Sunday, 16 March 2008

Where we are coming from.

Posted by speedygeoff on Sunday, March 16, 2008 with 3 comments
Times Past

Before there was a track at Bruce, before there was an AIS even, we used to race on the grass at Woden. Which is where was set my lifetime pb for 800m (1:57.2) and 1500m (4:04.3), and where I broke 16 minutes for 5000m for the very first time.

Who am I and why do I lead the "speedygeese?
As revealed yesterday, I started running in 1962 at the age of 13, and until 1973 mainly specialised in the 800m. Then I decided to get serious about longer distances, and ran some fast cross country races in my twenties, including half marathon races in about 70-71 minutes, and soon decided to run marathons as I seemed to do better the longer the race. A win in the Canberra marathon in 1978, 2:26.58, then an ACT open record, came in my ninth marathon. For the next 15 years I did manage to maintain peak form, but by about 1983 the form had started to wane just a little, and it was then I took up coaching. The next ten years saw the development of a very strong training group; there were as many women as men in the training group, but it was the women who shone in particular and one year I had five of the top six female distance runners in Canberra training together in the group. It started with Kaaren Sutcliffe and Carol Ey training with me, and their success attracted others; the stars also included Susan Hobson, Isabella Woo (now Isabella de Castella), Glenda Regan, Mary Silver and others of similar ability. In the early 1990's the group disbanded and the only person I continued to coach was Kevin Chamberlain; we met at Dickson oval on a regular basis and worked on Kevin's 800m training. When he started smashing M50 records the word got around and a few others joined us at Dickson. That's how the current training group began: low key informal training, people invited to join in if they wished but no compulsion to stay, they could come and go as they pleased. With the first more elite training group I used to write programs for everyone; up to 20 at a time. For this new training group, I rarely draw up individual programs but let anyone join in and enable people to learn from each other. And we have 80 people "on the roll" now, probably 40 or 50 I would consider active members of the speedygeese.

Why do we run? What's in it for us?
We are all searching for something, we are all on a migratory trip from where we have been to where we are going. Some of us are searching for "the edge" over our rivals; some are searching for "consistency" for ourselves. Some of us are searching for worthwhile, fulfilling experiences. Some of us are on the drive to success. Some of us are filling a need to overcome difficulties and hardships, which need a sedentary and mediocre life does not begin to satisfy! Some of us are seeking to be somebody, to make our mark, and some are seeking to achieve self fulfilment and self development.

I think the fact that we are working together on a quest for self fulfilment and the like, makes it all the more likely that we will continue to be successful on that quest.

And the journey is often more important than the destination.

For more information, about who we are, and why we are geese, see this link!


  1. I'm enjoying the journey.

    I wish we still raced at Woden - it's a lovely track.

  2. If I could I'd really like to join the geese. Sounds like a fantastic group.

    Congratulations on such a great running career Speedygeoff.

  3. I just stumbled over here from Vanilla's 5K challenge page. Cool site. Very inspiring story. I'll have to read more of your stuff as I try to figure out how to get faster.