Wednesday, January 18, 2017

V 7 N. 4 Running Through Hell with Peter Sagal

Keep Going

Host Peter Sagal on Wait, Wait....Don't Tell Me!

This is an oral presentation by Peter Sagal of National Public Radio and the "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" series.  If you click on the link above "Keep Going"  you will be connected to a 15 minute monologue by Sagal recounting his running the Boston Marathon accompanying Will Greer, a blind runner.  The story caught my son's ear and he suggested I look up this presentation.  In the opening Sagal recounts that early in the New Year the family would sit around the table and recount the most important thing that happened to each member during the past year.  When Sagal said his most important event was setting a PR on his marathon time, his wife responded, "What could possibly be important about that?"  At that point Sagal surmised that his marriage was over, and it was.
Greer (19984) and Sagal (Guide)  side by side at Boston
He continues in a very humorous and then poignant way to talk about his run at Boston with Greer and how  the event  was possibly a turning point in his life.  I think even the most hardened curmugeon will be moved by the story.  For the curious, Sagal's PR in the marathon is 3:09.25 set at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2011.   His Boston time in the picture was about 3:27.

George Roy Steve.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

V 7 N. 4 When a Canadian Woman Was World's Best Marathoner

                 How Could a Thirteen Year Old Girl Set a World's Best in the Marathon in 1967?
Maureen Wilton  May 6, 1967

One of the youngest ever world running record holders, Maureen Wilton  of Willowdale, Ontario was a 13 year old Canadian girl who put all of two weeks of rather questionable training  into running  her first marathon.  She was not new to the sport of running but to long distance she was  a neophyte.  A member of the  North York Track Club in 1967, she  had been training since the age of nine.  But nothing prior to her effort on May 6, 1967 gave much indication that a world's best time was about to be recorded.  Women were still fighting for a place on the roads with men, and I'm not referring to being allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia, but to compete in races of the same distance that men ran every weekend.  Today even with the  majority of marathoners being women, the under 60 age crowd are probably not even aware that this was an issue fifty years ago.  Now it's rare that we  see a man on the cover of a running magazine.  I won't go into that in this piece.   Never the less women were not welcome on the roads in 1967.  Less than a month earlier, Kathryn Switzer had been able against the will of the organizers to run in and complete the Boston Marathon.  Jock Semple, race director and  never one to mince words or actions, tried to 'man handle'  Kathryn off the course, but in that famous photo, the men around her kept Jock at bay and Kathryn on course.  Bobbi Gibb won that race at Boston in 3:27.17 as well as 1966 and 68,  and Switzer was second in 4:20.02.
Bobbi Gibb winning Boston in 1966

Gibb post race

In 1967 Switzer getting mugged by Jock Semple race director at Boston

Years Later Forgive and not Forget

Maureen's Wilton's  story was brought to my attention last week at a running club workout when Jamie Kantor told me that there had been a story on the CBC that day  about a young Canadian woman setting a world best for the marathon back in 1967.    I was intrigued by the story, and couldn't think who that might have been.  I thought Jamie might have been confusing Jaqueline Gareau who came along years later in 1979-80.  So I looked up the CBC story when I got home.  You can see it for yourself by clicking on  "Maureen Wilton" at the bottom of this page.  This is not the first time this story has been written, but for some reason it has  filtered through the pages of various running magazines over the last twenty years, and its significance each time has  been forgotten.   A google search will bring out some of those other stories.
Maureen and Her Parents after the Race
What is truly unique is that two stories came out of this one event, because Maureen Wilton's coach was Sy Mah.  Mah would run  his first marathon that same day as Maureen   and run 523 more marathons in his lifetime which in 1988 was a world record.   I mentioned that Maureen's training was questionable.  One story says Sy had Maureen running repeat 220s and 440s and some distance runs, in the two weeks prior to her attempt.  Sy only broached the subject of running the marathon to Maureen after she had done well in a 1.5 mile race.  She had never heard of the marathon, didn't know how long it was, and had no idea of what it would be like to go that far.  However she did have some serious talent  at shorter distances, probably a near five minute mile capability,  and a good sense of pace.  She mentions in one interview that she could hit a 440 on demand at the pace her coach dictated.  Mah had calculated that Maureen could break the record of 3:19.33 held by Millie Simpson of New Zealand set in Auklannd on July 21, 1964,  by running a 7:30 per mile pace. But by the end of the run with a mile to go, Maureen's mother who was keeping track of her time felt that they had messed up the timing and that Maureen was behind the record pace. Mom informed  Maureen, and she picked it up and ran a 6:00 last mile finishing in 3:15.23.  Kathryn Switzer came up to the race 2 weeks after her Boston adventure, but was never in it against the Wilton.  Not many people can pick up the pace like that at the end of their first marathon.  The 4'10"  80 pounder had gone into the stratosphere of distance running and barely realized it.  It is not noted in the stories, but I don't think Maureen ran another marathon.  She dialed back and hit the cross country circuit and represented Canada on some national teams and was out of running at age 17.   A few months after her marathon, the record was no longer hers as Anni Pede-Erdkamp of Germany cranked a 3:07.26.  Pede-Erdkamp a twenty-seven year old set her record at Waldniel, Germany.
Maureen getting her award after the race and Sy Mah in Yellow Shirt

There was some criticism of Maureen's parents at even letting their daughter run such a distance.  The old prolapsed uterus argument  was the main source of outcries, which have long since been proven not to be an issue.  Even today a number of sanctioning bodies discourage long distance running by teens and certainly younger children.  There are other concerns regarding growth plates being damaged on developing children's bones which are a legitimate concern.

Maureen's daughter Carolyn became a runner and was good enough to get a scholarship to run at West Alabama University.  That was an opportunity not available to Maureen when she was old enough to attend university.  Amazingly Maureen had never told her daughter about her running career until Carolyn was well into her career.    Maureen eventually earned  her way through her studies into a career in the financial world, and now at 58 years  has taken on a whole new career in dog training.

Regarding Maureen's life after a world best, her family went to their lake cottage after the race and were surprised when they came home to see the overwhelmingly negative press coverage about her accomplishment.  Even the track and field establishment was down on her achievement.  Since then Maureen is yet to be considered for a Hall of Fame nomination anywhere in her native land.  She has been soundly applauded at some recent events when Kathryn Switzer came to Canada and told the story to a packed audience at a pre-race event and then introduced Maureen who was sitting next to her totally unrecognized.   Maureen Wilton , now Maureen Mancuso was finally acknowledged and given a heartfelt ovation from her fellow runners.
Sy Mah in Olander Park, Toledo, Ohio

Sy Mah  would move on from Toronto to be an assistant professor of physical education at the University of Toledo.  He was very instrumental in the running community in Northwest Ohio in the 1970s and 80s until his untimely death in 1988.  Today his statue stands in Olander  Park where many road races took place in Toledo and the annual   Glass City Marathon.  His name is on the mugs given to all finishers.

See the CBC story which put me on to this post.
Maureen Wilton  by David Giddens, CBC Sports

Don't remember Maureen, but sure knew Sy Mah well. He moved to Toledo, and was main force behind Toledo RRC when I started racing weekly, in about 1970. Believe he was teaching at Toledo University, as I remember visiting him at his apartment on campus. Sy was definitely more interested in road racing and marathoning than track. Sy was locally famous  for the number of marathons (524) he finished.
Bruce  Kritzler


I am of the strong opinion that male runners should not attempt marathoning until they are 18 years old.
Perhaps even 21 Year old.

To heck with records!

Just because you can do it, does not mean that it is good for your short term health or for your long term
development as a runner.

Comments encouraged. Especially from our readers and contributors with coaching backgrounds.

John Bork

I share your concern about young kids running marathons.  I looked up the current world best for 13 year old girls and it is now  2 hr. 44 min.     Thirteen year old boys  is 2hr. 43 minutes.  Also of note is that the girls' record was set in 1987, the boys' record in 1977.  This indicates that nobody is trying to beat the record  and putting  their kids' health at stake anymore.  At least not on a grand scale. The records are listed down to 4 year olds.  Remember in the late sixties early seventies there were groups of parents trying really hard to have their kids doing long distance stuff.  Even Runners' World put out some pamphlet books on a group called PaMaKids who were promoting family togetherness through distance running.   There are probably still a few parents promoting such activitiy. Fortunately they are few and far between.  But child abuse is rampant in many forms in our country and throughout the world, certainly not just through sport.  For 15 years  I worked in the field of very serious child abuse, and if there was a common thread in those cases, most parents never felt that what they were doing to their children was out of the ordinary.   It would probably be very hard to prosecute a parent for training a kid to run a marathon  today, even knowing that the child's health and well being might be at risk.  Look at how controversial the vaccination question is.   That said I recently saw a film from India about a little boy training to run marathons. He had run 48 marathons by the age of 4 when the HBO film was made.   He was clearly being exploited, because the coach of this slum kid was obviously doing a lot of self promotion and making  money off the child.  Someone murdered the coach.  I hesitate to say 'fortunately murdered' but the thought did come to mind.    See   Marathon Boy trailer.    Of interest, that child is no longer running marathons, and someone has looked out for him, and he is getting an education in a boarding school which would certainly have been out of his family's reach had he not had that notorious past.    In other ways less flagrant but still exploitative we see in every grandstand and every performance hall children being driven by aggressive parents to the brink of exhaustion to excel in various activities.  Psychological abuse is no less devastating than physical abuse.  Any college coach today can tell you stories of exploitative parents they have had to deal with.   This is not only sport but spelling bees, dance, piano, theater etc.   The parent clearly driving the child to thrive where the parent has failed..or excelled.    In some societies it is seen as the only way out  of poverty such as baseball in the Caribbean and South American countries as well as soccer.  In their own way the East Germans and Soviet Bloc promoted their societal beliefs  in the 70s, and there are still vestiges of that past in Russia today.

In Maureen Wilton's case, it was fortunate that her experience was a one and done.  She was clearly a natural and her effort probably not much more than the equivalent of a long hike on a family outing.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

V 7 N. 3 Ashton Eaton and Harry Marra

Athlete and Coach:  

An Appreciation of Ashton Eaton and Harry Marra

by Jon Hendershott

(All photos supplied by Jon Hendershott)

     It was the perfect storm:  supremely talented athlete meets ultra-experienced coach.  Once their work together began to bear fruit, the multi-events would never be the same.
Harry Marra, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Ashton Eaton, and Jon Hendershott

     Ashton Eaton was the athlete, just beginning his third season at the University of Oregon in the fall of 2009.  Harry Marra had just been hired by then-head coach Vin Lananna to work specifically in developing the obvious talents of emerging decathlete Eaton--as well as the second-year heptathlete from Canada, Brianne Theisen.

     The connections that formed virtually from the beginning between the coach and both athletes would result in world-class performances, championship medals plus Eaton remaking records in the men's multis, indoors and out.  And Theisen would eventually become Eaton's wife as well as a world-class seven-eventer in her own right.

     Now, after Ashton's two Olympic 10-event titles, two decathlon World Records and three indoor heptathlon bests, two World Champs deca wins, three World Indoor heptathlon victories and a total of five NCAA triumphs (three decathlon, two heptathlon), both Eatons announced their retirements on January 4.

     Brianne tallied five NCAA titles, two outdoor Worlds heptathlon silver medals and a pair of World  Indoor pentathlon awards, including the 2016 gold medal.

     Eaton himself headed west across the Cascades to Eugene out of Mountain View High School in Bend, in central Oregon.  He had been directed as a high schooler by Tate Metcalf and had won state sprint and long jump titles.

     Oregon's then-assistant coach Dan Steele--8th placer in the '99 Worlds 10-eventer with  his 8130-point PR--recruited Eaton and felt all along he could make an impact as a decathlete.  Steele directed him to the 2009 NCAA Indoor heptathlon win and a defense of his outdoor decathlon title.  Then Steele was hired as head coach at Northern Iowa and Lananna had to find a knowledgeable, experienced coach for his obviously diamond-in-the-rough talent.

     So he called Marra for advice.  Marra had earned his Masters in physical education from Syracuse and had coached at San Francisco State University in the 1980s, as well as with the VISA Decathlon team.  He was a 6524-point scorer in the mid-1970s while training in the then-hotbed of U.S. decathloning, Santa Barbara.

     Even though he measured just 5'6" and 140 lbs (168cm/64kg) then, Marra was known as a tenacious competitor, but also a voracious reader and student of the sport.  He constantly asked questions, especially of renowned coach Sam Adams, as well as the athletes training in Santa Barbara at the time.  Marra just couldn't soak up  enough technical knowledge about events in general and the decathlon in particular.

     When Lannana sought his advice about coaches, Marra and his wife Madeline lived in San Luis Obispo, just north of Santa Barbara.  With his wide knowledge of the decathlon and its coaches, Marra directed Lannanna toward various candidates.

     But Lananna once recalled, "None of the coaches Harry recommended could take a job at Oregon.  Suddenly, I thought, 'Why am I asking other people?  Harry knows as much, or more, than any of them.'  So I offered Harry the job.   I asked him, 'Can you keep developing Ashton, and eventually Brianne, so they win more NCAA titles?'  He said, 'Sure, I can do that.'"

     While he admitted, "I just loved California," the prospect of a university coaching job--especially with the storied program at Oregon--won over Marra.  So he and Madeline left their large home in SLO to move to a small apartment in Eugene.

     On November 3, 2009, Marra began coaching Eaton and Theisen--and , yes, the rest is history.  As in, just four months after they began working together, Eaton won the NCAA Indoor heptathlon--with a World Record 6499-point score.  And Brianne won her first of three straight NCAA Indoor pentathlons.

     Marra knew immediately that he would work with two exceptional athletes, and people.  He said,  "The thing with the multis, in all the variations, is that life needs to revolve around the event.  It can't be vice versa or you won't be successful.

     "From the beginning, it was clear that Ash and Bri were very mature kids, on all levels.  Athletically, they ate, drank and slept the multis.  They also were endless readers with curiosity about the world in all aspects.
Marra shows desired shot form to the athletes.
     "In the multis, an athlete has to be excited to accept challenges--but you also have to know and accept that you won't get the desired outcome right away.  It's a long, long process and an athlete has to be ready to continually accept challenges.

     "A multi-eventer needs to have an attitude of coming  back from failure.  You're going to fail in practice more than you're going to succeed.  Ash is the type of athlete who might have a very good high jump practice one day.  But it still wasn't quite what he wanted.

     "Damn good, but he was still ticked off about it. 'Aw, I didn't like that,' he would say.  And that's a great attitude to have.

     'But you also have to be sensible.  You can't expect to be good in the decathlon tomorrow.  You can be better than you were yesterday, but you have to stick with it for a number of years.  I try to teach safe mechanics because I want every  athlete I coach to be 100% healthy going to the starting line for any competition."

     It didn't take long for the athletes to connect totally with their coach.  Only about three weeks after they began working together, Eaton approached Marra and said, "Coach, for me, less is more."  Marra recalled, "He meant that training didn't have to be hammer-hammer-hammer every session.  He felt fresher not doing that and could keep moving forward."
Marra and Eaton compare notes on their training observations

     "So we kept our training short and sharp.  I learned long ago that you listen to the body.  When it's time to go, you go.  When it's time to rest, you rest.  The body will tell you."

     But Eaton added, "We went through a lot of different scenarios in our careers, but I always knew that Harry knew where we were and where we should end up.  He knows and could communicate the things an athlete needed to do to reach a certain goal.  Bri and I might get frustrated with something, but he would say, 'It will come.'"
Marra and Eaton compare notes on their training observations.

     Marra replied, "No decathlete or heptathlete in history has not dealt with frustration.  Ashton was so good because he could deal very well with chaos--and the decathlon is chaos."

     Those lines of communication remained open throughout their careers.  After Brianne placed 10th in the 2012 London Olympic heptathlon--short of all of their expectations--she told Marra,  "Harry, I'm not in this to place 10th.  I never want to do that again.  I want to be on the medal podium from now on."

     So Marra totally redesigned her training and the next spring she won the prestigious heptathlon staged annually in Goetzis, Austria.  Later that season, Theisen won the heptathlon silver medal at the '13 Moscow World Championships  She would win the Commonwealth Games  7-eventer in '14 and ultimately the '16 World Indoor pentathlon and the Rio Olympic heptathlon bronze medallion.
Eaton doing pole vault run-ups while Brianne  Theissen checks his step.

     Brianne said, "Harry just loves to coach and work with athletes."  Marra added, "I take coaching very seriously, regardless if an athlete is trying to win a junior high school championship or the Olympic title.

     "An athlete puts his or her life into the coach's hands.  So you have to take that responsibility seriously and say, 'I'm going to do the absolute best I can to see that this athlete becomes the very best he or she can be.'"

     Marra also believes,  "The coach can't be a crutch for the athlete.  Many athletes will do an event, then immediately look to the coach for feedback.  I want the athletes to be able to analyze things on their own.  They write down every aspect of their workout:  how they felt; what they did that they liked, or didn't like; every detail.   Then we can compare notes.

     "That's because the athlete and coach always should be continually learning.  You have to be confident in what you know--but you have to realize that you don't know everything."

     And there could be times of scary lessons.  On an early spring day in 2013, the athletes and their coach were training in Santa Barbara, logging a six-week bloc of work prepping for the World Championships season to come.  While training with the javelin,  Ashton had gone out to the far left of the landing area at Westmont College to retrieve his spear.
The trio doing javelin training --just before the "near-miss" incident.

     Brianne took her own throw, but instead of her usual to-the-right style, she pulled the javelin to the left--and it bore down on Ashton, who didn't know it was coming.  Brianne and Marra screamed warnings and the ultra-athletic Ashton arched his back to the left as the spear whizzed by his head.
Ashton reassures Brianne that he is OK after the javelin near-miss.

     "Whoa," he said later, "that was close.  I saw this flash of purple go right under my nose."  That was the handle of Brianne's javelin.  She immediately ran to him and they embraced, him smiling to reassure her that he was fine.  But that close call certainly went into the training logs--no doubt in the "near-miss" column.

     It was just one more unique happening in their unique relationship.  Yet while the athletes won major championship medals for their efforts, his peers honored Marra with the Coach of the Year awards from USA Track & Field in 2012 and the IAAF just this past November.

     He said, "I said after the USATF award, but it holds for any award I have received, that I owe the honor to every coach in the room.  I have tried to listen and learn from every coach I have ever met.  Then I try to transmit that knowledge to the athlete.

     "But I'm also a competitive guy and I have tried to teach that competitiveness to athletes.  I have been a teacher first and that's what has fired me up my whole career."

     Now,  the sport will be without the unique talents of all three.  Their lives will change markedly with the athletes' retirements.  Ashton and Brianne are taking their time finding new challenges in life to devote their energies toward.  Marra says he wants to stay with coaching, but in a much-scaled back fashion and perhaps working at directing younger athletes.

      In announcing his retirement, the always-thoughtful and introspective Eaton said,  "I gave everything I had to the decathlon.  I did all I could.  Thank you for making it the best time of my life.

     "I'm deciding what to do next.  Other interests of mine are education, transportation infrastructure and energy."

     Then, in a tease--or was it?--Eaton gave an indication that the world certainly has not heard the last from him, by far.  He concluded, "Being the first person on Mars would be cool."
The author Jon Hendershott with Coach Harry Marra (left)

(Jon Hendershott has followed track and field for 60 years.  For 48 of those seasons, he was a writer and editor at Track & Field News.  He has covered 9 Olympics, 13  outdoor World Championships, 3 World Indoor Championships and the World Relays, as well as dozens of NCAA and USA Championships.  He has twice won track Journalist of the Year awards presented by the Track & Field Writers of America.  An Oregon native, he is now retired and lives in Salem, Oregon, and is eagerly awaiting the start of his 61st year following the sport.)

Comment from Bill Schnier, U. of Cincinnati track coach (ret'd.)

Jon's article is right on point, devoid of glitz, yet full of the personal story which this topic deserves.  Great addition.

Comment from Don Betowski:
Hi George,
I enjoyed the story about Ashton, Bri, and Harry.  I was in Santa Barbara in the '70s doing research at UCSB, but also training at the track, usually doing interval training at noon.  I got to know several of the decathletes including Harry.  I remember Harry telling me he was the shortest decathlete, who scored over x number of points.

Another great runner has died of Parkinson's Disease.  Dr. Jack Reilly and Richard Greene were joined in the fact that they were very good milers in the early '60s, as both graduated from college in 1963, Richard from Western Michigan and Jack from Georgetown (where he was my resident adviser one year at Georgetown).  Richard had run a 4:06 mile, Jack a 4:01.  Perhaps Jack's most famous run was his anchor relay leg at the 1962 Millrose Games, the same meet where John Uelses broke the 16 foot pole vault barrier.  You can view Jack's anchor here: 

Monday, January 9, 2017

V 7 N. 3 Track Reunion in Southern Californina Feb 25

We've been asked to notifiy our readers of a track reunion/luncheon  in Southern California on February 25, 2017.  Here is the info:


Doug Smith
26063 Saratoga Ave.  Laguna Hills, CA 92653
H:  949 831-5935
C: 949 230-1940
                                            Track and Field Luncheon

Date:  Sat. Feb. 25, 2017  11:00AM - 3;00PM
Location:  Spaghettini Restaurant
                  3005 Old Ranch Parkway, Seal Beach, CA 90740
                   526- 596-2199
Cost:  $45.00 per person  Buffet Style

Hello Athletes and Coaches,

If you plan to stay for an extra day, or more here is a list of local hotels and motels.

Ayres Hotel  562- 596-8330  nearest to Spaghettini
Hampton Inn & Suites  562-594-3939
Ocean Surf Inn and Suites  562-592-1993
The Pacific Inn  866-466-0300

Reservation form below:   Must be received no later than Sat. Feb. 18, 2017.  Please, do not show at reunion without having sent your reservation and check, because there may not be any space available.  Hope to see you on Feb. 25th.

Reunion Committe  Ron Allice   562 455-3872
                                 Larry Knuth   949-357-7965
                                 Doug Smith   H. 949-831-5935     C. 949-230-1940

If you were not planning on attending, but discover that you will be attending, contact one of us on the reunion committee in advance; so, we may let the restaurant know of any additional attendees.  Bring your completed reservation form with your check to the luncheon.

If you know of any others who wish to attend, and they are athletes or coaches from the 20th Century, please make copies of these  pages, and give them to these people.  Or , you may contact one of us, who are on this reunion occommittee give us the cotact infomation for these people, and we will contact them for you.  Spouses are welcome, but complete a reservation form for them, also.

                                        TRACK AND FIELD REUNION LUNCHEON
                                         RESERVATION FORM  (PLEASE PRINT)

NAME: ________________________________________________________________

EMAIL: ___________________________________ PHONE: ____________________

ADDRESS: ______________________________________________________________

SCHOOL AND CLASS YEAR: _____________________________________________

This form and your payment must be received before Sat. Feb. 18, 2017.

Please mail it early, so it will be received before Feb. 18th.  Please do not show on the day of this reunion without having completed and mailed this form with your check.  Thank you.
Cost per person:  $45.00 Make check payable to LARRY KNUTH in the amount of $45, or proper amount if more than one person will be attending in your party.  

Mail to:  Larry Knuth, 30862 Paseo del Niguel, Laguana HIlls, CA 92677

Make an extra copy of this form for each attendee.  In this manner everyone will be recognized.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

V 7 N. 2 January, 1967

We start a new year of TF&N rehashes, and Roy Mason  our multi-talented co-founder of Once Upon a Time in the Vest asks the important questions of those heroes of the past.  Welcome again to a new , invigorated and armchair reclining issue.


    Whether you were reading this issue when it had just arrived or 50 years later, its home would be the bathroom. The first 56 pages are devoted to awards, ratings and lists; world, U.S., college, junior college and high school. Your answer to the pounding on the door is “I'm okay. Be out in a little bit.”

    One wonders where those guys are now or whether they are now. What is the life story of Peter Chen (American University All American) who vaulted 16-0 to finish in a five way tie for 41st on the world list? Every now and then does he remember that exact instance when he knew he had cleared? Do his table mates at the retirement home know that he once jumped sixteen feet?

    On May 21 in Provo, Utah Mike Douglas ran the intermediates in 50.8. That earned him a four way tie for 21st spot on the world list. What have you done for me lately, Mike? Did you teach and coach? Were you a stock broker, a mechanic, a pilot? Did you own a bar, run a karate school, play the violin, raise a family, adopt foreign orphans?

    Bill Toomey set the world decathlon record of 8234 points. Russ Hodge was second at 8230 – yes, 4 points behind. They trained together and were roommates. There must have been a bond. They are both still alive. Do they communicate? Have they been lifelong buddies? Did they just exchange Christmas cards?

    A quick run through of the awards before we report on what few meets there are. Jim Ryun was selected as the World Track Athlete of 1966. His 86 points gave him a cushion over Tommie Smith's 69. Randy Matson was third with 25. Matson was the field athlete of the year. The European AOY was javelin thrower Janis Lusis of the USSR. Ralph Boston won the US Open (non-collegiate) award with Tommie Smith getting the US Collegiate title. If you are wondering how Ryun could top Smith in the world voting but finish behind him in the collegiate standings, the unexplained explanation must be that Smith competed on the varsity level which Ryun couldn't because he was confined to frosh competition. And, yes, Ryun was freshman AOY. Lee Evans was the JC winner. Tim Danielson won the high school award. Triple jumper Art Walker was Indoor AOY. The top performance was Ryun's 3:51.3.

    The individual event rankings were more interesting. Winners were: 100: Charlie Greene, 200: Tommie Smth, 400: Lee Evans, 800 and 1500/mile: Ryun, 3 miles/5000: Kipchoge Keino of Kenya, 6 miles/10,000: Naftali Temu of Kenya, Steeplechase: Viktor Kudinsky of the USSR, 110 hurdles: Willie Davenport, 400 hurdles: Roberto Frinolli of Italy, 

Ni Chih Chin

High Jump: Ni Chih-Chin of China (He is known for breaking the world record with 2.29 m on 8 November 1970 in Changsha, but because PR China was not a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations at the time, his record was never ratified.), Long Jump: Ralph Boston, Pole Vault: John Pennel, Triple Jump: Hans-Jurgen Ruckborn of East Germany (although Art Walker was undefeated and had the longest jump of the year), Shot: Randy Matson, Discus: Al Oerter, Hammer: Romuald Klim of the USSR, Javelin: Janis Lusis and Decathlon: Bill Toomey.
                                     Romuald Klim    died 2011

    The US indoor season starts on Dec. 22 in Mobile, Alabama where Bob Seagren has both a literal and figurative up and down performance. To the positive, he vaults 17-4, the best ever in indoor competition. On the other side of the coin, it doesn't count, as he had already been eliminated with three failures on the opening height of 15-0 and was just filling out his day.

    A week later in Saskatoon, Canada, Seagren increases his own indoor WR with a clearance of 17-1. Otis Burrell edges a come-backing John Thomas by an inch in the high jump with a 7-1 effort.

Unless the discus has become an indoor event, we assume the Orange Bowl meet in Miami is held outdoors, as John Morton of Florida throws that implement 183-2.

    The first really big news comes on January 7 in the All American Games held in San Francisco's venerable Cow Palace. For once the focus is on the field events. Neil Steinhauer hands Randy Matson his first loss in over a year and, in so doing, crushes Gary Gubner's indoor record of 64-11¾ by nearly a foot and a half with a throw of 66-6¾. Matson's 64-4½ leaves him a well beaten second. The gauntlet has been thrown.
John Rambo Long Beach St.

    High jumper John Rambo missed the outdoor season last year because of an injury, so it is surprising to see him tie John Thomas' US indoor record of 7-3. Otis Burrell keeps the outcome in doubt, finishing at 7-2.

    Apparently the athletes liked the Bay Area so much that they return the next week for the Athens Invitational held in the Oakland Arena on January 15. The track and runways are covered with Fastrac, the new super surface guaranteed to produce faster times. The comparison of times made by the same athletes in the Cow Palace meet doesn't verify this claim.

    Fastrac, however, is responsible for the appearance of US triple jump record holder Art Walker. He is here because he jumped 54-9 off the surface last indoor season and is eager for another crack at it. Unfortunately this pit ends at 56 feet. Walker has to nearly abort his first effort, putting his feet down at 54-1 so that he doesn't hit the board at the end of the pit. Rather than risk injury, he calls it an evening after that single jump.

    Ralph Boston wins the long jump at 26-3. No surprise there, but the most significant mark of the competition is the second-place 25-3½ national high school record by Jerry Proctor of Muir High in Pasadena. The kid may have a future. Stay tuned.

In an L.A. Times article Feb. 4, 1998 Aara Najarian wrote about Proctor

It is somewhat ironic that Proctor cites Boston's Olympic performances as his impetus to become a long jumper.
"I saw him on TV, so I wanted to long jump. But I really didn't know who he was or much about him," said Proctor, who has worked for L.A. County for nearly 25 years, reviewing Medi-Cal cases. "There weren't that many people doing it. It seemed like a good event."
It became a great event for Proctor, who became something of a celebrity in Pasadena.
After the meet, Boston said Proctor was "destined for a fantastic future."
It looked that way.
"We were setting records, not breaking them," said Proctor, 48, emphasizing a subtle difference in attitude. "It was a different time. There was no money in it. We just wanted to be the best. We wanted to see how far a man can go. Look at all the standards that came out of that time: Bob Beamon, Jim Ryun, Tommy Smith, Lee Evans. . . . It was a great time."
To some it seemed as if he disappeared from the track scene shortly after high school.
It wasn't that simple.
Proctor went on to the University of Redlands, where he jumped 26-11 3/4, still a school record.
In the Olympic trials in 1968, he injured his hamstring and finished fifth in a competition for three berths.
Despite the Olympic trials tribulations, Proctor was only 18 and his future remained bright.
But during his sophomore year of college, his life changed irrevocably.
"My career came to a halt after my mother died, tragically, in 1969," Proctor said.
Redlands offered to let him quit the track team and keep him on scholarship, but that wasn't a solution for him. Proctor stayed on the team because it was something that was right-side up when everything else seemed upside down.

"I gave her a going-away present by winning the NCAAs," he said. "I jumped 26-11. But that was it. I lost my motivation."
Even devoid of passion, Proctor stayed competitive until he injured his hamstring again at the 1972 Olympic trials and did not make the team.
These days he finds inspiration in his family.
His son, Jerry Jr., was the second draft choice of baseball's expansion Arizona Diamondbacks last spring.
His daughter, Christina, will be following his footsteps around the L.A. Invitational track this weekend.
Although Christina, a junior at Muir, is the Pacific League champion in the low and high hurdles, she is in only her second year of track and field and knows very little of her father's legacy. He didn't want to burden his kids with expectations and keeps his trophies packed away.
It is somewhat ironic that Proctor cites Boston's Olympic performances as his impetus to become a long jumper.
"I saw him on TV, so I wanted to long jump. But I really didn't know who he was or much about him," said Proctor, who has worked for L.A. County for nearly 25 years, reviewing Medi-Cal cases. "There weren't that many people doing it. It seemed like a good event."
It became a great event for Proctor, who became something of a celebrity in Pasadena.
After the meet, Boston said Proctor was "destined for a fantastic future."
It looked that way.
"We were setting records, not breaking them," said Proctor, 48, emphasizing a subtle difference in attitude. "It was a different time. There was no money in it. We just wanted to be the best. We wanted to see how far a man can go. Look at all the standards that came out of that time: Bob Beamon, Jim Ryun, Tommy Smith, Lee Evans. . . . It was a great time."
To some it seemed as if he disappeared from the track scene shortly after high school.
It wasn't that simple.
Proctor went on to the University of Redlands, where he jumped 26-11 3/4, still a school record.
In the Olympic trials in 1968, he injured his hamstring and finished fifth in a competition for three berths.
Despite the Olympic trials tribulations, Proctor was only 18 and his future remained bright.
But during his sophomore year of college, his life changed irrevocably.
"My career came to a halt after my mother died, tragically, in 1969," Proctor said.
Redlands offered to let him quit the track team and keep him on scholarship, but that wasn't a solution for him. Proctor stayed on the team because it was something that was right-side up when everything else seemed upside down.

    The following week finds us still in California, specifically at the Los Angeles Invitational where Jim Ryun makes his 1967 indoor debut with a 4:02.6 win over Tom Von Ruden and Dyrol Burleson. Ralph Boston once again wins the long jump, this time at 26-3¾, but gets no love from the sportswriters who vote that Proctor kid the athlete of the meet for breaking his week old high school record on four of his six jumps and finishing second at 25-10½.

    Once again Bob Seagren surpasses the world pole vault record but gets no credit for doing so. This time Seagren clears 17-2, but as he lands in the pit, so does his pole, resulting in a miss. After the meet he speaks vociferously about outlawing that rule.

    Dave Maggard puts the shot 62-11½ to edge Jon Cole by nearly a foot.

Dave Maggard career  

Maggard would go on to a career as a college AD at Cal, Miami (FL), and Houston.  See link above  for more.

 Jim Grelle outkicks Gerry Lindgren and George Young to win the two mile in 8:45.0. Charlie Greene takes the 60 in 6.0.

    In a race we wish had been saved on YouTube, Richmond Flowers wins the 60 hurdles in 7.1 over European champ Eddie Ottoz who is attired in “bikini-like” shorts. On second thought, maybe that is a visual image we are better off without.

Eddie Ottoz then and now

Ottoz has been very influential in Italian track and field over the years and participated as a journalist and training specialist for Italian teams

Monday, January 2, 2017

V 7 N. 1 A Needed Correction on Miguel White

Miguel White

One of our more interesting posts in the past was a collection of people who had been Olympians, and/or Olympic Medalists who had died serving their countries in war.
 Miguel White represented the Philippines in the 400 hurdles and was the bronze medalist.  We saw that he had died during WWII but with no details.  Recently we received this note from his grandson with more information about Mr. White, so we are posting this note from Major Romeo Nelson, USMC (retired)

Miguel S. White served in the Philippine Army after his participation in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As reported by the office of the Philippine Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (DBC), he was a lieutenant in the 52nd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Army and is listed as Missing in Action and subsequently declared as Killed in Action sometime in 1942. My opinion is that he was most likely killed during the initial landing of Japanese forces into the Philippines. Please modify/correct all your documentation to reflect his involvement clarifying his service to his country! For further inquiry and confirmation of facts, I refer you to the representatives of the office of the Philippine Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor (DBC). Regards, Romeo Nelson Major, USMC (Retired) (Grandson of Miguel S. White)
Last hurdle in 1936 Hardin leading White and Loring

This is the 400 IH Finals results from Berlin 1936

1st, gold medalist(s)Glenn Hardin United States52.4
2nd, silver medalist(s)John Loaring Canada52.7
3rd, bronze medalist(s)Miguel White Philippines52.8
4Joe Patterson United States53.0
5Sylvio Padilha Brazil54.0
6Khristos Mantikas Greece54.2
Details of the 1936 400 IH can be found at the link below:
Hurdler 49 Race description