Pre-1960s runners


Would like to learn more about the Minnesota greats from the modernization periods of Minnesota distance running 1880s to 1959.

Prelim questions:

  • First runner to break 2:00 in the 880?
  • First runner to break 4:30 in the mile?
  • First runner to break 4:20 in the mile?

Let’s also talk about the all-time greats whose school was along the shores of Lake Superior like Duluth (especially the historic Duluth Central), Two Harbors, etc. Geographically speaking I am fascinated by the iron range and shore towns.

The unique part about who was who in this time period is that their accolades will no doubt offer a window in to what life was like and we will identify well with them because they ran competitively.


Walter Cummings of Hector ran 2:00 flat in 1914. Cyril Kasper of Shattuck ran 1:58 flat in 1915.

Minnesota did not contest the Mile From 1922 to 1941. The best time I am aware of up to the end of 1921 was Louis Hauser of St. Paul Central who ran 4:38 1/5 in 1914. The first under 4:40 was Fred Watson of Minneapolis West in 1912 when he ran 4:39. Watson went on to win three Big 10 XC titles at Minnesota.

The first under 4:30 might be tricky. Jerry McNeal of Mpls. Southwest ran 4:29.1 at a City Relay Meet in 1954 and I am not sure if that was an actual relay or just adding of times. At the State Meet that spring, Rudy Arechigo of Moorhead ran 4:28.6.

I believe the first under 4:20 was Jerry Nelson of Faribault who ran 4:19.9 in 1959.


I have a website with some historical results, honor rolls etc for Minnesota Boys & Girls Track & Cross Country that might be of interest.