The RunRunLive 3.0 Podcast Episode 3-278 – Bill Rodgers! Hero Worship!

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<Introductory Comments:

Hello and welcome my friends!  I understand we got mentioned in Outdoor Magazine?  I’ve been noticing an uptick in new subscriptions… actually that’s a big fat lie…I don’t pay any attention to downloads or subscriptions.  First because I’ve been doing this podcast for over 5 years and you may be new to it but it’s like an old friend to me at this point.  An old friend who is a bit shrewish and scolds me to do some creative work every couple weeks!

If you are new to our tribe, welcome. My name is Chris. I am an avatar.  I am an endurance athlete with a particular addiction to marathons, but have dabbled in triathlons, ultra-running, mountain bike ultras, triathlons and any other stupid sounding endurance event that crosses my path. 

Behind that avatar is business executive, a dad, a husband, a creative, an entrepreneur, and a guy who is as neurotic and self absorbed as every other misguided meat-sack on this planet.  But, for the most part I try to keep that laundry to myself!

When I was running cross country in school in the late 70’s there was one local sports hero that was constantly in the news.  He was a local guy from Connecticut, but we adopted him and called him Boston Billy. 

He was a likeable guy that proceeded to break every marathon record while dominating Boston, New York and Fukoko.  It was a different time.  It was a the end of an era. It was a time of amateurs.  They did it for their own reasons because there was no money in it. 

This week I have the great pleasure to bring to you my conversation with a personal hero of mine, Bill Rodgers.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

In Section one I’m going to introduce you to the game of egg toss.  In section 2 we are going to discuss ways to stay mentally in the race when it gets tough.

I’m on the back end of a couple weeks of active business travel.  My fitness has suffered a bit but it was good to take a break.  I was scheduled to run the Tecumseh Trail Marathon last weekend for my December marathon.  It was a Saturday race.  I was going to connect back through Indianapolis on my way back from a business meeting in Toronto.  I was going to catch a couple hours of sleep with my sisters who live there and they were going to drive down to the race with me.  Then I was going to fly back Sunday. 

It sounded like a good plan.  Not too outrageous.  I was actually looking forward to running on the trails and just having a nice easy long run.  But then things started going crazy.

To get ready for the trail marathon I began, after Fort Myers to do all my runs in the woods.  These were easy zone 2 runs of 1:30  plus long runs on the weekends.  The weekend before the race I ran 2:40 in the trails with Buddy and we were both pretty beat up by it.  As I did my fartlek run on Tuesday on the roads before getting on a plane I noticed my ankle was really sore.  Apparently I tweaked it on the long run in the trails.  Feels like a minor sprain.

Meanwhile I had another trip fall into my schedule, this one to Europe for the week and the only way the timing worked is if I left Sunday night.  So – now my schedule is Toronto, trail marathon, fly home, grab some fresh clothes, and jump back on a plane to Europe.

As the week progressed this adventure schedule was starting to stress me out.  I’m figuring it’s only an easy trail run, I can tape the ankle and it will be fine. 

Then the weather reports start coming in.  By Thursday the forecast for the race was for a winter storm with many inches of snow and ice. 

Now I’m really having a crisis of confidence.  4+ hours on a dry trail is ok, but slippin and sliding around on a bad ankle in 8 inches of snow…I mean yeah, I know I could do it but would my ankle be shredded and would I be able to get done , in what? 6 hours?

Finally, Friday morning as the weather reports were awful, flights were being canceled, roads were being closed, my sisters were sending me worried messages and I thought – ‘this is crazy!’  I called Delta and got my flights changed to go back to Boston Friday night and sent a note to the race director that I could not in good conscience do the race on a sprained ankle in these conditions.

About an hour later I get an email that the race has been canceled due to unsafe conditions!

Sheesh! On with the Show!

Section one:

The Politics of egg toss -

Featured Interview:

Bill Rodgers


Rodgers won both races (New York & Boston) four times each between 1975 and 1980, twice breaking the American record at Boston with a time of 2:09:55 in 1975 and a 2:09:27 in 1979. In 1977 he won the Fukuoka Marathon, making him the only runner ever to hold the championship of all three major marathons at the same time. He made the 1976 U.S. Olympic team and raced the marathon at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, finishing 40th. He did not participate in the Olympics in 1980 due to the U.S. boycott over the invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. Rodgers is also the last U.S.-born winner in the men's or women's open divisions of the New York City Marathon to date; the two subsequent American winners were born in Cuba (Alberto Salazar) and Eritrea (Meb Keflezighi).

In 1975 Rodgers won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, equaling Tracy Smith's 1966 bronze in the International Cross Country Championships as the highest an American had ever finished in international cross country competition. Rodgers' most remarkable year on the road racing circuit came in 1978 when he won 27 of the 30 races he entered, including the Pepsi 10,000 meter nationals (with a new world road 10K best time of 28:36.3), the Falmouth Road Race, and the Boston & New York marathons. Rodgers is also the former world record holder for 25 kilometers as he broke Pekka Päivärinta's world record with a time of 1:14.11.8 on a track at West Valley College in Saratoga, California in 1979.

Track & Field News ranked Rodgers #1 in the world in the marathon in 1975, 1977 and 1979. Of the 59 marathons Rodgers ran, 28 were run under 2:15. In all he won 22 marathons in his career. He came to be referred to by sportswriters and others as "Boston Billy".[1]

Rodgers received his B.A. in sociology from Wesleyan University. One of his teammates, Amby Burfoot, won the Boston Marathon while still a student and went on to edit Runner's Worldmagazine. Rodgers also has an MS in special education from Boston College.

Rodgers was inducted on December 3, 1999, in Los Angeles, California to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame located in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1998, Rodgers was inducted in the first round to the National Distance Running Hall of Fame in Utica, New York.

Bill Rodgers Running Center in Faneuil Hall Market Place in Boston, Massachusetts is owned and operated by Bill and his brother Charlie. The family-run business has been going since 1977. He currently lives in the small town of Sherborn, Massachusetts and still participates in running themed events.

Section two:

Mental Toughness late in the race -


Dah dah dah dump dee dump… Episode 3-278 in the box like a stale pizza.

So what happens now?  They have rescheduled the Tecumseh race for January but that doesn’t really work for me.  I talked to coach and I’m just going to work in a self supported marathon on the 22nd as a long run as part of my training.  I’m going to map out a route that circles my home town of Groton Mass and see if I can talk any of my buddies into tagging along for some or all of it.   You’re all welcome to come up and run with me too.  I’ll be going slow and having fun.

Next two races I have locked and loaded are Waco Texas and New Orleans.  They are on back to back weekends in January and February.  I’ll be knuckling down on my training quality and volume over the next 4 weeks to make a go at one or both.  Even though my body is not responding as well as I had hoped to all the miles!

I still need a March race and then in April it is Boston and of course, the Groton Road Race. 

I managed to have lunch with Alex who is one of our volunteer editors for the podcast when I was over in the UK this week.  Always fun to meet people you’ve been speaking to for years.

I’m working through my Christmas shopping and looking forward to spending some time on the ground with Buddy and my running club.  It’s all good.  I’ll survive.  I always do because I try to be present in the moment no matter what and enjoy the now because, folks, we have only an infinitesimal sliver of time in this world and there is no point in wasting it on worry.

Let the adventures continue, and I will definitely be seeing you out there!

Outro Bumper

Thanks for listening folks I appreciate your support.  RunRunLive is a free service for you because I like writing and telling stories. 

I also love to meet folks so feel free to reach out to me at Gmail or any of the other social networking sites.  I’m CYKTRussell.  And as you know that’s Chris-Yellow-King-Tom-Russell with two Esses and two Ell’s.

My Website is and most if not all of this content is posted out there.   If you want the show notes to magically show up in your inbox when I publish a show in a beautiful HTML wrapper you can subscribe to the mailing list at my site.  It’s a useful thing if you are moved by something I say and would like to see if what I wrote is the same thing! It also has all the links to everything and everyone I talk to and about.

Other than that, thank you for your attention, do epic stuff and let me know if I can help.


Happy Song – Super Hero -

Other products from Chris Russell you may be interested in

The Mid-Packer’s Lament

On Amazon

On Kindle

On Audio (Read by the author) –

The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy

On Kindle

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Cyktrussell At gmail and twitter and facebook and youtube


Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy.  Chris is the author of “The Mid-Packer’s Lament”, and “The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy”, short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack.  Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at  Chris’ Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at Chris also writes for ( and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners and the Goon Squad.

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Direct download: epi3278.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:32am EDT





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