Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ryun Project - 4

Jim Ryun was focused on one thing going into the spring track season in 1964.  He wanted to beat Gerry Lindgren to a historic mark, the first sub-4 minute mile by a high school runner.  What fans of track and field who weren't alive during the 60's don't realize is that Lindgren was a bigger name in the sport at that point in time.

Lindgren was entering his senior season at Rogers High School in Spokane, Washington.  Lindgren beat Ryun at an early winter indoor 2 mile at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.  Ryun had taken a header early in the race and Lindgren won handily.  Lindgren the following summer would become a national hero when he defeated two Soviet runners at 10,000 meters in the cold war battle known as the U.S.A. vs. U.S.S.R. dual track and field meet.

Ryun didn't race again until the start of spring track giving only a glimpse of what was to come when he won the Kansas Relays mile in 4:11.0. By the end of the high school season Ryun and East had taken down the high school record for the sprint medley relay.  His 4:06.4 at the Kansas state championships still left him short of the prep record for the mile.  Ryun snatched the record a week later on May 23rd clocking a 4:01.7 at the Modesto Relays.  The following weekend the high school junior shattered the 4 minute mile when he ran 3:59.0 at the Compton Relays yet he finished in dead last.  Regardless Jim Ryun now had a time which qualified him for a chance at making the U.S. Olympic team.

The rules for making the 1964 Olympic team were archaic.  They held two Olympic Trials.  Were it not for the second round of Trials in New York City Ryun wouldn't have made the trip to Tokyo.  Unleashing a remarkable finish he edged past Jim Grelle to capture the 3rd and final spot on the team.  While his Olympic experience ended in disappointment, the year resulted in 3 high school records.  He ran 22 races over 7 months.  Thank goodness the high school rules then didn't allow doubling at a mile or over.  If not for the tough rules, Ryun might not have survived the year.

Winter 1963/Spring & Summer 1964

Date        Event       Time        Place       Splits
12-27-63  2 Mile     9:22.6      2nd           68.5-2:19.0-3:31.2-4:41.2-5:54.6-7:07.3-8:17.7-9:22.6
Examiner Invitational             Cow Palace             San Francisco, CA
3-26-64   Mile         4:21.2      1st            29.8-62.0-1:36.7-2:12.0-2:46.8-3:20.8-3:52.6-4:21.2
East Invitational      East High School     Wichita, KS
4-4-64     Mile         4:33.2      1st            31.0-65.5-1:36.9-2:18.5-2:56.0-3:33.0-4:02.0-4:33.2
Washington Invitational         Washington High School       Kansas City, KS
4-10-64   Mile         4:28.3      1st            29.2-60.5-1:36.4-2:10.5-2:44.7-3:17.8-3:49.2-4:18.2
Wichita State Invitational      Wichita State          Wichita, KS
4-17-64   Mile         4:11.0      1st            27.5-60.0-1:33.3-2:07.3-2:40.0-3:12.3-3:41.0-4:11.0
Kansas Relays                         University of Kansas               Lawrence, KS
4-18-64   880          1:51.9      1st            26.5-53.0-1”22.4-1:51.9 (2 mile relay/anchor leg)
Kansas Relays                         University of Kansas               Lawrence, KS
4-24-64   880          1:51.2      1st            26.3-54.3-1:23.4-1:51.2 (Medley Relay/anchor leg)
Hutchinson Invitation             Hutchinson High School         Hutchinson, KS
4-28-64   880          1:53.5      1st            28.3-57.8-1:28.7-1:53.5
McPherson Invitational           McPherson High School          McPherson, KS
5-1-64     Mile         4:09.6      1st            28.8-60.3-1:33.2-2:05.8-2:33.3-3:10.3-3:40.5-4:09.6
City League Championship     Wichita State          Wichita, KS
5-9-64     Mile         4:17.6      1st            29.1-62.2-1:35.8-2:08.8-2:42.7-3:15.2-3:45.0-4:17.6
Regional  Pittsburg State University      Pittsburg, KS
5-15-64   880          1:51.0      1st            26.6-52.2-1:23.7-1:51.0 (Medley Relay/Anchor)
State Championship               Kansas State University          Manhattan, KS
5-16-64   Mile         4:06.4      1st            28.7-59.6-1:30.5-2:01.0-2:34.0-3:02.8-3:32.0-4:06.8
State Championship               Kansas State University          Manhattan, KS
5-23-64   Mile        4:01.7      3rd            31.0-63.0-1:33.8-2:04.8-2:35.2-3:05.9-3:34.8-4:01.7
Modesto Relays      Modesto, CA
6-6-64     Mile         3:59.0      8th            29.4-59.2-1:30.8-2:01.5-2:34.0-3:02.8-3:32.0-3:59.0
Compton Relays      Compton High School             Compton, CA
6-13-64   880          1:50.3      5th            26.3-53.4-1:20.8-1:50.3
San Diego Invitational            Balboa Park             San Diego, CA
6-20-64   2 Mile      9:06.5      1st            67.5-2:18.3-3:28.2-4:36.5-5:46.8-6:57.2-8:07.2-9:06.5
All Comers              East High School     Wichita, KS
6-26-64   1500        3:46.4      2nd           prelim 29.5-62.3-1:34.8-2:06.4-2:37.0-3:07.83:32.0-3:46.4 
AAU National Championship  North Brunswick, NJ
6-27-64   1500        3:39.0      4th           28.1-59.3-1:28.5-2:00.0-2:29.7-2:59.5-3:26.1-3:39.0
AAU National Championship  North Brunswick, NJ
7-3-64     1500        3:49.6      3rd            prelim 33.0-64.8-1:36.8-2:08.3-2:40.8-3:10.2-3:37.2-2:49.6
Olympic Trials         Randall’s Island, NY
7-4-64     1500        3:46.1      4th            28.1-59.3-1:28.5-2:00.0-2:29.7-2:59.5-3:26.1-3:46.1
Olympic Trials         Randall’s Island, NY
9-13-64   1500        3:41.9      3rd            60.5-2:04.7-3:04.1-3:41.9
Olympic Trials         Olympic Coliseum   Los Angeles, CA
10-17-64 1500        3:44.4      4th           
Olympic Games      Tokyo, Japan
10-19-64 1500        3:55.0      9th            semifinals 58.0-1:58.0-3:03.0-3:55.0
Olympic Games      Tokyo, Japan

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