Why don't high schoolers run faster?

Why don't high schoolers run faster?

Post by Bret Jense » Thu, 24 Apr 1997 04:00:00


        Our, and yes, they are.  So what?  Runners aren't lazy, and runners
aren't, nor were they in the 1970s, typical youth.

> We get rides, we ride the bus,

        I rode the bus and don't think it affected my running in any way.

> we hang out at the mall. we smoke cigrettes, we worship Dennis Rodmann,

        I didn't, and neither did the other good runners in the league.

> We walk around a track for gym(this is serious I am school teacher and
> this is what students do!)

        I ran in P.E.

> We wouldn't ever think of doing anything that was tough,

        I ran interval sessions which were TOUGH!  I went to running camp
in the summer on my own time and money, as did a lot of other top runners
in the state, and it was TOUGH!

> And last but not least the longest distance that kids in high school run
> is 3000 meters.

        I and all the other runners in the league had lots of experience
running 5ks.
        In sum, I don't think your objections are valid at all.  They
don't apply to the high school distance runners I know, and I can only
assume that you think this "laziness" wasn't the norm in the 70s.  Sorry,
doesn't wash.

> Compared to Kenyans and other Africans etc...who run to school, run
> almost everywhere, don't smoke,

        Smoking's still quite popular outside the U.S., and yes, in
Africa too.

> who whorship Haile Gabersailsie(sp?),
> who are running 10k's by the age of 10,

        Whatever.  Obviously you've never been there.  Even if they were
running 10ks at age 10, that's a very unhealthy thing to do in terms of
future running.  Remember that some very good runners (like Frank
Shorter) did little running before they were 20.

> who's whole life is tough,

        It's different.  A lot of Americans seem to have this idea that,
"everybody in Africa is poor".

> who see there only chance out is to run there way into college, into a nice
> home, into a car..

        YEAH, RIGHT.  Do you really think that Kenyan kids are interested
in college?  Tell me you think Darryl Price sells the Kenyans on
Lubbock's academics and I'll tell you that you've got no idea what's
going on there.

> When looked at it this way, I am surprised that our runners are as good
> as they are! Anyways I hope this clears up the anomoly,

        It doesn't clear it up in the slightest.  You've presented no new
evidence here.  I don't understand why some people are so intent on
blaming kids for not running fast races.  Think how rediculous this
sounds, blaming 16 year old kids, who are largely the product of their
upbringing, as though kids have changed since 1977 and society has not.  
Do you also ascribe the Kenyans' (actually the runners come from one
tribe in the mountains, not from the Kenyan population at large) success
to overachieving youngsters and not their unique genetic background and
the environment/culture in which they are raised?

                                                                - Bret Jensen


Why don't high schoolers run faster?

Post by Trione » Tue, 29 Apr 1997 04:00:00

Further comments on Bret's post about Kenyan runners:

The Kenyan running success is really extraordinary when you consider that
most(all) of the top runners come from one area of the country. I spent
two months travelling around Kenya and Tanzania two years ago and saw a
grand total of one person out running. People often looked at me out for
my runs in a state of shock. Running is not something that every Kenyan
does. As for the kids running to/from school, many that we saw take the
bus. There is incredable poverty in both Kenya and Tanzania and the
govenments of both countries do little for their people in giving them a
hand up and  the diet is awful. Despite the huge international success of
Kenyan runners, most people in the street want to talk soccer and wouldn't
know Moses Kiptanui if he was standing right next to them. What I found
was people don't run for fun and fitness. That means expending more
energy, which burns more calories, which requires more food, which means
they have to spend more money. Money that many(most) Africans do not have.
It really is amazing that they can produce so much top class talent. What
other nation has more sub 30 min 10 K runners?

Steve Fleck