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"All in a Day’s Run" is for competitive runners, fitness enthusiasts and anyone who needs a "spark" to get healthier by increasing exercise and eating more nutritionally.

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This is what the running elite has to say about "All in a Day's Run":

"Gary's experiences and thoughts are very entertaining, all levels of runners can relate to them."
Brian Sell — 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathoner

"Each of Gary's essays is a short read with great information on training, racing and nutrition."
Dave McGillivray — Boston Marathon Race Director

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Amby Burfoot — April, 2009
Amby Burfoot won the 1968 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:22:17, becoming the first American to win the title in 11 years. His personal best marathon of 2:14:29 at Fukuoka, Japan in December of 1968 narrowly missed the American record at the time by one second. At the 1976 Olympic Marathon Trials he finished in tenth place. While at Wesleyan (Conn.) University, Amby was undefeated in four years of dual meet competition, won several New England and IC4A cross-country titles, placed sixth twice at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and ran an 8:44 2-mile indoors. At Fitch High School he ran a 9:39 2-mile. In 2008 Amby was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame. He joined Runners World as an editor in 1978 and was promoted to Executive Editor in 1985. Amby has written four running-related books. His personal best running times include: mile – 4:19.0; 2-mile – 8:45.6; 3-mile – 13:44.8; 6-mile – 29:26 and marathon – 2:14:29. Since starting running, Amby has run over 103,000 miles. He resides in New London, Conn with his wife, Christina, who is a freelance copy editor at Men's Health Magazine. He has a son, Dan, a Ph.D student in robotics and a daughter, Laura, a community organizer.
GCR:You are in a select group of Boston Marathon Champions. Describe how it feels to have succeeded on so high of a stage and reflect on how it has influenced and continues to affect your life.
ABIt’s not so easy to describe in a few words. Winning the Boston Marathon was my big goal in life from the time I started running under Young John Kelley in 1962 as a 16 year old, and I achieved it just 6 years later. Ridiculous! Not that it came easily; I was totally obsessed by running at that point in my life and worked my butt off. It affected my life in ways that neither I nor anyone else could have imagined in 1968. Have a good-paying and exciting job in running journalism? Impossible! But changing times, a fitness-running revolution, and a Boston victory opened many doors.
GCR:You basically came out of nowhere when you won the Boston Marathon in 1968. How did the race develop and what were some of the major strategic moves that day?
ABWell, I wouldn't say I came out of nowhere, but point taken. I had been running 120 miles a week for two years, and hadn't lost a New England road race for more than a year - and New England had basically all of the road races. It was an Olympic year and the field was weak as runners saved themselves for the Olympic Trials and/or the Olympics itself. But Boston was special for me with the Kelley and New England connection and I wanted to give it a shot. I happened to be in a magical ‘in the zone’ peak on that day and the race felt easy except for the full, warm sun. I did a little surge at halfway, broke the field wide open and then had to race Bill Clark one on one the rest of the day. I was a lousy downhill runner and figured I had lost the race when I couldn't drop him on Heartbreak Hill. But he was worse on the down hills than me and he cramped as soon as we began descending on the other side of Boston University. I struggled and slowed toward the end; he struggled and slowed more. We had no water on the course then and I was part of a Dave Costill fluids study. I weighed 138 on the starting line and 129 at the finish - major dehydration.
GCR:No American had been victorious at Boston since Johnny Kelley in 1957. How exciting was it to duplicate the feat of Kelley, who had been your high school coach?
ABEven in those pre-running boom days, it was an incredible personal thrill. And everyone I cared about knew what I had achieved, so it was very fulfilling.
GCR:An injury suffered while participating in a steeplechase race prevented you from competing for an Olympic Marathon spot in 1968. How disappointing was this?
ABWell, I wanted to make the Olympics like every top runner - and Kelley had competed in two Olympics, so I had heard all his wonderful stories - but it wasn't meant to be. A month after Boston, I had rested, done speed work, and improved my fitness another notch. I won a 5000 meter - Steeplechase double at the New England Track Championships, but then couldn't lift my leg out of bed the next morning due to a hurdling-induced strain. For the next several months I alternately rested the leg one day and ran 30 miles the next day. That was real smart, right? The leg didn't get better until September; post Trials-dropout, when I didn't run a step in two weeks. The next day I was healthy and in the best shape of my life. I won the first Springbank 20K in Canada against a Canadian who went on to finish in the top 10 in the Olympic Marathon the next month. And then I ran my very strong personal best marathon of 2:14:28 at Fukuoka, Japan in December.
GCR:Your best finish at an Olympic Trials Marathon was tenth place in 1976. Was making an Olympic team a big goal that was difficult to achieve due to work obligations?
ABGoing to college was certainly the closest I ever came to being a professional runner. Wesleyan was an academically challenging school, and I probably spent eight to nine hours a day in classes and studies, but it was a ‘cocoon environment’ with everything there in one place, and no outside distractions. Once I got out of college and began teaching, I felt a lot more stress in my life - the whole range of normal things we all have to deal with. I had a few years when I thought I was in 2:15 shape on the Hopkinton startingline, but it never happened. At the 1976 Trials I was with the second pack at 10 miles, and we all knew we were running for third place after Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. What we didn't know was that Don Kardong and Tony Sandoval were also running for third, but from a position 60 seconds behind us. That proved the smart strategy on that day. Plus I faded during the last six miles.
GCR:In your early twenties you embraced vegetarianism, studied psychology, ran very high mileage and even spent several months camping in the woods. How did the combination of these extraordinary pursuits contribute to your development as a person and a runner?
ABIt was the late 1960s, and I was a free-thinking ‘hippie’ in my head, only without the sex, drugs, and rock and roll! I did my own thing, which was high-mileage running. It was definitely different from everyone else at the time, but it was just the path I chose. Again, John Kelley was a huge influence, from the vegetarianism to the anti-Pentagon war machine philosophy. Plus, he was the first environmentalist I knew. In the 1960s, he was doing stuff that people haven't imagined yet in this supposedly ‘green’ era.
GCR:In your running career you have accumulated over 103,000 miles which is over four times around the earth at the equator. What is the significance of this achievement?
ABI thought I was around 115,000 miles, but recently recalculated downward for my total miles, and came out at about 103,000. It's not like I have kept a log all these years; I have simply run consistently over time. Today, I'm proudest of the fact that I'm relatively healthy and still having fun. I train a lot but I don't run a lot. I do something like 70 percent of my weekly training hours on a recumbent bike at home, reading newspapers, magazines and books.
GCR:For 46 straight years, starting in 1963, you have raced the Manchester (Conn.) Thanksgiving Day Road Race, winning the overall title nine times. You also won the high school division as a teenager and the 60 and over division as a senior. What is the significance of your streak and high level performances at this race for so many years?
ABThere's no significance to any streak, in my opinion, but it IS a source of great personal pride. We need to have something to keep us going. And my performance isn't so high-level these days; it's just that the race doesn't seem to attract stiff competition in the 60+ age group. I've gotten faster or held my own for the last seven or eight years after decades of getting slower, so the recent years have been fun. But I know that things are going to get tougher in my mid 60s, and I hope I'm ready for it. Of course, I do want to reach 50 straight, which was achieved a few years back at Manchester by Charley ‘Doc’ Robbins. I don't expect to break the record of the Dipsea Demon, Jack Kirk, who I think raced that event in California 68 years in a row.
GCR:You mentioned that you would like to see this streak reach 50 years. At that time would you consider voluntarily ending it?
ABAs long as I can complete the race I will continue to show up each year. I will not voluntarily end the streak. If there comes a time when my health and fitness dictate that I must run/walk or walk the entire way I’ll do that. My hope isn’t to be able to race fast but to be mechanically healthy. I don’t have long life genes from my parents. My mom, who was a Junior Championship tennis player in Germany, died from cancer related to cigarette smoking at a relatively young age. I learned my lesson about cigarette smoking at age 13 when I smoked three cigarettes and then puked afterward in the woods. My dad, who died in a car accident, had a round-shaped body, wasn’t in top health and didn’t appear to be destined to a lengthy life prior to the accident. Staying healthy drives me now much more than the competitiveness of my younger days.
GCR:You got your start in running at Fitch Sr. High in Groton, Conn., where the cross-country coach was John J. Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon. How did his influence help your progression as a runner and maturity as a person?
ABHe was the smartest guy I knew, the most worldly-wise, the most eco-sensitive, the most humble, and also the fastest marathoner in the U.S. for nearly a decade. It was an impossible combination, and yet he had it all. I can't imagine my life without all the years of learning at his feet (in his living room, as he pontificated in his Irish story-telling way) and on his heels (as he buried me at the end of long runs).
GCR:These days everyone takes for granted that there are a myriad of excellent running shoes. What do you remember about your first training and racing shoes?
ABWhen I went out for the high school cross country team I didn’t have any special shoes for running. My family provided everything I needed as far as the basic necessities in life, but we were probably lower middle class. I wore my high-top Ked’s black sneakers for training. Prior to my first race I figured that a pair of lighter shoes would help me to run faster. I searched through the closets at home and found a pair of bowling shoes that fit pretty well and wore them in my first meet. Unfortunately the course was wet and the shoes became a bit unglued toward the end. I still did well and my parents splurged and bought me a $9.00 pair of running shoes.
GCR:Your training at Wesleyan (Conn.) University your final two years was a bit unconventional as it wasn’t focused as much on track speed as it was on 120 miles or more per week which is more consistent with marathon training. How did this still get you ready for an 8:44 indoor 2-mile and, in hindsight, was this combination the perfect formula for success at the Boston Marathon?
ABI have no idea. My training didn't make any sense; it was just what I did. At the time, we talked a lot about LSD (long slow distance), and we all tried to outdo each other with our weekly training mileage. It worked if you didn't get injured and over trained, both of which I avoided most of the time. But of course it didn't work for everyone. Nothing does. I always tell people that we, as a running and research community, know almost nothing about training for running success. There's basically no valid research on training systems - just a lot of anecdote and hype. In the end, you have to train hard some of the time but not too much of the time. It's smarter to be slightly undertrained than slightly over trained, but you never feel that you're reaching your potential unless you're pushing the training in some way. It's a Catch 22 situation, a damned if you do, and damned if you don't. And I don't think there's any way out of it.
GCR:Twice you placed sixth at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships. How did your enjoyment of cross country racing compare to the track and roads?
ABThe longer the distance, the better I liked it, purely on a success-based measuring stick. I was terrible at the mile, pretty good at six miles, and much better at 10 miles and beyond - especially in the heat. I enjoyed cross country, but really loved summer road racing in New England, because the races were always hot, and I seem to have an unusually good heat-tolerance mechanism which is just a fluke of nature.
GCR:In your senior year at Wesleyan University, Bill Rodgers, who in future years won both the Boston and New York marathons four times, was your teammate and roommate. What was you influence on Bill and do you have any favorite stories about him?
ABThe first time I saw Bill was when he was racing my younger brother in high school so naturally I was rooting against him. Bill and I had a great time rooming and running together. In our Wesleyan years, I was the serious one and he was more of the playboy in lower case letters. He liked to party. He slept too late on weekends to join me for my 20 milers, and 25's, but I would run through campus at the halfway mark, and he'd meet me then. It was a big help to me as he really pushed the pace through those final miles when I was tired. Later, after graduation, he got serious, mimicked my training, and took it to a whole new level. I always knew Bill was a talented, and especially a super-relaxed runner. But no one could ever say they knew he'd become ‘King of the Roads.’ A funny story occurred around 1973 after Bill had disappeared from the running scene for a couple of years to dabble in motorcycle riding and cigarette smoking. In Hopkinton, Bill showed up at the start of a Boston Marathon Buildup Race wearing torn khakis and a beat up sweat shirt. He could have passed for a homeless person. I hadn’t seen him in about two years and he said he had been doing a ‘little running’ lately. The race was over the first 20 miles of the Boston Marathon course and when I went through the 10-mile point in 49 minutes I was shocked that Bill was running with me! He finally faded and I beat him but within two years he was crushing everyone.
GCR:For over twenty years you have written about the sport of running and been an Editor with Runners World magazine. How joyous has it been to remain so involved with running?
ABWell, it has been a joy, you nailed it. I try to be thankful every day that I'm one of those fortunate few who stumbled into the job he was always meant to have, and has been able to stick with it. There's never a day when I'm not happy to go to the office. Rodale has changed a lot over the years in ways much like the rest of corporate America, not always for the best, but Runner's World itself has remained very much the same. It's a place where the staff of mostly eager, enthusiastic runners comes to the office every day excited to put out a magazine that reflects the wide interests of our readers: shoe fanatics, vegetarians, milers, ultra-runners, old, young, injured, healthy, male, female, fast, slow, lean and overweight. We know we can never make everyone happy, but that's okay. We'll have fun trying.
GCR:In 2000 your book ‘The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of Running Has Taught Me about Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Heart,’ was published. For those unfamiliar with this book, what are some of the main thoughts you would like to convey?
ABThat was a very personal book in which I was trying to say that running means a lot to a lot of people, and we often experience similar things. We experience them in our own unique way--when you run with your favorite training partner, you see different stuff, and talk about different things. But we all have the great experience of having a favorite training partner and spending time with him/her. Running is a blank canvas that we all paint with the daily flow of our lives. In the end, the canvases have a lot of similarities.
GCR:In 1992, prior to the Barcelona Olympics, your Runners World article, ‘White Men Can’t Run,’ caused a stir. You followed this up with, ‘White Guys Still Can’t Run,’ on NBC’s website before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. White U.S. distance runners have made progress in recent years both in quality and quantity. But are they destined to fall a bit short of east African distance runners no matter how hard they try due to genetic differences?
ABThat's a direct question, so it deserves a direct answer. In my opinion, the answer is, ‘Yes.’ I don't claim to understand what I see out there, but what I see is as clear as night and day. Runners of west African heritage win most of the sprints, and runners of East African heritage win most of the distance races. Not all, but most. If anyone else sees something different, I'd like to know about it. Without question, American distance running is enjoying a nice rebirth. There are a handful of truly exciting U.S. performers, and we're all rooting for them, even we journalists who are supposed to be impartial. Like the great American runners who came before them - Shorter, Rodgers, Benoit, Salazar, Jennings - these ‘kids’ as I call them are all bright, likable, hard-working athletes who understand what they owe to the larger running community. They're great spokespersons, not at all like the jerks we sometimes read about in other sports. But they face significant challenges when it comes to the world stage. You have to remember that Africa is the undeveloped country, not the USA. Africa is the continent with the millions of youngsters who have no notion of their running talent. And yet the talent is there. We see more of it every year. It's not a wave that's beginning to flatten; it's a wave that's still cresting. Sorry about that. I didn't make the rules. This is simply what I perceive and believe.
GCR:Your wife, Cristina, has completed over ten marathons and runs for health and fitness. Describe what it means to share your passion for running with your wife. Do you run together often?
ABWe try to run together, but don't always succeed. She gets mad at me for drifting ahead of her. We've had good success with run-walk workouts that tend to equalize things. Generally, Cristina believes in moderation in all things, and I believe in obsession in all things. Do you see the problem here? We have fun working it out. She's an amazing person and partner, very different from me in all the ways I need to be with someone different.
GCR:Who are some of your favorite distance runners among the scores you have met? Is there anyone in particular who was very different from what you anticipated? Is there any one runner, living or dead, which you would love to chat with on a training run and why?
ABGosh, there are too many. I remember Emil Zatopek from a brief meeting in the 1980s, and he was like a human energy machine - amazing, even then at an older age. He was serving tea to about 20 people at once, while we were all just staring at him bug-eyed, the most amazing runner-person any of us had ever read about or met. I don't want to mention anyone else, for fear of offending those unmentioned. On the scientific side, Tim Noakes is a marvel. He lives for the Socratic discussion. Bring up any topic, and Tim has a slightly contrarian view, but with the biggest smile, twinkle in his eyes and delightful manner.
GCR:What does the future hold in store for you as a runner, writer, editor and person? What dreams inspire you and goals drive you as you have accumulated the wisdom of experience and years?
ABI'm trying not to be so driven at this point in my life, though it might be hard for this old dog to learn new tricks. I have some goals, but I'm not going to mention them, because I also want to be okay with a life that's not always goal-filled. As I mentioned, my parents both died when I was relatively young - in my teens and mid-20s. I have grown children a little older than that now, they're amazing human beings, and I'd like to see how their lives develop. I'd also like to locate a small, enlightened city where I could live without a car but with walking access to a social life, a university maybe and a sustainable way of living.
 Inside Stuff
Hobbies/InterestsRunning science, exercise physiology, physics, organic gardening, alternative energy, sustainable agriculture and low-impact living. An interest I share with my wife is dancing as we met learning to foxtrot and swing. Lately the Argentine Tango has been my wife’s latest dancing passion. It is a very sensual dance – need I say more?
NicknamesI share the name Ambrose with my dad so as a child he was ‘Big Amby’ while I was ‘Little Amby.’ Other nicknames include ‘Bamby’ and the tough ‘Ambo’ – watch out Sylvester Stallone! A funny aside with my nickname, ‘Amby,’ is that several colleges rejected my admission application due to my name as they were ‘Men Only’ schools!
Favorite moviesAs a child I always liked the Disney movies like ‘Lady and the Tramp.’ In general I am fond of movies with underdogs where the ‘good guy’ wins
Favorite TV showsAs a child I recall a huge interest in baseball and football games as my hometown was halfway between New York and Boston. Everyone was torn between being fans of the Yankees or Red Sox in baseball and the Patriots, Jets and Giants in football. I liked family shows like ‘Ozzie and Harriet,’ ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and ‘Father Knows Best.’ ‘Lassie’ was a favorite as she always did the good deed. I was nuts about ‘Davy Crockett’ and had a coonskin cap which I wore. Currently I enjoy medical shows like ‘House’ even though I am squeamish. I watch ‘American Idol’ with my wife as she is very musical. I take pleasure in the humorous slant on the news in both ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ and ‘The Colbert Report’
Favorite songs‘The Rose’ by Bette Midler; ‘Time after Time’ by Cindi Lauper; inspirational songs with a connection to running such as ‘Chariots of Fire’ by Vangelis and ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen
Favorite booksMainly non-fiction. Works by John McPhee are favorites, especially ‘The Pine Barrons’ and ‘A Sense of Where You Are’ where McPhee chronicles the collegiate basketball career of Bill Bradley
First carA new, green 1968 Volkswagen Beetle that I bought when I got my first job after finishing college. It cost $1,600
Current carTwo Mazda vehicles. One is a 1990 model that is still alive and kicking. The other is a 1999 edition. I have no interest in cars and basically want the most economical vehicle that can get me from one place to another
First jobMy first ‘real job’ was teaching elementary school for five years. It gave me a deferment from military service in Vietnam. It may have been the job I was best at as I love children. This characteristic may have been inherited somewhat as my dad was a YMCA Director
Unusual jobAfter teaching I worked with the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador as the National Track Coach specializing in distance running. Under my tutelage the National Marathon Record improved by over an hour though moving the start from the sweltering noon heat to 4:00 a.m. may have played a bigger role than my coaching
Family, Children and SiblingsWife, Christina, who is a freelance copy editor at Men's Health Magazine; son, Dan, a PhD student in robotics and daughter, Laura, a community organizer. Gary, my brother, is three years younger and was a faster runner in high school. He is a retired lawyer who has run a 2:40 marathon. My sister, Natalie, who is six years younger, was born with a massive foot disease and the foot was amputated as a child. A poor quality surgical procedure left her without a good alternative for a prosthetic though she is an excellent swimmer
PetsTwo cats
Favorite mealMexican food which stems from my time in El Salvador. Rice and beans with cheese is great and a Margarita makes it sensational. I am mostly vegetarian though I eat Salmon and Tuna and occasionally some Chicken. Reading about the healthiness of these lean sources of good protein has influenced me
Favorite breakfastBreakfast is my favorite meal time of the day and I like to make a big bowl of muesli including a mixture of oatmeal, raisins, nuts, flax, wheat germ and anything else that is handy
Favorite beveragesI have always liked milk. I enjoy beer sparingly. Soft drinks are not part of my fluid intake. When I was running 120 miles per week I drank lots of orange juice though I drink little now. Every night I have a glass of red wine with some chocolate – for the ‘health benefits!’
First running memoryIn junior high school we ran a mile once a year in physical education class. I recall ‘training’ for a couple of days beforehand by running a loop on the roads near my home that was about a mile. As I ran I chanted military style as I thought this would help my legs to go faster
Running heroes1) Obviously, my high school coach and mentor, Johnny Kelley; 2) Emil Zatopek both from reading about him and from meeting him briefly. He was so energetic, intelligent and animated. 3) Roger Bannister for his athletic pursuits and success as a doctor; 4) Joan Benoit for her purity of effort as a runner, organic gardener and race organizer and 5) Grete Waitz for the simplicity of her endeavors as she didn’t set out to win the New York City Marathon nine times – she loved running, wanted to see what she could do and it happened.
Greatest running momentsThe year 1968 included two moments as I won the Boston Marathon and then ran my personal best of 2:14:29 at Fukuoka, Japan. I am equally proud of my running streak of 46 straight Thanksgiving 5-Mile races in Manchester, Connecticut as the most important thing about running is doing it for a long time
Worst running momentDropping out of the 1968 Olympic Trials Marathon as I hadn’t recovered from the injury incurred after doing the steeplechase during track season. I have had many disappointments, but anyone who has run for a long time has those times which we use as learning experiences
Childhood dreamsI wanted to be a baseball player and idolized Mickey Mantle so much that I learned to switch-hit like him. One year I won the Little League batting championship and the sportsmanship award
Funny memoriesI had a ‘Senior Moment’ on a trip with my wife. Typically I wait on her to finish packing and this was the case. Finally she was ready and I packed all of our bags in the car. We hurried to the airport and when I opened the trunk to get out our luggage the trunk was empty – I had put our bags in the other car! We missed our flight and had to reschedule for the next day, but she was a good sport
Embarrassing momentPrior to a college cross country race the course instructions were given out and I didn’t pay close attention. We were supposed to run around a soccer field, out on a big loop and then return to take another lap around the field. With about a 200 yard lead I though I ‘remembered’ to run the finishing lap around the field in the opposite direction as the first lap. I realized this was an error when I passed all of the other runners who were headed in the other direction. The other team’s coach didn’t disqualify me though as I had run the same distance as the rest of the runners
Favorite places to travelThe city of Sydney, Australia, host of the 2000 Olympics was beautiful; Capetown, South Africa is a lovely coastal city and Palo Alto, California is awesome. I grew up on a small seashore in Connecticut and love travelling anywhere there is the smell of salt water, seaweed and seagull crap