Sunday, May 20, 2012

Vol. 2 No. 45 January , 1962, a New World Record for the Mile

JANUARY 1962 Wait a minute, the last entry was July 1961. What happened to August through December? Your hard working reporter can only assume that his ex-wife got those in the divorce. Anyway I don't have them, so let's not worry about what might have been and move forward. This is a minimal issue in terms of the quantity of meets, but one race shocks the track and field world. Let's travel to Wanganui, New Zealand. It is a windless January 27. The track is grass and 385 yards. The mile is about to start. (The description of the race is so brief that your reporter cheated a bit and got most of the details from the February issue.) The field is comprised of Barry Cossar, Allen Shaw, American Ernie Cunliffe, Englishman Bruce Tulloh, Australian Albie Thomas and New Zealand's Olympic champions Peter Snell and Murray Halberg. Apparently Cossar is the designated pacesetter. He takes the field through a 60.0 quarter. For whatever reason Snell gets off slowly, trailing the field at the 220 in 31.7, before coming alive and moving to third at the quarter reached in 60.7. He moves to second behind Cossar at the half reached in 2:00.6 for Snell. None of this portends what is about to happen. Snell has never broken four minutes, indeed his best is 4:01.3 run on New Year's Day. He is on pace to equal that, no more. At the 930 yard mark he takes the lead. With two laps left and 990 yards covered, he is two yards up on Halberg with Tulloh another two yards back. On the backstretch Snell increases the pace, but Tulloh is game, passing Halberg and moving to within a yard of the Olympic 800 champion. The ¾ mile mark is passed at 2:59.6. At 1350 yards Tulloh makes a move which may have made this such a memorable race. He passes Snell and leads around the penultimate curve. Those who were lucky enough to be in attendance likely will always remember what happens next. Snell throws down an unbelievable burst. P.N. Heidenstrom writes, “Snell wings into action and coming off the turn he thunders past the Englishman. In the length of that 50 yard straight Snell gains 20 yards. Around the last turn and into the straight Snell is a powerhouse in action.” The 1500 is passed in 3:39.8. The final 120 yards take only 14.6 seconds, three tenths faster than Elliot in his world record 3:54.5. Those three tenths are the difference. The official watches read 3:54.2, 3:54.4 and 3:54.5 with the alternate watch at 3:54.2. The official time is 3:54.4, the new world record. Tulloh is rewarded for his courage with his first four minute mile, 3:59.3. Thomas runs third at 4:03.5. Halberg is fourth at 4:07.2. Cunliffe and Shaw are fifth and sixth at 4:14.3. Snell's 220 splits are 31.7, 29.0 (60.7), 30.0, 29.9 (59.9, 2:00.6), 29.9, 29.1 (59.0, 2:59.6), 28.1, 26.7 (54.8). His last 1320 is 2:53.7, the fastest ever recorded. His last half is 1:53.8. Snell says, “When I finished the third lap I knew I was well within it. I never felt better in my life so I really ran.” Herb Elliot is quoted as saying, “My congratulations to him. I've held the record for three years and knew it would have to go sometime. I thought Peter would be the one to do it.” The week before this race in Auckland, Snell establishes New Zealand records of 1:47.7 and 1:48.2 at 800 and 880. Before going to Peter Snell's recollections of this race, Ernie Cunliffe has several observations. George. You will feature Peter Snell's comments and I am merely sending some comments from the standpoint of someone in the race, I think I was, who watched it from a loooooong way back. Actually this is good to split up the mile and the 880/800 WR as Roy will surely cover the last WR at Christchurch in the Feb 62 issue. My 3 PRs cited were in discus, javelin and 200. Snell's of course were WR in 880 and 800. Here goes, Ernie: 17,999 people at Wanganui on January 27th were in for a treat while the 18,000th person, myself, wasn't really sure that I was even in the race, but unfortunately the results show a 5th place finish with the same time as a just graduated high school runner, Alex Shaw. Everyone knew that Peter Snell would break 4 minutes in the mile but the question was by how much. Roy has covered the specifics but I will add a couple of things. The lst announced results reported that Snell had equaled Elliott's World Record but this was because the meet program had an incorrect time of 3:54.4 as the WR and this was quickly pointed out to the announcer that Elliott ran 3:54.5 and Peter had run a new WR with his 3:54.4. The place went wild!! First time under 4 and a new WR.
(Ernie Cunliffe and Peter Snell in Rome 800 meters Prelim)

 As the track was a short 385 yds we ran just over 4 and 1/2 laps. With just over a half lap to go I became a spectator, slowed down to watch in amazement the fantastic acceleration on the last 220 as Bruce Tulloh appeared motionless although I knew he was going alot faster than I was. 26.7 for the last 220. Heck I never ran that fast in the final part of an 880, just the middle two 220s. As I came in on the final straight I heard a big roar and realized that the high school kid was about to catch me, so I picked it up enough to barely hold him off for an inglorious 5th place behind 4 runners who had all now broken 4 minutes in their careers. I obviously wasn't in mile shape and should have run the 880 with 3 runners under 1:50 where I might have been a factor as the times were 1:49.0 by John Bork, 1:49.7 by Jim Dupree and 1:49.9 by Gary Philpott (NZ). On to Christchurch where I think there were some pretty good marks. I got 3 PRs and Snell "ONLY" got 2.

The Start at Wanganui

Wanganui Reunion Thirty One Years Later

Early Days New Zealand School Boy Championships
Dr. Peter Snell 

The rest of the T&F N summary follows. Five pages of this issue are devoted to the 1961 world list. Americans with the world's best mark in their event are 100 yards: Frank Budd 9.2; 100 meters: Budd 10.2 (tie); 220: Robert (not yet “Bob”) Hayes 20.1; mile: Dyrol Burleson 3:57.6; 110 HH: Hayes Jones and Fran Washington 13.6; 220LH Don Styron 22.1 (yes, all 28 are Americans); pole vault: George Davis 15-10¼; broad jump: Ralph Boston 27-2; shot put: Dallas Long 64-7¾; discus: Jay Silvester 199-2½; hammer: Hal Connolly 229-3 and decathlon: Phil Mulkey 8709. Another two pages are devoted to “order sheets” for Mike Ryan and Sons, a track equipment company in San Jose. No meets are reported per se. Instead the season's events are categorized. The only event which seems to merit note is the pole vault where John Uelses sets the world record of 15-10¼ and ten Americans have cleared fifteen feet, the same number as all of last year. In Portland Jim Grelle outkicks Dyrol Burleson with a 57.2 last quarter to win in 4:10.2. The only major outdoor meet of importance must have been a mess. The Sugar Bowl meet in New Orleans on Dec. 31 was held in rainy conditions. How rainy you may ask. Dyrol Burleson beats Ernie Cunliffe in the mile, 4:22.2 to 4:26.9. That's how rainy. The only good mark of the meet was the 13.9 hurdle win of Ray Cunningham in an event that precedes the downpour. Among the few bits and pieces interspersed through the issue we find that Olympic 100 champion Armin Hary of Germany may not be through with track and field after all. A knee injury will keep him from running the 100, but he is training for the 400, an event in which his best is 51.0 in 1956. Hary is also playing soccer for his Karlsrhue club along with former European sprint champ Heinz Futterer, 44.9 man Carl Kauffman and 10.3w sprinter Lothar Knorzer. If your team beats them, you have to run a relay against them after the game. Two photos stand out. On page 4 there is a shot of the Americans who made the New Zealand tour: John Bork, Ernie Cunliffe, Jim Dupree and Dave Edstrom along with coach Ward Haylett of Kansas State. A finer looking group of young men you could not find. Page 3 has a picture of the field clearing the first hurdle in the 45HH in the Boston Knights of Columbus meet. The hurdles are the most formidable your reporter has ever seen. They appear to be made of 2x4's and constructed in shop class. Hit a hurdle and ruin your race is not the concern here. It is more like hit a hurdle and ruin your career.

Michel Jazy, Michel Bernard, and Jean Waddoux in Tokyo
Prepping for the Olympics with a 2:53  1200 meters

This photo and story below comes to us from Jerry McFadden who knew Jazy when Jerry was living and working in France.

George, I thought you might be interested in this photo for your running blog: It shows Michel Jazy doing a 3/4 mile (1200 meter) time trial on Oct. 9, 1964, at the training stadium in the Yoyogi Olympic Village at the Tokyo Olympics. He is followed by French teammates Michel Bernard and Jean Wadoux. He ran it in 2:53. But the story goes that he learned that very afternoon that a 3rd preliminary trial had been added for the 1500 meters. He would have been forced to run 5 consecutive days to do a planned 1500/5,000 double, so he dropped the 1500 in favor of the 5,000, where he took 4th behind Schul, Norpoth, and Dellinger. He set the world record for the mile in 1965 at 3:53.6 (succeeding Elliot & Snell). Note the lousy chopped up track! Jerry McFadden 

Editor's Note , Jerry found this picture in a recent sports journal in France where readers were asked to try to identify the picture and the story. Jazy is seen leading Michel Bernard and Jean Waddoux in that timetrial in Tokyo, 1964. Jazy is about to make the decision that would take him out of the fire of Snell's devastating kick and into the jaws of Bob Schul.

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