The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-322 – Geoff Smith -1984 & 85 Boston Marathon Champ
(Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4322.mp3
MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -
Hello there my strange running friends. How are you? I’m great. Fantastic. Nothing to complain about. Full of joy and abundance. Which, if I’m honest with you, takes a lot of work.
It’s officially the end of summer in New England. The nights are clear and cold. The mornings are crisp like a fresh, clean blanket. The sun sets later and comes up later, noticeably each day.
When I was a youth in school I would hate this time of year. School starting meant the end of a summers’ long and languid lethargy. The weather would turn but not enough to be interesting. There wouldn’t be any snow to sled on or build with for weeks. The days would be short, dim, cold, windy, rainy and filled with work.
Now, Buddy and I, in, perhaps the autumn of our own times feel somehow reborn into the crispness of fall. He roams the house wild eyed and vocal beseeching me to get up, get out and seize the leaf covered forest trails - for that is where we live if only for another year, another day, another fine afternoon or another run.
We pad through the fall forests with the leaves crunching underfoot on the dry trail. The underbrush and weeds spent and brown hanging with their last offering of seeds to be blown on the wind to settle another generation.
Only the wild asters weighed down by their purple froth brighten the trail. The bees harry them with suicidal intensity and a lack of humor that is to be avoided by the cautious runner.
We run, man and dog, weaving through the trees with the sharp afternoon sun lancing through at us from an acute angle like a photgrapher’s darkroom light. The motes of dust swirling in our mists and settling in our wake. The tang of wild grapes bites at the air and brings a smile to my heart. The apple trees in the orchard hang thick with fruit.
Man and dog. Brothers on the road and trail.
Buddy still gets along fairly well for an 80 year old. Like all of us he thinks he can do more than he can. He talks me into it and then he regrets it the next day. With the cool weather he feels a need to get out and play and move. What I often hear when I check in from on the road is “Your dog is crazy!”
It’s been a long autumn. I’ve traveled every week that I can remember. I’m doing ok. I’m getting my runs in for the most part and feel fairly strong. I’ve started to play with speed work and I’ll talk about that a bit today. You can’t just throw the switch. You have to build into the speed work when you’ve been away for a while.
I’ve got a long chat with Geoff Smith today. Geoff won the 1984 and the 1985 Boston Marathon. If you know about the history of the race you may know that these were hard times for the Boston Marathon. It was founded by the BAA in 1896 as an amateur race. The prize was always a simple olive wreath.
It was serious race, for serious runners and serious runners were thought to be the amateurs who ran for the love of the race. Geoff was the last person to win the Boston Marathon before there was prize money. He did it for love.
The pressure of other big-city races offering prize money threatened to relegate Boston to a quaint artifact of the 19th century. A local financial institution stepped in and kept the race alive as they transitioned to a prize money structure.
I didn’t know Geoff was living locally until I got a tweet from him asking me to retweet one of his races. This chat gave me a chance to talk about what is for me, the golden age of US marathoning.
I’ll also chat a bit about the power of self-awareness.
I’ve been feeling a bit pressed these last few weeks with the level of travel and the amount of stuff I’m trying to do. I also am thinking of mortality as I see my running partner struggle with age.
This time of year is a bit of a whirlwind for all of us. The leisure of the summer passes abruptly into the intensity of the school year. Work gets crazy. Personal commitments pile up. People get over-tired. The kids bring home the first good crop of viruses to mix into the social fray.
And so we find ourselves in October tired and sick and bubbling with stress. We have strategies to cope but our armor gets dinged from the continuous hits. The car needs work, the house needs repair the kids need new equipment and a ride to practice.
We feel out of control and driven mad, losing that grip we thought we had on life.
But, my friends, you are not alone. Don’t let circumstance drive you crazy. There is nothing in the environment that you can’t choose to live with and work with and, yes, even enjoy.
Just take that time to close your eyes and take one long, deep breath. Exhale the stress and smile at the next person you see. They may need it more than you do.
On with the show!
Section one - Running Tips
Easing into Speed Work -
Voices of reason – the conversation
Geoff Smith
Boston Marathon Winner 1984 & 1985
1980 and 1984 British Olympian.
1980 British 10K Track Champion.
1982 Providence College Athlete of the Year.
1984 and 1985 Boston Marathon Champion.

Personal Records
800 meters 1.51
1500 meters 3.40
1 Mile 3.55
2 Mile 8.23
5K 13.22
10K 27.42
Half Marathon 61.39
Marathon 2.09.08

• Smith's best time in the marathon was 2:09:08, when he finished 2nd to Rod Dixon in the New York City Marathon in 1983. Smith only lost by nine seconds.
• Smith was a senior at Providence College when he won the 1984 Boston Marathon.
• Both of Smith's wins at Boston were by strong margins. His 1984 win was by over four minutes.
• Competed in the Olympics for Great Britain in the 1980 10000m race and the 1984 marathon
• Works as a middle school teacher and lives in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts as of 2004.[1]
• Has not run at the Boston Marathon since 1990
• Worked as a firefighter for ten years in the United Kingdom after his high school graduation. Entered Providence College in 1980 at the age of 26.
• Ran a 3:55 mile in Wales in 1982
• Was the last person to win the Boston Marathon before the race organizers began giving out prize money to the winners.[2]
• Stopped running in the early 1990s having suffered hip problems since birth. Had both hips replaced and has started running again in June 2013. Is coaching local runners South of Boston.
Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing United Kingdom
1980 Olympic Games
Moscow, Soviet Union
7th (Q) 10000 m 30:00.01
1983 New York City Marathon
New York, United States
2nd Marathon 2:09:08
1984 Boston Marathon
Boston, United States
1st Marathon 2:10:34
1984 Olympic Games
Los Angeles, United States
— Marathon DNF
1985 Boston Marathon
Boston, United States
1st Marathon 2:14:05
1987 World Championships
Rome, Italy
— Marathon DNF


Well summer is over. Now it is time to think of fall running. We have a great new event on Shrewsbury street. Worcester. An Oktoberfest 5k October 11th Our main charity is “Genesis Club an Accredited Mental Health program that provides education, employment, housing and wellness services to those in recovery
Join me and let's make Shrewsbury Street rock.
Date: Saturday December 12, 2015
Youth Run Start: 12:30 p.m. for ages 14 and under.
Santa Run 5K Start: 1:00 p.m.
Start Location: TBD (Near Union Street)

Geoff Smith

Section two – Self-awareness – the smartest person in the room
Outro - Closing comments
MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -
Feeling faster? Feeling more self-aware? Feeling like you have made it to the end of episode 4-322? Yes you have.
If you’re in the New England area consider Geoff’s Santa run. That sounds like fun. And you get a Santa suit.
Believe it or not we had our first Groton Road Race meeting. April is just around the corner. It will be our 25th anniversary. Wow. This old dog has run every one. It’s my swan song race too. I’ll be passing the baton over to another race director. I’ve learned a lot in my tenure. I’m grateful for the tribe that kept this race a grand and glorious spring ritual for my old home town.
I’m testing myself a bit with some speed work. But I feel strong. I think my plan of a January qualification race with the Groton Marathon as a last long run is a pretty good idea.
I’d love to get some of you out for the Groton Marathon. This is a self-supported 26.2 mile run that we invented for December because there weren’t any good races around the holidays and we wanted to get a marathon in. Let me think on that some more. I’d prefer not to have to spend any money on it but maybe I can put up a web-page and make it official enough to have it recognized by the Maniacs or something.
I’ll probably run Boston. I’m not qualified but these things have a way of working out for me. If I get the privilege of running it again this year, and God help me, I can’t how many I’ve run, I’m going to use my talents to do something really big for the charity and the community and the sport.
The more I work through my self-awareness process, the more I find myself thinking that I’ve been playing a small game. I know people see me form the outside and maybe see untapped intellect and wonder why I haven’t done more. At least that’s what I wonder.
I think that we all can do more than we think. I read a book by fellow runner Bill Dowis this week and his narrative is similar to my own and so many others and maybe yours.
The narrative is that we are muddling along with our lives, doing ok, and somehow, somewhere, sometime find endurance sports. It catches us by surprise. It catches us by the shirt collar, slaps us in the face, stares deeply into our souls and says “you are capable of more than you think!”
I think YOU are capable of more than YOU think. I beginning to know I am. I’m not talking about running a marathon. I’m talking about finding something in your life that you don’t think you can do and going after it with ferocity and hard work. Not being afraid to fail and not being afraid to succeed.
Go into that thing with only one object – to learn about yourself and what you’re capable of.
And maybe you’ll be surprised.
And I’ll see you out there.
MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Direct download: epi4322.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 3:56pm EDT





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