Former Ashland track star’s HS Mile “record” remembered
Collegiate and high school Mile race denies mark, keeps Louis Zamperini's HS record "unbroken" for 19 years
By Keith Sharon, The Oregonian
Sometime after Christmas, an old man in Vancouver plans to drag his creaky bones to the movies.
"Unbroken," the story of track star / war hero Louis Zamperini opening on Christmas Day, will be a big hit by then. The old man, no doubt, will smile when he sees it, as he reflects on his tiny connection to the Zamperini story — a connection that even people in his hometown of Ashland might find difficult to remember.
George Fullerton, 85, didn't even know his connection to the story until his daughter Candace Spiro told him. I met him at Ginger Pop, the Thai restaurant in Vancouver. He had a warm bowl of soup.
"Ask me to tell you about a notion I have," Fullerton said.
He wasn't talking about his thoughts on Zamperini or the movie.
"The notion is my secret to long life," Fullerton said to me as I sat across the table from him at lunch. "It's just a notion. But remember to ask me when we're done."
About a year ago, Candace was reading Laura Hillenbrand's spectacular book "Unbroken," on which Angelina Jolie's film is based, when she came to the section about Zamperini's incredible record in the Mile run while he was at Torrance High School in Southern California.
The book explained that Zamperini set the all-time high school record for the Mile by running a 4:21.2 in 1934. That record stood, the book indicates, for almost two decades until it was broken by Bob Seaman of Reedley, California in 1953.
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