YALE MAN ON THE RUN
As a marathon runner and contemporary of Frank Shortens at Yale, I read with particular interest Frank Deford's superb article (In the Long Run It's Shorter, May 24). Deford succeeded in capturing the essence of marathon running; his description of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon is a journalistic tour de force. Yet the article's greatest merit lies in the skillfully woven portrayal of Shorter, who truly lives up to the ancient ideal of mens sana in corpore sano. Frank has been a big winner in all that he has ever undertaken, yet he remains a refreshingly gentle and humble man. Having been a spectator in Munich for Frank's gold-medal win and an also-ran in the 1975 Boston Marathon that Will Rodgers captured, I feel certain that the Shorter-Rodgers confrontation will be one of the highlights at Montreal. I plan to be there, and I'll take Shorter by 30 seconds.
STEPHEN ALAN CUSHNER, M.D.
Many thanks for the fine portrayal of Frank Shorter, America's premier long-distance runner. The article gave the reader great insight into the motivation and philosophy of not only Shorter, who represents the ultimate, but distance runners in general.
Runners who race distances greater than a mile have for too long been regarded as lonely men who make heroic sacrifices in order to achieve an ambition. In fact, we are like any other athletes who wish to reach a goal. For most of us, the fun and joy come from the training, the reaching and the working for triumph. Shorter, the articulate Yale man, characterizes what distance running is all about, and Deford comprehends and conveys it in fine fashion.
Frank Deford did a terrific job of getting the intrinsic feelings of the marathon across to the readers.
Incidentally, tell Louise Shorter that the streets of Gainesville are a lot safer for runners now. This town has become a runner's paradise, and her husband's years of running here undoubtedly helped to make it so.
THOMAS P. WILD
Frank Deford's article was enough to inspire this former middle-distance runner, now middle weight and approaching middle age, to don the old track shoes and once again test his body over a number of miles in a personal marathon. The resultant blisters and muscle spasms only reaffirmed what I already knew. It is much more enjoyable to run vicariously with men like Frank Shorter through the written word of talents such as Deford.
Your May 24 issue offers a fascinating contrast in attitudes. In the article 50,000,000 Frenchmen Say He's the Guy, Guy Drut the hurdler says, "I prefer a man-against-man victory to a record. That's the real joy. Beat the adversary!"
Frank Shorter the marathoner states, "There is no sense of conquest, none of this business about vanquishing anybody. My only thought is, 'Here we are, dammit! We made it!' "
GEORGE C. FETTER
Following his disputed loss of the 1908 Olympic marathon to the American Johnny Hayes, Dorando Pietri came to this country to compete in a planned series of professional races against Hayes, Tom Longboat, the great Indian distance runner, and several others.
To the delight of his Italian fans, Dorando beat his American rival in a race held in the old Madison Square Garden, but he lost to the Canadian Longboat. The series of races was short-lived; it was a financial failure.