Saturday, November 28, 2015


The weather was magnificent for Berwick, Pennsylvania's 106th annual Run for the Diamonds race on Thanksgiving Day. Temperatures edged toward the 60-degree mark.

In fact, here in Pennsylvania, November of 2015 will be the warmest November on record. Yesterday I put up my outdoor Christmas decorations wearing short sleeves.

Now, we're all concerned about global warming and climate change, but as I gaze at the long-range forecast and El Nino predictions, I'll take it!

Running in temperatures that hover in the 40s and 50s is ideal. Snow and ice are not.

But, let's face it, climate change or not, enjoy the mild temperatures while they last. They are certain to be temporary.

 Keep an eye on that weather forecast. Continue running your speed workouts on your local track before (if you live in the north) it's covered with a blanket of snow. Plan those long runs, if you can, on the days when temperatures are mild.

So, take advantage of our temporary climate reprieve.

Winter's icy grip will arrive soon enough.

Friday, November 27, 2015


In this world of overpaid, egotistical athletes, playing their professional sports, shamelessly hawking any product to make a buck, then bragging about their accomplishments, yesterday, in Berwick, Pennsylvania, at the 106th running of the Run for the Diamonds, I had the honor for being in the presence of greatness.

It was my privilege to meet, and speak with 83-year old Ed Whitlock,

In my estimation, Ed Whitlock is the greatest living athlete on the planet.

So, in an effort to be completely accurate, I'll list Ed's accomplishments, as listed on his Wikipedia page.

" In his 60s after retiring he started to concentrate on road racing and latterly the objective of becoming the first man over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. After an initial attempt at age 70, injury prevented another attempt until age 72 when in 2003 he completed the marathon 2:59:10. In the following year, he lowered the record to 2:54:49 and in 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, to date (2013) the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon.
In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon,[2] and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature.
On September 26, 2010, Whitlock ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:34:23.4.[3]
After turning 80, Whitlock improved the marathon world record for his age category by almost 15 minutes to 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011.[4] He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54.[5]
At age 81, on Sunday, September 16, 2012, wearing bib number 1, Whitlock broke the Canadian and unofficial world half-marathon record at his hometown inaugural race, the Milton Half-Marathon, running 1:38:59.[6] In 2013, he lowered the record to 1:38:11 on the same course.
Whitlock also competes on the track, where as of 2012 he holds 15 world age group records ranging in distance from 1500 metres to 10,000 m and age groups 65+, 70+, 75+ and 80+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.[7]"

That's right folks, a 3:15 marathon--at age 80!

I have never met a more gracious, humble man. Ed Whitlock is a great athlete and competitor, but he is an even greater individual, He told me he can't wait to turn 85 so he can assault more age-group records.  Even more than the delicious turkey, my meeting Ed Whitlock was the highlight of my Thanksgiving Day.

I just hope some of his talent, dedication, and determination rubs off!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Many runners have a bucket list of races they would like to run at some point in their running lives.

Often, such a list may include an iconic, classis race, steeped in tradition. The race may be challenging, and the crowds, competitors as well as spectators, are usually large.

Some runners must plan, well in advance, in order to pay for and travel to a bucket list event.

There’s a race that fits all the requirements on any runner’s list. It’s right around the corner and it’s right up the road.

Save the turkey feast for later in the day and join more than a thousand runners in one of the running world’s most storied foot races.

 At 10:30 a.m., on Thanksgiving Day, as has been the tradition since 1908, Berwick's Run for the Diamonds will be contested.

Back in 1908, 13 runners lined up on Berwick's Market Street early Thanksgiving morning, and except for a two-year hiatus during World War I, they've been doing so ever since. In 2009, the race celebrated it's centennial anniversary. A record 1,985 runners competed in the centennial race.

More than thirty Olympians, including Boston Marathon winner, the late Johnny Kelley, have competed at Berwick, and the course record for the grueling 9-Mile race is an astounding 43 minutes, 21 seconds, set in 1980 by two-time Olympian Pete Pfitzinger.

Weather conditions in central Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving morning are unpredictable, to say the least. Sometimes, spring-like temperatures prevail; while often the air is frigid, and occasionally, like in 2010, a sleet storm reduces visibility and turns the course into a slalom run.

The course is unique, and has remained virtually the same since it was designed in 1908.

For the first two miles, runners are treated to a pleasant, relatively flat terrain, and at the 2-mile mark are running at 600 feet above sea level. From 2 to 3 miles runners ascend more than 300 feet to 900 feet above sea level at the 1/3 point in the race. By 3 1/2 miles, runners have climbed to 1000 feet, and after a brief downhill, climb to the apex, a breathtaking 1100 feet, at 4 1/4 miles into the race. From there, a fast, nearly 5 miles remains until the finish, and, after having completed a loop, runners cross the finish line in downtown Berwick.

The top seven men receive diamond rings; while the top seven women earn diamond necklaces.

Richer than diamonds, however, is the tradition and the hospitality of this race. Race Director. Margaret Livsey conducts a first-class event. Runner and former Berwick cross country coach,, Bill Bull, has been a fixture of this race for many years, and makes sure the race runs smoothly.

In my first book, Running Shorts, I feature Run for the Diamonds in the chapter entitled, "Great Races.

Berwick’s Thanksgiving Day Run for the Diamonds is one of the finest running events in the country.

If you’ve never run it, you owe it to yourself to place it on your list of races you must run.
Check out their website:




We runners love large places like major marathons and classic races. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, many of us will participate in Turkey Trots, and other races, but on Black Friday, most of us will be happy to avoid the crowds, who will think little of our bruised toenails as they trample us on their way to a cheap flat screen TV.

Well, there is a place where you can take advantage of terrific Black Friday deals that will cover all of your running needs, you never have to leave the comfort of your home, but you actually have to wait until Black Friday to do it.

Visit, look them up on Facebook on their Black Friday Run Deals page, of follow them on Twitter: @BFrundeals.

You will be able to take advantage of race discounts from everywhere, and you will also have the opportunity to get great deals on running products.

You won't get trampled at the door, and you won't wait in long lines.

Black Friday Run Deals are happening right now.

Check them out.

You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Two weeks ago I underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a torn meniscus from my left knee.

The surgery was successful. Aside from the tear, which was a direct result of a double hamstring tear in same leg two years ago, my knee, according to my orthopedic surgeon, is healthy, with no signs of arthritis or other damage. On a visit with him last Monday, he stated that I could resume running one month from the date of the surgery, so today marks the half way point in my rehabilitation and eventual return to running.

Needless to say, it has been difficult to remain patient. We have been experiencing great November weather, and races like the Harrisburg and Philadelphia Marathons have come and gone, without my participation.

So, the extent of my workouts have been daily walks (steps and hills remain a bit painful), and long hours in the gym.

But it's ok.

My knee, while a bit sore and stiff, continues to improve, and the ultimate goal is to slowly return to running, pain-free.

Oh, and not running means watching the calories. Toting some extra weight around when I do finally run again is something I don't need. Mounting a comeback is going to be tough enough. And Thanksgiving is two days away...Ugh!

There is certainly a great deal of apprehension when one attempts to return to running after a long layoff. Patience thus far has been important, but it will become even more critical as I begin the process of running again, as we runners have the natural tendency to do too much too soon.

So, I have set very modest goals. The old adage is, "It takes two days to come back from every one day missed."

That's true when you're young, but I'm not. I'm going to double that figure, and since I really haven't run in two months, well, the math is a bit staggering.

The sage-like lesson I can pass on to you is this: first, never ignore what your body is telling you. An ache in my left knee turned into a tear.


Because I ignored it, ran a 5-mile race the next day, and, well, the rest is history.

Next, go to a competent doctor, but always seek a second opinion.

Then, the rest is up to you.

It can be very frustrating.

I'm extremely frustrated.

But I'm half way there.

Monday, November 23, 2015


Black Friday bargains are unbelievable this year. Last week I received an email from an online running retailer offering a $25 gift card with the purchase of a $100 gift card.

Yesterday, my wife topped me by taking advantage of a $50 gift card with her $100 purchase.

So, I figured it was time to get busy and offer my customers something free with the purchase of my books, Personal Best and Running Shorts, on my website,

 From now until Christmas day, if you visit my website, you can take advantage of the Christmas two for one sale.

For the retail price of one book, $14.99 plus shipping, you can purchase BOTH books, Personal Best, AND Running Shorts. That's $7.50 for running books written by a runner for runners.

Heck, you can even purchase two of the same book, if you like.

I will personally sign each book and send it out to you promptly.


You can take advantage of the two for one sale, AND receive a ten-week training program ABSOLUTELY FREE!! That's a value of $25.

Here's how it works. You must purchase the two for one offer on my website, from now until Cyber Monday. (November 30) You will then receive one 10-week free personalized training program, and I will make that offer valid for an entire year. So, if you want to train for a marathon next November, you won't have to take advantage of your free training program until next August or September.

When you checkout, I will record your email, then you can email me at:, and we can begin your training program at your convenience.

This is a Black Friday sale you can use to become inspired by reading my books, and reach your very own personal best by receiving a training program written by me just for you.

Check out reviews of my training plans, submitted by runners from all over the world at:

The digital time clock is ticking. You have only one week to take advantage of this one-time offer.

I look forward to helping YOU achieve your personal best.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Yesterday was a beautiful November day here in northeastern Pennsylvania. The sky was blue, temperature hovered around fifty degrees, and the wind was calm.

I was happy to take my dogs for a long walk in the mountain behind my house. When I returned, I did some yard work, as leaves have formed numerous mountains around trees, bushes, and fences.

Not satisfied, and unwilling to go back inside on such a glorious day, I decided to get a jump on my Black Friday tradition by beginning to decorate the outside of my home with Christmas lights.

Meanwhile, my daughter, Kelly, and her husband Mike, along with several other good running friends were in Philadelphia, picking up their numbers for today's Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon.

A year ago, instead of walking the dogs and erecting Christmas lights, I was with them, preparing for the half marathon.

At that time, I had come full-circle from a hamstring tendon tear I suffered three weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon.

In 2010, I crossed the finish line at Philly in a time of 2:58:52.

This time around, I'm recuperating from arthroscopic surgery, performed on my left knee (same leg as the hamstring tear) on November 10.

But in our world of competitive running, it's all relative.

When injury or illness cuts us down, we are faced with two distinct choices: we can give up, call it quits, and forfeit what makes us whole, or we can adjust and adapt.

For me right now, I have to temporarily forget about this time last year and adapt for the future, because, believe me, I'm not nearly ready to give up.

I have a friend who is running after he underwent open heart surgery two years ago, and another, who, one month ago, suffered a stroke at age 59. He and I will go for a walk today.

Goals need to be adapted, standards need to be reset, and the business of running can begin again.

Don't allow setbacks to get you down, either physically or mentally. No one is happy when injury, illness, or even age, impedes your times and training, but, inevitable, one of those things will strike all of us at sometime in our running careers.

When it does, use whatever techniques you possess in your arsenal to adjust and adapt. Walk, swim, cycle, or go to the gym. Slowly come back, realizing that all comebacks take time.

You may be hanging Christmas lights when you'd rather be running, but remember, it's all relative.