“We have a responsibility to give back in any way that we can,” 1972 Olympian Eddie Hart told a group of San Quentin runners. He also gave running tips and shared his experience during his return visit to The Q.
“No matter the situation, you can overcome it. Moreover, to help others with that experience, you should want to help,” Hart added.
Hart started the All-in-One Foundation 11 years ago. It focuses on neighborhood kids and at-risk youth, teaching them job skills and training, as well as taking them on field trips.
Hart fielded numerous questions from the group, covering subjects from running techniques to performance-enhancing drugs, to suggestions on how to return to your community and start nonprofit groups like his All-in-One Foundation.
Christopher Markham, San Quentin All-Madden Flag Football team assistant coach, asked Hart to share insights on creating youth athletic groups.
“You want to connect with an organization and even think about starting a nonprofit because it’s going to be about the dollars. You want to look at doing fund-raisers, seeking grants, as well as donations.”
Hart added, “I like your question because you have – not just a duty – an obligation. You have an experience that you can share. That experience is important and valuable to children, especially where we come from.”
Thousand Mile coach Kevin Rumon added, “You should surround yourself with people that can help with skill sets when it comes to fundraising and donations. Get good, quality help.”
As for his foundation’s success, Hart smiled and said, “Eighty-seven percent of my athletes have gone from a two-year to a four-year school. All my kids get an offer of either financial assistance to a full ride. There is nothing more rewarding than helping kids – nothing,” he said.
“No matter the situation, you can overcome it. Moreover, to help others with that experience, you should want to help”
Hart earned a physical education degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He also studied kinesiology, biomechanics and exercise physiology.
Hart demonstrated physical movements relating to sprinting versus long distance running and advised the 1000 Miler Club members on long-term health issues.
“The human body was made to move in a certain way,” said Hart, speaking on the technique of running. “It’s locomotion. To move forward, you have to have force moving in the opposite direction.”
“Heel first is wrong when it comes to running. The ankle is designed as a shock absorber. In long distance running, you want to land toe first, a little more on the ball of the foot, yet leaning forward,” Hart demonstrated for the group at the July 11 event.
Regarding performance-enhancing drugs, Hart stated, “Drugs were never really an issue in the ’70s; technique was the prime focus. Aminos aren’t like performance-enhancing drugs. Aminos are protein. Egg whites are the best protein. Second to egg whites is non-fat milk.”
As for the state of track and field in America, Hart said, “Track and field is not that big of a deal in the United States. Even golf beats out track and field in the U.S.,” he added.
“When I was 13, I wanted to be an Olympian. To do that, I had to have good grades. So, to follow my dream also helped me focus on getting a good education. I went to Cal Berkeley due to having good grades.”
In the 1972 Berlin Olympics, Hart made international news when he missed his qualifying race for the 110-meter race, something that he began training for at age 13.
A mix-up in the scheduling cost him his opportunity to represent the U.S. in that race; however, Hart didn’t have time to grieve. He won a gold medal in the 4×100 relay race.
“Missing that race was the number one news story in the world. It was also the biggest struggle and obstacle I had faced in my life. It was the most pain I had ever dealt with. It felt like a parent losing a child that they had raised for 10 years,” Hart stated. “As a result, I grew from that experience. I learned to deal with adversity.”