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Bit of an obscure find for distance running fans out there: a three-hour recording of a speech by Arthur Lydiard in 1963 at San Jose State University, with Peter Snell and Murray Halberg throwing in their two cents and answering questions. This was three years after Snell, Halberg and marathoner Barry Magee took gold at the Rome Olympics, and the year before Snell took double gold in Tokyo. It’s on sale at BudWinter.com — Winter was the coach at San Jose State from 1941 to 1970, and he’s the one who hosted the talk and introduces Lydiard.
I’d never actually heard Lydiard speaking; it’s pretty funny in places. For example, Peter Snell’s first 22-mile run with the group:
[With 2.5 miles to go], he started crying like a kid, tears running down his face. And no one would help him. We said, ‘Look, you’ve only got a little way to go, just keep plodding’… He lay on the bed and he sobbed for half an hour like a kid. Now we’re not very sympathetic. We said, ‘Look, Snell, in two weeks’ time you’re going around there again.’
And his thoughts on stretching and other conditioning drills:
I don’t think Halberg or Snell or any of those guys could touch their toes. I honestly don’t. It’s not because I don’t believe in exercises, loosening and stretching. It’s solely because we haven’t got time to do it. And I don’t think it would make them run any faster anyway.
Anyway, a fun little piece of history for any Lydiard fans out there!