Growing up around my dad, I heard a lot of great stories about his competitors and watched a lot of old black and white films of his races. A name that was synonymous with dad's back in the late 1960s was Marty Liquori.
In three consecutive years, 1965, 1966 and 1967, three American high school boys ran under 4 minutes: Jim Ryun, Tim Danielson and Marty Liquori. A lot of people forget that the race that Marty broke 4 minutes in was the race where dad broke his WR in the mile, running 3:51.1.
When one thinks of the great footraces in track and field history, one has to think of Bannister versus Landy or Bayi versus Walker and Ovett versus Coe.
Then there is, of course, the Dream Mile of 1971 and Ryun versus Liquori, the rubber match of their 1969 NCAA Mile duels, dad winning indoors, Marty winning outdoors.
At a time when track and field was at its zenith, the eyes of the nation were on Philadelphia and the Martin Luther King Games where dad and Marty Liquori were to face off in a battle of the mile titans. The race itself, with all the "pre-game" hype did not disappoint and the finishing stretch kick was immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated (see below).
Marty was ranked the #1 miler in the world in 1969 and 1971, running his lifetime mile PR of 3:52.2 in 1975 behind Filbert Bayi's 3:51.0, a time that broke dad's World Record. In 1977, he ran 13:15 to set the American Record at 5,000m.
I had the chance to chat with Marty a few weeks ago for this episode of The Art of Running and he was gracious enough to give me 30 minutes of his time. The result of that time is this podcast. Enjoy!