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  • Ron Clarke has died

    One of THE great names in the history of distance running. He was 78 years old.

  • #2
    Originally posted by said88 View Post
    One of THE great names in the history of distance running. He was 78 years old.
    That definitely sucks. RIP.

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    • #3
      A legend and the greatest runner of the 1960s.

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      • #4
        He was truly the Great Ron Clarke. An absolutely fearless pace-setter, he was sometimes defeated from lack of turn-over, but never from lack of fitness, effort or courage.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tuariki View Post
          A legend and the greatest runner of the 1960s.
          I prefer the great Tommie Smith...but Clarke was a fantastic distance runner.

          RIP

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          • #6
            Aside from Gerry Lindgren, who was closer to me in age, Ron Clarke was definitely my favorite athlete from the 60's.
            And as has been noted, one of the all-time greats!

            I saw Clarke run a few times.
            Most memorable was a 2-day double in the 5000 and 10000 in 1966 when he ran 13:28 & 28:13.

            But it was 1965 when he had his greatest year, IMO. when he ran around 50 races.
            These included TEN World Records!!
            He ran everything from the 800 to the Marathon.
            And he ran them all FAST!!

            Forget his loss in the '64 OG.
            Or any other defeats or medal losses.
            Didn't matter.

            You could ALWAYS depend on him to run all out!

            But he was also one of the SMOOTHEST, most RHYTHMICAL runners I've ever seen.
            He just kept on going, and going, and going......and never looked as if he were straining.

            I wish I had seen his race against Lindgren in the Cow Palace, when Lindgren led him from the gun, but Clarke prevailed, about 8:37 to Lindgren's HSR of 8:40.
            (I saw Lindgren's 8:46, against Gaston Roelants.)

            I own the book called "Ron Clarke Talks Track"., which TAFNEWS published.
            It's probably the greatest.....and LONGEST!!---interview I've ever read.

            And it was incredibly fascinating on every single page!!
            (I may read it again now!!)

            If you don't own it, or haven't read it, please search for it (Amazon? eBay?).
            For history and distance fans, it's unsurpassed!!

            This is to my generation as great a loss as when Paavo Nurmi died from the 20's generation!

            This is more than a loss of a distance running legend.
            It's the loss of a gentleman who demonstrated, by his multitude of feats, how to go after records.....and break them!

            I still don't know if there's been a greater SHATTERING of the 10000 WR than when he took 34.6 seconds off his own WR of 28:14.0, running the then-undreamed of time of 27:39.4.

            And since the 3 and 6 mile was still important back then, he also shattered Lindgren's and Billy Mills's WR of 27:11.6 at that distance enroute, passing it in 26:47.0.

            I (we) will definitely miss you, and live in hopes that we WILL see a RACER like you again!!

            R.I.P.
            Last edited by aaronk; 06-17-2015, 02:28 AM.

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            • #7
              I'm re-reading "Ron Clarke Talks Track", the long interview I mentioned in the earlier post.
              I've found the best answer to the fight between "strategic" racers and those who believe in going for it from the gun.
              I'll quote the question (by Jon Hendershott) and Clarke's entire reply, verbatim.

              Q: Why do you think you were so popular with track fans?

              RC: I think it was because I always tried. They always knew it would be a spectacular race if I was in it and if I was beaten, it would be a fast time or at least a very hard race with surging. There were few races I remember running where there was a lot of fiddling around and just a last lap stand. Certainly track fans like to see a good race more than a record, but they like to see both if they possibly can. I think they would rather see a record than someone demonstrating his superiority by sprinting away in the last lap--which is easy to do. So my aim when I ran anywhere was the same as if I was heading for an examination. I just didn't want to pass; I wanted to show the examiner everything I knew. When I went out to run, I wanted to show anybody who was watching or competing against me just what my ability was.

              Pre's philosophy on racing might as well have been taken from those words!

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              • #8
                I was in college in 1965 when Clarke was at his prime. I was very fortunate to be able to see him run several times, including a world 5,000 record in the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1965 (13:25.8) and the Mexico City Olympics (his last Olympics).

                I use to imitate his fluid running style, however I could never come close to his times on the track.

                A highlight for me was having dinner in Rome during the 1987 World Championships with Ron and Helen Clarke. There were six people at that dinner in Rome, including my wife and Bert Nelson (founder of TFN).

                Clarke was a gentleman and a wonderful person. I will miss him. Many will miss him.

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                • #9
                  RIP Ron Clarke

                  Eventually this might be moved to Historical, but it will be seen by more and sooner here. See Home page.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 26mi235 View Post
                    Eventually this might be moved to Historical, but it will be seen by more and sooner here. See Home page.
                    There's a thread on this on Historical....with about 6 or 7 comments so far.
                    But thanks for thinking this is significant enough to be on Current Events.

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                    • #11
                      Clarke was simply brilliant and I was lucky to have seen him race several times. Like the great Jim Ryun, he sadly never won Olympic Gold, but his star shines brightly. RIP Ron Clarke. You were an inspiration to many young distance runners.

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                      • #12
                        Truly saddened. He always came to make a race of it. As a high school senior I saw what I believe was his U.S. debut (or at least his first post WR debut) in Madison Square Garden, setting an indoor 3 mile WR. It was also Bob Hayes' NYC debut and he set the record in the 60. They just didn't seem to be on the same planet as we mere mortals.

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                        • #13
                          Some may recall that he'd undergone heart surgery, which I believe was done to repair a damaged mitral valve attributed to his extreme exertion during the Mexico OG 10k.

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                          • #14
                            He never feared any competition. What a legend he was.

                            Here is his career record:

                            Leider konnte Ihre hochgeladene Datei nicht gefunden werden. Laden Sie die Datei neu hoch.

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                            • #15
                              I wouldn't perpetrate that rumor. Highly unlikely he injured his mitral valve in a single race in Mexico City, and also impossible to prove that in retrospect. Far more likely he had a congenital mitral valve problem that manifested itself later in life. DrJay would know more than me and can probably comment on it.

                              Takes nothing away from Clarke - among the greatest distance runners ever

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