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More Munich Madness: Lasse Viren

December 6, 2010

The Munich Olympics were a big deal for distance running… can you tell? Two in a row awesome performances from distance runners at the 1972 Olympics.

Lasse Viren is (was?) a Finnish police officer… which, in the 70s in Europe, meant that you did nothing but train and the government paid for you to live. He was a heavy favorite in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters going into Munich.

In the ten thousand meters, in the third mile, Viren ate it up. Think of the most tired, exhausted, stressed, and vulnerable you’ve ever been… and then think of falling flat on your face. Most runners that fall  mid-race are never heard from again. Think of that marathon runner who got tackled by the crazy guy in the tunic. He was leading the field by minutes with just a few miles to go. He ended up not even earning a medal.

Not only did Viren catch back up to the leaders in 150 meters… he set a damn record. A damn world record.

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