Masterful new track and field blog: Finish Line Pundit

Track bloggers unite! All three or four of us. (Actually, several dozen.) The latest, and perhaps the greatest, is Jimmie R. Markham of Richardson, Texas. He introduced his blog — Finish Line Pundit — as a comment on this blog a few days ago. I visited and was blown away. A former 2:04 half-miler (and 4:48 miler) at a Dallas community college, he’s now 42 and putting his technical skills to work in service to track news and commentary. I shot him a questionnaire. He replied.

Here’s my Q&A with Jimmie: What do you do in real life?
Markham: I’ve managed to save a little money, so I resigned from my job as a purchasing manager several weeks ago. The timing was right, because I had to have gall bladder surgery and I’m just now getting close to recovering 100% from the surgery.
I did a little freelance writing many years ago. A few articles I wrote about running were published in a long-defunct local magazine called Texas Athlete, so I’m not a complete rookie as a writer, just mostly. The money I’ve saved is my stipend to myself while I figure out a way to make a full time career out of writing. Finish Line Pundit, along with being my labor of love, is also my non-traditional portfolio.
What events did you do as a kid — PRs, titles?
800m: 2:04.
1600m: 4:48.
5K: 17:54.
I led my junior college cross country team to a team title in the Dallas County Community College District Cross-Country Championships with my 4th place finish.
What school(s) did you run for?
I ran track and cross-country for J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, TX, then at Richland College in Dallas. I was a walk-on at NTSU (now UNT) in the fall of 1983, but bad grades ended my NCAA track career before I competed in a single event. Ah, youth!
Where did you pick up your Web skills?
I decided to learn html a several years ago just out of curiosity. I continued playing with it because it was fun. Interestingly, coding html has always been a good stress reliever for me. I did have a blog about 5 years ago (not track-related — more of a mixed bag: politics, culture, music, etc.) but I quit because it was all over the place and I guess I sort of lost interest because it was so unfocused. I designed an intranet for my last employer. My web design stuff is really just hacks of existing templates, scraps from here and there, all reassembled into something new and interesting.
Would you still compete if you could fix your aches and pains? What events?
I would love to run in 5000 (track) races and 5K road races, and I still hold out hope that my R.A. will go into remission so that I can train consistently enough to do so. I think maybe some intense interval work 2-3 times a week and 1-2 longish runs a week mixed with cross training would be possible if I went into remission.
Will you comment on masters track in your blog?
Absolutely. I’m trying to find an angle there, to be the first blogger on the masters scene, but this one guy I know over at is way ahead of me right now. He always beats me to it. I want to find an interesting way to blog about masters track without duplicating his stuff or stepping on his toes.
Me again:
I wrote Jimmie a note telling him not to worry about toes. Blog on!
And just FYI:
Jimmie posted a link to with this description: “Blog, news, stats, meets and more from the planet’s #1 Masters track advocate, Ken Stone.”
You’re too kind, Jimbo! (The check is in the mail.)

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May 26, 2007