In the preface to the new edition of Athletics: How To Become A Champion, publisher Peter Masters tells of his experience training at Portsea under Percy Cerutty. His impression of the Man?
"I'd never met anyone like him before. He was scary to a 16 year old but compelling. He had a larger than life persona. I remember it was hot at Portsea which made training even more arduous. I remember too that there were some very talented older athletes so I felt a bit over-awed.
Percy's methods were unconventional and sometimes a bit extreme such as his exaggerated running action,which he used really to make a point.
I remember training up the sandhills.
One day, a boy blacked out in front of me and tumbled down the sandhill and when I went to his aid, Percy yelled out words to the effect, 'he's not dead so don't stop.'
The boy recovered of course but the incident illustrated Percy's determination.
I remember one day we headed to the beach to train and of course moved to below the high water mark to run on the hard sand. Once again we heard a booming voice telling us to run in the soft sand. There were never any easy options.
I didn't go on to become a champion athlete but I admired Percy Cerutty for his willingness to 'push the boundaries' and to challenge accepted practice.
I think Percy's philosophies are as relevant today as they were back in my youth."