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-May 9


1925–From the NY Times Archives: “Paavo Nurmi and his American trainer and adviser, Hugo Quist, along with Willie Ritola, a Finnish-American A.C. distance runner, were exonerated in the Amateur Athletic Union’s investigation of the charges of demanding excessive expenses for competitions in the Middle West, according to the decision of the A.A.U. committee that investigated the charges, made public yesterday by Secretary Frederick W. Rubien, who is also chairman of the A.A.U.”

Paavo Nurmi, photo from Wikipedia

1953—Parry O’Brien set the first of his ten official World Records in the Shot Put with his winning toss of 59-3/4 (18.00m) at the West Coast Relays in Fresno, California. Showing great concentration, O’Brien set his record just as the Fresno State marching band started playing the National Anthem.

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

Dallas Long, shot putter, photo by the University of Southern California

1964Dallas Long bettered his American Record in the Shot Put (65-11  ½ [20.10]) with his winning toss of 66-7  ¼ (20.30) at the West Coast Relays in Fresno, California. However, the mark was never submitted to the IAAF for World Record consideration since the throwing circle didn’t have a raised rim.


1970—The Heptagonal Championships, the annual meet that brought together the 8 Ivy League schools and teams from the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point, became known more for what happened off the track than on.

Taking place just 5 days after 4 Kent State students were shot and killed by National Guardsmen, and in the midst of anti-(Vietnam) war sentiments on campuses throughout the U.S., planned protests at the meet by some Ivy athletes led to the withdrawal of the Army and Navy teams.

Harvard captain Keith Colburn, who helped the Crimson win the team title, later wrote: “Joyless is the perfect word to describe the 1970 Outdoor Heps. I still feel bad, if not guilty, about that day and the fact that too many athletes and two teams did not compete. There should have been a way to avoid a breakdown.”


NY Times Coverage 



A Look Back (Scroll Down)

1975—In the qualifying round of the Florida AA State meet, 18-year-old high school phenom Houston McTear ran 9.0 to equal Ivory Crockett’s world record in the 100-yard dash. McTear made the U.S. Olympic team the following year when he was a senior, but an injury kept him out of the 1976 Games in Montreal.

McTear, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 58, was inducted into the National H.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame in March 2020.



Sports Illustrated Vaulthttps://vault.si.com/vault/1975/05/05/tearing-his-way-up-from-nowhere

HOF Introduction (Facebook)

Interview with his brothers:  Part I  Part II  (Facebook)

1976—East Germany’s Christina Brehmer became the first woman to break 50 seconds in the 400 meters by running 49.77 in Dresden. Later in the year, she would win silver in the 400 and gold in the 4×400 at the Montreal Olympics.

WR Progressionhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_400_metres_world_record_progression

1980(New)—Great Britain’s Steve Ovett (3:38.7) won the 1500 meters at the Manley Games in Kingston, Jamaica, over Tanzania’s Filbert Bayi (3:39.5). Gene McCarthy, who had been training with Marty Liquori in Gainesville, finished third in 3:42.6. Liquori was originally scheduled to compete in the race but was injured and convinced to meet director John Carlos(!) to give McCarthy a chance.

The native New Yorker had always dreamed of running a sub-4 mile. After graduating from Fordham University, he moved to Gainesville (at Liquori’s invitation) to train to pursue his goal. He never did break 4 minutes, but he took some consolation in knowing that his 3:42.6 in Kingston was a rough equivalent.

He became a leading executive in the running shoe industry and has just released his book—Chasing Four (A Personal History of Work and Play).



2009–With three members of the team running sub-4 splits, a University of Oregon foursome of Matthew Centrowitz (3:59.5), Andrew Wheating (3:59.6), Kenyan Shadrack Biwott (4:05.2), and Galen Rupp (3:58.9) ran 16:03.24 on their home track in Eugene to break Michigan’s 4-year-old Collegiate Record of 16:04.54.

            Aided by a rabbit for the first two laps of the race and pressured by the Oregon TC for most of the 2nd leg, the Ducks added another chapter to the school’s glorious history as more than 2,000 fans circled the track in the outer lanes at Hayward Field. (The record was broken at the 2024 Penn Relays)

            The Oregon TC Elite team finished 2nd in 16:25.92 (Tom Brooks-4:01.8, Steven Pifer-4:04.2, Russell Brown-4:05.5, Gabe Jennings-4:14.4).

Runnerspace Video: http://www.runnerspace.com/video.php?do=view&video_id=11986


2014—Hellen Obiri (8:20.68) beat fellow Kenyan Mercy Cherono (8:21.14) in the 3000-meters at the Diamond League meet in Doha. Discounting the questionable marks posted by several Chinese runners in 1993, those were the two fastest outdoor times in history (Now #6-#8). Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, who had set a World Indoor Record of 8:16.60 in February, could only finish 6th in this intense race.

1.Hellen Obiri  KEN 8:20.68

2. Mercy Cherono  KEN  8:21.14

3. Faith Kipyegon  KEN 8:23.55

4.Viola Kibiwot  KEN 8:24.41

5.Almaz Ayana  ETH  8:24.58

6.Genezebe Dibaba  ETH  8:26.21

7.Irene Jelagat  KEN  8:28.51

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Hellen Onsando Obiri of Kenya crosses the finish line to win gold in the Women’s 5000 metres final during day ten of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 13, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF)

LetsRun Report

Last 200https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa3w97rn5io&list=PLjudi9qOK4sF0jygP8Kk4gSmsMQloCK_r&index=15

Combined All-Time List—Women’s 3000 (From Track & Field News)

8:16.60i    Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia)             2/06/14

8:16.69i    Gudaf Tsegay (Ethiopia)                 2/25/23

8:18.49    Sifan Hassan (Netherlands)             6/30/19

8:19.08    Francine Niyonsaba (Burundi)          8/28/21

8:19.52    Ejgayehu Taye (Ethiopia)               8/28/21

8:20.07    Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Germany)  6/30/19

8:20.27    Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia)            6/30/19

8:20.68    Hellen Obiri (Kenya)                      5/09/14

8:20.87i    Elle St. Pierre (US)                        3/02/24

8:21.13i    ————Tsegay                           3/02/24

**10 performances by 9 performers**

8:21.14    Mercy Cherono (Kenya)                 5/09/14

Questionable circumstances:

8:06.11    Junxia Wang (China)                     9/13/93

8:12.18    Yunxia Qu (China)                         9/13/93

8:12.19    ————Wang                             9/12/93

8:12.27    ————Qu                                 9/12/93

8:16.50    Linli Zhang (China)                        9/13/93

8:19.78    Liyan Ma (China)                          9/12/93

8:21.26    ————Ma                                 9/13/93