14. How has running changed since races started offering prize money?
Oh I was so overjoyed when prize money came into racing. We fought for it back in the early 1980's. We fought the AAU hard if you recall. We finally got our way and the Trust Funds came into play. I was just feeling really good we were getting paid for all of our hard work. We deserved money same as any baseball or Football Player. It was SWEET! Bill Rodgers, Don Kardong, Joan Benoit, Benji Durden, myself and many others former the AARA . I remember all of us being in a meeting in somebody's hotel room at some race. Joan Benoit was sitting there knitting away as we were discussing various issues that paved the way for us to receive appearance and prize money over the table instead of the under the table sham.
15. When you were running your best, how did you make ends meet?
In my top racing years I made money several different way. I had shoe and clothing contract, I made appearance money and won prize money. I was a Guest Speaker, I also sold products to Health Food Stores. All of this helped my family and myself but it wasn't at all like we were rolling in dough!!
16. Are you a good coach?
I do think of myself as a good running coach and can coach from the 100M up to the Marathon.I have been told many time that people thought I was a very good and caring coach. Anyone who has ever worked under me has improved. I enjoy coaching others and passing on my knowledge and experiences .
17. You lead some major races and in some faded or even dropped out. Had you hoped to hang on?
No... I lead those races with intent to lead and was a "rabbit." In 1980 we were not going to the Olympics but we still had the Olympic Trials Marathon... so I wore a protest shirt "The Road to Moscow Ends Here" before the race. No one knew I planned to take the pace out and keep it up as long as I could in hopes of setting up the race as OUR OLYMPIC GAMES...because we sure weren't going to Moscow.
I had nothing to lose... noting was at stake or at risk... we just weren't going so it didn't matter who made the US TEAM. My goal was to set it up so that we would run a faster time in the Olympic Trials than they would in Moscow.... AND by hammering 5 minute pace in the sun for 17 miles the top three guys, Sandoval, Durden and Hefner did run 2:10's...... later on in Moscow, Cierpinsky's winning time was 2:11 There was great satisfaction and solace for me doing that deed. It was all I could do to turn a Lemon into " Lemonade."
18. What races have you run that stand out above the others and why?
Leading at Boston in 1981 stands out as it was kind of outrageous as the "designated rabbit." It was a very fast pace, 47 something at 10 miles and 1:02 something at half way, documented by Time Pace Car driven by Tim Elkins. It was this great match up between Boston Billy Rodgers vs Toshihiko Seko of Japan, eventually Seko won and set a course record that day... I played a part in the whole drama. Also anytime I ran Boston or NYC Marathon was always exciting. My PR 2:14:15 in Montreal Marathon was exciting and memorable as was running in the 1988 Olympic Games Marathon in Korea.
19. What if you had not found running?
If I had not found running I would probably be a very successful businessman. I sacrificed so much the pursuit of following my dream and vision. I am glad I did it. I did it as Frank Sinatra said "I did it my way" and have some regrets BUT I would do the same again.
20. How much running are you doing now?
I still run a lot usually six out of seven days... I really enjoy just running, no watch on, just enjoying my runs. I am fit and run well. In warm whether I'll run 50 or so miles a week as an average.
21. How about racing?
I still race. I enjoy it and do well in my age divison. Racing is a not important to me now. However, I still do enjoy competing and doing my best.
22. What other interests do you have?
I have so many interests. Music, playing music drums and harmonica, writing music, songs. Writing stories, poems etc. Dancing I make up many dance moves and choreography for songs. I study French and other languages. I love reading, traveling, fine dining, and wine. Coaching runners...
23. Are you retired? Or is that a word you use?
Retired! NO I'm not retired. I will probably work everyday until I am gone... I like being active.
24. Is a sub two hour marathon going to happen?
I have no idea... When Runner's World first came out Derek Clayton held the world record at 2:08:32... remember? Time and courses have improved vastly with guys like Haile Gebrisalaisse and the great Kenyans! WOW! Unimaginable back in 1969. If a sub two marathon happens so be it... the world goes on no matter what happens.
25. What are world class runners doing today that runners like you didn't do?
I have no idea what runners of today are not doing what we did. It is very basic, seasonal training, have a good plan mapped out. Doing the mix of hard work and recovery and staying healthy!
26. How closely do you follow running these days?
I follow running and track and field very closely. I know what is happening....all the time. I love this sport.
27. What has happened to the depth in races?
Depth in racing is just fine and dandy. Just look at the marathon list for 2011 Kenyans dominate. USA guys are doing well too, just not as many people racing as was back in the 1980's. Bad economy etc. probably has some bearing on that, sponsorship , priorities, etc.
28. Are high entry fees changing the sport?
Yes high entry fees have alienated so many runner. Many runners race less because of the greed factor in making money off of the sport. Race fees are very high because some Corporations that now put on races have Stock Holders in the Corporation so they make profit for these people off of our backs and hard earned money. Not fair and this sucks but it is so 2012!
29. Are too many race directors just putting on races to make money?
30. Many races now have more female finishers than males? Why are a lot of males not racing?
I just think more females are racing and I find it a good thing ....
31. Is the Olympics just as exciting as in the past?
Oh yes the Olympic Games are better than ever because the World has caught up with higher level of training mainly due to the Internet. Simply put, more information is available to anyone and everyone nowadays. People in small countries can now train the same as the Russians, Americans, or the Japanese. They can pick up the same workouts, information, new finding, studies, nutrition etc on the net. The Globe has shrunk in that's regard. Meaning there is more opportunity for everyone. Then when the Olympic Games comes around every four years you can see measurable improvement in the total world. Levels of sophistication are now constantly improving due to the net aka "The Information Age" I love it...
32. Who is your hero?
I have many heroes past and present. Too many to mention...if you just look at the past athletes and present there are always just SO many fabulous people inspiring the World on an ongoing basis. Non Athlete, are also my heroes and men and women alike. The people who make the World a better place are my heroes!
33. Is there anything you wished you did differently?
OMG There are SO many things I wish I did differently. Everyone has this "condition" and regrets. We learn from these and go on... So it is completely normal to woulda , shoulda, coulda... There are also so many things but I am glad I did them as I did them.
34. What are some of your current goals?
Current Goals, Stay healthy, grow spiritually, be able to retire without having to grovel...which is hard to do today BUT possible... Maintain my dignity...
35. What is the craziest thing you have ever done that you would admit?
Craziest thing I have ever done? Hard question... I have done so many kooky, zany, funny things I can not think of one outrageous act...Bringing costume running into racing is one major thing I would say... this fun concept lives on today.
36. What are you addicted to?
I do not feel I am addicted to anything and am not in denial here I just do not find I have anything I would call an addiction. I have strong preferences for many things... for instance I really like chocolate BUT it does not control or run my life. An addiction I think means it runs your life and you are no longer able to choose consciously what ever it is you may want or like. I think running has allowed me to not have addictions and that I am in control of things I choose or not choose.
37. describe a typical day now.
My typical day... When I awake I give thanks to God for everything I have in my life. I feel very blessed and ask God to continue to bless and protect me and I pray for guidance in my life. I have coffee and do a stretching and daily rehab routine usually as I watch the Bloomberg Financial Report on TV. I have breakfast, check emails etc.... put something lighthearted and funny onto Facebook.... Work, run, lift weights, stretch, work, have dinner, watch TV or read, fall asleep.
38. Do you think people have mis understood your approach to running and life?
LOL and good question... I learned in the 1960's "Do your thing, and you'll be king"... I have to do for me what I need to do. I have had to overcome that very strong pull of doing stuff with what other will think ....
As we said in the 1960's I had to transcend what other may think and do what I feel in my heart and it is a hard thing to overcome. Some people never overcome that. I felt so "liberated" when I learned this critical mindset. It has allowed me to do some really fun, creative and innovative things in life. Like starting running in races with crazy costumes on... It took nerve.... It can be humbling an humiliating... "Letting go of the Ego" was one of those things I learned to do and was recommended to do various practice of Yoga, Meditation etc...
The 1960'd was a very good time and a very bad time. So many things were going on such as Viet Nam (lost my first track coach to Viet Nam ), The Draft, The Hippie Woodstock Mind Revolution Period, Civil Rights , High Profile Assassinations of our President, Martin Luther King , Bobby Kennedy...
So I did not really care so much what others would think, yet at the same time I did not ever want to hurt or alienate. When I was signing autographs at running events I would write "Laugh"- Gary Fanelli. That was and is a BIG part of the Gary Fanelli message .