RCW: A Look Back 4.9

The Kansas men’s and women’s cross country teams head to Texas this weekend for the Big 12 Championship, so let’s take A Look Back at the distance history of the men’s cross country race.

From the start of national cross country competition in 1938, up until 1964, men’s cross country races were four miles long.  The four-mile distance record was set by Max Truex (University of Southern California) at the 1957 meet in 19:12.3. The 1965 NCAA Cross Country Championship was hosted by KU in Lawrence, and was the first year the distance was increased to six miles; this distance was competed until 1975. The six-mile distance record was set in 1970 by Steve Prefontaine (University of Oregon), who ran the course in 28:00.2. The final shift was made beginning in 1976, when the distance was increased just slightly to 10,000 meters, or 6.2 miles. The first winner at the new distance was Henry Rono (Washington State University), and his finish time of 28:06.6 remains the 10,000-meter time to beat.