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Australia's Ron Clarke was among the greatest middle-distance runners the world has seen. No record was safe from his determined and stylish assault, and at his peak he changed the whole concept of man's potential on the athletic track, breaking world records ranging from three to ten miles.
'We are witnessing a revolution,' said one startled athlete after Clarke had smashed a huge chunk from a record.
Not only did Clarke set new standards in athletic brilliance, but he and fellow Melburnian John Landy set the benchmark for sportsmanship in the sport that they graced with camaraderie and modesty. It was Landy who, in a race at Melbourne's Olympic Park shortly before the 1956 Olympic Games, helped Clarke to his feet after Landy had accidentally knocked him over yet had still managed to win the race.
In 1966, Clarke combined with author and journalist Alan Trengove in publishing 'The Unforgiving Minute', the story of Clarke's life. It is a gripping account of the runner's triumphs, and of his trials and tribulations. Many of the anecdotes that the book contains, such as the one above featuring Landy (a distinguished Governor of Victoria many years later) will be new to young readers, as will the precepts that Clarke adopted in his chase for records.
The book is reprinted in the hope that it will inform and inspire a new generation of young athletes.
If you ran round the streets in the 60s and 70s people would shout out, 'Who do you think you are - Ron Clarke?' The Unforgiving Minute will help you understand why we all wished we could answer: 'Yes'.
- Len Johnson
Ron Clarke is the true legend of Australian distance running. The way he attacked races from the start and the numerous world distance records that resulted continue to inspire athletes even today. "The Unforgiving Minute" is a terrific insight into a great visionary and a wonderful leader.
- Steve Moneghetti
Ron was an athlete well ahead of his time. His records are still world class today.
The Unforgiving Minute is an age old running classic. It tells Ron's story from young club level athlete to the powerhouse he became in the world of distance running.
This book gives a fantastic insight into the dedication and sacrifices required to succeed in the most competitive sport in the world
- Craig Mottram