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This Day in Track & Field/X-Country–March 18 


1939—Bob Peoples set an American Record of 234-1  7/8 (71.37) in the Javelin in Long Beach, CA. Peoples, 18 at the time, finished 4th at the 1936 U.S. Olympic Trials shortly after completing his junior year at Classen H.S. in Oklahoma City, OK

Peoples, who set a U.S. High School Record of 220-1 (67.08?) in 1937 (for 20 years), was inducted into the National H.S. T&F Hall of Fame in 2020.



1955- Wearing a new pair of shoes sent to him by George Eastment, his former coach at Manhattan College, Lou Jones set a World Record of 45.4 (45.68) to win the gold medal in the 400-meter at the Pan-American Games in Mexico City. U.S. teammate Jim Lea, 2nd in 45.6, was also under the previous mark of 45.8, which was set by Jamaica’s George Rhoden in 1950.  

W.R. Progression: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men’s_400_metres_world_record_progression

N.Y. Times Obituaryhttps://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/sports/othersports/lou-jones-74-sprinting-star-dies.html

1962–New Zealand’s Peter Snell ran 1:49.9 in Tokyo to break his World Indoor Record for 880 yards.

1967–American Doris Brown (Heritage) won the first of her five consecutive “World”  X-Country titles on a “shoe-sucking” muddy course in Barry, Wales. (Before the IAAF’s involvement in 1973, the meet was known as the “International.

Doris Brown Heritage, circa 1967, by Wikipedia (public domain)

X-Country Championships”). Brown-Heritage served as the head coach at Seattle Pacific before announcing her retirement prior to the 2008 x-country season.

Accompanying Brown on what seemed like a never-ending journey from Seattle to Barry was her coach, Ken Foreman, who guided her in her ascension to running royalty and would remain her coach throughout her career. Both are members of the National Hall of Fame.


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2000—Despite suffering a bee sting at the back of her mouth early in the race, Deena Drossin (Kastor) recovered enough to finish 12th in the Women’s “Long” race (8,080m) at the World X-Country Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, and led the U.S. team to the bronze medals. The rest of the American squad: Jen Rhines(13), Rachel Sauder (36), Kim Fitchen (37), and Donna Garcia (55).

            Derartu Tulu, the 1992 Olympic Champion at 10,000 meters and the event winner in 1997 waged a thrilling battle with fellow Ethiopian Gete Wami, the defending champion, before pulling away for her 2nd victory (25:42-25:48).

            Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe had finished second, second, and third in the three previous years but had to settle for fifth place this time. Of the torrid pace, Radcliffe said, “It was easily the hardest World Cross I’ve run in.” Finishing seventh was Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan, who had given birth to daughter Ciara just eight months earlier.

            Radcliffe would finish fourth the next day in the “Short” race, which Ethiopia’s Dulecha Kutre won. Only one second separated the top four finishers.

            Also, on the second day (3-19), Paul Tergat’s 5-year reign as the Men’s Long course champion ended. The great Kenyan finished 3rd (35:02) behind Belgium’s Mohammed Mourhit (35:00) and Ethiopia’s Assefa Mezgebu (35:01). Meb Keflezighi (26th) was the top American finisher.

            Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won the Junior Women’s race on the first day of competition, becoming one of the best female distance runners in the world. The top two finishers for the U.S. were Lauren Fleshman (26) and Shalane Flanagan (27).

IAAF Coverage


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