JAMESTOWN, NY - After a two-mile walk down the beach yesterday - and being passed by dozens of energetic runners - I ran across this photo, taken at a track practice probably during our senior year at SWCS.
It appears that Mark Swanson is a step ahead of Verne Ahlgren, though with Verne's steps, one extra stretch would put him ahead of Mark.
I remember Joe Rushin standing alongside the track a lot with his stopwatch, timing people without them knowing it. Then, he would come up to you when you least expected it and tell you how you were doing.
One day Al Ross and I decided to run a 100-yard dash, after arguing who was faster. Al's long legs could carry him faster over longer distances, but up to 220 yards, I could usually beat him.
This particular day, one of those rare warm spring days, we ran like demons, a dead heat at the finish line where Coach Joe stood, having timed us.
When we stopped, panting, the look on his face was a mixture of suprise and rage.
We had run arguably the best race of our lives, both of us around 10.7 seconds for the hundred - faster than I ever ran for sure. I was a 11.0 seconds guy usually - on a good day.
After chewing on us both for a moment, he said he probably needed to have us race against each other at the meets - we obviously had more at stake than when we ran against other schools.
Of all the folks who we had as teachers and coaches in high school, I think I miss him the most - even when we he was chewing me out, emphasizing each syllable FITZ-GERRRRRRRRRR-ALD!
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