“Dead Man’s Boots” Lyrics Sung by Sting


You see these work boots in my hands, they’ll probably fit ye now my son,

Take them, they’re a gift from me, why don’t you try them on?

It would do your old man good to see you walking in these boots one day,

And take your place among the men who work upon the slipway.


These dead man’s boots, though they’re old and curled,

When a feller needs a job and a place in the world,

And it’s time for a man to put down roots,

And walk to the river in his old man’s boots.


He said, “I’m nearly done and asking this, that ye do one final thing for me!

You’re barely but a sapling, and you think that you’re a tree.

If ye need a seed to prosper, ye must first put down some roots.

Just one foot then the other in these dead man’s boots.”


These dead man’s boots know their way down the hill,

They could walk there themselves, and they probably will.

There’s a place for ye there to sink your roots,

And take a walk down the river in these dead man’s boots.


I said, “Why in the Hell would I do that? And why would I agree?”

When his hand was all that I’d received, as far as I remember.

It’s not as if he’d spoiled me with his kindness up to then ye see.

I’d a plan of me own and I’d quit this place when I came of age September.


These dead man’s boots know their way down the hill,

They can walk there themselves, and they probably will.

I’d plenty of choices, and plenty other routes,

And he’d never see me walking in these dead man’s boots.


What was it made him think I’d be happy ending up like him?

When he’d hardly got two halfpennies left, or a broken pot to piss in.

He wanted this same thing for me, was that his final wish?

He said, “What the hell are ye gonna do?”

I said, “Anything but this!”


These dead man’s boots know their way down the hill,

They can walk there themselves and they most likely will.

But they won’t walk with me ‘cos I’m off the other way,

I’ve had it up to here, I’m gonna have my say.

When all ye’ve got left is that cross on the wall?

I want nothing from you, I want nothing at all.

Not a pension, nor a pittance, when your whole life is through,

Get this through your head, I’m nothing like you,

I’m done with all the arguments, there’ll be no more dispute,

And ye’ll die before ye see me in your dead man’s boots.



Photo Source: http://www.vicent-van-gogh-gallery.org




Remembering the Boston Marathon – One Year Later


The headlines retell the story:


“Make your Dream of Qualifying for the Boston Marathon a Reality.” 



“Boston Marathon Map (2013)”

 https://www.google.ca/search          q=running+the+boston+marathon+course+2013+map&espv=2&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=L601U8PxIOvE2QXAlIDIAQ&ved=0CGQQsAQ&biw=585&bih=595


 “TERROR AT THE MARATHON.” ( Globe coverage of the April 15, 2013 bombings at the Boston Marathon and the events that followed.)



“War Zone at Mile 26: ‘So Many People Without Legs’” (by Tim Rohan)



“Victims of the Marathon bombings.”  (list of names, ages and types of injuries)



“Courage in the Face of Chaos: EMT Response to the Boston Marathon Bombings.” (by  Chris Nelson)



“At the End, the Telltale Runners’ Bags.”  (by Mary Pilon)



“Thousand-mile relay to bring donations to Boston Marathon victims.” (by Tim Ghianni)



“Boston Marathon Winner Will Donate His Medal.” (by Michael R. Gordon)



Photo Source:   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/sports/at-the-end-the-telltale-runners-bags.html?_r=0


A 75.4 Block Marathon in Brooklyn


Andy Newman and Barnaby, his basset hound with a trace of beagle, set out on a marathon walk around his block in Brooklyn. He was never more than 416 feet from home “a feat that has never been attempted in the history of extreme sport.”  Barnaby made it through the first 22 laps. Newman devised this adventure during a routine outing to accommodate Barnaby’s ‘call of nature’. He timed it for the day after New York’s 2009 marathon of 40,000 people running, walking or wheeling their way through five boroughs.

Newman’s marathon was a frame by frame contemplation of the static and active aspects of his neighborhood.  What he discovered that marathon day were the stuff of small “L” life:

  • Remembering neighbor’s names, reflecting on their homes, on long surviving businesses alongside new ones, on a rocking Pentecostal church, on and on as he went.
  • The gentle tap of construction hammers on a new building louder as he approached, dimmer after passing by
  • A young girl walking her dog while reading a book
  • People who simply stare out from their homes
  • An ice cream lady 100 feet from his house
  • A box of books open to takers, gradually diminishing
  • A suspicious man, a woman nursing a beer, a hipster in headphones
  • The number of steps from his house to the intersections
  • That a newly opened spa could do a pedicure on lap 50 – “digging 18 miles of road from under his toenails.”

 For the last lap, Newman roused Barnaby from a deep sleep to join him.  Halfway around the ultimate block, Newman met a man walking his dachshunds and he announced completion of the 75 block effort.  The man’s response: “And he still won’t go?”

Adapted from:   http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/nyregion/01marathon.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The (Almost) Secret 100-Mile Marathon


Of the 800 ultra-runners who have attempted the Barkley Marathon, only 12 have finished.  That’s the same number of people as have walked on the moon. There is no prize for this “test of all limits” just the feat of finishing.  The first person to do so in 1995 had a time of 59 hours and 28 minutes.

The Barkley Marathon is known as the world’s toughest and most secretive trail race. (Nevertheless, the NYT does report that it takes place in the Cumberland Mountains of eastern Tennessee.)

“All the other big races are set up for you to succeed. The Barkley is set up for you to fail,” said Gary Cantrell, the race’s director and creator.

This race is quirky.  The entry fee is $1.60. Entrants are selected and must answer bizarre questions such as “What is the most important vegetable group?” Cantrell collects license plates from first-timers.  All participants walk for the first part of the race. They only begin to run after rounding a bend where Cantrell can no longer see them.  He hides books (with dark, oppressive titles) at various points along the race course; the runners must rip out the page that matches their race number. 

Other marathons pale in its wake.



A London Marathoner’s Stellar Effort





 Thirty-six thousand runners completed the 26.2 mile marathon course in London in 2012. So did Claire Lomas. 

The paralyzed 32-year-old conquered the course of uneven sidewalks using a bionic suit to control her legs. Her effort took around 40 hours, averaging between a mile and 2.5 miles spread over 17 days. Claire is a former chiropractor and competitive cross-country horse rider.  She broke her spine after being thrown from her horse five years earlier.

Claire’s is an overcomer. From strenuous athleticism to immobility; from a wheelchair to a pioneering bionic suit called ReWalk which gives her mobility through motion sensors, battery operated motors and an onboard computer system. She can stand, walk and climb stairs. When her daughter was learning to walk, Claire joined her – one for the first time, the other for the second time around.

She completed the race with her husband in tow.  Tourists, supporters and family clapped her along to a marathon success.



See also: http://www.amazon.ca/Finding-My-Feet-Claire-Lomas/dp/0992799015

Kenyan Marathon Training in Kansas


Can a marathon runner from Kansas City train like a Kenyan?

         Here are some tips for that cultural transition:

 Workout Recovery 

  • Do extra slow warm ups
  • Do extra slow cool downs
  • Do extra slow recovery runs

 Diet and Rest

  • Eat local fresh food
  • Sleep 10 hours per night
  • Nap 1-2 hours per day
  • Spend lots of time off-feet

 Live Simply with No Distraction

  • No TV, internet, cell phones or technology
  • Read or go for walks
  • De-clutter your mind

Train in Tough Conditions

  • Run on soft ground for strength, flexibility and efficiency
  • Overdress in extra layers of under clothes, also wear baggy clothes and heavier shoes

Mental Outlook

  • Believe you can win and a break world record
  • Don’t limit yourself; dream big
  • Don’t complain about life or a workout


  • Listen to your body, back off if you are tired or something hurts
  • Otherwise work hard, increase intensity or duration to point of exhaustion
  • Practice block training: build up for 3-4 months, then completely rest for 2-6 weeks before starting next block
  • Train in groups – ‘iron sharpens iron’
  • Do lots of lower leg drills and stretching with little to no upper body, do some basic core work
  • Add uphill running drill with resistance band 1-2 times a week. 
  • Take Sunday off for studying the Bible, going to church and completely rest


  • Run up hills and stride back down
  • Do tempo runs: conservative start, pick up pace to finish at fast pace
  • Do ‘Fartlek runs’ (Swedish for ‘speed play’) http://runners-resource.com/training/fartlek/
  • Do interval workouts, adding repeats
  • Do periodic long runs at a progressive marathon pace
  • Do two runs per day with a recovery run

Kenyan’s Stance on Shoes

  • They go barefoot by necessity, not by choice. 
  • Those in Kenya will wear ANY pair of shoes without complaining, preferring shoes to going barefoot.
  • Those who have run outside Kenya prefer a simple, lightweight trainer given their well-developed feet.

For more details, read:  http://www.runnersedgekc.com/pdf/how_to_train_like_the_kenyans.pdf

Photo source:

“Shoe Leather Evangelism” – The Significance of Pope Francis’ Style



Pope Francis walks a new type of symbolic talk: exhorting his fellow bishops to embrace “poverty, simplicity and austerity of life.” He practices what he preaches.

He exchanged the official papal attire: red cape, red shoes and golden cross, for a white cape, sensible black shoes and a metal cross.  He takes the bus instead of the papal limo.  He washes the feet not of bishops, but of women juvenile delinquents.

His first official visit was not to a Roman cathedral, but a parish outside the city, because “we understand reality not from the center, but from the outskirts.”

Adapted from:   http://business.inquirer.net/160403/pope-francis-ceo

See also: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/church-marks-first-anniversary-of-pope-francis-apostolate-of-shoe-leather-e/


Photo source:   http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/447870/20130320/new-pope-2013-francis-wears-old-black.htm

The Pope’s Red Shoes


The wearing of red papal shoes (then “sandals”) dates back to the earliest times of the Church.  However, in 1566 St. Pope Pius V, a White Dominican, decided to change the papal vestments from red to white leaving only the Pope’s cappello (a wide circular brimmed hat), cape and shoes the color red.  Usually elaborate, the leather soled, less structured papal “slippers” of the time were made of red satin and silk along with gold thread and embroidered ruby encrusted crosses. 

Until the first half of the 20th century, it was customary for pilgrims having an audience with the Pope to kneel and kiss one of his slippers.  Similar to many of noblemen of the time, the Pope also wore red slippers inside his residences and red Morocco leather shoes outside.  Centuries later, Pope Paul VI decided to update his footwear and eventually discontinued the use of “slippers” altogether in favor of sturdy red shoes for both indoor and outdoor use.

Throughout Church history, the color red has been deliberately chosen to represent the blood of Catholic martyrs spilt through the centuries following in the footsteps of Christ.  The red papal shoes are also linked to Christ’s own bloodied feet as he was prodded, whipped, and pushed along the Via Dolorosa on his way to his crucifixion, culminating in the piercing of his hands and feet on the cross.  The red shoes also symbolize the submission of the Pope to the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ.  Beyond this, it is said the red papal shoes also signify God’s burning love for humanity as exhibited during Pentecost when red vestments are worn to commemorate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles as tongues of fire rest upon their heads.

From: “Red Shoes and the Room of Tears” by Judy Keane      http://catholicexchange.com/red-shoes-and-the-room-of-tears

 Photo source:    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/mar/12/why-pope-wears-red-shoes/

“Walk a Mile in HRH’s Shoes?”


British journalist Nick Collins reported that Queen Elizabeth II has an assistant to wear in her shoes. The Queen must be able to walk without concerning herself with her feet.  It would never do for her to change her shoes half way through an official engagement, the Queen’s longtime dress designer, Stewart Parvin told Collins. (1)

Across the pond, Canadians quipped about this revelation in The Globe and Mail’s Letters to the Editor. In a letter entitled Sole Proprietor,  Frank Cain of Toronto wrote:

“You report the Queen has an assistant to wear in her new shoes to prevent chafing (Social Studies – May 24). Would that make the assistant a sole mate?” (2)


(1)   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/9278018/Queen-employs-Royal-shoe-wearer-to-soften-up-new-leather.html

(2)    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/letters/may-26-letters-to-the-editor/article4209781/

Famous Foot Gaffe – In the Watergate Scandal


It was dubbed the “Rose Mary Stretch”, and it became an iconic image of truth-stretching in the Watergate era.  Arched awkwardly backward to answer the phone, the ever-loyal Richard Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods demonstrated to prosecutors how her foot errantly tapped the record button, causing part of a crucial 18 ½-minute gap in an Oval Office tape. 

“I am most dreadfully sorry,” she said. Her epic bend of back and logic made her a national punch-line, and helped push her boss to early retirement less than a year later.  Ms. Woods died in 2005 at 87.  But her infamous Pilates move lives on.  There is an annual award for “worst performance in open government” in her honour, and a play called Stretch (A Fantasia).

Quoting:  Barrie McKenna   ‘A Moment in Time: Nov. 26, 1973’ — “Rose Mary Woods Explains the Tape Gap.”  The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2010




Photo source: