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  • The Troubadour
    [Happy being POSITIVE today, y all! And please never-mind my earlier, maybe, quick note of negativity. Sorry. That was rash, and I ve been itching ever
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 24, 2011
      [Happy being POSITIVE today, y'all! And please never-mind my earlier,
      maybe, quick note of negativity. Sorry. That was rash, and I've been
      itching ever since. :-| But let's move on. Today--and perhaps inspired by
      y'all's recent thread of "Endurance Heroes"--I'd like to go back in time a
      bit and make amends concerning one terrific ultrarunner who's deserved to be
      honored here ever since probably before I was born. He is Bernd Heinrich,
      Ph.D. Right now he's basically a retired professor at the University of
      Vermont, but once he was ripping up the track, roads, and record books
      concerning nearly every ultra-distance footrace he ran. And no, he doesn't
      have a blog, nor does he inundate the World Wide Web with his thoughts,
      philosophies, and training methods. Nah. He leaves stuff like that up to
      dweebs like me. Here, however, are his records...
      (you may have to click around to find them all, but do please note the
      American age-group record for 50 miles that he most recently set at age
      ...his books...
      ...and a video that even today illustrates one of Bernd's most fascinating
      theories--originally published in his "Racing The Antelope"--that earliest
      man was able to hunt by literally out-running, or at least out-lasting,
      animal prey without needing any weapons (which weren't invented yet!)...
      ...and hence is the marvelous realization that all of us owe our sport to
      our very own most ancient ancestors who were THE first ultrarunners on

      Almost like "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago," he arrived a few times in the
      Windy City and completely destroyed the competition, setting some of his
      world and national distance records in the process.

      His legend doesn't end with running records, however. He also set the land
      speed record for single-handedly building from scratch his own cabin in the
      woods, eclipsing that set by Henry David Thoreau over a hundred years
      previous--by several weeks if not months or years.

      His main occupation, not in Maine but in Vermont, is biological science
      professorship. He has taught more undergraduates more about animals,
      plants, minerals, track, road, off-road, tennis shoes, and *human* wildlife
      than any other athlete in history.

      Students have long reported that, to pass his class, you have to show up on
      day one wearing shorts, a singlet, and proper running shoes. Showing up
      with an ax, block plane, and bucksaw will earn you extra credit.

      After a running lifetime of setting records, he returned to the sport during
      his "advanced years" and set yet another new record for the 50-mile

      His training methods are not only legendary, they're certifiable. To
      prepare for his then-World Masters Record for the 100K distance at Chicago,
      he worked all day in the woods building a cabin using ONLY hand tools; he
      spent all evening doing his graduate research on honey bees, ravens, bird
      droppings, bear scat, or whatever; and *then* he would run all night on the
      trails at a sub-6-minute pace.

      If an ultrarunning Hall of Fame didn't already exist, it would now be
      necessary to invent one.

      Not likely to ever become a speed-hiker--because hiking is too slow--he
      could nevertheless become a speed-contractor and continue building log
      cabins at a marvelously rapid and profitable pace. A hand-built tri-level
      with attached jeep-and-snowmobile garage, for example, might take him as few
      as three days and fetch upwards of four hundred thousand dollars. Five
      hundred thousand with his autograph spray-painted on the garage.

      The ageless wonder currently wonders what all the fuss is about. His
      legions of fans and former students flock to him like Socrates at the
      Lyceum. They even offer him hemlock, which, out of modesty of course, he
      continuously refuses.

      His exploits are now being published in the Sept/Oct issue of "Marathon &
      Beyond" magazine.


      "I don't always hunt or build shelter alone in the woods; but, when I do, I
      prefer training my ravens to fly in to town for me and retrieve my e-mail.
      Stay collegiate, my friends."

      ( 00 )

      See (and hear) some originals:


      Also here:

      [and thanks to UltraJohn Price--himself no stranger to surviving in the
      woods--for supplying this instead of that former long and always-broken

      My mark:

      Rich Limacher
      ("an 800-year-old former-undergraduate yet still-appreciative
      lute-and-feather plucker who has yet to study a single bird, but has for
      sure been hit with the blinding revelations of quite a few bird droppings")

      Yankee Folly of the Day:
      Was it Maine or Washington, DC, that just got hit with the earthquake?
      We're guessing that both Houses of Congress will come crashing down long
      before Bernd Heinrich's gutsy log cabin ever will.
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