Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 65 Albie Thomas, RIP

Albie Thomas
February 8, 1935-October 27, 2013

Melbourne 1956

One of the truly legendary figures in track and field passed away this week.   Albie Thomas, who many of our readers I'm certain remember as the fellow who paced Herb Elliot to his world record mile of 3:54.4 in Santry, Ireland (Albie had a 3:58.6 in that race) and turned around the next day and set his own world record in the 2 miles (8:32).  Small in stature but huge in heart and personality.  The inimitable smile and crew cut hair, off the ground style.  I never saw a picture of him looking tired and beaten in a race.  Stories about him include his purchasing tickets to see the Melbourne Olympics a year in advance, and then finding himself in the 5,000 meter finals the next year placing fifth in that race.   His initial racing barefoot until he got some second hand shoes and seeing his times drop.  His photographing an iconic picture of John Landy stopping mid race to help up a young Ron Clarke who had fallen,  then going on to win the race.   The outpouring of stories and sympathies and remembrances of this man say much about how others who knew him, felt about him.   The link below is Albie's story in his own words.  Such a good man that so many already miss. 


I've also included a link from Athletics Ireland relating Albie's visit in 2008 to Ireland and pictures with Ron Delany.
Lining up for Peter Snell's WR Mile in New Zealand
Albie is second from left

Photo taken by Albie Thomas of Landy helping Clarke after his fall.
Landy went on to win the race.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CVol. 3 No. 64 May, 1964

"With great thanks to Steve Price  for his corrections (I got a C- on the original), here is May 1964."   Roy Mason
May 1964
The last weekend of April is when the season really starts as it is the weekend of the Penn Relays, Drake Relays, and Mt. SAC Relays. Let's start with Penn where the Villanova Wildcats put on quite a show. With Vic Zwolak, Tom Sullivan and Noel Carroll doing most of the heavy lifting, the hometown youngsters warm up by winning the four mile relay (16:50.7) and the distance medley (9:55.8) on Friday before returning Saturday to take the sprint medley (3:23.4) and the two mile relay (7:31.7).
North Carolina College's Norm Tate has a pretty good couple of days. He wins his specialties, the broad jump and the triple jump with marks of 24-11w and 50-8¼ before anchoring his 440 and 880 relay teams to victory. Tate's two individual wins are matched by Bob Hayes of Florida A&M who drops Mel Pender and Tom Robinson by the wayside in a 9.3 hundred before taking the measure of Paul Drayton in the 200, 20.6 to 21.0. Hayes says he is serious about training for the 200 and will take on WR holder Henry Carr in the Coliseum Relays in three weeks. The world record holder in the 100 vs. the world record holder in the 200. We can't wait.
As good as Norm Tate is at Penn, Gayle Hopkins is better at Drake. The Arizona senior graduated from Davenport High where he set the Iowa state high jump record of 6-5½. This weekend he returns home to jump 26-2 and 51-8 and put himself firmly in the Olympic picture in both the triple jump and the broad jump. His broad jump is truly outstanding as it is an improvement of 11½ inches and betters Jesse Owens' meet record by half an inch.
Dallas Long may be the world record holder in the shot put, but he better keep an eye on the rear view mirror because Texas A&M freshman Randy Matson is gaining. On this day Matson erases Long's freshman record of 63-7 with a throw of 64-1.
Tom O'Hara was the golden boy of the indoor season, setting a WR of 3:56.4 before being injured. Now he is on his way back. In his first outdoor competition he shows his fitness with a 56.8 final lap to take the measure of John Camien by four yards in 4:01.0.
The Mt. SAC Relays have always been a mecca for discus throwers and this year is no different. On his first throw Al Oerter betters his world record by over a foot with a 206-6 effort. Just to show this wasn't a fluke, on his last toss he adds a 206-4 to his resume. Dave Weill's lifetime best of 197-6½ takes second ahead of Jay Silvester's 195-0. Silvester's mark is not to be sneezed at, but had to be disappointing as he had warmed up with a toss in the 208 range.
The Grambling 440 relay team ties the world record at 40.0. There is a photo of the quartet, Don Owens, Richard Stebbins, Vernus Ragsdale and Don Meadows, on the front page of this issue but nary a mention of this achievement in the Mt. SAC article.
Oerter's performance earned him outstanding field event honors. Vernus Ragsdale of Grambling takes home that award for the track events as he wins the 220 in 20.7 and has a 19.5 split in the 880 relay in addition to running a leg on the winning Grambling 440 relay team.
The half mile provides some excitement. USC freshman Dennis Carr throws caution to the wind, going through the quarter in 51.3 and, if unofficial splits can be believed, actually picking up the pace to hit the 660 in 1:16.5. The wall is firmly hit 30 yards later and he staggers home in an ugly final 220 of 41.1 for a last place 1:57.6. SC assistant Willie Williams says, “He ran a fine race for 660 yards”.
Demonstrating that patience is a virtue, comebacking Jerry Siebert blows away a good field of Greg Pelster, Ernie Cunliffe, Steve Haas, Jan Underwood and Jim Dupree in the final 220 to win by a second and a half in 1:48.5 for the national lead.
In 1964 no report would be complete without mention of an official foul up, this time the ever intricate counting the laps in the 10,000 problem. Charlie Clark hits the tape in a way too fast 28:24.0. By the time the more alert of the officials realizes that they have stopped Charlie too soon, he is in the infield accepting congratulations. The “Oh, Charlie, I think you have one more lap to run” moment had to be the very definition of awkward. Charlie is a trooper about the whole thing. He hops on the track and dutifully runs another lap to finish in 30:07.4, still ahead of Pat Clohessy's 30:21.0.
The Striders put up the fastest mile relay of the year with Mike Larrabee 47.6, Don Webster 47.2, Adolph Plummer 46.2 and Earl Young 46.8 combining for 3:07.8. Jim Heath splits 46.1 for third place Camp Pendleton and Art Carter of second place New Mexico runs 46.2. Not to be overlooked is a 46.6 in the freshman race by a young man from San Jose State, one Tommy Smith.
Ed Burke improves his position in the world hammer throwing community by improving from 206-4 to 214-8.
C.K. Yang wins the decathlon with 8043 points, over a thousand short of his world record set in this meet last year. This decline can be attributed to the fact that his training is aimed at a peak performance in the October Olympics. Although his point total was not mentioned, particular note is made of the performance of 24 year old Russ Hodge, a giant at 6-3, 220 pounds. Oddly, his best marks were in running events where he clocks 10.9, 49.1 and a very impressive 4:26.6. Hodge, who has four years of college eligibility remaining, expresses his obvious inexperience, “I haven't got taught nothing yet.” (including English apparently) “I haven't had any real coaching.”
Though there were no big meets the following Saturday, May 2, there were some significant marks. Bob Hayes runs his fourth legit 9.1 in Nashville. Randy Matson, improving by leaps and bounds, puts together the second best shot – discus double, 64-10½ and 182-11 in Houston. By next year when he is a sophomore the kid may amount to something. In Long Beach John Rambo takes over the national lead in the high jump with a 7-1½ clearance. Oregon soph Ken Moore surprises with an 8:48.1 two mile. Jim Beatty opens his outdoor season with a 4:08.4 relay leg.
The next weekend the elite of American track and field have gathered in Fresno for the West Coast Relays. Let us go back to that scene. It is Friday evening, May 8. The time is 7:48. Dallas Long is stepping into the shot put ring for his second attempt of the evening. His world record is 65-11½. Only a few moments ago he threw 65-3. If you are a track fan, this is not the time to go out for popcorn.
A mighty burst and grunt. Long spins twice to keep his balance. The last line that is marked is 65 feet. The shot lands well beyond. The crowd roars. And indeed they should. The effort is measured at 66-7¼, a new world record.
Or is it? The distance is remeasured. Yes, it is 66-7¼. The shot is weighed. It is in excess of sixteen pounds by an ounce. The landing area measures higher than the ring. So, what's problem? Well it seems the circle does not have a raised rim, a necessity for record submission. One has to believe that since Long had upped his record only a month ago, there might be a chance of a record tonight and officals would have made the ring record legal. The mark will be submitted, but acceptance is questionable.
Long takes a third throw, 64-11, and calls it a night. He seems to limp as he walks off. This evening's performance is a surprise. He had dropped a 200 pound weight on his foot and hadn't trained for ten days and, being a new father, had been up all night with the baby.
The open 440 produces the nation's best time, 46.5, as BYU's Bob Tobler holds off San Jose State freshman Tommy Smith in the same time. This is Smith's third race of the season after starring on the SJS freshman basketball team.
If you recall in our April report, Charles Craig of Fresno State bettered the collegiate triple jump record, but the lack of a wind gauge kept the mark from being recognized. Charlie is back and this time there is no official foul up. He jumps 52-4, good enough to take down Luther Hayes' 51-11 record, but a quarter inch short of Darrell Horn's winning jump.
George Kerr's 1:52.9 880 victory normally wouldn't bear mentioning except that the first lap went off in sixty seconds flat.
A week has passed and the focus of US track has moved 220 miles south on Hwy 99 to Los Angeles for the Coliseum Relays. Bob Hayes is the man at 100, but tonight he eschews the short sprint for the long one, the 200. He has been training for the 200 and is ready to take on world record holder, Henry Carr. Carr, on the other hand, is testing his mettle in the 100. He gets off well, but is nipped at the tape by Grambling sophomore Dick Stebbins, 10.2 for both. Now it is Hayes' turn to venture into the world of Henry Carr at 200. Around the curve they go and Hayes has two yards on the world record holder. Then Carr's 400 strength comes into play. The gap closes and then then opens with Carr winning by two yards, 20.6 to 20.8 on a cold night. Carr says he will concentrate on the 200 now. Hayes is not ready to concede this distance to Carr. He says, “I was beaten by an outstanding man”, but avows he will continue to work on the 200.
As the name of the meet is the Coliseum Relays it is only appropriate that the world record which is equaled this night is in a relay, specifically the two mile relay. Villanova is here to take on the best teams from the west, Stanford, UCLA, San Jose State and Texas. After the first leg the Wildcats are down 17 yards, but mid 1:49 splits by Al Adams and Tom Sullivan position Noel Carroll well on the anchor leg. He trails San Jose State's John Garrison until the home straight where he “struggles” past to win by three yards. Carroll's 1:46.9 leg gives Villanova a tie for the world record at 7:19.0. Garrison's 1:48.0 brings San Jose in second at 7:19.6. UCLA nabs third in 7:20.6 on the strength of sophomore Bob Day's 1:46.1 anchor. Texas and Stanford finish in 7:21.4 and 7:23.5.
John Camien may have a history of being outkicked by Tom O'Hara, but tonight he does some serious outkicking himself as he wins the mile in 4:00.7 five yards ahead of Jim Grelle's 4:01.4 and Bob Schul's 4:01.6.
Billy Mills, “the blue-eyed Sioux”, takes the 5000 field through a remarkably even paced three miles – 4:30.0, 4:30.6, 4:29.5 – before succumbing to New Zealand's veteran Bill Baille who runs his last lap in 60.2 for a convincing 13:54.5 victory while Mills has to be content with a 13:57.4 PR.
When USC freshman Dennis Carr woke the morning of May 16 he held three high school national records. When the sun set that day he was down to one. Larry Kelly of Chicago's Maine East HS took half a second off Carr's 1:50.9 880 record against high school competition. Carr still holds the open high school record at 1:49.2. But when it rains, it pours. Carr also lost his mile record against HS competition this day when Jim Ryun of Wichita East dropped the record from 4:08.7 to 4:06.4. Tom Sullivan still holds the open record of 4:03.5. To rub salt in Carr's wounds, both Kelly and Ryun are juniors.
To wile away the boredom of the bus ride to the Texas Relays TCU's sub 1:52 half miler Roger Hunt decides to see how long he can hold his breath. Four minutes and sixteen seconds pass before he gasps a breath. The staff at OUTV realizes that many of our readers, although of a certain age, are still very competitive. Thus we feel obligated to provide this warning: Caution, geezers, do not try this at home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 63 Photos from the Banks of the Seine

Our friend and connaisseur  Jerry McFadden has done the archeology bit at the booksellers along the Seine in Paris and come up with these old photos.   Merci beaucoup, Jerry.

I thought I would send these along to you. I have some more in the same vein but I will send those along next week. 

1. Roger Bannister beating John Landy in the famous Commonwealth Mile in Vancouver in 1954: 3:58.8 vs 3:59.6, which was considered an amazing race at that time. Bannister was the first to break four minutes earlier in May in 3:59.4. Despite losing, Landy still held on to his world record of 3:58.0 set in Turku, Finland, in July of that year. 

2. Bruce Tulloh leading M. Bogy in the 5K during the France vs England match 1960 (?) and then winning in 14:08.1. Note Tulloh's bare feet. The French press, from where this photo was taken, was amazed that someone would run bare feet at this level of competition. 

Hope all is well,
p.s. You've given me a new hobby when I am in Paris: Scrounging through those book stalls along the Seine to find old running magazines. 


Jerry notes that Landy still held the mile record set in Turku, Finland ,  even though Bannister ran him down in the stretch in this race.  This was one of the great mile duals of all time when it happened in Vancouver in 1954.   Bannister retired shortly after this race and devoted his time to medical school and his work.  Landy went on to run in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and win a bronze medal in the 1500, behind Ron Delany of Ireland and Walter Richtezen of Germany. 

I thought nothing ever happened in Turku, Finland after Landy's record,  but scrounging the files last year I came upon this assassination attempt on the Finnish prime minister.  So fifty five year cycles in Turku must be heeded.

October 22, 2012 
A MAN WIELDING a knife tried to attack Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in the south-western town of Turku on Monday, but was swiftly arrested by police, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“Prime Minister Katainen’s security men have apprehended a person who had brought a sharp weapon to Prime Minister Katainen’s electoral meeting in Turku,” said the statement.
“The Prime Minister was not injured and the programme will continue as planned.”
Security guards quickly swooped in to protect Katainen, 41, and removed him from the scene. He returned shortly afterwards to resume campaigning.
A young “dishevelled”-looking man had approached the prime minister to shake his hand, saying he was in a difficult situation and needed help, newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet reported.
“Then the man went down on his knees, pulled out a knife and said something about killing,” photographer Robert Seger, who witnessed the event, told the paper.
Katainen had been discussing taxes on diesel and the taxes paid by the elderly before the incident.
Do you think PM Katainen discussed this event at dinner tonight? GB

Monday, October 21, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 62 St. Ignatius College Prep HS Cross Country Gets Ignited by a Past Team Member

Recently Tom Coyne who wrote a previous entry for us about the Chicago running scene in the 1950s and 60s , contacted us about an event worthy to mention in our blog.  It talks about Ray Mayer a 1951graduate of  St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School from where Tom O'Hara graduated before moving on to fame as one of America's great milers at Loyola University.  Mayer came to the support of his school's cross country program in a unique and wonderful way, sponsoring the team's trip to compete in Bethesda,MD.    The following article appears in the St. Ignatius alumni magazine  and correspondence comes from Tom Coyne.  File the name Dan Santino for future reference.  Dan is a sophomore leading this year's varsity team.

Dear George:

Back in February, Ray Mayer, my former teammate and co-captain of the cross country team at St. Ignatius High School in Chicago made it possible for the current St. Ignatius track team to participate in a track meet in Bethesda, Maryland.

Another teammate, Paul O'Shea wrote up the meet for the Cross Country Journal and the St. Ignatius Alumni Magazine.

This is the article.  There is a photo that goes with it.  If you think the article would be of interest, I can try to get the photo sent to you.

Take care,


   The St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School

Is there a future Tom O'Hara in this pack?

A Trip From the Past
By Paul O’Shea
When you give back, others go forward.
In the l950s Ray Mayer’51 was a leading miler in the Midwest and student at one of Chicago’s prestigious high schools, St. Ignatius.  Later, he went on to distinguished service in the military, serving as a Green Beret in Vietnam, and to a successful career in real estate.

Mayer never forgot the education he received from St. Ignatius High School and the opportunity it gave him to explore his athletic potential.   To help his school’s current athletes, his generosity recently funded a trip to Washington, D.C. for the St. Ignatius Wolfpack track team. By giving back he’s helping kids three generations behind him create their own legacies. 

The initiative began last fall when Mayer was impressed with the performances of the distance runners at St. Ignatius (now St. Ignatius College Prep High School), particularly Jack Keelan ‘13.  In 2012 Keelan won the Illinois state 3-A division cross country title, was 26th at Nike Cross Nationals and ran a 4:09 mile.  When Mayer competed he was a 4:35 miler, running about 20 miles a week, common then for top distance runners.

Mayer asked St. Ignatius head coach Ed Ernst to find an opportunity to showcase Jack and the rest of the team in a high-profile competition that would also provide an educational experience.  Answer: the Jesuit Invitational Track and Field Meet at Georgetown Prep High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Mayer offered to provide the financial support to St. Ignatius for it to fund the 21 runners, jumpers and throwers competing against other top Jesuit schools in the East.

“My high school years were considerably enriched by participation in the school’s championship cross country and track programs,” Mayer remembers.  “Because today’s Ignatians have many more opportunities to develop their God given talents, I contacted Ed Ernst, the boys’ coach to find out what I could do to help the team.  He responded that he would love to enter the Georgetown Prep meet in D.C., not far from where I live in Fairfax, Virginia.  From that moment it was written in the stars that the team could enter—and win.  For me, this was a partial payback for what I received by going to St. Ignatius.”

Mayer’s St. Ignatius co-captain and running partner, Tom Coyne ‘51, also backed the Washington venture and attended the February meet.  He understood its value after serving as vice president for student services at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where he now lives.  Coyne believes the trip helped the students prepare for the pressures of juggling academics and athletics at the university level. 

“By participating in an East Coast meet the St. Ignatius students jump started their potential roles as college athletes,” Coyne said.  “Traveling by air to quality away meets is what the big guys do.  However, in the way they competed with respect for their opponents, their mature, enthusiastic behavior and individual, all-out performances, the lads demonstrated they have the qualities good universities want in their students.”

What did the opportunity mean to Keelan as a student and athlete? 

“Just the act of getting on the plane to compete set the tone for our team
and season, saying, ‘we are serious about what we do and we mean
business.’  So taking home the trophy was more like the cherry on top.”

For Coach Ernst, “the Washington trip was a reward for the hard work of these particular boys.  We hope we will be able to do something like this for other athletes in the future, as an incentive for hard work.  As far as what it means for the team in the future, I believe the older boys set the example and tone for the younger boys.  They teach each other year after year how to work hard—and how to succeed.”

In a storybook ending, St. Ignatius took the Jesuit Invitational team championship by four-and-a-half points, scoring in the final event, the triple jump.  Keelan won both the 1600 and 3200 yard races in record times and in the fall, joins the perennial distance powerhouse at Stanford University.

   In the center holding the trophy is Ray Mayer '51.   The older guys across the front row are  Paul O'Shea in grey sweater,   Tom Coyne '51 in brown jacket,  and extreme right  Coach Ed Ernst
                                                        To enlarge photo, click on it

Not long after the announcement that the team had won, one of the St. Ignatius athletes asked a semi-serious question: “Will they let us take the trophy on the plane?”   At the airport, TSA got on board.  And so did the trophy.


Publisher’s Note:  A former high school cross country coach, Paul O’Shea writes about the sport from his home in northern Virginia.  From l949 to l951 he was a teammate of Ray Mayer and Tom Coyne at St. Ignatius.  O’Shea’s e-mail address is Poshea 17 at aol.com.

From Coach Ed Ernst came these comments and video youtube links

With the help of a generous gift from Ray Mayer of the Class of 1951, the boys and girls cross country teams travelled to Washington, DC, on Saturday, October 12 to compete at the Georgetown Prep Classic.  Mayer was in attendance to watch the varsity boys finish first out of 13 teams in the seeded varsity race.  Sophomore Dan Santino was third overall, first for Ignatius, running 16 minutes and 14 seconds on the 5,0000-meter course on the Georgetown Prep campus.  The Wolfpack placed three more runners in the top ten, and six overall in the top 20:  Senior co-captain Chris Korabik 8th, senior co-captain Taylor Dugas 9th, junior Andy Weber 10th, senior Patrick Manglano 14th, junior Kallin Khan 16th, and junior Brian Santino 44thThe girls varsity team finished second out of 13 teams in the “seeded varsity” race, beaten only by Centennial High School of Ellicott City, MD.  Junior Olivia Meyer was the top Wolfpack finisher in sixth, running 19 minutes and 28 seconds.   Junior Alexis Jakubowski was eighth in 19:30, junior  Jill Poretta tenth in 19:52,  sophomore Anastasia Bouchelion 21st in 20:23, senior Kirstyn Ruiz  25th in 20:33.  Junior Maggie Connolly and senior Cara Zadeik rounded out the Varsity race by finishing 27th and 33rd.  The Wolfpack won medals and trophy plaques in the meets other races, as well:  Twenty of the 24 members of the girls’ team, in fact, won top-20 finisher medals in their races.  The girls junior varsity team won easily over 12 DC-area teams. The freshmen team also won, as all six runners finished in the top-12 of the race. On the boys side, a team of juniors and seniors finished second in one junior varsity race, and a team of sophomores was third in another.   
The meet itself is as much a cross country running festival as it is a race.   Later in the day Ignatius senior  co-captain Dugas won a dance contest in the New Balance cross country store tent.  Two announcers manned a booth near the finish line, where they did some race play by play, as well as post-race interviews with the winners. When they heard that the Ignatius team had come to the race from Chicago–and had won the boys seeded team race–they invited the team on stage.   Sitting in front of the stage during the interview, benefactor Mayer accepted public thank you-s from the announcers, the crowd–and the Ignatius team.
There are also race videos available on Youtube:
Coach Ed Ernst also wrote about the trip on his blog: 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 61Amelia Wershoven Wood, 1956 Olympian RIP

To be noted ,  the passing of Amelia Wershoven  Javelin Thrower on 1956 US Olympic team.
(Thanks to Ernie Cunliffe for bringing this to our attention)

Amelia Wershoven was a javelin thrower, who won a gold medal in the 1951 Pan American Games and two bronze medals in the Pan American Games, in 1955 and 1959 (as Amelia Wood). In the 1951 Pan American Games she also finished fifth in the shot put. She also represented the US several times in international dual meets. Wershoven was AAU Champion in 1953 with the javelin, and in 1955 in the baseball throw. It is with a baseball that she is probably best known, for setting a women's world record of 252-4½ (76.92) in August 1957, a record that likely still stands as the event is not held anymore. Wershoven competed for the Queen's Mercurettes.
Personal Bests: JT – 154-11 (47.22) (1958); Baseball Throw – 252-4½ (76.92) (1957).


1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsWomen's Javelin ThrowUnited StatesUSA14

Women's Javelin Throw

Event History  · Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · PRE  · LINK  · ?
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesFinal Round1444.29
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesFinal RoundRound One944.29
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesFinal RoundRound Two1240.4544.29
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesFinal RoundRound Three1432.5944.29
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesQualifying Round11QU44.39
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesQualifying RoundRound One944.39
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesQualifying RoundRound Two10pass44.39
1956 Summer25MelbourneAthleticsUnited StatesQualifying RoundRound ThreeNPpass

WOOD - Amelia (nee Wershoven) of Mattituck, NY on June 7, 2013, age 82. Beloved wife of John E. Wood. Mother of Suzanne Barron (Keith), Brendan, Sean andTerence. Member of the 1956 US Olympic Track and Field Team.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 60 Tribute to Billy Mills

This picture shows Billy probably winning the Big 8 cross country meet against Oklahoma State Aggie, Miles Eiseman.  (I'll accept corrections to this as the picture was not captioned.

Hi George, Paul Ebert here, I ran in this big eight and have all the results at Stillwater, Okla
        team finals
          Oklahoma St 40, Kansas  50,Oklahoma 84, Missouri 85, Nebraska 139, Iowa st  161, and Colorado 180
             In 1960 at Stillwater
          1. Bill Mills      Kansas    15:03                    In 1958 Hodgson OU 14:00
          2. John Haraughty  OSU      15:04                In 1959 Eisenman OSU 13:55
          3. Jack Mc Phail    OSU      15:05                 2.Mills Kansas 14:11
          4. Harold Smith    OSU      15:06                  3.Hodgson OU  14:14
          5. Bill Dotson      Kansas    15:07   
          6. Robert Hanneken  Missouri  15:17 
          7. Raymond Schmitz  Missouri  15:23  
          8. Leslie Stevens  Nebraska  15:28   
          9. PAUL EBERT      OKLA.    15:31  
          10. Lee Smith        Okla.    15:33   
          11. Gail Hodgson    Okla.    15:36
          12, Bill Hayward    Kansas    15:38
          13. Pat Mc Neil      K State  15:39
          14. Kirk Hagean      Kansas    15:43
          15. Ray Graham      OSU      15:46
          16. Bill Stone    OSU    15:49    
          17. Robert Linrud  Kansas  15:56
          18. Don Gabbert Missouri  15:58       
          19. Bill Kinney  Nebraska  15:58
          20. Karl Brown Iowa St    16:02
          25. Tim Leonard OU        16:10
          27. bud Stewart OU        16:13
          30. Jerome McFadden Missouri 16:16
          33. Ted Reisinger  Kansas  16:23
          35. Dick Neff      OU      16:28
          36. Neville Soll  OU      16:35



This site from the University of Kansas , honoring Billy Mills, was brought to our attention by Mike Solomon, a former Jayhawk , runner.  There is a brief video of the final 300 meters of the 1964 10,000 meters that Billy Mills won in such surprising and spectacular fashion.   There is also a brief biography of Billy. 

This past August , I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with Billy at the induction ceremonies of the Cincinnati area Track and Field Hall of Fame.  He proved to be a superbly gracious individual , willing to share stories and acknowledge the help that others had been in his career and his life before and after the Olympic victory.  I had no idea of all the money he has raised for worthy causes.  When I mentioned to Billy that I had run at the University of Oklahoma shortly after he graduated from Kansas, he instantly remembered the names of some of my teammates including Gail Hodgson and Ernie Kleynhans and that they were from South Africa.  Such a memory that could conjure up names from fifty years in the past.

I do remember reading in one of Nicholas Sparks' books Three Weeks With My Brother about a round the world trip that Sparks took with his brother, that he had once dated Billy's daughter.  Although that relationship didn't work out,  Billy remained close to Sparks and ended up paying for Sparks' honeymoon when he married another woman.   Sparks had had a tough life growing up in a single parent family, was a good half miler and ran for Notre Dame. 

Another example of Billy's persona occurred at that Cincinnati meeting this summer.   A friend Dick Trace had given us of picture of Billy running in a three mile race for Quantico Marines.  In the picture with Billy, who was leading, was Les Hegedus from Central State University (Ohio) and Andy Schram (Miami of Ohio).  Hegedus had gone on to win that race.  Billy was kind enough to autograph the picture to Les , saying, "Les, you beat me bad that day."    Billy later admitted that he had suffered frequently from hypoglaecemia and was still learning to control it.  This was one of the day he had run out of fuel.  He mentioned that he used to eat honey before a race, but when his coach, Bill Easton found him doing it, he told Billy to refrain from that practice for some  reason.   In those days when the coach spoke it was his way or the highway.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 59 A Documentary Film in Production about Steve Prefontaine


Here is a 15 minute preview of a documentary in production about Coos Bay, Oregon and the people who grew up with and knew Steve Prefontaine as he was growing up.  There is also a pitch at the end to raise money to complete the project.

Thanks to Mike Solomon for bringing this to our attention.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 58 Valiery Brumel remembered in Moscow

George and Roy,
I really enjoy reading your blog.  Mary Ann and I had the opportunity to go to the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow this past August.  One day we were exploring a cemetery not too far from the Olympic Stadium.  We were told that Kruschev was buried there and we were searching for his gravesite.  Well, I came across something better.  How well can you read Cyrllic?

Bob Roncker

Good quote from Geoff Peitsch.

I can't read Cyrillic but I can read high jump form. And Brumel's style was so recognizable.


getting used to tim horton's coffee houses yet? Great photo from russia you just sent.

I remember going to the big indoor meets in L.A. years ago ( sunkist invite and l.a. times meet) and watching the great Russian athletes. When I was a senior in high school competing in an invitational mile run  the sports editor of the now defunct l.a  hearld examiner introduced me to  Gerry Lindgren and Richmond Flowers...pretty cool

but back to Brumel... there was a story that during the ussr vs. usa dual meet taking place in Palo Alto  Brumel walked into the Stanford gym and the Stanford basketball team was working out and they sort of laughed at this guy wearing the CCCP outfit on his sweats....they didn't have a clue who he was....so Brumel runs onto the court and jumps and touches the basket tim with his foot!!! just to shut them up.
 Another h.s. pal saw Brumel work out one day at Orange Coast junior college in Costa Mesa and everyone was in awe watching him work out on the track...things that American jumpers wouldn't even fathom doing!!!.

Mike Solomon

Thanks to Mike Solomon and Phil Scott for reminding us
about this picture.  Phil thought it was in NYC , but the  equipment
looks rather East European.  I recall seeing the photo in
Track and Field News many years ago.  And TF&N has
their name on the pic.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vol. 3 No. 57 Handicap races and big business taking over road racing

A slow news week.  Here are a few articles and events that came across the desk recently.  The first is a youtube  video covering a 120 yard handicap race held in Australia.  Admittedly the lads down under have some different takes on sport including Australian rules football.  American colleges are now recruiting some of their kickers  to boot their field goals.  We also include an article from the New York Times on the takeover of some of the big road races by investment companies and their realization that they don't have to pay elite runners to show up, because the mobs of amateurs don't care a bit who is up front in their races.  The $$$ rolling in from entry fees and corporate sponsors has usurped the need to pay the top athletes any money to show up.  So now the career of an elite athlete is moving toward solely support from equipment manufacturers and a few other products.  Maybe they will end up endorsing cigarettes like the pros did back in the 1950's.  Cash earning life of an elite is not very long.  Maybe three or four years.  And the rewards are small compared to a cyclist, NFL player, baseball or basketball player at the top of the heap.  One good year can set up a Kenyan for life back home, and take care of most of his or her extended family.  That's a big reason they train so hard.  

If 15,000 marathon runners show up for Boston or New York or Chicago.  During the year they each may have consumed four pair of shoes at $100 a pop  ($400 x 15,000= $6,000,000), consumed a few dozen Power Bars or the equivalent 15,000x $25=$375,000), bought some socks, windbreaker, tech shirt, pants, gloves, tech winter shirt, sunglasses, headgear, a garmin watch, ($900x15,000=$9,500,000), bought plane ticket and three nights in a hotel in NYC, and a $200 entry fee,( $1,500x15,000=$15,075,000).   Hey we haven't even gotten to the sponsorship money.  No wonder the vultures are descending.  This is just one race.  It used to be fun as a race director to bring in the elites just to be able to hobnob a bit with the them.  I bet these directors who are losing power are really pissed. 

here's the site for the handicap race. 


After looking it over ,  Bill Schnier , former U. of Cincinnati track and field coach had some comments.  We also got going on NFL head injuries.  Sorry to you track affecianados for this drift.
I'm wondering if the sport of rugby has similar problems with long term effects of playing the game.
Our runners probably suffer from a bit of oxygen deprivation from the years of interval training.

Knowing just a little bit about the Australian psyche, I would expect that there was a lot of betting in the stands and even with legal bookmakers at the track.    How bout you take the top ranked sprinter performers for the year in any event in a race like this ,  get some sponsorship money and see if people would pay to watch and wager? 

This is just fun.  We have strayed too far from having fun.  When I took our T-M (high school) teams to Sauble Beach, Ontario the week always culminated with the Sauble Beach Relays which was a 4 x 2-mile shuttle relay with even teams.  We all discussed who should be 1st, 2nd, 3rd, . . . 18th, etc. the night before.  Then we assigned teams to make them even.  Each time a person who was ranked last or nearly last erupted with a fabulous race, demonstrating a lack of effort all week long.  We also found out that many people ran best from the front whereas others ran best from the back.  A few times it was simply a handicap race much like this 100 M. in Australia.  In any case it is lots of fun to project or predict results, then to actually see if you were right all along.  The handicapping was perfect in Australia.     Bill

Did you see Frontline last night on the saga of NFL head injuries and the league's long and ongoing attempt to deny, then agree to payoff some considerable $,    760 million to about 4000 former players?  But they still contend there is no well grounded scientific evidence that long term head injuries are directly related to the game?

The NFL is absolutely sure there is a relationship between head injuries and repercussions later in life, otherwise they would not pay out these sums now.  They are paying now so they won't have to pay more later.  The bottom line for the NFL and the public in general is the game must be preserved at all costs.  Harry Edwards said in the 1980s that sports are the slavery of the present day with the owners being the slave masters and the athletes being the slaves, even though the modern slaves are handsomly paid.  In Dr. Edward's case he was primarily talking about the black athletes.  At the time I was so energized by sports and would have loved to have been such a slave that it didn't make any sense, but looking at the owners in their luxury boxes, living to an old age while watching players whose life expentency would be 53 years, often ending up with dementia and steroid-related problems makes me realize that he was right.  The NFL of today is the modern counterpart of the Christians versus the Lions of yesteryear.  
   Nevertheless it is still entertaining.  I don't especially watch the games but when the Bengals are doing well I occasionally tune them in.  The emphasis now is on head injuries since that follows the payout money.  However, that leaves the players more vulnerable to lower body injuries since you have to tackle a person somewhere, either high or low.  The players in general would rather have their legs protected than their heads since leg injuries tend to be career ending whereas head injuries don't show major problems until years later.  Jim Brown once had a concussion during the first half, continued to play after a few sets of downs off, then played the entire second half.  He mentioned that he did not remember the first half at all.  This would be a classic example of "suck it up."  None of this is easy to understand because for every point there is a counterpoint, but in the end the money for everyone has backed everyone up against a wall, preserving the game for the owners, the players and the fans.

   With all of that in mind, is your team the Browns, Bengals or Seahawks?  Have a wonderful day in the Great Northwest, or should I say the Great Southwest?       Bill

From another reader

First, I have been advocating the outlawing of football in high school and College for a while now.  I think that the brain problems are a lot more prevalent than we know.  Two of my friends just were diagnosed with football induced brain damage.  One was a runner who only played in high school as a youth.  The other is only in his mid 40s and never played as a pro.  The NFL owners should be jailed and better still should have to pay all medical expenses.  Like everything today, it is all about money and the richest 1% of us seem to have it.

Now the fun news.    I have spent the morning reading about Alice Munro,of Huron County, who is in a class by herself as the first Canadian and, the first writer of mainly short fiction to win the Nobel Prize.
Now I must get back to the running message boards.  Boy, is our sport messed up.  Dumbing down is only one of our problems.  A medal means nothing now.  Again It is all money and drugs.   We were so lucky to run when we did although there were problems then too.  When I started there were no women in road races or on the roads,  Now, I see more women than men running and jogging on my walk most mornings.
Please, keep writing,

Doing a websearch I found this discussion on a Track and Field forum page.  GB

scratch and handicap races

Id like to get some information on the history of the handicapped race. I can imagine that it was useful for country/county fair races where there was a need to have a competitive race with few participants. But we find even high level competitive races organized with handicaps right into the 20th century and persisting even to this day in Australia. First question was the handicap always given as an advantage (shortening of) distance to the weaker runner, or would the handicap be against the stronger runner with the weaker running the named distance.


As far as I am aware, the longest distance run was always the nominal race distance with slower runners running less than the full distance. In many races no runner ran the full distance (ie from scratch) because none were considered fast enough. This is not to say overdistance handicaps never happened but I have not read anything about this alternate approach.

There were certainly instances where the handicapping was on time and all athletes ran the full distance, however, this is much more difficult to administer, especially with shorter distances.

In Scotland handicap races have been popular in both amateur and professional versions of the sport before 1992 and have remained popular in the open era since 1992. In all cases the maximum distance run has been that of the published distance, e.g. in a 100m race no-one runs more than 100m. The 'scratch' athlete always runs the full distance and everybody else runs the same or less.

In some Australian results I've seen from the turn of the century, the usual handicaps are given eg:

* Smith (3y) = running 97y in a 100y race

but I've also seen in the same races

* Jones (owes 2y) where Jones would be the notional favourite.

So I've assumed this meant Jones might have been running 102y.

In Australian races, a false start means a penalty of additional distance so the scratch runner can potentially go back behind the scratch mark.

Be interested if anyone else has further clarification of how these rules changed through the years.

So,  Ernie,  would you rather in a mile race against Burleson,  run the full mile with a 4 second head start, or start the race 30 yards ahead, or make him start 30 yards behind and run the mile plus 30 yards? Oh yes, and let's add a $5,000.00 first prize and a set of steak knives for 2nd prize.

Here is the article on elite runners being squeezed out of their appearance money.
 Admittedly some of this is too much finance gibberish for me to comprehend.  I'm from an era when you could get in a race for a couple of dollars and get a mimeographed result a week or two later in the mail.    If you put your mind to it you could personally know every marathoner in America, because there were only three marathons,  Boston , Yonkers, and Culver City, and they didn't have big fields.   GB



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