This blog, gotten from a copy of the Spalding Almanac, recaps the status of local running in 1930.
Xavier's Schmidt Fieldhouse was built in 1927 and opened on March 7, 1928 with a win against archrival Cincinnati. At one time it also hosted indoor track meets.
Deer Creek commons was a popular recreational
area for many sports, including running on its track. Now I-71 runs through
what were their grounds. Eden Park Drive, Gilbert Ave., Reading Road, and
Elsinore, just south of the old Baldwin Building, border what was this
In 1943 the Swedish distance runner, Gunder Hagg, toured
America.During his eight-stop tour,
including Cincinnati, he scored consecutive triumphs over America’s best.It was not surprising that he was known as
“Gunder the Wonder.”
Who was Gunder Hagg?From 1942 to 1945, Hagg and fellow Swede, Arne Andersson broke or
equaled the world record for the mile three times each, usually by beating the
other.Hagg lowered the mile time down
to 4:01.3, a mark that was not reduced until Roger Bannister’s historic sub
4:00 mile in 1954. Over his career he broke a total of 15 world records, 10 of
them within a three-month period in 1942
Hagg beating Arne Andersson
Hagg’s tour began in New York City on June 20.Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Cambridge, and Berea, Ohio preceded his stop here. Gil Dodds and Bill Hulse,
top American middle distance runners at that time, accompanied Hagg on the tour
to provide the competition.
Bill Hulse, Gill Dodds, Gunder Hagg
His Cincinnati appearance was his seventh American race.
It was contested on the evening of August 7, 1943 at the Withrow High School
Stadium Track. The Cincinnati Firefighters Association sponsored the race for
the Army Air Force Aid Society.
Gunder requested that the distance be two-miles. Earlier
in the tour Hagg ran 8:53.6 in Los Angeles, well shy of his world record of
8:47.8 that was set the year before. The month long sea voyage had deprived
Hagg of valued training opportunities but as the tour was nearing its
conclusion, he felt that his speed and stamina were improving to the point that
he might challenge his own record.
Hulse, who narrowly lost to Hagg the week before at
Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, when he ran a 4:06 mile, was given a 100-yard
handicap.Since Hulse’s mile time was
the best mark ever achieved outdoors by an American runner, it was thought with
a lead of that distance Hagg might be prodded to eclipse his own world record.
Gill Dodds, the other top protagonist spurned a handicap offer and started from
scratch with Hagg.Dodds had previously
clocked 8:53 for the distance so he figured his best opportunity to defeat Hagg
was at this distance.A fourth starter
in the race was Bob Berger, a young Bay Village, Ohio athlete.He received a full lap or 440-yard handicap.
Hulse and Berger started far in the lead because of the
handicap.Hagg and Dodds ran almost even
for the first mile.Hagg’s split times
for the first mile were 1:01.5, 2:07, 3:15, and 4:22 at the mile.Hagg pulled away from Dodds as they entered
the second mile.
Berger, needing only to run seven laps rather than
Hagg’s eight, remained far out in front of Hulse. Hagg caught and passed Hulse
as he entered the seventh lap.Now his
sights were on the youthful Berger.Yard
by yard he pulled closer. However, he came up just short of overtaking his young
Bob Berger, the 18-year old high school graduate,
maintained the lead that he received due to his handicap advantage.Berger’s time for the two-mile distance,
minus 440, was 8:49.7.The race was
quite exciting as he broke the finish line tape only five yards ahead of the
rapidly charging Hagg.
Gunder, the Swedish track champion, covered the two-mile
distance at Withrow’s Stadium in 8:51.3, which was only 3.5 seconds off his
existing world record. This time was the fastest ever run for that length outdoors
on American soil.
Hulse, from New York, finished in third place. His time
of 9:08.3 was the first time he had ever raced two-miles.Dodds, who started even with Hagg, was unable
to catch up or overcome the handicaps given to Berger and Hulse.He placed fourth with a time of 9:18.3.
Afterwards, Hagg was very complimentary about Berger
saying, “He’s one of the best young runners I have ever seen. You track boys
had better keep your eye on him.”He
felt that Withrow’s cinder oval was a little slow, but he added that he felt
fine during the race and would try his best next Wednesday, on August 11, to
set a new record at New York. His mile in New York would be the final
installment of his American cross-country tour.
Gunder Hagg was branded a professional in 1946 because
he received payments for running. Thereafter he was barred from competition.
Bob Berger died February 28, 1945.His airplane was hit by enemy fire and he
perished while parachuting.
Bill Hulse was the US National 800-meter champion in
1944 and 1945.
Gil Dodds became known as “The Flying Parson.”He won the Thanksgiving Day Race five times
in the 1940s.
V. 1 #27 You Know You Have Been Running For Quite Awhile If You Remember... (Part 2)
By Steve Price
you read, or have read, "Long Distance
you expect to get blisters by running in new
you have taken salt tablets at one time.
you have hitch hiked to races.
you have competed in races where there were
less than fifteen (15) runners.
you know all the names of men who have broken
four (4) minutes in the mile.
passersby have asked you if you are in training
for a fight.
your local Sporting Goods store carries two
brands......Adidas and Puma
you know the story of the Dassler brothers
(Adidas and Puma founders)
you have run in all leather running shoes.
you have started the season in a pair of
kangaroo skin spikes. By the end of the season
they have stretched so much that you are now wearing two (2) pair of sweat
socks.....but you still love them. Adidas Melbourne worn by George Brose
By Bill Hart
you remember when "tick
sheets" were the preferred method of timing cross country and road
you remember being given numbered
tongue depressors at the end of a race to indicate your finish place.
your first running wristwatch was
metal rather than some polymer material.
you remember digital stopwatches
whose numerals glowed in the dark and they required 3 double D batteries for
your favorite pair of racing
socks covered your calves, was white cotton and had two cool color stripes at
you remember the
big DMSO controversy.
you had to go to two or three
local bookstores to find a single volume on running.
you recall when going to one of
the Runner's World sponsored Fun Run at Sharon (Dick Stapleton) or Winton Woods
(Martha and Bill Hart hosted) was a way to score a free complimentary copy of
you remember the Runner's World
Fun Runs always included a half-mile, a mile, and a featured distance run of 2,
4, or 6 miles. These were not races, you ran with friends but they were timed.
Everyone was entitled to a certificate of completion provided by the magazine
on which you filled out your distance and time. On occasion there were
prediction runs for some small prize. You wrote down your predicted finish,
left your watch in your car and off everyone went. Winners were usually within
two or three seconds of their prediction.
you remember filling out self
addressed envelopes at some road races in order to receive results in the
you remember when there were no
display clocks at race finish lines, just someone who might scream out a time
from their stopwatch as you crossed the line.
you recall the earliest display
race clocks that had flip numerals comprised of a series of little yellow
paddles that sometimes stuck. The results, on occasion, were finish times that
required puzzle-solving skills.
more recently, you remember
multi-lane finish line chutes at big races. Pick a lane, any lane.
even earlier, you can recount
swing ropes at finish lines that herded you down a specific chute. Perhaps you
even had the happy experience of being clothes lined across the neck or face at
the finish during a chute switch. Burn.
you recall with fondness the
annual fight between Bill Hart and Barry Binkley at the Thanksgiving Day
Race finish line concerning how best to set up a multi-lane chute system.
you remember when no self
respecting high school cross country invitational would be held without Don and
Carol Connolly present with a mimeograph machine to crank out on the spot race
you remember when wearing nylon
warm-up rather than cotton sweats meant you were a "serious" runner.
Gore-Tex? What the heck is that?
no one would have predicted $10
or more race entry fees.
Thanksgiving Day Race Entry Fee
$100 shoes? Oh, that's just crazy
you still wax nostalgically about
your first pair of blue and gold Nike waffle trainers.