The Ghost Runner - John Tarrant



  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    I quite liked Murali's book but you would not look for tips about running In in there. It was more about himself and his take on life.

    I didn't get all thruway through ghost runner. I get the bit about snooty Blazers in charge of sport but I just lost interest after a while.

    Born to run isn't to bad...for a while. Then it disappears up its own arse.

    I'm waiting for feet in the clouds to arrive in the mail.
  • I think the very big difference here is that the John Tarrant story is one of supreme accomplishment in the face of adversity. Ghost Runner is a very real, if desperately sad, tale of an extremely talented runner who never received the accolades his performances so richly deserved. This as opposed to the 'ghost written' autobiographies that are often shallow by comparison and fail to convey the true soul of an athlete in the way that Bill Jones does with his retelling of events. Neither is it a contrived story written as a profit making exercise which books of the genre Born to Run tend to raise suspicion of (maybe a little unfair as they do give pleasure to many).

    I wish you every success in your campaign Nicky and how wonderful it would be to see a statue, maybe along the riverside in Bishops Meadow, in order that John finally receives the recognition that befits his achievements. Will look out for news and offer support should you require. From a fellow Herefordian (well for the last 25 years at least!).

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    I found equally shocking attitudes cited in Feet in the clouds. It's as if the AAA had an agenda against entire communities.

    Quite telling that they would class as professional (and of course ban) kids whose only route into running might be a local show - where they might run with a banned person who once won 10 quid in a fell race...

    ...and yet see no issue with 'amateur' athletes earn life changing money for winning a marathon or Olympic gold on the track.
  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    It was and is a class thing. Obviously if you are miles ahead of the posh boys you will get noticed but if you are neck in neck with them you will not even get a look in.
  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    even worse - there were banned 'professionals' who were permitted to race in AAA events... as long as they waited 5 mins or so for the 'proper' athletes to get going.They could then win by 30mins but still see the 'amateur' guy written up as winner and no mention of their vastly superior finishing time.

    Against this I can see that plenty of races with purses involved betting and were clearly  bent. I don't think this besmirches any of the big figures of that mountain culture but there is a point about smaller races. Still, using that to wage war on local kids and fell racing was looks very misguided indeed.

    This was going on in the 80s too, way later than John Tarrant. I don't think its all class related though- there is a fair degree of hubris and stupidity involved. 

  • Gideon Levy wrote (see)
    It was and is a class thing. Obviously if you are miles ahead of the posh boys you will get noticed but if you are neck in neck with them you will not even get a look in.

    Ah, the class warrior strikes again! Might have been true 50 years ago, but no one gives a toss now.

    On the original subject, I'm a shocker for reading running books. Sounds like I'll have to add another to the list.

  • <blockquote class="Quote">
    <div class="QuoteAuthor"><a href="/profile/Nikki%20Tyler">Nikki Tyler</a> said:</div>
    <div class="QuoteText">I am campaigning for a statue of John Tarrant this world record holder in his home town of Hereford.I have just helped with the process of a documentary about John Tarrant The Ghost Runner and can tell you there is a film in process.John Tarrants inseperable brother Vic Tarrant a running coach of 40 years and top class runner himself was my running coach for 12 years. Vic dedicated his life and soul to helping his brother.John Tarrants wife Edith was as devoted to John as Vic was,always placing clean running kit out daily,polishing Johns Trophies....Bill Jones did a fantastic job of writing the Book "The Man They Could Never Stop Running" so real and true to the heart,every fact is 100% accurate.Johns brother Vic Tarrant was the kindest soul I've ever known,I owe him so much for his time dedicated to coaching me athletics every day for 12 years,such a patient, articulate man who always put others first and also deserves recognition.A very sad story start to end,determination and grit with no rewards just for the love of running.Johns family may of had to take a back seat but I would imagine that would be the same for many professionals who have to give a 100% to their chosen sport/job the same as if they were in the military but that did not mean he never loved his son Roger,wife Edith and devoted brother Victor Tarrant.</div>
    Any news on the film? Would love to see this. What about the statue?
  • The Ghost Runner Sculpture has now been completed... It was designed by teenagers from a children's home which is most ironic to The Tarrant brothers... Contributions came from local running clubs in Hereford whom all contributed.The sculptor is a 7ft figure of a Runner which weighs about 20 stone. The Runner is running through finishing tape which has attached John Tarrants 40 mile and 100 mile world record times attached. So proud to be founder of this 7 year campaign which is now complete,ive been lucky enough to tell my coach Vic Tarrant the news and show him the videos and pictures, Vic has been in a home now for 5 years,after a stroke suffering with dementia.Ghost Runner has now some recognition he rightly deserved. The Sculpture will be placed by Hereford Athletics Track where Vic Tarrant coached voluntarily for nearly 40 years and where Vic and John trained together around the Hereford race course. 
  • Just caught up with this thread, something it seems that I return to every few years.

    I took a look at a photograph of the commemorative statue which salutes John's life. It is wonderful that those campaigning for such achieved a succesful outcome. Very well done! I don't like the statue, but my opinion on such is beside the point.

    Comment has been made that the roots of public interest in John largely lie within his story, as opposed to his running ability. Whilst it is true that in non-ultra races he did not fare so well, with say the likes of my former club mate (Arthur Keily, Derby & County A./C.) consistently beating him the fact remains that in his day he was a world class successful ULTRA RUNNER. At those ultra distances he more than held his own. Indeed he was a world record holder.

    And if one carefully examines what I consider to be his greatest running achievement (although many will disagree) namely running a world class 100 miles race at Walton on Saturday 23rd October 1971 (second place to Ron Bentley - John achieving 12hrs. 51 mins. 38 secs.) almost certainly by then with stomach cancer I personally know of no greater athletic achievement. John went through hell during that race, and indeed was walking at 60 miles with knotted thigh muscles. (Road Runners' Club Newsetter number 75, August 1971).

    A far better insight into John's life is achieved by reading the original print of the 'Ghost Runner.' I passed my own copy onto one of John's fans. She was so grateful that she sent me a copy of the new book. As has been stated within this thread even with the best will in the world it is impossible for someone who had never met John to do him justice.

    As great a runner as John was he had no airs and graces and had he been here would likely be the first to admit that the knub of his story lay in the way which he initially had been unfairly treated.

    In that respect sport has massively evolved over the years, and many like me are of the opinion that in recent years it has become too liberal but I won't digress and go there.

    I will however make a small aside by commenting that it was Olympic gold medallist barrister Harold Abrahams C.B.E. (100 metres 1924) who managed on a technicality to get John's amateur status restored. I mention this because in Harold's day all competitors' coaches were barred from being inside the Olympic stadium! (Movie; 'Chariots of Fire')

    Having just watched the Doha World Athletics Championships time and time again I observed throwers and jumpers between attempts trotting over to their coaches for advice.

    So, to fully appreciate John and his story even knowing him was not enough in order to fully understand. One had to in part at least have lived through the evolving periods of 'sham amateurism.'

    Those who witnessed it will realise that things we take for granted today (eg. women having the right to vote, women having the right to race over distances longer than 800 metres) it was once shockingly different and John played a significant part in aiding athletics to evolve for the better.

    On a relatively trivial minor personal point: I only got to race against John in the Portmouth 50 mile track race on 3rd April 1971 by lying that I was over 21 years old! At that relatively recent time males under 21s were strictly limited to racing a maximum of ten miles.

    The years so very quickly fly by and we must all make the very best of our short life spans. In that respect again John stands proud.
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