The Salina Journal Sunday, April 7,1985 Page 16 Judge on the Judge David Knudson runs sprints at a track as part of his training for the Boston Marathon. Knudson took up distance running three years ago and averages 50-60 miles per week. Tom Dorsey A new lifestyle puts Knudson in the Boston Marathon field David Knudson By BRENT BATES Staff Writer David Knudson was so out of shape in 1982 that he couldn't even run a half-mile without stopping to gasp for air. Knudson was a textbook example of poor health. He was overweight, ate the wrong foods and smoked cigarettes. Stress from his job as Saline County District Court Judge frequently brought on pounding headaches. But now, three years later, 43-year-old Knudson will be among the throng of racers pounding the 26-mile, 385-yard course through the streets of Boston in the Boston Marathon on April 15. In that short period, running has quickly grown from an aerobic exercise to an obsession for Knudson. He figures he logs 2,000 miles of running each year. A 15-mile run now is old hat. A mile is just a warm- up. He has lost between 15 and 20 pounds since he started running and the stress headaches have disappeared. "1 just got hooked on long-distance running. It's just one of those things that fell in place," he said. Knudson, once an avid golfer, and his wife, Roberta, started running in the winter of 1982 to stay in shape during the golfing off-season. But now, after the judge doffs his robes after a day in court, he walks past the golf clubs gathering dust in the closet and grabs his running shoes. "The irony is it was intended as a supplemental running program in the winter," he said. "I ended up giving up golf." Knudson qualified for the famous Boston endurance event at Kansas City's Macy's Marathon last fall. He traversed the grueling course in 3 hours, 9 minutes, just one minute under his age group's qualifying time. "Once I reached half-way, I realized I had a time that would get me close (to qualifying)," Knudson said. "... you come that far you sure hate to fail." Knudson runs and bikes throughout the year, but began training seriously for the marathon in January. Through the training period, he gradually lengthened his daily jaunts through the streets of Salina and the surrounding countryside until he was running 50 to 60 miles each week. During the two months before the race, he tried to record a 16 to 20-mile run once each week. The marathon requires almost as much mental training as physical conditioning, Knudson said. Physically, a marathon is grueling, but mentally, the race can be pure torture, he said. People begin to drop out in droves near the end of the race, he said. It's a constant battle to prod the mind and body to continue. Several days before the race, Knudson said he will try to rest his body, concentrating more on the race itself than physical training. Before a marathon, he runs the race through his mind several times, imagining himself streaking through the hilly course with little physical or emotional difficulty. "The last 5 to 6 miles is the marathon," the runner said. "Your body rebels. Your mind rebels. It's very much a personal struggle. "Toward the end ... you begin to think, 'Why on earth am I doing this thing?' Your mind starts to play tricks on you. You start questioning whether to go on. At tunes you want to quit, but you have to keep stroking," Knudson said. "I have never finished a marathon without it taking almost everything out of me." He said it takes 30 to 60 days to recover from the race. Why would anyone put their body and mind through such torture? The judge pleads insanity. "Lack of gray matter," Knudson said. "You just have to have a certain single- mindedness. You become impulsive, very complusive. You become a very boring person." The judge said his most important goal in the race will be to enjoy the.event. He doubtlessly won't win, but said he hopes to finish the race in 3 hours, 20 minutes — a 7:30 minute-per-mile pace. "If I have trouble, it could be worse. If I get pumped, it could get better," he said. "It's hard to know how well you'll really run until the day of the race." The judge said he likes to run two marathons a year — one in the spring and the other in the fall — and several 10 kilometer road races. He also is interested in participating in a triathalon, an event where contestants swim, run and bike in the same race. Throughout the year, Knudson trains with other runners who also enjoy enduring . the pain of distance running. "It's very difficult training alone," Knudson said. "Running 20 miles by yourself is much harder than running a marathon. You keep telling yourself that nobody would know but you if you stop and walk or pack it in. It's hard to keep motoring." Knudson said his entire life has changed since he began running. He has become more aware of his diet. He eats less meat and fatty foods, now preferring vegetables and more carbohydrates. Stress and anxiety originating from his profession have been significantly reduced through exercise, he said. His weight has leveled out and he has quit smoking. He said he feels fit. But despite the benefits, Knudson hesitates to recommend a long-distance running program. "I personally get an emotional high out of it, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone run this much," Knudson said. "There has got to be a better way to get an emotional high." With no prize money, is famed Boston Marathon hurt? BOSTON (AP) — Trapped between tradition and transition, the Boston Marathon, nearly nine decades old, is being whipped by winds,of change. Organizers are responding to those forces, but top competitors say more needs to be done to restore the race's reputation as the world's premier marathon. Prize money, those runners say, would be a huge stride forward. More expenses for competitors in the April 15 race are being covered by race organizers. For the first time, runners will be admitted free to three events — a pre-race dinner, a post-race party and a Runners' Expo. A limited number of hotel rooms are available to them at no cost. But, as in the previous 88 Boston Marathons dating back to 1897, there will be no prize money this year. With more marathons around the world and more such rewards, top runners are staying away. "If Boston would have been a prize- money race, I probably would have decided last fall to run it," said 1983 winner Greg Meyer, who is skipping a spring marathon. "I feel I have 'X' number of good marathons in a year and in my lifetime and, to be very hon- est, I'm not going to give them away." From April 13 through May 5, major marathons will be run in Hiroshima, Boston, London, Rotterdam, Pittsburgh and New Jersey. All but Boston and Hiroshima are offering prize money. Dean Matthews, the fifth-ranked American marathoner last year who has run here twice, plans to compete in the World Cup marathon in Hiroshima. "I have a chance for more international exposure. Boston is worth nothing internationally," said Matthews, who added that prize money would have brought him here. "The money would have made it an international event again. "They dont even have to pay as much as New York or Chicago," he said. "A big purse is not the problem. It's getting into the '80s and being realistic." Boston Marathon officials contend that prize money would not guarantee the presence of better runners. "Boston could offer $50,000 in prize money just to start with and, who knows, we might not get that good a field because there are so many other races," said Joe Catalano, the runners' liaison for the event. "One of the things that you always "I feel I have 'X' number of good marathons in a year and in my lifetime and, to be very honest, I'm not going to give them away." — 1983 winner Greg Meyer fear is getting in a bidding war with other races," race administrator Guy Morse said. Bill Rodgers, who won Boston four times, is bypassing it for the Waterfront Marathon in New Jersey on May 5, in part because of commercial obligations. He also is receiving a fee. "Their shoe companies and sponsors tell them where to run," said Tom Brown, president of the Boston Athletic Association, which organizes the race. But, Meyer suggested, all those races might not have sprung up if Boston had hopped on the prize-money bandwagon when it first began rolling. "Ten years ago, nobody would have dared go head to head with Boston," he said. Boston is the oldest American marathon in existence. Harold Carroll, a lawyer and a race- committee member, said the Boston Athletic Association's board of governors is "more open-minded than it's being painted. Some members of the board are, in principle,, against it (prize money), but they're willing to look at it." Opponents say prize money would change the character of a "people's" race, and Brown said only the world- class runners want it. Meyer and Brown agreed that there would be no problem obtaining sponsors if more funds were needed. For now, though, the governors' hands may be tied. A Superior Court trial is set for June 4 to determine how much money Marshall Medoff is entitled to for his work as an agent who obtained sponsors for the 1982 race. A contract giving him that job was declared invalid in Superior Court, a decision upheld by the state's Supreme Judicial Court. If the board had added sponsors to provide prize money this year, it would appear to be doing the same work from which Medoff was barred, Meyer said. For the second consecutive year, Britain's Geoff Smith, the defending champion who has been running well, is the race favorite. Ron Tabb, the 1983 runner-up, also is entered. Lisa Larsen Weidenbach heads the women's field. Catalano said the men's field is deeper than last year, when top Americans chose to run instead in the Olympic Trials the following month. Still, amid the glut of races, the lack of prize money and an apparent decline in the running boom, the number of official entrants is about 5,800, the smallest since 1980. Runners still are attracted to Boston by the possibility of posting a fast time on the fast course, thus strengthening their bargaining power for a shoe contract or for appearance money in future marathons. But that may not be a sure thing. Smith won here last year, but his shoe contract still wasn't renewed after that. Smith got great exposure in the 1983 New York City Marathon, where he led most of the way and finished second. Last fall, that race paid $273,800 in prize money, including $25,000 each to the men's and women's winners.
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