Plimsolls On, Eyeballs Out: The Rise and Horrendous Fall of Marathon Legend Jim Peters
by Rob Hadgraft
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British author Rob Hadgraft specialises in biographies of marathon and ultra-distance runners. All are available worldwide as ebooks. His five subjects to date are:1. The Little Wonder: The Untold Story of Alfred Shrubb - World Champion Runner.2. Beer and Brine: The Making of Walter George - Athletics' First Superstar.3. Deerfoot: Athletics' Noble Savage - From Indian Reservation to Champion of the World.4. Tea with Mr Newton: 100,000 Miles - The Longest Protest March in History.5. Plimsolls On, Eyeballs Out: The Rise and Horrendous Fall of Marathon Legend Jim Peters. In the early 1950s Jim Peters single-handedly turned marathon running into a high-speed race against the clock, repeatedly smashing world records in his Woolworths plimsolls. For decades, marathons were the preserve of elderly plodders who trained and raced slowly and steadily, believing it to be the only path to success. Peters blasted such theories out of the water. He came late to the marathon, having been humiliated into track retirement by the great Zatopek at the 1948 London Olympics. Peters comeback involved training of unprecedented intensity - I bashed it night after night - and his 1951 debut sparked a series of glorious world bests. Peters was no stylist, lacked tactical nous, ignored conventional wisdom and ran ugly. But guts and sheer bloody-mindedness saw him grind out victories, no matter how harsh the conditions. Then, just as he was being described as indestructible, his world came crashing down. In a Vancouver heatwave Peters paid dearly for his policy of running 'eyeballs out' every time. What happened at the 1954 Empire Games made women weep and grown men lose their lunch. Peters rise had been astonishing, but his fall was horrendous. This is his story.
- Desert Island Books, October 2012
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