Jim Ryun vs. Peter Snell, 1965 AAU mile

The 18-year-old phenom from Wichita, Kansas takes on the 1964 1,500-meter Olympic Gold Medalist from New Zealand, setting a U.S. national record as well as an American high-school record that stood for 36 years.
Ryun’s closing speed was unbelievable. He was all gangly arms and legs at submaximal speeds, but when he was in his prime and in full flight, it’s arguable that the world has never seen a miler like him. He gobbled up real estate with the easy, greedy-looking strides of a rose.
It’s impossible not to wonder what he could have done given today’s all-weather tracks, improved footwear, and drugs, although Ryun by all accounts would sooner have quit running than compete under chemical enhancement. His fastest career mile was 3:51.1, at the time a world record than remained unbroken for eight years; the record is now 3:43.13. ESPN has him ranked as the top high-school athlete ever.

3 thoughts on “Jim Ryun vs. Peter Snell, 1965 AAU mile”

  1. “He gobbled up real estate with the easy, greedy-looking strides of a rose.”
    A rose?
    I need to add some Miracle-Gro to my training regimen. ;)

  2. Sorry. I didn mean “horse.” It was late and I was getting over a touch of glockenspiel prostate when I wrote that.
    I think I need to leave the sentence the way it is. There’s something elegant about a typo that results in a word that isn’t even close to the intended one in spelling, yet nonetheless fits in a remotely plausible way.

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