The Ryun vs. Liquori Duels
Mile legends & Olympians, the Ali-Frazier of the track world, produced some epic races vs. each other
By Villanova Running
So far as I am aware, Marty Liquori and Jim Ryun raced each other a total of eight times. Ryun won the first four races. The fifth race -- the 1969 NCAA Indoor Championships in Detroit -- was a photo finish, with Ryun declared the winner, but Liquori still believing years later that he had in fact won. The final three races were won by Liquori, punctuated by the 1971 Dream Mile that landed Liquori and Ryun on the cover of Sports Illustrated. I don't believe they ever faced each other again. Here are the eight races:
1. June 1967 at the Compton Relays in Los Angeles: Jim Ryun, a 20-year-old rising junior at the University of Kansas and already the world record holder at 880 yards, wins the Mile race. Liquori, a senior at Essex Catholic in New Jersey and a few months short of enrolling at Villanova, was chasing his first sub-4:00 Mile. He had run a 4:04.4 at the Penn Relays that spring and was in California on a three-race swing in search of fast races. At Compton, Liquori came closer to achieving his goal, coming third in 4:01.1. A few days later, in San Diego, Liquori ran 4:00.1 and beat his future Villanova teammate Dave Patrick. In his next race versus Ryun, a few days later on June 23rd in Bakersfield, Liquori would achieve his goal.
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