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June 7, 1966: A 2 Mile High School Relay Race for the Ages!

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  • June 7, 1966: A 2 Mile High School Relay Race for the Ages!

    Marc Bloom’s Classic Article about the Historic New York City High School 2 Mile Relay Race in 1966

    By Marc Bloom

    On June 7, 1966, two New York City teams--Boys High of Brooklyn and Andrew Jackson of Queens--shattered the national high school record for the two-mile relay by running to a virtual dead heat in 7:35.6, a race many consider among the greatest, if not the greatest ever run. Jackson was declared the winner, as both schools were given the same time, on the level of what many leading college teams were running then. As a budding journalist of 19 present that Wednesday afternoon at the St. John's University track (I was a one-man press corps that day), I knew the athletes and two coaches well and had a role in staging the event. All of the athletes, and one of the two coaches, was Black. The race, among so many that season of special note, found a place in my heart and propelled my interest in what would become a 56-year track writing career. It also highlighted the breakthrough of young Black athletes in the middle-distances; many of the youngsters excelled in the mile, two-mile and cross-country as well. In June, 1986, on the 20th anniversary of the record (it took 35 years for the record to come down, in 2001), I was editor of The Runner magazine and published a 16,000-word story that brought the historic event back to life. I'd spent months locating the athletes and coaches and conducting numerous interviews in my research. It was a labor of love, and the response was extraordinary. The magazine was inundated with hundreds of letters of appreciation, and to this day people still come up to me at meets wanting to discuss the race and story. In 2016, I helped organize a 50th anniversary celebration at Coogan's restaurant near the Armory track center in upper Manhattan. The place was packed with luminaries, memories were shared and the surviving protagonists feted.

    None of The Runner articles (we published from 1978 to 1987; my longtime friend and colleague George Hirsch was founder and publisher), as far as I know, are on-line. With the event's 55th anniversary coming up on June 7, 2021, I wanted to try and give the story a wider audience and asked Gary Corbitt if he would like to post it on his "Ted Corbitt" website www.tedcorbitt.com, which I considered an ideal platform on which to honor athletes and coaches who have meant so much historically to the track community, and to me personally. Gary welcomed the idea, and so the story appears at this link...

    https://tedcorbitt.com/running-history-milestones/

  • #2
    I recall reading this article when it was first published and read it a few times further with the saved magazines which have since been discarded....in at least a few cases unfortunately. It was fantastic. As an aside, one of my HS coaches who was in attendance at the event would provide the play by play in hindsight to the duel which I wish someone had recorded because it was a fantastic recitation. This was prior to the article coming out by 5 or 6 years or so.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GaryC View Post
      Gary welcomed the idea, and so the story appears at this link...[/COLOR][/FONT][/B][/FONT]
      https://tedcorbitt.com/running-history-milestones/
      Great stuff - thanks!!

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      • #4
        55 years later and the HSR has only come down by about 5 seconds.

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        • #5
          I still have that Runner magazine in my collection. It talks of the exploits of one or more of those guys from the 4x220y up to the 4x880y. Among them, a 21.3 split from Julio Meade (Andrew Jackson) on the Armory wood, thought to have been impossible beforehand.

          Unfortunately, when last I heard (c2001), Meade killed himself after getting caught up in a money-laundering situation.

          Mark Ferrell of Andrew Jackson (now known as Campus Magnet) ran 1:51.8y in 1966, and James Jackson (later coach of Boys and Girls), ran 1:50.8y in 1967.

          [My bad; I have not read the story or looked at the 4x8y rosters in eons, and thought Meade was a BH runner. I've corrected that mistake.]
          Last edited by CookyMonzta; 06-17-2021, 10:58 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CookyMonzta View Post
            Unfortunately, when last I heard (c2001), Meade killed himself after getting caught up in a money-laundering situation.
            NYT Obit written by Marc Bloom.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/04/s...-troubles.html

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            • #7
              I did not attend that legendary event, but i did attend the anniversary celebration at Coogan's. That was a great occasion.

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