Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service that provides true geek stories about our sport. You can check out the service for FREE with a free one-month trial subscription! (email: WaltMurphy44@gmail.com ) for the entire daily service. We will post a few historic moments each day, beginning February 1, 2024.

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

This Day in Track & Field–April  21

1934–Stanford’s John Lyman, who finished 4th at the 1932 U.S. Olympic Trials, set a World Record in the Shot Put with his throw of 54-1 (16.48m) in Palo Alto.

WR Progressionhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_shot_put_world_record_progression

Wiki Biohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lyman_(athlete)

1975(updated)–Not universally known yet as Bill, “Will” Rodgers, as his name was reported in the Boston Globe, won the first of his four Boston Marathon titles, running 2:09:55 to set an American Record.  West Germany’s Liane Winter set a World Record of 2:42:24 in the Women’s division. The record setters were helped by a strong tailwind.

Bill Rodgers won his first BAA Boston in 1975, setting a then AR of 2:09.55 the first of his four victories in Boston! Photos courtesy of the Boston Athletics Association

Less than two weeks earlier, Rodgers received a letter from Steve Prefontaine. Pre congratulated Bill for his bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Rabat, Morocco, in March of ’75. He also sent Bill a pair of training shoes and a pair of “Boston ’73” racing shoes. He said he had heard from Jeff Galloway, Bill’s college teammate at Wesleyan, that he wanted to try “our” shoes. Long before Nike became a corporate giant, it seems that Bill Bowerman, the legendary University of Oregon coach, and possibly Pre himself, were making shoes at Bowerman’s house. They were interested in the reaction of the top athletes to their shoes. Bill was one of these athletes. (The shoes were a bit large, and he would have to stop and tie them up for better support!). 

Read more athttps://yhst-38716594749934.store.turbify.net/letterfrompre.html

Other notable finishers

Men: 3. Tom Fleming 2:12:05…5.Ron Hill (GBR) 2:13:28

Women: 2.Kathrine Switzer 2:51:37



Hall of Fame Biohttps://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/bill-rodgers

1979—(From the NY Times Archives): As expected, Villanova dominated the Rutgers Relays today, winning four of the eight championship races.

But the most dramatic moment of the two‐day track and field carnival at Rutgers Stadium was an unexpected 35‐minute protest demonstration by a group of about 150 black students from Rutgers and its affiliated colleges.

The students filed into the west stands of the stadium and then onto the backstretch of the all‐weather synthetic track during the final lap of the 6,400‐meter relay, disregarding pleas over the public address system from Les Wallack, the Rutgers coach, that a race was in progress. Sydney Maree, the Villanova anchorman, was leading the field and was already into the final turn as the group began marching around the track. Chanting, “We’re mad as hell, mad as hell, we ain’t gonna take no more,” the students closed five of the six lanes, leaving only the inside lane for the remaining runners to complete the race.

Read the full story at:


1980—Rosie Ruiz etched her name in sporting history incorrectly. Celebrated as the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, it didn’t take long for officials to void her “win” after determining that she had jumped into the race with less than a ½-mile to go!  Canada’s Jacqueline Gareau (2:34:28) was then declared the official women’s race.

Amby Burfoot, Coach Bill Squires, Bill Rodgers, 1975 Boston M champ, photo from Bill Rodgers

Bill Rodgers (2:12:11) won the Men’s title for the 3rd year (4th overall).

Since Ruiz had qualified for Boston with a time from the NY City Marathon the previous fall, NY officials did their own investigation. They retroactively disqualified her for apparently riding the subway to get to the finish line!

Video (Includes a post-race interview conducted by a skeptical Kathrine Switzer!)





A Light-Hearted Lookhttp://www.espn.com/olympics/columns/story?columnist=wojnarowski_adrian&id=2039568


1985–Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen set a World Record 2:21:06 in the London Marathon. Steve Jones of Wales won the Men’s race in 2:08:16.


Top-20: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_London_Marathon

Past winnershttp://www.uli-sauer.de/laufen/london/hall_of_fame_e.htm

Wiki Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingrid_Kristiansen

Full Racehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipG2VJx4II4