Mile News


How Hungarians Launched America’s Greatest Track Era

January 27, 2014

Mihály Iglói's coaching led to brilliant U.S. racing.

By Rich Elliott, Running Times

On the night of Feb. 10, 1962, the world of distance running shifted on its axis.

The scene was the Los Angeles Sports Arena. American miler Jim Beatty was racing in the featured event of the night, the mile, along with two of his Los Angeles Track Club (LATC) teammates, László Tábori and Jim Grelle. The race was a carefully planned assault on the world indoor record of 4:01.4.

The veteran Tábori hit the first quarter perfectly. Beatty led the second quarter, coming through the half in 1:59.6. Grelle muscled the third quarter, and then with a quarter to go, Beatty floored it. The fans in the packed arena leapt to their feet and roared. A tidal wave of sound brought Beatty home in a record 3:58.9, the first indoor sub-4:00 mile.

This world record in the mile signaled the first big success of the Los Angeles Track Club, a gang that would usher in the glory days of American distance running. Some of the LATC runners, and the runners they influenced, would set world records. Two would win Olympic gold medals. For a while, American distance runners would become, arguably, the best in the world. They would inspire generations of runners and coaches. And they would leave us with a persistent longing to return to the mountaintop.

The irony is that the breakthrough in American distance running in the 1960s may not have happened at all, if not for an unlikely series of events--a political uprising thousands of miles away, a critical decision by a brilliant Hungarian coach and his gifted protégé, and ultimately the formation of an ambitious new track club in America. It is a story best told by those alive today who were part of that running revolution: four former members of the LATC--Tábori, Beatty, Bob Schul and Joe Douglas--and one runner inspired by the club, Billy Mills.

Continue reading at: www.runningtimes.com

Tags: los angeles track club (2) , laszlo tabori (4) , jim grelle (7) , jim beatty (9)

Facebook Comments

Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

ELEVATE
Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

CELEBRATE
Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

NATIONAL MOVEMENT
Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!