An anecdote from Kenny Moore

Patrick-Liquori-1968

In reading up for a future post, I came across this little gem of a story about Dave Wilborn, University of Oregon miler from 1964-1967. It comes from the incomparable Kenny Moore’s book “Bowerman and the Men of Oregon”, which I recommend (along with Moore’s other books, his articles in Sports Illustrated, and most of his film career):

“He once announced to a crowded dorm dining room, ‘From this moment on, drunk or sober, awake or asleep, until I say different, I will always be able to break two minutes for the half mile!’

“This was greeted with jeers of disbelief but no outright dares. A month later, after his declaration seemed forgotten, after he’d run three hours out to [Coach Bill] Bowerman’s and over Mt. Baldy, the crest of the Coburg Hills, and back to campus, after he’d wolfed down two pizzas and drained three pitchers at Pietro’s, [Roscoe] Divine and three-miler Damien Koch appeared in front of Dave’s woozy, reeling face and said but one word: ‘Now.’

“Oh, you fuckers! You fuckers!’

“They drove him to the track. Dave put on his spikes, trotted around for thirty seconds patting his distended belly, and went to the line. He ran 1:54.5. ‘Don’t play poker with me!’ he yelled. ‘Not on this! I don’t bluff on this!’ He didn’t even give them the satisfaction of throwing up.”

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