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During the summer, we competed in the all-comers meets at Venice High, Pierce College and Los Angeles Community College. Each road race might have 100 runners, and even the marathon races rarely had more than 200 or 300.The runners, though, traveled to the same races, met at the same handful of stores that sold running shoes and read the same books and articles on running, particularly the running bible, .
According to Gabe Grosz’s history of Fairfax track, the school lost every track meet between 19.
But all that changed in the fall of 1967 with the arrival of a new coach, John Kampmann.
Most high school athletes and non-athletes did not continue active exercise after graduation.
But in distance running, everyone trained and competed.
Running was one part physical, and a larger part mental. Long distance training under Coach Kampmann was a mix of approaches: speed-play techniques from Finland, repetitions on the track, and long slow distance (LSD).
We ran in the Hollywood Hills, on the trails of Griffith Park, at the La Brea Tar Pits near Fairfax.
Most of us from that running era at Fairfax have continued to find value in the distance running culture and continue to run daily.
My own running career would have its ups and downs over the years.
Most importantly, new attitudes were emerging among these runners: about long distance running as a lifestyle, as well as about workout regimens, diet, lifelong training and the inclusion of women.
My older brother Jim, then a senior at Fairfax High, introduced me to long distance running in the summer of 1967, a few months before I was to start my freshman year.