(Ed note: Dr. George Sheehan was running’s first and foremost philosopher. Until he started writing in the 1970’s, running’s writers focused on either elite runners or running as effective means to get in shape. Sheehan wrote about running as a way of life, the road to self-improvement. Reading Sheehan’s seminal book “Running & Being” cemented Bennett’s lifelong commitment to running.
Although Dr. Sheehan was a traditional and religious man (he had 12 children, all with the same wife), his views on women runners were extremely progressive. His 1976 essay “You Let a Girl Beat You?” contains many nuggets of wisdom, most of which are still applicable today).
As soon as the race results appear in the paper, I hear the same old comments in the hospital where I work: “I see you let a girl beat you.” The statement is wrong on all counts; wrong in what it says; wrong in what it implies.