Walter George


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Walter George

Postby parkerrclay » Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:10 pm

Anyone read either of the 2 books about him?
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Postby G.Ahearn » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:08 am

What are the titles of the books? I'd be interested in reading them.
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Postby catson52 » Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:57 pm

I would also like to know the names of books on the grand old man from Colne in the UK. Most writings talk of his second race against Cummings. A good book on this is by Norman Harris "Running the Power and the Glory". This book has one of my favorite pieces of track writing - Snell's mile record at Wanganui in 1962.
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Postby kuha » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:44 pm

Since no one else has stepped forward, I can happily recommend:

Rob Hadgraft, "Beer and Brine: The Making of Walter George" (Desert Island Books (2006). Hadgraft earlier published "The Little Wonder:" The Untold Story of Alfred Shrubb--World Champion Runner."

I don't know of a second bio of Walter George on the market. We're lucky enough to have ONE good one!
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Postby G.Ahearn » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:42 pm

Thanks Kuha . . . just ordered a copy.
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Postby kuha » Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:35 am

To G.A. and the others: I just got a copy of Hadgraft's newest book:

"Deerfoot: Athletics' Noble Savage" (Desert Island Books, 2007)

which also looks remarkable! Hadgraft has done superb work on the leading figures of this early period...

I got this via amazonuk.
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Postby FrankS » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:45 pm

In "The Kings of Distance" book ( can't remember the author), there were great chapters on George and Deerfoot.
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Postby Justin Clouder » Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:10 pm

FrankS wrote:In "The Kings of Distance" book ( can't remember the author), there were great chapters on George and Deerfoot.

Peter Lovesey.
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Postby 4:24-miler » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:57 pm

Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!
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Postby kuha » Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:02 pm

4:24-miler wrote:Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!


The report has long been "on the record" but the accuracy of the timing has never--as far as I can tell--been proven. It was a private training session: how much credence should it be given?
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Postby gh » Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:00 am

As noted (I think by Kuha) on another thread, gambling was an important part of the sport in that era. I'm sure making up fictitious training exploits was an integral part of the whole game.
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:46 pm

kuha wrote:
4:24-miler wrote:Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!


The report has long been "on the record" but the accuracy of the timing has never--as far as I can tell--been proven. It was a private training session: how much credence should it be given?

I see. So there is no independent verification of his 4:10 1/5 mile. So that leaves us with George's 4:12 3/4. The reason I ask about his training is that given the utter lack of modern scientific/medical knowledge of human physiology and human endurace training I find George's 4:12 3/4 mile time truly remarkable. George's VO2 max must have been "off-the-charts".
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Postby Marlow » Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:48 pm

4:24-miler wrote:given the utter lack of modern scientific/medical knowledge of human physiology and human endurace training I find George's 4:12 3/4 mile time truly remarkable.

Why? Young Kenyans do it all the time.
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:25 pm

Marlow wrote:
4:24-miler wrote:given the utter lack of modern scientific/medical knowledge of human physiology and human endurace training I find George's 4:12 3/4 mile time truly remarkable.

Why? Young Kenyans do it all the time.

Yes today they have access to modern training techniques. Did "Young Kenyans" run that fast in 1886?
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Postby kuha » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:33 pm

Marlow wrote:
4:24-miler wrote:given the utter lack of modern scientific/medical knowledge of human physiology and human endurace training I find George's 4:12 3/4 mile time truly remarkable.

Why? Young Kenyans do it all the time.


Oh, please. The Wright brothers' feat isn't diminished in any way by the fact that "anyone" can fly today.
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Postby Master Po » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:05 pm

4:24-miler wrote:Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!


Here's a bit on George's training from Noakes' Lore of Running, 3rd edition (1991), p. 265-266:

"By modern standards, George trained only very lightly. For the first 6 years of his running career he trained only with his '100-up exercise'...[which] involved running in place so his knees were alternatively flexed to hip level. The goal was to repeat the exercise 100 times at the maximal possible speed. By 1882, George ran every morning and afternoon, alternating slow runs of 1 to 2 miles with faster runs of 400 to 1,200 yards and some sprinting. He finished all his long runs with a sustained burst of fast running, and he included one 100-up exercise each day plus occasional walks."

In this passage Noakes cites Lovesey (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) and George's 1908 book (or maybe it was a pamphlet), The Hundred-Up Exercise. Lovesey's book has an appendix with details from George's training diary from 1882, and George's text explaining the 100-up exercise. George notes that the 100-up might seem easy at the beginning, but to do it properly -- he emphasizes correct form -- is a challenge. At the end of that text he attributes his record-setting performances to the 100-up alone.

(As has been noted, the Lovesey book is great. I have it in a 1981 USA reprint titled Five Kings of Distance.)
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:15 pm

Master Po wrote:
4:24-miler wrote:Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!


Here's a bit on George's training from Noakes' Lore of Running, 3rd edition (1991), p. 265-266:

"By modern standards, George trained only very lightly. For the first 6 years of his running career he trained only with his '100-up exercise'...[which] involved running in place so his knees were alternatively flexed to hip level. The goal was to repeat the exercise 100 times at the maximal possible speed. By 1882, George ran every morning and afternoon, alternating slow runs of 1 to 2 miles with faster runs of 400 to 1,200 yards and some sprinting. He finished all his long runs with a sustained burst of fast running, and he included one 100-up exercise each day plus occasional walks."

In this passage Noakes cites Lovesey (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) and George's 1908 book (or maybe it was a pamphlet), The Hundred-Up Exercise. Lovesey's book has an appendix with details from George's training diary from 1882, and George's text explaining the 100-up exercise. George notes that the 100-up might seem easy at the beginning, but to do it properly -- he emphasizes correct form -- is a challenge. At the end of that text he attributes his record-setting performances to the 100-up alone.

(As has been noted, the Lovesey book is great. I have it in a 1981 USA reprint titled Five Kings of Distance.)

Thanks Master Po. It seems the majority of his training was some sort of fartlek or interval type training with no LSD at all. Wow.
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Postby kuha » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:20 pm

George and the others of this period tended to race themselves into shape. Very little over-distance stuff was done, and their total mileage per week would be laughable from a modern standpoint. George ran 4:12 off of the kind of training we might expect from a moderately serious junior-high level program today. I honestly don't believe that many of today's athletes could do that...
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:26 pm

kuha wrote:George and the others of this period tended to race themselves into shape.

I gather this was the common practice of the day?

Very little over-distance stuff was done, and their total mileage per week would be laughable from a modern standpoint. George ran 4:12 off of the kind of training we might expect from a moderately serious junior-high level program today. I honestly don't believe that many of today's athletes could do that...

And that gets to my point. Walter George must have had immense natural ability to run so fast on such little structured training. I know this is very spectulative but could George have had sub-4:00 mile "talent"?
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Postby kuha » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:44 pm

4:24-miler wrote:
kuha wrote:George and the others of this period tended to race themselves into shape.

I gather this was the common practice of the day?

Very little over-distance stuff was done, and their total mileage per week would be laughable from a modern standpoint. George ran 4:12 off of the kind of training we might expect from a moderately serious junior-high level program today. I honestly don't believe that many of today's athletes could do that...

And that gets to my point. Walter Geoge must have had immense natural ability to run so fast on such little structured training. I know this is very spectulative but could George have had sub-4:00 mile "talent"?


We're on exactly the same page here. George had the ability to be a top contender in any era--perhaps not "the best" in more decades, but a top contender nonetheless. If he'd been born in 1980, I have no doubt that he would have been a mid-3:50s miler, and perhaps a low-3:50s guy.
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:59 pm

kuha wrote:
4:24-miler wrote:
kuha wrote:George and the others of this period tended to race themselves into shape.

I gather this was the common practice of the day?

Very little over-distance stuff was done, and their total mileage per week would be laughable from a modern standpoint. George ran 4:12 off of the kind of training we might expect from a moderately serious junior-high level program today. I honestly don't believe that many of today's athletes could do that...

And that gets to my point. Walter Geoge must have had immense natural ability to run so fast on such little structured training. I know this is very spectulative but could George have had sub-4:00 mile "talent"?


We're on exactly the same page here. George had the ability to be a top contender in any era--perhaps not "the best" in more decades, but a top contender nonetheless. If he'd been born in 1980, I have no doubt that he would have been a mid-3:50s miler, and perhaps a low-3:50s guy.

That sounds reasonable. Did George race at other distances as well?
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Postby kuha » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:53 pm

Oh, yes. He was a decent 880 guy, but superb from 1 mile to about 10 miles. I highly recommend the books mentioned above....
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:08 pm

kuha wrote:Oh, yes. He was a decent 880 guy, but superb from 1 mile to about 10 miles. I highly recommend the books mentioned above....

The two books are definitely on my to-buy list. :D
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Postby Master Po » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:41 pm

The only point of clarification I might make here would regard our inadvertently misconstruing George's very low-volume training program as an "unstructured" program. Lovesey notes that George rarely ran more than 2 miles/day, but it's clear in his chapter on George that Lovesey is really impressed with George's systematic and thorough preparation and his intellectual approach to his training. His training was highly structured, with clear goals and a system for getting himself to reach those goals. That's the key to his getting so much out of himself on what was apparently a very very low mileage program.
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Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:55 pm

Master Po wrote:The only point of clarification I might make here would regard our inadvertently misconstruing George's very low-volume training program as an "unstructured" program. Lovesey notes that George rarely ran more than 2 miles/day, but it's clear in his chapter on George that Lovesey is really impressed with George's systematic and thorough preparation and his intellectual approach to his training. His training was highly structured, with clear goals and a system for getting himself to reach those goals. That's the key to his getting so much out of himself on what was apparently a very very low mileage program.

Yes, my use of "unstructured" was a poor choice of words. What I meant was that in the 1880s no one really had any idea (or did they?) what kind of training would maximize running fast times. This was really the beginning of modern competitive running as we understand it today so I image there was a lot of trial and error to see what works best to improve times. Breakthroughs in the understanding of cardiovascular training and human physiology were still decades away. The fact that George and his peers could run so fast on so little apparent training speaks volumes to their immense natual ability. I have no doubt that George's VO2 max and other physiological indicators were world class by modern standards.
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Postby dunes runner » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:58 pm

Master Po wrote:Lovesey's book has an appendix with details from George's training diary from 1882, and George's text explaining the 100-up exercise. George notes that the 100-up might seem easy at the beginning, but to do it properly -- he emphasizes correct form -- is a challenge. At the end of that text he attributes his record-setting performances to the 100-up alone.

(As has been noted, the Lovesey book is great. I have it in a 1981 USA reprint titled Five Kings of Distance.)


Would anyone happen to have Walter George's explanation of this exercise.
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Postby CookyMonzta » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:38 pm

4:24-miler wrote:Do these books detail how Walter George trained? According to his wikipedia page George ran a time trial mile 4:10 1/5 in 1885!

Did you read the part where they say the race was 6 yards too long? That means he crossed the mile mark in 4:09 2/5. No one would run that fast again until Jules Ladoumègue in 1931.

Did Walter George ever run 2 miles?
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Postby Chris McCarthy » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:48 am

Given that it was a time trial, the "6 yards" mean little.

HIstory abounds of times that were not only fast but over inflated distances - one only has to think of the famous "Lovelock Mile" in a ridiculous time.
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Postby kuha » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:47 am

CookyMonzta wrote:they say


Cooky: In regard to the alledged 4:10-and-change run, these words say it all. Who did the saying and based on what? It was a private training trial, timed unofficially, and witnessed by no impartial observers. Given all that, it truly doesn't matter whether the distance was a bit off one way or the other. The whole thing requires a strong dose of salt.

Do I think that George was capable of 4:10 under legitimate, public circumstances? Yes. Do I take this 4:10 report as anything beyond fascinating, undocumented hearsay? No.
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Postby runforlife » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:57 pm

Master Po wrote: At the end of that text he attributes his record-setting performances to the 100-up alone.

Along with all of his different training, this represents lots of core exercises as well. Very well rounded it appears.
BTW has anyone tried this to see how it improves their running??
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Postby Master Po » Sun May 03, 2009 5:03 am

dunes runner wrote:
Master Po wrote:Lovesey's book has an appendix with details from George's training diary from 1882, and George's text explaining the 100-up exercise. George notes that the 100-up might seem easy at the beginning, but to do it properly -- he emphasizes correct form -- is a challenge. At the end of that text he attributes his record-setting performances to the 100-up alone.

(As has been noted, the Lovesey book is great. I have it in a 1981 USA reprint titled Five Kings of Distance.)


Would anyone happen to have Walter George's explanation of this exercise.


Below are some excerpts. I am quoting from Lovesey's book, Appendix III, which Lovesey notes is George's account, from his The 100-Up Exercise (Ewart Seymour, London, 1908).

George explains by way of introduction that in 1874, at age 16, he became apprenticed in a trade that made it impossible for him to get outdoors to exercise. Between 7am-9pm daily, he had just one hour for recreation. Thus he developed the "100-up".

He introduces the exercise in part as follows:

"...let me impress upon the student the necessity of maintaining perfect form in every practice, be it in the preliminary or the exercise proper. Directly the correct form is lost the exercise should stop. Beginners should start the exercise slowly and on no account strain or over-exert themselves. Hurried or injudicious training, or fast work while the system is unprepared for it, induces breakdown and failure. On the other hand, slow, well considered, steady practice is never injurious, while breakdowns are practically unknown among those who start their training slowly and who gradually increase distance, time or pace as the heart, lungs and the muscular system throughout grow accustomed to the extra strain and revel in it."

Good advice from a century ago. As implied in the text above, George outlined two levels of the exercise, which he called "Minor" and "Major". Here is the key text of the "minor" exercise:

"Draw two parallel lines along the ground, 18 inches long and 8 inches apart.
Place one foot on the middle of each line. Stand flat-footed, the feet lying perfectly straight on the lines. The arms should be held naturally, loosely, and except for a slight forward inclination, nearly straight.
Now raise one knee to the height of the hip, and bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touch the line lightly with the ball of the foot and repeat with the other leg. Continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. The main thing to remember is correct action. See that the knees are brought up at each stride to the level of the hip if possible, or as near as possible to the point as can be managed ... and that the body maintains its correct perpendicular.
The exercise at first sight looks so easy of accomplishment that one might well think it possible to go a thousand up. This is the result of not raising the knees to the prescribed height -- the main point of the exercise -- or of 'galloping' through a short-timed movement in incorrect form. Get a friend to watch at your practice and to correct any shortcomings in your leg action or poise of the body and you will find the difference. Correct form once attained, the exercise may be increased in severity by gradually working from 10 to 20, 30 to 40 and so on to the '100-up' at each session, and by speeding up the pace."

Once we have discussed and mastered the "minor" excercise, I'll add George's text of the major exercise.
:)
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Postby dunes runner » Sun May 03, 2009 8:53 am

Thanks much for this MP. I'm looking forward to your addition of the "major" exercise.
The only other info I've found is from Ron Clarke & Norman Harris' book, "The Lonely Breed", p29.

"every time he went through the back garden he practised his running form and stride. It was terribly important, the stride, he still measured it every day in training -- as well as taking his weight ... he had also devised the exercise which he was to rretain for ever and make famous -- the "100-Up" exercise, that slow and exaggerated form of running-on-the spot."
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Walter George 100 up

Postby dunes runner » Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:19 pm

Here are more details of the 100 up exercise.

http://hundredup.com/learn-georges-100- ... -exercise/
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Re: Walter George

Postby Master Po » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:53 pm

dunes runner -- thanks for posting this link! Obviously, I never got around to posting the other excerpts of the "major exercise", and now on this site we have that, and much more. Really appreciate your finding and posting this!
:)
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Re: Walter George

Postby dunes runner » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:58 pm

You're quite welcome, Master Po.
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