In China...

At the palace, with popsicle...

At the Great Wall, with Erik Stahl of Sweden...


I began the year hobbling around on my strained/torn adductor through snow drifts on icy cold roads. I balanced this with swimming and strengthening exercises with weights and in the pool. One physiotherapist I visited, and I visited several , gave me a pair of neoprene trunks which I wore for support. Most of the advice I got from the medical community I felt was bogus so I devised a routine of my own to rehabilitate my injury.

At the end of 1980 I was number seven on the all-time performer list for American Marathoners and twenty four years of age. Someone with potential. When I was injured what were my options? Would my governing body (TAC-USA) provide assistance or my shoe company sponsor? No. In fact my sponsor threatened not to honor my contract because of my lack of performance. I had no medical insurance and so had to pay out of pocket for this large expense. What was a grasshopper to do? Stay focused and keep running. I was determined it wasn’t over for me yet.

Shortly after arriving home from a run one January morning I received an invitation to run in a 21k road race in San Cristobal, Venezuela. I was in no way ready to race but the race director seemed eager to have me and I was eager to lose the snow drifts so I decided to go as a "training trip" with a two week stay in Miami before coming home. The race was a semi- disaster as I struggled to a 29th place finish averaging around 5:20 per mile. I also got the inevitable stomach bug and struggled through my training runs the following week in Miami, but I did them eager not to miss any runs.

The two weeks in Florida went pretty well and I was beginning to get stronger. My immediate goal was the Penn. Relays 10k where I hoped to qualify for Track Nationals, which I did in 28:58 the same time I had run there two years before. This solidified my goals for running a track season with a race in Boston followed by two in Eugene and one at Berkley Ca. before the National in Sacramento. The trip out west was a tough one. Allergies bothered me in Eugene and the heat in Sacramento was overpowering, 100 degrees! Mostly though it was a lack of conditioning, I needed to get back to the consistent miles again.

I was planning a fall marathon and I had decided to run at the first Beijing Marathon. One element of being a top marathon runner that I enjoyed and an element which, when I started ,was all we had to look forward to, were the trips. I was intrigued. My sponsor however was less than thrilled and demanded I run NYC. That sealed it for me, I would run Beijing. Always remember who marathon athlete, who marathon athlete sponsor blowhards.

An account of this race, which presents an accurate picture of the experience, can be found in the Ken Kesey novel Demon Box. Also, with author's son's permission, see Running magazine's article, "Running Into the Great Wall" from 1982 issue. I ran like a dog and got passed 100m from the finish, beat out for tenth place and one of the cloisonne vases awarded to the top ten. I plan to write a "Remembrance" of this trip. 

On returning home I decide to give NYC marathon in a month’s time a go. It was risky but the year so far had been a mixed bag and so I thought I’d take a chance. My sponsor was pressing me as well. Two weeks after Beijing I won the National 20k Road Race in Houston Texas over what proved to be a short course. I then finished off the year with a 22nd place at NYC in 2:15:33. I was feeling a bit down after that but amazingly I got a call from a new potential sponsor and an invitation to compete in February in Japan! Get me back in the saddle! Bring on 1982.

1981 Races

January 20
XIII Media Marathon Internacional @ San Cristobal Venezuela.21k

Silvio Salazar Col. 62:14
Victor Mora Col. 62:18
Eloy Rodriguez Brasil 63:54
Bob Hodge Estados Unidos 70:19 UGH!

February 7
Gasparila 15k Tampa Fl.
48:40 (just behind Grete Waitz)

February 15
Lowell Ma. Lowell General Hospital 10k
1. 31:05

March 14
Jacksonville River Run 15k

Dan Dillon 43:33
Jon Sinclair 43:36
Steve Floto 44:33
Louis Kenny 44:36
Ibrihimu Kivina 44:38
Dick Buerkle 44:48
Dick Beardsley 44:55
Kyle Heffner 45:24
Bob Hodge 45:40
Dave Geer 45:57

March 29
Rockland Ma. 10k - 31:30

April 16
Boston College Relays 5k

Benji Durden 14:10.8
Bob Hodge 14:15.2
Mark Kimball 14:22.9
Buddy Bostick 14:30.8
Guy Stearns 14:34.4
Gary Crossman 14:35.8

April 23
Penn. Relays 10k

Tom Wysocki 28:44
Bob Hodge 28:58

April 26
WAQY RR Springfield Ma. 5m RR
- 1. 24:44

May 3
Bloomsday 12k RR Spokane Wa.

1. Duncan MacDonald
2. Jon Sinclair
3. Tom Wysocki 36:20
4. Benji Durden 36:36
5. Bob Hodge 36:36
6. Pete Pfitzinger 36:37
7. Dave Gordon 36:39

May 10
Charlie’s 10m RR Worcester, Ma.

1. Geoff Smith 46:25
2. Bob Hodge 47:26

May 28
Oregon Twilight 10k Track, Eugene Or.
- 3. 29:27

June 6
Prefontaine Meet 5k Eugene
- 8. 14:08

June 13
Brooks Meet Berkley, Ca. 5k

Quax 14:05

June 21
National T&F Meet Sacramento Ca. 10k

Hodge DNF 14:34 @ 5k

June 28
Cascade Run-off, Portland, Or. 15k
- 50:20

July 11
No. Falmouth, Ma. 5m RR

Vin Fleming 24:20
Bob Hodge 24:20

July 25
Carver Ma. 5m RR
- 24:46

August 16
Falmouth, Ma. RR 7m

1. Salazar 31:55.
2. Dixon 32:15
3. M. McLeod 32:32
4. K. Pfeffer 32:42
5. Virgin 32:50
6. Lindsay 33:00
7. T. Baker 33:01
8.R. Perkins 33:03
9. C. Spedding 33:07
10. Rojas 33:13
11. Gregorek 33:19
12. S. Bitok 33:24
13. D. Matthews 33:25
14. S. Vernon 33:27
15. Wysocki 33:32
16. O. Sanders 33:35
17. G. Fredericks 33:41
18. Bob Hodge 33:50
19. K. Heffner 33:50
20. P. Vaughn 33:54
21. J. Glidewll 33:56
22. W. Collins 33:57
23. S. Findley 33:58
24. J. Kooymans 33:58
25. M. Pinocci 33:59
26. G. Malley 33:59

September 7
New Haven CT. 20k

1. Greg Meyer 59:08
2. Bill Rodgers
3. Dave Babiracki
4. Bob Hodge 60:36

September 27
Beijing Marathon China

1. Kjell Erik Stahl SWE 2:15:20
2. Inge Simonsen NOR 2:15:51
3. Li Jong Hyon PRK 2:15:52
4. Go Chu Sen PRK 2:16:25
5. Agapius Masong TAN 2:16:35
6. Sugaya Hisaji JPN 2:17:30
7. Chuck Hattersley USA 2:18:12
8. Okubo Hatsuo JPN 2:18:29
9. Baruffo Tommaso ITA 2:18:53
10. Fukuyama Nobuyasu JPN 2:20:27
11. Bob Hodge USA 2:20:42
12. D’aleo Giovanni ITA 2:21:16
13. Inoue Fumio JPN 2:25:11
14. Donald Howieson CAN 2:25:30
15. Peng Jiazheng CHN 2:26:03

October 10
National 20k RR Houston TX. - GBTC won their 8th consecutive 20K championship.

1. Bob Hodge 57:10 (GBTC)
2. Brad Hurst 57:44 (GBTC)
3. David Odom 58:24
4. Michael Chambliss 58:26
5. Rodney Pearson 58:32 (GBTC)
6. Dave Reinhart 58:58 
7. Doug Sweazey 59:21(GBTC)
8. Gary Wallace 59:31  (GBTC)

October 2
NYC Marathon

1. Salazar 2:08:13
2. J. Toivola 2:10:52
3. H. Jones 2:10:59
4. N. Braun 2:11:09
5. R. Marczak 2:11:35
6. T. Sandoval 2:12:12
7. R. Gomez 2:12:47
8.D. Candanillas 2:13:10
9. A. Kasich 2:13:19
10.T. Persson 2:13:23
11. J. Lodwick 2:13:26
12K. ErikStahl 2:13:31
13. F. Szerskes 2:13:35
14. Inge Simonsen 2:13:37
15. O. Sanders 2:14:01
16. M. Magnani 2:14:27
17. L. Ostolazaga 2:14:29
18. O. Dahl 2:14:40
19. M. East 2:14:50
20. W. Saeger 2:15:02
21. T. Cotton 2:15:05
22. C. Stewart 2:15:08
23. E. Bergara 2:15:11
24. B. Hodge 2:15:33
25. S. Vega 2:15:09

November 15
Lowell Half Marathon Lowell Ma. -  1:08:21

December 19
BU All-Comers Track Meet 3k

S. Binns 8:05
B. Hodge 8:17

December 26
Boston College Christmas Relays 3k - 1. Hodge 8:18


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