Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paul Ryan's Personal Best: Lies, damned lies and gilding the lily

The Armory at 168 Street where records were set and kept

So what was my best time for the half in high school?  Was it really 2:17 outdoors?  Maybe.  I know for sure it was 2:24 the first time I ran it in the winter at Mt. St. Michael's on a board track .  But that best time a year later? Don't have a distinct recollection about that.  But I claim 2:17 as my personal best when reminiscing about Glory Days.  Not that there was much glory.  I was the third string on a championship team, which set the national* indoor schoolboy 220 yard flat track record in the two mile relay.  I think it was 8:01.  I know that Dave Long ran 2:06, and Kevin Lanigan, Bob Bartolini, and Bob Clark each ran under 2:00.
So given that sort of sense about just how much you are willing to gild the lily about your personal best, I find it shocking that fitness freak and VP candidate Paul Ryan has (according to Runner's World) overstated his personal best in a marathon by 1 hour 11 minutes, claiming in an interview that it was "two fifty something", only to be confronted with the fact that his only recorded time was 4:01 in the Grandma Marathon in Minnesota, as a college student.  Twenty years ago.  Memory fades.

Jan. 4, 1964 
Ed Bowes of Manhattan College wins the Met AAU Juniors 3-mile in 14:48.2, breaking the meet record of 14:54.0, set a year earlier by Norb Sander of Fordham. Bowes went on to become the longtime, legendary coach of Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn and director of the annual Loughlin Games and Manhattan College Invitational.
Dr. Sander went on to win a New York City marathon and later became president of the Armory. Meet records were also set that January day by Tom Farrell of St. John’s (2:12.3 1,000 yards) and Charles Mays of the Grand Street Boys (31.4 300y). Farrell made two Olympic finals in the 800, winning the bronze medal in 1968, the same years Mays made the team in the long jump.
* that was on the wood floor of the 168th Street Armory in upper Manhattan.  Now known as the Armory Track and Field Center, it was probably the only 220 yard indoor flat track in the world.  so maybe the Brooklyn Prep stars should have claimed a world record. - gwc

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