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.(c)Copyright 2024-all rights reserved. It may not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.

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

This Day in Track & Field–April  24


1880  Amateur Athletic Association(AAA), governing body for men’s athletics in England & Wales, is founded in Oxford, England.



1937–4 future Hall-of-Famers were winners at the Penn Relays (April 23,24).

Don Lash(1995) anchored Indiana to Relays Records in the 4-Mile Relay (17:16.1) and the Distance Medley (10:04.7). Sports Illustrated dubbed Lash “the first great American distance runner” for his success during a lengthy career. Tommy Deckard, who ran on the 4-mile Relay, set a relay record of 9:21.0 in the Steeplechase.

Another Relays Record was set in the Sprint Medley (3:26.4), with John Woodruff (1978), the 1936 Olympic gold medalist at 800 meters, running the first 3-straight winning anchor legs for Pittsburgh.

Georgia’s Forrest “Spec” Towns (1976), another gold medalist in Berlin, won the 120y-Hurdles (14.6). He went on to coach at his alma mater from 1946-1975.

Temple’s Eulace Peacock (1987), won the 100y (9.8) and Long Jump (24-1[7.34]).

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Harrison Dillard served in the famed 92nd Infantry, aka Buffalo Soldiers, in 1943. In London in 1948, they won 100m and 4 x 100 m. In 1952, Harrison won 110m gold and 4x100m hurdles. Photo by Wikipedia Commons.

1943—Baldwin-Wallace’s Harrison Dillard, a future Hall-of-Famer, won the 120-meter hurdles at the Penn Relays in 14.8. Dillard became famous for not qualifying in his specialty at the 1948 U.S. Olympic Trials but making the team in the 100-meter hurdles! He then won Olympic gold in the 100 and 4×100 in London and, four years later, gold in the 110-meter hurdles at the Helsinki Olympics!

It was a big weekend for Notre Dame’s Ollie Hunter, who anchored the Irish to wins in the 4-mile Relay (17:54.3) and the Distance Medley (10:23.2) and also won the 2-mile (9:24.4). The latter two races were on Friday (4-23).

Eulace Peacock, competing for the U.S. Coast Guard, won the Long Jump (24-1 [7.34]) 6 years after winning for the 2nd time while he was at Temple. (Military personnel were allowed to compete in the college events during World War II, as well as the Korean War)

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1954—Fordham won the 2-mile Relay (7:38.6) at the Penn Relays for the 2nd year in a row with a lineup of Terry Foley, Frank Tarsney, Bill Persichetty, and Tom Courtney. The same foursome set a World Record of 7:27.3 the following month at the Coliseum Relays in Los Angeles. Courtney went on to win Olympic gold in the 800-meter at the 1956 Olympics.

Manhattan College, with Lou Jones, a future World Record holder at 400 meters, on the anchor, won the Mile Relay (3:15.1) for the third year in a row.

Duke’s Joel Shankle won the 120-yard Hurdles (14.4) and the Long Jump (23-10  5/8 [7.27+]). He would win both events again the following year and the bronze medal in the 110-meter Hurdles at the 1956 Olympics.




The shoes of Olympic champion Mike Larabee, photo courtesy of adidas

1959–The West Coast got its own relay carnival, as the first Mt.SAC Relays were held on the same weekend as Penn and Drake.

The highlight of the meet was the 2-mile, won by Bill Dellinger in 8:48.2, just missing Phil Coleman’s American Record of 8:48.0.

Other winners included Dallas Long in the Shot Put (61-10  ½ [18.86]) and San Jose State’s Ray Norton in the 100y (9.5).