The following is the text of a letter I received while training in Tampa, Florida in January of 1980. Let’s just say I took this message under advisement and appreciated the writer’s concerns.
You don’t know me but I was standing next to you in the Eliot last April right after the Marathon. Everyone was having a good time and I asked somebody who you were and why all the fuss. I had never heard of you and the next day I read all about you and the great race you ran.
Bob, you are without a doubt a great talent and with proper training and good judgement you have a tremendous career ahead. I just want to tell you briefly that at age 46 with 19 years or funning behind me and many, many beers down the pipes, I am finally realizing that I have never reached my potential as a runner primarily because I thought I could combine running and beer drinking.
Now that I have stopped drinking altogether I find that I can work out harder and recover more quickly. I expect to surprise a lot of people this year in local races.
I met Nick Rose at the pre-race party before Springbank a few years ago-he was the defending champion-he finished poorly and I believe it was due to the fact that he consumed too many beers the night before.
I’m not in a position to tell you what to do. I just hope you’ll give it your best shot at the trials on May 24. To do that I believe you have to face the realities, as the enclosed article states. (BAD MIX: Sports and Spirits are a losing team).
Good Luck. Running through life, Jim Gerard
I am glad that Jim was not around to witness Hodgie’s drunkenness for rest of the week following the marathon I am neither proud nor ashamed of it; it just was.
Drinking will never make anyone a better athlete. If you are a drinker, WISE UP…and watch yourself.