Within the course of everyday life, many of us look for at least one crusade or cause to hang a hat on. This writer, as many of you know, is included in that number. The cause, whether major or minor, might be an injustice, a societal lack of heeding or merely an oversight.
For me, one such oversight is the absence of recognition which local track stars deserve, at least in yearbooks and newspapers. Yearbooks, understandably, don’t list such achievements due to end of school year printing deadlines. And newspapers suffer from a lack of reports. Thus, there is a good reason for the following account to appear in this column. This account — for simplicity — will center solely on the boys individual running events, though other record holders will also be mentioned. Why girl athletes are not included will be adequately explained later on.
However, some of you might still be thinking that this topic is nevertheless an odd choice for an outdoor columnist. For those of you who feel this way, is it not true that high school track and field events are always held outdoors? Therefore, please bear with me as we examine some in-depth details about a sport which pits athletes not only against all comers, but also against time, the elements and their own fears.
As we begin delving into this topic, let’s go back to the year 1960. It was in this year that a star distance running friend of mine named Bob Henry graduated from Forks High School. With Bob’s departure from high school, two track records were left far in his wake — just as most of his opponents had been. One was a mile time of 4:41.5, the other a half mile (880) time of 2:02. Only that 880 mark has never been officially broken. Therefore, with the statewide conversion to the metric system for all running events in 1980, Bob’s time for the half mile will forever remain in the Spartan record book.
To be continued … May light for your feet guide you on the path of life until we meet again.