school distance training emphasized volume. Seventy to
100-mile weeks were considered essential to compete at
the highest levels. Marathon races in winter or summer
were part of the routine for many. At least 15 ran
sub-2:30 for the distance, and the national record
eventually settled at 2:23:05, a mark recorded in 1977 by
Clancy Devery of South Salem, Oregon. Devery's record is
an average of 5:28 per mile.
In the first half of the decade two Californians made their reputations on the track and the roads.The March, 1973 cover of Northern California Running Review featured them: Mitch Kingery and Rich Kimball. Kingery was a sophomore at San Carlos High School, Kimball a junior at DeLaSalle, having transferred from Jesuit High School in Sacramento. Northern California Running Review was a monthly magazine which evolved into California Track & Running News, which in turn has evolved into a website in this century.
In the 1960s and 70s, road racing was a significant part of the "off-season" for many preps; here Kimball & Kingery are battling at the Pleasanton 20 kilometer. Kimball finished second in 64:19 and Kingery third in 64:39. Kimball averaged about 5:13 per mile for the 12.4 miles.
Kimball had run 4:28 and 9:28 as a sophomore at Jesuit, then set a national soph 5000 standard that summer. His junior track season was curtailed by a stress fracture (about a month after this Pleasanton race), but he did manage a 4:12 at season's end.
His senior year Kimball dominated. He raced very frequently in both cross country and track, and pursued open road racing events as well. He recorded a 13:43.6 3 mile in December to win Track & Field News' postal competition. He won many open road races and set course records, then recorded two sub-4:03 miles on his own during track season, his best mark being a 4:02.4. This was the era when preps could not legally get into open track competition, and many feel Kimball would have broken 4 had he had the advantages of a fast pack.
Very few have successfully run this double since. Roman Gomez of Belmont did it in 1984 and 1985. Three Jesuit athletes have managed it: Paul Thomas was second in the 1600 (4:08) and first in the 3200 (9:02) in 1988, in 1995 Michael Stember was first in the 1600 (4:04.00) and 6th in the 3200 (9:13), and in 1997 Michael Altieri was second in the 1600 and medaled in the 3200. The feat is complicated by the need to run a qualifying heat the day before in the 1600.
Kimball claimed some impressive workouts his senior year: 10x800, first 9 in 2:10, last one in 2:00; and 20x440, first 19 in 63, last one in 53.
Kingery's career was most noteworthy for incredible road racing. His best effort turned out to be the 2:23:47 national marathon record he ran his sophomore year, subsequently broken by Devery. He is remembered for running four marathons in six weeks, probably the most prodigious running in prep road annals.