Once Upon a Time in the Vest

Saturday, July 27, 2019

V 9 N.23 Ever Wonder How a Sub 4 Minute Miler Would Perform on a Bike in the Tour de France?

Image result for mike woods former miler

A thirty-two years old Ottawa, Ontario  Canadian, Mike Woods, once ran a 3:57.48 mile when he was 18 years old and attending the University of Michigan.  He was a teammate of  Nick Willis during their Ann Arbor days.  Unfortunately Woods ran into some chronic stress fractures in his foot and had to abandon the sport.  While he was making that decision he would cycle to maintain some of his fitness and found later that he could compete with the good amateurs in that sport.  Now fourteen years later Woods finds himself a pro riding  in his first Tour de France.   At his age, he is pushing the age limits for that level of the sport.   He gained experience in the grand tours last year in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta d'Espanga. 

As a 70 years plus former runner and a hobby road cyclist, I've often wondered what it would be like for a really good runner to compete in one of the grand tours where strength and endurance are only half the prerequisites.  Technical ability on the bike is equally as important, and courage in the face of fear and horrendous crashes are the other aspects that a track or road runner seldom if ever faces.  The main critical injuries in running come from people wearing ear buds listening to music or motivational talks who get hit by cars, trains and buses, deservedly, I might add.  But descending at 50-60 mph on a twisting downhill in a pack of riders and then climbing 6000 feet backup a mountain, before another descent and climb, make cycling a very different sport. 

Mike Woods has done extremely well as an older rookie, despite two major crashes, one of which broke a couple of ribs and left patches of his DNA smeared on the asphalt.  Two days ago he was in the top ten of the climber category although he is no longer there.   The tour credits participants in a number of ways including the overall leader, but it also rewards, the best climber, most aggressive, best young (under 25) and best general classification for finishing high in a lot of stages.   This year  the youngest rider Egan Bernal of Columbia is wearing the yellow jersey signifying leader in total time on the Tour.   Woods is currently 32nd of 155 riders still in the race with one day to go.    The experts pretty much have conceded the win to Bernal.

You can read an in depth interview with Woods from Runner's World which goes into more specific detail on how having been  a sub 4 minute miler aids his becoming a very good cyclist.  Thanks to Bruce Kritzler for bringing this story to our attention.

Runner's World Interview with Mike Woods

George Roy Steve

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

V 9 N. 22 A Canadian Gathering of 1500 Meters Runners

July 22, 2019

Last week,  Canada's first sub 4 minute miler,  David Bailey, sent us a note about an annual gathering of 1500m/milers to have a go at the 1500m distance.

Hi George,

I thought that you might enjoy hearing about our 11th annual 1500 m Night about a month ago at the Western University track. (University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario)
It was another perfect evening for racing with lots of PBs.
This year 399 runners completed the event with races starting at 7 - 10 min intervals between 6:40 and 10:26 pm.
As usual, there was a team of officials at the start and finish to make certain every race went precisely on time.
I was responsible for check-in (see attached photo).

In preparation for this night, I was also asked by the meet director, Steve Weiler, to write a blog for “How They Trained”.

All of this can be found on a recently created website indicated below.

All the best,
David Bailey, checking them in.
The following was printed on the website enduranceodyssey.com and used with permission from David Bailey.
My Successful Mile / 1500m Races During the Summer of 1967
By David Bailey
On June 11, 1966, I met one of my career goals of running a sub 4-minute mile (3:59.1).  I was the first Canadian and 74th person since Roger Bannister to do it (see photo).  The Canadian media had high expectations that I would run faster and medal at the Commonwealth Games later that summer.  It did not happen.  In fact, results were subsequently disappointing. 
I needed to be tactically improved and physically stronger in order to be more competitive at the international level.   A major shortcoming was my insufficient basic speed and acceleration to mount much of a real challenge over the final 200m compared to most of the superior class of opponents against whom I would now be racing.  Yet, greats of the mile/1500 like Herb Elliott and 880/800 like Peter Snell were also not blessed with exceptional sprinting speed.  Despite this, they became Olympic Champions and World Record Holders.  Their strong-willed attitude, sound racing strategies and correct training methods meant that they could apply their resolve on the field at any time in the race.  Their competitors were either too far back or too fatigued to have a finishing sprint of any consequence.    
The summer of 1967 was the most successful of my athletic career.  It started at the end of May and concluded in mid-September.  The chronological sequence of races was the California Relays Meet in Modesto (1st in mile – 4:01), Canadian Pan American Games Trials in Saskatoon (1st in 1500m – 3:45) and Canada Day - East York Track Club Meetin Toronto (1st in mile – 4:01 against the 1964 Olympic 800 m silver medalist and good friend Bill Crothers on a rain-soaked cinder track).  This was followed by the Commonwealth vs USA Meet in Los Angeles.  I must admit that I was surprised to be selected with Kip Keino (Kenya) and Alan Simpson (Great Britain) to compete against the first three finishers at the USA Championships.  Despite 38 degrees Centigrade at track level, Jim Ryun of the USA had career defining run (3:33.1 to break Herb Elliott’s seven-year-old World Record by more than 2 seconds).  I got a new National Record (4th in 1500m – 3:41.7 and defeated the Americans, Jim Grelle and Dave Wilborn, see photo).  I won the mile at the Toronto Police Games (3:57.7 after a full day of competition on the cinder track of Varsity Stadium).  It was a new National Record that lasted for 10 years and was the 9th fastest time in the world for 1967.  Other races included the Pan American Games in Winnipeg (3rd in 1500 m – 3:44 after a 65 second first 400 m when I then took the lead and forced Tom Von Ruden of the USA to break the Games Record in order to win),  the World University Games in Tokyo (2nd in 1500 m – 3:43 that was 0.1 seconds behind the European Champion Bodo Tummler of Germany for his new Games Record) and the Pre-Olympic Games in Mexico City (4th in 1500 m – 3:48 at 2500m or 1.5 miles altitude). 
I was originally asked to write just about my training 4 – 5 weeks before a major breakthrough run.  I have tried to do it.   However, the overall success of 1967 was the result of more than 9 months of planning.  This involved altering my mental approach and physical training to maximize my strengths.  Thus, I thought that I would provide a more in-depth and hopefully enlightening blog.
My Psychological Approach to Racing
Good training alone does not guarantee good racing results.  The proper mindset is essential.  Because I had a burning desire to do well, I usually had lots of anxiety a couple of days before the race.  It would often take me several days to prepare mentally.  By then, I had tried to channel much of this nervous energy to a focus of intense concentration.  The many triumphs of teammates like Bill Crothers and Bruce Kidd (Commonwealth Games 6-mile gold medalist at 18 years of age) also provided me with role models so that I might be able to rise to the occasion when it mattered. 
However, there were times when I still had self-doubts right up to race.  I recall desperately hoping that I would make the 1967 Pan American Team at the Canadian Trials even while warming up for the final.  The thought occurred to me that everyone else in the race had the same ambition.  None of them were just going to give it to me uncontested.  I would simply have to take it away from them because I wanted it more.  With 500 m to go in the race, I took control and ran away from the field with a 56 second last 400m to win.
There were other times during warm up when I had to talk myself.  I would non-verbalize, “I can win this.”  Invariably, a little voice in my head would initially reply, “No you can’t”.  So, I would repeat this mantra in my head for about a half hour.  By then, I was totally convinced that I would be unbeatable. 
The great Canadian coach Lloyd Percival once commented to me that I worried too much about where I would finish in the race before it was run.  I lacked a clear tactical plan beforehand.  Also, I needed to be able to alter it as needed as the race progressed.  He said, “Don’t worry about your placing beforehand, the best result will come with a solid effort along with a well thought out run.”.  He was right.  It seems obvious to me now.  However, I was unaware of this problem at the time.  Thereafter, I became more engaged by watching my race develop in order to decide when would be the right moment to challenge for control.   The underlying basis was to test my opponents when they were having self-doubts or a bad spell.  At this point in the race, I figured that I would have a greater chance to defeat them. 
The mile/1500 can be divided into 3 important sections.   The first two laps are often run quickly when racers are high on adrenaline.  Challenging your competitors during this period when they feel good is wasted effort in my opinion.  The third lap is the most important.  It is always the slowest and there is good reason for it.   This is when the race begins to hurt and there is still a sizeable distance yet to be run.  There is uncertainty whether this fast pace can be sustained.  Thus, the pace inevitably slows as runners begin to conserve energy for the finish.  Your opponents are now at their most vulnerable.  They will let you take control of the race without much of a contest.  A decisive move at some point during the 3rd 440/400 can put distance between you and them.  The problem is that you are also having the same physical distress and anxiety.  However, you have the advantage of surprise and have prepared yourself for this moment.
The purpose of this move is not just to lead but to create a gap.  It now needs to be maintained and possibly lengthened.   There may still be opponents who will give chase.  After a brief breather, you now need to start a continued gradual acceleration that is sustained to the finish when you are going as fast as possible.  It is very discouraging for the chasers when they cannot close the gap.  I have done it with success and had it done to me.  The results of the race can be decided at that moment with a decisive attack between 800m to 500m remaining in the race.
Sometimes, I still did not win.  However, I invariably ended up with a better overall placing than I would have had otherwise.  Moreover, I felt good about my run which was the most important thing to me.  I had tested my competitors resolve to win.  They “knew I was there” and that I “made them sweat” before they could claim victory. 
My Training Plan
The mile / 1500m is a combination of 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic fitness.  The former is slow to develop, can be markedly increased and slow to lose while the latter is the converse.  Therefore, aerobic strength training was my early focus.  Starting in late September of 1966, I ran 3-4 cross-country meets for the University of Toronto and had wins that involved the CIAU (CIS) Championship.  During that period of time, I included a long run (1:45 – 2:00 hours) weekly at any pace that felt comfortable.  I also did this throughout the year whenever possible.  I avoided running on hard surfaces to minimize risk of injury.  I had the good fortune to live close to three almost interconnecting golf courses which had challenging hills that I often ran without much concern from most golfers, something I don’t think would happen very often these days.  I also sought out parks and dirt paths through forested areas even though getting there involved travelling some distance.
The cross-country results set me up for a limited but good indoor racing season following some interval training.  Winning the Toronto Maple Leaf Indoor Games (mile – 4:03) and finishing 2nd at the Milrose Games in New York City’s Madison Square Garden (Wanamaker Mile – 4:02) in the winter of 1967 on 11 laps to the mile banked wooden tracks proved that I was headed in the right direction.
A key workout after the indoor season was hill running starting in late March.  I adapted this aspect to how I would race.  I tended not to run steep and short hills for short duration power but ran a long (about 600 m) gradual grade hill that allowed me to stride out for speed endurance (stamina) fitness.  This hill was through a scenic wooded area on a paved road, which gave good traction.  It was a 20- to 30-minute jog from my home and I ran it once a week for 4 – 6 weeks before returning to interval training.  I would do hill repeats at a quick pace concentrating on relaxed movement until I got tired but not exhausted.  I did at least 10 per session.  Then, I warmed down by jogging home usually with my thighs feeling quite heavy. 
Following completion of third year exams in Pharmacy in early April, I now had the opportunity to include a daily morning run of 30 – 40 minutes.  It was an easy way to add aerobic fitness and to recover from the soreness and fatigue of the harder evening sessions.  I did this at 6:30 am before heading off to my 8:30 am – 4:30 pm summer job (non – manual labour) which paid for university tuition and living expenses (FYI, I had turned down all athletic scholarship offers at several prominent universities in the USA).  I then had supper, took a nap and prepared for my mid- to late-evening workout.  
This schedule meant that I designed my own workouts and trained alone.  It was challenging but I enjoyed being in control.  I avoided running on a track as much as possible to keep this experience fresh.  Instead, I found parks and other esthetically pleasing places to do speed play (fartlek). 
For track workouts, I would park my car a 20- to 30-minutes jog away, carry my spikes and spend as little time there as possible.  I ran concentrating on speed and relaxation to eliminate tension.   I minimized the number of intervals which were usually not timed.  However, they were demanding and simulated the way I would race.
An important early season session was 3 x 800m at race pace (equal distance recovery jog).  Putting two 400m back to back adapted me better to the race circumstance than doing something like 10 x 400m could ever do.  It took less than 20 minutes and also was much less boring.  However, each 800m subsequently got much harder because I suspect that they were around 2:00 minutes.   This workout was sufficiently demanding that I would not do it again for at a least week.  However, this conditioned me mentally and physically for the kind of race that I would run.  I did not do the 3 X 800 m workout after I got into the regular racing schedule. 
I planned races on a two-week cycle.  Starting with Saturday as the race day, Sunday was always a 1-hour easy run recovery day. Then, Monday to the Tuesday of the next week (9 days) would be solid training.  Total distance run was about 165 km (130 km/wk).  Wednesday to Friday (3 days) was for being fresh for the race on Saturday.  This is when I would focus on my mental preparation. I would continue with my usual morning run.  In the evening, I would do a 20-minute jog followed by a dozen strides on grass to bring back quickness.  
The Tuesday before the race I liked to do a race simulation workout on the track.  The Tuesday before I ran my 3:57.7 mile, I remember doing 1 x 800, 1 x 600, 1 x 400, 1 x 200, 1 x 100 with equal distance recovery.  Each interval got faster.  None were timed.  I focused on quick and relaxed running.  When I did the 800m and 600m, I would yell out “ding, ding, ding” with 400m to go!
I used a race warm up routine that involved a 15-minute jog followed by a warm shower about 4 hours before the race.  It required less time to warm up at the track and took away tightness before the race.

These are just some thoughts on how I improved my performances for the mile / 1500m, distances that are demanding because they require emphasis on both speed and endurance.  I hope that you found this to be informative and interesting.  I wish

Exhausted. But it was worth it. Dave Bailey (right) literally is carried by Bill Crothers after Bailey ran mile in 3 minutes, 57.7 seconds at Police Games at Varsity Stadium. It was first sub-4-minute mile run in Canada by Canadian.

Reply #1
This was a reply David Bailey gave to one of the enduranceodyssey readers. 
Hi Matthew,

Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. I also enjoyed reading your blog.

Anyways, I just want to clarify that I did do workouts on the track. I just tried to 
minimize thembecause early in my career that is where I would be doing my workouts
 on a regularly basis. With time, I found that it sapped from me the joy that I inherently 
had for running, something that I consider to be an expression of self. 

I think it might be helpful if I were also to try to explain more completely why 
I did not time the intervals that I ran. One reason was that in my day it was not possible
 to do it when training alone. Back then, all stopwatches were mechanical and had to
 be held steady to be accurate. Today, there are all kinds digital devises that can
 time and record everything. 

A fundamental reason for me was that timing intervals became an unwanted mental 
distraction. Ihad, and I think most experienced runners have, an internal clock that
 is amazingly accurate.   Dividing my attention to a pre-set time was a waste of
 me   ntal processing and I think limited me to what I might be able to do on any
 particular day. Moreover, I just seemed to be able ‘to dial innately to the pace that I 
wanted’ without needing a stopwatch. 

A more important concern was running efficiently with speed. This meant constantly 
mentally checking for the develop of tension and strain in movement, which will 
cause diminished speed despite all efforts to push harder, particularly when you start
 to fatigue. Once it occurs it is almost impossible to reverse. The key is prevention. 

Tension usually begins in the hands and spreads up the arms as it gets worse. 
Once your shoulders are affected, you are “carrying a piano”. Keeping the hands 
and relaxed is critical. Putting the tips of your index finger and thumb together can
 be very helpful. 

When you see a great performance, it looks easy. However, this is deceptive.
Internally, there is a constant battle to maintain form when mentally and physically 
things are falling apart. 

Regarding the location of my 600 m hill that I used to run, it was a service road 
between what was then York Downs Golf Course (which I believe is now a park)
 and Don Valley Golf Course. I had a quick look on Google Maps (satellite view) in
 the area of Bathurst and Sheppard Avenues and I think that it is still there secluded 
among the trees that line it. If you find Sandringham Drive (off Bathurst and south 
of Sheppard), follow it for 2 blocks east to this un-named service road that winds 
down to Earl Bales Lake. 

Reply #2

Monday, July 22, 2019

V 9 N. 21 April 1968 Parts 1 and 2

It was September 21, 2018 since last our esteemed colleague in the corner office, Roy Mason, got off his octogenarian duff and did some work around here.  He sent this article to me a few months ago and finally added part 2 this past week.  It's been a pleasure looking for photos again and finding some background info to add to his work.  eg. the piece on Pat McMahon.    Roy has promised that he will begin the next month, May 1968 in the near future.  We've backburnered several other contributions including a piece from David Bailey on the gathering of 1500 meter runners in London, Ontario, a book review of a work by acclaimed crime fiction writer Lawrence Block about his race walking and ultra walking life, and a report on that cross country alumni meet held in Bob Schul's hometown of West Milton, Ohio.  While visiting my hometown Dayton, Ohio in May/June of this year I saw a guy running down old US 40, The National Road, who looked like he knew what he was doing.  I continued down that road a few miles til I saw a van parked alongside the highway.  It had a lot of advertisements and publicity pasted on the sides in French.

So I stopped and had a chat with the driver.  She was the wife of the guy running across the states from NYC to L.A.   His name is Patrick Malandain.  He has another guy who runs and walks with him and also rides a bike to accompany him.   This is his second run across the US.  His previous was the other direction in 2011.  When they finished the run to L.A. earlier in July, they drove the van up to Vancouver, BC and he started running back East across Canada.  He is 59 years old, covers around 100 Km per day.  Previously in France he has run 100Km for 100 consecutive days and some other long distance feats.  It takes all kinds to make a running world.
You can see his blog at Patrick Malandain.   It's in French but a translate brick comes up that you can click on.  Voila.  George

APRIL 1968 #1
This UPI photo was listed on E Bay by Historic Images  for $8.00. No longer available

The following is gleaned from Dick Drake's always readable On Your Marks column. Jim Ryun is on crutches, the result of a pulled hamstring muscle. By keeping his weight off it Jim hopes to be back in action faster than if he were still walking on it. He hopes to be back by next month's Kansas Relays. Is there reason to be concerned about his preparedness for the Olympic Games?.......An athlete with an even greater concern is Bob Steele, Michigan State's two time NCAA intermediate hurdle champion, who has broken his leg and will wear a cast for the next five weeks
Steve Seymour
photo by Henry Compton from a military meet in Frankfurt FRG, August , 1948. Stars and Stripes

.......You may be wondering what the record number of miles run on an indoor track by a man weighing 215 pounds or more is. Wonder no more. Steve Seymour, 1948 Olympic javelin thrower, just set it with 57 miles on the Los Angeles Athletic Club track. If that track is the standard 160 yard variety requiring 11 laps per mile, that would be 627 laps. Many of our readers are statistical purists. To save them hours of agonizing research, the previous records were also set by Seymour, 50 miles in 1965 and 52 in 1966.

Notes from Wikipedia on Seymour  Stephen ("Steve") Andrew Seymour (October 4, 1920, in New York City – June 18, 1973, in Los Angeles) was an American track and field athlete who competed in the javelin throw; he is regarded by track and field historians as America's original javelin technician.[1]
Following the Second World War, performance levels of elite U.S. javelin throwers lagged well behind the Europeans. Seeking to refine his skills, Seymour spent 1946 in Finland, training with that nation's world-class throwers. It did not take long for his meticulous research to pay dividends. In 1947, he established an American record of 75.80 meters (248' 8") at the U.S. AAU Championships; his mark was within ten feet of the global standard set by Finland's Yrjö Nikkanen in 1938.[2]
1948 was a memorable year in Seymour's career; he won a second consecutive national AAU title, and a silver medal at the Summer Olympics in London. In 1950, Seymour added a third national championship to his collection; and in 1951 he was the silver medalist at the Pan American Games.[3]

.......Marv Montgomery is 6'6” and tips the Toledos at 245. Seeing him exit the USC team bus, you could be forgiven for wondering why he isn't carrying his discus or shot. Surprisingly Marv is a hurdler and a pretty good one at that with a best of 14.3. Yes, this is the same Marv Montgomery who was a first rounddraft pick by the Denver Broncos and played 8 NFL seasons as an offensive guard. Your reporter feels confident in stating that a hurdle time of 14.3 is a record for an interior lineman at any level.
Denver Post  photo

....If your credentials include a gold medal in the 1952 Olympic 100 meters, where would that have taken you by this day in 1968? Would you be living off endorsements? How about living large as the owner of a chain of sporting good stores? Would you be traveling the country, giving well-remunerated inspirational speeches? Perhaps your fame would be sufficient to propel you to a political career. Lindy Remigino has used his considerable fame to far surpass any of those prospects. He is the head track coach at Hartford Public High School in Connecticut.
Regimino Winning the 100 in Helsinki

.....In answer to those who have complained about the lack of women's coverage in T&F News, Dick Drake points out that Women's Track and Field World doesn't cover men's track. Touche!
Rosemarie Ackerman on cover of Women's Track World  Jan/Feb, 1978

ed. note.   A little research brought us to a Jan/Feb, 1978 copy of Women's Track World of which Women's Track and Field World was the predecessor.  It was offered for $5.00 on Worth Point with the following explanation.   Women's Track World, published and edited by Vince Reel in Mentone, California. Published 10 times per year. Volume 1 number 1 dated January/February 1978. 56 pages.  First issue produced after a considerable absence with a new title, Women's Track World WTW. The last issue of WTFW being April, 1976. Thus, in this issue one will find the Athletes of the Year for 1976 Tatyana Kazankina (USSR CCCP) and 1977 Rosemarie Ackermann (East Germany DDR). extensive 1976 USA best performers lists, 1977 High School List, article Tatyana Kazankina by Ivan Berenyi, survey of Women's 800 meters race with all time list, extensive 1977 Cross Country results from around the nation, reports of the National AAU XC Championships and the AIAW Cross Country title meeting. WTFW reappeared after a nearly two years absence, with a new name yet with many of the same characteristcs, great lists, excellent reports and results

......As the world seems to be bent on transitioning from English to metric measurement, British officials have announced that mile races in the UK will now be run at 1600 meters. This decision has been met with such an outcry that it was quickly rescinded. Combined with the fact that virtually every track in the country is 440 yards, such a conversion would be an assault on the heroics of Roger Bannister.

.......Pat McMahon – described as an Irish Catholic attending Oklahoma Baptist – would have seemed to have won the Artesia (New Mexico) Marathon in a course record of 2:19:49, yet wasn't given credit for either achievement. Seems horses were also allowed to compete. Only one of the ten equine entries finished (no gender mentioned). Its time was 2:17. Sorry Pat, this is New Mexico.
ed. note.   McMahon was quite a find for Okla. Baptist U. coach Bruce "Bulldog" Drummond.  See story below from OBU archives.

....If you are Lee Evans or Gerry Lindgren, two strong Olympic hopefuls, how do you spend the months leading up to the Games? They will be counselors at Tracy Walters' Arrow Point Track Camp near Spokane, Washington. The two likely will not be cruising Spokane's hot spots in the evenings together as Jerry will work the distance portion from July 8-19 and Lee will toil at the sprint camp from July 22 – August 2. Give yourself one point if you remember Tracy as Jerry's high school coach. You get two points if you recall that Tracy was also an assistant at San Jose State where Lee has achieved his legendary status.

The outdoor season is just beginning but there are several marks of note. Gayle Hopkins had a successful Australian tour, jumping a legal 26-5 ¾ and a windy 26-8 ¼ . 

Image result for Paul Nash South Africa 100 meters sprinter
Paul Nash as he appeared in The Star  in 1967.  Not much can be found about this man of mystery.

The fastest 100 meter man is Paul Nash of South Africa who tied the world record of 10.0 three times in four days. 

Villanova sophomore Larry James has moved squarely into the Olympic 400 picture with a 45.2 clocking in a dual meet with Tennessee. This puts him in the number three spot on the all-time list behind only Tommie Smith and Adolph Plummer and equal to Wendell Motley and Theron Lewis.

The Florida Relays on March 30 produced top marks. Richmond Flowers of Tennessee, fresh off his NCAA indoor victory over outdoor WR holder Earl McCullough, took the highs in 13.6. Yale's Cal Hill, better known to us old-timers as Calvin Hill, added ten inches to his triple jump best with a winning 51-3 ¾ effort. Only through the crystal ball of history do we know the two were to become teammates on the Dallas Cowboys for the next three years. Also a winner that day was Bill Skinner of Tennessee who threw the javelin 247-3. Ah, but there is more to the story. Bill is a 28-year-old freshman who dropped out of high school eleven years earlier to join the navy. Completing his service in 1961, Bill worked as a welder, playing semipro football, boxing and weightlifting before discovering his talent as a javelin thrower. This issue has his photo with a caption of how he gave up a job which paid $12,000 a year to enter college. To put this in perspective, let's save you the trouble of researching this on the internet. Twelve grand in '68 is the equivalent of $88,000 in today's economy. How did this work for Bill? Hard to say, but he graduated with a degree in industrial education.

APRIL 1968 #2
Image result for steve prefontaine high school pictures

To quote directly from Fran Errota' story....”The outdoor season has barely begun in Oregon and Steve Prefontaine already ranks as the fourth fastest miler in the state's history. Steve clocked 4:13.8 in a five-way meet March 23 in Roseburg. The 5-9, 142 lb junior ran quarters of 64.0. 64.5, 64.0 and 61.3 in a race in which he was supposed to run three 64s and come home as fast as possible. 'I leave it all to my coach, Walt McClure,' says Prefontaine. 'What he says, I do.'  

Last weekend July 12, 2019, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands set the world record in the women's mile with similar splits  2:09, 2:03   4:12.33

Only three Oregonians have ever run faster and they were all seniors who posted their fastest clockings at the end of their final season. They were Dave Deubner (North Eugene), 4:11.2 in 1962, Dave Korb (Corvallis) 4:11.4 in 1967 and Dyrol Burleson (Cottage Grove) former national record holder when he ran 4:13.2 in 1958.”

Fran goes on to tell us that Pre has run a relay 880 in 1:58.5 and a 9:42 two mile. His best mile as a sophomore was 4:29 although he had run a 4:17 time trial just before this meet. He also won the state 1A cross country championship this past fall.

On the same page of this issue just one column over Fran writes that Pre has dropped his two mile time to 9:14. We'll keep an eye on this kid and report more in our next summary. He might be a prospect.

As long as we are on the subject of high school, do you remember when dual meets were a big thing? Return with us now to the meet that decided the championship of the city of Compton, California. Compton beats Centennial 70-48, but the story is in the individual performances. 

Centennial's Edesel Garrison wins the 100 and 440 in 9.7 and 48.2 and anchors winning 41.8 and 3:18.9 relay teams, the last with a 46.7 split which makes up a 20 yard deficit. That 9.7 was necessary as three, count 'em, three other Centennial runners are timed in 9.8. Oh, yeah, there was an also ran Compton kid who ran 9.8 as well. Take a moment to imagine that you run 9.8 in a high school dual meet and finish fifth. May be time to take up golf or tennis.

Compton's Reynaldo Brown, a junior, jumps 6-10 to equal his PR but it is depth that wins the meet. The Tarbabes have kids who run 48.8n and 1:54.2 in the 440 and 880. Their hurdlers run 14.5 and 14.9 in the highs and 19.3 and 19.6 in the lows. That losing mile relay team is clocked in 3:19.2. The field events are passable also, a 53-1 shot put, 14-6 vault and 23-5 long jump.

The remainder of the season provided some solace for Centennial. The Apaches won the state meet with 26 points, doubling the total of the second place team, that's right, Compton.

A word of explanation is necessary. Tarbabes, the mascot for Compton High, has nothing to do with the Uncle Remus story of the Tar Baby. The name comes from the time that Compton High and Compton College shared the same campus. The college teams were the Tartars (Mongolian warriors) so the high school became the Baby Tartars. 

As long as we are rattling on, here is a question for our astute readers. What NCAA champion, world record holder and Olympic gold medalist graduated from Compton High and became the president of Compton College? You have five seconds....tick....tick....tick....tick .....tick. Sorry, times up. If you said Ulis Williams you get three points.

The Pat McMahon story:
Patrick J. McMahon: Distance Runner from County Clare

Patrick Joseph (Pat) McMahon from County Clare, Ireland, came to Oklahoma Baptist University in 1965 sight unseen. Neither McMahon nor OBU Coach Bruce Drummond knew much about the other. Within a few weeks, McMahon won the first of two NAIA national cross country championships and over the next few years developed into a premier long-distance runner.
10067As a young man McMahon ran barefooted through the Irish countryside. Before coming to OBU, he placed third in the All-Ireland Cross Country Championship.

In a 1968 interview with OBU student Bill Hickman, McMahon said that he wanted to go to college and compete as a runner. He learned that American schools offered scholarships to good runners and made contact with a coach in Texas. That coach talked with Drummond, who was able to offer McMahon a scholarship, even after the fall semester had begun.

"He must have been all set to come because he shocked me by showing up here so quickly," Drummond said. "He wasn't very big and I didn't know what we had." Four days later, McMahon won a three-mile race in a dual with Oklahoma Christian with a time of 16:01. Then he won the 6-mile Midwest Federation Cross Country event in Wichita, Kan., in 29:56.4, defeating a major name in track at that time—Jim Ryun of the University of Kansas who would win a silver medal in the mile in the 1968 Olympics. McMahon won these races running without shoes.

A few weeks later he captured the NAIA's National Cross Country Meet championship (4 miles) in Omaha, Neb., in 20:28.5. McMahon donned shoes for the first time that fall because of ice and snow on the course. And then he won the State Federation's 4-mile event in Stillwater in 20:10.5.

McMahon says that his biggest adjustments to Oklahoma were the heat and the food. He had never run in temperatures as warm as he encountered early in the 1965 schedule.

During the spring of 1966, McMahon won the 10,000 meters at the Kansas Relays in 30:19.3. He was third in the 6-mile event at the Drake Relays in 29:12.2. At the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference Meet he won the mile (4:23.4) and the 2-mile (9:50.8). In June, he ran 17th in the 6-mile at the National AAU Championship in New York City in 30:47.2.  In July, he was third in the 15,000 meters at the Michigan City (Ind.) Festival.

In the fall of 1969, McMahon again won the Midwest Federation Cross Country 6-mile in Wichita, Kan., in 29:51. He then won the 10,000 meters at the National AAU's Junior Cross Country Championship in Chicago in 29:54. A week after the Chicago race, he repeated as NAIA cross country champion in Omaha, Neb., covering the 4-mile course in 19:53.6, a record time for the title race. In early December, he tied for first in the Oklahoma Federation Cross Country 4-mile in Stillwater with 19:43.4.

In the spring of 1967, he won the Humboldt (Kan.) Marathon in 2:35:28. Then he won the 2-mile race at the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference Meet in 9:24.5. At the NAIA National Outdoor Meet, McMahon placed third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

In September McMahon finished second in the National Senior AAU 25,000-meter race in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1:24:23.4. In November, he finished fourth in the NAIA national cross country meet in Omaha with a time of 20:39.

In January 1968, he won the marathon in 2:21:14 at the World Masters in Las Vegas, Nev. A month later he was first in the College of Artesia (N.M.) Marathon in a time of 2:19:49.7. He won the 3-mile at the Fort Worth Recreation Meet in 14:06.6, and he tied for the mile championship at the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference Meet and won the 2-mile in 9:16.2. At the NAIA National Outdoor Championships he won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 9:18.7.

In October 1968, McMahon represented Ireland in the Olympic Games in Mexico City. He finished 12th in the marathon in 2:29:21. Returning to OBU, he finished 14th in the NAIA National Cross Country Championship in Oklahoma City.
At the World Masters in Las Vegas in January 1969, McMahon finished fourth in the marathon in 2:27:19. In April he entered the big one—the Boston Marathon. He finished eighth with a time of 2:23:24.

McMahon graduated from OBU with a B.S. degree in health, physical education, and recreation/education. During his OBU career he won three national championships—two in cross country and one in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He won six NAIA All America awards—four in cross country and two in the steeplechase. He left holding the following OBU records: 2-mile, 9:02.0, 1967; 3-mile, 13:52.8, 1968; 10,000 meters, 28:53.4, 1967; 3,000-meter steeplechase, 9:18.7, 1968; marathon, 2:19:49.7, 1968; 4-mile cross country, 19:11.0, 1966; 6-mile cross country, 29:00.6, 1968. (The marathon time is the only record that he still holds.) And, he qualified for and placed 12th in the marathon in the 1968 Olympics.

His favorite memories of his days at OBU including winning the 1965 cross country championship for OBU and Coach Drummond and winning again in 1966 with Bison runners Willie Rios (10thplace) and Tommy Morris (12th place). "Willie and Tommy were great teammates," McMahon adds.

In 1966-67 McMahon's roommate in the men's dormitory was Al Tucker, Bison All American basketball player. McMahon was 5-7 and Tucker was 6-8—an interesting pair. "We were the best of friends," he says. "When Al was playing in the NBA, we would go the games in Boston to watch him and then spend time together."       After running everything from the mile to the marathon while at OBU, McMahon decided to concentrate on the longer distances. "My favorites were cross country and marathons," he says. "I had a hard time concentrating when I was running laps on a track."
McMahon moved to the Boston area and continued competitive running. According to the records of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, in a three-month time span in the fall of 1969 he was first in the 10,000 meters in 30:50 in the Salem (Mass.) Race; first in the 10-mile event in 48:29 in the Sons of Italy Race in Haverhill, Mass.; first in the 25,000 meters in 1:29:57 in the Around the Cape Ann Race in Gloucester, Mass.; first in the 20,000 meters in 1:04:14 at the New England AAU Championship in Dedham, Mass.; third in the 18,600 meters in 1:00:07 in the Springbank Race in London, Ontario; and first in 30,730 meters in 1:38:20 in the Around the Bay Race in Hamilton, Ontario.

In the spring of 1970, he was first in the New England AAU in New Bedford, Mass., in 30,000 meters in 1:36:59; second in the AAU Championship at Rockville, Md., in 1:28:15; first in a 14,000-meter race at Brighton, Mass., in 43:19, and first in a 15,000-meter run at Wellesley, Mass., in 47:59.

In the 1970 Boston Marathon, McMahon finished third in 2:14:53. According to news reports, it was a rained-soaked, 44-degree day. Ron Hill of Great Britain won in a course record 2:10:30, and Eamon O'Reilly of Washington, D.C., was second in 2:11.3.

In May McMahon finished second in a 5-mile race in Brookline, Mass., in 25:51, and then won a one-hour race in Waltham, Mass., where he covered 19,624 meters. In June he won the 10-mile at Quincy, Mass., in 50:33. McMahon was first in a 20,930 meter race in 1:07:23.4 in Portland, Maine, in September, and first in a 15,000 meter race in 47:49 in Manchester, N.H. in October.

In 1971 he won the following races: Vigorade World Masters marathon in Anaheim, Calif., 2:18:47.4; Mardi Gras Marathon in New Orleans, La., 2:29:28.9; 14,480 meter race in Brighton, Mass., 44:15; and the Waltham, Mass., one-hour race in which he covered 18,617 meters; and a 4-mile race in Acton, Mass., in 18:53.

In the 1971 Boston Marathon, McMahon finished second to Vlvaro Mejia of Columbia. Mejia's time was 2:18:45, and McMahon's time was 2:18:50. Wikepedia's report on this race says, "Mejia finally pulled away from McMahon less than 150 yards from the finish. During the turn off Commonwealth Avenue, McMahon was shot into the crowd. The race director swore that Mejia had elbowed McMahon while running his way to the five-second win."

McMahon says that his second-place finish probably was more due to injuries, badly-blistered feet, and a crowd congestion on the street. He explains that he tried to cut inside his competitor and wound up in the crowd, perhaps due to their movement and perhaps due to a push.

He ran for Ireland in August 1971 in the European Games but injuries plagued him and he retired from running. McMahon says that in retrospect he ran too many races too close together and that he incurred injuries which never healed to the point he could run again.

He taught in Lowell, Mass., until 2001. Then he coached cross country at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School until last fall. He had taught or coached for 41 years. He lives in Maynard, Mass., and he and his wife, Kathy, have two sons and a daughter. They spend part of their time at home and part of their time in San Diego where their daughter and a son and their grandchildren live.

The little Irishman from County Clare may have come to Shawnee, Okla., sight-unseen, but, by the time he left four years later, he was certainly not an unknown. Pat McMahon was high profile on the OBU campus, well known in collegiate track and cross country circles, and very visible among national marathon runners.

Good article about Pat McMahon.  He came to OBU at the same time I entered OU.
 He was the first imported phenom I ever raced against (behind).  He ran with a very 
quick cadence, which apparently made him very efficient over cross-country courses.  
One little quirk of his I've always remembered is that he would sometimes smoke a 
cigarette after enjoying a post-race meal in a restaurant.  His teammate Willie Rios
was from my hometown, Lawton, Oklahoma.  He ran with a trademark garter on his 
upper arm in high school and was fast enough to get away with it.  As a junior, he ran 
4:15.7, which in 1965, was the best time in Oklahoma.  I heard that he trained much 
harder his senior year, possibly trying to run workouts like Jim Ryun was running in 
Kansas.  The result: Willie had a best of 4:17.0 as a senior.
Bill Blewett

I remember seeing Willie run in a high school meet in Norman and wearing that
garter.  I thought it was some Native American symbol.   He was way ahead of 
his contemporary Oklahoma highschool runners.   Later I read that he ran for Puerto 
Rico in the 1968 Olympics.  At age 19 Williefinished 10th in his 1500 heat in Mexico 
City in 4:14.47.  

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

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