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.

This Day in Track & Field–February 25

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

1966–Kansas freshman Jim Ryun, 2 months shy of his 19th birthday, set an American Junior Indoor Record of 3:59.6 in the mile in Kansas City.

At 19, Jim Ryun made the cover of the Bible of the Sport, Track & Field News in April 1966!

1971—Frank Shorter won the 3-mile at the U.S. Indoor Championships at N.Y.’s Madison Square Garden in 13:10.6, just missing George Young’s World Indoor Record of 13:09.8. Shorter thought he could break the record, but the deep breaths didn’t come on the last lap, saying “I just couldn’t dig down enough. The smoke was getting to me on the last two laps.”  (The Garden hadn’t yet banned smoking in the arena)

Finishing 5th in 13:37.0 was prep Dave Merrick (Lincoln Way-New Lenox, IL), who broke Gerry Lindgren’s U.S. High School Record of 13:37.8 (1964).

N.Y. Times



1977—Clancy Devery, a Junior at South Salem (OR), set a U.S. High School Record of 2:23:05 at the Trail’s End Marathon in Seaside, Oregon.


1982–Eveyln Ashford set a World Record of 6.54 in the 60-yard dash at the U.S. Indoor Championships in Madison Square Garden.

Joan Hansen (9:37.03), Brenda Web9:37.64), and Margaret Groos (9:37.65) all broke Francie Larrieu’s previous World Record in the Women’s  2-mile (9:38.1). Larrieu, the early pace-setter, finished 4th in 9:44.85.

Having to start his runup on the banked track after discovering the usual Garden runway was short, Carl Lewis won the Men’s Long Jump with a leap of 28-3/4 (8.55), falling just one centimeter short of matching his 7-week-old World Record!

Lewis had been declared ineligible at Houston after failing a history course but didn’t seem to mind. “I don’t have the burden of extra team meets and multiple events,” he said at the time. “I love it!”

            The “winner” of the Women’s Long Jump, held in the morning before mayors, was unheralded Veronica Bell, a junior at Cal Poly Pomona. With a previous best of 20-6  ½ (6.26/outdoors), Bell was credited with a jump of 21-11  ¾ (6.70) in the first round, ostensibly breaking Martha Watson’s 9-year-old American Indoor Record of 21-4  ¾ (6.52). However, it’s more than likely that officials mis-read the metric reading on the measuring tape! (Bell’s mark was never ratified as an American Record.) See SI’s cover and read more details.

Sports Illustrated Vault: http://www.si.com/vault/1982/03/08/616468/a-meeting-of-the-brilliant-and-the-bizarre

1983—Arkansas ran 7:19.92 in the 4×800 relay at the Razorback Inv. in Fayetteville, breaking Eastern Michigan’s

2-day old Collegiate Record of 7:21.22.

(Ed Williams 1:50.8, Tom Moloney 1:49.7, David Swain 1:50.4, Frank O’Mara 1:49.0)

1988–Germany’s Carlo Thränhardt cleared 7-11  1/4(2.42m) in Berlin to break Patrik Sjöberg’s World Record in the high jump(7-10  3/4, 2.41m).


1993–At a time when international athletes could compete at the U.S. Indoor Nationals, Algeria’s Noureddine Morceli beat Ireland’s Marcus O’Sullivan to win the Men’s Mile in New York, 3:54.59 to 3:54.90. Steve Holman finished 3rd in 3:55.41 to claim the U.S. title. 40-year old Eamonn Coghlan fell short of his goal of breaking 4-minutes but still set a Masters Record of 4:01.39.

Gail Devers set an American Record of 6.99 in the Women’s 60-Meters

This would be the last year the Championships would be held at N.Y.’s Madison Square Garden, which had been the meet’s home for most of its long existence.

N.Y. Times Coverage:



U.S. Indoor Championships Venues(From 1958 on)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Track_%26_Field_Indoor_Championships

2000—37-year-old Chris Clark was the surprise winner at the U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials on a warm day in Columbia, SC. Her winning time of 2:33:31 met the “B” qualifying standard (2:45:00) for the Olympics but was short of the “A” standard of 2:33:00, meaning that she would be the only American woman competing in Sydney. Getting a shutout was runner-up Kristy Johnson and 8th-placer Libbie Hickman, the top two finishers who had previously met the “A” standard.

“To be honest, the qualifying standard was on my mind,” Clark said. “I knew the 2:33 was huge. If there is any way I could have gone under it, I would have. I feel bad that I am the only one going to the Olympics.”

From the article linked below:

“The win was so shocking for many reasons, and it’s hard to know what Wattending Start is. But the treadmill is as good a place as any. Day after day, mile after mile, Clark ran in place in her Anchorage home to prepare for the race.

The trials were in late February in South Carolina, so to acclimate herself to heat— and because it’s cold, dark, and icy that time of year in Alaska — Clark cranked up the thermostat and ran on a treadmill. That’s like a skier training for the Olympics on a Nordic track.

All the while, she was raising a family and working — she was a mom to two boys under the age of 10 and a pathologist who worked three days a week at the hospital.”

Clark finished 19th in the Olympic Marathon with a personal best time of 2:31:35.


Sports Illustrated