The 52 memorable San Diego sports moments: #50, indoor Mile world record
“The track has a reputation of being a fast one, and that gave me a psychological advantage. And the crowd gave me a big lift.” - Eamonn Coghlan, The Chairman of the Boards
By John Maffei, San Diego Union Tribune
Tucked away in the bowels of the San Diego Sports Arena, there was a spike-worn, plywood track that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
And while it wasn’t pretty, it was FAST, producing some of the best indoor track times in the world.
Partly because of his success on that track, Irishman Eamonn Coghlan earned the nickname “The Chairman of the Boards.”
On Feb. 16, 1979, Coghlan set the indoor world record in the Mile, running 3:52.6, breaking the record by more than 2 seconds.
Steve Scott finished second and fellow American Steve Lacy third.
Scott (3:54.1) and Lacy (3:54.7) also ran faster than the existing world record.
Two years later, on the same tattered boards in San Diego, Coghlan ran 3:50.6, to better his world record.
“I knew the race was going to be tremendously fast,” Coghlan said after the race in ’79. “The track has a reputation of being a fast one, and that gave me a psychological advantage.
“And the crowd gave me a big lift.”
In those days, track was king and nearly 11,000 people were on hand to see Coghlan and Scott battle it out. And they were screaming with every stride of the runners.
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