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Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

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  • Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

    In all our chatter about Ryun vs. Keino (in the "Track History" thread) I just realized that Marty Liquori was basically left out of the conversation (other than his book being cited about Keino's excuse-making).

    While he was clearly a great talent, I basically don't think of him (sorry about that Marty) when it comes to discussions of "idealized miles," simply because he didn't seem to have the native speed that a Ryun did.

    On the other hand, in REAL competitive conditions (particularly one-on-one), I think that at his peak you'd find him holding his own against just about anybody. The man could flat-out race.

    It's easy to forget who ranked No.1 in the world the year after Keino and Ryun went 1-2 in Mexico City: Liquori. And then again in 1971.

  • #2
    Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

    Liquori was a great racer, a good runner. But even during his best years, he never seemed to dominate like Ryun or Snell, or Walker or Morceli. That's probably why he isn't as highly regarded, never mind not having the freakish speed of Ryun. He did beat Ryun in the 71 Dream mile. But Ryun was shot by then, and in fact could barely see straight from allergies before the race. Ryun doesn't really mention it, but one of the Kvalheim brothers (remember them) that trained with Ryun, said Ryun was in awful shape the morning of the race, and probably shouldn't have run. However, in those days, guys raced. These days, El G or Geb would sit it out.

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    • #3
      Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

      ... remember the pic of the 'near' finish in dream mile ... look at the eyes. The eyes often tell the story uh? Cover of T&FN Aug 71 ...

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      • #4
        Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

        Good points about Liquori, GH.

        (If you go to Jim Ryun's website, you can watch the 1968 Olympic Trials final for 1,500 meters, in which Liquori makes the team as a 19-year-old.)

        You almost need a separate category for guys like Liquori who neither won Olympic medals nor set WRs, yet were huge assets to track.

        Pre is in that category.

        Bill Rodgers is in that category.

        During their day, they made headlines! They got on the cover of Sports Illustrated! They sold tickets!

        Gabe Jennings shows the potential to be like that.

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        • #5
          Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

          I'll steal T&FN's "In a Nutshell" setup . . .

          Jim Ryun
          Year Mark Rank Major Meets
          1965 3:55.3y 4 1)AAU, 2)US v SU
          1966 3:51.3yWR 1 1)AAU; undefeated in 7 meets
          1967 3:33.1 WR 1 1)NCAA, 1)AAU; undefeated in 11 meets
          1968 3:37.8 2 1)Oly Trials, 2)Oly Gms
          1969 3:55.9y 7 2)NCAA, dnf)AAU
          1970 not ranked, not on world's top 50 list
          1971 3:54.8y 6 2)King Gms
          1972 3:52.8y 9 1)Oly Trials, 9h)Oly Gms (fell)


          Marty Liquori
          Year Mark Rank Major Meets
          1969 3:37.2 1 1)NCAA, 1)AAU; 8 wins in 9 meets
          1970 3:39.9 7 1)NCAA, 3)AAU, 2)Bislett
          1971 3:36.0 1 1)NCAA, 1)Pan-Am; undefeated in 11 meets
          1972 not ranked, not on world's top 50 list
          1973 3:56.8y 4(US)
          1974 3:56.6y 8(US)
          1975 3:37.7 5
          1976 not ranked, not on world's top 50 list
          1977 3:38.6 4(US)
          (From 1974 forward, Liquori concentrated on the 5000m)

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          • #6
            Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

            Ugh! That looked a lot better when I typed it up!

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            • #7
              Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

              It makes you wonder how Liquori, Ryun some other guys would have approached things today - you know, being HS sub 4 runners and all. College competition? Number of races? (Liquori and Ryun were running a lot of college duals and relays that don't figure in the rankings etc.). How things have changed. Not for the better in all cases. You're a wealth of rankings info Mr. Squire.

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              • #8
                Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                One more thing, didn't Liquori hit his PR of 3:52.2 running behind Bayi's 3:51.0 in '75? I've seen that race on tape (The Supermilers), exciting run by Bayi, with a very young Eamon Coghlin giving it his all to grab 3rd - and the announcer in full Jamaican accent remarking on the "... Irish boy,". Entertaining video, if you get a chance to see it.

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                • #9
                  Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                  >One more thing, didn't Liquori hit his PR of
                  3:52.2 running behind Bayi's 3:51.0 in '75? I've
                  seen that race on tape (The Supermilers),
                  exciting run by Bayi, with a very young Eamon
                  Coghlin giving it his all to grab 3rd - and the
                  announcer in full Jamaican accent remarking on
                  the "... Irish boy,". Entertaining video, if
                  you get a chance to see it.<

                  I was fortunate to be one of the few US fans who were there in Kingston that evening and saw Bayi break Ryun'w World Record. It remains one of the most memorable moments of my track life. The announcer was Foggy Burrows (Burroughs?). I don't recall how he spelled his name, but I'll never forget his voice booming out Bayi's time of Three Fifty-One Point Zero, and a sold-out stadium going nuts. I believe it still stands as the fastest mile that's ever been run without a rabbit.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                    Yeah, you can hear 'Foggy' on the Supermilers tape giving the announcement, it's a hoot. That's surprising info on the rabbit deal in terms of fast miles. I would have thought there was a sub 3:50 somewhere out there with no rabbits. Bayi was his own rabbit. He'd take off, and then it seemed to turn into the suspense of '... will Bayi make it to the tape before the field catches him?" as it always seemed guys were gaining like mad over the last 200, but couldn't quite catch him. Usually, that is.

                    So anyway, if you took the Ryun of 67, and Bayi ... I'm just kidding.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                      One thing that sets Marty apart, for me, is how he successfully made a "second life" in the 5000. Lots of guys try this, few succeed.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                        Hey, millertime, good question! Has anyone else ever ranked No.1 in the 1500, then ranked No.1 in the 5K almost a decade later? I wouldn't be surprised that Aouita had a 5K No. 1 around the same time he was dominating the mile, but didn't Liquori have a huge number of years in between?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                          >Hey, millertime, good question! Has anyone else
                          >ever ranked No.1 in the 1500, then ranked No.1 in
                          >the 5K almost a decade later? I wouldn't be
                          >surprised that Aouita had a 5K No. 1 around the
                          >same time he was dominating the mile, but didn't
                          >Liquori have a huge number of years in between?

                          Liquori ranked #1 in the 1500 in 1969 (and '71) and #1 in the 5000 in 1977.

                          Aouita first ranked #1 in the 1500 in 1984, and last ranked #1 in the 5000m in 1989.

                          Doing my own research, I'm in the process of ranking the world's top three in each event in the years before T&FN's rankings began. Nurmi first ranks #1 in the 1500 in 1922, and last ranked #1 in the 5000m in 1930. So Liquori had the longest timespan, and is unofficially tied with Nurmi.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Speaking of great milers..... Marty Liquori

                            bump

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