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Hail the Under Dog

March 09, 2014 by Coach Gail

As you head into your last week before the NYC Half, do yourself a favor and watch the You Tube of Olympian Billy Mills winning the 1964 Olympic Games 10K.  (billy mills 10000 meter gold medal final). It will have you up on your feet cheering for this underdog.

Mills, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, was born in 1938 and grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. His father had a vision when Billy was ten years old. He told him that one day, he would soar with eagles in the air. Mills went on to the University of Kansas where he became an All-American.

At the Olympics, he was a nobody. Ron Clarke of Australia was picked to win. As you watch the footage of the race, he is barely mentioned until the last lap when he flies past everyone, just like an eagle. As Mills recalls, he had just lapped a West German runner, and as he passes he sees an eagle on the German’s jersey and his father’s words popped into his head. “I lengthened my stride and thought, ‘I have to go now. It’s now or never,’ ” Mills states. He passed the two leaders and broke the tape to win a gold medal and become the first American to win the 10K, setting a world record of 28:24.4. To this day, Mills is the only American to win gold in the Olympic 10K.

Mills is a strong believer in the power of words and visualization. “The subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination,” he said. “What you conceive and believe, you can achieve.”  Think of his words as you run your race next Sunday and soar like an eagle!
Coach Gail

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