Monday, September 19, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 56 April 1959 Relays Special

APRIL 1959

The headline reads “63’7” for Dallas Long”, but the story is only four sentences. He had tied Perry O’Brien’s 1956 WR previously, but now he betters it by five inches. And in which esteemed meet did he produce this great effort? That would be the USC – UCLA freshman dual meet.

Bill Woodhouse has taken over for graduated Bobby Morrow at Abilene Christian. A front page picture shows him hitting the tape in a “wind blown” (no mention of the reading) 19.9 220 on a day in which he also runs 9.1w. One of the timers clearly pictured in the background is the aforementioned Mr. Morrow. The meet is apparently a quadrangular at ACC though the schools are not mentioned.

Other front page photos show John Lawlor of Boston University who has just raised the collegiate hammer record to 204-9 and the finish of a race in Portland where Dyrol Burleson is shown breasting the tape a step ahead of Bill Dellinger in 4:09.1. Front page stories include reports on two esteemed major meets, Drake and Penn, and one newcomer, the Mt.SAC Relays, all contested on the same weekend.

But first, let’s go to Lawrence, Kansas for the Kansas Relays held the previous week. Stars of the meet are New Mexico’s Dick Howard, who hurdles 50.4 (meters) to leave Cliff Cushman, 52.2, in his wake, and the home team’s Bill Alley, who though coming off a week with the flu, manages to toss the javelin a meet record 254-9 to beat Howard’s Lobo teammate, the wonderfully named Buster Quist, by 26 feet. Speaking of teammates, Alley’s, the great Ernie Shelby, easily beats the field in the broad jump with a 25-3 effort. Of special note is the third place finisher at 22-11½, one Bill Toomey wearing the colors of the University of Colorado. Oklahoma’s 1-2 punch in the shot put becomes a 2-1 punch as Mike Erwin, 55-7, upsets Mike Lindsay, 54-8. The Sooners also won the distance medley with a team of Gernert 49.6, Ringo 1:56.4, Kleynhans 3:11.4 and Hodgson 4:17.4, totaling 10:12.8. Hodgson blisters a 1:49.4 to make up ground on Kansas in the sprint medley, but comes up 4/10ths short as the Sooners run 3:21.8. Cliff Cushman is a coach’s dream, the utility infielder you can plug in anywhere. In addition to his hurdle effort, he anchors the winning 2 and 4 mile relay teams with splits of 1:53.9 and 4:13.3. Last seen, he had just finished sweeping out the stands and was washing Coach Easton’s car.

And now to Philadelphia for the 65th running of the Penn Relays before a crowd of 41,123. Elias Gilbert and Bill Woodhouse are the stars. Gilbert anchors Winston-Salem to a “fastest ever 480 yard shuttle hurdles victory”, though the time, 57.5, can only be found by scanning the results. He then ties Lee Calhoun’s meet record in the highs at 13.7 before embarking on his maiden voyage in the intermediates where he leads a 1-2-3 Winston-Salem sweep with a 53.6. “Stubby little Bill Woodhouse” wins the 100 in 9.5 and anchors the ACC relay teams to 40.9 and 1:24.5 victories.

In Des Moines, Iowa “the golden anniversary of the Drake Relays is blessed with the golden rays of sunshine for two days” and 14 records are set. Texas tops ACC’s efforts at Penn, running 40.6 and 1:23.9, then finishes the meet with Eddie Southern running 45.9 to hold off George Kerr and Illinois in the mile relay in 3:11.3 for both. Kerr may have come up short in this effort, but he is the star of the day. He splits 45.7, but he has already anchored the Illini to the fastest sprint medley time ever, 3:17.8, with a sizzling 1:46.6. Has the world stopped spinning on its axis? Bobby Morrow is beaten by Ira Murchison 9.4 to 9.6 in a race aided by a 5.7 mph wind. It is only the second time Murchison has beaten Morrow in twelve attempts. But wait, Morrow is back, taking a rare shot at 400 meters. The 400 is greatly anticipated because it matches upstart Dave Mills, the Purdue freshman against the great Glenn Davis. A week ago Mills beat the Olympic champion twice at the Ohio Relays, 46.5 to 47.0 in the 400 and again in the 300, 29.5 to 30.2. Seven days later it is a different story. Davis turns the tables 46.5 to 47.1 with Willie Atterberry third in 47.3. Morrow is fourth at 48.0. There are two mile races. Jim Grelle takes the college race in 4:09.5, but is overshadowed by Dyrol Burleson who wins the open division, edging Lazlo Tabori by a tenth in 4:06.7. Stanford has eschewed the much closer Mt SAC meet to run the distance medley here. Ernie Cunliffe assumes an unusual role to anchor the Indians to a 9:56.5 win with a 4:10.5 split. Michigan State and Oklahoma finish a close second and third. Oregon wins a pedestrian 4 mile relay in 17:15, an event only worth mentioning because Phil Knight (yes, that Phil Knight) runs the second leg in 4:26. The OU shot put duo has righted itself with Lindsay 57-7 and Erwin 56-7 going 1-2. No report of a Midwest meet would be complete without mention of Cliff Cushman. He leads off the winning KU shuttle hurdle team then anchors the winning 2 mile team with a 1:52.8 split before driving the team bus back to Lawrence.

The Mount San Antonio Relays has an auspicious start. “The west coast’s only two-day affair, which will continue to occupy the same dates as the much older Penn and Drake Relays, outclassed the old established meets by a wide margin in comparison of winning marks.” Jerome Walters moves up from the mile to challenge Bill Dellinger at twice the distance and almost pulls it off. Dellinger holds on for an 8:48.2 victory, two tenths off Phil Coleman’s American record, but only after a heated battle with Walters who runs 8:49.4. England’s Gordon Pirie is third at 8:59.3. Max Truex, after an easy 13:59.5 three mile win the night before, attempts to become the first American to break 30 minutes at 10K. ‘Twas not to be. Within range at five miles and reportedly looking good, he walks the backstretch on the 21st lap, then resumes running only to drop out at the end of the lap. His five mile time of 24:15 betters the American record at this distance, but his name doesn’t go into the record books as a runner must finish the attempted distance to receive credit for a record set en route. Bob Soth wins in 30:42.2, the fifth fastest time recorded by an American. The early rumblings of Speed City can be heard as Ray Norton and Bobby Poynter clock 9.5 and 9.6 to go 1-2, then combine with two other San Jose students to run the 440 relay in 40.4, “the best ever by a west coast quartet”. Dallas Long holds off Bill Nieder in the shot, 61-10 to 61-6 as Perry O’Brien confines himself to the discus where he throws 181-2 to finish behind Rink Babka’s 189-4. In a near exhibition, Hal Connolly throws the hammer 215-4 to win by over 30 feet.

Cordner Nelson’s column, Track Talk, analyses the coming NCAA meet. UCLA and USC are ineligible this year. San Jose, lead by Norton, looks strong. Oregon, Cal and Penn State are listed as outsiders. Houston and Arizona State have the potential to win. Texas, riding the broad shoulders of Eddie Southern, has a good shot and Michigan is a “solid threat”. Then there is Oklahoma. “Coach Bill Carroll has Mike Lindsay, a 16-20 point man in the shot and discus, Gail Hodgson, who might win the mile, and Dee Givens, who could score 12 points or so in the sprints. Add 56’ shot putter Mike Erwin and 14-6 vaulter Larry Neely, and the total could be well over 40 points.” But Nelson’s favorite is Kansas. With Charlie Tidwell (100 and LH), Ernie Shelby (BJ and LH) and Bill Alley (JT), the Jayhawks could score 40 right there. Add Billy Mills in the 3M, Cliff Cushman in the 400IH and a host of other potential scorers, the boys from Lawrence could run away with it. We’ll find out.

The coach at North Phoenix seems to have a pretty good handle on field events. Two years ago Vern Wolfe produced the national record holder in the pole vault, Jim Brewer 15-0 1/8. Last year Dallas Long crushed the NR in the shot with a throw of 69-3. This season it is the turn of Karl Johnstone who has thrown the discus 185-2 to break Al Oerter’s NR by a foot. Seems like some enterprising university might want to snatch up a coach like this.

In this time of world turmoil it is comforting to know that Cliff Severn is still selling Adidas, “the three striped sport shoes” and TFN subscription continues to go for $3.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 55 March , 1959

MARCH 1959
This is a transitional issue containing the last meets of the indoor season and the first results of the outdoor season, mainly Texas and California.
The cover features stories on javelin records. On March 26 Kansas’ Bill Alley breaks the NCAA record with a toss of 258-4. But wait, he is just getting warmed up. The following week he improves to 270-1½, breaking the American record by 1½ inches, but nowhere in the story is there mention of whose record it was that was broken. (It was Bud Held’s.)
Let’s get the indoor meets out of the way. World records in the mile and two mile highlight the NY Knights of Columbus meet in the Garden. Ron Delany keeps his unbeaten indoor string alive, but just barely, holding off the great Hungarian, Istvan Rozsavolgyi, 4:01.4 to 4:01.8. Aussie Al Lawrence, bronze medalist in the ’56 Olympics and now a student at the University of Houston, breaks Bill Dellinger’s indoor 2M WR by more than three seconds with a 8:46.8 in what was essentially a solo race as second place is 9:05.
Two days later Lawrence takes a beating from Max Truex who nearly takes his record as well, running 8:47.1. Lawrence isn’t close enough to see the finish, as he runs only 9:03. Oh, and Delany slips by Rosa again, this time 4:05.4 to 4:05.7.
Two weeks later the Cleveland Knights of Columbus put on their own meet and Al Lawrence loses by a second to Lazlo Tabori’s 8:47.8. Purdue freshman and local boy, Dave Mills, edges Josh Culbreath in the 600 in 1:11.8. You have to give Rozsa credit for showing up. Once again he is close, but no cigar: Delany 4:06.6, Rozsa 4:06.8.
The next week the action is in Chicago at the Daily News Relays. This time Navy ensign Lew Stieglitz (6’5”?) and Max Truex (5’5”?) put on a Mutt and Jeff Show in the 2M with Stieglitz just edging Truex 8:54.1 to 8:54.5. Hayes Jones ties Milt Campbell’s WR in the 60HH at 7.0 to defeat Lee Calhoun and Willie May. With Rozsavolgyi having said screw it and gone home, Ron Delany runs 4:06.4 for his 40th consecutive indoor mile victory.
Penn State wins the ICAAAA by 17/36 of a point over Manhattan in a clusterfuck so confusing that the meet isn’t decided until eleven days later. I couldn’t explain this if I wanted to…and I don’t. Someone’s term paper awaits.
The long awaited rematch of Bobby Morrow and Dave Sime takes place in of all places, Odessa, Texas in the West Texas Relays 100. Morrow wins in “an ‘official’ 9.35”. Sime, who had been training only three weeks, “lost at the start, but was gaining on the Olympic champion at the finish and was timed in 9.4”.
There is a photo of five very large healthy looking guys, all kneeling. The two on the outside are 58 foot shot putters Charley Butt and Bob Humphreys. The inside three, Dave Davis, Perry O’Brien and Dallas Long, have all thrown over 61 feet. The definition in O’Brien’s arms speaks to his years of weight training, not that you would kick sand in the face of any of the others.
Speaking of O’Brien, he, Don Bragg, Ira Davis Josh Culbreath and Bob Gardner are leaving on a month long good will tour of Africa. Tom Courtney has become an assistant coach at Harvard. John Thomas caught his foot in an elevator shaft (?) and will be out of action for three months.
A personal note, if I may be allowed. On the penultimate page there is a photo of four young men who have just set a national record of 3:30.7 in the high school sprint medley. The significance is that they represent Bellflower High School and the race was run on this very track in the second annual Bellflower National Record Relays, a meet that was certainly the most important on the west coast before the Arcadia Invitational came along. The anchor, Larry Canova, ran 1:53.9. The uniforms the four are wearing were ratty looking in ’59. Fourteen years later when I took the reins at BHS, they were an embarrassment. The kids ran with bags over their heads. That year when one of our kids went to the state meet, 400 miles away, we staved off ridicule by buying a tank top and ironing on a “B”. My greatest coaching achievement at Bellflower was getting new uniforms. We were slow, but spiffy.
“Profiles of Champions” outlines Bill Alley’s unique javelin training. Seems Bill carries a 10 pound sledge hammer and a double-bladed axe in his car at all times. “Every day he spends 20 minutes banging 40-penny nails into any handy tree. The axe is used for wood chopping, done intermittently after practice.” He also practices throwing a 12 pound shot in a javelin motion. In the summer he throws golf balls, a practice he picked up from Bud Held. He also uses them in a more traditional manner as driving them helps him get his hip through first. Not sure how this came about, but he is credited with throwing a three pound hand grenade 298-6. Caution, kids, don’t try this at home. It must have been hard to be Bill’s next door neighbor. The banging of spikes into your trees would be irritating, but seeing the kid with an armload of hand grenades and I’m calling 9-1-1 or whatever you called in 1959.
The magazine still costs three dollars and Cliff Severn and Adidas….yadda, yadda, yadda.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 54 February, 1959

FEBRUARY 1959
Like January, there isn’t much meet in this issue either. This is not to say epic performances were not achieved. On the front page is a photo of an exuberant Don Bragg emerging from the sawdust at the Philadelphia Inquirer Games with a new PV world record of 15-9 ½, breaking Dutch Warmerdam’s 16 year old indoor mark and leaving outdoor WR holder Bob Gutowski behind at 15-4. “Bragg’s muscular chest hit the triangular crossbar, flipping it over, and Bragg crouches in the sawdust while he watched the bar quiver. Then with 10,650 spectators cheering, he dances wildly with joy.”
The National AAU meet in New York produces four indoor WRs. Ron Delany motors past Hungarian star Istvan Rozsavolgyi on the last lap for a 4:02.5 win, running his indoor mile record to 29-0. Bill Dellinger breaks Greg Rice’s 17 year old record in the three mile by nearly nine seconds, running 13:36.9. Parry O’Brien ups his SP record to 62-1¾. Seventeen year old John Thomas provides what is intrinsically the best mark of the meet when he jumps 7-1¼ , the best jump ever indoors or out.
The seldom run 300 gets a working over. On Feb. 7 Purdue freshman Dave Mills clocks 30.8 for a University of Illinois fieldhouse record in a race he had not intended to run. George Kerr had taken the first heat of the 440 in 48.6. Running in the second heat, Mills doesn’t get a gun for the final lap and didn’t go to the afterburners until it was too late, resulting in a 48.8 clocking. (Dave, it is 2¾ laps. This isn’t higher math.) Upset, Mills asks to be included in the 300 field 20 minutes later. On the same day not far away in East Lansing Olympic champ Glenn Davis runs 30.5 only to see the backside of Pittsburgh’s Mel Barnwell who clocks 30.0 to break the American record set by Herb McKinley 12 years earlier.
Kansas and Oklahoma hook up twice. On Feb. 2 in a dual meet in Lawrence, Kansas edges the Sooners 70-52. Dee Givens and Gail Hodgson of OU are double winners, with Givens winning the 60 and the 60 lows while Hodgson takes the 880 and the mile. The Sooners weight duo of Mike Lindsay and Dan Erwin go 1-2 in the shot at 57-10 and 56-4. The Jayhawks, still looking for Cliff Cushman’s best event, run him in the 1000 where he rewards them with a victory. The two powerhouses clash again in the Big Eight meet Feb. 28. This time the Jayhawks dominate 70-30. Givens pulls a hamstring in the 60 and is done. Hodgson wins the mile, but is a well beaten fifth in the 880. Lindsay and Erwin dominate the shot with 58-4 and 56-0½. Cushman seems to have found a home in the 1000 where he runs 2:11.6 to crush the field by over two seconds.
There is mention of the inaugural Mount San Antonio Relays to be held April 24-25. Wonder if that will catch on?
To close on an up note, let’s go to Compton College where the USC freshmen are taking on the hometown boys. Eighteen year old Dallas Long is looking to break Parry O’Brien’s shot put WR of 63-2 in his very first collegiate meet. Rumor has it that he has thrown 65 in practice. An interested spectator is one P. O’Brien. Indeed the kid does it, dropping one out at 63-4. Well, he has sort of done it. The slope is too great, so no record is allowed. The record holder’s fire has been ignited. He comes out of the stands, goes into the locker room, changes into his “briefs” and warms up. “When ready, the 27 year old Southern California alumnus steps into the ring, musters all his skill, strength and pride – of which he has considerable – and explodes. The result – 63-6.” Youth is not served this day, but there will be others and we will be there to see how this plays out. Until that time…….

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 53 Remembering Max Truex

A comprehensive review of Max Truex's life can be found at
http://yesteryear.clunette.com/truex.html

A lot of you readers from the West Coast probably didn't know of Socal Trojan and US Olympian, Max's Midwest origins. The few times I drove from Dayton to Chicago, I would pass through Ft. Wayne and head west and get off the main road to drive through Warsaw, Indiana just to absorb some of that small town atmosphere. The same can be said of nearby Fairmount, IN, home of James Dean another icon of the 1950's. My family doesn't understand me. George

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 52 Drake Relays Archives, a great resource

I can thoroughly recommend the following site from the Cowles Library at Drake University containing archives from the Drake Relays. For the moment I'll pull off any of their pictures that I may have already posted until they give me permission. However putting their link here is not verboten. http://www.lib.drake.edu/heritage/drakerelays/about.html

\There are some great pictures of all the the luminaries of the past and present including Santee, O'Hara, and even Wilt Chamberlain high jumping. George

Vol. 1 No. 51 Sport Exchange seeking to bring American runners to Kenya to train

One of our readers, Mike Solomon, a former runner at U. of Kansas in the late 1960's, is involved in a project, Sport Exchange, in Kenya to invite American runners to move to Kenya to train and also enroll in a local university while there. Mike will be travelling with a delegation to the US this Fall to meet with colleges and coaches about this venture. Their website can be found at
www.sportxchange.org . George

Friday, September 2, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 50 The noticeable absence of women in this blog. To be corrected.

What about women's track? I realize there is very little about women's track on this blog, because I really don't know much about women's track of the 1950's. Obviously women's track came a a long way in the 60's. Only names that come to my head are of course Wilma Rudolph, Mae Faggs, Willie White, Tennessee Tigerbelles. Steve and Roy, help me out. Stella Walsh is a story in her own right. Google her name for some interesting history. She won several Olympic golds in 1932 and 36 competing for Poland although she lived in the U.S. in Cleveland. I remember her appearing at several AAU meets in Dayton, OH in the late 50's. Can't remember if she was competing or coaching then. She won a US championship at the age of 40 in 1951. About 1960 she was hit by a stray bullet during a bank robbery and died. Her autopsy revealed that she had predominant male sexual characteristics and would have been disqualified at that time. However the rules changed at Beijing, and she would probably have been eligible in these time. I had to go back to the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics to find a race of more than one lap for women. Did they do the 800 after that until modern times? The winning time in 1928 was 2:16.7 by the German Lina Radke. I consider that quite good for the day. But what can I compare it with? there is a lot of material on the internet, so I'll continue to search and put up what I feel is interesting. For those of you not too familiar with Google, if you type a name in and then hit images in the upper left corner, a lot of good pictures of your subject will pop up. I can also recommend going to the Drake Relays , archives for a ton of really good quality pictures from that event. The ones I have of Wes Santee, Jack Davis, Wilt Chamberlain, and Tom O'Hara come from that site. I'll leave them on until Drake Relay Archives tells me to take them down. Being a neophyte at this, one can never be certain of what is private property and who cares about it.
George

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 49 January , 1959



JANUARY 1959
Some issues are more interesting than others. This is one of the others. A photo of John Thomas clearing 7-0 graces the front page. Bobby Morrow runs his first indoor meet at the 12th annual Evening Star Games in DC winning the 70, 80 and 100. Not sure how the stadium fit any of those in, but it did. Of interest in this meet is the 600 where Glenn Davis’ indoor debut was a losing one in a slow time. Nick Ellis of Morgan State beat hurdlers Josh Culbreath and Davis in 1:13.8, a time a full two seconds slower that Ed Collymore’s 600s in New York and Boston. The quick answer here is that the meet was run on a “flat floor”. No photos are included so I am not certain what the surface was. I’m guessing dirt.
Lee Calhoun has returned from his one year suspension because he and his new bride accepted gifts on a TV game show. George Grenier, writing in a column entitled, Splinter Talk, tells us that, “One New York newspaper explained Lee Calhoun’s year of absence by stating that he was on a year suspension for having his marriage consummated on television. Darn it, I miss all the good afternoon programs.”
Fearless Harold Clark of South Africa made two attempts at a four minute mile, coming up short on both occasions, but certainly earning respect in the doing. On December 20 in a solo attempt in Kimberley, a city at 5000 feet elevation, he tied Gail Hodgson’s South African record of 4:04.5. Undeterred, six days later he took another shot, this time in the town of Pearl. Nature was not his friend. The temperature was 103 with the track being estimated at 130. Harold proved himself the kind of guy you would want in your foxhole by running 4:04.9.
Page 15 has a photo of the 18 year old Styron twins. Fine looking young men, undoubtedly a credit to their family, church and community. Two pages earlier there is a shot of the finish of the 1941 AAU 100 meters, showing Barney Ewell beating favorite Hal Davis in 10.3. A close third is a young Payton Jordan. I seldom get man crushes, but Payton is a really handsome guy.
Mention is made of American athletes being invited to the Kusocinski Memorial Meet in Poland. Janusz Kusocinski won the 1932 Olympic 10,000 in Los Angeles in 30:11.4, a time that amazingly as of this issue is still the American record (defined as run on US soil). Kusocinski was an underground leader in WWII who was executed by the Gestapo.
Six of the 16 pages are devoted to the world list, a collection of 50-100 names in every event. Herb Elliott has the year’s fastest 800, 1500 and mile. Double leaders are Glenn Davis, 400 and 400IH; Albie Thomas of Australia, 2 and 3 miles and Elias Gilbert, 110HH and 220LH. Fortunately the 200-220, 400-440 and 800-880 are lumped together with conversions. Of note for our purposes is the inclusion of Gail Hodgson, whose 4:04.5 ranks him 31st in the mile and Ernie Cunliffe, listed 45th in the 800 at 1:49.5.
The AAU and NCAA have adopted several IAAF rules, the most significant concerns the sin of pacing. “Pacing a runner as an aid to a record performance will mean the record will not be accepted. Any competitor who, in the opinion of the referee, has been aided by a coach, teammate or anyone else during the competition may be disqualified.”
The high school postal two mile team race is won by Palo Alto High. Their five runners average 10:03 with George Linn leading all competitors with 9:33. The first six teams are all from California which may say as much about weather as talent. The 12th and 13th best times are 10:04.9 by Archie San Romani Jr. and 10:05 by Dixon Farmer.
Page 15 has a story on the upcoming Big 10 and Big 8 indoor seasons. Although Kansas is favored to win its eighth straight championship, special note is made of the chances of the lads from Norman. “Gail Hodgson and Ernst Kleynhans will carry the distance load for Oklahoma. The Sooners will have defending sprint champ Dee Givens back, two 14 footers in Larry Neeley and Jim Clingman, and two shot put men who have bettered 55’ in practice this year in Dan Erwin and newcomer Mike Lindsay.”
The T&FN Olympic tour in Rome is now available for $838 ($6500 in today’s money). Sign up now.

Vol. 1 No. 48 Elliot , Cerutty, Portsea

All,
I was a junior in high school when Herb Elliot burst on to running scene in 1957-60. As a wannabe miler, I was enamored by the mystique of Elliot, Percy Cerutty, and the whole Australian gang running up and down the dunes and through the surf. We didn't have a lot of dunes and surf in southern Illinois.


A few years ago, I went to Melbourne on business. I took the weekend to do the pilgrimage to Portsea (about 1 & 1/2 miles south of Melbourne) to see the famous dunes. The landscape is similar to Marin County in Calif. But the dunes, the beaches, and the ocean are awesome. Portsea is still a sleepy small village now noted for it snorkeling and diving. And the dunes are now environmentally protected, with repeat runs up and down them frowned upon.


Their training camp is long gone but the grass oval where they did intervals is still there - but basically just a wide open grass field with park benches on the perimeter. There is a plaque to Percy Cerutty on the side, put there by his runners on his death. Ironically, someone mispelled his name on the plaque and no one ever changed it.


Portsea is a great weekend holiday out of Melbourne by itself. But if you are a running history nut, you will enjoy it even more.


P.S. I still have an autographed poster of Herb on my office wall!


Jerry McFadden

Vol. 1 No. 47 September , 1958

September, 1958

This issue is pretty much devoted to goings on in Europe. The big meet is the European Championships in Stockholm. The most significant events were the 1500 where Brian Hewson of Great Britain blew away a good field including Olympic champion Rod Delany to win in 3:41.9. Hometown boy Dan Waern was second two tenths back, two tenths ahead of Delany.

The 100 went to Germany’s Armin Hary in 10.3. More on him later. Poland’s Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak (say that three times fast) dominated the distances, winning both the 5 and 10K in 13:53.4 and 28:56.0. Martin Lauer, on his way to a great career, dominates the hurdles in 13.7, with second a distant 14.1. A 20 year old Igor Russian, Ter-Ovaneyan, takes the first of his many major championships with a 25-7 broad jump. Countryman Vasiliy Kuznyetsov, a legitimate rival of Rafer Johnson, takes the decathlon by a whopping 536 points. Overall the competition was great, but the marks weren’t much by US standards.

The real news is that Herb Elliott is running wild in Europe. He has already run his WR 3:54.4 mile (covered in an issue I don’t have). Now the 3:38.1 1500 meter record of Stanislav Jungwirth is on the menu. It is August 28 in Goteborg, Sweden, 7:24 in the evening to be precise, when he lines up against “the greatest 1500 field in history”. Jungwirth is there. So are former mile record holder Derek Ibbotson and Dan Waern and Albie Thomas and Murray Halberg. Thomas takes the field through 56.0 (Elliott 58.0) and 1:57.5. At this point Elliott puts all doubts to rest with a 58.0 third lap. The bell is sounded at 2:42.0 and the finish line is reached 54.0 seconds later for a WR of 3:36.0. Jungwirth is second at 3:39.0 with Halberg PRing in third at 3:39.4.

Six days later in London Elliott takes on European 1500 champ, Hewson, and thumps him by 3 ½ seconds in the second fastest mile ever run, 3:55.4. Two days later the Herb Elliot Show is in Oslo, where “reportedly tired”, he outruns Halberg 3:37.4 to 3:38.8, another PR for the New Zealander.

And now back to Armin Hary. It is Sept. 6 and we are in the southern Germany town of Friedrichshafen. Hary wins the 100 in 10.3, the same time he ran in winning the European Championship. No big news there. Here is where it gets strange. Hary and the second and third placers (both 10.7) like the track so much that they request a rerun. Hey, the European champ wants another race, he’s got it. “An hour later they were sent off by starter Max Muller in what was obviously an unofficial race. Hary took the lead after 10 meters and accelerated gradually. He won by a wide margin.” The three official watches have him in 9.9, 10.0 and 10.0. The backup timers have 10.0, 10.0 and 10.1. The wind is legal. It is a new world record. Or is it? The second placer runs 10.3, two tenths faster than his best and four tenths faster than an hour ago. Hmmm. Turn to Cordner Nelson’s column on the back page and we get a different view. “Mike Agostini says that the fast gun is prevalent in Northern Europe and that all smart sprinters take advantage of the situation.”

The track is recalibrated. Yep, it is long enough, but it is downhill by 10.9 centimeters, apparently a quarter inch more than the allowable. Leamon King is still the WR holder at 10.1 with Ira Murchison waiting approval to share the record.

And now another “stumper” for the boys at the Dew Drop. Bet the next round on who can correctly name the first four minute miler. Some doof will call out Roger Bannister. Hold your ground and smugly refute his claim. The first four minute miler, the first man to run exactly four minutes – 4:00.0 – is Derek Ibbotson who runs that time Sept. 3 at White City Stadium. Apparently this was an “invitational” race that preceded Elliot’s 3:55.4 effort mentioned earlier, as specific mention is made of Britain’s Mike Blagrove becoming the second to accomplish this feat in the race Elliot won the same day. Odd, but true.

The IAAF has made some changes. Now there will be official world record status for 200 meter and 220 yard races run around a curve (on a track not larger than 440). And no more wild and crazy hammer and discus throwing. The sector for these events has been reduced from 90 to 60 degrees.

The track world is lessened by the death of Ben Ogden, the coach at Temple for 30 years. He invented the starting gate, the automatic foul check for broad jumping and the pole vault safety net.

There are differing views on the future of Herb Elliott. Cordner Nelson says that “Elliott may have turned professional by the time you read this. In fact, I am only surprised that he has not done so already. He has no regard for amateurism and little for records and championships. He does have a high regard for money, and in his position I can only approve his action.” He goes on to say, “I still believe that properly organized professional track would be a boon to amateur track.”

Page 14 has a photo taken from an elevated angle of the AAU 100. Morrow has a foot on Murchison with Willie White another two feet back. Then come five runners in a blanket finish two feet further back: Givens, Collymore, Norton, Woodhouse and Coia.

Palo Alto High’s Mike Lehner dropped his own world’s best two mile for 15 year olds to 9:48.5.

Half of page 3 is devoted to an ad, “A Message from Mal Whitfield”. You can win $100, a 30 day supply of his food supplement and copy of his booklet on how to maintain a healthier body and mind by naming his new product. There is an order form with which you can order any of his three current supplements. “Guaranteed Results or Money Back”.

Vol. 1 No. 46 Gail Hodgson, a fast miler from South Africa and U. of Oklahoma

Hi George

Just to tell you that I have been getting all your fabulous emails over the previous months.....maybe even years !!!!!!!!. Sorry I haven't replied sooner. I just marvel at all the info that has stayed alive, and it;s thanks to your efforts that have made it so interesting and meaningful.

I am a semi-retired architect after practicing in Rustenburg South Africa for the last 40 years or so, and am now in Johannesburg trying to come to terms with doing mostly nothing most of the time. My Children.......all grown up now are still in the States.......Denver, and San Marcos. My daughter Kim from Denver is doing real well with my genes and is running great long distant events all over the country.

When I was in Norman I had a rock & roll band called The Twisters.......me on piano and vocals. We backed up guys like Chuck Berry, and Johnny Cash, and I personally backed up the Inkspots, and I personally met Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald by inviting them to perform at OU in about 1960.

I haven't run since getting back to South Africa, but have helped with a bit of coaching over the years.

Thanks again for all the GREAT news......my email is gailarch1@ mweb.co.za.

All the very VERY BEST Gail Hodgson.......OU 1957 to 1960

Hello, Gail,

George forwarded your email to his entire email list, and it was good to get an update from you.

You may remember that I was the one that called you from a hunting ranch up north around Messina 4 or 5 years ago. I was a first semester freshman walk-on when you were in your last semester of eligibility, running cross country in the fall of 1960. You were kind enough to give me some pointers about running form during our first workout on the old golf course, which advice I badly needed.

It has been interesting to see the responses that George Brose has elicited from his various mailouts. I claim a lot of credit for his work because a few years ago at a track meet in Norman I suggested that he start up the OU Track Website, which he did. It turned out to be a lot more work than he thought it would be. But I think that beginning has led to all this.

I had forgotten about the Twisters, but your email to George brought it all back. I saw your group perform a couple of times. Later I worked with one of the members of the band, David Nelson. He was head dorm counselor from about 1963 to 1965 in Washington House (you may remember, it was the "new" jock dorm in those days, reserved for football and basketball players). In his last year there I was an assistant counselor on the third floor (freshmen footballers). He talked a lot about the days the Twisters were performing. I specifically remember him saying that after he had been playing for some time (years?) with the band you paid him the ultimate compliment: you told him he was actually getting pretty good on the bass guitar! It obviously meant a lot to him, coming from you.

David went to law school at OU, and the last I heard was practicing law in Norman. I am a lawyer, too, but am trying to retire and finding it somewhat difficult to turn loose.

If you ever get over here to visit your daughter in San Marcos, be sure and let me know. I live in Austin, only 26 miles away. It would be great to see you.

Best regards///walt mizell

Vol. 1 No. 45 Shoes, shoes, and more shoes

Hey, George,

I had my own pair of Adidas in high school. Pretty cool, eh? But then you may recall that I went to high school in Germany, where Adidas shoes were made. I remember them well; red with the three white stripes ( "die drei Riemen", but "Riemen" didn't mean "stripes," it meant "straps"--bet you didn't know that . . .). It was only when I got to OU in the fall of '60 that I got a pair of Rawlins cross country shoes ( I think they were Rawlins). Canvas, with a rubber sole and a separate rubber heel, no less. Blister machines. Just awful to try to run in. They may have still been around when you got there but by about '62 everybody was using either Adidas or Puma.



I enjoy the summaries of the articles. I would bet that Gail Hodgson in South Africa is reliving some of his youth, seeing his name in some of these recent ones.

Take care///walt



Walter H. Mizell





From George:
Yeh, great sidebars in this. The Rawlings Fleetfoot's didn't stay in the game very long. How many other nondescript shoe brands can you remember? When I was a freshman in hs, we shared three athletes to one pair of Riddell's Did they have the white band around the top that would tighten around your achilles tendon. I think they were just football shoes with track spikes. I had to share with a guy who long, excuse me, broad jumped and they were always full of sand and sweat when I got them for the mile. But they looked cool in 1958. Nobody and I mean nobody had Adidas, although when Vandervoorts in East Lansing began advertising them , I was the first kid on the block. They were probably about $12.00 and the first thing European I ever touched, except Leslie Smith's derriere. She was an exchange student from England.


Bill Schnier , U. of Cincinnati Track and Cross Country Coach writes:
I did not really have a spike problem since my first spike were Adidas & college issued in 1965. However, I did have a flats problem because I tried out for my college team in January of my junior year. I was running in white, high-top Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. Since that was all I knew and since they were much better than my street shoes, I thought nothing of it until my teammates looked down on an early run and laughed at me, asking me how I could run in those big shoes. Shortly after I got real flats then amazingly a few weeks later more real flats. Life was good! Bill


Bruce Kritzler (Savannah, GA and Cross Country coach at Coastal Georgia) writes
I thought those old canvas running shoes with the rubber soles and heals (yellow as I recall) were great! Sure beat the black hightop sneakers I used for my first two years of high school XC. (The same sneakers I wore to school every day.) Ran my first marathon in those canvas shoes - with no socks, of course. Hmmmm, maybe one reason I pounded the crap out of the cartilage in my hip and have a bionic one now.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From George

Hey Walt,
You made my day with the information on the meaning of the word "riemen". Straps, mein Gott! I wonder if some German got it wrong , perhaps hearing a Texan pronounce the word "stripes" to sound like "straps" , and with this phonetic misunderstanding threw in the word for 'straps' in the advertising copy. Pure speculation. I'll listen to Rick Perry more closely, at least for pronounciation.


A further footnote, with those old canvas shoes that we used to wear, and some were made by Converse, I think we were close to running barefoot, much like the current craze. Our feet got tougher in the musculature and we had fewer injuries with the exception of shin splints. I wonder if those were what we call stress fractures now days. For those of you too young to remember those shoes, try running in a pair of canvas or nylon beach shoes. They are almost exactly the same.


I remember Bill Carroll , the Oklahoma coach, learning that Oklahoma City U. under Jack Daniels was doing long slow distance training, and kicking our asses, so he decided to take us out 20 miles in that little jeep with an ammo trailer on the back. with our canvas warmup shoes. He let us off on the Interstate and told us to run home. I could see the campus towers almost all the way back. I had never run more than 8 miles before that. Interstate speed limits were 80 mph back then so the cars and semis were really zipping by. Can't remember if we ran in the median or on the side. Did you do that one, Walt? We also had no water. And after XC and track workouts we used to gobble salt tablets.


*editor's note. Mr. Mizell is a respected attorney in Austin, TX. Ran some very credible 880's for Oklahoma in the early 1960's. And he once held the indoor 880 record at Fog Allen Field House at the U. of Kansas. It took Jim Ryun and an indoor WR to bring it down. He was the child of an army chaplain and attended high school in Munich. Walked on at OU and earned a scholarship his second year. George






Phil Scott writes:
From: pdscott@woh.rr.com
Subject: Re: Fw: JULY 1958


As George and Steve and others know of my track spike Museum in my basement! This collection starts in the 1880's to 2011. My first recolection of getting track spikes came from sporting store . My father thought $15 was to much!He bought them reluctantly. They were black leather, Riddell & rubber sole 6 spikes that were removable. I thought they were gold! Never really thought about weight or color. My first pair of Adidas came my sophomore year. Adidas meteor. Great shoes. I broad jumped 22'4" that year, with know help from my H.S. football part time Track Coach! List of early track spike mfgs. Spotbilt,Magnus,Spalding,J.W.Foster,G.T. Law,MacGregor,Gotham,Hyde,......etc many more!

Phil, what are dads for? My dad took a second job two nights a week at Sear's and Roebuck's garage greasing cars and changing oil. First paycheck he bought a J.C. Higgins glove, because he couldn't play ball barehanded with me anymore. George


Bruce Kritzler
Hi,
I recall starting with the Chuck Taylors (probably high tops) in junior high (1960-61). The next summer I remember a pair of black leather spikes (with metal spike plate and spikes removed). They finally wore through to the metal, as I usally ran in the gravel along the edge of country roads. The roads were so narrow that cars meeting had to each get two tires off the pavement. Next year i think I graduated to gum rubber sole canvas "trainers". My younger brother ,Doug, got the first real running shoes in the family, a pair of Ridell (sp?) white, with green trim. In college my first pair of adidas were Vienna's, white/red stripes. Mostly Tiger Cortez after that. Managed a pair of Puma velcro strap spikes in about 1969. Should have kept those for Phil Scott's museum. In the 70's had Reebok "World 10" orange/white and "2:05's" purple/white from Ron Hill Sports.
Was doing most of my running a year ago in Vibram 5 finger foot gloves and barefoot on golf course and beach, till I broke navicular bone in ankle. They probably have about the same support as the Reebok's

Roy, and all,
I thought the 70 was your miles/week !

Didn't the adidas 9.9's have a velour leather bottom, behind the spike plate? Cinder track must have tore them up.
I've had miniature, plastic 9.9's (white/black trim) hanging from car rear-view mirror since the 70's!
Bruce


Hi,

Just hit 70 (ie, years, not mph) this summer so all this reminiscing about races, shoes and results has been a very nice birthday present.

Anyone else ever run middle distance races wearing those adidas 9.9 "sprinter's spikes?? I was running for the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village in the mid '60s. Those shoes and Cal's lightening fast, hard packed cinder track made me much faster than I should have been.

Roy Benson







Vol. 1 No. 44 July, 1958

JULY, 1958

And a very good issue it is with reports on the NCAA meet in Berkeley and the AAU in Bakersfield.

Glenn Davis might turn out to be pretty good. In the NCAA meet he sets the WR around two turns, running 45.7 to crush Eddie Southern’s 46.5. Jack Yerman is third at 46.6. Eight days later Davis breaks Josh Culbreath’s 50.5 WR in the 440 hurdles with a 49.9. Admittedly the metric times in both these races are superior: Lou Jones 45.2 and Davis 49.5, but, hey, a WR is a WR.

Hal Connolly sets a monster WR in the hammer, 225-4, after a Bakersfield blacksmith repairs the ball that had been “flattened” by hitting a wall in practice. Connolly’s wife, “the pretty Olympic discus champion” Olga, apparently makes her husband nervous when she watches so she hides behind some bushes, only to run out at the announcement of the record, “crying with joy” and gives her “embarrassed husband a bruising hug and kiss”. No mention is made of what happened at the motel later that evening.

Olympic champions of past and future win the miles in these meets. In the NCAA Ron Delany runs 4:03.5 to leave Jim Grelle 4:04.8 and Gail Hodgson 4:04.9 in his wake, then doubles back to take the 880 in 1:48.6 over Frank Murphy’s 1:49.4 to complete a great career at Villanova.

The AAU mile is Herb Elliot’s time to shine. Though countryman Merv Lincoln throws down a 54.7 final lap, Elliot covers it with his own 54.1 to finish in 3:57.9, his second best time and maybe a new world record, but actually only tying a previous WR which wasn’t allowed. Confused? I’ll bet. Sit down, listen carefully and I’ll tell you how this worked. Derek Ibbotson’s 3:57.2 and Elliot’s own 3:57.8 may not be approved because they were….are you ready?... “paced”. Imagine someone resorting to that. If they are not approved, then this time would beat John Landy’s record of 3:58.0. But wait, there’s a catch to that too. Landy actually ran 3:57.9, but four years ago in the dark ages of 1954, records in the mile were not recognized in tenths of a second. Bet you can’t wait to run this by the guys at the Dew Drop Inn tonight.

But not to discredit the rest of the AAU field. Lincoln runs a stout 3:58.5. He is followed by Ed Moran of Penn State, who until three weeks ago had never broken 4:10, but this night clocks 4:01.7, the same time as fourth and fifth placers Jim Grelle and Jerome Walters. They are followed by Don Bowden, 4:02.9, and Gail Hodgson, 4:04.5. Oh, and the future of American miling was visible in the heats. High schooler Dyrol Burleson ran a nonqualifying 4:12.2.

The giants of the discus world tangle in both meets. Rink Babka and Al Oerter “tie” at 186-2 in the NCAAs. The rule to break a tie with the second best mark was not yet in place. Babka takes the AAU 187-10 to 181-6.

As far as developing international competitors, the AAU has made the effort by including the intermediates, hammer and hop-step-jump. The NCAA has none of these. What is does have is team scoring. The first person to recognize a major southern school (think current SEC or ACC), raise your hand. USC 48, Kansas 40, Villanova 33, San Jose State 20, Winston-Salem 20, Illinois 17, the Ohio State University 17, Nebraska 14, California 13, Manhattan 12, Texas 12, Western Michigan 12, Indiana 12, Arizona State 11, SMU 10, Pacific Lutheran 10, Occidental 9, Oregon 9. While there were a lot of fractions in those scores (which I am not doing), what there wasn’t were any relays.

And Negroes are still being identified. Ernie Shelby, who wins the BJ in both big meets, is a regular run of the mill Negro, but Hayes Jones is a medium-sized Negro, Ray Nickleberry a short Negro and John Thomas a thin Negro.

The Frosh and JC Marks list contains a triple-double-double. That would be three sets of twins, each making the list in two events. The Styron twins are in the house. Dave has run 9.6 and 21.2. Don has hurdled 14.5 and 22.8 for NE Louisiana State. The McKeever twins are freshmen at USC. Mike has weight marks of 52-6 ½ and 153-3 ½ while Marlin has thrown 52-5 and 156-8. Finally, we have Mel and Mal Spence of Arizona State. Mel has a 47.9 to his credit while Mal is a tenth back. Not sure about the 880. Mel ran 1:52.3 while Mel is credited with 1:53.0. Obviously one of these is supposed to be Mal. I just report ‘em, I don’t ‘splain ‘em.

On the next to last page, sacrilege, a blow has been struck against Clifford Severn and Adidas. Indeed a quarter of a page is devoted to an ad proclaiming the superiority of Rawlings Fleetfoot track shoes, “the shoes built for that ‘fit and feel’ so necessary to track men”. Not to worry. Cliff and Adidas confidently occupy their usual spot on the lower right corner of the last page.



Vol. 1 No. 43 John J. Kelley, RIP

 'John J. Kelley, RIP, 1930-2011: 1957 Boston Marathon Winner; America's First Modern Road Runner' to you.


John J. Kelley, RIP, 1930-2011: 1957 Boston Marathon Winner; America's First Modern Road Runner
Posted By Amby Burfoot On August 21, 2011
Nineteen fifty-seven Boston Marathon winner John J. Kelley “The Younger” crossed the final finish line early this morning in North Stonington, CT, just a few miles from Mystic, where he had lived most his adult life. Kelley died with few more possessions than he began with 80 years ago on Christmas Eve, 1930. But he ran his heart out every step of the way. And those of us lucky enough to have shared a few miles at his side will forever remember his vigor, his encompassing warmth, and the way he loved all creatures great, and especially the small and powerless.


John J. Kelley at 52 in 1983. Photo courtesy Leo Kulinsky, whalesandwolves.com
Kelley, whom I first met in 1962, was the most sincere, humble, gentle, and authentic human being I have ever known. He was the first person I ever saw stop his car to help a turtle across the road, and he never ever, without exception, said a word about himself and his considerable accomplishments. He also never uttered a negative word about anyone else, with the possible exceptions of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon.
Kelley was an extraordinary gentleman, yet also a radical free thinker. A friend, writer and marathoner Gail Kislevitz, called Kelley “the last rebellious man standing.” The phrase fits.
In his final days Kelley was surrounded by his three daughters–Julie, Kathleen, and Eileen–and a number of his grandchildren. He died from a melanoma that eventually spread to his lungs. Kelley’s wife Jacintha passed away in 2003.
Kelley’s athletic record is unparalleled among American distance runners. In 1957 he became the first and only member of the BAA running club to win the BAA Boston Marathon. In addition to his win, Kelley finished second at Boston five times. He won the 1959 Pan American Games Marathon, and captured eight consecutive USA National Marathon titles even though this event took place on the hot, hilly Yonkers course just four to five weeks after Boston. Kelley represented the U.S. in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Marathons, with a best finish of 19th in the Rome Olympic race famously won by barefoot Abebe Bikila.
“Kelley didn’t like the limelight, and people don’t even know about him today,” says Bill Rodgers, four time Boston and New York City Marathon winner, “But his eight straight wins at Yonkers stand second only to Grete’s nine wins in New York, and it’s better in some ways. Grete’s longest streak was five straight.
“Kelley was at the epicenter of American marathoning. He was in the trenches doing the spade work for the likes of Frank Shorter and me and everyone who has come along since. Marathoning wasn’t a business then. There wasn’t any money, and it wasn’t entertainment. The runners had to put up with a public and sports media who basically knew nothing. Marathoners were treated as second-class athletes. But Kelley didn’t let that stop him. He was quiet but had tremendous drive. He was tough as nails.”


Kelley won 8 straight times at Yonkers, the national marathon championship. Illustration courtesy of Andy Yelenak, andyyelenak.com
In many ways, Kelley was the first modern American road runner. The generations before him–including greats like Clarence DeMar and “Old John” A. Kelley (no relation, despite the similar name and similar Boston Marathon histories)–came from working-class roots. So did Kelley, but he loved books and learning, and ultimately received a masters degree from Boston University.
Another big difference: Where his predecessors were relatively slow plodders, Kelley was fast. A high school prodigy in the mile in New London, CT, he was recruited to B.U. by an ambitious track coach who aimed to turn him into the next Glenn Cunningham. The plan didn’t work. Kelley had no taste for endless track repeats and races on a small oval. He yearned for greater adventure, less coaching, and more personal exploration. Midway through his college years, he was rising at 4:30 a.m. to run a dark, lonely 16-mile loop around the Charles River. He spent more time listening to Boston Marathon organizer/masseur/running-team coach Jock Semple than to his college coach, and ran his first two Bostons while still a college student.
"Kelley argued with his college coach Doug Raymond about the value of long, slow runs vs endless, gasping 440-yard sprints around the track,” notes Boston Marathon historian and author Tom Derderian. “Kelley’s fight against the conventional wisdom lifted him to the crest of the new wave of American distance running that led to Frank Shorter’s Olympic gold medal.”
The Boston Marathon's executive director Tom Grilk observes: "John J. Kelley's victory in the Boston Marathon wearing the unicorn of the BAA has been an inspiration to all of us at the BAA, as well as to generations of Boston and American runners. He ran and won at a time when there was no money to be won; a time when victory was sufficient unto itself. His legacy is that of striving for excellence for its own sake, and for the quiet satisfaction that it brings to those with a deep sense of personal values. I hope we will all continue to learn from that. It remains John's gift to us all."
At one point in the mid-1960s, Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, Jeff Galloway and I all lived in Connecticut within 50 miles of Kelley’s home in Mystic. Our proximity to Kelley, and our resulting marathon careers and assorted contributions to road running, is no coincidence. Kelley was first, the path-breaker. The rest of us followed in his footsteps. The entire American running boom thus traces a straight line to him, and the road he explored.
Even women. In the late 1950s, a curious teenage girl from Groton began noticing Kelley's workouts on Shennecossett Golf Course, near where she lived. The girl found herself entranced. Julia Chase's grandmother Mary Foulke Morrisson had been a well-known suffragette, and Julia had her share of the family's barrier-breaking blood. She eventually told Kelley that she enjoyed running, but didn’t know anything about it, and wondered if women could cover long distances.
Kelley said sure, and took her lightly under his wing (very lightly; that, of course, was his style), offering encouragement more than a schedule of workouts. In 1960, Chase attempted to enter Connecticut’s oldest and most famous race–the annual Thanksgiving Day 5-miler in Manchester–but officials rebuffed her, citing AAU rules. She tried again the next year. This time her persistence paid off, and Chase made national headlines when she became the first American woman to start and finish a road race.


Frank Shorter, me, Kelley. Photo courtesy Carol Goodrow.
This coming November, a half-century, a PhD (zoology; she became known as "the bat lady"), and an MD later, Dr. Julia Chase-Brand plans to run Manchester again. On the 50th anniversary of her first finish there (33:20), Chase-Brand, now a psychiatrist in New London, may wear the same Smith College gym suit she wore in 1961. Her running could never have happened without Kelley. He pointed the way; he was the wind at so many backs.
"At a time when women weren't allowed to run, Johnny accepted me into his home and running circle, with his friend George Terry," says Chase-Brand. "The two of them coached me, found me races to run, loaned me their track shoes when none were available for women, and urged me to directly challenge the ban on women's distance running. Sweet, funny, and a loving friend for 50 years – I'll miss him so."
Joan Benoit Samuelson made her breakthroughs nearly two decades later, but she also recalls that Kelley stood for much of what she cherishes most about running. "With a huge heart and basic core values, John J. represented what is so simple and good about running," says Samuelson.
In an era made recently famous by the “Mad Men” TV series on AMC, Kelley turned against the tide. It was a time of hyperactive expansion, mass consumption, and breakneck “progress,” but Kelley believed simpler and more natural was better. He didn’t just follow a different drummer. He heard rhythms and syncopations almost no one else detected, and chose to become a marathoner, an organic gardener, an English teacher, and an ardent environmentalist. Most days, he ran or bicycled the 5 miles to and from his high-school teaching job.
I had the incredible good fortune to meet Kelley when I was 16, attending Robert Fitch High in Groton, where he taught and coached cross-country. The son of a YMCA instructor, I had grown up playing the major American sports, and practiced hard to develop my skills in each. In fact, in my last year of organized baseball, I won the league batting championship, hitting .461.
But at some point the big three sports require more than skill. You need bulk and speed and power to reach the top. I was skinny and gangly. So in September of my junior year, I decided to try cross-country running. That’s when I crossed paths with Kelley.
After a predictably mediocre first race (wearing bowling shoes), I was dry-heaving under the football bleachers when I felt a firm hug around my shoulders. It was Kelley, almost six inches shorter than me. “You ran great today, Amby,” he said. “You’ve got real potential in this sport.”
“Bullshit,” I thought to myself.
But Kelley’s voice and steady gaze were so assuring, so genuine, that I eventually came to believe him. That first cross-country race and the relationship I soon developed with


Post-1968 Boston Marathon. I couldn't be happier than to have Kelleys on both sides.
Kelley made all the difference in my life–not just in sports, but even more so in other circles of life. He was an All-American, all-areas inspiration. (Here’s the Runner’s World Magazine story I wrote about Kelley in 2007 to honor the 50th anniversary of his Boston victory.)
For many years, Kelley received no pay for the extra, after-hours work and travel associated with coaching. He feared the reprisal of the amateur-sports henchmen. At the end of my first cross-country season, when I turned up to collect my prized varsity-letter certificate, I watched in amazement as Kelley ran the document through his manual typewriter. He carefully XXXX’d out “Coach” and wrote in “Advisor.” At the time, I had no idea what he was doing, or why. I didn't understand that "coach" was, according to some, a verboten term invoking an image of lower-class, professional laborers who threatened the essence of the amateur ideal.
Now and again, I wanted more from Kelley than he was willing to deliver. As I improved and raised my sights, I naturally asked him what it would take to win the Boston Marathon or make an Olympic team. He never answered, at least not with the magical training plan or secret, endurance-building diet I thought I needed. Kelley disdained gurus, prophets, cults, religions, bureaucrats, self-assigned “experts,” and all purveyors of pablum, bromides and snake oil. On occasion, he left me feeling more adrift than I wanted to feel.
Nonetheless, Kelley was always there when I needed him. We talked endlessly (well, he talked; I listened), and it seemed that we ran a million miles together. Many years later I realized, of course, that he had given me more than a recipe for success. He had given me himself, and he had also set me free.


Kelley at a recent Boston Marathon. Courtesy Rich Benyo, marathonandbeyond.com
In the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, the Kelley household at 415 Pequot Ave. became the unofficial headquarters for all the disaffected athlete and artist types in Southeastern Connecticut. Almost nightly, the tiny house–which included John and his wife, Jacintha ("Jess"), three young daughters, several litters of kittens, and a mangy dog or two–swelled to include runners, cyclists, poets, guitar strummers, actors, and gays. While Jess poured gallons of tea and served cakes and cookies, Kelley, amply endowed with the Irish gift for gab, held forth on the evils of authority, bureaucracy, government, powerseekers, capitalism, chemicals, plastics, pesticides, the military-industrial complex and his favorite target, “the infernal combustion engine.” He quoted Thoreau constantly, and considered civil disobedience man’s greatest invention and most honorable pursuit.
While Kelley mused about all things considerable, loud scratchy music played on the cheap stereo. He favored Jagger/Richards over Lennon/McCartney, Pete Seeger over John Denver, and Bob Dylan over everyone. Dylan was a constant in the household; Kelley seemed to find him a kindred spirit.
He returned over and over again to Dylan's “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” [“Everybody must get stoned”]. This isn’t a song about drugs or protest. It’s much darker. Kelley had lived this song.
It’s not easy going against the mainstream. It doesn’t build your resume, pay the rent, or gain you friends in high places. Kelley was intensely private, but thin-skinned, and he never understood why townspeople felt compelled to tell him he was stupid for all that running. And how could porky, beer-swilling Boston sportswriters criticize him for finishing second behind Finns, and Swedes, and Japanese runners? Dylan had an explanation.
“Well, they’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so good.
They’ll stone you when you’re walking ’long the street.
Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end.
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again.”
The evenings at 415 Pequot would reach their ritualistic peak at about 9:30 p.m. when Kelley, a perennial early-riser, collapsed onto the tiny living-room floor, curled into a fetal position, and fell asleep. This signalled us it was time to leave, so one-by-one we’d begin to tip-toe over his inert body. But somehow, even with closed eyes, Kelley would detect the motion and reach up to grab the nearest ankle. “Don’t go, don’t go,” he’d wail. “Stay a little longer, and keep Jess company.”
Kelley had a bleak, fatalistic world view, no doubt about it. He read Silent Spring and Population Bomb, and nodded sadly with Rachel Carson and Paul and Anne Ehrlich. Humans were large-brained animals, he often pointed, but there was conflicting evidence about the brain's actual intelligence. He thought the animal part of our nature was probably more important than the brain part. He believed we’d be better off if we followed our instincts. Weren’t our big brains the reason for ethnic disputes, politics, wars, corporate greed, and ecological disasters?


Kelley races Eino Oksanen, Finland, in 1961 Boston Marathon. Result: Oksanen, first; Kelley, second. Courtesy Boston Marathon.
If Kelley sounds angry, he never acted that way. Shouting, organizing, and rabble-rousing–these simply weren’t part of his nature. Two overreaching passions sustained him: running and literature. He read and enjoyed everything: Joyce and Shakespeare, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut, Roger Bannister and Larry Flynt (publisher of Hustler magazine). I remember my amazement a few years back when I caught him reading Flynt’s autobiography, An Unseemly Man. I immediately set to chiding him.
“Oh, no, Amby,” he retorted. “Flynt’s a good man who’s had a hard life. He’s a protector of our rights. He got sued constantly, he was shot by a madman, and he kept on fighting.”
Every run with Kelley was a unique escapade. The workouts began in his backyard. We had to scramble through briar patches, and risked scraping our knees on a stone wall before reaching a short path in tree-thick Pequot Woods. Why not walk down the driveway, and begin runnng on clear asphalt? Because that option held absolutely no appeal to Kelley.
On 10-, 14- and 18-milers, we turned off road at every occasion, a half-mile here, a mile there, to follow narrow trails, ford streams, and run through oak glens. Wherever there was grass or roots underfoot, wherever the snow drifted highest, wherever the wind blew fiercest, that's where Kelley wanted to be. He loved weather–all of it.
Eventually we’d reach River Road in Old Mystic, and the pace would rachet down dramatically. Four miles to go. The group run now became a survival-of-the-fittest contest. Kelley flew down River Road, the rest of us giving chase. Nearly three miles later, we turned right on Clift St. (not Cliff, though that would be an accurate descriptor), and climbed straight up for 700 yards (and 160 vertical feet). At the top, we plunged again into the tree-covered darkness of Pequot Woods.
The last mile to Kelley’s house was an unbroken mix of rocks, streams, hidden trails, fallen logs, and brambles. The workout ended with another encounter of backyard stone wall and briar patches. It was rare to finish without bloodied legs.
Kelley was always first home. By the time I got to his backyard, worn and bedraggled, he had tossed off his singlet, grabbed a pitchfork, and commenced to working the compost pile with an energy-output equal to the run. The first time I saw the hundreds of fat, squirming earthworms in his compost, I recoiled in horror.
All Kelley’s workouts started behind schedule, as did everything else in his life. He was the worst trip planner imaginable. In 1963, the fall of my senior year in high school, a teammate and I qualified for the New England Cross Country Championships in Burlington, VT. Kelley concocted an impossible itinerary. First, he wouldn’t let us get started until we had completed a full day of classes. Then we drove to a Boston suburb to have an Italian dinner prepared by the mother of Al Confalone, a Kelley teammate on the BAA running club. (These guys might have been ahead of Ron Hill and others on the carbo-loading curve.) After eating, socializing, eating some more, (and socializing some more), we finally hit the road again.
We pulled into our Burlington hotel at 4 a.m. Three hours later, my teammate and I had to shake off the cobwebs, get up for a light breakfast, and begin our pre-race warmup. I have no memories of the actual competition. I am brimming with mental snapshots of the harrowing trip.


Tired. After a 1960s New England road race somewhere. Courtesy Hockomock Swamp Rat/Peter Wallan.
A few years later, Kelley decided that we should run the annual Columbus Day road race in Manchester, NH. Afterward, we would drive north for an overnight, and the next morning hike up Mount Washington, his alltime favorite activity. We wouldn’t need a motel reservation or anything; we’d just find one en route to Mount Washington.
Can you say “foliage season?” After striking out at a dozen or more motels, we finally reached the parking lot across from the Mount Washington auto road. With no other options, Kelley and I let Jess and the three girls array themselves in the car. We stepped outside, wrapped ourselves in our running sweatsuits, and picked out a soft patch of grass. I still shiver every time I recall the avalanche of cold, damp air that cascaded down the mountainsides that night to congeal us in its frosty grasp.
When Hal Higdon wrote his classic 1966 tale of New England summer road racing for Sports Illustrated, he titled it “Has Anyone Here Seen Kelley?” The title worked on several levels. For one, it was a given that no one had seen Kelley, because he was always the last to arrive at a race.
I’m half-German and at least half-if-not-fully-crazed about lists, schedules, and timeliness. As soon as I came into a car of my own, I gave up driving to races with Kelley. I just couldn’t tolerate the last-minute pressure. I had too often changed into my racing shorts in the backseat, asking Jess and the girls to look away, when we were still 10 miles distant from a start line with 15 minutes ’til gun time. I don’t know how many races Kelley missed entirely in his life, but there must have been several.
In the early 1980s, Kelley became the first runner I knew to try a triathlon. Fit, water-worthy, and an enthusiastic cyclist, he saw the tri-event as a new frontier. The result was pitifully comic. The smallest and thinnest of all competitors, he dove off Groton Long Point’s East Dock and began stroking inland toward Esker Point, a half-mile distant. However, there was a modest out-current, and it soon developed that Kelley was swimming backwards. Organizers had to dispatch a motorboat to haul him out of Long Island Sound before he was swept away.
Fifteen years earlier, we had begun our annual New Year’s Day lark–a combination 5-mile run and Long Island Sound water frolic. It always began at 415 Pequot Ave. Why? Because everything began there. Kelley rarely joined in, however. He felt that New Year’s Eve and Day already had too many social frenzies.


Kelley and one of his best friends. Photo courtesy Gail Kislevitz.
His own favorite Jan. 1 activity was a long woodsy trek, through deep snow if possible, with one of the dogs. Kelley was a dog man through and through. No day was complete without several meandering walks with one of his constant companions.
Kelley married Jess in the winter of 1953 while both were still college students. That night he ran on B.U.’s 4 x 800-meter relay team in Boston Garden. While he raced around the tight, splintered boards, the P.A. system played “Here Comes The Bride.” God, I wish I had been there to witness that. I often kidded him about it anyway.
Following graduation, Kelley taught English and reading to non-college-bound high school students for several decades. It was an occupation for which he was massively unsuited, possessing not a disciplinary strand of DNA in his entire genetic makeup. Eventually he quit to drive a taxi for his brother-in-law, and to pursue freelance writing for outfits with minuscule budgets. With a friend, Tom Murphy, he co-wrote Just Call Me Jock, the biography of Jock Semple.
In 1980, Jess found a well-to-do investor-partner, and together they opened a running store named “Kelley’s Pace” in a small, touristy shopping center called Olde Mystick Village. Jess hoped the family might finally make a dime or two from her husband’s running fame, but several bad embezzlements ruined the dream. After his wife's death, Kelley worked substantial hours at the store that bears his name, but in which he held only a small share.
Of course, Kelley was used to living on nothing. I don’t remember that he ever took his family on a proper vacation. A Friday-night pizza dinner downtown was about as lavish as it got. When I think back, I can’t imagine how he and Jess managed to dole out all the tea and cookies. But they never did so begrudgingly, I can assure you of that. It was the best, happiest, most chaotic kitchen-living room in the world. We all had a blast.

IN A COUPLE OF DAYS I'LL RETURN TO MYSTIC for Kelley’s funeral. Soon as I arrive, I'm heading over to gaze at 415 Pequot. You can’t miss it. Mystic is a well-heeled community, with nicely trimmed and landscaped yards. Except for 415 Pequot.
I seem to recall that 1966 was the first year Kelley bought a live Christmas tree. Several months later, he transplanted the young pine to the front yard. He did the same the next year, and many years thereafter. Today, the front yard at 415 Pequot is an evergreen forest, completely devoid of grass and artifice.
Kelley never intended to create a living memorial to himself. He just wanted to celebrate Christmas without killing a tree. But when I visit and look at those trees, I’ll remember all the jaunts and hijinx and good times we shared. Mostly I’ll wonder at the miracle that one lone individual could have lived with so many right values so far ahead of everyone else.
Kelley cherished trees and animals, no doubt about it. But more than anything, he loved the people around him–family, friends, artists, fellow athletes, and revolutionaries of every stripe. And we loved him back. It was easy to recognize that John Joseph Kelley was an American original. I didn’t know anyone else like him, and couldn’t imagine another. I still don’t, and can’t.



Four Boston Marathon winners. Courtesy Andy Yelenak, runningpast.com
More: Kelley's induction speech, including photo with Doris Brown Heritage, 2002 National Distance Running Hall of Fame.
Great reminiscence from Steve Fagin, a local runner/writer in Mystic, CT, who knew Kelley well.
Excellent NY Times obit from track writer Frank Litsky.
Hartford Courant sports feature writer Lori Riley calls how Kelley changed her flat tire.

Article taken from Footloose - http://footloose.runnersworld.com
URL to article: http://footloose.runnersworld.com/2011/08/john-j-kelley-rip-1930-2011-1957-boston-marathon-winner-americas-first-modern-road-runner.html

Vol. 1 No. 42 More from other corners of the planet

Cc: "George Brose" Hi Ernie

I am one of George's old mates from Oklahoma days. Thanks for going through the old Track and Field mags. When I was a boys growing up in Johannesburg it was essential reading for an aspiring track runner. Great memories.

Thanks

Neville Soll
----- Original Message -----
From: Goerge Brose
To: ernie cunliffe
Subject: Re: Strange Coincidence


Well, Ernie, your musings certainly interest me, and I can only believe they interest a lot of the other guys who read this. Phil Scott is one, and Steve Price, and Bill Schnier always tell me how they enjoy everything about it. I'm sure if any our readers have a halfway literary inclination they would send some of their thoughts on to everybody else. For the most part we are just getting to the point where careers merge with the period, (ie. late 50's onward), Let's see what happens. So far no one has gotten argumentative, which might be fun too. Anyway, you are all certainly encouraged to forward this stuff to your friends and make comments as well. George

--- On Sat, 8/20/11, ernie cunliffe wrote:


From: ernie cunliffe
Subject: Strange Coincidence
Date: Saturday, August 20, 2011, 10:29 AM


With all this track stuff and high school running, this am when I was out weeding my driveway, a car drove up and a pretty big guy got out.
I had no idea who it was until he introduced himself. It was my old hs coaches son who is now a highway patrolman in Utah. He is 61 which
of course made me feel old. I had not seen him in well over 15-20 years when he was still in the Air Force. My coach died probably 10 yrs ago
and would be 86 now. Anyway, the son has a son in the Army who is in late 30s and is stationed here at Ft Carson in Colo Springs.

I wonder who will next show up, maybe Jimmy Carter to remodel my house or to explain why we boycotted the Moscow Olympics when I was
going to be an Ass't Manager. My Dad had purchased tickets for the Games through an agent who dealt with the Russians. I think we got maybe
60 cents on the dollar back from the total price of 5 tickets.

I wonder how really interested all the people are that you include on the e mailings regarding an old guy retelling the good old days of T & F?

Ernie


Vol. 1 No. 41 Another reader comes out of the woodwork

From: Roy Benson
Subject: FW: June 1958 addendum: Mr. E. Cunliffe's remarks and oral history

T&FNUTS,

How amazing that this series of re-hashes would elict an email from one of the runners covered in the mag. I was running in Calif from 1961-64 and Cunliffe was a star for Stanford. I got to know Don Bowdon after a ruptured Achilles ended his career and he was slow enuf for me to go jogging with him, A great gentleman.

I used to sneak into the Cal-Berkely locker room to change when I went up there from Alameda USCG base to run on their track. Jerry Seibert and Jack Yerman were running for Cal in those days. I was actually offered a scholarship to Cal when i got out of the CG as a 1:53.4 half miler. Wonder what I could have done if I had accepted????

Roy


Vol. 1 No. 40 More on June 58

Finally got to my lst varsity year, 1957-1958.

1) I have no recollection of ever running an open 880 at the California Relays in Modesto . Must be true since I just read it. I had always thought that I had been
2-0 vs Arnie Sowell as I defeated him at Coliseum Relays and then the next day up in San Francisco area at the Pacific AAU meet. Think it was in 59.
Of interest since I coached his son at the AF Academy where he was a miler and 2 miler, but nothing close to his Dad except alot taller. But of the shame at Modesto
if I lost to Jack Wilcox of Fresno State and Maynard Orme of Cal.

2) My big moment in the 1958 Big Meet, Cal vs Stanford at Stanford. Don Bowden had previously run and won the mile in a fairly average time for him, so I went out
fast (not a surprise to those who knew how I ran) and won as Don let me get too far ahead. I won in 1:50.2 which was my official best time my lst year of varsity. And yes
it was his lst ever 880 defeat.
Ernie

George, Stanford ran against Cal at the Texas Relays in Spring of 58. We got 2nds in both sprint medley and 2 mile relay. I anchored both vs Bowden and actually kept up
with him for a while in both races, but the quality came out and I finished a ways back although I had been given the baton a fairly good distance behind him. I ran 1:50 in one
of the races and high 1:50s in the other. This made the T & F News issue probably around May. I also ran in NCAA meet with an elimination effort in the lst round. Hopefully that
did not make T & F News! I also was in the High School 1955 T & F info summary for 1:54.7 880 from Claremont H.S. CA 1955, which was just behind Bobby Mosshart in Texas and I
think Bob Shankland (Arizona?) . I do not recall either of their times, but think that Bobby was 1:53.9 and Shankland was a tenth or two ahead of me = I was #3 in US for high school that year. I might be confusing Shankland's year as I also read the all time list for 880 as of 1955, of course headed by Bowden.

I've enjoyed Roy's e mails thus far and look forward to issues in which I appeared once in a while, 1959-1963. Nothing again until 1984 when my 400 runner Alonzo Babers won the 2
Golds in LA & I was mentioned as his coach. Maybe Roy can find a finishing kick for me and thus move my time and places up some !! By the way, my sister Barbara did not graduate from Claremont H.S. but Fullerton H.S. 1949. Perhaps you did not know that.

Vol 1 No. 39 June, 1958

1957 has come and gone. Unfortunately so has the first half of 1958 because the June issue is the first I have.
JUNE, 1958
Twenty year old Herb Elliot is in California. Previous to this report apparently he has run 3:58.2. On May 31 at the California Relays in Modesto he wins in a subpar 4:02.7. The excitement is provided by the 440 and 880 relay teams from Abilene Christian who set world records with marks of 39.7 and 1:22.6. Especially satisfying is the fact that Texas had held both (440 shared with ACC). Apparently the 440 could have been faster or Cordner Nelson’s description contained less hyperbole. “Bill Woodhouse, starting his run to take the baton from leadoff man Waymon Griggs, felt a cramp in his leg and slowed down while Griggs passed him. Woodhouse started running again, and his leg felt all right, so he snatched the baton from Griggs and set out after Oklahoma State.” A third WR, though unofficial, is set as California clocks 3:18.9 in the sprint medley. Jack Yerman opens with a 47.1, high school BJ record holder Monte Upshaw runs 21.9. Willie White follows with a 20.8. Don Bowden splits 23.9, 51.5 and 1:18.9 before the bear jumps on his back. Though the final furlong takes 30 seconds, it is enough for a 1:49.0 and the record.
Perry O’Brien throws 63-1 to win “the greatest shot put competition in history”. Making his debut on the big stage is Arizona high schooler, Dallas Long, who takes second, a half inch shy of 60’. Eddie Southern’s star continues to rise as he crushes Olympic champ Charlie Jenkins 45.9 to 47.2. Of special note is a competitive 880. Makosaki of Poland wins in 1:49.7 over an impressive collection of young Americans. Dave Scurlock holds off fast closing Arnie Sowell for second, 1:50.1 for both. Maynard Orme takes fourth over Wilcox of Fresno State. 1:50.4 to 1:50.6. Stanford’s Ernie Cunliffe is sixth with no time listed.
A week later and 300 miles south it is the Compton Invitational. Elliot vs. Olympic champ Delany. How could any event detract from that? Well the shot put competition did. “Shortly after 7:30 PM, the 8000 spectators witnessed the most brilliant shot putting of all time.” O’Brien wins at 62-4, but that isn’t the story. SC sophomore Dave Davis “shoves the heavy ball 60-5 for a new collegiate record” and moves to #3 all time. It is an impressive performance, but one that is soon overshadowed. “Dallas Long, blond 245 pound high school boy from Phoenix is next up. He sends the brown shot thudding into the turf over 61 feet away.” His mark is 61-0 ½. Here is the trivia question with which you can astound your friends and neighbors. What was the event and what were the circumstances in which the high school record was better than the collegiate record? Armed with this knowledge, you will be a god at the local tavern.
Oh, and when the shot put excitement died down, they did run a mile. The undefeated newcomer from down under lining up against the Olympic champion, “the hawk-beaked Elliot, wearing a pink shirt with a homemade white C on it, and the boyish looking Delany in the black of Villanova”. Also in the race is the third man to break four minutes, Lazlo Tabori. At the quarter Elliot is third at 57.5, Delany on his heels at 57.9. Elliot is second at the half in 1:59.3 with Delany a tenth back. The pacemaker drops back and Elliot leads at the 1320 in 3:01.4 with Delany in position to strike at 3:01.8, though Tabori his now between them. “Around the turn it was still a footrace.” (As opposed to …..?) Elliot opens up on the backstretch and Delany knows it is not his night, “his mincing stride shortened and became more awkward as he slows to an 80 pace”. Tabori has not given up, but Elliot’s 56.7 drops the Hungarian another 10 yards back. The 1500 time is 3:43.4, making his final 120 a quick 14.7, producing a 3:58.1. Tabori is second at 4:00.5. A well beaten Delany crosses the line in 4:10.0.
Eddie Southern goes 45.9 for the second time in a week. Willie White and Ed Collymore trade sprint victories, White taking the 100, 9.5 for both, and Collymore the 220 by two tenths in 20.3.
Southern’s weekend was not done. The next day it’s back to Modesto where he runs 46.l in the Central California AAU. Also on June 7, Al Oerter throws 188-2 in the Central Collegiates.
But this day the focus of the track world is on Houston and the Meet of Champions where outstanding marks abound. Bobby Morrow goes 9.4 and 20.4 to win easily. Glenn Davis tours the track in 46.8. George Kerr thumps the field in 1:49.5, the second best collegiate time of the year. Don Stewart of SMU wins the HJ at 6-10 ½. The dynasty that was to be Oklahoma is heard from. The great South African, Gail Hodgson, “despite being sidelined for two weeks with a kidney infection,” runs his fastest mile, 4:05.4, to win. Sooner weight men, Erwin and Lindsay take the SP and DT with marks of 54-1 ½ and 164-2. Dee Givens shows his potential with 9.6 and 20.9 clockings and you can practically hear the sounds of Boomer Sooner resonating off the walls of the stadium when the mile relay team of Gernert (no initial), Denton, Parr and H. Gernert win in 3:15.2.
In San Diego the NAIA demonstrates its forward thinking by including the 440 intermediates in its program, something the AAU and the NCAA haven’t gotten around to. Russ Washington runs 51.5 for a collegiate record by nine tenths. He also combines with Winston Salem teammate Elias Gilbert to go 1-2 in the highs and lows, Gilbert winning the first, 13.6 to 14.2 and Washington the second 23.2 to 23.5.
Of special note is a large photo on page 7 of the great Ernie Cunliffe winning a significant, though unmentioned, 880. Visible in his wake are Olympian Don Bowden and Olympian to be Jerry Siebert. No time is mentioned, but it was regular take-em-out-behind-the-woodshed whipping of 7-8 yards. It is the first 880 defeat of Bowden’s career.
In a column entitled Quotable Quotes, Fred Wilt derides modern coaching methods for distance runners. “For best results first of all, we must train. We should run each day. Twice per day is better than once…..Do it this way. First mile should be gradually accelerated, starting slowly and gradually going faster, until you’re about exhausted at the end of a mile. Then jog about 110 yards, sprint 110 yards, etc., thus making 8 x 110 yards during the second mile....I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but he who trains without using wind sprints, regarding his racing distance is not getting maximum results.” I’m leaving out much of what he said because I’m tired of typing, but oxygen debt is the message.
Bert Nelson’s Of People and Things column begins with an explanation of how the split-hand stopwatch works. He seems to like it pretty well. “The split-hand stopwatch is the greatest invention since milk.” And let’s hear it for Paul Keller of Delaware, Ohio, and the first and only member of the T&FN subscription sales Century Club. Seems Paul has turned in 150 subscriptions in a year and a half, most from Delaware and Prospect, Ohio.
Next time you feel you are being asked to do too much with too little, consider Wilbur Ross, the great hurdle coach at Winston-Salem who has produced the aforementioned Elias Gilbert and Russ Washington. The school has no track. His athletes do a “Fartlek type workout in a rough field and hurdle in a gym, training on a track across town about once every two weeks”. Seems to work out okay.
The On Your Marks column tells of a high school coach getting a college job. Seems Sam Bell had done a pretty good job with a young Dyrol Burleson who has just set the high school mile record of 4:13.2 at Cottage Grove HS about 30 miles down the road from Eugene. Sam will be drawing paychecks from Oregon State University. Dyrol will stay closer to home.
In Bert Nelson’s So They Tell Me column Fresno State coach Flint Hanner relates the following. “Elroy Robinson (who held the world record at 1:49.6 (in 1937) was a hurdler in high school and ran only 2:09 as a frosh. After his 880 record, and when he was out of school, he decided to take a crack at the mile. He ran 2:56.5 for three quarters, and showed no fatigue. That was on a Thursday. On Sunday he told me, ‘The Lord has called me. I won’t run anymore.’ And he never did.” Were I Flint, I would be down on my knees, praying. “Jesus wants you to run, Elroy.”
In the same column Hilmer Lodge, coach at Mount San Antonio College describes the new track facility the school is building. It has all the bells and whistles. He goes into great detail. I am struck by the curb sprinkler system and “the 160 yard apron on the opposite side to permit hurdles to be run without taking time out of another race to set them up.” It is a concept well ahead of its time. The cost is a whopping $425,000.
Prep Panorama reveals that Dave Mills’ (Lakewood Ohio) greatest race may not have been his national record 46.6 set at the state meet on the Ohio State track. The previous week in the Northeastern Ohio district meet he ran 46.8 around two turns “in the pole lane on a soft powdery track.” The Ohio high school board gave permission to run the race around one turn to give him a better chance for the record. Pretty sure everyone broke for the pole because there is a photo of him hitting the tape in lane one with another runner also in one and several in two.
Running through the US Report, it looks like track was the training grounds for pro football. Not counting Glenn Davis, future NFL and AFL players are LSU’s Billy Cannon, 9.5, Colorado’s Boyd Dowler, the great Packer receiver, and Compton JC’s Paul Lowe, the all world San Diego Charger running back, both 14.2 hurdlers. Not far behind is Bowling Green’s soon to be LA Ram receiver, Bernie Casey, at 14.5. Jimmy Johnson, on his way to All American honors at UCLA and a 16 year Hall of Fame career with the 49ers, broad jumps 23-11 ¼ for Compton JC.
And let me put to rest whatever doubts there may be about Clifford Severn’s staying power. He is still selling Adidas on the back page: Cross Country – Glide a while with Adidas Featherlite Kangaroo and Elkhide Cross Country Shoes…..Resoleable!!

Vol. 1 No. 38 November, 1957

November, 1957
The first page has three cross country stories. The NCAA meet is held in East Lansing. Max Truex runs to a convincing 23 second win over John Macy and Jerry Smartt of Houston. Buddy Edelen and Crawford Kennedy are 4th and 5th. Notre Dame takes the team title with 121 points to just edge defending champion Michigan State, 127, Houston, 131, and Syracuse, 140. No team west of Colorado competes.
This is a reversal of the ICAAAA meet in Van Cortland Park the previous week in which MSU beats Notre Dame 86-102 with “Fordy” Kennedy winning by 16 seconds over Ron Delany who doesn’t compete in the NCAA meet.
The following week John Macy gets a win at the AAU championship in Chicago, defeating Doug Kyle of the Hamilton Olympic Club by 20 seconds. Teammate Jerry Smartt is a close third.
Buddy Edelen take the Big Ten with Michigan State the team champs.
The Big Eight meet in Ames, Iowa is a coming out party for Tom Skutka of Kansas who wins the first XC race of his college career, surprisingly beating teammate Jerry McNeal, who had beaten him all season, 14:58 to 15:14. Cliff Cushman takes 16th at 15:41. On a day when “the course was hilly and wet and a 20 mph wind blew 28 degree shivers through the runners”, Kansas dominates with 26 to beat Colorado, 52, and Iowa State, 84.
Idaho (Idaho?), with a team imported from England, wins the first Pacific Coast Conference XC Championship in Los Angeles “before an enthusiastic crowd of 300, the largest to witness a meet in this area”, besting Oregon 25-31 in a meet run oddly five days after the NCAA. Truex wins by 33 seconds over Frank Wyatt of Idaho with Jim Grelle another nine seconds back. Even more odd was the fact that only four runners were scored. Moving “odd” into the realm of strange, Idaho recruited its team by advertising for runners in the British publication, Athletics Weekly, thus earning a $1000 fine from commissioner Vic Schmidt for illegal recruiting. Yes, that would be the same Vic Schmidt who presents coach Joe Glander the championship trophy. Dick Bank writes that the Vandals could have won the NCAA but didn’t attend for lack of funds. In fact the only reason the team made it to Los Angeles is that the citizens of Moscow passed the hat to raise the money for the trip. Picture contribution jars by the cash register at local diners: “Send our boys to LA”. (Or more accurately, send those kids who talk with a funny accent to LA.)
Two pages of a variety of other XC results provide the first sitting of Bob Schul. The Miami student wins the 47th annual 6 mile Elks Club run in a record 27:33. This is an era when his school is just “Miami”, not “Miami of Ohio”. He finishes second in the All Ohio meet, 27 seconds behind John Gutknecht of Ohio Wesleyan, but leads his team to a lopsided victory.
Gail Hodgson, limited by his freshman status at Oklahoma, must be content to win the Oklahoma State AAU meet in Stillwater and the Big Eight Freshman Postal 2 Mile by 1.4 seconds over Billy Mills with a 9:17.6 effort. The wonderfully named Joe American Horse of Nebraska takes fifth at 9:50.
Jumping back to track, the much maligned AAU meet in Dayton takes another punch to the jaw. It seems the staggers were mismarked in the 220 and the 440 with each succeeding lane moving outward gaining an advantage. Lane nine in the 220 ran 19.01 feet short and in the 440 it was 38.03. Talk about your big “Oops!”. Apparently the places will stand with an explanation, but logically the times will not hold up.
The high school list is in. Preston Griffin of Centennial, Compton is pretty, pretty good. He leads with a 9.5 100 and has a wind aided 20.3 220. Oh, and he took a shot at the BJ coming within 2” of the leader with a 24-6 ¾. Also-rans in the sprints are Villanovans and world record holders to be Frank Budd and Paul Drayton. The 880 is dominated by Tom Carroll of Fordham Prep at 1:50.6. Jim Cerveny of Mission Bay in San Diego is second at 1:52.7. Billy Mills is the fourth fastest miler at 4:22.8. Archie San Romani is tied for 19th at 4:26.5. NCAA champion to be Jerry Tarr runs 14.4 to tie for the 14th best mark. If any athlete dominated his event it was Jim Brewer in the pole vault who jumps 15-0 1/8. Next best is 13-11. 1964 Olympic shot put champ Dallas Long is the fourth ranked putter at 61-5. 1968 Olympian Dave Maggard is 19th at 58-6 1/2. The most amazing relay mark is Manual Arts (LA) 2:54.6 mile relay time. Oh, wait a minute. That was the 8 man mile relay.
Remember high school two mile team race postal competitions? In 1957 Morningside of Inglewood (CA) dominated with a 50:25.5 clocking with times between 9:49 and 10:15.
And there was also the first annual two man ten mile relay sponsored by T&F News. That would be two guys alternating quarters for 40 laps. Nine of the ten teams were from California. University of the Pacific runners Charles Curtis (67.5 average) and Jack Marden (66.8) comprised the winning team.
Let’s end with heresy, the mention of a woman. Stella Walsh broke the American record in the pentathlon. She put the shot 32-8, high jumped 4-2, ran the 200 in 25.3, hurdled (80 m?) 13.2 and broad jumped 18-5. Pretty good considering she was 46 and had been the Olympic 100 meter champ for Poland in 1932

Vol. 1 No. 37 August, 1957

Issues for May, June and July are not in my possession, so it is.................................................

AUGUST, 1957





Five new world records are mentioned on the front page. Josh Culbreath breaks the WR in the 440 hurdles with 50.5, but the significance of this is lessened by the fact that Glenn Davis's 400 mark of 49.5 is a much superior mark. Russian Yuriy Stepanov bettered Charlie Dumas' HJ record with a jump of 7-1 1/8.
The middle distance runners are the ones who have all the fun. At 7 Pm on the night of July 11 in Turku, Finland, three Finnish runners, Salsola, Vuorisalo and Salonen – all with the first name of Olavi – stand on the starting line for the Finland – Sweden 1500 meters, each with the thought of breaking Rozsavolgyi's WR of 3:40.6. Sweden's Dan Waern is the primary opponent. Waern takes the field through splits of 56.8, 1:57.8 and 2:58.4 with the three Olavis in tow. The Swede holds the lead into the final straight. But then the Olavis put the Finn in finish. Salsola leads the parade, but Salonen closes the fastest, only to come up a couple inches short, as both are clocked in 3:40.2. Vuorisalo also betters the WR with 3:40.3. All that is left for Waern is a Swedish record of 3:40.8.
The celebration in Finland is short lived. On the next afternoon in Stara' Boleslav-Houstka, a small town near Prague, Czechoslovakia, Stanislav Jungwirth is about to shock the track world, or at least that part of the world that is Finland. Running on a 364 meter track with a pace setter for the first 900 meters, he splits 54.9 and 1:54.2. At 1000 he is 2:24.0 before reaching 1200 in 2:53.4, a full five seconds ahead of the previous day's pace. The pace slows as he goes down the homestretch “in his awkward looking, workmanlike form” to finish in 3:38.1 and become the world record holder by a fat two seconds.
But wait, there is more. Seven days later the new 1500 record holder steps onto the track at White City Stadium in London to take on Olympic champion Ron Delany and European mile record holder (3:58.4) Derek Ibbotson in an attempt to break John Landy's 3:58.0 mile record. A pace setter. leads through 55.3 and 1:55.8 and it appears a WR will be run. The question is by whom. Jungwirth has the lead down the backstretch, but his 59.2 third lap of a week ago is not to be repeated. Indeed it is only 63.9 and though he still leads, his ¾ time is only 3:00.0. Big finisher Ibbotson is right there as is the biggest finisher, Delany. On the backstretch Ibbotson moves by and it is apparent that Jungwirth is not going to be the winner. Delany kicks it into gear and goes by the Czech, but still trails Ibbotson around the curve. Ibbotson goes to the afterburners, covering the last 109.2 meters (from the 1500) in 15.4 to Delany's 16.4 and Jungwirth's 17.0 to record a new world record of 3:57.2. Delany is a well beaten 3:58.8 with Jungwirth at 3:59.1.
And now, lets take a run through the European Report. Armin Hary, who will be heard from at Rome in 1960 is one of ten guys who have run 10.4. German teammate Manfred Germar leads at 10.2. He is also top dog in the 200 at 20.8. Olympic champ Tom Courtney took on WR holder Roger Moens in Ozlo. Although Courtney ran 1:46.2, Moens is the European and world leader on the basis of turning back Courtney with a 1:46.0. Martin Lauer of Germany, he of the two 14.7s in last year's Olympics, has improved to 13.7. The great Janusz Sidlo dominates the javelin at 271-11.
The US Report shows one B.Morrow as top dog in the sprints. Milt Campbell has hurdled 13.4 to lead Lee Calhoun's 13.5. Elias Gilbert has also run 13.4, but is ranked behind Calhoun on the basis of losing the AAU to him. Don Bowden has run his AR 3:58.7, but is ranked behind Delany, Tabori and Seaman. (foreigners living in the US count) Gutowski dominates the PV with his WR. Bob Richards trails by half a foot. Don Bragg at 15-1 ¾ is ranked third. Note: This issue is the first issue (I have) where Bragg is referred to as Tarzan. It won't be the last. Gregg Bell leads the country by over a foot with a broad jump of 26-7. The 10th best mark is 24-4 by one B. Gutowski. Perry O'Brien once again is ranked first, no, not in the shot. He is only a well beaten fourth behind Bill Nieder's 61-6 ½ with a 59-7. But...he is numero uno in the discus at 183-3. Ranked second is Al Oerter at 185-4 with wins at the AAU and NCAA. I can see no notation that they have met. I don't 'splain 'em, I just report 'em. Oh, after all the pontification about how the US has to include Olympic events in our meets, there is no ranking for the HSJ, steeplechase or the 400IH. (The 220 lows is there though.)
On page 12 a reader, Howard Shick of Peoria, IL to be exact, writes to decry the fact that most states do not sanction the javelin. Turn back to page 11 and we find that Stan Cox, “was stabbed in the heart by a flying javelin while officiating a meet in London”. Not to worry, he's going to be okay. Those plucky Brits.
It was a different time. “John West, 9.5 LSU sprinter, says he is transferring to Kansas because LSU's rule against interracial competition would prevent him from running in big time track meets.”
More from the different time department: Matthews of Australia has just set the WR in the women's 440 at 57.0.
Cifford Severn shares ad space on the last page with Hollywood's Algiers Motor Hotel, Dick Held Distance Rated Javelins and Archie's Little Black Book.
Remember the two man ten mile relay and the high school two mile team postal competition? Well, they are coming up in the next issue which will be November.