65: The 100-miler: Part 12 (1971-1973) Ron Bentley and Ted Corbitt

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Manage episode 277221928 series 2396657
על ידי Davy Crockett התגלה על ידי Player FM והקהילה שלנו - זכויות היוצרים שמורות למפרסם, לא ל-Player FM, והשמע מוזרם ישירות מהשרתים שלכם. הירשמו כדי לעקוב אחר עדכונים ב-Player FM, או הדביקו את כתובת העדכונים באפליקציות פודקאסט אחרות.
By Davy Crockett During the 1970s, the modern-era of ultrarunning was slowly increasing. The term “ultramarathon” (“ultra” for short) was introduced by legendary Ted Corbitt about 1957 and by the early 1970s it was being used more often to make the distinction with the public that athletes could run further than the marathon distance. 100-mile races were not yet widely prevalent and open to all, but the spark had been kindled to bring back the distance that many hundreds of runners had achieved before World War II. The shorter ultra-distance races including 50-miles were ever-increasing, including races such as the JFK 50 in Maryland, the Metropolitan 50 in New York City, London to Brighton in England, and the Comrades Marathon in South African. Many other ultradistance races were put on around the New York area by Ted Corbitt and various point-to-point ultras were raced throughout Great Britain. During this emerging 1970s modern era, some of the fastest all-time 100-mile accomplishments were achieved and they have been mostly forgotten. In 1972, an equestrian mountain-trail in the California Sierra named Western States was conquered by seven military veterans, sparking the notion to bring back mountain trail 100-milers that had ceased for decades. Ron Bentley In the Midlands region of England, emerged a tough ultrarunner who would take the 100-mile distance to new levels and influence British runners for generations. Ron Bentley (1930-2019) was born in the Midlands, near Birmingham, England. He grew up in large family, in very humble living conditions. They lived in a two-bedroom home without electricity, where meals were cooked with a pressure stove heated by open fire. As a young boy, he remembered hearing his father tell running stories around the fire. He had been a professional road-runner and influenced his sons to also run. He also lived near British running great, Jack Holden (1907-2004) who left an early impression on him about running. Bentley served in the British army starting in 1949 and participated in many sports with the servicemen including football, basketball and hockey. He did not do much running at first but did ran a race around a hockey field one day. After doing some training in the hills, he started to win cross-country races and his officers could see that he was naturally gifted to run. While serving, he was the overall champion in a Army Track and Field meet, winning middle-distance running events and the Pole Vault. The Tipton Harriers Jack Holden Ron Bentley While home on leave, he watched Jack Holden race in the area. That motivated Bentley to train harder and he went on weekly long runs of about 10 miles. Once out of the service in 1951, he joined the Tipton Harriers, wanting to concentrate on long-distance running. He participated in many races but didn’t start racing the marathon until 1958 when he was 29. He placed third at the Midland Marathon at Baddesley with a time of 2:47:18. Bentley became one of the core leaders of Tipton’s cross-country and road running teams which developed into the most successful club in England. Ron’s voice could always be heard above all others shouting encouragement for his team. Ben Nevis Race Bentley ran a classic trail race in Scotland for many years, the “Ben Nevis Race.” It was only about 10 miles (depending on the route taken) but ran to the top of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,406 feet), and back down. It was said, “It is not an unusual sight to see exhausted runners carried off to the hospital.” The Ben Nevis race began in 1895 and it became a regular organized event in 1937. “Due to the seriousness of the mountain environment, entry was restricted to those who had completed three category A hill races, and runners had to carry waterproofs, a hat, gloves and a whistle.” Bentley’s Early Ultrarunning During the early 1960s, members of the Tipton Harriers ventured into ultra-distances and...

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