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Alamosa 1968: The Historic First U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

07/26/2018

On Friday/Saturday July 27-28, Adams State University will host a 50th reunion celebration
to commemorate the historic 1968 Alamosa Olympic Marathon Trials.
Here’s the complete, never-before-fully-told story of that event.

by Amby Burfoot

As he shuffled modestly along the sun-drenched streets of Alamosa, Colorado, with his training partner, Billy Mills, George Young felt smooth and strong. No reason why he shouldn’t. In his mind, he was simply logging another long run with his good friend. Young, 31, had already competed twice in the Olympic 3000-meter steeplechase (1960 and 1964), and was focused on the same distance this year, 1968.

He had never before entered a marathon, and seemed a bit confused about the substantial gaps between runners. “The leaders are pretty far ahead of us,” he noted to Mills after 5 miles. Thirty minutes later, the outlook hadn’t improved. “The leaders are even farther ahead now,” Young reported. Next: “I can’t even see them anymore.”

“Don’t worry,” said Mills. “They’ll come back to us.”

Those leaders included Kenny Moore, 24, a Bill-Bowerman inspired Oregon “duck” who had spent five months altitude-training in Los Alamos, New Mexico. They included Minnesotan Ron Daws, 31, who had earlier run 10 repeat miles on the marathon course to “groove” his goal pace. 

Alamosa Moore Young Mills

From left, Kenny Moore, George Young, J.C. Freeman, and Billy Mills just after the marathon start.

They did not include Bob Deines, who was on LSD.

These runners and roughly 100 others were competing in the historic, first-ever U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Only 63 would finish.  There was no qualifying time; anyone who could get to Alamosa could run. Previous U.S. Olympic marathon runners had been chosen by committee from their performances in a select group of existing, established races--Boston, Yonkers, Culver City, and so on.

However, on August 18, 1968, the racers would self-select in do-or-die fashion, previewing what we now consider the traditional Marathon Trials test.
The first three would qualify for the Mexico City Olympic Marathon in mid-October. The others would limp home with massive glycogen deficits.

After the first of five 5.2-mile loops--the Ted Corbitt-certified course ended with an additional .2 mile dogleg to the finish--Deines lagged far behind even Young and Mills. He figured he was in about 30th place, right where you’d expect to find a 21-year-old who believed in Long Slow Distance training. Deines had switched from traditional mixed-pace running midway through his four years at Occidental College. He slowed down, ran more, and raced far better. He also raced often, 67 times in 1968, at distances from 800 meters to the marathon.

Alamosa was Deines’s third marathon in four months. He had finished sixth at Boston (2:30:13), and then improved his PR to 2:20:48 three weeks later in Culver City. Still, he didn’t expect a top-three finish in Alamosa. “I was getting stronger and improving, but I didn’t consider myself in the same class as the best Americans,” he says. “I thought I needed another year or so to reach their level. That’s why I started so slow. Plus, I always ran my best with negative-split races.”

By contrast, Moore could hardly have been more confident, in part because he had great track credentials, in part because he was the reigning National Cross Country champion, but mainly because he believed everyone else had underestimated how much altitude training they needed. The previous year, Moore had spent three weeks training in Los Alamos, New Mexico--altitude, 7,350 feet. It was no picnic. On day one, he ran a 3-mile time trial 80 seconds slower than a recent sea level effort. After three weeks in Los Alamos, he still couldn’t complete a decent 10-miler without feeling nauseous.

That’s why Moore returned to Los Alamos again in March of the next year. He spent his time there wondering why the town had the world’s highest incidence of twin births, and extending the length of his long runs. On his last, he covered the distance from the final stoplight in Los Alamos to the first light in Santa Fe: 35.4 miles. He didn’t show up in Alamosa until the day before the Trials race, calling himself a “stealth entrant.”

Once the marathon was underway, Moore decided that his altitude-training advantage would serve him best with an honest-pace race, so he stuck close to the early leaders. “Bowerman believed in a relatively slow start--you don’t win mile races in the first lap,” Moore says of his famous University of Oregon mentor and coach. “But he also trained me to react--to make the right decisions as a race unfolded.”

Moore completed the first lap in 29:23. Deines was nearly two minutes back already. Ron Daws and George Young were in the middle.

Alamosa Bill Clark around curve

Eventual ninth-place finisher Bill Clark (#21) leads Amby Burfoot (DNF, #85), George Husuark (47th, #51) and Tom Heinonen (14th, #42) around a curve on the first lap.

Daws was widely known as the country’s best no-talent marathoner. Never a top high school or college runner, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a 3-mile best of 15:22. Many of his competitors in Alamosa were running 90 seconds faster at the same age.

But Daws analyzed every aspect of the sport, and idolized Emil Zatopek for both his work ethic and his innovative training. Indeed, he mimicked these Zatopek traits, and became a sort of marathon savant at producing epic performances in the most difficult conditions. In 1967, he won the National Marathon Championships in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by almost 4 minutes in steambath 92-degree heat. He was wearing a cap with a neck-shoulder drape and a shirt that read, “Adams State College, Alamosa, Colorado.”

The next year, he arrived in Alamosa six weeks before the Trials to prepare the best he could for the altitude challenge. He ran carefully calculated time trials on the course: two laps (10.4 miles) one week, and three laps the next. On the three-lap trial, he passed 10.4 faster than he had run it earlier, feeling quite satisfied.

Then Daws crashed. “The pace was too fast, and I got sick in a gas station men’s room,” he wrote in The Self-Made Olympian. “I realized that I had to run even pace in the Trials.” To hone this strategy, he devised a plan to run 10 x 1 mile over the first mile of the marathon course. He ran hard from the start to the mile-mark, jogged 200 meters, and then hard again back to the start line. He repeated the sequence five times, aiming to hit 5:45 for each mile segment. Daws completed this workout 12 days before the Trials. (Ed Winrow ran the three-lap time trial with Daws, finishing in 1:27:10. He concluded that he could run the full marathon in 2:30 on race day.)

Like Moore, Young and Mills arrived in Alamosa the day before the Trials. They had been training together in Flagstaff, Arizona, including a weekly 16-miler up and over a mountain pass higher than 8000 feet. “It wasn’t too bad,” Young recalls. “Billy and I had a good-ole-buddy system going on. We supported each other.” Mills was trying to push through injuries to reclaim his 1964 fitness.

The buddies decided to enter the Trials only because weeks of 100-mile training in Flagstaff had turned to drudgery. “Billy said, ‘Let’s do something to get away from the daily grind,” Young remembers. They took two days to drive the 500 miles from northern Arizona to southern Colorado. “It was fun, like a field trip,” says Young.

He says he received just one marathon tip from Mills, who had finished 14th in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Marathon a week after his surprise victory in the 10,000 meters. Mills told Young to stay hydrated.
On the first lap, Young grabbed a cup of Gatorade and splashed it directly into his eyes. He had to slow and dab them dry with his singlet. “I didn’t know anything about running and drinking at the same time,” he admits.

The first lap was led by Australian Kerry Pearce and Irishman Pat McMahon. Both were preparing for Mexico City in Alamosa, and were allowed to run the Trials race. Moore followed close behind them. Pearce eventually dropped out at 17 miles and McMahon at 22. “I was out too fast for the altitude, and was dying when George Young passed me on the last lap, so I stopped,” recalls McMahon, then 26. “But I learned an important lesson that helped me at the Olympics.” He placed 12th in Mexico City.

With one lap completed, the Trials race had settled into a psycho-physiological battle between fast starters, medium pacers, and slow starters. No one knew which strategy would prove successful. But everyone knew that the pressure, the sunny desert environment (Moore called the conditions “dessicating”), and especially the high altitude would produce unforeseeable results. Not to mention the unpredictable twists that every marathon serves up in the last 10 miles.

ALAMOSA WAS AN UNLIKELY PLACE FOR A U.S. OLYMPIC EVENT.

It sits 200 miles north of Albuquerque and 230 south of Denver, with no major Interstate highway nearby. “The running culture in Alamosa was just about nonexistent in 1968,” notes Joe Vigil. “It was an agricultural and ranch community fifty years ago, and it still is today.”

But a sort of spontaneous combustion occurred in the fall of 1965 when Vigil, 35, joined the faculty at Adams State College at the same time that Buddy Edelen, 28, began his master’s degree studies in psychology there. Edelen had attended high school and college in Minnesota before moving to England to focus on his marathon training. In 1963, he set a world and American marathon record, running 2:14:28. The next year, he finished sixth in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon.

For three years, Vigil and Edelen pursued the AAU, hoping to bring the Marathon Trials to Alamosa, which had nearly the same altitude (7500 feet) as Mexico City (7400). In midsummer, 1967, they staged a demonstration marathon in Alamosa, inviting two-time Olympic marathon champ Abebe Bikila. Bikila didn’t come, but Mamo Wolde showed up to represent Ethiopia. He ran off course in the marathon, and never finished. Winner Wayne Van Dellen ran 2:39:13 in 90-degree heat to win. A year and two months later, Wolde captured the marathon gold medal in Mexico City.

In late 1967, at the AAU annual meeting in Chicago, the Trials race was awarded to Alamosa. That was the good news. The bad news: Vigil and Edelen had little organizational help and essentially no budget. “Buddy and I had to do everything,” Vigil remembers. “We were running around ragged. I remember one time we looked up at each other, and just about started crying.”

Late in the game, the AAU demanded that Alamosa conduct pre-marathon medical exams of all entrants. Vigil asked a local physician association to volunteer pro bono. Nope. Winrow suggested that Vigil telephone physiologist David Costill at Ball State University in Indiana. Costill said he and several physician friends would come to Alamosa to conduct the exams as long as Vigil helped them collect noninvasive data on the Trials runners.

Twenty top American marathoners were afforded a month of room and board at Adams State pre-Trials to prepare for the marathon. In the weeks leading up to August 18, several drifted into Vigil’s office to ask if the raceday fluid stations would offer the new sports beverage, Gatorade. Vigil knew nothing about the green drink, but phoned the company, and talked them into sending 200 cases to Alamosa. On race day, it was provided with water twice each lap. 

This proved a mixed blessing. Early versions of Gatorade were formulated for out-of-shape football players. Superfit runners didn’t need such a concentrated brew. “After the marathon, we heard that quite a few of our athletes got sick from the Gatorade,” Vigil notes.

The Trials marathon started at an unusual time, 3 p.m. Why? To mimic the start of the upcoming Mexico City Olympic Marathon, yes. But even more important, Vigil needed a two-way radio team to spread out along the course, and report back to the start. Especially if there were any medical emergencies. Only one local group was willing to perform this service for free. They already had a morning commitment in Pueblo, Colorado, 120 miles to the north. But they said they could comfortably reach Alamosa by 3 p.m. Game on.

Alamosa Caution Marathon

Street scene in Alamosa, CO, on August 18, 1968.

Despite Alamosa’s altitude and off-the-beaten-path location, the small organizational team, and its lack of financial support, the Alamosa Marathon Trials were a great success. Much credit must go to Vigil and Edelen. They fitted the puzzle pieces together at a time when few understood and even fewer appreciated the effort involved. They also celebrated the outcome.

“It was the best national marathon championship ever,” declared Edelen. Vigil adds: “It’s unbelievable what the Trials did for the town, the college, the state, and also for me. “I knew little at the time, but I loved running and physiology. The Trials pointed me in my life’s direction.

JUST ABOUT EVERY RUNNER IN ALAMOSA WAS CONCERNED ABOUT DEHYDRATION

Almost none had run long distances in high altitude, desert conditions. Also, the importance of healthy hydration was a new concern for marathoners. It had been discussed little before Gatorade was invented at Florida State University in 1965. Marathoners obsessed over their training and their shoes, but not much more.

Then Costill, barely older at 32 than many of the runners he studied, undertook to weigh a handful of top finishers at the 1968 Boston Marathon. They lost an average of 7 to 8 pounds. After this, runners began paying more attention to hydration. They figured that the less weight (water) they lost in the Alamosa race, the better they would perform.

Ed Winrow, 30, should have known more about dehydration than any of the other Alamosa marathoners. He had just spent three years in Costill’s lab, earning a masters degree in exercise physiology. (Thesis title: “Effects of footwear weight on energy expenditure during distance running.” He wore a pair of stripped-down Puma shoes in the Trials).

But for reasons that still elude him, Winrow didn’t drink enough, losing 10 pounds in the marathon. “That was my stupid mistake number two in Alamosa,” he remembers. Costill designed special bottles for Winrow to use; they trapped all unconsumed fluids after Winrow discarded them. “How much do you think you drank from each bottle,” Costill asked after the race.

“A lot, just about all of it,” Winrow responded. But the bottles revealed that he had taken just 3 ounces. Winrow cramped badly over the last 10 miles, just as he had begun to gain ground on the fourth-place runner, Steve Matthews.

Winrow was one of the earliest arrivals in Alamosa, moving into a Joe Vigil apartment (previously occupied by Ron Clarke) in early June. Surveying the other runners as they arrived in town, he judged that he had a solid shot at the top-three. He didn’t think the track runners would endure the distance, and he had won several National AAU distance titles in the last year or two. “I had a very positive attitude,” he recalls. “I thought, absolutely, I have a good chance to make the team.”

Stupid mistake number one quickly derailed his plans. He started too slow, latching onto Tom Laris, who eventually dropped out. Winrow paid no attention to the race itself. “We were practically walking the first lap,” he says. “We were back near Bob Deines. I had no Plan B, just a Laris plan. I should have run closer to the front.” He moved up later, but then came the cramps.

Bill Clark’s experience paralleled Winrow’s. Clark started as one of the Trials marathon favorites after placing second at Boston in April and winning the first Olympic Trials 10,000 meters in Los Angeles in late June. (It later turned out that this event wasn’t an actual selection race, and Clark didn’t make the Olympic team.) In Alamosa, he ran the first 10 miles with the slow pack, thinking, “This is the smart place to be. The guys up front are going out too hard. No one knows how the altitude’s going to affect us.”

The next 10 miles, he moved steadily upward. At the end of four laps (20.8 miles), someone told him he had covered the last lap faster than anyone else. He was now about 70 seconds behind Daws and Matthews, who occupied third and fourth. “That got me excited,” Clark remembers. “Five miles to go. I thought I could do it.”

He had failed to account for dehydration, however. Clark drank little on the course, lost 11 pounds, and ran out of steam at 22 miles. “It turned into a death march,” he says. “I slowed 30 seconds per mile, and felt like I couldn’t lift my legs. I stopped looking ahead, and started listening for footsteps coming up from behind.” Clark finished ninth in 2:36:14.

During his month in the Adams State dorm, Clark took a liking to the ice cream in the Student Union and a particular server who worked there. Ellen Moranville, about to enter her senior year at Adams State, couldn’t understand how someone could eat a triple-scoop cone every evening while remaining as skinny as Clark. She and a friend, Chris Palette, were themselves putting in up to five miles a day--highly unusual in 1968 in a backwards, Western outpost--encouraged and tutored by Joe Vigil.

The Alamosa Organizing Committee named Palette the “marathon queen” and Ellen one of her two princesses. On race day, the three begowned and white-gloved lovelies traveled the entire 26.2 mile course ahead of the runners in an open-air convertible waving to the (sparse) crowds. “I laugh like crazy when I look back at the photos, and remember that day,” Ellen says. The following February, she and Bill Clark were married. They’ll celebrate 50 years together in early 2019.

Daws had never tasted a Gatorade until a week before the Trials when he and Winrow did a 26 miler together. They stopped at 20 to try the new beverage. It settled well in Daws system, and he finished the run feeling strong, so he decided to use Gatorade on race day. He was too smart to rely entirely on Gatorade, however. He didn’t want to have a roiling gastrointestinal tract ruin his chances.

“I chose it every third stop, selecting plain water the rest of the time,” Daws wrote. “My main concern was whether Gatorade would upset my stomach.” Even though he consumed some fluids every 2.5 miles en route, Daws recorded that he lost 9 lbs during the marathon, dropping from 147 to 136.

While most of the marathoners drank water and Gatorade, Moore stuck to his preferred Cokes. These were handed to him by Los Alamos friends who traveled to Alamosa for the marathon. He had picked up the cola habit years earlier when he and his Oregon roommate, Bruce Mortenson, began their exploration of long weekend runs. They added a mile here, a mile there, until they reached 30 miles at a time. Bowerman not only tolerated the aberrant training behavior, but often drove alongside the duo. When they got thirsty, he’d duck into the next little store to buy a couple of Cokes.

“That was when I found that a Coke seemed to give me a lift after a few minutes,” says Moore. He later taught the trick to Frank Shorter, who famously drank Cokes during his victorious run in the 1972 Munich Olympic Marathon.
Moore figured he had another advantage in the Alamosa sun. “I can guarantee I wore the lightest singlet and shorts,” he says. It seems that Bowerman, famous for tinkering with footwear, also had a penchant for apparel. He made Moore an outfit with the thinnest film of Oregon material.

Just a college sophomore “with dreams of marathoning” when he first hit 30 miles on a training run, Moore says the distance held a mystical appeal because he had read that Edelen logged several 30s prior to running his 2:14:38 in 1963. Edelen also forced himself through hard interval workouts, such as 30 repeats of 400 meters. Absorbing what seemed a clear lesson, Moore determined that his own career would be based on long runs balanced by appropriate speedwork with sufficient recovery interspersed.

Thirty-two-year-old exercise physiologist Dave Costill arrived two days before the Trials with several physician colleagues. Earlier in the year, Costill had begun some of the first heat and dehydration studies with competitive marathoners. He had studied them in his basement lab at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and at the Boston Marathon. “We had so little basic information about marathoners back then,” he recalls. “We were eager to collect EKGs on the Alamosa runners, and body composition measurements, and to do more pre- and post-marathon weigh-ins. Fortunately, all the runners in Alamosa were enthusiastic to participate. They wanted to learn more about their physiologies.”

Alamosa Costill body fat test

Exercise physiologist Dave Costill performs body-fat test on Alamosa Marathon Trials entrants.

Costill was particularly struck by the hydrations habits of his Adams State dorm-mate, the Irish American marathoner Jim McDonagh. McDonagh had a case of beer on his dresser, and regularly drank a six-pack-a-day. Before retiring for the night, he’d also enjoy a “wee little nip of whiskey.” This habit extended to the night before the Trials. The next day, McDonagh placed 20th in 2:46:30. No one questioned his approach to hydration.

On race day, Costill wanted to supply water and other fluids to runners in the first few miles. However, AAU officials stopped him, saying they had to enforce the rules of the era--no drinks until the 10K mark. “Of course, that was too late,” Costill observes. “In the warm, dry conditions, the runners were already overheated and dehydrated.” His pre- and post-race weigh ins revealed a average loss of 13.4 pounds per Trials subject.

ON LAPS TWO, THREE, AND FOUR, THE TOP RUNNERS GRADUALLY SORTED THEMSELVES OUT

Moore continued running near the front, while Young began moving up, especially on the fourth lap after Mills opted to abandon the effort. “George, my back is killing me. I can’t keep going,” Mills said to his friend. “But if you’re feeling good, you can pick up the pace now.”

Daws? He just kept running those methodical 5:45 miles, most of the time completely on his own, separated from the other small packs. It’s hard to imagine anyone could have prepared better in the last five weeks. Daws’ training log shows that he ran five successive Sunday runs of 27 miles, 22, 30, 30, and 26 (seven days before the Trials), often in sweat clothes to prepare himself for the coming dehydration-fest (Winrow did the same.) Midweek, Daws ran time trials on the course. When the last of these turned sour, he took a rare day off, and devised his 10 x one-mile workout.

Near the end of the fourth lap (20.8 miles), Daws’s entire lifetime of training, goal-setting, running philosophy and execution came together in a single moment. He looked up and spotted Steve Matthew just ahead of him. Matthews was running in third place. 

More than a decade later, Daws would write: “Running is made in men’s minds. It’s owning the feeling that no matter what, nothing can stop you.” This was his moment.

“Within the space of a few strides, I formulated my plan,” Daws recounted in The Self Made Olympian. “With the wind pushing us after the turn, I jumped him and attempted to build a lead in the next two and a half miles. But to make a break, I had to shift pace dramatically--a strategy that carried a high price at altitude. If I failed, it would reduce me to a tiring shield for Matthews.” 

Daws didn’t fail. He surged ahead of Matthews for good and finished a comfortable third (2:33:09) by more than a minute. He had averaged 5:50 per mile, amazingly close to his 5:45 goal pace, given the nasty conditions. Daws was now a self-selected Olympian. Talent is a great asset, but there are other considerations as well. Daws covered those other matters better than anyone. He also led the Twin Cities Track Club to the team title over the Southern California Striders and the Denver Track Club. 

Winrow recalls that he and Deines started the last lap together. However, Winrow was cramping and slowing, while Deines was picking up the pace. “I always ran my best marathons with negative splits,” says the LSD runner. Halfway through the final lap, he was running stronger than anyone else in the field. He grabbed a final Gatorade at about 23 miles, and sucked it down hard.

Too hard. “I got some fluid in my windpipe, and started coughing it up,” he remembers. “It broke my stride and slowed me down. It took a while to get going again, but I doubt I could have caught Daws anyway.”

With 600 remaining, Deines eased into fourth place when he passed Matthews, who offered no rebuke. Deines says he never saw Daws, and is certain the official results should show him and Matthews finishing in 2:34:13 and 2:34:17, not the 2:33s they were credited with. That still gives them a gap over the sixth-place Winrow. “People always say that fourth is the heartbreak position in the Olympic Trials, but I never felt that way,” says Deines. “I thought I ran really well, and was happy with fourth.” 

Alamosa photo Daws book

After marathon finish, Ron Daws (3rd place), on left, mingles with Steve Matthews (5th), Nick Kitt (7th) and George Young (1st).

At 21 miles, Moore held a big lead over all his American rivals. He knew he was assured an Olympic position as long as he ran smart to the finish. When dehydration led to hamstring cramping, he switched to a defensive plan. “Young caught me with about four miles left, and I let him go,” Moore recalls. “Third was as good as first, so I gingerly held second, with my legs twinging all the way. On the flat course, it was easy to keep an eye on the guys just behind. I wasn’t really exhausted at the end, but boy was I dehydrated.” He finished second in 2:31:47, almost a minute behind Young’s 2:30:48.

Later, the two encountered each other while showering in an Adams State locker room. Moore recalls that both were doubled over with cramps. “I can’t remember which of us said it, but we agreed if the race had been two miles longer, we wouldn’t have made the team.”

Although running his first marathon, and at an elite level, the reserved-but-cowboy-tough Young won the whole thing. It was just his second road race. Seven years earlier, while serving in the Army in Fort Lee, Virginia, he had entered his first road race--a 15K in Williamsburg. He remembers little of that event other than “a beautiful park-like course with lots of hills.” He won that race, too.

In Alamosa, once released by Mills, Young instinctively gave chase to the leaders. “I did a couple of double-fast strides, and cramped up right away,” he recalls. “After that, I just tried to run steady.” In reality, that’s exactly what he did; he maintained pace better than the others.

The last several miles, Young admits, he felt “pretty tired.” That wasn’t the worst of it. Chugging toward the finish line, he couldn’t suppress the thought: “What have I done to myself? Now I have to run another one of these things in Mexico City.”

Alamosa Rock Plaque 68 Trials

POSTSCRIPT:

George Young, now 81, won a bronze medal in the Mexico City 3000-meter steeplechase, and placed 16th (2:31:15) in the marathon. After retiring from running for several years, he made a comeback and qualified for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team at 5000 meters. It was his fourth consecutive Olympic team. He still lives in Arizona.


Kenny Moore,
74, ran with Bikila and Wolde during the early miles of the Mexico City Marathon, but his race was sabotaged by athletic tape that bunched up in his shoes, causing massive blisters. He passed Young just outside the stadium, and finished 14th (2:29:50). He believes he might have finished as high as fourth except for the blisters. Four years later, he placed fourth in the Munich Olympic Marathon. He wrote an article about that race for Sports Illustrated, and launched a brilliant career at SI. No one has covered as many great athletes and running events as Moore. He also wrote the definitive book, Bowerman and The Men of Oregon, about his college coach. He lives in Oregon and Hawaii.

After the Alamosa race, Moore got to meet Buddy Edelen for the first time. “It was emotionally gratifying to shake hands with Buddy afterward, and to say how I’d been inspired by his 2:14,” he remembers. “I hoped I could carry that great legacy on. I hope I have.” In 1969, Moore ran 2:13:28 in Japan to better Edelen’s American record. An athlete can pay no greater honor to a revered predecessor.

Ron Daws finished 22nd (2:33:53) in Mexico City, where he roomed with Moore, and continued his idiosyncratic behavior. Moore remembers that Daws slept on the floor and turned his bed springs vertical to serve as a drying rack for his sweaty running clothes. On the Olympic training track, Young and Moore ran repeat 800s in about 2:08. Daws did the same workout, but covered the two lappers in 2:30. Daws died from a heart attack in 1992 at age 55.

Bob Deines, 71, set an American record for 50 miles two years after Alamosa. He covered the distance in 5:15:20 (6:18/mile pace). A year later, he began to suffer from persistent injury problems, and retired to a quiet rural life in northern California. Last November, Deines trained for a half marathon and ran 2:06:23, but soon developed injuries again.

Efforts to locate Steve Matthews have failed.

Ed Winrow, 80, lives on Long Island with Hodgkin disease and crystal-clear memories of many events from the Alamosa summer of 1968.

Bill and Ellen Clark live in California, where Bill, 74, rides his bicycle 140 miles a week. Ellen hopes to run the Alamosa Reunion 8K. She has a marathon PR of 3:16.

Buddy Edelen died from cancer in 1997 at age 60.

Pat McMahon, 76, finished second in the 1971 Boston Marathon, six seconds behind winner Alvaro Mejia.

Dave Costill, 82, is a world-renowned exercise physiologist and champion age-group swimmer still living in Indiana.

Joe Vigil, born and raised in Alamosa, is 88. His energy, generosity, and commitment to lifelong-learning continue to amaze all who know him.

Research note: The author would like to thank Michael Musca for freely sharing an email interview he conducted with Kenny Moore in 2007.

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