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I met Jack Fultz

Old 12-05-16, 06:58 PM
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I met Jack Fultz

Saturday night I was bored because my wife was gone with a friend to play bingo at Foxwood’s casino so I decided to go to my local bowling alley and throw a few practice strings. I bowl in a league on Tuesday nights and my bowling has gone from terrible to average in seven years. This is a small world and strange things still happen-no, I wasn’t abducted by aliens but I did run into a famous person. A former neighbor whom I work-out in the gym with tugged my arm as I was on my way out and said hey Ray, I was just talking about you to Jack Fultz. The name rang a faint, distant bell in the hollow regions of the back of my brain. You remember Jack Fultz, he said; he won the 1976 Boston Marathon.

Long before I discovered cycling I was a runner and I took it very seriously. I definitely remember jack Fultz because the year he won the temperature was tropically humid in the lower nineties when the competitors toed the line at noon. Can you believe it? They started the race at noon! They don’t do that today but this was 1976 with no satellite television, computers, cell phones and apparently no medical advice. It was so hot in Boston that day that forty percent of the runners quit.

We must remember that a 26-mile marathon is very different from a hundred mile bicycle race. A marathoner has no teammates and no opportunity to stand on the pedals to stretch and rest leg muscles without losing forward speed. Drafting off another runner to save energy while theoretically possible (it might work to some degree on the track in an indoor mile), is realistically nonexistent in a marathon. So a marathoner is without companions traversing the dark roads of doubt that always arise when the body begins to scream in protest.

We all know that the Kentucky Derby is known as the Run for the Roses and it was so hot on that day in Boston that the 1976 marathon is remembered as the “Run for the Hoses”. Jack Fultz was a pioneer not just for runners but also for cyclists because many of us started as runners. I started running in 1973 and never saw another runner until about 1975. People used to stop and ask me if I wanted a ride-if they weren’t throwing something at me. People like Fultz and Bill Rodgers were an inspiration to guys like me who were out there running in cheap sneakers-I got my first pair of actual running shoes in 1979.

I spoke with Jack for about twenty minutes and was saddened to hear that he had a hip replacement but heartened to know that he is biking and staying in shape. He is lean and looks great and his affable personality is still an inspiration to me. I was a good runner but never in his class. Good marathoners are like top bicycle racers in that they have a near perfect form or style at what they do. They are smooth and waste no energy. I could crack off a 30 minute 10k but being a forefoot striker my legs and feet were so bashed that I was sore for a week. I also had issues with stress fractures which is why I gravitated to the bike.

Seeing Jack made me feel good about myself because he is still involved in sports and his positive attitude is contagious. I sometimes question myself when I break a collar bone or suffer with road rash but everything has a risk and the only time I feel truly free is when I’m on the wheel. Thanks Jack for all you did back in the day to inspire me to stay in shape.
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Old 12-06-16, 12:35 PM
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[MENTION=351950]Ray9[/MENTION], great read. I grew up with motorcycle racers as my heroes, later I got a chance to actually race against and hang out with some of them. You never know what you'll get out of folks. Some turn out to be great folks, others turn out to be less than that. Sounds like Jack falls into the latter.

And I wouldn't be saddened that he had a hip replacement. That we can get put into the shop and tuned up pretty well despite decades of wear and tear these days is a far cry from when we were growing up.
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Old 12-06-16, 01:12 PM
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Talk about inspiration, that was a terrific story! Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 12-07-16, 10:26 AM
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Very cool story, [MENTION=351950]Ray9[/MENTION].

I agree with [MENTION=95878]Racer Ex[/MENTION]. With today's technology a little tune up here and there, is some pretty OK stuff.
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