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  • Jim Ryun

    Happy Birthday to the great Jim Ryun, who was born on this day in 1947.

  • #2
    Amazing how time flies!
    I remember first reading about him in T&FN in 1963 when he was breaking the Soph Class mile record almost weekly!
    58 years!
    Still believe his 1:44.9 for 880 was super great--he negative split it with 53.3 and 51.6 for each 440 yards!!
    That was in 1966, and no one was negative splitting fast 880's (or 800's) back then!!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by aaronk View Post

      Still believe his 1:44.9 for 880 was super great--he negative split it with 53.3 and 51.6 for each 440 yards!!
      That was in 1966, and no one was negative splitting fast 880's (or 800's) back then!!
      You seem to imply that negative-splitting is somehow a better feat than positive-splitting. I don’t get it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by noone View Post

        You seem to imply that negative-splitting is somehow a better feat than positive-splitting. I don’t get it.
        Because most 800's (880's back in the day) were run with splits such as 51 & 54, not the other way around!
        It showed Ryun's incredible potential in that event--although he never ran faster in the "half"!
        BTW, they're still mostly run with 50-53 type splits!

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        • #5
          I got to meet him at the NYC dinner for the Millrose 100th anniversary. It would be interesting what times he could have produced in the modern age with all the technical advancements.

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          • #6
            He might have run the best race possible at the Mexico City Olympics, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Jim followed the lead of Norporth and Tummler and went with Jipcho from the start.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chicago View Post
              He might have run the best race possible at the Mexico City Olympics, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Jim followed the lead of Norporth and Tummler and went with Jipcho from the start.
              He probably would have finished last off that pace.

              Ryun didn't have a chance at 7400 ft against someone born at altitude...3:37 is an incredible time. I'd like to see anyone now get anywhere near it at that altitude.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Conor Dary View Post

                He probably would have finished last off that pace.

                Ryun didn't have a chance at 7400 ft against someone born at altitude...3:37 is an incredible time. I'd like to see anyone now get anywhere near it at that altitude.
                Was Ryun one of the guys who trained at Los Alamos in 1968?

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                • #9
                  A Belated Happy Birthday to America's greatest miler by far (my opinion), His birthday (1947) may be the factor that prevented him from that "guaranteed" OG gold medal. Being born in 1947 put him in the OG at 17.5 years of age in 1964,. much too early for that OG Gold. In 1972 he was 25.5 years old and an unfortunate accident in the race eliminated another OG try in 1976. That put the 1968 OG at his peak performance year at 21.5 years. Whoever, whatever made the decision to have the OG at 7000+ feet for the first and last time (hopefully) took the OG Gold medal away from Jim. At the Mexico OG there were 24 men's events which produced 9 WR, 9 OG performances and only 6 non record performances which were 5K, 10K, SC, Marathon, 20K and 50K Walks. The 1500 m produced an OG record by a mere 0.7 sec and 1.8 away from Jim's WR at the time. Ryun did not have a year to train at 7000 feet as Keino. He was a senior in college and I assume he did not take a semester off in Sept-Oct, 1968? At any other site in 1968 Jim Ryun would have and should have been the OG Gold medal winner. Maybe if born in 1948 he would have had a year to train at 7000 feet after graduating from Kansas????

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                  • #10
                    Didn't Ryun also have a slight case of mono early in '68? While we're talking about the altitude Olympics, George Young probably would have won any place else.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KDFINE View Post
                      Didn't Ryun also have a slight case of mono early in '68? While we're talking about the altitude Olympics, George Young probably would have won any place else.
                      i don't have time to look it up at the moment, but my recollection is that it was more than slight

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                      • #12
                        According to a 1969 article on Jim Ryun by Hal Higdon, Ryun in 1968 lost two weeks of training after pulling a hamstring muscle at the end of March; learned he had mono at the end of May, but resumed training three weeks later; had an ankle injury in early July that cost him four days of training and a bout with the flu later that month. He spent the summer of 1968 training in Flagstaff.

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                        • #13
                          I think I've said this before here, but I've always believed that it was the lingering effects of the mono that affected his performance.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tandfman View Post
                            I think I've said this before here, but I've always believed that it was the lingering effects of the mono that affected his performance.
                            From all I know I'd agree.

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                            • #15
                              From what I've read, not only was Ryun training hard (as usual), maybe even harder after having experienced the effect of altitude first-hand after test effort at altitude, and he was working as a photographer to make some $, and traveling back and forth to Kansas State (?) to see his girlfriend. In other words, burning the candle at both ends. Coming down with some illness and/or injury was not surprising under these circumstances. I've always thought Timmons should have monitored his star pupil more closely / found a way for him to get more rest.

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