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.

This Day in Track & Field–March 3

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

1911A report from the Cornell Daily Sun


Fifteen Seconds Taken Off Old Record — Time 17:43 2-5 — Jones Covers His Mile in 4:21 — Varsity 150 Yards in Lead. Buffalo, N. V., March 3

“Running in time fifteen seconds faster than the world’s record for the distance, the Cornell four-mile relay today won over Pennsylvania by 150 yards. Jones for Cornell ran within a second of the best previous indoor figures for the mile, being timed in 4:21. The total time was 17:43 2-5. Wolle of Pennsylvania took the lead over Finch at the pistol shot and kept it till the finish, touching Paull off ten yards ahead of Putnam. Finch was timed in 4:30, 1-5. Putnam gradually cut down the Philadelphian’s lead and passed him on the sixth lap. However, Paull came with a remarkable sprint at the finish and relayed his teammate Bodley even with Berna. The Cornell man took the lead at the start and gradually drew away from his opponent, touching Jones off 50 yards in the lead. Putnam ran in 4:29 1-5 and Berna in 4:24. Jones made the last relay a runaway. Covering his mile in the second fastest time ever made on an indoor track, he broke the tape 150 yards in advance of Levering, the last Penn runner. The former world’s record of 17:58 for four miles was made in 1908 by the Irish-American A. C. team, composed of Shepherd, Bromilow, Riley, and Kiviat. The indoor mile record is 4:19 4-5 and is held by H. L. Trube, ’08. The result surprised the four thousand spectators who crowded the Buffalo armory to its utmost capacity. The Pennsylvania team was tooted as a world beater and did run well under the collegiate figures, but Cornell’s excellent showing was entirely unexpected.”

Glenn Cunningham, probably race 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.

1938–Glenn Cunningham won the Mile in 4:04.4, four seconds faster than his own World Indoor Record, but the race took place on Dartmouth’s oversize, high-banked track (6-2/3 laps to the mile), negating any chance of acceptance as an official mark. His time was also a full two seconds faster than Sydney Wooderson’s Outdoor Record of 4:06.4.

 If you think the current use of rabbits sometimes gets out of hand, consider that Cunningham had the benefit of chasing six Dartmouth runners who had handicaps of from five to 600 yards!



NY Times Obituary:


1951—F.B.I. agent Fred Wilt (4:08.4) won the Mile at the Knights of Columbus Games in NY’s Madison Square Garden, ending Don Gerhrmann’s 39-meet winning streak at the distance. It was Wilt’s first win over Gehrmann in 9 tries!

When Wilt passed rabbit Stewart Ray, his NYAC teammate, shortly before the ¾-mile mark, Gehrmann tried to go with him, but Ray held him off twice, allowing Wilt to build a big enough advantage to hold off his rival’s late charge, winning by six yards.


1956–Two one-mile races were held at the NY Knights of Columbus Inv., the last of the five meets traditionally held at Madison Square Garden each year. The first included Wes Santee, suspended the year before by the AAU for reportedly accepting excessive expense money. Santee’s lawyer was able to obtain a temporary injunction against the AAU, which allowed him to compete here. Fearing “contamination”, the other entered milers refused to run against the Marine Lieutenant, who proceeded to win in a solo 4:13.8 against two other servicemen who were not in danger of losing their amateur status. The other mile went to Villanova’s Ron Delany, the Olympic Champion-to-be, who won easily in 4:11.7.

Read the full story in Sports Illustrated’s coverage:


1961–18-year old Valeriy Brumel, the silver medalist in the High Jump at the 1960 Olympics, beat bronze medalist John Thomas for the 3rd week in a row,  clearing 7-3  ½ (2.225) at the NY Knights of Columbus meet in Madison Square Garden.

            Before the event began, Pinky Sober, the AAU’s T&F Chairman, had led the crowd of 14,255 fans in singing Happy Birthday to the 20-year old Thomas!

            George Kerr won the 600y in 1:09.3 to break the World Indoor Record of 1:09.5 that had been shared by Olympic 800-meter champions Mal Whitfield (1948,1952) and Tom Courtney (1956).

            Hungary’s István Rózsavölgyi won the Mile in 4:01.8, just missing Ron Delany’s World Indoor Record of 4:01.4. He did get credit for establishing a new mark for 1500-Meters with his en-route time of 3:46.6.

Sports Illustrated Vault(Brumel—In His Own Words/Cover Story):


(For Subscribers): https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1961/03/04/97661399.html?pageNumber=18