Archive for Thursday, July 15, 2004

Bond no mystery to area running scene

July 15, 2004

William Bond isn't sure why he enjoys running so much. For him it's just one of those unexplainable passions people have. A mystery even to himself.

"One guy likes to play golf," Bond said in explanation of his passion. "While another likes to do something else."

Bond, who has been running competitively for more than 40 years, enjoyed running as a kid and took to the oval tracks as a sprinter at Augusta High School back in the 1960s.

He continued the sport when he entered the Army about 40 years ago.

Although running in the armed forces was geared more toward staying in shape and passing certain physical tests, Bond was able to keep his running interest alive until he could resume running competitively.

The 60-year-old accountant now estimates he has run in more than 200 road races in the past five decades.

Bond likes the schedule the Kansas City-Topeka area offers runners because of the wide range of terrain. In fact, two of his favorite races rank on opposite ends of the difficulty scale.

"Hospital Hill is a very difficult race," Bond said. "It is run in the hot days of June with very difficult terrain. It is a very tough test. The Trolley Run, on the other hand, is much easier. I like them both."

Because of his busy schedule as an accountant for a company in Kansas City, Kan., the De Soto resident has had a hard time training for 10,000 meter or more races, so he sticks to a schedule of 5,000-meter events.

He said how or how much he trains for a race depended on what his goals for that race were.

"Your age and how fast you want to run the distance really determines your workouts," he said. "If you're 40 and you want to run a 10K in 40 minutes, you should run 40 miles a week in preparation for race day.

"It's called the 40-40-40 rule. Some say you can go by that, while others say you can't. It all depends on the person."

Bond said anybody could run and finish races of all different lengths.

"It's not so much if you want to finish a race," he said. "Anybody can finish a race. But can you finish in the time you want to finish in? That's what's difficult."

One of his most memorable races was 15 years ago at a half marathon up Pikes Peak, Bond said. Runners participating in the half marathon race had to run up the peak, while competitors entered in the marathon had to run up the mountain and back down again.

Not only was he faced with battling the weather and terrain that day, but Bond also had the altitude to contend with, which is a factor he said you really can't control.

Runners try to become accustomed to the altitude by arriving early -- some as soon as two or three weeks before the race and others the day before. Bond admitted, however, that no matter how a runner prepared for the altitude, there were no guarantees that he or she would be able to overcome it.

Bond finished the race that day, but he said he really didn't have a choice.

"I wasn't that far from the top," he said. "Once you get to that point there is no sense in turning back. I finished about three hours slower than I wanted to. It was not a good experience."

Bond, who now runs 25 to 30 miles a week on courses around De Soto, said he would next race in the fall.

He had, however, been very successful so far in 2004 after winning his age division in two of the three races in which he competed.

Bond won the four mile St. Patrick's Day Run in a time of 29 minutes, 31 seconds. He then won the Run for Mercy 5K in a time of 23:37.0, and was the 25th male to cross the finish line.

At the Heart and Sole Classic in May, Bond covered the 5K course in the 60-to-64 age division with the second best time of 26:52.0 and took 83rd in the male division.

The best part of running a race for Bond is actually running the race.

"It lets you know just how much you've accomplished," he said. "Plus there is also the joy of running. It's like the golfers -- they just like to be out there. That's the way running is for me."

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