Distant Finish takes readers back in time to the 1970s, an extraordinarily exciting period in the formative years of road racing. This era, 1969–1979, began just before the “running boom” spurred by Frank Shorter winning the gold medal in the 1972 Olympic Marathon; transitioned into the early years of Nike; and ended on the eve of the 1980s, a period that saw the advent of mass running events. As the popularity of running expanded rapidly in the 70s, myriad new running clubs “popped up” to support legions of newfound athletes, men, women, and children, eager to “take it to the streets.” A few, long-established, renowned races, and many new community-sponsored ones, provided opportunity for runners—young and old, experienced and novice—to test themselves against the courses, the distances, and their fellow competitors. This period was characterized by striped “Dolfin shorts” made famous by Shorter, cheap entry fees that included a cotton t-shirt, and fresh heroes, emerging along with running clubs, that to this day, inspire and support runners and races in their communities. Runners wanting to learn more about their new love, could subscribe to the holy trinity of distance running journalism (Nor-Cal Running Review, Track & Field News, and Runner’s World, all of which were, fittingly, based in northern California at the time). The so-called running fad that developed during this period never slowed down once it laced up its shoes. One hundred seventy-six photographs and maps; an appendix; and an index to full names add value to this work.
David D. Bruhn and Jack Leydig
2023, 6x9, paper, 256 pp.