be any good, he's going to have to be able to do that."
The program suits Wohlhuter because he has perennial tendon problems and cannot train more than 50 miles a week without risking injury. It also suits Tom Messer, a Chicago freshman who ran distances from 440 yards to two miles this past season and dropped out of almost every race. Messer is fragile looking, with lank blond hair down to his hunched shoulders, deep-set darting eyes and a habit of chewing on two or three fingernails at the same time. As he sees it, quitting a race is the reasonable thing to do if he is not running as well as he should. His high school coach threw him off the team, as almost any coach would. Haydon has not.
"Anybody can go out and finish all his races," Haydon says, his mouth beginning to move into the curl that precedes a chuckle, "but how many have got guts enough to drop out all the time? I give him a lot of credit for having enough personal autonomy to do it. And I'll bet you money that before he's a senior he'll be a helluva runner because I think he'll respond to the kind of treatment he's getting. In the meantime he considers me a real good friend and I consider him an interesting person."
Haydon rarely uses the word "amateur," at least not in the reverent manner of the late Avery Brundage. Haydon and Brundage were poles apart in their personal philosophies, but they were merely different sides of the same coin in their feeling for amateur sport. Brundage imposed his ideas; Haydon makes his available. The Brundage way was like a formal dinner with Avery at the head of the table. Haydon's is a potluck supper. He hires the hall and brings the beer, but everybody contributes.
"Even as recently as 10 years ago, nine out of 10 guys just quit when college was over," says Bob Steele, a 30-year-old former Michigan State hurdler who has been running with UCTC for five years. "I would say Ted has kept something like 80 to 100 national-level athletes going who otherwise would have quit."
Last year it took $32,000 to keep UCTC going. Some of the money came from meet directors who paid travel expenses for outstanding performers such as Wohlhuter, Craft, Johnson and Paul. Some came from the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation, which supports local track and field. But most is contributed, usually in units as small as $10 or $20, by those on a list of some 600 interested supporters. Each year they receive a form letter that reports the club's accomplishments, and to which Haydon adds a short personal note. The mailing is a huge chore that Haydon and his cheerful schoolteacher wife Golde handle by themselves from the dining-room table in their brick two-family house in the South Shore section of Chicago.
Before each out-of-town meet Haydon figures the total cost of transportation, housing and meals for the team, estimates how much he will be able to raise toward expenses from the meet promoter and the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation and how much the club can afford to contribute. Then Haydon divides the difference among the athletes who are going. The trip to Eugene for the national AAU championships in June cost each athlete $150 out of total expenses of $365.
Haydon's card file of loyal contributors, combined with his policy of asking the athletes to pay part of their own expenses, is what keeps the club in business when others fail. The Southern California Striders, for a time the strongest track and field club in the country, once qualified 45 athletes for a meet in New York. "They were out for the team title," says Haydon, "and they had recruited all the college athletes who were just out of school." Getting all 45 to New York put the club in such a financial hole it never got out. "You can only do so much and stay in business," Haydon says. "If we had paid for the trip to Eugene without asking the runners to contribute we'd be broke or else we would have had to leave several guys home."