Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vol 2 No. 31 The Inside Story Part III -(on February, 1961) from Ernie Cunliffe

This issue was a good one for me in 1000 yard races 3 for 3 including winning the AAU meet with a new Meet Record. Fred Schmertz finally got his Milrose Wanamaker Mile with Rozsavolgyi and myself as pacer for an attempt at the World Record. First a bit of background. The Madison Square Garden is 11 laps to the mile and is a smokers paradise as thick cigarette smoke hangs low within the arena. So, just before the Wanamaker Mile, I was jogging in the outer area and see Rozsavolgyi smoking furiously on one last cigarette as cited by Roy in
his summary, ie he is a chain smoker. I figured he was just getting his lungs and throat used to what he would experience inside the Garden.

Just as we lined up for introductions low and behold the announcer asks the crowd to "Please refrain from all smoking out of courtesy to the Milers." I guess no one gave a rip about any of the other athletes in any event, just the sacred Milers. I was about to become a miler instead of an 880/1000 guy for any future meets if this would guarantee a smoke free arena. But of course all the smoke was already around us and anyone who quit just for our race made it a feeble attempt to clear the air. I did have a bit of revenge on my mind
as Rozsavolgyi was the one who forced Snell, Waegli and myself into a super fast Olympic trial heat in Rome as he was just in the heat for a last speed workout before his 1500.

Roy has covered the mile well. I led a good lst 61 400 and Rozsavolgyi and I went through in 2:01 when both of us slowed down. Deacon Jones took over with a 64 & Rozsavolgyi showed his speed unlike the Rome 800 heat and won in 4:06 with my 2nd place time being 4:06.4.

I might point out that I do not ever remember running in any other arena that had such heavy smoke hanging in the rafters and down to the track itself. I think most of the other arenas, Boston, LA, Louisville, Milwaukee and Cleveland might have had a no smoking policy, but I am not sure about that.

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