Athlete Profile: George Smith

2017-05-17T21:05:46+00:00 May 17th, 2017|HRL Athletes|

Tell us a little about yourself…

Will be 70 in August. Only way I could have afforded college was to have played basketball at UH for Red Rocha before the fabulous 5 because we were not so fabulous. Also pitched baseball for coach Kitamura before UH had a real program. Track coach, Moses Ome, saw me run wind sprints during conditioning at a basketball practice and ask if I wanted to try out for track (never ran track). I agreed out of idle curiosity. By some fluke, broke state record (then held by John Sadowski) first time out of gate which inflamed Australian scholarship 400m runner, Doug Stewart, who wouldn’t talk to me for a year as he moved to the 800m. Broke state record six times during short track career. Football coach, Dave Holmes, asked if I would like to play football; that he would teach me how to be a defensive back. Thinking only of cheerleaders, I agreed. I became good enough to start at left half and proceeded to only help some of the nation’s premier receivers (e.g., Amad Rhashad) into the pros much to the dismay of my coaches. I continued to run during 30 years in Army, 5 years at Walt Disney World and 2 years teaching special ed at Mililani HS. Based on a orthopod’s advice I stopped running 10 years ago and focused on training for bike time trials, swimming and karate. Figured I have saved my knees for a final run at age group records although I am just now learning to run again.

How long have you been running?

See above.

Please list your favorite races and PRs.

400m and 200m because I didn’t want to lose count of laps. There is no record at UH that men’s track ever existed as it became a casualty of title IX 40 years ago. You would have to go back into the archives of the Honolulu Advertiser in spring/summer of 67, 68; just under 46 and under 21 were my best efforts in the 400 and 200 respectively.

What are your 2017 Racing plans and running goals?

Sequentially, break the Hawaii, National and World records in 400m for age 70

Any “bucket list” races?

World record 400m

What is your average weekly mileage?

Very low as I just started. I have to take several strides before my pant leg moves. Between biking, swimming, tabata and weights, I run three 1k intervals on Thursdays and and an easy 20 minute run on Sundays. It’s a start.

What is your favorite workout?

1k intervals

Favorite pre-race/post-race foods.

Haven’t been in a running race for so long. Before a bike time trial I will have toast with butter, olive oil and avocado half 3 hours before the race. I grab anything edible after a race.

What is the piece of running gear/food/drink that you cannot go without?

Wide brim hat as my hair went AWOL several years ago.

What is your favorite running moment or running quote?

“My money is on Smith.” Quote by Bud Winters (coach San Jose State 1968) as we settled into our blocks for 200m race on a temporary track built in the old Honolulu Stadium on King street. Oddly, all runners had the last name Smith but we all knew coach Winter meant Tommy Smith who smoked all of us. This was during a three way meet between UH, San Jose State and Oregon State to show Hawaii world record holders on their way to the 1968 Olympics (e.g., Tommy Smith, Lee Evans, John Carlos, Richard Fosbery (introduced the game changing, “flop.”)

Describe your running before HRL and after.

See above. There is no “after” yet; in progress.

Why does training with Hawaii Running Lab work for you?

There is no way I can train myself. I would become injured quickly. Michael Garrison (HRL) has serious experience and is guiding me in a very conservative way toward my goals. I want to be in a tight box so I don’t start thinking on my own about training. I just want to follow his workouts and give feedback. I have full confidence in Michael and HRL. Best decision I ever made was to link up with HRL.

Anything else that you would like to add?

No. I just need to get my butt in running shape and finish a lap before dark.

Star Bulletin Photo by Bob Young, May 17, 1968
Anchor of 4 x 100 relay at UH Cook Field as part of meet with local track clubs and the all armed services. Youth is a wonderful thing!