19 November 2010

Wes Santee

5.00am  10.60KM Roo+Lake  44m29  (4m12 K's)

37mm of rain yesterday! Still very overcast this morning still warm and humid!
There were some roos on the pathway today, they waited for me to get right up to them before they decided to hop out of the way! (I must appear inoffensive!) Because the pathway was bounded by a stone retaining wall the roos had to bounce along beside me for about a 100m before they could make a break for the safety of the golf course. Deliberately tried to take things easy today and felt marginally better than yesterday.
My old Coach Alf Wilkins sent me this piece which I believe is probably written by Dave Cocksedge. An interesting tale of Wes Santee beating a 28 Man relay team over 14 miles by himself!!!
Wes Santee (4:00.5 for a mile in 1954) once raced a relay team of 28 of his fraternity colleagues in a 14 miles road race - and he beat them all by 150 yards. Santee died last week, aged 78.

Here's the interview segment:
Is the story true that you raced your fraternity brothers in a 14-mile road race, where you ran solo against what amounted to a relay team of your fraternity?

Wes Santee: 'After I finished 36th in the National Cross Country Champs (I won in 1953) and I returned to Lawrence, Kansas, my fraternity brothers met me at the airport with a sarcastic 'Hello 36th' sign, to which I responded, “I could outrun all of you.”
'That became a kidding subject until we set up a race from Tonganixe, Kansas to Lawrence, of 14 miles. They each ran 880 yards (28 of them) and I ran alone all the way, finishing in 1 hour 14 minutes (74 minutes). This turned out to be a big event: people drove out from Lawrence and turned around to follow the race and with four to five miles to go, all the highways were blocked and no traffic could move until the race was over. Hundreds of people backed up the intersection in town to see the finish. I won by 150 yards and as there were five other trackmen in the fraternity I had to build a lead in order to beat them. The race was covered in almost all national and local newspapers.'

Note: Santee ran the 5000m at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and believed that he would have won the 1500m at those Games if he had been allowed by AAU officials to race that distance at the US Olympic Trials. Roger Bannister, John Landy and Wes Santee were engaged in the well-publicised 3-way 'race' in 1953/54 to become the first man to run a mile inside four minutes. But Santee, (who later became a US Marine Colonel) says that he was told that under domestic AAU rules he could NOT be blatantly paced in the way that Dr Bannister was at Oxford on 6 May 1954, when he clocked 3:59.4... i.e. during that period, Santee ran times of 4:00.5, 4:00.6 and 4:00.7 for a mile in separate races ON HIS OWN.


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