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 9

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

1963—Brian Sternberg set an American Indoor Record of 16-3  ½ (4.97) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



Brian Sternberg, 1963, photo courtesy of Joan Pelayo, no copyright intended

1980—With ½-mile to go at the World X-Country Championships on the Longchamp Hippodrome (horse race course) in Paris, Nick Rose, the 1974 NCAA Div. I, Champion, while at Western Kentucky, looked like a sure winner after leading for most of the race. West Germany’s Hans-Jürgen Orthmann and American Craig Virgin, Illinois’ 1975 NCAA Champion, were still within striking distance.

Orthmann (37:02) took the lead from the tiring Rose with about 400 meters to go, and it was his turn to look like a sure thing. Rose (37:05) was unable to respond, and Virgin (37:01) was sitting about 10 meters behind.

Orthmann still had the lead with 100 meters to go, but Virgin was in sprint mode now. A few strides later, he took the lead and went on to win the first of his two World Cross titles!

England won the Men’s team title, the last country other than Ethiopia or Kenya to do so (the U.S. was second). Ed Eyestone finished third in the Junior race. He went on to win the 1984 NCAA title while at Brigham Young, where he’s now the head men’s coach.

Norway’s Grete Waitz (15:05) won the 3rd of her five Women’s titles, while the U.S., fielding an all-star team of Jan Merrill (5th), Margaret Groos (10th), Julie Shea (13th), Brenda Webb (21), Joan Benoit (26th), and Ellison Goodal l(35th), won the bronze medals in the team battle.

The men’s field had to regroup after a mass false start. Rose, in addition to colliding with trespassing photographers early in the race, later admitted that he had lost count of the (5) laps and thought there was only one lap remaining when, in fact, there were two!


Teams/Other Leading Finishers

Senior Men(12.58k):1.England 100, 2.USA 163, 3.Belgium 175; …9.Steve Jones (Wales) 37:23…11.Karel Lismont (BEL)

37:27, 12.Dan Dillon (US) 37:28…16.Fernando Mamede (POR) 37:42…18.John Treacy (IRL) 37.44…26.Carlos

Lopes (POR) 37:55

Senior Women(4.82k): 1. Soviet Union 15, 2.England 49, 3.USA 49; …2.Irina Bondarchuk (SU) 15:49, 3.Yelena Chernysheva

(SU) 15:52

Junior Men(7.41k): 1. Soviet Union 50, 2.USA 75, 3.Spain 75; 1.Jorge Garcia (ESP) 22:17


(last ½-mile)www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYr-anCd300


Photos(scroll down): http://www.runningentertainment.com/runningshots39.html

1997—Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer, who set a World Record of 1:43.96 in the heats of the 800 at the World Indoor Championships in the Bercy section of Paris, lowered the mark to 1:42.67 two days later in the final. In addition to winning the gold medal, Kipketer also won a $50,000 bonus for his World Record. Leading from the gun, Kipketer went through amazing splits of 24.22, 50.22, and 1:16.49.

Coming from behind to win the bronze medal in 3rd place was Georgetown grad Rich Kenah, who ran a personal best of 1:46.16. Kenah would later win another bronze medal at the 1997 World Outdoor Championships. Kenah left Global Athletics and Marketing, the group that represents many of the world’s best athletes, and put on the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 2014 to take over as the Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club.

Wilson Kipkepter, a Librarian in Denmark, was the 1995 Goteborg gold medalist, had a beer from Carlsberg named in his honor, #BlackGold, photo courtesy of PUMA Running

When asked how he approached racing against Kipketer, Kenah replied,  “I would be doing a disservice to Wilson if I tried to comment on my approach to racing him. By the time the final rolled around in Paris, the only question was how much Wilson would break the WR by.  He raced only against the clock.  The remaining 5 raced each other.  My hazy recollection is that I assumed Wilson would force all of us to go out faster than we ever had and as a result…if I stayed close, I could close in the last 150 harder than the others and possibly sneak away with a medal. This was a big step for me.  9 months earlier, I had missed the Olympic Team by 1 spot and contemplated retirement.“

“The other memory I have from the weekend is getting ready for the medal ceremonies for the Men’s and Women’s 800m.  I recall looking across the staging room and being proud to see another (New) Jersey native getting ready to accept her bronze medal – Joetta Clark.”

Just 15 minutes before the men ran, Mozambique’s Maria Mutola won the 3rd of her amazing seven World Indoor titles in the Women’s 800.

Wearing a black ribbon on her uniform to remind her of the recent death of her father, Mutola ran 1:58.96. At the same time, Clark needed a personal best of 1:59.82 to edge Suriname’s Letitia Vriesde (1:59.84) for the bronze medal. It was the second bronze for Clark, who also finished 3rd at the 1993 World Indoor Championships.

Showing as much energy off the track as she did on, the 4-time Olympian (and Hall-of-Famer) is the President of Joetta Sports & Beyond, LLC and the Executive Director of the Joetta Clark-Diggs Sports Foundation, Inc.

Just 30 minutes earlier, Clark’s sister-in-law, Jearl Miles, won the Women’s 400 in 50.96.

Stacy Dragila became the first World Indoor Champion in the Women’s Pole Vault, equaling the World Indoor Record of 14-5  ¼ (4.40).

Russia set a World Indoor Record of 3:26.84 in the Women’s 4×400 relay. At the same time, a U.S. quartet of Shanelle Porter (52.81), Natasha Kaiser-Brown (52.25), Anita Howard (52.35), and Jearl Miles-Clark (50.25) finished 2nd with an American Record time of 3:27.66.

Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie won the first of his three World Indoor titles in the Men’s 3000, setting a Championship Record of 7:34.71. 2nd was Kenya’s Paul Bitok (7:38.84).

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, there was a blanket finish, with Cuba’s Anier Garcia (7.48) edging Great Britain’s Colin Jackson (7.49) and American Tony Dees (7.50).

Charles Austin (USA) won the Men’s High Jump with a clearance of 7-8  ½ (2.35)


Kipketer Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwgZMIMzP7s

IAAF Report/Results