September 11, 2014


 Tom Osler was born on April 26, 1940 and began racing at the age of 14. He has continued to race for the past 59 consecutive years. His diary now lists over 2300 races at all distances from one to 200 miles. He was National AAU Champion at 25 kilos in 1965 and at 30 kilos and 50 miles in 1967. He is the author of The Conditioning of Distance Runners, (1967), Serious Runner's Handbook, (1978) and Ultramarathoning, (with Ed Dodd in 1979). His best marathon was 2:29 at Boston in 1967 and he ran 50 miles on three occasions in 5:50. He was president of the Middle Atlantic RRC from 1965 to 1970, and founder and president of the Hudson Mohawk RRC (Albany NY area) from 1970 to 1972.  From 1960 to 1980 he was a member of Ted Corbitt’s RRC Road Measurement Certification Committee.  Today at age 75 he runs about 20 10 30  miles a week and races 5k almost every weekend. Best running times are: 6 Miles track 30:30 in 1965 and 1967; 10 Miles track 52:40 in 1966; Marathon 2:29:02 at Boston (18th) in 1967; 50 Miles track 5:49:14 in 1975; 100 Miles track in 16:11:15 in 1978. He has been a university mathematics professor for the past 53 years and is the author of over 140  mathematical papers. He teaches at Rowan University in New Jersey.


04/26/40 Born in Camden, New Jersey (April 26 is also the birthday of Browning Ross.)

02/xx/54 Tired of nerd status at school. I decide to go out for some athletic team to gain self-respect. Track seems to offer the best chance for success.

04/26/54 Receive a stop watch for my birthday. Begin running a timed mile, as hard as I can, every day. Hope to someday be the first man under four minutes.

08/xx/54 Meet Browning Ross at the National AAU 30 K Championship
on the Atlantic City board walk. Ross will be my hero, coach and mentor for my entire life. No other man except my own father will have so much influence on so many aspects of my life.

12/04/54 First race. Camden YMCA 4.7 mile handicap street run. Finish 33rd in 30:17.

01/30/55 I enter the Shanahan Marathon in Philadelphia and quit at 11 miles. Before the race I meet Ted Corbitt, Johnny Kelly, Jack Barry and Ralph Eilberg. Talking with these accomplished marathoners is a dream come true. Corbitt will have a powerful impact on me.

Xx/xx/55 Meet Jim Flanagan who is a senior on the Camden Catholic High track team. He beats me in every one mile race we run, and he continues to beat me today. (Jim was absent from competion for many many years after high school.)

04/20/55 First win. One mile in dual meet between Camden and Atlantic City High Schools. Time 5:10.2.

xx/xx/56 Browning Ross begins publishing the Long Distance Log, the only publication devoted exclusively to long distance running in the USA. The first issues are mimeographed on the backs of recycled high school history tests. The Log will be the major instrument to unite runners and address their concerns for the next 20 years.

Xx/xx/ 56 Meet Harry Berkowitz who runs for Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden. Harry will continue racing without interruption until today. Over the past 47 years, I have probably run in more races with Harry than with any other runner.

06/xx/56 Meet Jack Barry and Larry Delaney who introduce me to modern interval training. Workouts increase from 15 minutes to one hour each day.

01/27/57 Complete first marathon (Shanahan Marathon) in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia in 3:27:42. (Age 16).

09/xx/57 Enter Drexel Institute of Technology as an Electrical Engineering Major.

10/xx/57 Browning Ross organizes the first RRC Chapter in the USA here in the Middle Atlantic AAU District. I am a charter member. Now races every week, throughout the year are available for the first time in areas where an RRC is established.

06/xx/62 Graduate from Drexel as Physics Major.

Xx/xx/62 Meet Ed Dodd, Neil Weygandt, and Mike Brasco These younger runners will go on many long training runs with me. We will gradually learn the secrets to successful training.

09/xx/62 Begin graduate study at the Courant Institute at New York University in mathematics.

07/xx/63 Go on first diet and lose 20 pounds. Start running “long slow distance” of 70 miles per week. Adopt training ideas of the great New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard as expressed in his book Run to the Top.

06/23/65 Farnham Park, Camden 5.4 mile race. Significant because it is the first evidence that sharpening training when combined with long slow distance, can produce an improvement of some 20 seconds per mile.

07/31/65 Win Eastern Division of the National AAU One Hour Run Championship in 11 miles 533 yards. (Virginia)

xx/xx/65 Become president of the Middle Atlantic RRC, and remain president until I move to Troy New York in 1970.

08/14/65 Win National AAU 25 Kilos in Rochester New York, in 1:27:09.

10/xx/65 Tiger shoes become available. The first available commercial good shoes for running. Before this time, champion marathoners had their shoes hand made in Finland or Japan. For the past eight years I have been racing and training in regular light weight leasure dress shoes.

12/26/65 Win Ruthrauff Marathon in Fairmount Park in 2:34:07.

12/31/65 Run 66 races in 1965, including 28 firsts, 10 seconds and 10 thirds.

07/24/66 Set MAAAU ten mile track record in 52:40.2 at Tower Hill.

09/xx/66 Appointed Instructor in Mathematics at St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia.

03/19/67 Win National AAU 30 Kilo Championship in 1:40:40.8 in Maryland.

04/19/67 Finish 19th at the Boston Marathon in 2:29:04. My best ever marathon.

08/xx/67 Privately publish The Conditioning of Distance Runners. Probably the best thing I ever wrote on running. Only 32 pages and still circulating underground.

08/xx/67 Inspired by Ted Corbitt’s success in the 52 mile London to Brighton Race, I take a series of long runs with Ed Dodd, Neil Weygandt and others to learn how to run beyond the marathon distance. We start in Collingswood with the goal of finishing in Atlantic City, some 50 miles away,  via the White Horse Pike. After three tries we manage 50 miles and learn the importance of heavily sugared drinks. – In future years, both Ed and Neil will surpass my performances at races beyond 50 miles.

11/23/67 Win National RRC 50 Mile Championship in 5:52:33, missing the American record by seconds.

01/xx/68 First date with Kathy Richter. We agree to marry on the second date, and are married four months later on my birthday in April. Kathy’s warmth and love will be my inspiration for the remainder of my life.

05/xx/70 Earn Ph. D. in Mathematics from the Courant Institute at New York University.

07/10/70 First son is born – Eric Thomas Osler.

09/xx/70 Appointed Visiting Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. While in Troy for two years I organize and am president of the Hudson-Mohawk RRC.

09/xx/72 Appointed Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Glassboro State College where I am still teaching today. (Now called Rowan University)

Xx/xx/73 Ed Dodd and I begin researching the performances of old time pedestrians. This was the name given to professional runners who raced at all distances from sprints to six day events. These events peaked about 1888. Ed will write a historical masterpiece detailing these events. We learn the importance of mixing walking with running.

07/29/75 Second son William Thomas Osler is born.

08/09/75 Win 50 Miles Track Race at Fort Meade, Maryland in 5:49:14. My first ultra in eight years.

12/09/76 First 24 Hour Run on Rowan University Track. Cover 114 miles with a rhythm of running seven laps and walking one. First evidence that running and walking properly enables one to double the distance one could go by running steady.

08/05/78 Win 100 Miles Track Race at Fort Meade in 16:11:15.

09/xx/78 Write Serious Runner’s Handbook, published by Runner’s World Magazine. Over 25,000 copies sold.

09/xx/79 Write Ultramarathoning, The Next Challenge, with Ed Dodd. This is really two books under one cover. The first half is Ed’s terrific history of old time pedestrianism. The rest is my “how to do it” stuff. Published by Runner’s World Magazine.

05/xx/81 Inducted into the National RRC Hall of Fame.

06/05/82 Vineland to Sea Isle City 36 Miles Race. My last ultramarathon. Trouble with my feet makes it unreasonable to continue competing in races this long.

Xx/xx/82 Begin training with Marge Morris (Travaline). Marge is now the only runner who will train with me because I use such a slow pace. Most training runs are now slower than ten minutes per mile. For the next twenty years, we will run together once or twice a week. Marge and I share excellent conversation for countless hours on the road.

11/18/84 Complete my 1000th race.

12/xx/84 Runner’s World reprints my first little book The Conditioning of Distance Runners in serial form in two issues of their magazine.

06/28/87 Enter my first triathlon. I will finish 39 triathlons and biathlons over a period of  six years.

09/22/92  My last biathlon. Two bad bicycle crashes, both involving broken bones, convince me that I do not have the necessary road concentration to be a safe cyclist. So I reluctantly retire from multi sport events.

06/08/96 Complete my 1500th race.

04/xx/98 Inducted into the Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fame after being nominated by Browning Ross. This is his last gift to me after a lifetime of giving.

04/27/98 Browning Ross dies, but his memory lives on in those who were fortunate enough to know him personally. He was the first runner I ever met, and no other runner has influenced me more. He was a mentor and a friend whom I shall miss dearly. Part of him became part of me, and I am the better for it.

01/23/03  I suffer a stroke at  4 am. I collapse with dizziness and vomating while going to the bathroom. I return to bed at awaken feeling ok at 8 am. Not knowing I had a stroke, I run a 5k race at 1 pm, and run my usual time. Two days later, after another dizzy spell with vomating, I go to the hospital where the diagnosis of stroke is made. After two weeks in the hospital it is determined that a blood clot caused the stroke. I return to work and reduced running in early March. Fortunately, I enjoy a complete recovery. I resume racing in May, 2003.

12/04/04  It has been fifty years since my first race on December 4, 1954. I have competed in over 1800 races since that date.

-- /-- /05   My wife Kathy has progressively worse back pain. We think it is arthritis, but it will later be diagnosed as multiple myeloma. This is a cancer of the blood that destroys bones. She is in great pain, and it is so very stressful to see her crying..

05/--/05  I black out after a 5k race and fall backwards hitting the pavement with my head. I revive immediately and have a small concussion.

05/30/05  Kathy begins treatment for her cancer.

07/--/05   For the second time I black out after a 5k race. This time I  drop in front of Karen Web, a critical care nurse. Karen tries to revive me with CPR. An ambulance crew is on hand who apply an external defibulator that gets my heart going again. I wake up in an ambulance about 15 minutes after blacking out. Fortunately, I am ok. At the hospital they conclude that a major blood vessel (the LAD artery) on my heart is totally blocked, but that did not cause my problem. The doctors say that this coronary disease has been with me for many years.  My problem was an electrical malfunction. Because this has happened twice in three months, I have an internal defibrillator implanted. I leave the hospital after 6 days and begin immediately walking and running. Surprisingly, I feel very good. I begin entering races again, but I vow never to push myself into the "uncomfortable "zone. I run easily at the back of the pack as a "participant", which I love doing. Serious racing is over for me, but running, which is in my blood, remains a daily activity that gives me great satisfaction.

10/--/05   Kathy begins to respond favorably to her cancer treatment.  She has been in bed for four months, and has had her hip replaced. By Christmas she is walking, and by late January 2006, she starts driving.

09/22/07  I run my 2000th race, a 5k in Riverton, NJ.

09/11/2014  This is a seven year update. Naturally my times in the races I participate in (almost all 5K) gradually slow by about 10 seconds/mile per year. In 2013 my average 5K time is about 29:00 +/- 0:60. However in March of 2014, my times slow dramatically by ab0ut another 45 seconds per mile. This follows th Glassboro Ten Miler which I run in 2:02. I thought it induced a slump, but six months have passed with no real recovery. I just don’t have any “zip”. I find it very hard to warm up into an easy flowing stride.

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