Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service providing the true geek’s 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.

This Day in Track & Field–February 4

(1st Wanamaker Mile, Cunningham, 55m?, Olson-19′, “94 Millrose, Lagat, Duplantis, Nilsen-AR/Birthdays-Stefanídi, Gompers, Julie Brown, Carrigan, Arne Åhman)


1926–Running before 16,000 fans at Madison Square Garden, James J. Connolly won the first Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in NY (4:17.2). In the ten previous editions of the meet, the event was conducted at 1-1/2 miles.

The show’s star, though, was Norway’s Charles Hoff, who set the first of his eleven World Indoor Records in the Pole Vault with his clearance of 13-1 (3.99).

Hoff showed versatility by finishing 3rd in the 600y, a star-studded race won by Alan Helffrich in 1:12.7. Johnny Gibson was 2nd, Canada’s Allen Christie 4th, and Adriaan Paulen 5th.


Helffrich was a gold medalist in the 4×400 relay at the 1924 Olympics and was a 2-time NCAA ½-mile champion(1922-

   1923) while at Penn State. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Helffrich

    Gibson, a 1928 Olympian in the 400-meter hurdles(and world record holder in the event), became the

    coach at Seton Hall for more than 25 years and, like Helfrrich, was a long-time official in the NY Metropolitan area.

          NY Times Obituary: http://tinyurl.com/JohnGibsonObit

Paulen was a 3-time Dutch Olympian who went on to become the president of the IAAF from 1976-1981.


Other winners included Loren Murchison in the Men’s 40y (4.6), 60y (6.3), and 300y (32.1), and Rosa Grosse in the Women’s 50y (6.4). Murchison’s 3 wins gave him a record total of 14 at Millrose,

Murchison’s Wins

1919—70y Inv., 70y-Handicap


1922—50y, 60y

1923—60y, 300y

1924—60y, 300y

1925—50y, 60y

1926—40y, 60y, 300y


Glenn Cunningham probably races in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Please note scars on legs from fire injuries as a child. Photo courtesy of Peter F. Murphy, JR. Copyright 2024 by Kansas Historical Society, all rights reserved.

1933–Kansas sophomore Glenn Cunningham (4:13.0) won the 1st of his 6 Wanamaker Miles in front of a Madison Square Garden record crowd of 17,000 fans. 8 yards back in 2nd was the previous year’s winner, Gene Venzke, the World Indoor Record holder.



1939–Six years to the day after winning his 1st Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, Glenn Cunningham fought off a challenge from Chuck Fenske to extend his record win total in the event to 6. That would remain the standard until Eamonn Coghlan won his 7th Wanamaker Mile in 1987. The meet drew another big crowd—16,000.