Running was one part physical, and a larger part mental. Long distance training under Coach Kampmann was a mix of approaches: speed-play techniques from Finland, repetitions on the track, and long slow distance (LSD).
We ran at the area’s golf courses, throughout Brentwood and UCLA, at the Santa Monica beach.
On weekends, we ran through the canyons north of Sunset.
My first run was from our house in the Fairfax district to the top of Mt. Though I ran only the first two miles and walked the rest, I was hooked.
Fairfax did not have a strong tradition of long distance and track athletes.
Like other successful high school coaches, Kampmann brought a commitment and passion to the sport that was contagious.
Running was not done part-time or occasionally; it was a daily, year-round regimen.The following year, Dan Schechter won the city mile championship with a time of .In dual meets, the half-mile squad, led by Gary Shapiro, regularly ran in the s. During the next two years, Fairfax won 14 straight dual meets.According to Gabe Grosz’s history of Fairfax track, the school lost every track meet between 19.But all that changed in the fall of 1967 with the arrival of a new coach, John Kampmann.We’d start at Burton Way and La Cienega and each week choose a different canyon: Franklin Canyon, Coldwater Canyon, Benedict Canyon, Beverly Glen Drive – 12, 14, 16 miles.Often on Sundays, we’d do a canyon run in the morning and come back at night with a three- or four-mile run at the Los Angeles Country Club.But a vibrant distance running community emerged in the 1960s.This community was linked by a network of all-comers races, weekly road races and newly established marathons.Before distance running entered the mainstream culture in the 1970s, before marathons and road races attracted thousands of runners, before Nike and Reebok, there was a distance running subculture in Southern California.You wouldn’t have known it existed from the or local television and radio.