Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not Everyone Trains to Run Fast! Remember Walt Stack?

"Walt Stack's pace is so steady, if he fell out of an airplane he probably would fall at the speed of 8.5 minutes per mile." -Sports Illustrated writer

But in 1965, at 57, he decided that eight daily hours of hard labor just wasn't enough. So he ran the first of what would eventually become 62,000 lifetime miles, crafting a highly visible training routine that made him a San Francisco institution - though many a Bay Area commuter was heard to mutter that he instead should've been committed to one. "I'm going to do this till I get planted," he'd say, and indeed he nearly did. Every day for 27 years, until sidelined by failing health in 1993, Stack would set out on his bike and ride the six hilly miles from his Potrero Hill home to Fisherman's Wharf. There he'd strip off his shirt - to display the tattoos of peacocks, wild horses, and bathing beauties muraled across his broad, rawhide chest - and run over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and back, 17 miles. Next, Stack would jump into the Bay near Alcatraz Island (sometimes accompanied by sharks) for a one-mile swim in choppy water he called "colder than a landlord's heart."

MY COMMENT: So many stories about this guy. My favorite- "At 24 miles I was gaining on him, and I knew he was mine. I came up behind him, and it looked like he was drinking something, so when I caught him, I looked over. It was a can of beer. He flipped it away and said, 'Guess that ends the six-pack.' And then he ran away and left me." SIVault

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