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  • Distance running thrills.

    For all of us distance runners, and U.S.distance running fans,what do you think are the biggest thrills in U.S.distance running performance? Here's mine: Max Truex shattering the American record with his 28:50.2 for sixth (just behind Murray Halberg) in the 1960 Rome OG. Billy Mills famed OG victory (28:24.4) in Tokyo, 1964. Gerry Lingren and Mills hitting the finish line together in a 6 mile world record (27:11.6) in San Diego, 1965. Jim Ryun's shocking victory over OG champ Peter Snell (3:55.3) just having graduated from H.S. Frank Shorter's convincing Munich OG 1972 marathon victory and Joan Benoit Samuelson running away with the first ever women's OG marathon (2:24:52) in 1984. While we are dissapointed with American distance running of the past few years, let's celebrate some of the great moments of the past.

  • #2
    Re: Distance running thrills.

    Lynn Cannon wrote, "what do you think are the biggest thrills in U.S.distance running performance? Here's mine: Max Truex shattering the American record with his 28:50.2 for sixth ... in the 1960 Rome OG. Billy Mills famed OG victory (28:24.4) in Tokyo, 1964. Gerry Lingren and Mills hitting the finish line together in a 6 mile world record (27:11.6) in San Diego, 1965. Jim Ryun's shocking victory over OG champ Peter Snell (3:55.3) just having graduated from H.S. Frank Shorter's convincing Munich OG 1972 marathon victory and Joan Benoit Samuelson running away with the first ever women's OG marathon (2:24:52) in 1984.
    -----
    I will add three USA winners of Olympic 800m: Tom Courtney in 1956, Madeline Manning in 1968, and Dave Wottle in 1972. (Courtney and Manning both won in Olympic record time.)

    In the 1964 Olympics, USA had two of the three mdealists in 5000m: Bob Schul got the gold and Bill Dellinger took the bronze. (It looked to me like Dellinger started too late on his fine kick, closing more ground in the last 150-200 meters than his opponents.)

    And I was thrilled with Horace Ashenfelter's world record victory in the 1952 Olympic steeplechase. (I had photographed his water jump form in the Olympc trials that year and took special interest in his OG race at Helsinki.)

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    • #3
      Re: Distance running thrills.

      The Salazar/Beardsley Boston Marathon (early 80's) race still sticks in my mind of one of the best marathons I've watched, mainly because they were both Americans running in the most prestigous road race in the US (arguably the world at that time - outside of the Olympics). Their time of 2:08 was also two of the fastest ever run at that point in time.

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      • #4
        Re: Distance running thrills.

        2 NY Marathons stick with me:

        1. Salazar's surge through the "dust cloud" with 1/2 mile to go

        2. Dixon's running down the leader in last few miles, catching him with about 100 meters to go.

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        • #5
          Re: Distance running thrills.

          I remember watching Bob Schul in the 5K in Tokyo and it was certainly a thriller.
          Gerry Lindgren beating the Russians in '63 was great even if the time was unimpressive.

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          • #6
            Re: Distance running thrills.

            The 1972 Olympic Games 5000m. Mary Slaney winning the 1500m and the 3000m in the 1983 World Championships. Coghlan winning the 5000m in the same championships. The look on his face the last 200m as he savored his victory was priceless. Rob de Castella winning the 1982 Commonwealth Games marathon over arch-rival Juma Ikangaa on a difficult course.

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            • #7
              Re: Distance running thrills.

              >I remember watching Bob Schul in the 5K in Tokyo
              >and it was certainly a thriller.
              Gerry Lindgren beating the Russians in '63 was great even if the time was unimpressive.>>

              Noting that it was '64, not '63 is a nit-pick perhaps, but allow me to clarify that the "unimpressive" 29:17.6 run by the 18-year-old Lindgren was a national high school record that lasted for 11 years and even now, 39 (!!!!!) years later still has him as No. 4 on the all-time high school list.

              The amount of disrespect (make that lack of respect) that Lindgren gets continues to astound me. Unquestionably both the greatest high school and collegiate distance runner in history and it has come to this.

              (But hey, don't worry, USATF continues to put other stiffs into the Hall of Fame!)

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              • #8
                Re: Distance running thrills.

                Of course, Lindgren was staggeringly great. The fact that he is overlooked by many is probably a result of a) no Olympic hardware; and b) peaking just a bit before the US running boom.

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                • #9
                  Re: Distance running thrills.

                  The greatest 1500 meters ever contested, the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Distance running thrills.

                    I agree with Garry about Lindgren's being overlooked/underrated - as my picking him to beat Porter, Pre and Salazar in the thread about a mythical XC showdown suggests. (Of course if that thread had included Virgin and Shorter....?)
                    As for "Thrills," probably my biggest was sitting in the 2nd row on the backstretch during the Trials 10K in Eugene in '76 when Gary Bjorklund ran the last half of the race with one shoe, chasing a pretty fair trio of Shorter, Virgin and Rodgers. He edged Rodgers in the stretch for the 3rd spot as the crowd did, indeed, go CRAZY.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Distance running thrills.

                      Can't add much to the above.. y'all got it covered pretty well. Can only add a real oldie - Ralph Hill, 1932 Olympic 5000. The Coliseum had so many great distance races - but that, and Slaney's disaster, were surely the biggest crowd-displeasers('negative thrill',if you will..) By the way.. James, did you mean Dellinger was finishing fastest of ALL(last 200 or 300) at Tokyo?.. faster than Schul? That :38.7 last 300(in rain & mud!!!) may not have been topped until this year (51.9 closer by Chebii at PreClassic). Other great US distance thrills would have to be world x-c wins (Virgin, etc.), but you'd have had to have been there.. and into x-c a lot!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Distance running thrills.

                        Why don't we work backwards from the present? The last I can think of off-hand is Suzy Favor H. winning a 1500 or mile a season or two ago on the European circuit; I guess Krummenacker did the same once last year . . .

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                        • #13
                          Re: Distance running thrills.

                          In answer to the above question, I hate to be the poo in the punchbowl, but the obvious truth is that there are far more "distance running thrills" in long past decades than in the most recent one.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Distance running thrills.

                            >2 NY Marathons stick with me:

                            1. Salazar's
                            >surge through the "dust cloud" with 1/2 mile to
                            >go

                            2. Dixon's running down the leader in last
                            >few miles, catching him with about 100 meters to
                            >go.

                            Agreed and Coghlan's sheer look of joy in the last 100 meters of the 83 WC 5000.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Distance running thrills.

                              Reminder that these are supposed to be USA thrills? Or do we interpret this as anyone coming to the U.S. --

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