Steve Prefontaine sets a Los Angeles Arena record at the Sunkist Invitational Indoor Track and Field Meet two-mile Race January 20, 1973

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    Steve Prefontaine sets a meet and Los Angeles Arena record of 8:27.4 at the Sunkist Invitational Indoor Track and Field Meet two-mile race January 20, 1973. His time was 0.2 second short of the US record set by Frank Shorter in 1971. This 1973 race had a stellar cast of entrants.

    This was an interesting race in that Lasse Viren was in the field--Viren won the 5000m of the 1972 Munich Olympics the prior summer after a back and forth contest with Pre that led to Pre's 4th place finish as he faded at the end. Viren also won gold in the Munich 10,000 final.

    This 2-mile race finishing order:

    1. Pre (U of Oregon) 8:27.4
    2. Marty Liquori (NYAC) 8:38.8
    3. Tracy Smith (unattached, LAPD) 8:38.8 (same time as Liquori)
    4. Peter Kaal (Pacific Coast Club, S. Africa) 8:40.2
    5. Frank Shorter (FL TC) 8:40.6 - US record holder with 8:26.2
    6. Lasse Viren (Finland) 8:49.0 - suffered from dysentary

    There were at least two other entrants who ran in this race, but I can find no record of their names. One of them is the runner in blue and red following Pre in the above photo.

    Pre competed in the 2-mile event in three Sunkist meets, winning them all:

    1973 - Steve Prefontaine ( Oregon ), 8:27.4 Meet Record
    1974 - Steve Prefontaine ( Oregon TC), 8:33.0
    1975 - Steve Prefontaine ( Oregon TC), 8:24.4, Americsn Record

    king coby and majorestes added this photo to their favorites.

    1. mombojom3 34 months ago | reply

      Considering this photo was taken in 1973, indoors, with fast action, this photo is amazingly crisp. It's like a high end digital photo of today.

    2. mombojom3 34 months ago | reply

      Does anyone remember in the 80s and 90s at the Sunkist Meet, during the high school relays, they had a guy dressed up in a red spandex devil suit, with horns and a pitch fork? He would run onto the track during the relays and literally snatch the last place runner off the track. So funny!!! There would be so many lawsuits today.

    3. The Happy Rower 34 months ago | reply

      Can't say I knew that, but then, my frame of reference ends about 1980!

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