You probably didn’t even know that FLRC has a lending library, did you?
It’s located at Gerrit Van Loon’s office on Snyder Hill, and it’s populated
largely with books from the collection of Diane Scherrer and Jim
Hartshorne, although there have been more recent additions too.
Many of the books are pretty old—there’s even a yearbook-style volume
with results from the 1960 Olympics that shows that Jack Daniels did indeed
win a medal in the modern pentathlon. But while that’s amusing for the
haircuts alone, there’s one that Adam Engst recommends highly, particularly to
those who remember runners like Frank Shorter, Jim Ryun, Bill Rodgers,
Marty Liquori, Benji Durden, Rod Dixon, Pat Porter, Jeff Galloway, and Jack
Written by John L. Parker, Jr. of “Once a Runner” fame, “Runners & Other
Dreamers” is a collection of articles originally published in magazines in
the 1980s, often with a postscript that brings the story up to date as of
1988. Of the 24 articles, there are a handful that aren’t about running at
all, and a couple that just feel odd. But overall they’re great. Parker was
a national class miler in his own right, with a 4:06 mile in college, and
he ran with the Florida Track Club in Gainesville when it had some of the
best distance runners in the world. If he’s to be believed, he introduced
Frank Shorter to Jack Bacheler there.
As anyone who has read Parker’s writing knows, he understands at a deep
level what it’s like to run and race at the highest levels. For him, a
bunch of old washed-up ex-professional runners getting together for a
charity race means that they all run under 34:30 for 10k, with most of them
in the 30:00 to 32:00 range. But since he knows all these people
personally, reading the articles feels like getting the stories on a
cooldown run after a hard workout. He may not be Rick Cleary, but no one’s
succeeded in goading Rick into writing a book yet. 🙂
Anyway, next time you’re at Gerrit’s, look for “Runners & Other Dreamers”. To check any of the available books out, just give the receptionist the card inside the back cover like you’re in an old-fashioned library before the days of computer catalogs. You can keep the books for 3-4 weeks and there are no overdue fines if you miss by a day or two. You may also donate books to the collection if you wish.