Runner's World Founder: Bob Anderson - building a media empire, meeting his idols, and continuing to innovate
We have an incredibly special treat for you guys today. Bob Anderson is the founder of Runner's World. Yup, that Runner's World. The incredibly popular magazine that Bob started while in high school. In today's conversation you'll learn about the state of running in the 1960s and how a high school kid was able to build one of the most popular magazines in the world.
You'll learn about how Bob got to meet some of his idols, including Hal Higdon, Ted Corbitt, Billy Mills, Steve Prefontaine, and even Ronald Reagan. We get into the story of Bob's film, A Long Run, where he celebrated 50 years of running with an incredible challenge. The goal was to complete 50 races at a distance of 350 miles (563.27 km), and to average 7:00 per mile at the age of 64.
I won't give away the ending, but you have to hear the stories behind the challenge. We get into the new type of racing that Bob has invented the double race. And we get to hear about the new training camps in Kenya, that Bob is building that you can take apart in. Finally, Bob has this incredible story of the Boston marathon because the one year that he got to run
I was also the year of the bombing. Our full conversation with Bob was almost an hour and 45 minutes. And honestly we could have kept going.
Links Talked About During this Show
Podcast TranscriptionThe following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Bob Anderson: [00:00:00]
you talking about being excited or what? And particularly. It was about the sport that I absolutely loved it. Wasn't about the money. It was about the fact that, Oh my God, here's 25 more people who want to get Distance Running News.
I think by 1976, we had gone from, you know, like zero in 64 and we were already up over a hundred thousand subscribers. Wow. And we had gone to six times a year we've we went to a color publication. Then we ended up going to monthly and people just literally could not get enough.
Kevin Chang: [00:00:40]
Hello and welcome to the race mob podcast. This is episode number 23. I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd, and the founder of race mob. I'm joined by master motivator, founder of two legit fitness co-chair of the Tazi 100 R R C a certified coach USA track and field certified official the incomparable Bertrand Newson.
We have an incredibly special treat for you guys today. Bob Anderson is the founder of Runners World. Yup, that Runners World . The incredibly popular magazine that Bob started while in high school. In today's conversation. You'll learn about the state of running in the 1960s and how a high school kid was able to build one of the most popular magazines in the world.
You'll learn about how Bob got to meet some of his idols, including how Higdon Ted Corbitt, Billy Mills, Steve Prefontaine, and even Ronald Reagan. We get into the story of Bob's film, the long run, where he celebrated 50 years of running with an incredible challenge. The goal was to complete 50 races at a distance of 350 miles. And to try to average seven minutes per mile at the age of 64.
I won't give away the ending, but you have to hear the stories behind the challenge. We get into the new type of racing that Bob has invented the double race. And we get to hear about the new training camps in Kenya, that Bob is building that you can take apart in. Finally, Bob has this incredible story of the Boston marathon because the one year that he got to run
I was also the year of the bombing. Our full conversation with Bob was almost an hour and 45 minutes. And honestly we could have kept going. If you want to hear the full unedited version, join our community at community dot race, mob.com. And you can hear all of the bonus stories that we couldn't fit here.
This episode is brought to you by race, mob, and inclusive community for endurance athletes. If you like our podcast, you'll love our YouTube channel, where we keep you up to date with news from the running world and give you tips that will help you improve door running. Check us out by searching race mob on YouTube and subscribe today. We are so fortunate to welcome an icon in the running industry, founder of Runner's World magazine, somebody who's been associated with the entire running world for well over 50 years . The incredible Bob Anderson, welcome to the RaceMob podcast. Bob
Bob Anderson: [00:03:12]
Pleasure to be a guest here.
Kevin Chang: [00:03:13]
Awesome. Let's go back in time. I don't think running was quite the sport that it is today, back in the sixties, when you started and you started Runner's World basically in high school, is that right?
What, what was running like back then ? For the first magazine
Bob Anderson: [00:03:28]
Running was just so different. Back in those days, I was back in Kansas going to high school and, uh, know they give you an idea in the entire state of Kansas, there was like a handful of races that were not like high school or college. I think maybe there might've been three or four road races in total, in the entire state.
And so basically back in those days, If you were interested in running, which certainly I was, you could run in high school and then if you were good enough, you could make the college team, but that was pretty much it.
Now there were some hotbeds of running had already started up one in fact, was San Francisco. And of course, more of the beta breakers has been around for many, many years, the Dipsy. So basically I started running and on February 16th, 1962, and literally within. Simply a couple of months. I just fell in love with running.
I mean, running was just something that I really enjoyed to do, and I just could not get enough of it. And in fact, as I was on our high school cross country team, well actually at that point, that was before high school. So I did go to a AAU as it was called back in those days. Junior Olympics. And at age 15, I was able to run a two Oh 8.5 half mile back in those days, it was a half mile, not the 800 meters.
So, you know, I mean some, some ability and, uh,
Kevin Chang: [00:04:55]
two Oh eight. Yeah. That's pretty good. Yeah.
Bob Anderson: [00:05:02]
And actually that, still is my best. Eight 80. Can you believe that? Wow, that was seven. I was 15 years old. I joined the high school cross country team and I just absolutely loved cross country. Oh my gosh. I mean, it was just so fabulous and the teamwork, you know, my best buddies were team members and it was just really, really fantastic.
And we did well. We got first in our regional meet and the high school cross country. And, in the state, I think we got third place.
I absolutely loved running right from the beginning. And right from the beginning, I found out about the Boston marathon and I literally wanted to run the Boston marathon. And so I asked my coach, coach McGuire, if he knew anything about training for the Boston marathon, Lisa, well, Bob you're only 17 years old.
Come on. I mean, you know, back in those days, you know what I mean? It just wasn't even thought of a person that age, you know, even running that distance in any case, he didn't have any information. So I started writing some people I found out about this magazine called Long Distance Log and besides track and field news, it was really the only publication on running.
And literally I would get copies of it and it was like a mimeograph sort of publication. And it wasn't any pictures or anything like that, but I can remember reading. Every word, probably two or three times, at least I could not get enough. And of course, keep in mind. This is before the internet as well.
Right. I got some addresses and one person I got an address from was Ted Corbitt. I mean, just a unbelievable runner. He had run ultra marathons. You guys know who Ted Corbett was?
Kevin Chang: [00:06:43]
I don't, no.
Bob Anderson: [00:06:44]
Ted Corp, but he was the one that actually came up with certifying race courses. And he was an ultra runner. He was a Olympian.
I mean, somebody that you just literally. Yeah, I thought he was like the president of United States or something, but nicer in many ways,
But anyway, I wrote him and my gosh, I got a letter back and he started giving me training ideas. And he also gave me addresses of other people, like how hidden and other people prom Ostler. I mean, all these sorts of people. So I started writing them and I said, you know, I'm 17 years old. I want to run the Boston marathon and I need to get some training at ideas and sure enough.
Yeah, I would come home from school and it would be so exciting because in my mailbox there'd be like a letter and I would open it up and my gosh pictures and all this information. I mean, all these people were so interested in helping me learn about the Boston marathon. Learn about. Marathon, he in general learn about running.
So anyway, on the bus, my best friend, Dave Zimmerman, and he was also on the cross country team. So I had some information out of the blue. I said to him, Dave, you know, we should start a magazine about running. We could call it.... and then I just thought for a second, "Distance Running News". And I said, look, I'll already, I have some information and we can put it together.
And so they kind of looked at me like, well, ok...
Lets start a magazine. What do you know about publishing? Well, "not really anything, but..."
And I said, there's a lot of people out there like you and I that are interested in running outside of the school programs. But at the same time, we need to know about running. You just can't put on your shoes and go out and run, you know, at least back in those days. I mean, people were thinking in terms of you could have a heart attack.
I mean, the whole situation was different running out on the street, back in those days in shorts. I mean, you were looked at, and particularly if you were like over the age of 40, like I asked my dad one time, Hey, how come you don't go out? You know, running? He says, are you kidding me? And literally he was so true. It was so true because people would actually like, what's wrong. Are you going someplace?
In any case, we have these articles, we typed up the first issue and, got her shot from the heart of America marathon. That was one of the few marathons being held back in those days and, Missouri and, We put out the issue, mailed out copies to people who sent me information.
The subscription rate was $1 per year. We have only two issues per year. And my gosh, people started sending me checks for $5 and dollars. Here's a check for $25. Now keep in mind. I'm 17 years. Well, actually at that point, the first one. Published. I just turned 18, 18 years old. You get a check for $25. They want to have everybody on their team to get a subscription.
I mean, are you talking about being excited or what? And particularly. It was about the sport that I absolutely loved it. Wasn't about the money. It was about the fact that, Oh my God, here's 25 more people who want to get Distance Running News. And so basically that's how it started, you know, running back in those days, you know, Boston marathon was only a few hundred runners.
Bertrand Newson: [00:10:13]
Were women allowed to run the Boston at that point?
Bob Anderson: [00:10:15]
No, no, no, no. Let's see. Switzer ran. No, no, no. I think she was 67, 68. And in fact, I know in Kansas, if you were a female, you could not run more than a half mile. Wow. I mean, literally you would be almost like arrested or something.
Kevin Chang: [00:10:34]
You touched on a couple of just amazing topics.
Just the love and the warmth of the running community, which we continue to see and, you know, was so evident even back then and the passion that people have for the sport, the passion that was kind of growing in its infancy back then, that was kind of, as you mentioned, a little bit frowned upon back in the sixties, but was starting to gain momentum, starting to gain steam and.
You know, the people being so willing to help you in this publication because they were so passionate about it. Can you tell us a little bit about what resonated with the community when you first started publishing? Was it just the tips and the strategies and the forms? Was it stories? What were you kind of publishing in those early issues of the magazine?
Bob Anderson: [00:11:20]
Well, right from the beginning, I decided that we needed to share information so right from the beginning, we did articles about running about women should be able to be, you know, running beyond 800 meters.
We did articles about diet. David Payne down in San Diego. He was already beginning to. Encourage runners over the age of 40 and his whole master movement. We jumped on that right from the third or fourth issue we covered, running golf where literally some people that were running on golf courses with golf clubs.
Kevin Chang: [00:11:56]
Sprinting from shot to shot. I've done that once or twice, falling behind.
Bob Anderson: [00:12:04]
And so even from the beginning we started doing some articles. About not just the hardcore sort of things, but also some fun things like that. And we got a whole of the Percy to Rudy who was coaching herb Elliot, over in Australia.
And he had some really interesting ideas about training and, you know, Training on sand dunes and all sorts of different things in special diets and things like that. And he started contributing articles. so right from the beginning, our focus was on information to help people be runners and to be better runners and to be faster and, and to cover more mileage.
Now, the ultra scene was not that big of a scene at that point, but there was the London, the Brighton race. There was the comrades marathon. you know, so there were a few ultra races out there and of course we covered those as well.
And even what we did is that we established that a good solid benchmark for a marathoner, which gosh, to me now is unbelievably fast, but it was, if you could break three hours for the marathon, you know.
We had actually the, the marathon handbook that came out in 1917. See the first one was 1970, I think. And we live literally listed every single runner in the United States that broke three hours from the marathon. Also in that reference guide, we listed every single marathon
By 1970, and I am skipping ahead a little bit. I think we were up to maybe 40 marathons in the whole United States.
Kevin Chang: [00:13:36]
Can you talk to us about the growth of the sport in the seventies? I mean, it seems like it was kind of a more obscure jogging is kind of on the fringe and, and all of that in the sixties and the late sixties. And then there is a new experience, the growth. . So can you talk to us about that period of time and what'd you experienced?
Bob Anderson: [00:13:55]
I moved to California in late December, 1969. I came to California because things were happening out here in California. And, I met up with Walter stack, PAX bill and Joan Juliet. And certainly Joe Henderson, who I brought on as our editor for Runner's World.
So back in those days, in the late 60, there was some hotbeds. Boston was one New York, San Francisco, a lot of activity in Chicago and Los Angeles, of course, as well, Eugene, Oregon,
We had about 10,000 subscribers and Frank Shorter of course, was running back in those days. And when Frank Shorter won the Olympic marathon goal, 1972 in Munich, that was one of the first times that running was like national news. I can remember even newspapers picked it up and it was mentioned on the radio.
Now, of course, when Billy Mills back in 64, Billy Mills started a lot of attention to running with what he did back in 64 and then bill Rogers and people like Ambi Burfoot, who was our East coast editor for Runner's World. And he won the Boston marathon in 68. So, I mean, there was a lot of activity
After Frank shorter won the marathon, our circulation just, just went crazy. I mean, really, I think by 1976, we had gone from, you know, like zero in 64 and we were already up over a hundred thousand subscribers. Wow. And we had gone to six times a year we've we went to a color publication. Then we ended up going to monthly and people just literally could not get enough.
But now let me back up one moment. One thing that really, really. Helped running unbelievably. So was Kenneth Cooper's book called Jogging and his book got people out, jogging book told people that you're not going to have a heart attack because you'll keep a margin in the market back in those days, literally like, like I'm 72 right now, nobody would have encouraged or...
bob, what are you doing? You know, it'd be like, do you need help walking across the street? I mean, it was a whole different mindset, but his book got people out, jogging his book, told people that there's more benefits to including as he called it, jogging in your. Exercise routine. And of course he was also encouraging a routine.
And then what Runner's World did I think is that we took all these people that are, that were jogging. Now we're talking about millions of people out jogging, and we basically were making a statement ourselves in the magazine. That jogging is great, but if you really want to really enjoy running, you need to start getting into races that.
Jogging and running it's like writing and never publishing in my mind. Publishing is like the racing. I haven't run a race since March 6th, which is the longest period of time I can remember. And I must admit I enjoy running. But I love racing. Anyway, we were just telling people, Hey, give racing a go.
And may it be a marathon? May it be a 5k? May it be a 10 K? And sure enough, people started finding out about races, running a race, and then really becoming addicted to running.
Kevin Chang: [00:17:25]
I love that. I love that story. That's great. That's fantastic.
Bertrand Newson: [00:17:29]
How do we get to the inception of Runner's World? the evolution of the name and then where Runner's World just really took off.
Bob Anderson: [00:17:36]
So when I was publishing Distance Running News, and, you know, we had gotten up to six issues a year and we were using, uh, you know, a lot of photos and, and. Having writers like Joe Henderson and now Higdon and all of that. So on the Eve of, of driving to California.
I called up Hal Higdon. The one of our writers. And well-known runner. And I said, you know, I think Distance Running News is going to be too limiting because literally so much of the magazine is not about news anyway. And I asked him, I said, what do you think if we changed the name to the Runner's World?
And actually the very first issue of January the January edition, 1970, the logo is the. Runner's world for the next issue. I took out Runner's World. And when I asked how he just said, Oh my gosh, that is it. It just had, it has a better ring to it and all that. So that's how the name came about. And then Rutgers roll ever since.
Kevin Chang: [00:18:35]
Talk to us a little bit about the seventies. In the long run film, talked about Steve Prefontaine and his impact on the sport of running. I was just reading a shoe dog from Phil Knight and he had mentioned Steve Prefontaine. And for those of us who weren't around during that period of time, can you talk to us a little bit about his impact on the sports and the growth of the sport through the seventies?
Bob Anderson: [00:18:59]
Oh, I tell you Steve Prefontaine. I mean, his personality was so electric. He was like a superstar. I mean, "Go Pre!, Go Pre!".
He did so much for running. Obviously Nike helped the situation with all their advertising and all that, but probably one of the most recognizable names even to this day, as far as runners is Steve Prefontaine.
And yet I think it was 1976 is when he was killed in that car crash. But you know, Steve Prefontaine a legend when he was alive.
I'm sure that a lot of people started running because of Steve Prefontaine. And I had the privilege to be able to meet him and talk to him and, you know, and he did some writing for us and just a super, super guy, super guy.
Kevin Chang: [00:19:45]
Tell us about getting to meet the president. . Tell us about that whole story.
Bob Anderson: [00:19:49]
So prior to, um, meeting the president, actually Billy Mills, I mean, I can remember watching him in the Olympics in 1964, that was. Probably before you guys were
Bertrand Newson: [00:20:01]
very popular race though.
I mean, yeah, very storied, like a trailblazer. Nobody expected him to win. That was what's so cool about it. He was not the favorite. He wasn't
Bob Anderson: [00:20:10]
all. And when he, when he went through good moody and Clark and anyway, an amazing guy. I had met him. He nominated me for one of the 10 outstanding young men of America that the JC does.
And by the way, and that, that award was in fact, I think it's still around. You have to be under 35 years old and, um, you have to be nominated by someone who also had, uh, had done. I stand the young men of America before. And so anyway, Billy Mills not nominated me. And so I was selected as one of the 10 outstanding in the middle of America.
Anyway, the point of that is that when I went to Tulsa to pick up the award, not pick up the word, one of the other people that was getting the award was the special assistant to president Reagan. So I met him after that. We were back at the office. And, and I was thinking that, Hey, you know, maybe it would be kind of interesting.
Cause we have this interview series that date broke up a forest. And I said, you know, I think we ought to interview president Reagan. He was a runner. And because of the fact I met Ken Atwater, who was the special assistant to the president. I wrote him again, back in those days, there was no emails. I wrote him and I said, is there any chance.
That you can help line up a meeting with president Reagan. So he calls me the day he got the letter and he says, can you be at the white house at 4:00 PM on Thursday? And let's say this was Monday.
Kevin Chang: [00:21:44]
run into the airport right now.
Bob Anderson: [00:22:00]
So, um, and so we had the interview set up, we set up the meeting, we're outside the oval office and there's FBI agents and you know, all the other things around that, my God. They're asking me for an autograph is their
wonderful magazine. Oh my God. I mean, it was like, at that moment in time, I said, you know what? The running community, what a community. I mean, all you have to do is to have running in common. And the next thing, you know, you're best friends. It's such a special, special group of people, but anyway, so did the interview and we published it in, in, in the magazine and, uh, and what a great moment, uh, President Reagan very warm and personable know we gave him a track suit and got photo taken and all that.
I mean, it was a very, very special moment. If I had to list like 10 very special moments in my life, that would be one of them.
Kevin Chang: [00:23:00]
Wow. Were you nervous? What was your first question to president Reagan? Do you remember?
Bob Anderson: [00:23:08]
I mean, I was so nervous. I mean, you know, so I'm 30, some years old and, and just as a runner and I meeting the president of United States.
But, you know what? He made me feel welcome. And he genuinely had an interest in fitness. You know, he ran on his college team, I think the relays or something. I mean, he wasn't a distance runner. He wasn't like a regular runner, but very, very interested in promoting health and fitness and believed in running. Um, it was a very. Interesting and exciting moment of my life. Incredible.
Kevin Chang: [00:23:45]
why don't we fast forward a little bit and talk about, you had this really ambitious goal, 50 years of running you and your son created this film about 50 races 350 miles. throughout 2012. at the age of 64, I believe under seven minutes a mile, which is just like incredible to me,
, I mean, tell us a little bit about the planning that went into it, what that year meant to you
Bob Anderson: [00:24:14]
tell you the 50 race challenge, you know, after running for 50 years and my S my son and I were sitting down and talking about what I should do to celebrate 50 years of running.
And we were at a hamburger joint. And Michael, my son, as well as my daughter and my grandkids. I mean, and we're a running family. I mean, my son loves the run just as much as I, I do. And he's been running since he could run any case. He also has a skill and knowledge of the film industry. He's in the video market.
Being able to shoot, be able to edit the, able to put together work. I mean, he. Also absolutely loves and breathes that whole industry. Certainly we started talking and literally this was after a race. That's why we were having a hamburger. It just, you know, like so many things, you know, just like spur of the moment sort of thing.
Okay. 50 races and mix. Well, and we can film it. I said, yeah, that would even be more exciting, you know, and we could do a blog and all that. And literally we sat there over lunch and put this whole thing together. And then I said, well, let's make it more challenging. And I just out of the blue, I said, okay, I'm going to have to cover at least 350 miles.
And I need to average under seven minutes a mile. And if I start a race, I have to count it. Right. Wow. Now it's a 50 ways challenge, but if I run more than 50 races, well, I said, well, I'm not going to do that.
So as I talk about with say, My list of the 10, most exciting things that I've done in my life. This has to be one of them,
So in any case, the really exciting thing about this was that almost every step along the way, My son was there, Catherine, who at that point, you know, we were just together, but later became my wife.
Catherine was there. Wait, uh, that guy that I've known for many, many years, they're helping out. It was so exciting.
Now the one thing about it, however, it's race. 33 it's six o'clock in the morning. You're down in San Diego. It's already 70 degrees and you have to make sure if you blow one race, how in the world can you average under seven minutes a mile?
in this case I was falling apart. I wanted to walk so bad, but recognizing, I mean, what's the fastest you can walk when you're tired. 13
Kevin Chang: [00:26:39]
miles, 14 minutes. Yeah. If you're really power walking, right? Yeah.
Bob Anderson: [00:26:43]
Yeah. Even if you're a power rocket. , but I knew that I had to keep going. That if I had walked, there is no way I would have reached my goal and I wasn't actually sure how I would even handle the challenge if I didn't make the challenge.
I mean, how can you have a 50 raise challenge? And you're going to run under seven minutes a mile, but you actually end up. Averaging seven 15. I mean, it didn't happen. We didn't win.
Kevin Chang: [00:27:08]
I love the fact that you set an external goal, you know, ans broadcast it to people saying like, Hey, I've got to do this. I'm going to get it done.
And that, that motivated you in those moments that are. Difficult and hard. And a lot of us face those types of situations that we at the moment want to quit, want to, you know, drop out. But I think it's something that, you know, I've heard time and time again from some of our guests that you don't want to let temporary emotions cause permanent
Bob Anderson: [00:27:39]
I'm a firm believer in letting people know in advance what I'm planning on doing.
I think that if by telling people, like, if I say, okay, I'm going to run a 10 K and I want to run it under well at this stage of the game, I want to run under 47 minutes.
By saying that. Yeah, I think that I literally have a better chance of reaching that goal. And I don't like saying something that I'm not going to do
Bertrand Newson: [00:28:07]
really, to experience that 50 race journey with your son and with family surrounding you as well.
You've made it just more profound as we touched on in the beginning. So congratulations, great stuff. And it's just fun. Speaking to an innovator in our fitness industry, a historian. In many ways who still out there crushing it. I mean, we had a text exchange recently and you said you were averaging almost like nine plus miles a day.
Kevin Chang: [00:28:33]
Bob Anderson: [00:28:33]
Being that there's no races out there, uh, you know, you set up a goal and then you just keep going for it. So, yeah. So the last six weeks I've been averaging 63 miles a week, but now keep in mind that I do count walking.
Bertrand Newson: [00:28:48]
You're moving forward.
Kevin Chang: [00:28:49]
Bob Anderson: [00:28:51]
however, every time I go out, always part of it is running and still have the 63 miles a week.
At least 60, the 70% is running, but you know, my, my little dog, Daisy, she's only a small little dog and sometimes she needs to take a rest at a, certainly gives me the excuse to lock them out.
Plus, you know, one thing about it. I do think the combination of running and walking, particularly as you get older. Okay. I think the combination of running and walking actually is good. I dunno if you guys do that. Sure.
Kevin Chang: [00:29:28]
Bob Anderson: [00:29:31]
Particularly, let's say on those days that your legs just feel trash.
Well, what's the point of putting in junk miles? I have put in enough junk miles over the years, many times, those are the days that you injure a hamstring. You mess up a Achilles. You know, you have some sort of problem because your body is saying, Hey, I didn't want to run them. They're hard to stay. And then you end up, you know, pushing herself and screwing something up.
###### Kevin Chang: [00:29:55]
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Bertrand Newson: [00:30:15]
That's great advice, Bob. And I mentioned this slightly before, when we've talked about you being a innovator to the fitness community, you. Ran a successful, uh, like a fitness, corporate challenge. And then let's talk about the evolution and creation of the double road race series as well. But the corporate challenge, you know, the prominence of that and running it, Stanford as well.
And that's a major. Fortune 500 companies involved. My memory serves me correctly. Share that a bit.
Bob Anderson: [00:30:43]
Yeah. One day I was talking with, with Joe Henderson, our editor of runners role at the time. And I said, you know, over in Japan they have corporate volleyball teams and they have, you know, corporations sponsor, you know, different, you know, players and team.
And they have team and competitions and all sorts of different things. And I said, you know, they're not going to be something like that in the United States. So, Came up with the idea of the corporate cup relays, but we came up with different events. Like we, we, we would have like the mild team race, so it wouldn't just be yourself.
A person would be running a mile on the track, but you have to also have another team member running a mile at the same time. And then your times are added together. How about the president is really, you have to be a vice president or above in the company. You know, we would do a relay of three people.
We would do a quarter mile, a half mile and a mile. And we'd add the time, you know, not add the time together because it's a relay. Then we had the sprint relay where we would go like a 110 yards, two 20. Two 20 twice than a quarter. And then down, anyway, we came up with like different events. We also had like a 10 K road race and all that because, you know, yeah.
At Stanford university, I think at the peak, we had 130 companies and we had like 18 and T PG and E Texas instruments. I mean, we had an unbelievable number of vets. We had had this cool opening ceremonies at Stanford. We rented all these plants and we would like put them along the track until almost like a, uh, like a horse track, race, whatever it may be.
And it was really, yeah, really great. We had a great sponsored Brooke shoe company was responsible and it really was a super event. I mean, at the time we were still losing. Some money on it. Like maybe it was costing us a hundred grand a year, something like that, but it was headed the right direction.
People loved it. And unfortunately, when I was forced to sell the magazine, one of the things that Ridell press who now is no longer there, it's now first publishing decided not to move forward with that program, the fund run program, and some other twenty-five relay and some other stuff that we did.
Because they were a publishing company, which is true, but I really felt like doing things like this was important for running. We weren't just a publishing company. We also created events. We also had like the Runner's World, indoor classic at the cow palace where Steve Scott was the first runner to run under four minutes for the mile.
And the person who started the race. Roger Bannister.
Kevin Chang: [00:33:17]
Bob Anderson: [00:33:21]
Bertrand Newson: [00:33:22]
Drop the mic right there, Bob. Nice speaking to you.
Bob Anderson: [00:33:26]
And so, yeah, so we, we did some exciting events like that, but one of the things too, that
going through a divorce when I sold Runner's World, which was a very traumatic yeah. Situation when I sold Runner's World. in selling the magazine, I also had to agree that for five years, I could not do anything in running other than run personally or personally run a race.
I had to step aside from running and I'm not actually sure why I really agreed to that, but I did, but in any case, so all of these events, like the letters, one door classic, the corporate cup relays and all those, and the fund run program. We had the fun run program. Bertrand. Did you ever go up to college? No. No, that probably
yeah. The fun run program we'd have free races, no entry fee. We'd give everybody a certificate. We actually had sites. We had like 300 sites around the world. It was almost like the park runs because no entry fee people would just show up. There would be time. There would be no results published.
People read that we had that going to 24 hour relay we had going, and that was a really cool event. It was a team up to 10 runners. And, um, you know, you did say that this was a six hour interview.
Kevin Chang: [00:34:36]
Hey, we got all day, as long as you want the part one chapter
Bertrand Newson: [00:34:43]
one chapter, one we'll circle back yet.
Bob Anderson: [00:34:46]
We had the 24 hour relay where literally, I mean, what a great event that was. And so literally you would run a mile on the track. You would pass a Baton to your teammates. They would run a mile and you would do that for 24 hours.
Wow. And literally we had the Olympic team. Do the event. We had two teams from the Olympic training camp. These guys were averaging something like, four 40 per mile, four hours.
Kevin Chang: [00:35:14]
Wow. How big was the team size? Are we talking like four people, 10 people, 20 people
Bob Anderson: [00:35:20]
The maximum was. 10, but some teams actually did it with two people.
At Foothill college, San Jose state, there would be tents like Bertrand, the field that you got from the San Jose double road race. It was that feeling for 24 hours. Wow. Yeah. I mean, it was like a community and. The 10th, because you have to figure it out how to eat. He had to figure out how to sleep. I mean, you had to figure it all out.
And unlike an ultra, that also is very, very exciting is that here you run a mile and you stop and then win with a team of nine. Even if you're doing, let's say six minute miles, you're not running again for like 50 minutes later and you're doing that for 24 straight hours. Okay.
So then, so after selling Runers World and all of these sorts of events kind of went by the wayside, my son and I were out on a run and we were thinking, gosh, it'd be kind of cool to do something that would be kind of like a triathlon, but because I'm not a swimmer.
I've ridden the bike, but I'm not really a bike rider. I'm a runner. I said, you know, wouldn't it be kind of cool then to do something, you know, like the double road race, but you would run like a 10 K first, you would take a break, but the break would be long enough where that you have to come up with a strategy.
Like for example, like an interval training, let's say the break is still is like about three minutes or five minutes or whatever, while you're still warmed up. So the idea here was let's have the break long enough that, that first of all, everybody can finish. Like when we had one person who did the double road race fellas at 90, some years old, 92, something like that.
She barely finished the 10 K leg before the 5k like started. So it was a good thing. It was an hour and 45 minutes.
Kevin Chang: [00:37:06]
I mean, those doubles are, yeah. I mean, we're, we're going to get into it. Amazing because that time in the middle everybody's there and everybody's chatting with each other and everybody's getting to know each other.
There's, you know, the foam rollers out there, there's the massage therapist out there, but I just remember having a fantastic time at the three
Bertrand Newson: [00:37:22]
sides, sizing somebody up
Bob Anderson: [00:37:28]
and literally the strategy, the strategy, because. But also, yeah, I mean the comradery, I mean, most, most of the time we go to a race, we run it and you go home. And in this case, it gave you more time to have that comradery. So when we did our first double rubbed race in Pleasanton, we literally had 1400 runners and we had the gymnasium and everything.
And the thing that we were puzzled is that particularly for beginner runners, it is a. Tough event. And for some reason, a lot of people, in fact, I mean, you see this all the time. You see somebody jogging in place at a street at a stoplight because
Kevin Chang: [00:38:09]
Bob Anderson: [00:38:10]
I get what I'm saying. Yeah. One of the things that we've found is that a lot of the people who ran our first double loved it, but particularly the beginners.
Didn't come back for a second time. And so we found that there would be people who really love to double road race, and in fact, really excelled at it. Bertrand, you ran, you you've run like how many doubles have you done? Maybe. Yeah. And, and you've done ultras. You've done many marathons. Let me ask you this.
Why do you think people, many people have tended to do a double just once? Is it because it's too hard or what do you think is the reason for that?
Bertrand Newson: [00:38:52]
Yeah, that's a very good question. We've talked about this before. I've filled with that question. The why? it's not easy. And some people runners, especially new runners.
They may train up for a certain distance and having to. Incorporate strategy and people are, are not tuned into doing negative, splits, a race is a race. So they may go out all gangbusters on that first half on that first 10 K and just attack it into the tank. And then during that break, maybe not make the best use of their time, or even if they are using the exercise bike or the foam rollers or the nutrition that you had out there, the music playing in the background, towing the line the second time on.
Fatigue legs because they went out too fast on the front end for some people, the recreational runner. I think that was a bit of an adjustment for them. And even for some of the accomplished runners, but for me, I loved it. The running crew that I belong to two legit fitness, and we really excelled in that environment because we utilize, we, it was a community, the sense of fellowship that superseded.
The running logistics. It was having everybody out there being able to go back out on the course and support other winners coming in. And then the in-between time, the break time, that was what made it so special. I had moments, you know, trying to chase you down, which never happened. That's what happened.
Kevin Chang: [00:40:17]
Bertrand Newson: [00:40:19]
2020 plus time, double road, race finisher. Probably 20 times I started out in the first mile or so ahead of Bob. I would always see this dude in a red tank top with black Adidas and black shorts always pass me up.
Hey, Coach, keep running. No, let's, let's leave it at all. Yes. So, um, and that was the great, great memories, but more to your point, but I think because it was new.
People had to acclimate to triathlons when they first started three different disciplines, transitions, were they more of a runner, more of a cyclist, more of a swimmer. It took a while for athletes to adapt and once they did it took off and I still feel this great potential, for it. But it's what was unique about it.
You didn't get the sense of community and fellowship, I think in a triathlon than you did at a double, because. Of the extended break. And especially when you had a team environment, for me that really spoke, spoke to me. So from a team perspective, from a, a running group perspective, from a sense of community win, win, win, maybe to that the super committee cause you had elite athletes.
So you had, Olympic qualifiers, you had international fields. Yeah. He had prize money and I know how much money you had invested into that race series. I mean, probably a, certainly six, maybe seven figures. Uh, international events in Japan, in Africa. I mean really, uh, you know, different parts of the United States.
So, and I think the running community one, we miss races, but I just, I missed the fellowship and sense of community from the double world race experience.
Bob Anderson: [00:41:56]
Yeah. We certainly are not giving up on the double road race in and we probably. Wanting to move it along faster than it really should not have been done that fast.
I mean, which blew a lot of money. I mean, I love the double as you love to double. And I know so many different people do love to double, but let's say, you know, to promote it in Tokyo, you know, they did two races over there in Greece,
Bertrand Newson: [00:42:22]
Bob Anderson: [00:42:24]
and. Different places in the United States. I mean, on hindsight, you know, we probably should have just based in here in the Bay area at first for a few years, you know, got really anchored, uh, more anchor, but we're not giving up on the double road race.
I mean, fortunately, you know, this year with the last race I did was a double
Kevin Chang: [00:42:43]
Bertrand Newson: [00:42:44]
Bob Anderson: [00:42:46]
Brisbane, California, not Brisbane Australia. Actually somebody thought we were doing it in Brisbane, Australia. In fact, that's why they wrote me an email. I said, Hey, where's the race starting in Brisbane?
And I said, well, you know, The person was actually thinking we were running in Brisbane at any case.
Bertrand Newson: [00:43:09]
Was that Verity, Verity, Breen? A mutual friend
Bob Anderson: [00:43:17]
anyway. Yeah. So my last race was a double. We were going to have a double, a. Up in San Francisco, August 2nd. And then of course we had to postpone that as set for next year, but the doubles, you know, they come in different sizes. The double road race, the official event is a 10 K followed by a 5k.
5k starts an hour and 45 minutes after the start, but we also have an 8K double, which is a 5k followed by a 3K. And we actually did one. I think Bertrand, I know a lot of your teammates did it where we did the double half marathon. Yeah.
Bertrand Newson: [00:43:55]
Cardi Creek trail. That was fun.
Bob Anderson: [00:43:57]
And we did a 5k. Yeah. I love that event.
Loved it, but obviously we have to get through the pandemic and we have to get this behind this, but we definitely are looking forward to. Not only keeping the double road race going, but uh, you'll get rolling again. It's just too fun of event to not keep it going.
Bertrand Newson: [00:44:17]
I think I'm going to call you the pivot master.
I mean, look, you're so multifaceted live and talked about your swimwear, your avid photographer. You started a training camp, a running training camp. And the running Mecca in, in Africa, man, just the world running challenge. I mean the virtual event, you know, before virtual ins were so prevalent, I mean, this is the creativity and from it to go from idea to implementation and then the lives you're touching by helping people be happier, healthier versions of themselves just really speaks to our, the, the race mob mission as well. And so many levels.
Bob Anderson: [00:44:55]
Yeah. I tell ya. I just, I just liked doing a lot of different things and, uh, you know, it's like when you do things for yourself first, you know, all these different things, a 24 hour relay to, you know, our training camp that we are setting up and officially be opening in January. The Eugene and fit club, running camp and athletics lodge we have right now, 11 Kenyan runners training there.
Now we have a great coach and Florence and Willie, the two that are running the campus or as a general manager.
Kevin Chang: [00:45:27]
What is this camp? Where is it and what what's happening?
Bob Anderson: [00:45:30]
Yeah. Yeah. It's called the Eugena fit club, running camp and athletics lodge. It's in Thika Kenya, which is about 45 minutes from the airport from Nairobi.
So currently right now we have 11 people living and training at camp. Wow. Like our top runner, Gerald, he's going to be running a race at the end of this month, the end of November. And he's hoping to, uh, run a half marathon and. Under an hour and one minute, and then we have loofy, she's looking at running about one Oh nine for the half marathon.
And so, and this is actually on a fairly tough course. So it's not a really fast course that they're running. It's a camp and we're calling it the athletics lodge. And so literally let's say if a person wanted to come and stay at our lodge for a week, two weeks a month or whatever it may be. And trained side by side with Kenyan runners, but also adapting to your level.
So in other words, like if you are an elite runner and you wanted to come and stay at our place, you can train. But otherwise let's say we have runners who will run at your pace. And when I was there in January, we were actually going to be opening officially in may, many way in January, the camp was finished enough where we already had runners and all that in any case, I went out for a run.
It was an 8K run on this, this road. I mean, what a great, great course. So I'm running and the team is letting me be in the front, but I didn't feel like they were letting me, I actually felt like I was actually running it. Wasn't like I was being babysitted or something. You know what I mean? And it's me.
And it's. Like maybe we had a group of maybe about 10 Kenyan runners. I have to admit it was so exciting to be running down this country road, dirt road in Kenya with these Kenyan letters right there. And I just felt like. I was a superstars, you know, I mean, and that's what we're going to do. It's going to be opened up January, of course, with travel restrictions and all this, who knows what's going to happen with that.
But anyway, and literally a person or a couple can come. And stay at our camp. It's a first-class camp eat at our camp train at our camp. We'll do some seminars and some other things like that. But, uh, you know, some people have mentioned to me over the year, I'll be kind of cool to train with Kenyan runners or whatever it may be, but how do I even do that?
Well, this is a way that now a person could do that.
Kevin Chang: [00:48:07]
Wow. Wow. This sounds incredible. I think, uh, yeah, we're going to have to take a look at it. That's right. That's Kilimanjaro
Bertrand Newson: [00:48:16]
on my list at some point. We'll have to take another. Yeah,
Kevin Chang: [00:48:19]
yeah, yeah. We'll take Christmas with us. I don't know, make this a thing.
Well, I mean, I think what we love. So much about you, Bob, is that you keep in contact with everybody from elite athletes all the way down to the everyday runner. And I think, you know, when I watched that a long run film with your son, you know, so beautifully put together over a hundred thousand views. Now on YouTube that I've seen, you guys are telling stories and is not just.
You know, and you have elite runners in there, but you also have everyday runners and people who have found running and found a passion for running over time. And I love, I love the storytelling. I love your stories that you've put in there. So I guess one question that I have is, you know, Bertrand and I are just starting to put race mob together, this media piece.
And we're just starting to tell stories along the way and, and doing, things that you've done over the year. . So, I guess, what type of advice do you have for us and , , where would you focus on , if you were to give us advice if you were in our shoes.B
Bob Anderson: [00:49:19]
. The first thing is, is having patience for what you do. And, and I can tell I'm, even though I've been doing a lot of the talking there. I mean, I can just tell and certainly knowing Bertrand and, and, and, and the many, many fantastic things he's done and the group that he has in the supportive group there, um, Bertrand, you know, really is a very inspirational. Sort of person. Are you still there? Bertrand
Bertrand Newson: [00:49:50]
busting my chops. You can do that. You've earned out of respect without yeah. Yes sir. Yes.
Bob Anderson: [00:49:58]
And I mean, you know, I mean, that's, I mean, this is the running community, you know, and the fact is it's like with anything, I mean, there, there needs to be. People such as Bertrand and Kevin, I just don't know you as well, or I would be also a praising you, which I'm also praising you from the standpoint that this seems like a really good idea of finding people that love the sport of running, and that have stories to tell everyone who has a story to tell some, just have more stories to tell than others.
So I think having the patient, which certainly you guys have getting the word out, I think that, uh, you know, tying things to gather, you know, we ought to see, you know, like, you know, some of the things that we're doing, how, how we can help promote what you guys are doing. And as you're bringing on guests and things like that, what they can do to help tell others.
And so it, you know, it's, it's a stepping stone that it all works together. You know what I mean? But yeah. you know, it just as runners, you know, it's one foot in front of the other . And then just going from there,
Kevin Chang: [00:50:57]
I have one more question before we let you go. And that, that is about Boston because I know that this whole journey began because you were interested in running Boston. You want it to run it, you know, in your teens. Um, tell us about Boston. Cause I, as I understand it, you did eventually get to run it. Right?
###### Bob Anderson: [00:51:13]
I finally ran the Boston marathon 2013. I mean, I had hoped to have run the Boston marathon much earlier than my God. I wanted to run it, you know, way back in the 1960s.
Right? When we published Runner's World Magazine, we would go back and we would rent a ballroom at the Copley Plaza or whatever. And this was before. Trade shows and things like that, or expos as they call it, you know, and this would be the day before the Boston marathon. And we would pack. I mean, there would, there was nothing for the runners boot, so they would come to the ballroom and hang out with us.
And we, we had speakers and things like that. And that was really exciting, but I never had the opportunity, even though we did all these promotions, I never had the opportunity to run Boston. So after the 50 race challenge, My son. And I said, look well, actually, during the challenge, when we're back in Boston, in route to the Falmouth, we had met the, uh, PR director for the Boston marathon.
And so he let us run the Boston marathon as if we were a charity run. So we started back in the last wave, but we ran Boston, my son and I, we were together for about 10 miles. And then he was having some stomach issues. And then I went ahead and finished and I ran three 32, which was only like ninth place in my age division.
And I did figure because one of the people that I stood next to at the starting mine, knowing where she finished, I did have to pass about 17,000 people during the race. And I had three people pass me back. Was an exciting and exciting race to crowd. And I hope Boston will eventually be able to be back in that atmosphere.
Now that was the year, 2013, so I finished in three 30, two 17, and one of the few marathons. I've only run 11 that I had didn't fall apart. I finished my wife. Well at the time she wasn't my wife, but Catherine was upstairs at the finish line at this marketing company taking video and doing still photography.
And I tried to get ahold of her because of the pacing at the certain mats. And you can see where people are at anyway, before the start, when we were out and hop at the starting line. Uh, luckily we, we weren't able to hook up and I say that, luckily, because. So Catherine didn't know where we were. I finished, but she didn't see me finish.
She came down the elevator past the trash can, where the bomb was at and saw me. And she said, Oh, I somehow I missed you. You know? And I said, you know, we talk and, and I said, well, Mike and I parted at about 10 miles. And I don't think I passed him again, which I was almost positive. I had passed him back.
We waited there for a while and then Catherine said, well, let me go back to the hotel. I will see you guys back there. So I flew down the line and I pick up my metal and all that. And the, then the first bomb goes off, but I didn't know where Mike was at that point. Everybody was just. Well, it was hysterical and I'm trying to find Mike, but at the same time, we didn't know it was the bomb.
We thought it was some sort of ceremonial sort of saying or whatever it may be. And, you know, people just didn't know what was going on. And then I'm still looking for Mike and I'm trying to find the bus where we left our clothes. Yeah, that takes the call, the close from the starting line to the finish line.
And I couldn't find the bus. And then the next explosion happened now we're seeing police running full steam. We're hearing sirens. It's now in a panic. And I still have not been able to find Mike. I get to the bus finally, and his clothes. Were taken already. He obviously is okay, but I still can't find them.
So I go back to the hotel, you know, they were checking all IDs and already there was military people in the lobby. I mean, they did react very fast and you do not blow up any place in the United States. Right. Anyway, so I'm back up in the room and still not knowing the situation with Mike, the lobby phone rings.
And it was like the front desk or something like that. And there's so many down here, the CEO, and we didn't even identify that it was mine. So I came downstairs. I mean, what an emotional moment that was, he was okay. He finished three minutes ahead of the box.
Kevin Chang: [00:55:26]
Oh my God.
Bob Anderson: [00:55:27]
But the story is, if Catherine had known that Mike was finishing, then everybody has Boston stories.
I know that, but if I had made contact with Catherine about the tracker, she would have been in that second floor, which by the way, the windows were blown out. She would've been in the second floor. She would have taken the video and still shots of Mike crossing the line right now, my cross, the line three minutes before the bomb went off.
How long would it have taken Katherine to have said goodbye. Thank you very much. Get in the elevator, go down one flight and walk, you know, I mean, that's too close with all of this said and obviously the victims, and I'm glad that we actually needed my Mike and myself. We actually didn't physically, you know, we stayed, you know, we let the people do their work.
We did not go up to their, you know, up to the finish line. and my heart certainly goes out to all the people that were affected by what happened. But even with all that said the most exciting race. I've ever run in my life is the Boston marathon. Now I haven't run the London, the London marathon or Berlin, but the Boston marathon was such an exciting moment.
You feel like a rock star the whole way, and you can be running the pace on Iran. Yeah, it can be running at the front. It can be running slower than Iran. I think everybody feels like a rockstar and I really do hope that once we get this pandemic in handled, once there's a vaccine and people feel comfortable and officials that sign off on races, I mean, it's not just that.
The BAA wants to do the Boston marathon. All those cities have to sign off and the possible liabilities and everything else. I just, I cannot wait for the day that racing will be what it was because it was too exciting of a moment there. I don't feel quite as sick, as exciting in smaller races, but I mean, I love races of all sides.
And we need, we need to get, we need to get racing back on, on the calendars.
Kevin Chang: [00:57:27]
The story is so incredible and you're right. Like once we get races back, we'll be right there with you. You just let us know, you let us know what race he will be at and Bertrand, and I will show up and
Bertrand Newson: [00:57:37]
watch up with a red tank top.
Kevin Chang: [00:57:53]
Bob Anderson: [00:57:56]
we had really great guys, but really the weakness, as you said, originally, we could talk for hours because we're runners, right?
Kevin Chang: [00:58:04]
Absolutely. Well, we can't thank you enough for your time. Um, want to be respectful of it, even though we've probably taken up so much of it, but thank you again for all of your time.
All of the stories and like Bertrand said, we'll have you back. We'll have you back some time. So thanks again, Bob.
Bob Anderson: [00:58:18]
Yeah. Thanks so much, Kevin and Bertrand. I really appreciate it.
Bertrand Newson: [00:58:21]
don't forget that we have over 12 minutes of bonus content from this episode, including stories behind the grueling San Diego, half marathon, Bob talking about his favorite races from across the country details on the atmosphere from the indoor track meet where Americans broke the four minute mile.
And finally Bob gives his favorite story from running, which involves a blizzard in Kansas. You don't want to miss it. Visit us at community dot race, mob.com.
Kevin Chang: [00:58:48]
Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts and leave us a review until next time. Keep on moving.