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Butler, PA. 10k 1979, Maybe 25,000 people.
David Dehart 17 36:41 was 86th place. 594 finishers and 159 broke 40:00. Doug Grauel who was 14 and a nieghboring rival ran 33:30 to win the 14 and under age group. 52 people ran 35:00 or better. A 32:49 got you 21st place. In April of the same year in a dual meet against another small school, my brother who was a sophomore ran 4:53 in the 1600m and was 9th. The other team put 7 guys under 4:53 and most of us ran 3 events. Most of these schools graduated 85-150 kids a class. Our biggest sport rival for participation was the rifle teams….the ones you actually shot rifles in competition.
I ran the Wheeling 20k when I was 17 and finished 109th with a 1:14:43. Hal Higdon was 47 and placed 61st with a 1:11:36. Some clown named Rodgers won it and a guy who won Boston was 11th….Jack Fultz who was from Oil City, PA. 40th was in 1:09:37. I ran this race in 1998 in about 1:29:30 and I was in the top 100. That Rodgers guy finished ahead of me again.
Rodgers came in and sat beside me in 78' or 79' at the awards banquet and I was bewildered. 19 years later I bump into him after the race and we talk for several minutes. He told me, “How's your running going? We've meet here before haven't we?” Must have been his standard line, but I was on cloud nine. I've spoke with Bill 3 times in total. He sat down and streched with me and my buddy at the International Peace Race 25k around 78'.
One year at the 25k a few of us went tearing out so we could see ourselves on TV. I kept exchanging elbows with some guy who wanted by (I thought he wanted my TV spot) and after a short while I let him through. It was Randy Thomas who missed the American record by 3 seconds that day.