If you were to assemble a list of individuals who were responsible for the United States running boom during the 1970s, Frank Shorter’s name would surely be near the top. While other American running icons like Steve Prefontaine and Jim Ryun often get mentioned as the forerunners in that social movement, it was Shorter who experienced the greatest amount of success in international competition. He was the world’s top ranked marathon runner for three consecutive years (1971-1973). Look at the fastest marathon performances for 2013 and you will not find a runner from a country other than Ethiopia or Kenya in the top 25. Nor will you find an American anywhere near that top 100 list. In fact, Jason Hartman’s American best time of 2:12:12 for 2013 (4th place finisher at April’s Boston Marathon) is nearly two minutes slower than Shorter’s marathon feats over four decades ago.
Shorter will be at Spartanburg Day School on the evening of Friday, September 6 to speak with runners before start of the 30th Annual Eye Opener Cross Country Meet. He is scheduled to appear at 6:00p.m. inside the Webster Athletic Complex (1701 Skylyn Drive, Spartanburg, 29307- across from Mary Black Hospital). There is no admission charge or reservations required for the event, but coaches are asked to notify director, Jack Todd, if they intend to bring their entire team.
The running events at the Eye Opener meet will kick off Friday evening at 6:30p.m. with the collegiate women, followed by the men’s side at 7:00p.m. The meet will resume on Saturday morning with the high school athletes, first with the International Girls and Boys divisions.
Saturday’s race schedule:
- 8:00 a.m. International Girls
- 8:30 a.m. International Boys
- 9:00 a.m. Championship Girls
- 9:30 a.m. Championship Boys
- 10:00 a.m. Junior Varsity Girls
- 10:30 a.m. Junior Varsity Boys
The races will be held at The Roger Milliken Arboretum which was the site of the 1995 NCAA Division II National Championships as well as the 2008 and 2010 National Junior College Championships. All race divisions will run on a 5K course except the collegiate men who will race the 8K.
Shorter will be at Saturday’s meet to sign autographs and to converse with runners.
Shorter’s contributions to the world of American distance running are endless. He was the 1972 gold medal winner in the marathon at the Munich Olympics. In 1976, he earned an Olympic silver in the marathon at the Montreal Summer Games. Shorter was a member of the historic Florida Track Club while attending law school in Gainesville. The club included many running luminaries like Jack Bacheler and Jeff Galloway. Greenville Track Club Elite coach, Mike Caldwell, and Pace Magazine executive editor, Dave Milliman, were also members of the Florida Track Club back when it was a national powerhouse in the sport of distance running.
Shorter last came to the South Carolina Upstate in 2007 when he attended the 2007 Blue Shoes 5K at Furman University in Greenville. There, he spoke about his famed running career and then participated in the 5K that same weekend.
Other running legends who have come to Greenville in recent years include Jeff Galloway (guest speaker at the 2011 Spinx Run Fest Expo) and former mile world record holder, Jim Ryun. Ryun spoke at Buncombe Street United Methodist Church and Riverside High School in June 2012.
Frank Shorter’s Personal Records:
- Mile- 4:02.6 (1974)
- 2 Miles (indoors)- 8:26.2 (1971)
- 3 Miles- 12:52.0 (1974)
- 5000 Meters- 13:26.60 (1977)
- 10000 Meters- 27:45.91 (1975)
- Marathon- 2hr 10min 30 sec (1972)
Visit the Eye Opener meet page for more information: http://eyeopenerxc.com/