Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 40 Alain Mimoun R.I.P.

Alain Mimoun b. January 1, 1921, d. June 27, 2013 at age 92.  He was the great rival of Zatopek in the 1950's and winner of the Marathon at the the Olympic Games of Melbourne in 1956.
Leading at Melbourne. He would win in 2 hr. 25 min.
Zatopek finished 6th in 2 hr. 29 min.

Born in the arrondissement of Maïder in the town of Telagh, then in French Algeria (his birth name was Ali Mimoun Ould Kacha), Mimoun lost several years of competition to World War II. After the war (in which he was a combatant), he was French champion in the 5000 metres and 10000 metres.
Schade, Zatopek, Mimoun
Into the Homestretch
Helsinki 5000
Herbert Schade, Germany(14:08.6), Alain Mimoun , France (14:07.4),
Emil Zatopek, Czechoslovakia (14:06.6) ,
 Chris Chataway GBR on the  ground  would finish 5th in 14:18 behind Gordon Pirie

Mimoun's path to an Olympic gold medal was blocked in both 1948 and 1952 by Czech runner Emil Zátopek. Mimoun won silver medals in 10000 metres in 1948 and 1952 as well as another silver medal in 5000 metres in 1952. His second place finishes behind Zátopek gave him the nickname "Zátopek's Shadow." He finally won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1956 Summer Olympics inMelbourne, Zatopek finished sixth.
Mimoun made the French team for the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He won his final national championship in 1966, twenty years after his debut.
With Zatopek after the 1952 Helsinki 5000m

Cross Country, French Style

                                                                                    photo  by Jerry McFadden

Alain Mimoun was a virtual unknown in international track and field when he won a silver medal for France in the 10,000-meter race at the 1948 London Olympics. The Algerian-born Mimoun soon became one of the world’s most brilliant distance runners.
But gold eluded him. He was the runner-up twice at the European championships in 1950 and twice more at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia, perhaps the greatest distance runner ever, won all five of those races, leaving Mimoun tagged as his “shadow.”
Mimoun finally ran the race of his life at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. At 35, he won the first marathon he ever entered. Zatopek, the winner of the 1952 Olympic marathon, was far back, in sixth place.
When Mimoun died on Thursday at 92 in Champigny-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris, he was hailed for the grandeur of his achievements and for his grit.
His death was announced by France’s athletics federation.
“He left a deep mark on the history of French sports,” said France’s president, François Hollande.
But Mimoun, whose victory proved a precursor to the arrival of great international runners from Africa, was remembered as well for embodying the amateur ideal. The story of the respect he showed for a rival who had become his friend, and whom he had ultimately vanquished, was told once more.
On Dec. 1, 1956, a crowd of more than 100,000 cheered the 5-foot-7 Mimoun, a mustachioed man with a blue jersey bearing the French tricolor and the number 13, as he ran a seemingly effortless final marathon lap at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on a day when the temperatures reached about 100 degrees. Mimoun had looked back for a glimpse of Zatopek or anyone else challenging him in his final strides, but there was no one in sight.
After crossing the finish line, Mimoun lingered among the officials.
“I was sure Emil was there at my heels,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1972. “I was hoping he would be second. I was waiting for him. Then I thought, well, he will be third. It will be nice to stand on the podium with him again. But Emil came in sixth, oh, very tired. He seemed in a trance, staring straight ahead. He said nothing. I said: ‘Emil, why don’t you congratulate me? I am an Olympic champion. It was I who won.’ ”
Mimoun continued: “Emil turned and looked at me, as if he were waking from a dream. Then he snapped to attention. Emil took off his cap, that white painting cap he wore so much, and he saluted me. Then he embraced me.”
“For me, that was better than the medal,” Mimoun said.
Ali Mimoun Ould Kacha was born on Jan. 1, 1921, in Telagh, in northwest Algeria, the eldest of seven children in a farming family. He began running as a teenager, then joined the French Army during World War II and was wounded in the foot at Monte Cassino in the Italian campaign.
He faced possible amputation, but the wound healed and he moved to Paris after the war. He joined an athletic club and took the French name Alain. When he showed promise as a runner, he was named to the French Olympic team for the 1948 London Games.
Zatopek beat Mimoun by nearly a lap in the 10,000-meter run in London. They became friends, and Zatopek invited Mimoun to visit Prague as his guest. Their rivalry resumed at the 1950 European championships in Brussels, where Zatopek and Mimoun finished 1-2 in the 10,000 and the 5,000. Zatopek bested Mimoun again in the 10,000 and in the 5,000 at the Helsinki Olympics.
Mimoun hoped his luck would change in a marathon, and he dutifully prepared for Melbourne over a two-year period. When the French team arrived there, he shunned distractions.
“He woke me at 5:30 in the morning to go run, and in the evening, he made me go to bed at 8:30,” his fellow Olympic runner Michel Jazy told the French commercial radio network RTL on Friday. “Even though we were at the Olympics, I couldn’t go to any of the parties.”
But there were other matters on Mimoun’s mind. His wife had remained in France expecting their first child. Word came a day before the marathon that she had given birth to a daughter. The Mimouns named her Olympe.
Mimoun took the lead about halfway through the marathon and shunned the cups of water on tables lining the course as he pulled away. He lost nine pounds, but he finished in 2 hours 25 minutes, about a minute and a half ahead of the runner-up, Franjo Mihalic of Yugoslavia. Zatopek, who had undergone hernia surgery six weeks earlier, finished 4:34 behind Mimoun.
Mimoun never raced against Zatopek again, but his career embraced a host of superlatives beyond that rivalry. He won the International Cross-Country championship four times from 1949 to 1956. (Zatopek did not compete in those events.) He won six French marathon championships, the last when he was 45, along with many other French national running titles. He made his last Olympic appearance at Rome in 1960, finishing 34th in the marathon.
He worked as a physical education instructor and ran recreationally into his 90s. Many French streets and municipal running tracks bear his name.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
When Zatopek died in November 2000 at 78, Mimoun was deeply affected.
“I haven’t lost an opponent,” a Czech newspaper quoted him as saying. “I’ve lost a brother.”

Comment from Phil Scott, Clayton, OH
I was never more happy for someone else winning a race, than when Mimoun won the marathon gold in 1956! 
Thanks George

George,  Every day i check my "score" in the obits to see how many people younger than i died.  today i had my best score ever; 20-1.  Who was the one you ask?  it was the incomparable Alain Mimoun, that's who.  Toledo Blade ofJjune 29, 2013.  Richard Trace

Vol. 3 No. 39 Thomas Coyne Memories of the Chicago Distance Running Scene 1940s- 1970's

Over the past few weeks (June, 2013) I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking via email with Thomas Coyne.  The following from Tom will tell you more about him than I can ever hope to convey in a few lines.  We've crossed paths in our lives once or twice without ever knowing it.  I think we could have been good neighbors or running club mates.  Tom's memories of growing up in Chicago and running for a legendary coach  Ralph Mailliard at St. Ignatius HS and then with Ted Haydon at the University of Chicago Track Club will be of interest to many of our readers.  Tom Coyne also reminded me that  June 1 , 2013 was the 50th anniversary of Tom O'Hara's running the first 4 minute mile in the state of Michigan. the time on cinders was 3:58.8 at Western Michigan's Waldo Stadium.  That record lasted for decades.  ed.

Thomas Coyne, a Brief Biography
Attended then Western Michigan College from 1951-55  first running for Coach Clayton Maus and then for George Dales when he arrived to begin  his long and illustrious career.
Returned to Western Michigan University in 1962 and retired in 1992 after having served as Alumni Relations Director, Assistant to the President and, for the last twenty years, as Vice President for Student Services.

I've been a club runner all my life and, like many, have gotten more out of the sport than I have given back.  I do, however, take pride in the fact that in the beginning days of the Road Runners Club of America I served as Editor (a volunteer like all the other folks) of the club's quarterly newsletter, Footnotes, from 1967 to 1978.  I was also one of the founders of the Mall City Pacers which has evolved into the Kalamazoo Area Runners, the largest running club in Michigan.

Most of all, I have had a lot of fun and met a great many very fine people while participating in what is surely the oldest of all sports.

Take care,


Dear George:

Here is the article I mentioned to you.

I wrote the vast bulk of it back in 1981 but, partly because I should have included the Shorter/Cusack bit then and partly because you say your readers look for familiar names, I have added that story.

I double checked 1972's AAU National Cross Country Championship to be sure my memory was correct.  I'm really pleased to say I had remembered it even better than I realized.

If this would be useful to you, go ahead and use it.

Take care,


(This article was written in 1981 and holds a lot of memories)

Warm summer days, effortless miles, family gatherings at track meets and the paternalistic prodding of coaches like Ralph Malliard of St. Ignatius High School and the inimitable Ted Haydon of the University of Chicago Track Club.  This is what I remember most about my early days of running in the Chicago area during the late 40’s and 50’s and even into the 70’s.  It wasn’t all like that, of course, but a selective memory is often of more help to a runner than a good pair of waffle treads (before we learned of their defects).  Nonetheless, there is a glow about those days that lingers in the mind to gladden my heart like the welcome smile of an old friend.

To locate events for the reader I must tell you I lived on 147th Street, two miles west of Midlothian, Illinois, a small town about 35 miles south of Chicago.  However, I went to St. Ignatius High School on 12th Street in Chicago and most of my races were in and about the University of Chicago on 55th Street or on the lake front.

My first running was at St. Ignatius.  I didn’t originally “go out” for the track team, having had visions of glory as a football star instead, so I struggled through my freshman season collecting splinters on the bench.  However, a combination of my weight (115 lbs.) and a good performance in an intra-mural track meet easily persuaded Kevin Donlon, Freshman Football Coach, that my future, such as it was, lay on the cinder circuit.  He eagerly turned me over to Head Football and  Track Coach Ralph J. “Mal” Malliard.

Two weeks before the end of the school year and the Catholic League Finals, I started training.  Round and round the Quonset hut gym we’d circle singing “Sioux City Sue” to set the tempo.  Our typical training routine had us running in a long congo line with the last runner in line sprinting forward to take the lead at the conclusion of each two or three laps.  On good days we would travel by street car to Rockne Stadium on Chicago’s South Side to use the outdoor track there.

In the late 40’s it was felt high school freshmen and sophomores couldn’t stand the rigors of running a full mile so we only went three quarters in the Finals.  At the starting line in Rockne Stadium that morning I felt excited but relaxed and easy (lack of knowledge is a wonderful thing).   By the conclusion of my first real race, my lungs burning and gasping for air, I had finished 5th out of about 40 runners.  I was out of the money, but a lot smarter about foot racing.  I had never tried anything so hard…..nor did I want to again.
Coach Maillard
Then Mal, a rough-visaged giant, wrapped an arm around me and walked me across the infield with that pigeon-toed John Wayne style of his.  He congratulated me on my race, told me I would have won if I had had more time to train and said he was proud of me.  I was hooked.  In all the years I ran for Mal he never gave up on me although I rarely ran up to his expectations.  He was father figure, tyrant and masculine power at its gentlest, strongest, best;  a helluva of an idol for a young boy trying to become a man.

Ted Haydon, however, was the pivot around which the Chicago running scene moved.  There were other men who promoted runs; Bob Craib, a transplanted Bay Stater, local AAU honcho Marvin Thomas and the Rosses, father and son, of the Lane Tech Green and Gold A.C; but Ted, with his white hair, ruddy complexion, gently joshing style and the ability to hold more stop watches simultaneously than any known human, was the key figure through the 50’s and 60’s.  He was Athletic Director and track coach at the University of Chicago, but in founding the University of Chicago Track Club he opened running opportunities for runners throughout the Chicago area.

Runners were few in those days, particularly compared to the herds on today’s roads, but those there were seemed to drift in and out of the UCTC scene, like proverbial moths.   Ted hosted a series of Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon track meets.  At U of C’s Stagg Field great runners like Olympian steeplechasers Phil Coleman and Charles “Deacon” Jones, Olympic 1500 meter runner Warren Drutzler, Gar Williams, later to be a National AAU Marathon Champion, Big Ten Champions Lawton Lamb, Alan Carius and Walter Deike matched strides with each other and also with the rankest of beginners.  Hal Higdon, whose glory days have been as a Masters runner, was also a prominent figure.  Later, as the years went on, other outstanding runners like Rick Woldhuter, Lowell Paul and Tom O’Hara ran for the UCTC, but that was another era the runners of the 50’s hardly hoped to see.

One thing we weren’t in those days was “joggers”, although I’m amazed at how little we really seemed to know about effective training methods.  When miler Lawton Lamb returned from a trip to England running repeat quarters he introduced a whole new element of serious training and helped create an increasingly more proficient group of trackmen.  Randy Hoffman, another veteran of the Chicago scene, remembers Gar Williams running 45 quarters in a workout and astounding the troops.

We, less talented, runners were prone to copy the training methods and even running styles of the better athletes.  After running in the 1951 “Bud” Billiken 15K road race through Washington and Jackson Parks and seeing diminutive black marathoner, Lou White, speed away from the field with his short shuffling stride I copied White’s form. 
Lou White finishing 3rd at Boston in 1949
2 hrs. 36 min.
I worked at it for weeks and was only mildly discouraged when, during one of my training runs at the Midlothian Country Club near my home, Bill Shea, my Ignatius High buddy and our X-C team manager, came out of his house to ask if I had injured myself.  I finally gave up the experiment four miles into the first race I attempted with the “new” me.  The next four miles of that eight miler seemed like a breeze.

Other running styles also attracted attention.  Hal Higdon was just then getting into steeplechasing.  Now Hal has tight, efficient road racing form, but going over a steeplechase barrier he would shave it so close the spectators flinched.  Even Haydon used to get nervous.

Much of our running was on the track.  The Chicago AAU used to hold a big summer track meet at Rockne Stadium on Roosevelt Road.  There would be a laundry list of events so runners would bring their families and spread blankets on the infield.  Wives and girlfriends would visit (women runners, if there were any, were limited to the occasional teenager running sprints); babies would sleep in the sun, toddlers would toddle and running fathers would alternate running in as many events as they could with returning to flop down on the blankets and join again in the gossip and banter.

There were relatively few road races and even those took place more on park paths than the open roads.  Washington Park on 55th Street was the site of many local cross country runs and even collegiate and national championships.   It was on the Washington Park course I once saw Houston stars Al Lawrence and John Macy duel each other in a Central Collegiate Conference Championship and realized for the first time what really good running was.  Dry, the Park was a flat, fast grass course including a brief stretch of cinder bridle path.  In snow or rain it was one long quagmire.

One snowy fall both the Big Ten and the Central Collegiate Cross Country Championships were held in the Park.  The Big Ten ran first and at the conclusion of their race the course was a mud field.  As the Central Collegiate race got underway midst mud and cinders one runner went by running barefoot.  The great Iowa runner and Olympian, Ted Wheeler, relaxing after his race, couldn’t believe it and I overheard him comment wryly, “You can always get a new pair of shoes.  Where will you get a new pair of feet?”

It was also in Washington Park on November 25, 1972 that I was an eyewitness to one of the most bizarre finishes ever to a National AAU Cross Country Championship. 

The last half mile or so of the 10 K course at Washington Park consisted of a run down one side of a large open field, a turn around a course marker and a long stretch run back to the finish line.  I was crossing the lower section of the field, well behind the lead runners, when I saw to my right Neil Cusack, from Ireland and now a junior at East Tennessee State, running down the left side of the field with a good 80 to 100 yard lead over Frank Shorter.  Cusack, who had won the NCAA cross country title the previous week, was motoring along and Shorter was moving smoothly and relaxed and clearly running for second place.

Suddenly, for no apparent reason, in mid-field, Cusack cut the course short, ran to his left and left again back up to the finish line.  Even from a distance I could see the surprise on Shorter’s face as he turned to stare at Cusack.  Shorter stayed on course, made the turn and finished in what would have been second place.

The hullabaloo was still going on in Bartlett Gym when I was done running and had made my way there.  Cusack clearly deserved to be disqualified but because he had finished so far ahead his coach was trying to say it shouldn’t make a difference.   Ted Haydon even asked Shorter’s coach, “What does Frank want?”   Frank told Ted, “If I had cut as much as Cusack, I would have disqualified myself.”  In a decision, for which the rationale  is known only to God and Ted Haydon, Ted dropped Cusack to fourth place and Frank won his third straight National AAU cross country title.

It gets cold in Chicago and especially so on the lake front.  Another favorite running site, Waveland Golf Course on North Lake Shore Drive, with the breeze blowing off Lake Michigan was a pleasant spot to run cross country in the fall.  Towards winter that lake wind frequently carried snow.  In one AAU cross country race a runner named Lynch from the University of Illinois was the winner, but the officials had to scrape the snow off him to determine who he was.

Not everyone was affected by the cold apparently.  As I stood shivering at the starting line at Waveland G. C. one bitter cold morning, I was stunned to see Leo Dick, a legendary runner in the early Chicago days, walking around in shorts and singlet, seemingly oblivious to the temperature.  Leo was as calm as on a spring day, while the rest of us turned to icicles.

The hot weather got to runners too.  In one very humid, May, Sunday afternoon meet at Stagg Field, slim, blond, crew cut Gar Williams was running away from the field in a six miler, as was his usual style, when he started to weave on the track, hitting the concrete curb.  Haydon immediately stepped in, stopped Gar and led him to the shade beneath the stands.  For over half an hour we walked Gar back and forth while he babbled on about the White Sox in some baseball game.  I never did find out who the Sox were playing and Gar finally snapped out of it, but it was scary for a while.

Perhaps the less said about the road racing we did the better.  There was a certain laissez-faire attitude about it all that would make some current day purists shudder.  One favorite road race site was along the lake front with a turnaround point at La Rabida Sanitarium near Jackson Park.  We used that course one summer in the late 50’s for a National AAU 15K Championship.  The star of the occasion was a New York import, Peter McArdle, late of Ireland.  As the son of Irish immigrants, I was thrilled to share a locker in U of C’s Bartlett Gym with this great Irish runner, a true international competitor.  Peter, on the other hand, may not have shared this pleasure especially since I started name dropping by asking his opinion on how well local Irish runners, like Willie Morris in County Galway, would do against U.S. competition.  McArdle must have thought I was nuts.  He was undoubtedly dumbfounded to learn anyone five miles outside of County Galway had even heard of Willie Morris.  I vaguely remember telling him my father occasionally received a Galway newspaper when the conversation was mercifully cut short by the announcement a van would take any interested runner over the course.  Alas, that trip didn’t help Peter any more than did the news about Willie.

When the gun sounded and the pack headed off down South Lake Shore Drive McArdle rapidly took the lead following an injured Gar Williams on a bicycle, whom Haydon had dragooned into service as a poor man’s pace car.  Well, it seems Gar had a bit of bike trouble and rather than wait for the rest of us to catch up, Peter decided to be his own pacer.  He was well off-course down Jeffery Boulevard before he was missed and mad as a tinker in a rainstorm when I next saw him back at the gym.  However, his anger at the race preparations and at losing one of the few AAU Championships he missed in those days subsided and he returned to the U of C a few years later to compete in the U.S.A. vs Poland track meet.

I like to brag about having been running long before the boom began.  I’ve been reminded that I have been running in five decades, the 40’s into the 80’s.  However, when I think of old time runners like Leo Dick (who ran against Venske and Fenske) and Dick King, both of whom are still active competitors, I feel like a freshman.  Both Leo and Dick seemed old in the late 40’s, but time has stood still for them.  They weren’t fast then and they aren’t now, but they are steady.  More importantly, they come to run.

Once in the mid-60’s a violent rainstorm in my now hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan caused us to cancel a local road race here.  I was relaxing at home after having contacted seemingly everyone, when Dick King called me from the train station.  I drove down to explain to Dick, a little man with his running gear in a brown paper shopping bag, that the race had been cancelled.  Dick, reluctant to have his trip go for naught, asked if there were any other scheduled races in the area.  The only one I knew of was a 15 miler in Cleveland the following morning.  Dick found out he could take the train to Detroit and a bus to Cleveland in time to make the starting line.  I cashed a check for him and he was off.  I learned later Dick arrived at the starting line in a cab just as the race started.  He changed quickly in the back of the cab and followed after.  Not a winner, perhaps, but always a competitor.

Not all of the great-hearted ones have survived, however.  A familiar figure in the UCTC days was an awkward, lanky, gentle guy with great love for running named Arnie Richards.  Arnie was a classic example of someone with not a great deal of natural talent, becoming a good competitor by dint of hard work, perseverance and miles and miles of running.  He ran for years on into the Masters Class.  As a librarian at Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas, he was a mainstay of their local club as he had been in Chicago before.  Arnie had a wide circle of running friends and few gave as much to the sport as he did.  However, one day in 1979, perhaps more tired from some recent ultra-marathoning than he realized, Arnie went out for a work-out from which he didn’t return.   He had a gentle heart, but it gave out on him.
Stagg Field in Football Season
In memory, the 50’s seem like such a relaxed time, yet I know there were fiercely contested races and lonely miles of training.  Randy Hoffman, for example, remembers for three year taking long runs from Chicago Heights to Frankfort, Illinois and return while never seeing another runner.  The meets and road races served to draw us together in competition and fellowship.  Stagg Field, perhaps the finest track I have ever run on, oval shaped and clay surfaced, is long gone.  The University of Chicago in a gesture worthy of former President Robert Maynard Hutchins, built a library on it.  A Henry Moore sculpture marks the spot where Enrico Fermi and his colleagues produced the world’s first nuclear chain reaction under a section of the stands. 
Stagg Field 1963  Jim Beatty pulls away from
Cary Wiesiger and Witold Baran in the USA  Poland Dual Meet
Henry Moore's Statue to Nuclear Energy at the Site of Old Stagg Field

The Chicago area is even greater running country now.  Its annual marathon is a far cry from the first Windy City Marathon won by Orville Atkins in the late 50’s in a looping, out and back, course along South Lake Shore drive over a handful of rivals.  The races are better organized now with huge fields compared to the small band of regulars who were competing when I started.  But, I met fine runners then…..good people.  Best of all, most of them are still running.   I hope their memories are as pleasant as mine.

Tom Coyne

Ralph `Mal` Mailliard, Ex-coach At St. Ignatius

May 11, 1990|By Kenan Heise.
Ralph ``Mal`` Mailliard, 84, longtime football and track coach at St. Ignatius College Prep, was an All-American football player and a member of the 1929 Chicago Bears. He was also a history teacher at St. Ignatius and at De Paul University.
A resident since 1975 of Omaha, he died there Wednesday after a long battle with Parkinson`s disease.
St. Ignatius` track facilities have been named in his honor. For many years, he had to take his teams 12 miles each day to a field where they could practice. Nevertheless, he developed some of the top high school track teams and runners in the country, including world record miler Tom O`Hara. His track team won 20 straight Catholic League championships.

He once expressed his philosophy for coaching track: ``Never cut a boy from the squad. He may develop into a champion. . . . ``
His 1945 football team that battled Fenwick High School to a scoreless tie but lost the coin flip for a Prep Bowl bid.
Mr. Mailliard starred at Creighton University in Omaha in 1926, 1927 and 1928. He was a member of the All-Missouri Conference All-Star team and was picked on Walter Camp`s and Walter Eckersall`s All-America teams.
He earned a doctorate in history at Loyola University and in 1946 joined the faculty of De Paul University. Meanwhile, he continued to coach St. Ignatius football until 1958 and track until 1975.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret; a son, Dennis; and three grandchildren.
Mass for Mr. Mailliard will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John`s Chapel of Creighton University.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 38 Another Chronicle of a Team and Coaching Career

A few weeks ago we made mention of the work Darryl Taylor of Rancho Alamitos, CA  did for many years chronicling the performances of the distance runners he coached.   Today we are honoring another long  history of the University of Cincinnati track and field program as seen through the eyes of Coach Bill Schnier who began there in 1980 and retired this month in 2013.    The last issue of Bill's  Beartracks  is presented for you to read.  I think you will find it interesting and enlightening from a very honest perspective of a an old school coach in modern times.     Any person who has coached track and field or particpated as an athlete will find this a great read.   At Bill's retirement dinner last month in Cincinnati, over three hundred of his former athletes attended indicating the respect his people have for him.  Any newer coaches who may read this should take notes and add them to their coaching toolbox.      Enough said.  ed. 

VOL. 33   NO. 22                                                                                                                                                               June 21, 2013

                The Cincinnati Beartracks has been a labor of love, written following each cross country / track and field meet of the Cincinnati Bearcats from 1980 through 2013 to tell our story in both statistical and narrative form.  There was no primary purpose but rather many equal reasons to write this journal:  to speak to the athletes in writing about their performances, to provide a history of the team, to create data for record keeping, to serve as our weekly contact with recruits, to inform parents of their children’s accomplishments at a time when many did not write home, to serve as our main vehicle of publicity before the internet, to settle disputes among alumni much like the Guiness Book of World Records does for everything else and finally to satisfy my desire to write.  It was named by my first assistant, Pieter Elmendorf, during our first year.  Many women’s additions have been written by other people, notably Susan Seaton and Chris Wineberg, but my contribution has been to write 964 Beartracks, 732 describing men’s meets and 232 in behalf of our women.  In most of my years I would write stories for each team but in recent years that would only be true during the cross country season.  This is only the second Beartracks not describing a specific meet and it will also be my final edition.  Despite taking two to three hours for each edition, generally done on Sunday afternoons, it has been a joy to write this newsletter and I wish to thank you for reading them.

                Because early copy machines were small and slow but especially since we were charged five to ten cents for each copy and had no budget for this project, the first 13 years, from 1980 to 1993, were typed using a manual typewriter on a stencil and run off on a mimeograph machine using liquid ink which penetrated through the typed gaps in the stencil.  This made for an often-messy experience, especially when that mimeo machine was not working very well.  Ink stains on hands and clothes were frequent yet it mimicked a process somewhat similar to how newspapers were being printed at that time.  Advance planning was critical because mistakes could only be corrected with a brush and filler fluid, then typed over to make it right.  It was not until 1993 that our athletic director, Rick Taylor, insisted that we switch to a regular copy machine, making life much easier for both writer and reader.  I switched from a typewriter to a computer in 1994 which improved the quality of the print as well as the ease of processing.    The final 20 years of the Beartracks have been much more professional in appearance and often in content as well.

                Distribution of the Beartracks varied over the years depending on technology and rules of the post office.  The athletes always received their “hard copy” at practice time each Monday.  Everyone else got a copy via United States mail.  For years we sent them out bulk rate, which meant the cost was about one-fourth of first class provided we pre-sorted the copies in zip code order before sending them for distribution.  Bulk-rate mail did not require immediate delivery so the gap between the meet and the arrival of the Beartracks varied dependent upon the whim of the letter carrier.  I sorted each edition on my dining room table before dropping them off the next day at the UC post office located in the old Sears building on Reading Road.  Many times my little daughter, Lorraine, would assist in the sorting process, giving us an opportunity to work together.  To this day her very nature is to help others, nurtured by the cumbersome process of getting the Beartracks to their customers.  Our mailing list varied immensely but eventually it reached about 600 in bulk-rate form.  Each Beartracks was wrapped in a cover sheet which allowed for address labels to be affixed as well as a return address to be printed.  This sheet was sponsored by Bob Roncker’s Running Spot and gave us an opportunity to show pictures of the Armory-Fieldhouse as well as lists of team records, captains and our schedule.  The mailing list has varied greatly from year to year but in general it included the following:  current team members, interested people in our department, recruits, alumni, officials and friends of UC Track and Field.  With the advent of the internet, most people now receive their copy electronically making life much easier for me.  When I send these editions out on the internet I have no idea if they are read, but I am always surprised how many people comment on their content, even quoting passages from time to time.  More than anything else that has motivated me to continue writing the Beartracks, working to improve the writing and the reverse-side data.

                The content has been somewhat different over the years, in large part due to the age and the intensity of the writer.  During my early years I had a fight-to-the-finish approach to coaching.  The Beartracks reflected that demeanor, augmenting our team meetings but tending to be more critical than encouraging.  I was known to be brutally honest, both orally and in the written word, but looking back I think it was often not very helpful and frequently unkind.  I wince when I think about parents and recruits reading some of these issues.  VOL. 6  NO. 18 stated:  “In almost every case we were no good on Saturday.  We were flat, listless and poor competitors.  Time and again Marshall outfought us in close situations and they very much deserved to win the meet.”  Ironically we won that meet by one point thanks to a third-place late entry in the triple jump by Lewis Johnson.  There were times when the emotion of the moment caused me to misevaluate our efforts, only to reflect more favorably at a later date.  In VOL. 4  NO. 1 I said:  “As I recollect the 64 Beartracks written in the three previous years, I cannot recall one time where we were worse than the preceding year, but we were on Friday.  We ran as if the meet had been held on a cold, rainy day in North Dakota.”  Following a disappointing Early Bird Relays in Huntington, VOL. 4  NO. 14 noted:  “Since we were poor as a team one can only conclude we were collectively poor as individuals.”

                In writing the Beartracks I was still much more prone to praise our efforts and spirit, but not at the expense of accuracy.  Never was that more true than the Metro Conference Championship effort by my first team in 1980.  The fifth-place finish seems paltry when compared with teams in the future, but their efforts were second to none.  VOL. 1  NO. 21 stated “But the real thrill was the spirit our team showed the entire weekend.  Never before have I been associated with a group that demonstrated more care and concern for each other and even love for their fellow teammates than this one.  The entire occasion was a peak experience and because we all gave of ourselves, we all received much more in return.”  That same Bearcat spirit was in full bloom at the Southern Ohio Cup of 2002 when VOL. 22  NO. 21 described our winning team:  “We set up our success by committing ourselves to the UC tradition of team spirit, immersing ourselves in support for each other and having fun in the process.”   When sprint-rich TCU and ECU entered Conference USA in 2002, we knew we were in for a fight.  VOL. 22  NO. 23 described our nine-point loss to TCU by saying:  “This was the finest day in the 110-year history of UC Track and Field, yet it was tempered somewhat by the fact that we did not win a meet we so very much wanted to win.  TCU in particular posed problems as they were NCAA runners-up.  Armed with Caribbean sprinters and Kenyan distance runners, the Horned Frogs breezed through the WAC then nearly won the nationals as well.  Rather than wilt, our team vowed to a man to improve to their level.  That goal did wonders for our training.”  Two years later we enjoyed our finest hour, a rousing C-USA victory on a rainy day in Louisville.  VOL. 24  NO. 21 said it all:  “UNDEFEATED!  Not just in Conference USA but for the entire season.  Forty teams tried their best but none was able to better the Bearcats.  Never before in our history have we gone undefeated but we surely did so this year.  In fact, all were blowouts including the Conference USA Championships.  We won this meet because we had spirit and determination and perseverance and joy.” 

                The Beartracks began in September, 1980 following my first meet at UC.  VOL. 1  NO. 1 got my tenure off to a good start when it reported:  “I have greatly underestimated the abilities of the present crop of athletes and have really been excited about the enthusiasm and morale shown thus far.”  That continued through the years despite many obstacles and setbacks.  Cross country camps were always a highlight, none more so that the 2011 camp in West Virginia.  VOL. 32  NO. 1 described that camp:  The running at camp was our best ever.  Mornings found us on the Greenbrier River Trail, a 72-mile cinder track next to camp.  In the afternoons we headed for country roads nearby, two of them an uphill challenge.  The team responded with energy and without complaint.  What a joy it was to watch all of that from the sidelines.  The extra activities were fun, educational and always memorable.  Dancing to a 10-piece country and bluegrass band at the American Heritage Music Hall, augmented by our own Bearcat Boogeymen and the talented Steve Price on the keyboard enabled us to make a contribution there as well.  We visited The Greenbrier, toured Washington & Lee and VMI universities, had a scavenger hunt in Lewisburg, the Coolest Small Town in America, and finally performed our talent at our 7th Annual Talent Show.  What a week we had at the picturesque Greenbrier County Youth Camp.”  The final Beartracks describing a meet was VOL. 33  NO. 21 documenting the NCAA Championships this year.  Josh Dangel earned first-team All-American honors in the pole vault so his accomplishment was described as follows:  “Finally, he upped his confidence and simply decided to be good.  If anyone has ever had an All-American spirit, it is Josh.  If anyone has done all the extras to put himself in position, it is Josh.  This native Cincinnatian has earned this honor and deserves it.”  This edition also had to report disappointment by Terrence Somerville:  “Even though he beat the Olympic silver medalist’s college time, he never got what he deserved.  Terrence told me not to feel bad for him because ‘it’s just what it is.’  Although it never happened, in my mind he is still an NCAA champion and some day might prove it during his professional career.”

                All good things must end but it has really been an honor to write the Cincinnati Beartracks for 33 years.  I must cite my parents for instilling in me a sense of history, a willingness to tell a story and a commitment to writing excellence.  My wife, Kathy, has edited many of these to insure good grammar and proper style.  But mainly I wish to thank those many Bearcats, male and female, who created the stories I simply recorded.  To anticipate a meet, then experience it, and finally to relive it makes for lasting memories of many of my favorite people.  This final Beartracks has ended much like the first one began, with happiness and an anticipation of the future.

I can appreciate this, having kept a personal daily log for 32 years now...one page per day. Nobody will ever read it, but it has proved useful to “jogging” my memory countless times. There is a certain discipline involved and in the case of a track coach a very useful tool for looking back and sensing what it would take to get better results.

Good for Coach Schnier to do such a thing and good for the blog to recognize him.

Pete Brown

From: ernie cunliffe 

This is what coaching is all about.   Over 30 yrs of putting out a weekly track bulletin.   I tried at AF Academy with XC to do this and I think I lasted barely 2 yrs with it before I stopped doing it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 37 December , 1963

Last month we gave you the results of the IC4A and NCAA meets. This month we have the USTFF, AAU and NAIA meets, so sit back and enjoy the magic carpet ride back to a simpler time, nearly 50 years ago
Bruce Kidd is 20, but his third decade has not been as kind to him as the second. This year's track season was a disappointment because of a bone inflammation in his left heel which was caused by an accumulation of scar tissue.
He finally raced a bit in Europe at the end of the season with less than satisfying results. As he lines up for the AAU meet in Van Cortlandt Park, there is a question as to his fitness. Last year's winner, Pete McArdle, sees his chance of winning lies in a fast pace. He quickly separates himself from the field. By the 2 ½ mile mark of the 10K race he has 70 yards on Kidd. At 4 miles Kidd hasn't closed the gap and it appears that the handwriting is on the wall. But Kidd isn't done. At cemetery hill he makes his move and within a half mile closes the gap to 10 yards. Gradually he moves to within a yard of the 35 year old leader. In the last mile of hills Kidd repeatedly attempts to pass McArdle, but the game Irish born veteran fights him off until, with 400 yards left, Kidd opens up a three yard lead. McArdle is flat out, but the margin remains the same at the tape.
Kidd may have the championship trophy, but McArdle doesn't go away empty handled. As the first American finisher, his reward is the trip to Brazil for the midnight run through the streets of Sao Paulo, a journey he made last year after winning this race. Billy Mills, competing for the US Marines, takes third, 25 seconds back, his best finish in this race since 1959 when he was also third. Twenty two seconds behind him is Ron Larrieu in fourth, the first finisher for the victorious LATC.

Pete McArdle, a member of the 1964 United States Olympic marathon team and a familiar competitor in New York-area distance and cross-country races, collapsed and died Monday night during a cross-country practice run at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. He was 56 years old.
Born in Ireland, Mr. McArdle came to the United States in 1956. He became a United States citizen in 1962 and worked as a mechanic for a New York bus company. He competed for the New York Athletic Club in the 1960's, establishing himself as one of the nation's top distance runners.
He finished 20th in the marathon in the 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo. In the 1963 Pan American Games at Sao Paulo, Brazil, he won the 10,000 meters and finished third in the marathon.

The USTTF meet is held in Chicago's Washington Park also at 10,000 meters. Local favorite Tom O'Hara of Loyola of Chicago won the NCAA championship last year but was ineligible (not explained) this year. It is only his fourth cross country race of the season, but no rust is showing. Polish born John Macy of the Houston TC leads through three miles, but teammate Jim McClatchie from Scotland, another of Johnny Morris' foreign contingent, takes over in the fourth mile.
At this point McClatchie, Macy, Jeff Fishback of the San Jose State national champions, HTC/Australians Geoff Walker and Laurie Elliot (yep, Herb's brother), USC's NCAA 5000 and 10,000 champion Julio Marin and O'Hara are the lead pack within four seconds of each other. But there is only one 3:56 miler in the group and with half a mile to go, it becomes apparent that it is O'Hara. He glides to victory in 30:12 with McClatchie five seconds back and Fishback another five seconds in arrears, eight seconds ahead of hard charging Doug Brown of Montana. San Jose State runs well, but their 34 points are trumped by the international contingent of the Houston TC that scores 25.
The NAIA meet is held in Omaha, Nebraska, but the team battle is between Kansas powerhouses defending champion Emporia State and Fort Hays State.
John Camien

Ireland Sloan
Last year Ireland Sloan of Emporia was the individual champ. This year he settles for second behind teammate John Camien who runs 20:23.7 to edge him by seven second on the tough four mile course. Emporia's 1-2 finish isn't enough to overcome the depth of the Fort Hays squad which takes its first national championship 53-63.

Obituary    Ireland Ulrick Sloan  June 28, 2010

Ireland Sloan passed away on this date in Roanoke VA, where he had retired after many years working in the life insurance business.  He had also been a teacher in the Roanoke area.  He still holds several track records at Emporia State.  He was the first Kansan under 9:00 minutes for 2 miles eventually having a personal best of 8:31.3.  He was an alternate on the US Olympic team in 1964 in the Steeplechase.

It Happens to Us All Department: Remember Vladimir Kuts, the running machine who destroyed the fields in the 1956 Olympic 5,000 and 10,000? Gabriel Korobkov, head Russian track coach says, “You ought to see Vladimir Kuts now. He is up to 198 pounds. Yuriy Lituyev, our former 400 meter hurdle champion, and Kuts had a race. Lituyev ran 400 meters in 52.0 while Kuts couldn't finish 350 meters. He fell down.”
The high school record has been transferred within the family, well, sort of. On December 6 the record belonged to Jim Ryun of Wichita, Kansas who ran 9:11.5 earlier this year. On December 7 in a special meet in Woodside, California, Mike Ryan of Wilcox High in Santa Clara runs 9:09.8 to write his name first in the record books. Perhaps more significant is the performance of second place finisher, Ralph Gamez, a 15 year old sophomore, who places second in 9:13.8 and now is fourth on the all time list behind Ryan, Ryun and Tracy Smith who ran 9:11.6 this summer.
Ralph Gamez  (Belmont HS , Berkeley CA)
On page 11 is a report on the college freshman two mile postal race won easily by San Jose State. That would be the same San Jose State that won the NCAA cross country championship. Don't look for a let down any time soon.

For more on a gathering of former California high school distance greats ,  see the following link from Track and Field News.

In Dick Drake's “On Your Marks” column we learn that 1960 880 national champion Jim Cerveny is back in training.......The United Press has named Valeriy Brumel “Sportsman of the Year” (apparently this means track and field) for the third consecutive year.....Cliff Cushman's Air Force assignment is now in Washington where he is has been given sufficient time to workout after two years of pilot training......Two who should and one who shouldn't: Oregon's Mel Renfro and Ohio States' Paul Warfield have signed contracts to play professional football. We'll see how that turns out. Football, hey, that sounds like fun said Jim Keefe, Cenral Connecticut's fine distance man. Unfortunately for Jim, all he got out of an inter-fraternity touch football game was a dislocated shoulder. He will be out six weeks.
There are profiles on distance runners Pat Traynor and Bob Schul. Neither set the world on fire as high school kids. Traynor's best marks were 2:00 and 4:26. Schul ran 4:34.5 and 9:59. Both are a whole lot better now.
In the “Letters to the Editor” column is a epistle from Jerry Nason, the sports editor of the Boston Globe “in Boston, Massachusetts” (Oh, that Boston!) Remember the hypothetical 880 race created by Roberto Quercetani in last months issue? Well, apparently it rattled Mr. Nason's cage to the extent that he felt compelled to defend the chances of John Woodruff whom Quercetani had finishing fourth in the field of six. Nason doesn't question the final placing, instead he is concerned about where the former Pittsburgh star would be entering the backstretch on the first lap. Nason says Woodruff had sprinter's speed, citing a 21.1 220 relay split in the Penn Relays. Quercetani had Tom Courtney leading and Woodruff boxed on the first turn. “Rather than be hopelessly boxed, it is more likely that Woodruff would have come off the turn leading the race.” Jerry, you are the sports editor of the Boston Globe. You have bigger problems to worry about. The Red Sox just finished in seventh place, 28 games behind the Yankees and this is what has your panties in a bunch?
We have to remember that only in the last couple years has the broad jump become the long jump. And now in 1964 the hop-step-jump will join its horizontal cousin on the journey into the twentieth century becoming henceforth the triple jump. Not if concerned letter writer Pete Hopkins of Chatham, Virginia has a say about it. “It seems unfortunate that the term 'triple jump' has gained such widespread acceptance. The term is a complete misnomer and we should forget it. There is nothing wrong with calling it the 'hop-step-jump', which is what it really is and the abbreviation HSJ, surely belongs as much as BJ (Pete, we're guessing news travels slowly in Virginia), HJ and PV. 'Triple jump' is pure slang and distorts the picture.” OK, Pete, we'll go over this again, very slowly. Bigger things to worry about. For one, the Red Sox finished 28 games back of the Yankees.

V 11 N. 3 "Quicksilver: The Mercurial Emil Zatopek" by Pat Butcher, a Book Review by Paul O'Shea

When we come across books to review, we know that there is a particular skill set needed to be fair and honest and at the same time literary...