adidas new shoes Alan Scharsu Former Fitch runner muses on Joe Paterno
OK, be honest. San Diego doesn’t hold a candle to Youngstown, right? (Laughs) Exactly. The weather is just too mild. I need extremes, from seven below zero to 90 degrees. Best high school running memory? Probably running the mile relay against South. We had some [dual meet] win streak going and it was all tied up before the mile relay. We ended up coming from behind to win it and I anchored the relay. (Scharsu did not usually run in the relay since it immediately followed the two mile.) Honestly, the truth to the whole story is, if the kid from South had run a normal race they would have won. Over the years, it’s gotten so much grander. When I hear [former coach Mike] Garcia talk about it, I’m like, ‘That’s not really what happened.’ He just went out too fast, hit the wall with a 100 meters to go and I passed him. Worst high school running memory? My freshman year of cross country. Coach Garcia used to give us fructose tablets that were orange and I ate like 10 of them and threw up in the middle of the race. I looked like I was possessed. It was the last time I ever took them. But when you’re a freshman, you think that if I’m supposed to take two, then four or six has to be better. Number of times you entered a race thinking, “These poor saps have no chance”? I never went into a race thinking that. I always respected everybody I ran with and against. But as I look back on it, I wonder if really needed to win by a minute. I should have just taken it easier and saved my body. But I couldn’t do that. As soon as the gun went off,
I went as hard as I could. Three albums in your CD player right now? Best of Led Zeppelin, a mixed CD my girlfriend [Roseanne] made for me and Dido. Track or cross country? Cross country. It’s a bunch of guys who did the same thing. With track, you have so many events and so many more people. In cross country, we were all really tight. We’ve been friends forever. Thing you miss most about Youngstown? Other than my family, Mill Creek Park. I love that park. People in Youngstown probably don’t realize how nice it is because it’s always been there. Thing you miss least? The cold weather. We have a file photo of you in high school with black curly hair, braces and a polyester shirt that even professional bull riders would make fun of. How much are you willing to pay us not to use it? (Laughs) I don’t know. I had some great hair back then. Now I have a lot of gray hair, but at least I still have some. I remember that shirt you’re talking about. That was a good looking shirt. It’s coming back in. I probably still have it somewhere. Running shoes you wear right now? The Adidas Supernova Classic. Best pair of running shoes you’ve ever owned? The 1982 Adistar track spikes. Best spikes ever made. After years of running, part of your body that hurts the most? The Achilles tendon my left foot. I’ve had both operated on, but that one always hurts worse. Number of days you can go without running before you go crazy? Thirty. Who is your hero? It depends on what level you’re talking about. The guy I really admire is Bob Lund, who went to Fitch right before me. He helped me out through a lot of stuff. He’s my personal hero. Also, Steve Prefontaine because of his approach to everything. Your Nittany Lions have been struggling. Is it time for Joe Paterno to retire? Yeah. My college coach [Harry Groves] is still there, too. They need to retire together. But they still got the drive, so what are you gonna do? They’ll never ask Joe to leave, which is probably the right thing to do. He built that university. He’s done so much for it,
not only in athletics but also in academics. The key to being a successful runner is? The ability to endure a lot of pain. That and dedication and a lot of hard work. And the ability to throw up fructose tablets? Exactly.