Category Archives: cross country

Three coaches. Same sports. Different worlds.

The Illinois running community has produced some famous coaches over the years. Decades ago there was Ted Haydon, the former leader of the University of Chicago Track Club. His athletes included world record holders such as Rick Wolhuter and many … Continue reading

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The sculptors of our own lives

There was a time when the “end of the season” was emphatic by nature. As a cross country runner through high school and college, the season would end when the success ran out. That could be the district meet or … Continue reading

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From leather wingtips to Velcro spikes

As a little kid I used to earn 25 cents for shining my father’s dress shoes. That money bought quite a bit of candy at the Little Store a few blocks away, so it was worth the effort. I’d sit … Continue reading

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Come Halloween Night

I clearly recall the feel of the air that Halloween Night of 1972. Wandering with a group of friends through the town of Elburn, Illinois, half looking to get into some kind of trouble. But not really. None of us … Continue reading

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Even the losers get lucky sometimes

Thomas Earl Petty was born Oct. 20, 1950, in Gainesville, Fla., the first child of Earl and Katherine “Kitty” Petty. Petty had a difficult relationship with his father, and cited a particularly brutal beating he received at age 5 that … Continue reading

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Not the retiring type

In the middle of the first mile of a 4.5 mile run the other morning, my body was not exactly cooperating. Everything felt sluggish and slow. In fact I was trundling along at 11:00 per mile pace. Things eventually improved, … Continue reading

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Drawing on years of experience

I’ve been a runner basically since I was born. Skinny. Energetic. Can’t sit still. Love to run. I’ve also always been obsessed with art all my life. Sketching. Painting. Love to draw. Along the way in life, these two interests … Continue reading

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Taking inspiration where you find it

That’s me in the lower left of this photo with the buzz cut and the happy grin. That’s because I was a basically happy kid in fourth grade. My teacher was an amazing person named Miss Kegerreis. She was blonde, … Continue reading

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Glenn’s labor of love

Glenn Lyle was what he characterizes as “a decent runner” in the years just before Frank Shorter’s won the 1972 Olympic marathon and set off the first running boom. Lyle graduated from the Elgin High School cross country and track … Continue reading

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And it was good.

  At the age of 12, having moved with my family from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to the small town of Elburn, Illinois, the world felt like it was upside down, or inside out. Even the soil in Illinois looked different from … Continue reading

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