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.

by Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (WaltMurphy44@gmail.com), used with permission

This Day in Track & Field/X-Country–March  24

1934–LSU’s Jack Torrance set an American Record of 53-6 (16.30m+) in the Shot Put, but the mark was never ratified as a World Record (unknown reasons). He would set 3 official World Records later in the season, with a best of 57-1 (17.40).


1973—Steve Prefontaine ran 27:09.4 at an all-comers meet in Bakersfield, California, to set an American Record for 6-miles. Pre got pacing help from fellow Oregon Duck Paul Geis, who won the concurrent 3-mile run in 13:24.2.

1973–American Wendy Koenig (Knudson) became the first woman to break 60 seconds for the 400-meter hurdles, running 59.08 in Phoenix. She competed in the 800 meters at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.




1985—Top-10 finishes from Cathy Branta (2nd-15:24) and Betty Springs (9th) sparked the U.S. to its third straight Women’s team title at the World X-Country Championships in Lisbon, Portugal. Others on the team (4 scored): Shelly Steely (15th), Kathy Hayes (16th), Mary Knisely (28th), and Nan Doak (46th).

Holding up their end was a strong U.S.  team of Bruce Bickford (10th), Pat Porter (12th), Ed Eyestone (16th), Craig Virgin (19th), Mark Curp (40th), and Jeff Drenth (56th)  that won the bronze medals in the Men’s race.  The individual race featured no less than five former champions, with hometown favorite Carlos Lopes (33:33), the gold medalist in the 1984 Olympic Marathon, winning his 2nd straight title. Ethiopia’s Bekele Debele (1983/4th-33:45) finished 4th, followed closely by Ireland’s John Treacy (33:48), the 1978 and 1979 winner, and Virgin (34:12), another 2-time winner (1980,1981), was 19th. Ethiopia’s Mohammed Kedir, the 1982 champion, did not finish the race.

Barefoot Kipkemboi Kimeli (22:18) won the Men’s Junior race to give Kenya its first World Champion. The team battle marked the first Ethiopia (16)-Kenya (26) duel, which is now commonplace at these Championships. At 18 years and 302 days, Zola Budd (15:01) became the youngest ever to win the Women’s Senior race.

Other notable/U.S. finishers

Senior Men(12.19km): 2. Paul Kipkoech (KEN) 33:37, 3.Wodajo Bulti (ETH) 33:38, 11.Fernando Mamede (ETH), 20.Rob de Castella (AUS), 27.Gelindo Bordin (ITA), 36.Francisco Panetta (ITA), 37.Steve Jones (Wales), 42.John Robson (SCO), 89.Abel Antón (ESP), 102.Steve Moneghetti (AUS), 175.Neil Cusack (IRL); Team(6 score):1.Ethiopia 129, 2.Kenya 141, 3.USA 153;

Senior Women(4.99km):3.Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR), 4. Fiţa Lovin (ROU), 5.Cornelia Burki (SWI), 7.Olga Bondarenko (URS), 13.Rosa Mota (POR), 17.Annette Sergent (FRA), 27.Angela Chalmers (CAN), 30.Aurorra Cunha (POR), 42.Yvonne Murray (SCO), 56.Paula Fudge (ENG); Team: USA

Junior Men(8.19km):10.Brahim Boutayeb (MAR), 12.Jeff Cannada (USA), 15.Chuck Trujillo (USA), 23.Matt Giusto (USA), 45.Simon Gutierrez (USA), 48.Hank Lee (USA), 74.Joe Falcon (USA); Team:1.Ethiopia 16, 2.Kenya 26;