15 years ago this month work started on a documentary that I wanted to produce. The idea came from a good friend, Chris Ronan, who had stumbled upon a massive collection of film chronicling one of our running heroes, Jim Ryun. The project took more than 18 months to complete. It was called “Jim Ryun, America’s Greatest Miler.” It garnered praise from Track and Field News and was named one of the 10 best movies ever made about running by the website Let’sRun.com.
Remarkably, almost 50 years after Ryun started making a name for himself at Wichita East High School, the title still applies. In the intervening years since Brett Akagi and I put our hearts and soul into the project the only major fact that has changed in the story line of Jim Ryun’s amazing career is that his high school record in the mile no longer stand. Alan Webb took down Ryun’s 3:55.3 in 2001. Ryun set his then American and High School record when he beat Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Snell in winning the 1965 AAU National Championship. Webb ran 3:53.43 on a much faster synthetic track in finishing 4th to world record holder and future Olympic Gold Medalist Hicham El Guerrouj.
Just two months ago the man who coached Ryun to an amazing string of world records, Bob Timmons, was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame. The documentary was made in part to bring to light Timmons accomplishments and to highlight the enduring relationship between these two men which endured some momentous ups and downs. Thanks to Coach Timmons I received a great document detailing the statistics behind every race Ryun ran as an amateur. These stats used to live on another long since gone website. I will share these important numbers here over the course of the next few weeks. I start with Ryun’s sophomore year in cross country at Wichita East in 1962. Enjoy!
Fall 1962 Sophomore Wichita East High School
Date Event Time Place Location Course Event
9-12-62 2 Mile 12:21 12th Wichita, KS College Hill Park Inter-Class
9-14-62 2 Mile 12:11 4th Wichita, KS Campus High School Campus Invitational (B team)
9-24-62 2 Mile 11:42 7th Wichita, KS College Hill Park SE/Emporia Triangle (B team)
9-28-62 2 Mile 11:23 4th Wichita, KS Echo Hills Golf Course North Invitational (B team)
10-5-62 2 Mile 11:29.1 1st Prairie Village, KS Shawnee Mission East SME Invitational (B team)
10-11-62 2 Mile 10:25 15th Emporia, KS Emporia Airport Golf Course Emporia Invitational (A Team)
10-12-62 2 Mile 10:27 3rd Wichita, KS Echo Hills Golf Course East Invitational (A Team)
10-27-62 2 Mile 10:17 4th Wichita, KS Echo Hills Golf Course Regional
11-3-62 2 Mile 9:51 6th Emporia, KS Emporia Airport Golf Course State Championships