who is steve jones?
a tough guy
I whipped his ass. He couldn't take a punch.
I heard his chopper was hanging out during a 10k.
Mark Renton wrote:
I heard his chopper was hanging out during a 10k.
Amby Burfoot's account of the 1985 Falmouth Road Race in RW from November, 1985:
Joes was tired. The previous week he had raced a world best half-marathon of 1:01:14 in birmingham, England, eclipsing Paul Cummings' mark by 18 seconds. Heavy-legged and not expecting much, he still surged several times on Surf Drive. "It's standard operating procedure," he said like the Royal Air Force mechanic he is. "You do it just to get rid of a few of the guys who don't belong there."
The ones who did belong were [eventual winner Dave] Murphy, de Castella, Michael Musyoki (the Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist) and Simeon Kigen, with whom Deek had been training in Boulder. Halfway through the long Falmouth Harbor U-turn that stretches from mile five to 6.5, Jones made another push that dropped the two Kenyans. Passing 10-k in 28:29, he, Murphy, and de Castella faced a final half-mile straightaway before the bumpety-bump of Falmouth Heights above the finish line....
As Dave Murphy reached the 90Â° left turn where the climb begins, he sensed de Castella gathering for a charge. "I knew someone would make a big move and I decided to play Rob at his own game, so I pushed it very, very hard," he said. When the thick crowd lining both sides of the bluff greeted Murphy with a roar, he figured he must have broken away. "Then Steve flew past me like a bat out of hell," Murphy said. Jones, racing Falmouth for the first time, had launched into his customary track sprint.
Murphy glanced over, his surprise showing. "Dave looked at me as if he was thinking, "'You're doing an awfully long kick, arene't you?' " Jones said. Too long, perhaps.
Murphy's first reaction was simply to stay on Jones' heels. "I though, 'Oh oh, I've got my plate full here.' I was hanging on for dear life." Then, when Jones had to ease up, Murphy started his own sprint, exactly where he had powered away from Mark Curp the preivous year. This time he broke the tape in 32:03, the third fastest time ever behind Salazar's two sub-32:00s.
Jones couldn't sustain his early drive, because the finish wasn't where he was expecting it. Not up-and-down but three parts. "That was the longest final 300 yards I've Ever run," he admitted. ruefully a few moments later. Jone' 32:06 and de Castella's 32:09 were the fourth- and fifth-fastest times ever recorded on the course.
Steve was one of our sponsored athletes when I was a running promotions guy for Reebok...he started every run (even a recovery jog) well under 6 minute miles and never looked back...he was a hammer...I remember being on the press truck in Chicago when he broke the world record...the guy just put his head down into the wind and and slugged it out to the finish...a blood and guts kinda guy (and equally as good at hoisting mega-pints of hearty ale...only Peter Maher seemed to be able to hang...and that's another stoty)...Steve Jones is one of the absolute greatest guys the sport has ever had...110% authentic!
He whipped Tex Cobb's ass in the Pelican Tavern after that race. Something about the beer tab.
Halfway through the long Falmouth Harbor U-turn that stretches from mile five to 6.5, Jones made another push that dropped the two Kenyans.
Won't see things like that again until they clean out all the yellow eyed doped up E. Africans.
Don Kardong's account of the 1985 Chicago Marathon from The Runner, January, 1985
Before the start, few would have argued with Rob de Castella's prediction about how the men's race would develop. "You'll see a big group,' said Deek, "eight to ten runners, in front for 15-20 miles. In the last three or four miles, the pack will fragment. Then we will see who's on form"
Steve Jones, though, wasted no time in destroying that scenario. Running 4:46 and 4:42 for the first two miles, Jones seemed impatient with the pace of Carl Thackery of Sheffield, England, who had been hired to lead the men through a 1:03:30 half-marathon. By two miles, Jones began moving to the lead, then passed three miles in 14:16, with only Simeon Kigen of Kenya as company. It's not uncommon to see someone open a marathon at breakneck speed, only to collapse shortly after. Top runners, used to that, are generally unperturbed.
But Steve Jones? Did the former world record holder know something that no one else did, or was he simply plunging into the kind of drastic and soon-to-be-regretted experiment that Geoff Smith had suffered last Spring at Boston? Faced with Jones' challenge, what should a 2:08 or 2:09 marathoner do?
While the rest of the men mulled that over, Jones accelerated to 4:39 for the fourth mile, slowed to 4:59 on the hilly fifth mile, then turned in miles of 4:34, 4:39, 4:37, 4:39 and 4:38 through ten, which he passed in 47:01, nearly two minutes faster than he had in 1984. No one had run five straight sub-4:40 miles in a marathon before. His split converted to a 2:03:16 marathon!
By that point though, nearly everyone in the next pace--de Castella, Djama, Curp--must have felt they knew what was up. Jones' splits were suicidal. Just stick to one's own pace, right?
"I was pretty surprised he was able to keep going," de CAstella said later. "In the clinic yesterday Steve was telling everybody how he hadn't been doing as much mileage this year, hadn't been doing his long runs, and I thought, 'Oh, good, he'll really struggle over those last few miles.' "
And how was the wild one himself reacting to his superhuman splits?
"I wasn't really taking too much notice of them," Jones would comment. "I felt comfortable. I knew it would hit me at some stage in the race, and it was just a matter of carrying on until it did."
Having cast the die, Jones held on, passing the first of the two marathon halves in 1:01:42 (in his world record, Lopes' split was 1:03:24) and thinking to himself as he said after the race, "Let's try and run another one."
"Nor had Steve Jones the luxury of late-race respite. By 14 miles, his eyes had begin to reflect, ever so slightly, that despair that marathon runners know when the body begins to balk at the pace. Jones finally began to "slow down," running just above 4:50 per mile from 14 through 20. At that mark, passed in 1:35:22, he was looking at a projected, and still scary, 2:05:01.
Finally though, the lender came to collect on the overdue debt. Jones ran his 21st mile in 5:02, the next in 5:07, then 5:06. It wasn't exactly a wall; maybe a few bricks.
"About 21 miles," Jones admitted, "I really started to feel quite tired and my legs tightened. I had to concentrate really hard to maintain form and pace."
The question now was whether the accumulation of fatigue and overall slowdown would end up devouring the time cushion that Jones had created for himself. AT 25 miles he was still under 2:07 pace, but his pace continued to slip.
Jones, meanwhile, had many things to think about, including his early pace and to what extent it deterred a record. Given his remarkable talent, what time did he have in him?
"A minute, maybe a minute and a half faster," Jones mused. "It's hard to say until you actually run it."
In other words, 2:05, 2:06. In '84, after he'd run a low 2:08 his first marathon, he said you could hardly call him a marathon runner. And now, after a low 2:07? "I'm just a runner, " he said.
A few errors in there. Like "Joes" instead of "Jones" in the first one. Not wishful thinking on my part or the error of the author. Merely that my touch-typing skills are not what they used to be.
If you forgot to flush and he walked in the can after you
wouldn't have to apologize. He'd snag your log from the can, take a bite, remark that "it's bloody good stuff" then he'd go run 20 miles. He was that tough.
After the first one there was Steve hunched over, vomiting. I looked over at Rob and said, "is he all right?" "Oh yeah, that's just Jonesy," Deek said. And after each hill Steve was there vomiting. He just runs so hard. Mark Plaatjes
I met Jones in a running store in Boulder. He was nice to me as I asked questions. Such a cool accent too. Anyway, I asked him something like "What makes you such a good runner?" and he kind of shrugged his shoulders as if to say that he didn't really know. Then, after a pause, he said "strength!" I wonder for sure whether he meant his physical strength or his mental, but regardless the guy (shorter than I expected and rough lookin) made me think for a long time about the Chicago Marathon that I watched him run. I thought about his lack of arrogance. I thought about his lack of concern for trivial things like what makes someone a good runner. I concluded that he is a rare person, indeed. I think he just did what came natural. I think he was a tough guy who duked it out the best he could and walked away not worrying about regrets. Maybe he was a bit of a tough guy, but I admire that in a person. I think others admired that toughness in Prefontaine. Others have run much faster than Pre did, but few have displayed his tenaciousness and courage to lay it on the line. Someone on another thread that Culpepper should have dropped out of the World Championship race because he was running to slow to contend for the title. I don't think Jones or Pre would agree that giving up is a good idea. I think Culpepper, like Jones or Pre, did his best...not matter what. You gotta respect a runner for gutting it out. Jones is a guy I will always believe could have been a 2:05 marathoner if he had better pacing and someone to run with during the last half of his race. Jones ran that who marathon in front. How many people have gone past the half-marathon mark in 1:0:42, let along by themselves? I will raise a pint of beer to Jones now and get up tomorrow with determination to kick some ass on the trail I plan to run.
Jones ran an 86min half marathon in Bristol today.
Without a doubt a truly 'great' runner.
Another story that sums up the great person he is was the 86(?) European Champs, in which he was a favourite for the marathon. He set off hard, left the field behind but came a serious cropper in the second half blowing up and finishing well down the field (fizzy water at the drinks station was blamed)- not a guy to dnf. Straight after he finished there was a medal ceremony for one of the track events. An abiding image of many who were there was Jones standing to attention as the ceremony took place - great dignity alongside personal disaster.
A second story concerns one of his London marathon wins over Charlie Spedding in the mid '80's. Neck for neck, the two of them entered a subway without 5-6 miles to go, Spedding emerged alone with Jones a few seconds back. Jones, suffering stomach pains had stopped for a dump. Notwithstanding this setback he got back up to Spedding and I think ran the race in 2:08 something.
He is a real hero to the running community in South Wales here - very definitely one of the best.
Yep, him and Martin Rees...
I heard that Steve used to hang himself by his nipples and have people try to yank him down by grabbing his ankles. Would hang there for four or five days straight, nourished only by his own urine. Pretty tough if you ask me.