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By Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission.



This Day in Track & Field–April  17


1937—Alton Terry (Hardin-Simmons), the 1936 NCAA Champion in the event (he was 6th at the Berlin Olympics), threw 229-2  ¼ (69.85) at the Kansas Relays to set his 3rd American Record in the Javelin.



1948–Two World Records were set at the Kansas Relays. Michigan’s Charles Fonville broke the 58’ barrier in the shot put with his winning toss of 58-3/8 (17.68) and Harrison Dillard ran 13.6 to set a new mark in the 120-yard hurdles (also bettered the metric record).

Fonville, who had raised the World Indoor Record twice in February (56-6 ¼ [17.23m], 56-10 5/8 [17.34]), won his 2nd NCAA title later in the year, but missed a chance for Olympic gold when a back injury held him to a disappointing 4th-place finish at the U.S. Trials.

Dillard had his own problems at the Trials when he failed to finish in his specialty, the 110-hurdles. However, he had earlier made the team by finishing 3rd in the 100-meters and went on to  a surprising win in that event at the London Olympics.



1972–New York’s Nina Kuscsik became the first official female winner at the Boston Marathon (3:10:26). Previous winners Roberta “Bobbi”  Gibb (1966-1968) and Sara Mae Berman (1969-1971) ran without race bib numbers. Kuscsik was inspired to start running at the age of 15 after hearing about Roger Bannister  becoming the first man to break 4-minutes for the mile in 1954.





1976—Future Hall-of-Famer Steve Williams set an American Record of 19.9 for 200-meters in Gainesville, Florida.

HOF Biohttps://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/steve-williams


1978–Two milestones at the Boston Marathon–it was the largest field ever as 4,212 runners went to the starting line, and the Men’s race was the closest in Boston history. Hometown favorite Bill Rodgers won for the 2nd time, but his margin of victory was only 2 seconds over fast-closing Jeff Wells (2:10:13-2:10:15). Frank Shorter, who was near the front for the first half of the race, finished 23rd (2:28:15). Other notable finishers: 4th-Jack Fultz (1976 winner/2:11:17), 5th-Randy Thomas (former Boston College women’s coach/2:11:25), 7th-Don Kardong (1976 Olympian/2:14:07), 10th-Tom Fleming (2-time NYC Marathon winner/2:14:44).

17-year old high school senior Lynn Jennings, competing against the will of race organizers, who had set an entry age-limit of 18, ran the race in about 2:46.

Despite the concerns of some who thought that someone that young shouldn’t be running a marathon, it didn’t stop Jennings from going on to a Hall-of-Fame career that included three World X-Country titles and an Olympic bronze medal in the 10,000-meters(1992).  

Jennings HOF Biohttps://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/lynn-jennings