Thursday, March 11, 2010

I met former runner Miel Puttemans today

I have been sick the last few days which is always unnerving since it is rare that a bug gets me like this! But anyway, i have been taking it real easy the last days so i can recover quickly. part of my recovery protocol had me riding with the old mans ride today out of Kortenberg - the one where i met jonas millions of years ago it feels.

On that ride, Jonas pointed to some random guy dressed in Merckx clothing with a bike to match and said that he was Miel Puttemans, the famous belgian runner.  This guy has held the world record in most distances including and over 2000meters. He also won the silver medal in the 1972 olympics. 

Naturally i had to ride alongside him to tell him that i am a member of his facebook fan club. Based on his reaction i dont think he knew one existed.  About two hours later, he rode alongside me to chat.  Turns out he is super friendly!  He told me that he used to train and race with Steve Prefontaine.  He said that there were three of them who would often be well ahead of the others when they'd compete.  The third guy was probably the Olympic champion Lasse Viren, who is now better known in history for having introduced blood doping to athletics during the Munich games. He's in fact the guy who finished in front of Miel when he won his silver. Bummer that they werent tested like cyclists are nowadays.  If so, Miel would have been Olympic champion.

What i am certain of is that I couldnt imagine running half Miel's speed!  When i asked him if he still runs, he said that he's too old at 62 years. He added that anyone over 50 shouldnt run any longer. 

Six years ago he took up cycling and seems to be a natural at it!  I dont think the other guys on the old mans ride are as happy about it though, as he speeds up every hill before them. Even so, I personally am thrilled to have had the opportunity to meet someone of his caliber.  (Of course i also appreciate that i had the opportunity to meet many amazingly talented cyclists - too many to name!)

If you want to join Miel's fanclub to check out his photos, CLICK HERE.

The photo was taken by Geert Keyaerts. It is of Miel's trading cards - just like we have in cycling - too cool!


Amy said...

Cool! Hope you're feeling better soon!

PEANUT said...

thanks amy. A little better today thankfully!

mindful mule said...

Cool to meet the legends. I’m not sure I like his idea that no one should run after 50, but maybe by the time I get there (13 years) I’ll understand. At least he’s still jamming on the bike!

PEANUT said...

i suppose if you run on pillows or some other soft terrain - maybe sand, that could work without incidence. OR if a person is naturally built for running i guess they can run forever. I really dont know. I think that whatever exercise makes a person happy...