Beginning our 7th year and over 2500 pages. A blog for fans of Track and Field from the 1950's and 60's, culled from various articles in sports journals of the day with added commentaries from readers who lived and ran and coached in that era.
We're the equivalent of an American Legion post of Track and Field but without cheap beer. You may contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment at the end of a given posting.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
V 5 N. 121 December , 1965
The collegiate cross country season is over. The indoor season hasn't begun. What would seem like a dearth of competition is saved by those wild and crazy guys in New Zealand who have their track season in November and December.
But before we take you down under, we would be amiss were we not to mention the last two US cross country meets of the season. The AAU and the USTFF have struck a bargain permitting unrestricted participation in all US meets. Collegiate athletes are free to run in AAU meets. But not this year as this agreement came about three weeks after the AAU and USTFF meets and even if it had been earlier, doubling would have been tough as the meets were held on the same day, Nov. 27, in New York and Wichita.
John Lawson puts the cherry on top of his seasonal sundae in the USTFF meet. He adds this gold medal to those of the Big Eight, Central Collegiate and NCAA meets which currently occupy his sock drawer. Southern Illinois' Oscar Moore shows no fear as he goes out hard, building up an 80 yard lead in the first two miles of the six mile race. There is a fine line between courageous and fool-hearty as Oscar discovers in the third mile when Lawson begins to reel him in.
The dual ends not with a bang but a whimper as the Kansas senior makes his move and assumes a 100 yard lead by the end of the fourth mile. From that point the question isn't who will win, but by how much. Lawson's final 200 yard margin, 28:51 to 29:25, almost allows him to put his sweats on and sign autographs before Moore finishes. Oscar has enough left in the tank to hold off NCAA six mile champ, Doug Brown of Montana, by eight seconds. Thirty-two seconds later Kansas freshman Jim Ryun crosses the finish line in fourth. The University of Kansas team is running as the Jayhawk Track Club so that Ryun, ineligible for the NCAA meet as a freshman, might be included. They take the team title easily, 38-65-69 over the Houston TC and Southern Illinois.
The last three AAU championships have been won by Mihaly Igloi's LATC , now disbanded. This doesn't stop Ron Larrieu, still coached by Igloi, from dominating the field for his first AAU championship. He is out early with Canadian Dave Ellis, Bill Morgan and Eamon O'Reilly. O'Reilly drops off at two miles. The remaining three stay together as they disappear behind Cemetery Hill on the Van Cortlandt Park course. With a mile and a half remaining, Larrieu makes his move on the course's steepest hill. Any doubt as to the winner is removed in seconds. Larrieu's time, 31:12, is 24 seconds off Bruce Kidd's course record, but is excellent for the muddy conditions. Ellis and Morgan are runner ups in 31:40 and 31:50.
But the big news awaits us in New Zealand where Kip Keino and Jurgen May are enjoying the mild weather of the southern hemisphere. The headline in the September issue of Track and Field News proclaimed “1965 World Mile to 10,000 Record Revision Complete”. Not so fast, Cordner and Bert, we got one more coming.
In Auckland on Nov. 27 Keino warms up with a solo 3:41.9 1500. The big one comes on the same track three days later. Running alone after the first 120 yards, Keino is on a mission, one that ends with a 5000 meter world record, 13:24.2, clipping 1.6 seconds off Ron Clarke's mark. His half mile splits are given as 2:06.5, 4:16.0 (2:09.5), 6:28.7 (2:12.7), 8:33.8 (2:05.1), 10:47.0 (2:13.2) and 12:58.4 (2:11.4). His three mile time is only the second ever under 13 minutes (Clark 12:52.4).
Ed note: Our more astute readers may notice a discrepancy in those splits. He ran his fastest split in the middle of the race? No one was with him – Bill Baillie was second in 14:01.2 - so there was no one he was trying to drop. There is no mention of a quickened pace. Hmmm. What if there was a misprint and the two mile mark was hit in the typographically similar 8:38.3? That would make the fourth half mile 2:09.6 and the fifth half mile 2:08.7. The error would have to have been made on the Auckland end of the communication, as T&F News made a point of the two mile time being 8:33.2, 6.8 seconds faster than Clark's split in his record race. Something for the more insightful among us to ponder.
Keino says he could have gone faster if he had someone with him but that this is the fastest track he has ever run on.
Jurgen May doesn't experience the same warm, cuddly New Zealand welcome as Keino. He loses the mile to John Davies 3:59.0 to 3:59.1.
On Dec. 4 there is a meet in Napier which Keino and May attend. May takes the half easily in 1:48.9. Keino once again has no significant opposition and soldiers on by himself to a 3:56.9 mile.
Dec. 6 finds the two visitors in Tokoroa where Keino displays admirable consistency, cranking off another 3:56.9 to defeat Davies, 4:01.0. May strides through an unpressed half in 1:49.7. Two days later in Hamilton, Keino, suffering from a lack of competition, runs 3000 in 7:50.4, 10.8 seconds off his world record. It appears that he will have no significant competition on this tour.
That assumption would be wrong. On December 11 on the 386 yard grass track in Wanganui, the site of Peter Snell's first mile world record, he tangles with May over 4.56 laps, yep, a mile. Maybe May can push Keino to the record. Keino welcomes the challenge. He leads through the quarters in 56.4, 1:55.6 (59.2) and 2:54.9 (59.3) with May close. The penultimate furlong goes off in 29.6 (3:24.5). The record, 3:53.6, is within range. But so is May who is now on his shoulder. As they enter the final straight May's 1:46.3 800 speed comes into play. Keino can't hold him off. May blows by enroute to the second fastest mile ever run. His 3:53.8 misses Jazy's WR by two tenths. Keino has to settle for 3:54.9.
Their last meeting comes four days later in Auckland with similar results. Keino tries to shake May but succumbs with 40 yards left, 3:54.1 to 3:54.4. Merry Christmas, Michael Jazy. Your present is getting to keep your record.
Our next report will take you inside for the start of the 1966 indoor season. Stay tuned.