Thursday, January 6, 2022

Relaxing Is a Skill. Here’s How to Do It

Relaxing Is a Skill. Here’s How to Do It.

New York Times   Jan. 5, 2022    Written by FARHAD MANJOO

 Sometime in 2021, I learned how to do something that I suspect will greatly improve how I deal with what already looks to be a harrowing 2022. This thing I learned sounds trivial, a practice so simple you’d think there’d be no need for special instruction — which is probably why a lot of us go through life not knowing that there is a particular technique to getting it right.

What is this dark art? I learned the proper way to relax.

I don’t mean that I discovered the benefits of taking it easy or of remaining calm in the face of adversity and letting life’s troubles slide off my back. I mean it more literally: I learned how to relax my muscles, to purposefully, systematically isolate each part of my body and loosen the meat on my bones.

And I learned that doing so regularly, once or several times a day, can be more or less instantly life changing. For me, deliberate muscle relaxation immediately reduces fatigue, stress and anxiety. It creates a kind of allover refreshed feeling that can be attained nearly anywhere and at any time. And it gets more effective the more I do it.

I have come to think of relaxation as a skill; the more I relax, the better I learn which parts of my body tend to become tense, what that tension feels like and how to unlock that tension with a quick flick of the mind.

This might sound like New Age nonsense, but the benefits of muscle relaxation have been studied for decades, and research has found that versions of the practice may mitigate a wide range of physical and mental conditions — among them generalized anxiety disorder, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, chronic pain, postpartum depression, some symptoms of schizophrenia, some side effects of cancer treatment, stress among students and anger and aggression in adolescents.

But enough about what relaxation does. Here’s how to do it. One of the most widely used methods is known as progressive muscle relaxation, which was developed early last century by Edmund Jacobson, a medical doctor who pioneered research into the connection between physical tension and mental well-being.

Jacobson’s insight was that a moderately tense muscle is indistinct — that is, one often does not notice, in ordinary life, that certain muscles are in a state of tension. His method for relaxation is thus a two-step process. First, learn to recognize what a particular muscle feels like when it is flexed. Then, focusing on that muscle in the flexed state, do the opposite of flexing: Relax.

When you’re starting out with muscle relaxation, it can be helpful to set aside time and space to do it. Find 10 or 15 minutes in the day when you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Look for a quiet spot where you can lie down on a bed or sit on a couch. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths.

Now begin: Start at your extremities — say, your hands. Clench them and focus your mind on what that feels like. What is the physical sensation of a clenched fist? Which muscles are activated, and what does their activation feel like?
After you have spent a few seconds focusing on the clench, you will be able to do the opposite. As you exhale (I’ve found that relaxation is best achieved on an out breath), gently unclench your fist. Let go of the tension. Feel your hand loosening, becoming heavy, falling into relaxation.

After repeating this a few times, you can move on to other parts. Your arms: Flex your biceps, feel the flex and then let go.
Your shoulders:
Shrug, then unshrug.
Your mouth:
Smile wide and feel the pull of your smile muscles, then let your smile go limp.
Go on like this through your whole body, tensing and relaxing, and by the end of it, I promise, you’ll notice something. At first, it may be just a sense of calm, but the more you do it, the deeper into relaxation you’ll fall, eventually reaching a state of such blissful ease that it can feel hard to stop.
On a weeklong beach vacation last summer, I spent an hour or more each day just relaxing — reveling in the euphoria of a body at maximum slack.

Muscle relaxation has also become my go-to way of going to bed. I used to have a lot of trouble falling asleep; now I lie down, breathe in and out in a slow rhythm and focus on letting all tension flow out of my limbs. I usually fall asleep within 20 minutes.

A few years ago, I wrote about how daily meditation had helped me cope with the chaos of digital life. I still meditate quite often, but I recognize that meditation is not for everyone. Many people find it close to impossible to quiet the mind; a lot of people told me they found the practice so hard that they gave up after one or two sessions.

Muscle relaxation is related to meditation — quieting the body is an important part of quieting the mind — but it is much easier to get into and a lot more portable. After your first few practices, you’ll begin to achieve mastery over your tension, to sense how you’re unconsciously tightening parts of your body during the course of a day.

Once you begin to recognize that feeling, muscle relaxation can become an allover, all-the-time activity. Unless you’re operating heavy machinery, being pursued by a bear or otherwise facing imminent danger, you can generally relax whenever you like.

I find myself consciously relaxing everywhere, anytime — in the checkout line at the supermarket, say, or while on hold with my insurance company. And now that I’m done singing the praises of relaxation, I suppose I’ll go off to relax right now.


Monday, May 31, 2021


On the right track

Former GCHS runner pens book to encourage athletes

By Albert J. Countryman Jr.    

Gloucester City News

   A cross country and track star at Gloucester Catholic High School years ago, Jack Heath has written a new book, “Positive Splits,” to encourage runners and highlight some great athletic achievements over the years.
   As an elite athlete for the Rams during his high school years, Jack was coached by the legendary Browning Ross. Jack’s first book was entitled, “Browning Ross: Father of American Distance Running.”
Phil Anastasia of the Philadelphia Inquirer is quoted on the back cover of Jack’s new book. “Positive Splits is a must-read for South Jersey Runners and fans of running. There are great tips from coaches and compelling stories of local athletes.”
   There are many inspirational chapters in the book—from sprinters to marathoners, from Olympians to average runners—and the theme is “the power of running to inspire and to make a positive difference in our lives,” Jack wrote.
   “I think running is a lifetime sport and offers a good blueprint for a successful life. No matter where the runner starts, they can improve,” Jack said last week in an interview with the Gloucester City News. “Through consistent work, and setting goals they can surpass limits and run times that they never thought possible. And they can have fun doing it.
   “Running is a fair sport. The watch determines your success objectively. Hard work pays off and people can see the results of their hard work. That encourages more hard work,” Jack said.
   “I was extremely fortunate to have a great mentor and coach at Gloucester Catholic in Browning Ross, the track and cross country coach. He was an Olympian, and also a modest person with a great sense of humor,” Jack said.
   He was a great role model for being an athlete and working hard, and also for coaching and being a caring father. He saw things in me before I saw them in myself as an athlete and later as a coach. He invited me to coach with him while I was still running in college (Rowan University). I wasn’t sure I could coach and I’m still coaching decades later.
   As a coach hopefully I can have a fraction of the positive influence he had on me with some runners I coach. The best way I thought I could pay him back was to keep coaching in his footsteps, and to write about him and the influence he had on so many,” Jack said.
    “I think a good coach cares about the athlete’s well-being is positive, motivates, is a teacher, listens and communicates with his or her athlete’s, knows the science and technique of the sport, and accepts the athlete’s input, and can help the athlete progress.” Jack said.
   “The athlete has to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.  Many young athletic careers end early because the boy or girl encounters a lousy coach. Research shows 12 as the average age when many athletes give up their sport—before they ever got the chance to progress to their potential.
   “A good coach is important because they help the athlete learn about the sport, improve and enjoy the sport. Like Louis Tewanima and Browning Ross, they show the athlete what is possible.
    An even smaller percentage of coaches are mentors. I think a good mentor provides guidance and sets a good example above and beyond just coaching them in the sport. Mentors have a positive influence on the athlete and their future and are also good role models,” he said.
   Tewanima was a Native American from the Hopi tribe who shocked the world during the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden by winning the gold medal in the 10,000 meters. According to Jack’s book, Tewanima ”spent the rest of his life after the Olympics inspiring young Hopi runners, herding sheep, and growing crops.”
   There is also a chapter about Erin Donohue Livecchi of Haddonfield, who qualified for the 2008 Olympics.
   Positive Splits is a fascinating book about running, and is available from and Barnes and

Saturday, May 8, 2021


Runners Gazette Interview with Freddi Carlip

 Questions by George Banker


How did you get your introduction to the sport? Was it through school or friends?

I was never athletic and when I was growing up in Philly in the 1950s, girls weren't supposed to be. I had no desire to run or play ball. I tried tennis and didn't like it. I hated gym, and had a fear of water, so I had no swimming skills. Friends made fun of how I ran during games of tag. I would much rather be home reading a book.

That changed in April 1978 when I took my first steps as a runner. I had two small children and I needed to work off the stress of everyday life. Running was becoming popular and I loved watching track and Olympic running events. I was 33 years old.

My late ex-husband, Harry, suggested I try running. He had run for a long time. I had no interest.

I decided to give it a try. I wore an old pair of nylon shorts, a Star Wars T-shirt, a  maternity bra, white socks, and Etonic tennis sneakers. My kids were at school, Michael in pre-school, Marcy in elementary school.

I didn't worry about how I looked. I went outside and began to run. We lived in Lake Mohawk, NJ. Our house was in the Alpine section which meant hills. I ran as fast as I could and then, breathless, I began to walk, then ran again, walked, and then ran. The loop was 1.5 miles. I did it maybe 3-4 times a week. I considered myself a runner and I began to feel better and better each time I ran and walked.

When we moved to Lewisburg, PA in June 1978, a group of women were running early in the morning. I joined them. It was a two-mile loop and it was fun and we talked and kibitzed as we ran.  And I got my first pair of running shoes: Brooks Villanova.

I kept a running log in a small notebook. When Jim Fixx's running log came out, I switched and loved keeping track of each run, my times, and the miles; PRs in training or in races; course descriptions, who I ran with; this a history of my years of running. I still keep a log. It's important to me, although what I note is different from when I was competitive.

A year later, one member of our running group and I entered a local 10K. The other group members begged off. The Bull Run Run 10K was a hilly course around Lewisburg. We ran and then walked; repeat...until we got to the finish line. We were last and everyone was cheering! Molly and I were flying high. We couldn't believe we finished a 10K when the longest we had ever run was two miles. A member of our group congratulated us and said, “I am so proud of you. You did it! I wish I had done it with you.” My first race. I was hooked.


Freddi bringing it home in a race.

What were the opportunities for female athletes in the sport?

Women were not allowed to run the marathon in the Olympics, or the 5000 and 10,000 meters. The reasons ranged from: their bodies couldn't take it to why would anyone want to watch?

 In many races, age groups weren't equal. The breakdown for men was usually10 years. For women,  Under 35 and Over 35, were typical. Maybe two awards for each. Some races added a Masters category for women (40 and Over), but that wasn't common. Bigger races tended to give equal awards; smaller races balked. I was told by more than one race director that when more women showed up, they would think about adding more age groups. The logic was backward which I told the race directors. A few called me a “Women's Libber.” I was proud of that. This was the late '70s and Women's Lib was a big topic as the Equal Rights Amendment was working its way through the states. Sadly, it still needs to be ratified.

Moving Comfort was the first company—and founded by women—who made running clothes for women. Finally, shorts that fit, tank tips, bras made for running (JogBra), warmup suits, leisure was this woman runner's Nirvana.


There were trailblazers like the late Browning Ross who recognized women in our sport and were censured by the AAU for that. The Road Runners Club of America worked very hard for equality in our sport and was instrumental in getting the marathon, 10K, and 5K into the Olympics.


Browning Ross

Were there any role models?

There were. Names that most runners today wouldn't recognize: Jan Merrill, Julie Brown, Miki Gorman, Grete Waitz, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Marty Cooksey, Lynn Jennings, and Lorraine Moller.

Joan Benoit Samuelson
Grete Waitz

How did the Runner’s Gazette get started?

Runner's Gazette got its start in Lansford, PA, by the late Ed Gildea. Ed was a runner who published the Valley Gazette. Hayden Gilmore assisted, covering races and writing shoe reviews. The first issue was published in September 1976. Harry and I became subscribers on the recommendation of a friend. It had a local flavor and I submitted race info about our running club's races which ran in the Calendar of Coming Events and then I would submit articles about the races.

It had a loyal following and contributors including Browning Ross, Gary Fanelli, Rich Benyo, Elliot Denman, and Nick Marshall.

In 1979, RG was for sale. Harry and I thought about buying it, but we missed our chance and RG moved to Medford, NJ with Jo and Harry Wiggins at the helm. Not a year later, RG was for sale again. This time Harry and I jumped at the chance! After all, we were runners and we loved to write. How hard could it be?

We published our first issue in February 1981. We knew nothing about publishing. These were the days before everything was computerized. We learned quickly how to operate our very own typesetting machine (Compugrahpic IV) and enlisted Marsha Scott Gori to do our layout. Marsha had been an editor and writer and had recently stepped down as editor of Lewisburg's local weekly. She truly was my mentor. The old days: Non-reproducible pens, light tables, layout sheets, waxers and rollers, half-tones, the USPS second-class mailing regulations—we had a very short learning curve. I can look back and laugh at how naive we were but what a wonderful journey.


What was the philosophy of the newspaper?

Runner's Gazette used the tagline, “Your Hometown Running Newspaper.” RG was a grass-roots running newspaper—the oldest running newspaper in the US. We included results from more small races than big ones; races in small communities where the age-group winners and overall winners could see their names in print. We had a Poets' Corner for budding running poets. Our Calendar was well known for how complete it was. This is way before the Internet took over. Race directors mailed us race flyers or we picked them up at the race. We included every race write-up sent to us. Some race directors just sent a list of winners. We'd construct an article around those results. I loved that people wanted to write articles and take pictures for RG. We considered everyone—contributors and subscribers—our RG family and kept it very personal. My kids grew up with RG, covered races, learned how to use a professional voice to take business calls, and got used to a new life, owning and publishing a newspaper.

My daughter made two buttons for me. One said “Editor” and one said “Mom.”  Depending on which button I was wearing, my kids knew whether I was busy with work or I was Mom. Most times I wore both buttons.

We considered ourselves a Mid-Atlantic running publication and also included races from all over the country.

I remember when my son, Michael, went on the RG Van Tour. He drove through PA, NY, MD to attend. Races. He set up a table, our RG banner,  gave out back issues of RG, talked about RG, got race information. And  Michael became the face of RG during a summer while he was in college. We built great relationships from that.


Freddi and Jerry Nolan

What was the running environment when you started?

Men who ran and weren't raining for the Olympics were considered a little crazy, or odd. Why run just to run, people wondered. It was worse for women. We were considered freaks, drivers made crude comments, or tried to run us off the road. That happened to my daughter, Marcy, and me on River Road in Lewisburg. A state trooper crossed the road, and deliberately almost sideswiped us. We both yelled at him. He backed up, stopped, and told us we should not be running on the road. We should only run in fields, on a track,  or on grass. We told him we were running facing traffic, on the berm, and following safety protocol. He was still not happy. He told us to be careful and drove off in a huff. I still remember his name.

I was also told I shouldn't run because my uterus could begin to fall out. I had to laugh, but it was typical.

Or when my mom and my dentist told me not to beat my then-husband in a race because women shouldn't beat their husbands at anything. I laughed and told them I hoped that in the future I would beat him. I did beat Harry when I ran with the late great Ben Hyser in the Brian's Run Two Miler.  I hugged Ben and thanked him. Harry was not amused.

My mom was so against my running that I didn't tell her I was training for a marathon. When I got home from my first marathon, I called to tell her the news. She hung up on me.

My mom must have called my Aunt Dot after my call and my aunt read her the riot act. She called my back and apologized. And my mom was more supportive of my running and also RG after that. This was not my mom's vision for me. Instead, I was becoming my own vision.


Did the paper change any views which you had about the sport?

I got to see running from the inside. I heard about the squabbles between runners at races and got phone calls with complaints about races, both big and small and the race directors, the timing, the chutes (remember them?), the results, the lack of water on the course, and more. For some reason, runners called RG instead of talking with the race directors. Runners also called to complain that the results in RG were incorrect. Again, we said to contact the race director as we printed results sent to us by the race director.

How was the paper received?

RG always had a loyal following. People loved the hometown feel, the non-glossy look, the personal touch, and seeing their name in print. We had a monthly column by journalist and runner Gil Gaul, who wrote for the Pottsville (PA) Republican before moving to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gil also won a Pulitzer Prize. His columns were wonderful—they could be irreverent, serious, funny, and he always wrote with honesty.  Ed Gildea,  RG's founder, was thrilled with how we kept the grass-roots flavor that he began.


What was your attraction to getting involved with the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA)?

I was elected president of our newly formed running club, The Buffalo Valley Striders, in 1979. We knew it was important for our club to be part of the Road Runners Club of America. That was my introduction.

A few months later, Harold Tinsley called to see if I would be interested in being the RRCA PA State Representative. I gave an enthusiastic Yes! I was involved with all PA clubs. By 1980, the number of clubs was growing. I held state meetings, usually in a location that was easy for clubs to get to. The first one was at our home in Lewisburg. VP-East, Ellen Wessel (later the title was changed to Eastern Director), was planning to attend and stay with us. She called to say that the very small plane she was on made her sick, so she was going back to DC. The meeting was very successful, and although we were disappointed that Ellen couldn't attend, we had a great time. I also went to as many club meetings as I could to talk about the RRCA.

In 1994, Henley Gabeau called to see if I would run for Eastern Director. If I said yes, I would be on the ballot and the RRCA delegates would vote at the national convention. I was elected and I was elated. This was my first board position.


How did you rise through the ranks to become the President?

I was Eastern Director for four years, elected to the position twice. I worked with President Carl Sniffen and then Don Kardong when he was elected. It was with Don, that I ran for vice-president. With Don as president, we celebrated the 40-year anniversary of the RRCA. I was asked by Don to be in charge of publishing a book about the RRCA. We called it Boom: Forty Years for Running and Writing with the RRCA. We liked the “boom” signifying the start of a race and also the RRCA. “Boom” was a wonderful project. I put out a call for submissions within the RRCA, asked my friend, an editor at Random House, to be editor and proofreader, and found a local printer.  We wanted the book to be ready for our anniversary year: 1998. And I am proud to say that it was. Boom was well received.

“Boom” was dedicated to the RRCA's founder, Browning Ross. The dedication was written by Joe Henderson and the foreword was written by Kathrine Switzer.

Katherine Switzer

We also created a new award, The Browning Ross Spirit of the RRCA Award which is given annually to an unsung hero within the RRCA.

Dedication of the Browning Ross Monument

I also created Miss Road Manners during Don's tenure.

In 2000, when Don's two terms were up, I decided to run for president. It was a very exciting time. The election happened at our convention in Peachtree City, GA. My daughter and son-in-law flew in to celebrate with me. Don and I became good friends while he was president. I called him for advice and counsel many times.

What were some of the issues during your tenure?

One was replacing Henley Gabeau as executive director. She stepped down after doing so much for the RRCA and for our sport. It would be difficult to replace her. She was a legend in the RRCA and beyond.

We put together a search committee and had excellent candidates. We chose one who we thought would bring business and running expertise to the RRCA. It did not work out and his methods and ideas caused a rift within the RRCA. A group of clubs left and began a new running group. We did eventually reunite, ask the executive director to leave, and begin the work of healing.

It was a very stressful and intense time personally. In addition to the RRCA's difficulties, I was going through personal difficulties. By the time my second term ended,  the RRCA was once again where it needed to be and on the right path for the future. The organization is strong today, and so am I.


How long were you the RRCA  president?

I was president from May 2000-May 2004. I was elected to two consecutive terms, which according to the RRCA bylaws was the most for each board position.

What was the concept behind “Miss Road Manners?”

In 1998, we were in the midst of the second running boom. That included the Penguin aka John Bingham's runners and Team in Training. Charity runs were taking off. The motto was: it's not how fast you run, it's being out there and finishing, no matter how long it takes.

The board of the RRCA was getting a lot of complaints of new runners in races not knowing the etiquette of racing, and also training. Our president, Olympian Don Kardong, wanted to address this

Don Kardong

issue and we discussed it at board meetings. I was RRCA Veep at this point. I offered to write some guidelines for runners. I would be patterned after Miss Manners, Judith Martin, and I would be Miss Road Manners, even wearing white gloves when I spoke at running club meetings and pre-race events. Miss Road Manners also wrote a column in the RRCA publication, Footnotes. She answered questions about proper race and road etiquette. She wrote guidelines that were posted on the RRCA website. We had a pamphlet designed and printed with the guidelines to hand out at events.

My alter ego, Miss Road Manners, became very popular. She traveled to clubs around the country, white gloves in hand, to talk about running manners. She used humor and had fun with everyone attending.

At one RRCA convention, we had running writer Jim Hage debate The Penguin—John Bingham—who promoted running slow and just finishing. Miss RM was the moderator. There were no fisticuffs, the two guys were gentlemen. The attendees loved it.

Miss Road Manners Proclamation

Miss RM was interviewed for radio and TV and was even the subject of a nasty letter sent to the New York Times after an article appeared about Miss RM.  For me, it was fun having an alter ego and spreading the “road manners gospel.” I am proud of having brought Miss RM to life and helping new runners learn the rules of the road, track, trail, and race.

If you had a chance to offer changes in the sport, what might be three things?

1. Ditch headphones. When I see runners and walkers wearing headphones, I get upset. They can't hear traffic, other people, any potential hazards. They are almost oblivious to their surroundings. It's a dangerous situation. And I'll add to this, practice proper road manners: run facing traffic, and if there is oncoming traffic, get into a single file if you're in a group.

2. If you are a slower runner, do not start in the front of the pack. Let faster runners have a chance to have a smooth start without dodging slower people.

3. Races have turned into events. It's about swag, a banquet at the end of the event (they aren't races anymore), music on the course, and more. I enjoy smaller races because they keep the spirit of racing as the top priority.

 4. I'm adding an extra one: New runners should—actually must—learn the history of our sport. I can't even remember the number of times I'd mention Bill Rodgers, or Steve Prefontaine, or Grete Waitz, Kathrine Switzer, Joan Benoit, Frank Shorter, Nina Kucsik, Ted Corbitt, Browning Ross, and get blank stares. It's important to know the pioneers, our history, and how we got to the present.


Runners Gazette poster signed by the great Bill Rodgers

What personal achievements did you have with your running and high points?

I've won my share of age-group awards at big and small races. These races stand out:

Winning First Journalist at the Appleton-Ting 10K in Jamaica in 1989. I won a huge trophy and a Jamaican seven-day vacation.

Freddi in Isreal
I was second in my age group at the Peace Race 10K in Israel which runs along the Dead Sea heading to Masada. I had no idea I won an award as the results board was written in Hebrew, and my Hebrew is rusty (an understatement). A runner saw me looking at the board and asked my name. I told him and he said, “You won an award. Second in your age group.” The award meant so much to me, as a Jewish woman. I brought home a medal and a gift bag of Ahava skin-care products. Unforgettable.

The whole experience of being in Israel and meeting my cousin Shimon for the first time had a profound effect on me.

I won the first woman overall at the Eckley Miner's Village, PA 10K. I had no idea I was the first woman until I finished.

Mostly, though, it was the people I've met and the experiences I've had. I've traveled throughout the US, and run races in many states and other countries. In Kenya, I helped give out water at the Safaricom Half-Marathon/Marathon ran part of the course, and realized not every Kenyan is in elite shape. They were running in the race for the sheer joy of it. Experiencing Kenya, camping under the stars, running at our camp with wildlife all around,  talking with Masai, being with journalists from all over the world, was a never-to-be-forgotten experience.

Freddi with the 

I was team manager for the US Women's Ekiden team in 2002. The event was held in Seoul Korea. I had the opportunity to run on the Olympic track, wear our team uniform and proudly represent the USA. It was so fun to be with my team. We had some unique adventures, not on the prepared itinerary. Our team competed against teams from all over the world. I became friends with the Russian and Ukrainian coaches. They presented me with a bottle of Russian vodka at the closing banquet to show their appreciation. The vodka was delicious. I still have the box (the writing is all in Russian) as a keepsake.

My first race, the Bull Run Run 10K. I ran with my friend, Molly. We had never run that distance before; two miles was our limit. And yet we finished and the course is hilly. We walked, talked, and ran...and finished last. A wonderful memory. We were so proud.

My first marathon—Harrisburg, PA, 1983. it was remarkable. My late ex-husband ran with me and helped me train.  His method worked. So did the “flat” Coke at about 20 miles. This was what we used way back for energy in long races. When I crossed the finish line, I jumped in the air! And I was third in my age group.

Running races and also training with my daughter, Marcy. A mom-daughter bond that became stronger on each run and in each race. I was so proud of her when she finished a good bit ahead of me in a race in Baltimore. Marcy apologized. I laughed and told her that she made me proud and no apology was necessary. It was Mother's Day 1997 and we spent the weekend in Baltimore.

“Running with my Dream Team,” autumn 1997, NYC. I was asked by my friend and also an inspiration, Kathrine Switzer, to attend the kick-off press conference for the Avon Global Women's Running Circuit.

After the press conference, Kathrine and I went back to her apartment. She had invited me to stay with her and Roger Robinson, her husband. Kathrine and I changed into running clothes and headed to Central Park for an Avon photo shoot. There they were, my dream team: Marty Cooksey...Julie Brown...Nancy Conz...Grete Waitz...Joan Benoit Samuelson...Lorraine Moller...Lynn Jennings...with Cheryl Collins, Yuko Arimori, Valentina Yergorova, and Joyce Smith.

Freddi and Grete Waitz

Kathrine asked me to run with these running heroes and I jumped at the chance. I led the group because I'm short. I ran next to Grete and Joan. We talked. We laughed. We joked. And it was captured on videotape.

The photographer was next and again I was part of the group. The photographer was on roller skates, skating backwards as we ran toward him. This time I was again in front, with Marty Cooksey next to me.

I have framed photos of my Dream Team run. I'll never forget it and am eternally grateful to Kathrine for asking me to be part of this memory-making day.


What changes have you seen in the sport over the years?

Our sport has seen the phenomenal growth of women taking to the roads and races. And big races have turned into big events to lure runners. The cost, though, can be prohibitive for many people. Those with disposable income combine vacations with big races. Even smaller races can be expensive. Putting on a race, no matter the size takes a lot of time and money, and volunteers. They really are big productions, like staging a play.

Freddi outside the Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea

Most races are now charity events, or that's a big component. Many runners gain entry by fundraising for the charity.

Runners of a certain age remember no-frills races, where you got water and your time and you just wanted to finish in your goal time. And also enjoy the camaraderie afterward, maybe go out for a beer and pizza with friends to rehash the race. These are some of my best race memories.


If it were not the Runner’s Gazette, what would have been the road you would have followed?

I graduated from Temple University in Philly with a degree in Elementary Education. I taught until I had my first child, Marcy, in 1970. I began to substitute teach when Marcy and Michael were in school. I was also publishing RG every month. In my heart, though, I always wanted to write. My parents urged me to become a teacher. That was typical when I was in college. It was something I could fall back on, my parents told me.

I wanted to go into journalism, public relations, or advertising. And perhaps that's what I would have done if my life led to a different path. I am involved in journalism with RG and also my social column and even Miss Road Manners. I do a lot of personal writing, too. The words pour out from my heart. I try and write a weekly Jewish Shabbat (Sabbath) post for my Facebook page. Friends have told me how they are inspired and helped by my words. There is no better reward than knowing you have touched people's hearts.

Running has been an inspiration to me with my writing too. I have birthed more than a few poems while running.


What did you give up along the way to be where you are now?

Time with friends and family. I was focused on my running, on the RRCA, and on RG. I traveled a lot when I was on the RRCA board, especially as president and also as Miss Road Manners, and with RG.

As I've gotten older, I've realized, time with family and friends cannot be recovered. No race, no organization should keep you from the important people in your life.


Are there any things you would like to redo?

There are always things I wish I had done differently, in many ways, so yes. Saying that I try not to live in the past and focus on regrets. The present is all we have and we can't change the past. We can, though, learn from it. I hope that I have learned from the past and continue to learn and grow as a person in every way.


What impact by the COV-19 pandemic have you seen?

Races had to immediately change. They had almost no warning as things shut down at the beginning of the Pandemic. Thankfully, we could still run. Big races such as Boston, Cherry Blossom, Marine Corps, Philly Marathon and Broad Street had to change the way they conducted races. Some races—big and small—were postponed. We had no idea how long we would be living with the Pandemic. As the months went by, virtual races became popular. People could be entered in a race, run the distance in their own environment, and have their time recorded. It was a welcome alternative.

The Olympics were postponed and all of the athletes who had hoped to compete had to deal with the disappointment and their uncertain future.

There was a financial impact too not only for races and the charities many races worked with, but also for the other businesses and groups that were part of the racing/running scene.


Freddi with US Olympic Team at the 2002 Seoul Olympics

What do you want the reader to know about Freddi Carlip?

Running helped me blossom into the person I was meant to become. It has taken me on a journey that I couldn't have imagined as a young Jewish girl growing up in Northeast Philly. I am now 76, which sometimes amazes me. I am blessed to still be running, and I mix it with walking. I have evolved from being very competitive to just getting out every other day and enjoying the outdoors, the sights and sounds of nature.

I am more than running or Runner's Gazette. I write poetry. I enjoy photographing nature. I am an avid birder and have created a wildlife sanctuary at my home. I am a  Mummer, having marched with the Fralinger String Band and the Quaker City String Band in parades and have my own Mummers suit.. If you're from Philly, you understand and I am a Philly Girl always, even living in Central PA. Music. Books. Writing. Running and Walking...these bring me joy. I am a mom and a Bubbie (the Jewish word for grandmother) and love my family more than I can express. I am a free spirit and, dress how I want, have Eagles green in my hair, and consider Auntie Mame one of my heroes. See the movie, starring Rosalind Russell, if you don't know who she is.

Davy Jones and Freddi

I was friends with the late Davy Jones (The Monkees) until he passed away and was in charge of the guest book at his memorial service. Davy moved to Central PA years ago. He entered some local races until a knee injury forced him to stop running.

I am the Hedda Hopper (look her up too) and write the social column—On the Scene—for our regional daily newspaper, The Daily Item. Once the pandemic is behind us, I look forward to covering social events again.

I coached Forensics (speech and debate) for Lewisburg High School and loved working with the team and also judging at tournaments.

And, something that Don Kardong loved to tell people: I danced on Bandstand for about two years.


What words can you share with younger runners?

Remember to enjoy running. If you see running as a chore, a “have-to,” you will hold yourself back. Unless you enjoy running, your motivation will suffer. Have goals, but don't let them rob you of enjoying races. If you don't achieve that PR or a  rival beats you in a race or meet, do not let it ruin the experience. It does not have anything to do with who you are. Sulking or ruminating takes the joy out of the experience. I can offer that advice because I had to learn it the hard way.


What has greater importance-- being a faster runner or finding what is comfortable for the person?

When I began running, I wanted to get faster and I worked hard to make that happen. Sadly, I became consumed with training harder, getting a PR at every race, or winning an award. I didn't enjoy running as much as I could have and when I was disappointed, I sulked at home and my kids had to deal with “Mom being unhappy about a race.”

It took many years to let myself relax and enjoy the experience of training and of running the best I could in races. The most important thing is to enjoy running and to have fun. We all slow down as we get older. And we have to accept that. We are moving to a new stage on our running journey. Take in the scenery, enjoy being able to still run or run/walk, and be grateful.


What are the words that Freddi Carlip wants to leave on the table?

There are two quotes I try to incorporate into my life. I can't remember where I read the first one. The second is from the movie “Auntie Mame”:

Take risks. You're better off being scared than bored.

Live! Life is a banquet and too many poor fools are starving to death.

I'll add these words: Be kind to yourself and others. Be grateful. Help others. Enjoy and respect Nature. She is a gift. Listen without interruption when someone needs to talk. Do not look the other way when you see injustice; speak up. Do not worry about what others think. Be who you really want to be, not what others expect. Show love. Say I Love You to those you care about.

Live in the moment as much as you can. Life is short and it can change in the blink of an eye. Live every day with grace.

Enjoy each run. To be able to get out and run is a gift, and it's a gift that is more meaningful as we get older.

Peace. Love. Blessings.

Link to Runners Gazette:


Thursday, October 29, 2020


Remembering Browning Ross, 'Father of American Distance Running'

Posted: September 2, 2017 - 7:43 PM

Written by Phil Anastasia @PhilAnastasia |



 Browning Ross landed in lots of places in the long course of his running and coaching career — from England and Finland to compete in Olympic Games, to Sao Paolo, Brazil, for a torch-lit New Year's Eve race, to Ethiopia, where he had to watch his step in front of Haile Selassie's pet lion.

But one of the most unlikely was the 300 block of Ridgeway Street in the row-homed heart of Gloucester City.

"Serendipitous," Jack Heath said, still shaking his head in wonder that such a world-class figure would deem to coach a high school track team without a track and a high school cross-country team without uniforms.

Oh, and the Gloucester Catholic Rams of the early 1970s also didn't have a bus for transportation, meaning runners without their own wheels had to pile into Ross' well-traveled Buick Skylark for rides to meets and practices.

Plus, the cross-country team's course was soon paved over to make way for the Deptford Mall.

"What luck," Heath said. "How could a person like that end up coaching at a place like Gloucester Catholic?"

The late, great Ross was a Woodbury native, Villanova University star, two-time Olympian, Pan Am Games champion, tireless competitor, ground-breaking publisher, and indefatigable meet director whose life-long contributions to the sports of track and cross-country nearly defy measurement.

Heath, the cross-country coach at his alma mater of Gloucester Catholic, takes his best shot as author of Browning Ross: The Father of American Distance Running, a meticulously researched and richly sourced 336-page ode to his coach, friend, and inspiration.

The book is available through Amazon and and should be in stores later this month, Heath said.

"I always used to tell Browning, 'You should write a book about your experiences,'" Heath said. "But he was too humble and too busy."

Heath fretted that too many of today's runners and coaches were unaware that such an important figure in the history of distance running spent his entire life in South Jersey, save for his service in the Navy in World War II and his countless days on the road in search of another race.

"I felt his legacy was fading," Heath said. "I felt like not enough people were really aware of his impact on running, especially around here. I thought, 'I want to get his story out there.'"

Heath interviewed more than 50 people during a "labor of love" that took five years to complete. He had lots of help from Ross' family, especially his daughters Bonnie and Barbara, who supplied "boxes and boxes" of scrapbooks filled with reports of their father's feats.

"For a long time, I kind of had it hanging over my head, 'When are you going to be done?'" Heath said. "But it was weird. In a way, I was able to get close to him again. I knew a lot, but it wasn't until I was able to step back and see the big picture that I realized how remarkable he really was.

"When he was alive I would find out about how years ago he won some two-mile indoor race in New York and the next day won a 10-mile in Canada, and I'd ask him how he could do that and he would deflect, 'Oh, the only thing I remember about that was that I had to hitchhike in Buffalo and it was really cold.'"

Ross grew up in Woodbury, starred at Woodbury High School and Villanova, and made the 1948 and 1952 U.S. Olympic teams as a 3,000-meter steeplechaser. He won the 1,500 meters at the 1951 Pan Am Games, finished first in the Berwick (Pa.) "Marathon" — a grueling, nine-mile race that annually drew some of the nation's top runners — an astounding 10 times and captured enough trophies and plaques over a lengthy career to fill three attics to the rafters.

Heath agrees with "Barefoot" Charlie Robbins, an 11-time AAU national champion, who called Ross the "most versatile runner of all time."

Ross' contributions to the sport stretched well beyond his own achievements in competition. In a real way, Ross laid the groundwork for the running boom that began in the 1970s and continues to this day.

He published the first nationally distributed magazine on distance running, the Long Distance Log, starting in the mid-1950s. He used to write articles and reprint race results on the back of test papers and use the mimeograph machine during his time as a teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden.

In the late 1950s, Ross was one of the founding fathers of the Road Runners Club of America. He also coached the United States cross-country team in the late 1960s.

But he probably affected the most people as a meet director and coach. Ross was a tireless promoter of the sport, staging "all-comers" events and organizing countless track and field meets, from Summer Sizzlers in July to Snowball Series gatherings in January.

He would set up a table and register competitors. He would lay out the course and set up the field events. He would time results. He would supply and present awards. He would meet and greet and treat everyone the same, from top-level athletes to below-average runners.

"He did everything at these meets, for years and years," said Heath, a 1977 Gloucester Catholic graduate who ran competitively at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University. "I don't think there's been an all-comers meet since he stopped holding them. And he did so many of them."

Ross agreed to become Gloucester Catholic's track and cross-country coach in 1972. He stayed associated with the sports at the school until his death in 1998 at the age of 74.

To Heath, it was Ross' relationship with Gloucester Catholic, a school with no facilities and little in the way of running tradition, that underscored the essence of the man — his humility, his generosity, his sense of service, his willingness to help anyone learn to appreciate the wonders of his sport.

"He was just such a nice person," Heath said. "He was this world-class athlete and he did it all the right way.

"He treated people so well. He had a great sense of humor. He helped so many people. I just think people should remember him."

Phil Anastasia @PhilAnastasia |

Browning Ross book available at: