RCW: A Look Back 4.14

Kansas opened its 97th season of indoor track and field competition on December 2 inside Anschutz Sports Pavilion, where the Jayhawks claimed 13 individual titles. In honor of this 97-year anniversary, let’s take A Look Back at KU’s first campus indoor track and field facility: Allen Fieldhouse.

Although the Jayhawks competed in indoor competitions beginning in 1922, Kansas did not have a home facility in Lawrence until it began indoor track and field competition in Allen Fieldhouse on February 2, 1956.  The Fieldhouse housed a six-lane, 220-yard dirt track and enough outer dirt surface for the weight throw, jumps and pole vaulting. The dirt surface was watered daily to prevent dust from becoming excessive, and the watered surface helped provide some cushion for the runners on the track – as opposed to other indoor wood surfaces or outdoor cinderblock tracks.

The biggest issue with the facility, from a runner’s perspective, was the proximity of steel support pillars to the inside lane of the track.  According to Jim Ryun (1966-69), the pillars were padded and runners hugged the outside edge of the first lane to avoid them.