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Runner’s World

May 1979

Derek Clayton: The World’s Fastest Marathoner

For More Than A Decade Thousands Have Chased His Time

The day was damp and chilly like the inside of a lizard’s mouth. Storms had been marching through the area all week and a new assault was on the horizon as the 120 runners lined up on the campus road, blowing into their hands, stamping their feet, and being very reluctant to remove their warm-up clothes to expose themselves to the lizard’s tongue.

Instructions were being given by an elderly man who clutched a stopwatch to his chest as though he were protecting it from the cold. The signal to start was given and the runners in the front were off down the road, heading for the edge of the campus. As the leaders left the campus a chilly wind met them, the first tentative kiss of the storm that was slithering over the hills they were running toward.

Less than a half-mile into the race, a tall, very intense, dark-haired man moved into the lead. He was nattily dressed in matching adidas blue shirt and shorts; his stride was not extremely long, but his legs moved swiftly for a man better than six feet tall. Although the race was a low-key fun-run, nothing about the racer was low-key. His stride was not especially smooth and flowing; rather, it was quick and powerful. His concentration was evident in the intensity behind his eyes and in the relentless machine-like duplication with every two strides of the two strides before them.

By the mile mark the pursuers, a local runner who is considered very good from 5-10 miles, and a visiting Japanese runner wearing the traditional white uniform with the Japanese characters scrawled on his chest, were battling it out for second place 100 yards back. The leader assaulted the slight upgrade, his arms crossing his chest slightly, his head cocked slightly to the right, the skin of his face pulled tight in supreme concentration. His form, as it characteristic of may champions, was far from perfect. It was obvious he had worked long hours to get the most efficiency he could muster from what his body already had going for it.
When the narrow road was free of traffic, he ran in the middle of the left lane, trying to avoid the crown that would aggravate any foot or leg problems he might have.

Just beyond the mile mark, the lizard flicked its tongue and the first drops of rain fell. The lead runner ignored them; they fell as though on a granite cliff-face that had seen rain fall on it for centuries without leaving an impression.

The upgrade increased and the runner allowed his arms to cross his chest even more radically, the upper body motion assisting his legs on the hill. The rain had picked up considerably; it washed away the perspiration that had been building on his forehead.

When he reached the turnaround point, he made a short loop, slowing his pace a bit as he changed gears to handle the pounding his legs would take on the downhill. “I really hate downhill running,” he had said before the start of the race. “It’s terrible for your legs. I’ll take uphill running any day. I may just stop at the halfway point and job back in. I hate downhills.”

A few days before he had been talking about what it takes to be outstanding in distance racing if you are a bigger-than-average runner. “The big guy has to try harder,” he said. “I think this is the advantage a big, strong person has got. Like me, there is no way I’m going to get away with the training that I’d like to do if I were smaller. I didn’t train as hard as I did because I loved to do it. If I could have gotten away with training hard at 80 miles a week, I would have done it. But to me, to get that feeling of supreme strength, that feeling of running really well, I had to be up to 140-150 miles a week. Now that doesn’t sound exceptional, I know. A lot of guys are training that much. But I mean 140-150 miles of high-quality running. I didn’t want to do it; I did it because I had to.

“There are no shortcuts. I read articles where this diet or that diet will cut time off your marathon, or where eating special natural foods will help you. I can’t be bothered with all that. There is no shortcut for plain hard work. You put in the mileage, you put in the time, you set your goals, you become a champion or a top athlete—then you might be able to knock off a couple of seconds from your marathon time with a carbohydrate diet.  Ate home-cooked food, and lots of it, good solid food. And I trained hard.

“The marathon runner should be a really tough guy. If he wants to knock his time way down to a 2:07 mark, I think he’ll have to be very, very strong. He doesn’t necessarily have to be as tall as I am, but he has to be very rugged, with a lot of power, because you get your important fast miles in around the last six miles—that’s what makes the difference in getting down below 2:10.”
Derek Clayton is the only person in history to ever run more than one sub-2:10 marathon. He powered under 2:10 twice in his illustrious career. In Antwerp, Belgium 10 years ago, at a race that began at 7:00 p.m., he ran a marathon in 2:08:33.6. His world record has never even been approached.

Today Derek Clayton considers himself a fun-runner, someone who runs and who will run for the rest of his life because he enjoys running. Now, on the downhill portion of the five-mile fun-run course, firmly inside the mouth of the lizard, the rain falling heavily, Clayton ran on, his hair sopping above eyes that had not changed an iota in their concentration through the miles. His head was still cocked slightly to the right, not a dry part of him except a small portion of his back where his perspiration and the rain he was driving into had not penetrated. He ran on, further into the lizard’s mouth, unimpressed by anything except his driving legs and his bellow lungs.

There is a photograph of Derek Clayton taken during 1970 in which he has a mustache that is thick and black and turns down at the edges. He looks into the camera with wry defiance, as though to shrivel James Dean and Marlon Brando and any other fantasy rebels. He looks as though he could bend steel with his very gaze.

“I never socialized with a runner I was going to compete against,” Clayton says as he sips a glass of wine following a hot shower to get the damp feeling of the run out of his body. “Sometimes I never shook hands with them before a race, even if they made the gesture. That’s just how it was. I was there to race.

“I certainly wasn’t training my guts out just to get knocked over in the race. I was like a child, who had been given a present for Christmas and had it taken away. I felt I had the right to the win, to take the medal, because I trained so bloody hard. I wanted to keep it. Before the race even started, I felt I deserved to win that race, so I though everyone was trying to take it away when it was rightfully mine. I really felt that when I started that race I deserved to win it!”

Clayton shifts his lanky form in his chair, carefully placing the glass on the table. Although he dresses in a sporty style outside his office, his wardrobe is fashionable and sleek. He somehow manages to wear clothes without wrinkling them. He was never shy about wrinkling his opponents, however, both physically and mentally. At the height of his career as a marathoner, he reputedly made the statement that he loves to have another runner next to him at 15 miles so he can begin grinding them into the ground.

“I actually did say that,” Clayton says, the corners of his mouth going up in a wide smile, the smile spreading to his eyes, the little area above his nose wrinkling slightly. “I’d like to think I was a pretty good competitor. I took up running and competing because I enjoy the competition. I think one of the great things about running is that it’s an individual sport. You can play the greatest game in the world when you’re playing football or basketball, but because it’s a team sport, if the rest of the team doesn’t compete as well as you do that night, you can still lose the game.

“That’s one of the great things about our sport: You don’t need anyone else; it’s just you and only you. When you’re out on that track or on that road course, it’s you against the rest of the world. I think that is really great. If you don’t run well, you’ve got only yourself to blame.”

He glances out the window a moment, perhaps reflecting on some of the classic exchanges in surges he’s had with some of the world’s greatest marathoners. It is still raining, hard.

Still holding the thread of the conversation as it pertains to getting the competitive edge, he continues to watch the rain. “I think it’s good to also mix with people who are not in our particular sport. I think if you’re a golfer, it’s bad to be with golfers all the time. If you’re a runner, it’s bad to mix with runners all the time.

“When I was training hard I used to enjoy getting out and socializing with guys who wouldn’t be interested in running. That made me feel as though I was getting a complete break from the hours on the road, and I felt that was good for me. Now I’m not saying this is good for everyone; this is the way I’m used to operating. I felt by getting away with guys that weren’t in athletics, I got a needed break.

“I enjoy going out and going to parties and mixing with people; I especially enjoyed going out with people who didn’t know who I was and wouldn’t talk about it. When I was mixing with a lot of guys who were training, quite often the conversation would go around to training, and that’s not really like getting away—it’s like being at work all the time, for 24 hours a day and living at work. I don’t think that’s good for anyone; I know it wouldn’t have been good for me.”

He turns around, retrieves his glass, and takes a sip. The topic of his world record comes up. “I may well be proven wrong, but my feeling is that when someone breaks my world record, they’re not going to do it by knocking two minutes off. I think those days are gone. I think when it goes, it might be by about 15-20 seconds. [In fact, when fellow Aussie Rob de Castella broke Clayton’s record on Dec. 6, 1981—Clayton’s record stood for 12 years—it was by 16 seconds: 2:08:18.]

“I think it’ll be many years before we see a 2:05. I think it’s ridiculous to talk about it. I think the less the 2:05 marathon is discussed, the better. In my eyes, it’s stupid to talk about it, it’s just putting silly ideas into the mind of the average guy who doesn’t know any better.

“The next step is for him to begin thinking about the two-hour marathon, and that’s really ridiculous. It’s self-destruction. All you have to do to pout in all in its proper perspective is to break down the splits. You’re talking about stringing together four world-record times for the 10,000-meters. How is anyone going to do that? A lot of guys can’t even do that one 10,000-meter race in the necessary time, let alone four of them together. It will never be done.”

He turns back toward the rain for a moment. When he turns around again he is smiling, his mind spinning off on another path, gaining momentum. Clayton, perhaps in response to the long and lonely hours of dedicated work he put in on the roads, is extremely gregarious and enthusiastic almost to a fault. His wife Jenny, an elementary school teacher, sits back and lets him roll along. Occasionally, when he gets too serious, she throws in a barb that elicits a sound belly-laugh from him.

“Potatoes,” he says, as though he’s already been talking about potatoes. “I suppose it was my Irish background. [Clayton arrived in Australia from Barrow-in-Furnace, England, by way of Belfast, Ireland, where he lived until 1963.] I just had a tendency to want potatoes when I was done running. The main part of the Irish diet was potatoes and I just felt when I trained hard I needed potatoes—I loved to eat potatoes. They’re very high in carbohydrates and I just shoveled them in. When I was in heavy training, my non-running friends would see me having a beer or drinking wine or having chips or French fries, or whatever you call them here, eating ice cream and stuff like that, the sort of food a sportsman would eat, and they would say, ‘You shouldn’t eat that stuff.’ But a person who is highly active, and I still am, is the sort of person who can eat most of the day and who doesn’t have to be careful of his diet. When you burn up the number of calories a marathon runner does, you can afford to eat those things. That’s my opinion, whether the medical profession or a nutritionist would agree or not. I had a mean and ferocious appetite; I used to enjoy eating all the time.”

“You still do,” Jenny says, smiling.

He laughs from low in his belly. “Yes, yes,” he says, “and Jen makes sure I don’t starve. Do I look like I’m starving?”

The only thing Clayton has starved for during his life is a brake on his enthusiasm for setting goals. Before he and his mother moved to Australia in 1963, he had seen Gordon Pirie’s skillful running several times on television and had been profoundly inspired by watching Herb Elliott’s performance at 1500 meters in the 1960 Olympics. In Melbourne, his interest in running was really ignited.

He started with visions of becoming a great miler, pushing himself through grueling workouts day-in and day-out, which were to become his trademark. One year he ran intervals every day, experimenting on his body, trying to find its weak points so that he might build them into strengths. His amazing single-mindedness led him to a formula of doing long, hard runs. His training was awesome, although he firmly asserts that the legends of his 200-mile weeks were very much exaggerated. “I only ran two 200-mile weeks in my life,” he says, “and I’d never want to do another one again. With the kind of high-quality training I was doing, I’d have killed myself doing 200-mile training weeks. During the weeks before a marathon, I would go up to 140-160 miles a week of good, hard training, but I wouldn’t stay there forever. I don’t see what good it would do anyone to run 200 miles a week.”

Clayton found himself just a bit too slow to be a good miler, but he very wisely figured he could combine the speed he’d developed from training for the mile with his incredible endurance. He became a marathoner. He began marathoning more out of curiosity than out of an intent to become the best in the world, but once he entered marathons and found that he was suited to them, his goals took a typical Clayton upturn and he wanted to be the best in the world. In a 1971 interview he made a very telling comment that seems to characterize his attitude toward goals: “I believe in getting from point A to point B as fast as possible. When I drive my foot’s always down to the floor board—either on the gas pedal or the brake.”

This year is the 10th anniversary of Derek Clayton’s world-record Antwerp marathon. What many people don’t realize is that Clayton has actually been the world record-holder in the marathon since December of 1967, when he ran his first sub-2:10 at the Fukuoka Marathon. At that time the world record was 2:12; Clayton unleashed a 2:09:36.4. His 2:08:33 in Antwerp in May of 1969 merely bettered his own record by more than a minute.

His performance at Antwerp, however, came in the middle of a year that can only be described as a maelstrom. It was the year in which Clayton proved that even someone who has built the image of an iron-man can be weakened.

Never at his best in warm weather, Clayton had run a 2:17:26 in Ankara, Turkey on May 19. The weather was hot. “I was surprised it didn’t take that much out of me when I won the race in Turkey,” Clayton says back at the table, where he leans back in his chair comfortably as he remembers. “I seemed to recover from it very quickly.

“So when I got to Antwerp, with the cold weather and the crowd of people there to see the marathon, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to break my record. I had this vision of one day running 2:07 for a marathon; I felt that if I could do that, I would have the record for many years. When I went out to try to break the 2:09 barrier, I personally thought I was ahead of my time. I trained really, really hard and I knew I was a very strong runner and I knew I was capable of running myself right out.”

Clayton says that he knew he was on a record pace but with the cheering crowd he couldn’t get times. “In the last 10 kilometers I really ran like a scalded cat, so I ran myself right out!” he says, his speech becoming animated. “While I was running I didn’t feel too exhausted. I felt sure I had broken the world record, but I wasn’t sure by how much. When I found out, I was very happy but a little disappointed that I didn’t break 2:08. I don’t think I could have run a second faster; I’ve got no doubts about that.”
The record was set a mere 11 days after his 2:17:26 in the heat of Turkey. The exhilaration of having broken the world record buoyed Clayton for several hours, but then his body began paying the price of the supreme effort.

Following is a recounting, in Clayton’s own words, of his world-record marathon:


I was feeling absolutely great. And I was feeling so good that, in having discussions with the promoters, I said, “I’m going to go for a faster time and I want to make sure the course is exactly the right length.” I have always been very fussy about the lengths of courses, as marathon courses can quite often be short—and there is nothing worse than having run a marathon and finding out afterward that it has been a half-mile short. It then becomes a non-event, and there is nothing worse than an athlete having a non-event: Running a marathon and busting your guts and finding out that it is a half-mile short because then it is just no marathon at all. It’s just a waste of time. And I said to the guys over there, “Look, I’m going for a fast time—I can’t promise you a record, but I can promise you one thing: It’s going to be fast.”

And so I said, “I want this course checked out.” I said the same after Fukuoka in Japan. I wanted that course checked out. I wanted to make sure it was the proper distance—and that was ultimately done.

I remember speaking to Jim Hogan—he was a well-known British runner of that time. We were driving to the start. It was a perfect night and the conditions were great. It was started at 7 p.m. There’s no good trying to run a world record in a marathon in 70, 80, or 90 degrees. There is no way anyone is going to handle 2:08 in those conditions. You’ve got to have a good field because a high-class field pushes you. You’ve got to have a lot of enthusiasm there—you’ve got to have everything right for it.

And I felt this night that everything was right for me. I was running well, the people were there, the enthusiasm about the race was fantastic and the weather was absolutely right: It was cold and windless. I said to Jim Hogan driving over in the bus, “Jim, I think I’m going to crack my 2:09.” He didn’t believe me. He said, “What do you think you can run?” I said, “I reckon I could run 2:07 or 2:08.” He said , “I wish you luck.” I don’t think he really believed me.
It was one race I really went for. We ran through the first 10,000 meters in 29:25, which is a pretty fast pace. I didn’t take the pace. The guy who led the race was a Kenyan guy who was confident of doing pretty well. He led and afterward I said, “Do you know what your best 10,000 meters was?” He said, “Well, that’s it.” I said, “Well, why did you want to run that fast?” And he said, “You have got to be in it to win it.”

He wasn’t in it too long, I can tell you. He didn’t finish, but I was happy because it got me motoring and I think once you get moving like that, at that sort of pace, and you still feel good, you just keep going on. I had the proper splits so I knew I was running fast. I knew I was on the world record pace for sure. It was just a matter of how much. So when I crossed the line in 2:08:33, it wasn’t a surprise; I just thought it was just a result for a lot of hard work.

But the thing that I remember most about the 2:08 was two hours later the elation had worn off. I was urinating quite large clots of blood, and I was vomiting black mucus and had a lot of black diarrhea. What I don’t think too many people can understand is what I went through for the next 48 hours. I have discussed this with the medical profession, asking them why this should be and I have never received a satisfactory answer. I only know one thing. After that 2:08, I was virtually finished. If anyone ever flattended themselves to run a race, I did on that particular day. I don’t think anyone could realize just what it took out of my body. When I look back on that next week after that race, I wasn’t the same person.

It too me a long, long time to recover from that. I would say that it took me up to six months to recover from it. It worried me that I was urinating large clots of blood—it didn’t seem normal. It is quite normal for an athlete to pass a certain amount of blood in his urine, but what I passed the next 48 hours was something unbelievable.

It made me think that I am not sure if anyone is going to get close to this for quite a while. I know I had a certain amount of ability running marathons because it came pretty easy to me, so obviously there must have been a certain amount of natural ability there, and I have run 2:09, I’ve run a few 2:11s, I’ve run 2:10s, but nothing, nothing has come anywhere close to what I went through to win with 2:08. In retrospect, it has been no surprise to me that no one has knocked that time off, because training really hasn’t advanced that much.

I think I was one of the ones who paved the way for running 140, 150, 160 miles a week. I don’t think anyone has changed that. The top guys are still running around those distances, but the top guys are not running any faster than what I ran in training. So really, until a guy comes along who is pretty strong, or in fact much stronger, it won’t happen.

Clayton at that point wanted nothing more than to go back to Australia to rest and recuperate from the effort. Unfortunately, he had committed himself to a European tour. In England and Europe for the summer, he competed on the track almost every second night in anything from 3000 to 10,000 meters.

But Clayton had been keying on Manchester and England’s Ron Hill. “I couldn’t wait to get in there to run against him,” Clayton says, getting up and pacing, his talk becoming more animated all the time. “You see, I built Ron Hill up more than what he really was. And I built up the marathon in Manchester to be the big one. So when I got to England I began training hard right away. What I should have done was to rest for a week or two. Not a complete rest. Just go out and jog very slowly to get my strength back. But I didn’t. I tried to go out and run 10 miles a day. It was a big effort—a really big effort, and I should have had more sense. That was one big mistake I made.

“The tour was three months long. There were many times during the tour when I just wanted to go home. I felt like crying, I also felt like dying, everything I did on the tour seemed to take more out of me. I just wanted to go home.

“The English press played the Manchester race up as the big challenge of the century,” he says, reclaiming his seat and becoming dark and reflective for a moment. “I’d probably say that in a sense it was one of the harder races I ever ran in my life. It required a great deal of effort. It was one hell of a grind. I ran myself into the ground again. Ron Hill and I led the whole way, battling it out.

“Ro beat me by about two minutes. I came in second in 2:15, but in the last three miles I was finished. After that race I was absolutely fringed. I had a complete layoff for about four weeks. I couldn’t face training. Everything was drained. I couldn’t wait to get home. Even after that month’s rest with just jogging, I really didn’t seem to pick up that quickly. I just seemed to be going dead. It was Christmas before I wanted to run again.

“The following year I got injured very quickly. It was two weeks before I really ran another marathon. That three-month tour took more out of me than anyone really realized. The feeling I had after Antwerp, and after Manchester, I would never want to experience again. On looking back at that period, I will say that I never did run as well again, ever.”

Clayton pauses for a moment, glances out the window at the persistent rain. “I don’t know why I never ran as well again. It could have been mental and it could have been physical. It could have been lack of interest, it could have been a combination of things. I never felt right after that, though. I tried to come back too quickly. I think efforts like that take more from your body than marathoners think. I think a top marathoner could knock off 2:15s and 2:16s. He could handle that, but getting down around 2:10, that takes a lot out of him. It’s very easy for someone who runs 2:10 to suddenly think, ‘Well, if I can run 2:10, why can’t I run 2:07?’ It’s only natural. But those 2:10s take a lot out of you.

“If I had it to do over, I would plan more carefully. I certainly wouldn’t do what I did with that tour. That was reckless on my part, to say the least. Toward the end I retired from racing, not because I was too old. I just felt I’d had enough. It was as simple as that. I wanted the world record and I had it. I dearly wanted a gold medal. I think I wanted a gold medal more than anything.
“The world record can be taken away from me, and I’m the first to realize that. I’m fortunate to have held it as long as I have. But once you have the Olympic gold medal, no one an ever take that away. You’ve got that to keep.

“One of the reasons I retired from serious racing was because I felt I never had a chance to win a gold medal. I think I had the ability, no question about it, but I could never handle running in hot weather. I don’t think a big person can handle running long distances in hot weather as well as someone more lightly built. I have a lot of energy I have to expend. I don’t run smoothly, and my style is rugged, toughish. Consequently, I generate a lot of body heat. When the sun is out, I generate even more heat. In hot weather I can never expect to do better than 2:17.

“I tried training in the heat to acclimate my body to the hot weather, but it never worked. I was continually thirsty, and then when I was thirsty I seemed to lose my rhythm; my style of running relies an awful lot on my rhythm. Once I get out of that rhythm, I seem to use three times more energy than I normally would.

“The Olympics are always held in the summer and frequently in a hot country. The chances of me ever getting a cold day to run an Olympic marathon seemed pretty slight.

“When I ran in Mexico City, there was a humidity problem. I have this allergy problem, which I tried to believe wasn’t going to affect me, but after being there a while I knew it was going to be a problem, and of course it was. I ran a 2:27 in Mexico for seventh place.

“I went to Munich and the weather was hot and sticky. Even before the gun went off I was looking for a drink and I drank at every aid station they had.

“When I ran my best times, I never had a drink at any station. To me this is very significant.

“So I thought about that seriously, and asked myself, ‘Why go on, why slash myself like I’m doing?’ There was no way I could win a gold medal. I was plagued because of the way I trained and I had injury problems. During my career I’ve had nine surgical operations. I had great difficulty in being able to get a week’s training in without something going wrong.

“So, realizing that my chances of winning a gold medal were very little, and knowing that I was never really interested in winning a silver or bronze medal—that’s how I am—I knew that I had to quit. Winning was all. I could never go into a race and sit back hoping to come through. There was only one way for me. To run a race, you ran it from the front; not necessarily leading the pack, but right up there. I knew that wasn’t going to be possible at the Olympics, so I gave it away. It’s as simple as that.”

The rain had stopped an hour before. The road is still wet and damp, water dripping lazily from trees. Derek Clayton is walking casually along the side of the road.

“After my decision to quit the competitive running,” he says, “I still felt a need to run, because that’s a big part of my life. I wanted to get some enjoyment from running, which I hadn’t been doing, so I figured by running anywhere from a one- to a 10-mile run at a time, I could enjoy it the rest of my life. I enjoyed that. It wasn’t going out and running hard; it was just running the pace I wanted to run. And if I ran with anyone else, we talked, which is something I never did before. If I went out with a guy before, we talked the first mile or two, but then it was time for action, no time to chit-chat. But once I retired, I thoroughly enjoyed my runs. I continue to run and keep very, very fit.

“When I see people on drugs and doing very poorly in their lives, it seems very sad to me. It seems to me a complete waste not to do something, not to achieve something. There’s no way I’d ever allow space in my life for drugs or cults or whatever. I think they are easy ways out; they are allowing something else or someone else to regulate your life. The feeling of accomplishment from life comes from taking an assessment of your abilities and then trying to make the best use of them. If you work hard at it, you may surprise yourself and find that you have more abilities than you originally thought you did. To me, that’s one of the most pleasant surprises you can ever get. I’ve often been pleasantly surprised by my ability to discover new abilities within myself. I’m still finding them.”

Clayton’s 6’2” frame still carries his 160-pound racing weight. He still occasionally does a 10-mile run at a 5:30 or better pace. He’s feeling pretty good, feeling strong again after coming off another of his numerous operations. He has taken up golf and orienteering. “When I was in competitive running,” he says, “I think I was suited to it because of my nature, and I could put my head down and run like almighty hell. But with golf, it’s quite a different game; the harder you try, the worse you get. You’ve got to relax and keep calm all the time. You can’t afford to get aggressive. That’s a challenge to me. I also thoroughly enjoy orienteering because I enjoy the running part of it and you get to use a compass, which I enjoy.”

In Australia, Clayton has made his living for 17 years as a very successful engineer, and he sold real estate as an additional interest. However, he says he is not really content. “When I’m a lot older, I can look back on my life and think: ‘Derek, you’ve done a fair job with the abilities you were born with.’ Some of us are born with more abilities than others,” he continues, “and all you can do is get better than you thought you possibly could. And that’s all I ever want to do. I’m coming to a crossroads in my life.

“I think a person goes through different stages in his life. I don’t think anyone gets one particular challenge and sticks with it throughout his whole life. But as one challenge presents itself, you throw your all into it and you achieve success at that and all of a sudden you’ve got to find something else. I don’t think it’s good for a person to be completely into one thing; I think it’s good to diversify. As a person’s life changes, so do the challenges, and he should be ready to accept them and run after them. It makes life worth living.”

The road has become dark and the air is heavy with the night and the rain. Around the corner a streetlight comes on. “Let’s go,” Derek Clayton says, breaking into a run toward the light.