Alberto Salazar and the art of exhaustion

Tuesday, 7 August, 2012

On Saturday night in London, Mo Farah and Galen Rupp disrupted the African hegemony of long-distance running events by winning gold and sliver in the 10,000 metres race. How did they manage it? In essence, Farah moved to Oregon last year to train with Rupp under the guidance of Alberto Salazar.

In the current issue of the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell ponders Salazar’s belief system in “Slackers: Alberto Salazar and the art of exhaustion“. It’s a must-read for all wannabe medalists because it says that if you want to succeed you must be willing to go that extra mile. Snippet: ” He shares his father’s commitment to Catholicism. He understands that there are heroic possibilities to sanctifying grace. At the midpoint of the Comrades ultramarathon, as his body moved into crisis, Salazar began to recite the mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the glorification, the sorrow. ‘Lord, there is no way for me to do this unless you want me to,’ he prayed. ‘It’s in your hands.'”

Unlike many other sports, running offers limited financial gain to those who are great at it, but it does have its rewards.

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