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This Day in Track & Field History, March 20, 2024, Abebe Bikila, Steve Prefontaine, Doris Brown Heritage, by Walt Murphy

This Day in Track & Field History, March 20, 2024, Abebe Bikila, Steve Prefontaine, Doris Brown Heritage, by Walt Murphy

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 20

 

1969–Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila, the winner of the Marathon at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, was involved in an automobile accident that caused a cervical spine injury (neck) that left him paralyzed from the neck down. His injuries ultimately led to his death in 1973.

https://www.nytimes.com/1973/10/26/archives/abebe-bikila-46-track-star-dies-only-man-to-win-olympic-marathon.html

Photos

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abebe_Bikila

Abebe Bikila, trading card from E-Bay

 

1971—Doris Brown (Heritage) won her 5th (and final) World (International) X-Country title (2.8 miles) in San Sebastian, Spain, leading the U.S. women to a 3rd-place finish. England’s Dave Bedford and Nick Rose, a future NCAA Champion (1974/Western Kentucky), won the men’s senior (7.5 miles) and junior (4.35 miles) races, respectively. England swept all 3 team titles. (The U.S. only entered the Women’s team!)

Doris Brown Heritage, circa 1967, by Wikipedia (public domain)

Other notable finishers

Senior Men: 9. Ian Stewart (Scotland), 10.Rod Dixon (New Zealand), 12.Gaston Roelants (Belgium); DNF-Emiel Puttemans (Belgium).

Junior Men:18.Eamonn Coghlan (Ireland/destined to become the “Chairman of the Boards”), 24.Neil Cusack (Ireland/1972 NCAA Champion-East Tennessee/winner of the 1974 Boston Marathon)

Women: 11. Beth Bonner (USA/Unofficially the 1st female “winner” of the NY City Marathon-1971)

Resultshttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1971_International_Cross_Country_Championships

Mo Farah with David Bedford, former London Marathon impresario, WR holder of 10k, and unofficial spokesperson for Guinness, photo by Jane Monti, 2013, used with permission

 

1971—Running in a quad meet on his home track in Eugene, Oregon, sophomore Steve Prefontaine won the 2-mile in 8:33.2 to equal the Collegiate (and Oregon school) Record set by Knut Kvalheim in 1968. Following the instructions of coach Bill Dellinger, Pre gave new meaning to the phrase “negative-split.” He coasted…

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