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Track and Field History with Jesse Squire

Track and Field History with Jesse Squire

Track and Field History - a podcast from the CITIUS MAG Podcast Network - will go back and explore some of the best athletes, races and more from the world's greatest sport. Hosted by Jesse Squire.
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Revisiting Running Movies: 'On the Edge' Starring Bruce Dern
The podcast returns to take a dive into the 1985 film "On The Edge" starring Bruce Dern.  From Rotten Tomatoes: "Banned from competition 20 years ago for exposing payoffs in amateur athletics, former long-distance runner Wes Holman (Bruce Dern) decides to enter the Cielo-Sea Race, a punishing, mountainous footrace in the Pacific Northwest. The competition has bested many younger runners, but by seeking the help of his old coach (John Marley) and reconnecting with his ex-lover (Pam Grier) and father (Bill Bailey), the middle-aged Wes may be ready to take on more than a race." ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
January 03, 2022
The Early-70s International Track Association
Things like the American Track League and its recent string of meets are rare and a huge logistical undertaking. In United States history, I can think of another time when something simpler and similar has happened. I'm thinking of the International Track Association that launched in March 1973. It featured the likes of Lee Evans, Bob Seagren, Jim Ryun, Richmond Flowers, Marty Liquori, Randy Matson and founder Mike O'Hara. ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
February 02, 2021
Sportswriter Ken Goe Reflects on 43 Years At The Oregonian And Covering Track & Field
Jesse Squire sits down with Ken Goe – a sportswriter for The Oregonian for 43 years who just announced his retirement a few weeks ago. He’s got deep ties covering track and field since he was assigned the beat as he first got his start at the paper. He takes us through those early days in his career and the evolution he’s seen in the sport since. That and some thoughts on the state of the sport’s future. ✩ Follow Ken Goe: ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
November 23, 2020
The Marathon of Hate: Behind the Bowling Green-Toledo Rivalry
On Wednesday, November 4, the Bowling Green – Toledo rivalry will be renewed with its 85th football game. To celebrate this I will run from Doyt Perry Stadium, the home of the BG Falcons, to the Glass Bowl, the home of the UT Rockets. The course is 26.2 miles and the run will be known as The Marathon Of Hate. If you’re a runner you won’t ask why I’m running 26.2 miles. You know there isn’t any particularly good reason other than that I want to. But why am I so invested in this rivalry? Now that’s a much better question. For this episode of the podcast, I got together with my friend Sean Pennywitt to discuss our own history with the rivalry. He went to Toledo and I went to Bowling Green. ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
October 30, 2020
Ekidens In America: Behind the Michigan Pro Ekiden And Race Innovation
"The club cross country championships are popular because of the team aspect. I can speak to this because when I owned my running stores (Big River Running Co.) we used to send our team (Big River Racing Team) to Clubs and it was our chance to re-live our high school and college glory days. You put on the spikes. You huddle up as a team before the race. You run the race. It kind of reminded you of the national meet back in the day when you'd go party afterward because it was the end of the season. We'd get together for workouts in the weeks leading up to the race. It was great. I think that the same atmosphere can be achieved in an ekiden. I know it can because I just witnessed it yesterday with that same kind of camaraderie." Hoka One One Northern Arizona Elite head coach Ben Rosario discusses the Michigan Pro Ekiden that was held at Stony Creek Metro Park in Michigan this week. For those unfamiliar with the ekiden racing style, it's super popular in Japan where a race consists of a multi-person road relay. In this case, it was six legs. Three men and three women covering the 26.2 mile-marathon distance with 10K, 6.1K and 5K legs. The NAZ team won in two hours, 10 minutes and 11 seconds. Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project took second in 2:12:08 and Minnesota Distance Elite rounded out the podium in 2:12:51. In this episode, you'll hear about how the race came together and where the ekiden style of racing could fit into the American distance running scene going forward as well as a little bit about race innovation amid the global pandemic, which has also led to Ben teaming up with a group to host The Marathon Project later this year. ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
October 23, 2020
A Lasting Message Of Hope: Terry Fox's Run Across Canada, 40 Years Later
Like many of you, I try to keep myself in shape by working out through running. I often need some sort of goal in my future to keep myself honest on following my workouts. Usually, that's a race. The problem is that no races have been held in the United States since early March and it doesn't appear as though we'll have any for a while yet. I need something else to keep myself honest. I needed something big enough that was a real actual challenge. Something popped up on my Facebook feed about three or four weeks ago. It was an event called The Big Canada Run – a virtual run across the width of Canada that starts in Saint John, Newfoundland and going all the way to Vancouver. That's 8,000 kilometers or 5,000 miles. Canada is a massive country and much larger than the United States.  The goal is to be able to do this in a year. It's intended for teams of people to do together because that's nearly 100 miles a week for an entire year. There are Olympians that don't run that much. Let alone, people approaching 50 years old with full-time jobs. I signed up with a couple of guys. This is not the first time that anyone has attempted to run across Canada. A week ago, CITIUS MAG tweeted out: "Without saying their name, what is your favorite runner known for?" It was assumed that my favorite runner was Dave Wottle, the Olympic champion who ran at my alma mater but it's not. It's not Kip Keino, the two-time Olympic champion out of Kenya and tremendous humanitarian. It's not Emil Zatopek – one of the most successful and well-loved people of all-time. It's not Joan Samuelson or Grete Waitz even. It was a man, who without identifying by name, I just retweeted it saying: “Today we got up at 4:00. As usual, it was tough.” Guest co-host: Andrea Grove-McDonough Consider donating to The Terry Fox Foundation – A single dream. A world of hope. The Terry Fox Story Terry Fox featured on ESPN Heritage Minutes: Terry Fox ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
July 29, 2020
Detroit's Unfulfilled Olympic Dreams
Quick question: Which city has the record for most Olympic bids without winning or hosting? The answer is Detroit. Detroit is now a cautionary tale of a city built on a single industry and how white flight can destroy an entire region. However, Detroit was once one of the most important and wealthy cities in America. It was either the fourth or fifth largest city behind only New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and then later Los Angeles. It rose through the auto industry. It had a lot of money and a broad middle class for a good portion of the 20th century. Detroit bid on every Summer Games from 1940 to 1972 and failed every time. These are the stories and reasons behind its failure. ✩ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
July 21, 2020
Don't Forget Earlene Brown
We're going to take a look at one of America's greatest and most forgotten competitors – Earlene Brown. She is the greatest American women's thrower of the 20th century. Four years ago, Michelle Carter won the women's shot put title at the Rio Olympics. She was the first American woman to win gold in that event at the Olympics. She was the first medalist since Brown in 1960. Brown is the only other woman to have won an Olympic shot put medal beside Carter.  In 1958, Brown finished the year ranked No. 1 in the world in the shot put. The only other American woman to do that is Carter.  She went on to win her bronze in the discus and finished 6th in the discus at the 1960 Olympics. Four years later, she finished 12th in the shot put at the 1964 Games. She became the first woman to compete in three Olympic shot puts. Not the first American woman but the first woman from anywhere in the world to accomplish the feat.  Then throwing ran its course for Brown...she moved on to another pro sport – roller derby. She stayed in that sport for 11 years. "When I was young I was ashamed of my size," she once said. "I never thought something of which I was ashamed -- my size and my strength -- could make me feel proud. But I am proud now."⁣ Here's a 1967 Interview with Brown: ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
July 09, 2020
Revisiting The Amazing Dr. Meriwether
It feels a bit uncomfortable for me to be blathering on about sports history with all that is going on in this nation right now. But no less a man than Pope John Paul II said “the dignity of the human person is the goal and criterion of all sporting activity”. And we desperately need humanity and dignity at the moment. So on we go. If you’re on Twitter and you like lighthearted takes on sports history you simply must follow Super 70s Sports, written by the fabulous Ricky Cobb. He does little to nothing with track and field though, so I take it upon myself to post some track items done in a similar style. A few days ago I posted a Sports Illustrated cover from February 22, 1971, with the comment “Dr. Del Meriwether. Because that really happened.”  What did I mean by that? ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
June 08, 2020
Ron Hill's Legacy Is Everywhere
If you run, jump or throw, it’s likely you have worn something that Ron Hill Sports has helped pioneer. This episode takes a look at Ron Hill, who is maybe best known as a marathon world record holder and definitely has a record-setting running streak, but you might not realize you wear his inventions every day. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
May 19, 2020
Jim Peters Deserves More Credit
I want to discuss a man who is largely not remembered a whole lot and certainly, many of today's younger runners probably haven't heard of him. He was an extremely important person in the history of long-distance running and marathoning. I'm talking about the British marathoner from the early 50s, Jim Peters. He did more to change the marathon than anyone before him or since him.  ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
May 11, 2020
One of The Most-Watched Sprint Races: Conrad vs. Kaplan Revisited
Let me tell you about one of the most-watched sprint races in history – at least in American history to an American audience. Sportswriter Bill Simmons calls it his favorite YouTube clip. It's not his favorite track and field YouTube clip or his favorite sports YouTube clip, it's just flat-out his favorite YouTube clip of all-time. To do this, we need to look back at the 1970s. That was the time of Olympic-style competition on television. To understand why, you have to think about the fact that there was much less television to be watched at the time. There were just three networks and cable TV was basically a non-entity. There was not a whole lot of televised sports. The NBA had one game a week. Major League Baseball had one game a week. Hockey was still a regional sport. The NCAA held a bit of control over how much basketball and football was broadcast on television. They kept a pretty tight lid on that. One of the few exceptions to this was the Olympics. They were a two-week-long celebration of sports on television. In 1968, there was live satellite coverage of Olympic competition for the first time. It also happened to be taking place in U.S. primetime. That happened again in 1976. ABC had lost its NBA TV contract to broadcast one game per week and they were looking for something else. A man named Dick Button had an idea. He wanted to take 10 athletes from 10 different sports and threw them all together in a decathlon-style competition. It was a hit so then they tried it with celebrities for the 1976 debut of Battle of the Network Stars. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
May 01, 2020
The Top 10 Greatest Canadian Track and Field Athletes Since World War II
Just about two weeks ago, the wonderful show "Schitt's Creek" came to an end after six seasons. The plot seems very topical because people who had lots, suddenly have nothing due to circumstances out of their control. All they have is each other and their family. That seems very timely. I was thinking about something that CBC (the show's originator) did many years ago. They put together an online poll about the best Canadians of all-time. Terry Fox ended up being No. 2 on that list. There were all kinds of different people there including actors and entertainers. The top-ranked actor was Mike Meyers in 2004. I was thinking that these days he wouldn't rank that high but Eugene Levy might crack the top 100 after the end of Schitt's Creek. That made me start thinking about how I would rank the top Canadian track and field athletes of all-time? How would that come together and what would it look like? I went back and did a lot of research to compile a top 10. I do have to qualify some things...I'm focusing on post-World War II and not as far back in history because the sport is so vastly different that it's hard to compare. Also, anyone that was caught up in the Charle Francis and Ben Johnson doping ring has been disqualified. Chris Chavez asked me about someone like Moh Ahmed and I noted to him that I prioritized multiple world championship and Olympic medalists combined with longtime excellence. Another great athlete who might miss the cut, as a result, is someone like pole vault world champion Shawn Barber. Give the show a listen to catch my Top 10... ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
April 23, 2020
When College Track and Field Had Much Less Money
One of the things that I find very useful for history – especially while looking at track and field history – is looking at the past and allowing it to educate us on how we got to where we are now, how things changed and what we can learn from the past. Most recently, a very important point has been raised that we may have significantly less money to play around with than we used to...quite a bit less money. How that's going to play out is anybody's guess right now. Just a little over a week ago, USA Track and Field president Vin Lananna (who is also the head coach at the University of Virginia) tweeted: "All NCAA track and field coaches should be thinking and planning a fiscally responsible way to conduct our sport.  Our student athletes are counting on us." What does that mean? We might not have that answer yet but I can tell you about how college track teams used to set up their schedules in the past when they had much less money to spend than they do now. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
April 16, 2020
The Influence of Don Canham
This week I talk about the influence of Don Canham. He was an NCAA champion high jumper for the University of Michigan, then the Wolverine head track coach for two decades, and then the athletic director for another two decades. He was a president of the USTFCCCA. He co-founded the USTFF which fought the AAU for control of track and field in the USA. He served as a coach for national teams – including the very first Kenyan Olympic team. He created the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and made them profitable.  After moving on to the AD job, he pioneered most of the ways in which the largest universities earn massive revenues, which has the knock-on effect of increasing budgets for other sports such as track and field and cross country. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
April 13, 2020
Joan Benoit Samuelson: The Greatest American Distance Runner of All-Time
This week, released a bracket of 64 runners to determine the greatest American distance runner of all-time. It had 32 men's nominees and 32 women's nominees. They'll play it out over the next couple weeks to determine who the greatest of all-time is. I thought, 'This is a really hard thing to determine because there's so many different things, especially when you're looking at distance running.'  We have outdoor track, indoor track, road running, cross country and the Olympics get the limelight of attention. I believe just six Americans have been Olympic champions at distances of 1,500 meters or longer in the last 100 years so that's a big deal. But there's so many other things and so many ways of looking at it with times, competitions, winning streaks. Let's talk about some of these things. One of these nominees set world records for every road distance from the 12K all the way up to the marathon. That's incredible dominance. One of these nominees had a three-year win streak at all distances farther than 10,000 meters. That's incredible dominance to be able to win that much against the best in the world for three straight years.  One of these nominees had both tremendous longevity and ability across a wide range of distances because this nominee earned Track and Field News world rankings (that's top 10) at every distance from 3,000 meters up to the marathon over a 25 year span.  You could look at records. One of these nominees held both the American and half marathon and full marathon record – each of them for more than 20 years.  How about odd and unusual accomplishments? One of these nominees won a major marathon and set the collegiate 10,000 meter record both in the same spring. One of these nominees was the leading runner on a U.S. team that won gold at the world cross country championships – there haven't been very many of those either.  So how do you determine which one is the best? It does become a lot easier when you realize that there's one person who has combined all of those things that I talked about. That person is of course, Joan Samuelson. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
April 09, 2020
One of the Sport's Greatest Rivalries: Marty Liquori vs. Jim Ryun
Episode 2 of the Track & Field History podcast takes a look at one of the great individual rivalries not only in track & field but in all of sports: Jim Ryun vs Marty Liquori. All nine of their head-to-head matchups took place between 1967 and 1971, the last of which was known as the "Dream Mile" and had as much hype as a title fight. Ryun was the first high schooler to ever run a sub-4:00 mile and became the world's best as a high school senior. Few dominated the mile as he did in 1966 and '67 -- but two years later he was a mere mortal again and faced a fast-rising Liquori, who in 1967 became the third American high schooler under 4:00 and in '68 became the youngest Olympic 1500 finalist ever. I discuss the rivalry with John Jarvis, a central Ohio teacher and coach who guided Andrew Jordan to high school All-American status. YouTube video of the 1971 Dream Mile: Recommended Read: The Ryun vs. Liquori Duels by Villanova Running Runner's World Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori chat: ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: |
April 06, 2020
Why Jim Bush Was The Greatest College Coach of All-Time
"The things that he did for track and field are just too much to put into words. Besides building one of the best track facilities in the entire country – it still is one of the best track facilities in the countries, he then started up invitational meets to put together the best collegians and post-collegiates. Usually, these were sponsored by Pepsi and it was just known as the Pepsi Invitational. It started in the late 70s and that meet went on until it finally ran out of gas at about 1990 or 1991. Those meets brought in more than 10,000 fans every year. Drake Stadium hosted several U.S. Championships in the 1970s. He finally passed away in 2017 at the age of 90 after battling prostate cancer. As far as a man that had an effect on both growing the sport in terms of competitive level and in terms of fan interest, nobody did it better than Jim Bush." To kick off the Track and Field History podcast, Jesse floated out the question: "Your pick for greatest ever college T&F/XC coach?" He explains why he picked UCLA head coach Jim Bush.
April 01, 2020
Introducing Track and Field History with Jesse Squire
Track and Field History is a new podcast from the CITIUS MAG Podcast Network, where Jesse Squire will re-visit, examine and inform listeners about the greatest athletes, races and moments from the world's greatest sport. ▶ Follow CITIUS MAG: | | ✩ Connect with Jesse and the show via Email: | 
March 21, 2020