Arthur Lydiard hails from New Zealand. When his relatively unknown athletes scooped many of the distance medals at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics he consolidated New Zealand’s golden era in middle and long distance running, and his own reputation as a coach.
What was remarkable about the success of his athletes was that unlike the eastern bloc countries that meticulously handpicked their talent using scientific and genetic analysis Arthur’s stable were all locals who lived in his neighborhood. He proved his adage that "Champions are everywhere you just have to train them correctly."
Lydiard's fame spread and soon he was consulting with National Sporting Federations all over the world to teach them his methods. Today many coaches in Japan, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Venezuela, Korea, Mexico, USA, New Zealand and other countries attribute much of their success directly to Lydiard. You'll hear about one of these master coaches, Dr Richard Brown, later on.
In the early 60's Arthur took his champion-producing theories to a group of cardiac patients. He put this guinea-pig group of paunchy middle-aged men onto the same 100 mile-a-week regimen that he gave the likes of his champion runners – not as fast of course! Rather than keel over and die they got oxygenated and became marathon runners. (Don’t worry these new programs do not mandate 100 miles weeks.)
One of Nike’s founding fathers, Bill Bowerman, visited Lydiard in New Zealand, and witnessed first-hand his marathon cardiac program. Bowerman returned to the USA to bring running to the USA - and the rest of the world. On receiving a special medal from President Kennedy for spreading the concept of jogging to Americans he said, "I am but the disciple. Arthur Lydiard from New Zealand is the prophet."
Arthur Lydiard passed away in 2004 while on tour in the USA, at the age of 87.
2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...
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