Friday, February 10, 2012

The Ryun Project - 6

Jim Ryun was going to run at Oregon State for Sam Bell, one of the great distance coaches in American history.  But then the University of Kansas snapped out of its slumber.  Athletic Wade Stinson fired Bill Easton, a coach who had captured multiple NCAA championships, over a series of minor grievances.  Then Stinson had the good sense to promote Bob Timmons to the Easton's old position and suddenly young Mr. Ryun was west coast bound no more.

Ryun's freshman year was the stuff of legend.  How popular was Ryun by this point?  Check out the special exhibition mile races at both the Big 8 and NCAA Championships.  Since freshmen were not eligible to compete the powers that be didn't want to ignore their golden goose. On top of the non-stop racing came pressure and jeers from track fans in Texas when Jim failed to break 4 minutes at the Texas Relays.

When given a little rest the results produced a sign of things to come.  Ryun showed a world record was in reach on the slow cinders of Memorial Stadium posting a 3:55.8 mile and then wrapped up the day by anchoring a mile relay in a stunning 46.9.  That's fast in anyone's book but for a miler that was otherworldly.

The following month Ryun claimed his second American record, this time in the 2 mile.  The race marked the first time he would race the great Kip Keino.  Keino is the Godfather of the great legacy of Kenyan distance runners that would trickle onto the world scene at the end of the decade leading to a title wave of dominance by the 1980's.  Ryun defeat of Keino showed outstanding range.

Ryun capped his season by taking down the world record in the mile at a special invitational meet in Berkley, California.  The 19-year-old carved more than two seconds off of Michael Jazy's mark.  1966 ended with Ryun named as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Winter 1965/Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall 1966

Date        Event       Time        Place       Splits
12-31-65 1500        3:42.7      1st            NA
Sugar Bowl Classic New Orleans, LA
1-8-66     1 Mile      4:02.1      1st            1:59.6-3:01.8-4:02.1 no 400 split
Examiner Invitational             Cow Palace             San Francisco, CA
2-5-66     Mile         4:04.5      1st            NA
                880          1:53.2      1st            NA
                440          50.1         2nd           (anchor/mile relay)
Frosh-J.C. Invitational             Allen Field House   Lawrence, KS
2-11-66   Mile         4:01.6      1st            58.6-2:01.0-3:01.0-4:01.6
USTFF     Madison Square Garden         New York City, NY
2-18-66   Mile         4:02.2      1st            NA
NYAC Indoor            Madison Square Garden         New York City, NY
2-25-66   Mile         3:59.6      1st            59.7-2:01.0-3:01.0-3:59.6
Big 8 Indoor Exhibition           Municipal Auditorium             Kansas City, MO
3-5-66     Mile         4:00.5      1st            60.0-2:01.0-3:01.0-4:00.5
State Federation     Allen Field House   Lawrence, KS
3-11-66   Mile         4:03.3      1st            60.5-2:04.0-3:07.0-4:03.3
NCAA Indoor Special Invitational Mile   Cobo Arena   Detroit, MI
3-19-66   Mile         4:02.2      1st            NA (anchor/distance medley relay)
                880          1:47.9      1st            NA (anchor/sprint medley relay)
                440          48.5         4th            (mile relay)
KSU Invitational      Ahearn Field House                Manhattan, KS

4-2-66     Mile         4:03.9      1st            60.9-2:06.6-3:09.2-4:03.9
Texas Relays           Austin, TX
4-9-66     2 Mile      8:47.4      1st            Last 440 56.4
Southwestern Relays              Lafayette, LA
4-15-66   Mile         3:58.0      1st            3:03.0-3:58.0 (anchor/4 mile relay)
4-16-66   1320        3:07.4      1st            (distance medley relay)
                440          47.6         4th            (mile relay)
Emporia State Relays             Emporia, KS
4-21-66   Mile         3:59.0      1st            (anchor/distance medley relay) last 440 53.6
4-23-66   Mile         3:55.8      1st            57.6-1:58.7-3:00.5-3:55.8
                440          46.9         1st            (anchor/mile relay)
Kansas Relays         Memorial Stadium Lawrence, KS
4-29-66   Mile         4:05.6      1st            2:04.6 last 440 56.8
Drake Relays           Des Moines, IA
5-13-66   2 Mile      8:25.2      1st            4:13.6-5:17.8-6:24.2-7:23.8-8:25.2 American Record
Coliseum Relays     Olympic Coliseum   Los Angeles, CA
6-4-66     Mile         3:53.7      1st            59.9-1:58.8-2:58.5-3:53.7
Compton Relays      Compton High School             Compton, CA
6-10-66   880          1:50.9      2nd           prelims NA
880          1:44.9      1st            26.1-53.2-1:19.4-1:44.9 World Record
6-11-66   Mile         4:02.8      1st            57.8-1:58.6-3:02.8-4:02.8
                440          47.8         3rd            (mile relay)
USTFF Championships            Terre Haute, IN
6-25-66   Mile         4:06.4      1st            prelims NA
6-26-66   Mile         3:58.6      1st            63.9-2:05.9-3:06.0-3:58.6
AAU National Championship  Randall’s Island, NY
7-17-66   Mile         3:51.3      1st            29.1-57.7-1:25.8-1:55.4-2:25.6-2:55.0-3:23.1-3:51.3 World Record
All-America Invitational         Berkley, CA
7-24-66   880          1:46.2      1st            2.0-53.3-1:19.0-1:46.2
International Games              Los Angeles, CA
Cross Country
10-1-66   4 Mile      20:26       7th
Cowboy Jamboree  Stillwater, OK
10-19-66 6 Mile      30:59       2nd
K.U. vs. S.I.U. Dual  Carbondale, IL

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