Coach Fred Foot started the East York Track Club in 1948. East York was a municipality within Toronto. It is now a Borough. The club was originally a sprinters club and was known for its excellent sprint relays from the beginning. It is my understanding that the EYTC had at least one member on each Canadian Olympic Team from 1948 to 1984. In 1956 Canada’s whole sprint team was made up of members of the East York Track Club. In addition Fred Foot was the Olympic Coach. I understand that when Coach Foot returned from Melbourne he had a completely new approach to training.
I grew up in Timmins, a gold mining town 340 miles directly north of Toronto. I remember hearing of the sprinting exploits of Stan Levinson, Joe Forman, Jack Parrington and Dick Harding on the sports news on the radio in 1955 and 1956. In the fall of 1959, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario, I was fortunate to have been able to join in the Training of the East York Club.
East York collegiate had a 440 dirt/cinder track. The club met there each evening of the summer to train together. Usually, spikes were worn. There were 25 to 30 athletes. Occasionally, especially in the fall and spring we all trained together but usually we divided into groups–sprinters, middle distance runners and distance runners. The new runners and others trained in other groups until they were strong enough to join one the those three groups. All workouts were timed. Most training consisted of doing intervals.
Here is a sample of a typical week of training done by the distance group in the fall (September through October). I have not included the pace because it varied through the years and from group to group.
Mon—8x880 with a 440 jog
Tues—6-8 x 3/4 mile with a 440 jog
Wed—20 x 330 with a 110 jog
Thurs–20x 440 with 220 or 440 jog
Fri-----Rest or repeat Wednesday’s workout
Sat----Race or repeated intervals in hills, followed by a 3 to 6 mile run through the hills.
Sun----Rest (As the years went by some of us would do longer runs together. Bruce Kidd and I sometimes ran about 17 miles on Saturday or Sunday often at a good clip.)
Summer training–(May and June only. After June , training volume and intensity were reduced due to the hot weather) was done on a cinder track.
Mon—8x 3/4, jog 440
Tues–6-8 x 1 mile, 880 jog
Wed—10x 880 with 440 jog
Thurs–12 x 660, 220 jog
Fri—Rest or 30x 220 in 31-33, jog 110
Sat–Race, Time Trial or fun run
Winter Training was in Hart House on the University of Toronto track. The track had a cork-rubber composition and was similar to that shown above
There was no off season the first few years but I remember a week off in later years. After I had been with the club a couple of years some of us began running some mornings
Indoor training was on the University of Toronto’s Hart House’s track which was 153 yards long and had a cork-rubber composition surface. The runners in the EYTC became experts at indoor racing. The training distances were similar to that outlined above.
We all went to school or worked full time. Running was done in our free time. Coach Foot was a Toronto Police Force Accountant. He was also the coach of the University of Toronto’s Track team. I understand that for that he received about $100.00. The club dues cost each of us $10.00. (In early 1960 my permanent job earned me $50.00 a week. That was a very different era than to-days’)
Now what where the results from all of this Running? (I want to note that I found it all great fun). Bruce Kidd was 16 when I arrived in 1959. I was 7 years older. We ran together most of the time and we grew stronger and faster together. By 1962 Bruce had run a mile in 4:01.4 and 5,000 meters in 13:43.8 setting a United States open record while upsetting reigning Olympic Champion Murray Halberg. At 19, he won the Empire Games 6 mile and was third to Murray Halberg and Ron Clarke at 3 miles. Bruce was ranked second in the world at the 5,000 meters by track and Field News for the year 1962.
Bill Crothers was ranked first in the world at 880/800 in 1963 and 1965 and won a silver medal in the 1964 Olympics.
David Bailey ran a mile in 4:07.7 at 17 and became Canada’s first 4 minute miler in 1966 eventually running 3:57.7 in 1967.
More to come later.