History: 1980 - 1989
With ’88 top Oklahoma finisher Kim Berghall, a Swedish-Finn by birth, riding his bicycle along the riverpath shouting words of encouragement in Swedish, Norwegian Olympian John Halvorsen broke away from the pack and ran virtually unchallenged from the 5k mark to the finish, recording a new course record of 43:09. ’88 winner Jon Sinclair was a distant second in 43:53, with Mexican Abundio Mondragon (43:56), Flagstaff, Az’s Bo Reed (43:56), and Virginian Steve Taylor (44:02) close behind.
Judy St. Hilaire, of Fall River, Ma. pulled away from former champ Francie Larrieu-Smith to notch her first win in 49:00. She won by 35 seconds, with Britian’s Angela Tooby (50:40) in third, Hungarian Marta Visnyei (50:49), and Patty Murray (51:17) from Park Ridge, Il. In fourth and fifth.
Bob Schlau of Charleston, SC (47:49), and Gabrielle Andersen (54:23) were crowned masters champions. Craig Blanchette of Eugene, Or. (39:46) driving past George Murray at the finish after starting a few minutes late, and Tulsa’s Kathy Coorpender (1:08:39) were the wheelchair winners. Just under 10,000 runners participated in both races.
A new, safer course was created for the 11th edition, as the infamous Houston Hill was replaced with two longer, gentler hills on Boulder Avenue. The start was relocated to Boulder, as well, to make for an easier transition to Riverside Drive. The finish still retained the thrilling sprint down Boston, as Jon Sinclair of Ft. Collins, Co. enjoying the cool 51 degree temps and overcast skies, kicked past Mexican Leonardo Reyes to win the $5,000 first prize. His new course record of 43:21 was three seconds better than Reyes’ 43:24, with fellow Mexican Pablo Ceron (43:26), Steve Spence (43:34), and Kenyan Sam Ngatia (43:39) taking the third through fifth spots. A total of seven men went under 44 minutes for the fastest Tulsa Run yet.
New Zealander Anne Hannam coming off an amazing summer-fall season with eight straight victories, also had course record on her mind, as the Kiwi covered the 15k distance in an unbelievable 48:14 to deliver a crushing blow to defending champ Nancy Tinari’s hopes of back-to-back wins. Tinari (49:07), easily outdistanced third placer Diane Brewer (49:35) from Nashville, as Christine McMiken (50:56), and Hope Fullwood (51:02) of San Antonio were fourth and fifth.
Masters winners were Athol Barton from Baltimore in 48:15, and Swiss Olympian Gabrielle Andersen in 54:25. Paul Phelan of Salem, Ma., dominated in setting a new wheelchair course record in 44:01, as Tulsan Kathy Coorpender won the women’s race in 1:08:58. 11,156 entrants made up the second largest race in history.
Heat was the order of the day, as a record 11,301 entrants braved the elements on a sunny, humid, windy Halloween morning. Over 100 runners ended up in the medical tent, but Tanzania’s Gidamis Shihanga, with 42:54 credentials, overcame the conditions with persevering calmness, and pulled away from J. P. Ndayisenga in the final stages to post a 44:33 win to the Kenyan’s 44:46, and pocketed $5,000 for his efforts. A $20,000 prize money purse had been established marking a new era in the race’s history. Ed Eyestone (44:54), Kenyan marathoner Sam Ngatia (45:02), and Boulder, Co.’s Mark Stickley (45:07) filled out the top five finishers with the prize money going ten-deep.
Canadian Nancy Tinari became the race’s first sub-50:00 winner as she dispatched the field after the 5k mark and set a new course record of 49:59. OSU-alum New Zealander Christine McMiken caught OU-alum Kellie Cathey in the final mile to notch a second place victory in 50:55 to Cathey’s 51:12, with 1984 winner Angela Tooby (52:00), and Liz Miller (52:31) arriving in fourth and fifth.
Masters champions included Alabaman Carl Nicholson (49:53), and Jane Hutchison from the "show-me state" in 56:58 with a new course record for masters women. Rick Godwin successfully defended his wheelchair title in 51:32.
A record field of 9,577 on a cool, drizzly October morning greeted the "Legends of Running" as Billy Mills, Jim Ryun, Bob Schul, Horace Ashenfelter, and Frank Shorter (all but Ryun had won Olympic gold medals in distance running) were brought together for the first time as America’s modern male Olympic champions.
University of Arkansas graduate and All-American Paul Donovan overtook defending champ Marcos Barreto on Boston Avenue to capture the ninth Tulsa Run in 44:05. Carlos Retis (44:19), English 5,000 meter world record holder David Moorcroft (44:36), and fellow Briton Paul Larkins (44:51) made up the top five. 1983 returning champ Midde Hamrin made it into the winner’s circle once again, as she dispatched a strong women’s field in 50:41. Francie Larrieu-Smith, last years winner was runner-up this year in 51:16, as Britain’s Susan Tooby (51:42), Jeanette Nordgren (53:04), and Carol Urish-McLatchie (53:22) rounded out the top five. Masters winners were Newkirk’s Robert Stuemky (52:49), and Webb City, Mo’s Jane Hutchison (58:10). Tulsan Rick Godwin on his fifth try, captured the wheelchair division in 46:00.
Mexico’s Marcos Barreto turned in a record setting performance on a warm sunny day as he outdistanced runnerup All-American Craig Virgin, 43:29 to 43:44. Kenyan Geoffrey Koech was a minute back in 44:45, with Californian Ivan Huff (44:51), and Roland Reina (45:02) from Fayetteville in fourth and fifth. American legend Francie Larrieu-Smith cranked up the volume on ’84 winner Angela Tooby as the Texas flash dusted the returning champion by a full minute in 50:07, yet another course record. Twin sister Susan Tooby (51:48), Carol Urish-McLatchie (52:05), and ’83 winner Midde Hamrin (52:14) were 3rd through 5th. Newkirk’s Robert Stuemky (52:04), and Norman’s Maureen Bixby (1:00:00) were the overall masters champions, and in the wheelchair competition, ’83 champ Laverne Achenback of Birmingham, AL was the overall victor in 43:32. A record total of 9,066 entered both races.
The heavens opened up once again for the seventh edition of this fall classic, as rain dampened the course but not the spirits of a record 6,013 runners. Another 3,000 participated in the 3K fun run. Joseph Nzau tooks the honors as the first male repeat winner in 44:36, just edging out Carmelo Rios by a second. Mark Anderson (45:02), Don Janicki (45:13), and Arkansas track star Frank O’Mara (45:19) finished 3rd through 5th, with local star Mike Hairston eking out a seventh place time of 45:25. Britain’s Angela Tooby and her twin sister Susan held back for the first part of the race with Angela coming on at the end with a course-record shattering 50:09, ’83 runnerup Monica Joyce again in second (50:33) besting Susan Tooby (51:22), local Memorial High standout Michelle Scholtz (55:51), and Karen Cramond (57:09). Jeff Fischer took the Masters money in 51:45, with Jim McFadden (53:18) back in second. Maureen Bixby was the overall Masters woman with a new record 1:01:44 finishing well ahead of runnerup Diane Page (1:02:32).
The wheelchair winner was Randy Snow.
The Purolator Company arranged to have Nick Rose and Joseph Nzau return for a rematch due to the armored truck incident from the previous year. It was to be a rematch like no other, and it did not disappoint. After dropping Jari Hemilla of ORU (44:17), and David Edge (44:24), Rose, Nzau, and Paul Cummings sprinted down Boston Avenue towards the Bank of Oklahoma Tower, Cummings finally succumbing to the torrid pace, with Nzau just nipping Rose at the line, 43:55.01 to 43:55.40. Sweden’s Midde Hamrin jumped out early and never looked back in winning her first of two Tulsa Runs. Her 50:34 was a new course record besting performances by Monica Joyce, Carol Urish, Maria Vaughn, and Suzy Rutledge in 2nd through 5th places. Bill Stewart and Sharon Cooper were the Masters victors in 48:55 and 1:03:32 respectively. Once again the attendance grew to more than 8,400 with 5,077 for the 15K alone.
Laverne Achenback of Birmingham, AL emerged as the overall wheelchair champion.
This race will probably be forever remembered as the closest and most bizarre race ever, as two men dueled an armored truck down the stretch only to have the truck decide the overall winner. The race, televised live regionally, was exciting and climactic to say the least, as 8,114 runners (both races) gathered in behind the fastest field ever assembled to date. They were greeted by sunny skies as defending champion Pat Vaughn, Stan Vernon, Mike Hairston, Frank Shorter, and Bill Rodgers, making his first appearance, hooked it up with a couple of relatively new runners in Britain’s Nick Rose (Western Kentucky alum), and Kenya’s Joseph Nzau (Wyoming alum). Rose, Nzau, and BYU alum Paul Cummings eventually distanced themselves from the rest of the field as Rose and Nzau put another 30 seconds on Cummings in the late stages. As they were within 100 yards from the finish, neck and neck, a Purolator armored truck pulled out from Fifth Street onto Boston Avenue causing Rose to swing wide and Nzau to stop short. Rose took advantage of the situaton and sprinted in ahead of the surprised Nzau in a new course record of 43:47. Cummings was third in 44:17, with Rodgers – 44:21, and Britain’s Malcolm East – 44:36, capturing fourth and fifth. Francie Larrieu-Smith returned and won her first of two Tulsa Runs with a new record time of 51:21. Katy Schilly, Eleanor Simonsick, Carol Urish, and Laurie Sax, rounded out the top five. Masters’s winners were Jim McFadden – 52:09, and Sharon Cooper – 1:02:57.
Rainy skies dawned over downtown Tulsa on Halloween morning as 3,500 starters (2,000 more in the fun run) snaked their way up and down Riverside Drive to fewer spectators in the race’s fourth year. American record holder Ric Rojas was in tow behind a field including Shorter, Vernon, Clark, Musgrave, and Hemilla. But it was Tulsa Union product and University of Arkansas 10,000 meter record holder Pat Vaughn who scored a surprise victory as he obliterated the course record on the wet streets in 44:41, with Rojas only two seconds back. Vernon and Clark also got under the old mark finishing third and fourth, with Musgrave in fifth. Karen Bridges ran a great 55:17, but could do no better than fifth, as Britain’s Wendy Smith flashed a new record 51:43. Julie Isphording was second in 52:24, as Glynnis Quick – 52:51, and Olympian Francie Larrieu-Smith – 53:18 eked out the third and fourth spots. Jim McFadden won his first of two masters crowns with an impressive 51:43, as Donna Wright wrapped up her fourth and last masters win in 1:04:56.
The second largest 15K in the country was ever growing in size and popularity as the numbers increased to 3,100 by year three. Defending champs’ Vernon and Bridges were back to defend their titles on a cool fall day. Tom Marino of Dallas ventured across the Red River to test his mettle on the out-and-back course, and along with returnees’ Hairston and Clark, ORU’s Finnish student Jari Hemilla, and the venerable Shorter, they gave Vernon more than he could handle. Stan was no match for the Texan as Marino sprinted away with a record-shattering 45:04, 39 seconds under Vernon’s record. Shorter was again runner-up, with Hemilla third, Vernon fourth, and Clark fifth. Bridges finally had some competition in her quest for a third title, as Vanessa Vajdos from Houston, a seasoned marathoner, bid for the upset. Karen was too strong though, as she set another course record in 53:50 easily dispatching the tiring Vajdos who finished in 54:58, with Janeen Hill, Kathy Whitcomb, and Odette Bonnet finishing 3rd through 5th. Donna Wright again captured the masters’s crown for the women in 1:04:13, as Herb Lorenz took men’s honors in 49:26, both new masters records.