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Why Jogging Was So Dangerous In The 70s

Jogging had become more of a popular pastime in New Zealand in the 1960s, and returning from a trip there, the University of Oregon’s running coach, Bill Bowerman, decided to try and popularise the practice. Along with Dr W. E. Harris, to explain the health benefits, Bowerman released 'Jogging', a book encouraging everybody to engage in the activity, not just athletes and soldiers.

During the 1972 Olympics, Frank Shorter became the first American to win the Olympic marathon since the turn of the century. Receiving coverage on ABC, Shorter gained adoration from the American public. Jogging had finally entered the public consciousness.

Recreational running was at first met with stares and suspicion from pedestrians. It was regularly reported that self-consciousness was a big hurdle for many early runners. Being interviewed for the Financial Times, British Army Medical Corpsman Jerry Morris commented ‘people thought I was bananas’ when he used to take his weekly Sunday run.

Not only that, but the pastime also caught the attention of local authorities, and joggers were regularly being profiled in Chicago. An early advocate and jogger, Dick Cordier, was arrested in New York during a recreational run for Illegal Use of the Highway. Seasoned runners encouraged new practitioners to jog in the morning to avoid police suspicion.

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I am a freelance writer with an interest in wrestling, culture, music, podcasts and literature. Currently working in projects involving creative regeneration.