|with Jerome Drayton after 1974 Boston victory|
We recently received notice that Miki Gorman passed away at age 80 in September after being diagnosed with cancer about five years ago. Many of you will remember her as one of the first really good women marathoners. When only a few women were starting to run marathons, Miki was regularly running sub 2hrs. 50 minutes at that distance and ultimately ran a world best 2 hr. 39 min. 11seconds. Her first marathon was in 1974 at the Western Hemisphere Marathon in Culver City, CA. She ran 2hr 46min 36 sec. An Australian lady Adrienne Beames had run slightly better 2 hr. 46min. 30 over an accurately measured course, but it was as time trial, not an actual race. Miki Gorman ran in the days before the marathoning and other distance races were added to the list of Olympic events, so her name does not appear in that list of records, but she certainly would have been a major player had there been a women's marathon in 1976.
Miki was born in China to Japanese parents in 1938. Her father was in the Japanese army of occupation in northeast China. After WWII she came to the states in 1963 to Carlisle, PA to work and study. She married Michael Gorman and they came to California. She joined a gym to workout to put on some weight as she was so small, 5 ft. 87 pounds, but got into running and entered an indoor, 100 miler, but dropped out at 86 miles. The next year she completed that race. Eventually she got into training under the eye of Lazlo Tabori, and she was soon burning up the roads. In 1974, four months after that first marathon, she entered Boston and won in 2hr. 47min. 11 sec. The following year she was second at Boston, then began a three race winning streak in 1976-77 with victories at NYC, Boston, and again at NYC at age 42. In 1978 she set a world best time in the half marathon at 1hr. 15min. 58 sec. Shortly afterward injuries ended her career.
She was honored in several running halls of fame, including Road Runners Club of America, National Distance Running HOF, and New York Road Runners HOF.
Others who have left us
Bill Skinner, Tennessee All American
Skinner was an NCAA Champion javelin thrower in 1970
Bill Skinner Obituary
Beaufort Brown University of Florida
Beaufort Brown passed away earlier this Fall. Below is his short autobiography that appeared on the U. of Florida track site.
Ralph Fessenden University of Illinois
from the Oct. 7, 2015 Missoulian
Pete Brown sent us this confirmation:
Fessenden got 4th in the 1954 AAU 440 in 47.42 according to T&F News. Lea won, Mashburn second and Jones third.
Source: Track and Field News