Since 2012, the 1000 Mile Running Club honors Olympic Gold Medalist Eddie Hart with an annual track meet on the lower yard at SQ. This year Eddie Hart is honored to see his old friend, Ralph Ligons, and to pay homage to members of the 1000 Mile Running Club.
“I’ve been coming in for about four or five years now. It never gets old,” said Hart, proudly displaying gold medal draped around his neck.
Ligons is the co-founder of the 1000 Mile Running Club. He and Hart went to high school together, where they ran on the same track team. Later, they were roommates at the Olympic village in the 1972 Munich games.
“Eddie taught me everything I know about
running,” said Ligons, showing off an old black and white photo from their running days.
After reminiscing, Hart greeted faces both old and new beneath the baseball scoreboard. Many were excited to meet Eddie Hart and to sign up to participate in several running events.
Hart shared his story about losing a close friend and bouncing back to set the100-meter dash Olympic record, which launched him to the 1972 Munich games—and win gold.
He also offered running tips.
Among those honored was Glen Mason who has run over 20,000 miles since he has been with the club. “For me, running is a lifestyle now,” said Mason. “It’s what I do.”
Ligons was acknowledged for running over 18,000 miles. Chris Scull was acknowledged for running
over 8,000 miles. Over a dozen 1000 Mile Club members have run between 1,000 and 6,000 miles.
“People don’t realize how much hard work happens on this track,” said new club secretary Wickered. “These dudes should get some credit for that”.
Club member’s endure hours of pain and injuries to achieve their personal goals. “When I run I feel better, I think and I do better,” said Troy Dunmore, who has run over 2,000 miles.
After paying homage to club member’s for their individual commitment it was time for the day’s events.
After a minor delay to clear the track, runners lined up in the summer breeze for the premiere event: the 100-meter dash. When the dust settled, H-Unit’s young Andrew Watkins was crowned the
winner with a time of 11.98 seconds. In the over-50 division, Clifton Williams won with a time of 15.49.
Fifteen runners competed in the one-mile-run, a sizeable field. The crowd favorites—Fedelio Marin and Chris Scull—were tight through the first quarter mile. But Marin opened his lead and won easily with a time of 5:03.01.
Next was the four-by-one, quarter-mile-relay, with another competitive field. The team of Andrew Watkins, Ben Tobin, Danny Geyer and Michael Johnson beat out Vicente Gomez, Sergio Carillo, Martin Gomez, and Fedelio Marin by less than four seconds.
The Half Mile Run came down to a battle between Oscar Aguilar and Mark Jarosik. Aguilar, who was able to pull away from Jarosik on the second lap for a finish time of 2:37.24.
Jarosik broke the over-50 record set by Wickered in 2017 by running a time of 2:41.28.
Watkins won the 200-meter-dash with a time of 27.73 seconds. Clifton Williams also repeated as the 50 plus winner with a time of 32.26.
“It’s nice to be healthy again,” said Williams, who has battled injuries.
The next event was the 400-meter-dash. Watkins won with a time of 1:08.39. The final race of the meet was the Distance Medley Relay, a two-and-a-half-mile relay. Watkins, Tobin, Geyer, and Johnson prevailed with a time of 16:31.30.
Moua Vue, Brett Ownbey, Tobin, Geyer, and Johnson were declared official ironmen for competing in all seven events. Watkins, who ran five events and placed first in all of them,
was declared top runner of the meet.
Afterwards, Club Member’s thanked the volunteer coaches for making this event possible. Head Coach Frank Rouna, Kevin Rumon, Jim Maloney, Jim Morris, Mark Stevens, and of course Eddie Hart.
“I’m blown away by the respect and love I get when I come in here,” said Hart, as he closed out the event. “I will take it to my grave”.
When away from SQ, Hart works tirelessly, helping children through his “All In One” foundation. He is a coach, mentor, and community activist, who tries to teach youth to live healthy lives and fulfill their own dreams.
Before it all ends, Ligons, reminisced about a time he almost beat Hart running . “Remember that time, Eddie?” he asked. Hart just smiled.