Monday, December 5, 2011

Buddy Edelen- One of America's Best Distance Runners You Never Heard Of

OK so maybe you have heard of Buddy Edelen, and if so, then you can appreciate what a special talent this guy was.

How can it be that an American who set the world best time in the marathon (In 1963 he ran 2:14:38) does not get mentioned among the greats? Edelen was also the first American under 30 minutes in the 10K and 2hr 20min in the marathon- two very significant distance running milestones.

Edelen won the 1960 US Olympic Marthon Trials in 90 plus degree heat by THREE MILES! Perhaps as a result of that race or not allowing a proper recovery, a bad case of sciatica prevented him from competing for a medal in Tokyo, yet he still managed to capture 6th.

Check out his training diary prior to his marathon world best- amazing! (from South Dakota Runner)

June 1: 3 sets of 10 x 110-120 yard sprints (30 in all), followed by a swim
June 2: 10-11 miles steady, followed by a swim
June 3: 22-23 miles in 2:03-2:04, followed by a swim
June 4: 3.5 miles; 7 x sprint series of 55-110-150-220; 3.5 miles
June 5: 10.5-11 miles in 54-55 minutes.
June 6: A.M.-6 miles hard; P.M.-4 sets of 5 x 440 in 64.8, with 220 to 440 jog recovery between: "Tremendous workout."
June 7: 20 x 440 in 70-71, with a 45-second jog recovery between
June 8: Club track meet: mile in 4:23; 880 in 2:07; 110 leg on sprint relay
June 9: 22-23 miles in 2:01, followed by swim: "I am less stiff after today's run than I have been in ages."
June 10: 4.5 miles from school, then swim
June 11: A.M.-4.5 miles to school fast; P.M.-25 x 440 in 67.4, with 60-second jog recovery
June 12: A.M.-4.5 miles to school fast; P.M.-11 miles in 55-56 minutes, then swim
June 13: No running
June 14: No running
June 15: Marathon

Note: June 6,7,8 is an incredible string of workouts. No hard easy program for Buddy.

Edelen's autobiography, A Cold Clear Day by Frank Murphy, is a captivating account of this great American runner.

Sadly, Edelen succumed to cancer in 1997 at age 59.


  1. Orville Atkins thinks that the Yonkers Marathon Trials Race was the beginning of the end for Buddy.

    Bob Wildes

  2. According to the book he went right back into hard training just a few days after.

  3. I did not remember that.

    At some point before the Tokyo Olympic Marathon he was supposed to be suffering from sciatica, which I thought was something that he never recovered from.

    I am pretty certain that he was employed at Adams State by the time of the 1968 US Olympic Trial marathon.

    I do not think he participated in those trials, so he must have been having some pretty severe physical problems.

    Bob Wildes