Bob, perhaps more
than any other local individual, represents the bridge between the way the
local running community existed around 1950 and what it evolved to during the
latter half of the 20th century. He was willing to try and do things
that were uncommon at the time.As a
result, others followed his lead.
MacVeigh began high
school at Chaminade in Dayton and promptly failed to make the football team due
to his being rather small and skinny. Then, during his sophomore year, his
family moved to Cincinnati, where he began attending Purcell High School. The
Cavalier pigskin squad was a powerhouse during those years; so to satisfy his
sporting desires he decided instead to try managing the school’s athletic teams.
During the fall,
he assisted the football team. The next season saw him with the basketball squad.
Then, when spring came, he asked Coach Brother William Schroeder if he could help
manage the track team. However, Brother Bill suggested that he run instead. Bob’s
slight frame, which was shoved around on the gridiron, was better suited for hurrying
rather than crashing.He immediately
found himself finishing ahead of the school’s other distance runners. His niche
on Hackberry Street was established as he found his sport. Bob became a decent
high school miler and he graduated from Purcell in 1947.
Back then most
runners, estimated at 99.9%, when they left high school, gave up the sport
because the opportunities to continue running were scarce. Bob however, enrolled
at the University of Cincinnati in the College of Engineering (later he
transferred to the College of Business) and proceeded that first year to join
the freshman cross-country and track and field teams, which were guided by long
time coach, Oliver Nikoloff.
Photo taken in
Nippert Stadium during his first cross-country season at UC
running cross-country for four years.
Mid-American Conference meet in Cincinnati during his sophomore year at Avon
Golf Course on Reading Road near Paddock Road. MacVeigh is the fourth runner from the left.
Perhaps one of his
biggest achievements, certainly an unusual accomplishment, at UC occurred prior
to the start of his second year of outdoor track for the Bearcats. Don Berg, who
ran at St. X and was a far superior 440 runner than Bob in high school, and MacVeigh
established a two-man team representing the campus Newman Center as they took
on the larger fraternities in the annual indoor intramural track and field
championships.The competition took
place at the old gymnasium just south of Nippert Stadium. At the time there was
an indoor track hanging above the basketball floor. It was 18 and 3/4 laps to a
Indoor Track at UC
This event was a big
deal to the Greeks because points gained here counted towards the coveted
All-University Trophy. Bob took care of the longer events as he won the 440,
880, and mile while Don sprinted to second places in the 100, 220, and
440.Between the two of them, much to
the chagrin of the fraternity brothers, they, as a team, came out on top.
During his first
two track seasons in college, the coach had him competing as a middle-distance
runner, mile and 880, similar to what he did at Purcell. At times he was also a
member of the mile relay. Bob won a mile race against Kentucky, but his times
were progressively getting slower and he was becoming discouraged.
MacVeigh wanted to
contest the open 440, but coach Nikoloff ruled against that.However, once the school season ended, Bob took
the opportunity to run the 440 at the June 2 Metropolitan Cincinnati AAU meet at
Withrow Stadium. His time of 50.1 eclipsed the local AAU meet record formerly
held by Ted Corbitt.
Results of AAU
meet at Withrow High School
Two days later the
Ohio AAU meet was to take place at Welcome Stadium in Dayton. Top competition
always appeared here.On a sloppy slow
surface, Bob placed second in the 440 behind Mal Whitfield, the previous year’s
Olympic 800 gold medalist. With those performances Coach Nikoloff agreed that
perhaps Bob was a sprinter. As a result, contrary to the norm, Bob made the
unusual transition of gravitating from longer to shorter distances while in
college rather than moving in the opposite direction.
Now, as a 440-yard
specialist, he met with a great deal of success during his final two years of
college eligibility. He led the team in points scored and did well in the
championship All-Ohio and Mid-American Conference meets.
Miami’s team was
very strong during this period of time. Bob, and their ace 440 runner, Roger
Moore, had a number of thrilling races against one another.
Roger Moore (Hughes graduate)
school record for the 440-yard dash had lasted 18 years before he bested it.
Bob's time of 48.6, during his fourth and last year of eligibility, put him on
top of that record board. His own mark remained unbroken for an additional 18
Shoe worn by
MacVeigh when he set his UC school record.
In 1951, also at
Welcome Stadium in the Ohio AAU Meet, he placed third behind Herb McKenley, the
Jamaican 1948 400 meter gold medalist and world record holder.
holder and Olympic champion Herb McKenley on left McKenley leading at the 220 mark. MacVeigh is third.
During the mid 20th
century, few individuals ran and trained throughout the year. Once again, Bob was a contrarian.He, along with 1949 Hughes High School
graduate Don Wahle, who entered UC and joined the Bearcat’s cross-country and
track and field teams, established a lifelong friendship through their running.
Bob recalls being out for evening workouts with Don – nobody legitimately did
this in the early 1950s.Once a suspicious
policeman stopped them and demanded an explanation as to what they were actually
L-RBob MacVeigh, Don Wahle
Bob's four years
of eligibility to compete for the Bearcats ended in 1951.Between transferring colleges and performing
co-op stints for his business courses, he did not graduate from UC until 1953.
It was estimated earlier
that 99.9% of high school runners ceased running upon graduation. If an
individual ran in college, he definitely stopped when that concluded.Not Bob. In 1952 he participated as an open athlete
in a number of college meets. Although he had the necessary marks to qualify for
the Olympic Trials, he lacked the funds to enable him to travel to the meet in
California. With little hope of making the team, he chose not to engage in the
This inability to
go to the Trials did not dull his interest in the sport.He continued running and competing.One of the few available local opportunities
was the annual Irish Day Meet, which was held each summer at Coney Island.
August 17, 1953 Irish Day
from UC he began a short-lived career as an accountant, but in September of that
year Uncle Sam drafted him into the Army. Bob refers to his two years in the
service as a very good period of his life. He met a diverse group of people for
the first time and he was able to continue training and competing with the Army
track and field team.
leaving the service in 1955 he formed the Cincinnati Track Club. A group like
this was unusual and the Cincinnati Track Club foreshadowed later organizations
like the Ohio Valley Track Club and the Clifton Track Club. Among the top
athletes on the team were Nick Kitt, a Purcell and Miami graduate who excelled
in the distances. Kitt competed internationally for USA teams.
Another top athlete
on the on the club team was sprinter/hurdler Scott Tyler. Scott was a Hughes
High School graduate who in 1958 set the State Record for the 180-yard low
hurdles in the District Meet in Cincinnati. His time was 19.0.After leaving Hughes he attended Miami
University. One year he placed second in the NCAA Championships.
It was typical for
six to eight athletes, representing the Cincinnati Track Club, to travel to
meets in Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and elsewhere. Bob’s large automobile
provided the transportation and afterwards his wife would type the race results.
This was another fond period of his life.
He began working
for Federated Department Stores upon leaving the Army. In June of 1960 he was
transferred to Boston. Without Bob's guidance, the Cincinnati Track Club disbanded
While in Boston,
Bob became very involved with the Boston Athletic Association. The BAA is the sponsoring
organization for the Boston Marathon. He also became very good friends with
Jock Semple, a leader of the BAA.
contact with the few post-college graduates that continued running in the
Cincinnati area.Don Wahle, Howard
Hughes, and Kent Friel (all former Bearcats) started up a series of track competitions
among themselves, since no other local opportunities existed.Bob became the fourth member of this group as
he mailed in his results.This humble beginning
morphed into the Ohio Valley Games and Summer Meets, which continued for over
Scoring of races
unlike in the rest of the country, was quite popular in the northeast.During his time in Massachusetts, Bob concentrated
on distance running. He ran the Boston Marathon 11 times. In the 70s MacVeigh
helped form the BAA Masters Team and while doing so he began to gravitate back
to the shorter distances. In 1972 he,
along with over 40 others, went with a USA master’s team to participate in a
number of meets in Europe. It was at this time that he placed eighth in the
World Master’s Championship.
After a number of
years in Boston, Bob returned to Cincinnati to continue working with Federated
in the home office. The Heart Mini Marathon was in the conceptual stage at this
time. Bob, with his road racing experiences gained back east, was the logical
choice to be the race director for the early editions of the Heart Mini Marathon.
His contacts enabled the Heart Mini to bring to Cincinnati notable Boston area runners
like Bill Rodgers and Patty Catalano. MacVeigh and Melanie Stinson
Bob has remained
active with the local running scene in a variety of capacities ever since.He still loves the sport.Over his career he wasn’t afraid to chart his
own unique path.Many followed his
example and our area is richer as a result.
Bob is 87 years
old and currently dealing with some medical issues.
High school, club,
and college competitions did well during the years leading up to America’s
entry into World War I.Indoor
facilities, like those in the annex to Music Hall and the Armory on Freeman
Avenue helped make indoor track and field to be quite popular.
the Cincinnati Gymnasium and Athletic Club (the Gym and now the Cincinnati
Athletic Club) ruled.During this
period, UC’s track team had the first black athlete to participate in any sport
at the University.
A number of local
high school athletes set indoor state records.Harry Martin did this on numerous occasions.
High School – Ohio state record
60 yard Low Hurdles 30”
Martin-Cincinnati Woodward-2-12-10-Cincy Music Hall Skating Rink
Here is an example of a trophy cup that
was won at an indoor meet.The
inscription is the following:
Hotel Honing Trophy
Celts Open Athletic Meet
Feb. 12, 1910
University of Cincinnati
Time 3 Min. 56 Secs.
Arthur L. Helbig. Capt.
W. Franklin Mitchell
Frederick W. Howell
Alfred Brodbeck. Trainer
UC competed in an intercollegiate meet against
Miami (OH) and Butler University.Johnson
The club meets often featured a combination of
adult and junior competitions.While
some of the events would seem modern, others would appear quaint or
archaic.The program scheduled for
League Park on May 7, 1910 included a 400-yard relay for public school boys, a
half-mile interscholastic relay and a “potato race” for up to 16 year
olds.In addition to several events open
to all, including fungo long distance hitting, running broad jump and tug of
war, the meet also featured a 1-mile open senior relay race for members of
athletic clubs, YMCA’s and universities.
High School – Ohio state record
Indoor 50-Yard Dash
Martin-Cincinnati Woodward-2-18-11-1st Regiment Carnival at
Ralph Belsinger, nicknamed "eight
stride," became the first African-American track member and athlete in any
sport at UC. He would run until 1915. Belsinger anchored relay teams and ran
the mile.After graduating with a degree
in education, he taught in the Cincinnati public schools for four decades.
Manager was James W. Pottenger. Barr was
UC Relay Team
In June the Commercial Club Indiana’s Athletic
Committee invited the Gym to send a team to their track meet.By mid-1911 it was clear that the Gym’s blue
and white team was among the best in the nation. Some of the top local meets at
the time consisted of:
The First Regiment’s indoor carnival (February)
The Gym’s annual intramural “blue ribbon” meet.
The GCAC’s annual Mid-Summer meet and Carnival of
Athletics, the club’s traditional open track and field meet (June) held on
their own athletic property.
This last meet was one of the premier meets in the
region.Teams from all over the Midwest
attended, including Notre Dame, champions of the Midwest Conference.More than 300 athletes entered in 1911.Local athletes represented the University of
Cincinnati, Christ Church, Celts, YMCA, First Regiment, and the Friar’s Club as
they tried to upend the Gym. They failed to stop the Gym’s juggernaut that more
than doubled the score of the second place UC team.
High School – Ohio state record
Indoor 50-Yard Dash
Martin-Cincinnati Woodward-3-2-12-1st Regiment Carnival at
This group was hailed as one of the strongest
team in the Midwest. They set nine new state records in the dual meet against
Kentucky College. The relay team beat Miami (OH), Ohio State, and Ohio Wesleyan
during the Y.M.C.A. Carnival Meet.
Cincinnati finished third in both the Y.M.C.A
and the Cincinnati Amateur Athletic Federation (C.A.A.F) meets. UC prevailed
over the Gym, 39 to 37, by winning the last event, the pole vault, at the Gym’s
annual June carnival.
The Gym (Cincinnati Athletic Club) reorganized
its walking club.The walking club
regularly took long distance walks to such locations as Independence,
Kentucky.The club planned to “take long
walks every Sunday, rain, snow or shine.”
It was becoming customary for organizations to
request reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses when traveling to other
The Gym prepared athletes to attend the Central
Olympic Trials. They were held on June 8 in Evanston (Chicago). Selections from
three trials sites helped determine the team for the 1912 Games that were to be
held in Stockholm.Those preparing were:
Draper, long distances
Stephenson, pole vault
Allen, hurdler, jumps (high, broad, and hop, step, and jump)
The Post talked about Lovell Draper as
a potential sub 5:00 miler.Ed Stephenson
had vaulted 11’6”, and Raynor Allen had jumped 5’9”.
Another top athlete of the day was Harry
Martin, a black sprinter and hurdler who the Post called “the speed
marvel of Woodward.”Martin had
allegedly equaled the world’s record for the 50-yard indoor hurdles.No record could be found regarding their
accomplishments at the Trials and no local athlete made the Olympic Team.
1500 rabid fans that cheered for their
respective teams, shaking rattles and cowbells, and creating “more than enough
noisy encouragement” for the teams, attended the First Regiment Ohio National
Guard’s indoor athletic carnival at the Armory.The top three were the Gym, Ohio State University, and the University of
The meet was notable for several technological
innovations.Instead of announcing the
results by megaphone, results were flashed on a screen using a “stereopticon
machine.”The First Regiment’s planners
also installed a telephone line between the playing floor and the locker room
area “allowing contestants to rest until the event in which they were entered
was ready to be run.”
There is mention of a Memorial Day race from
Mt. Lookout to the 7th and Walnut Cincinnati YMCA building.
Due to a late spring flooding, the Gym’s athletic
facilities were still covered in mud as of May 31, when the club planned their
annual track meet.It was cancelled and,
since this was the only outdoor meet scheduled that year; it was the first time
since 1890 that Cincinnati had no athletic meeting.
Amateur sports had disputes between the local
organizations and the national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU).The locals felt that their dues, which they
sent to the national organization in New York, did not translate into a
commensurate return to them.In
addition, there was talk of disallowing local individuals to compete because
they were deemed as professionals (a hot topic after Jim Thorpe lost his two
gold medals, which he won at Stockholm, due to playing baseball a few years
earlier and earning some money).William
“Dutch” Goebel, a 39’ shot putter and Lovell Draper were investigated. In the
end, no one was blacklisted for past actions.
By 1914, the number of athletic clubs in the
Greater Cincinnati area was approaching several hundred.Each fielded teams in one or more
sports.Some were affiliated with the
national or regional branches of the AAU and local sports bodies like the Cincinnati
Amateur Athletic Federation (CAAF).Others remained independent and unregulated.The AAU and the CAAF did manage to bring some
order to some of the sports, but they failed to settle amateur athletics as a
whole.Additionally, they had no power to
force the various organizations to cooperate financially, which hurt competition
locally and limited the development of Cincinnati’s athletes.
Adolph Mathis of the Times-Star
complained that there was not a single banked indoor track in Cincinnati.The indoor meets at the First Regiment Armory
were run on flat floors.Since the First
Regiment was understandably reluctant to allow the runners to wear spikes, this
led to a lot of slipping and sliding and slow times.The subject periodically arose, but finances
(or lack of) always prevailed.
The Gym’s walking club, established before the
turn of the century, reached new heights of.The club, with 25 members, continued its fall and winter outings during
the period.A typical stroll included a
daylong hike.For most members, walking
was a casually uncompetitive avocation.
High School – Ohio state record
Indoor 50-Yard Dash
Ertel-Cincinnati Hughes-2-27-15-YMCA Carnival at Cincinnati Armory
It was reported that the Cincinnati Amateur
Athletic Federation promoted three ‘very successful’ indoor track and field
meets and 315 athletes had registered with the CAAF.
During the summer a team of Cincinnati athletes
attended a series of meets in the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco
held during July and August. S. Whitcomb, who competed in the high and low
hurdles, decathlon star, Fred Stormer, and miler Harry Gardewing were among the
contingent.The Cincinnati team finished
seventh overall and Gardewing finished third in the mile.
This could have been considered the best team
in history (up to this point), but events were limited due to the war. UC won
all the local indoor meets, but lost to Ohio University. No outdoor meets were
Coach Alfred “King” Brodbeck, who came from the
Cincinnati Gymnasium and Athletic Club (Gym) was there until 1916. He resigned
and left for Miami University after apparently some disputes with Dr. Charles
William Dabney, the UC President.
Table of Contents of Previous Blogs #s 1-47
Abridged Edition of Greater Cincinnati Running During the 20th Century.
V.1#2Memories from the First Heart Mini-Marathon
V.1#3Behind the Scenes Action at the First Heart Mini-Marathon
V.1#4Early Heart Mini Memories
a Heart Mini Race Volunteerby
V.1#6Run and Walk History of the First Two
Decades of the 20th Century
Rise of Team Generic
V.1 #8Origins of The Runners' Club of Greater
V.1 #9Pure Kentucky
V.1#10Some Notes on the Origin of the Flying Pig
Marathon and How It Grew
V.1#11How Did the Actual Flying Pig Race Go?
Top Ten Finishers at the Boston Marathon
Marathons that Preceded the Flying Pig (Part 1 of 3)
V.1#14 Area Marathons that Preceded the Flying Pig
(Part 2 of 3)
Marathons that Preceded the Flying Pig (Part 3 of 3)
V.1#16Facts about the University of Cincinnati Track & Field and Cross
Country Part 1 of 3; 1892-1949
V.1#17Facts about the University of Cincinnati Track & Field and Cross
Country Programs (Part 2 of 3; 1950-1975)
about the University of Cincinnati Track & Field and Cross Country Programs
(Part 3 of 3; 1975-1999)
V.1#19You Know You Have Been Running For Quite A
While If …
Way It Was -How Were Distance Runners
Viewed in the 1960s Prior to the Running Boom?
#21Memorial Day Race 40 - What Was a
40 Year Old Race Like?
Non-Traditional or Unique Races
V.1#23 The First Girls Pole Vault Competition In Ohio
V.1#24Local Walking Clubs Early in the Century
V.1#25 Locals Who Accomplished Extraordinary Ultra
Indoor Track Palace in the Early Part of the Century
V.1#27You Know You Have Been Running For Quite
Awhile If You Remember... (Part 2)
V.1#28World Record Holder Races In Cincinnati
V.1#29 The Running Scene in Cincinnati in 1930
V.1#30The Way It Was - Entry Fee Inflation
V.1#31Don Wahle – A Local Running Legend.The Early Years
V.1#32Don Wahle – A Local Running Legend (Part 2)
V.1#33The Way It Was – 70s and 80s When Do You Hang ‘Em Up?
Anderson Passes Away
V.1#35Blog History Table of Contents - #1-#34
V.1#36Ted Corbitt:The Father of
American Distance Running (Part 1)
V.1#37Ted Corbitt - The Father of American Distance Running (Part 2)
V.1#38Avondale Running Club - The Area's First African-American Road Running
V.1.#39Before Jesse Owens There Was DeHart Hubbard
V.1#40Olympic Discus Champion - John Anderson
V.1#41Jesse Owens’ Shadow – “Sam Stoller”
V.1#42Ted Corbitt's Olympic Experience
V.1#43Julie Isphording – 1984 Olympic Marathoner
V.1#44Olympian D'Andre Hill - the Fastest Woman Ever Born in Cincinnati
V.1#45Running and Walking History from the mid-1800s through 1909
V.1#46Jay Birmingham - USA Transcontinental Run Record Holder
V.1#47Local History Timeline:1910-1915; Table of Contents:#1-47