Sunday, April 14, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 22 A Classic Race Between Four of Our Great Ones

Our normal format is to follow Track and Field as it evolved during the 1950's and 1960's in a chronological order.  We are now up to July , 1963.   But we also take license to interrupt that plan on occasion when we feel that it would interest our readers.   Today I'm making that decision.    A few days ago,  Mike Solomon, a former Kansas Jayhawk, and tough California high school miler back in the day, sent me a youtube clip of a two mile race in  1969 between Gerry Lindgren, then at Washington State,  Steve Prefontaine, a recent high school graduate on his way to Oregon,  Frank Shorter, the new NCAA 6 mile champion, and Marty Liquori, the AAU mile champion.  It was held in Hawaii.  The meet name is not identified.  Every step of the way is on film and a knowledgable commentary goes with the race.  

A few days later, Dave Elger, posted the same race on his Facebook account,  and none other than Gerry Lindgren made comments about it.    For that reason I felt the story was worth putting in our blog right now.
I've put the youtube link below and Gerry's comments that appear on Dave's Facebook page below the link.
Dave by the way was the NCAA marathon champion for Steven's Point WI, which was DII or DIII,  back in the 70's.   He works at an American army base in South Korea as a fitness guru and still runs sub 3 hour marathons in his 60's.  I think he has run a sub 3 hour in every decade since the 1970's which is a superhuman achievement.  Dave and I put a few miles together (when both of us weren't hurt) on the roads around Muncie, Indiana back around 1977-79 when we were grad students at the Human Performance Lab, Ball State University under Dr.  David Costill.

When you open the link below, you will also see a number of historic track and field clips posted down th e right side of the page on youtube by our friend Leif Bugge of Denmark who has contributed so much to the success of this blog.

Below are the link and the comments from Dave's Facebook page.

You will also note that Marty Liquori added what he remembered about this event.




Daniel MacCracken You "psyched" Pre ... amazing 

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Steven Hoag Wow, I have never seen this before. 4 of our greatest distance runners in a race in Hawaii. The track isn't the greatest, but interesting race nonetheless. Shorter was probably just beginning his high mileage in FL and would become the Shorter that we all remember. Great kick by 
o                                                        

David Bailey How dare you beat the late, great Steve Prefontaine!

o                                                        

Gerry Lindgren I really enjoyed watching this race unfold. (I had forgotten). It shows that it is NOT the fastest (Marty Liquori) or the strongest (Pre) that wins the race. It is the runner who will dare to do what the others will not. I used a two-lap sprint to break Pre's extremely good finishing sprint. I altered the pace of the race several times too and that is always a good way to keep everyone on their toes.

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Dave Elger This is classic!

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Gerry Lindgren WOW! I didn't even REMEMBER this race. I have been telling a different story about it. I thought it was 3-miles. I didn't recall it correctly at all. Color me dumb!


Dave Elger Hard to believe Shorter went from a 9 min 2 miler here to Oly Champ 3 years later.
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Gerry Lindgren On the backstretch there was a 40 yard section of 'bad sand' that was very hard to run through. As the race developed, I picked up my pace just before the sand area. Pre, trying to stay ahead, would have to push harder through the sand.

·              George
I just watched that race today. I honestly remembered nothing about it and was hoping I was going to win. 
I did remember running a mile on that track .
We were there to train for the us vs Russia meet the next week in Los Angeles.
I was definitely not trained for two miles as I would have run the mile every week for the past two months.
From the looks of it it seems it was a practice session that somehow was called a race . I realize it was a dirt track but Shorter and I would not likely run that slow in a race.
A few weeks after that I would tear my plantar fascia.
Hope that helps.
Marty                   




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