Running Shots

 

Craig Virgin cross country  72

Craig Virgin

Lebanon HS in Lebanon, IL

3 time Olympian

&

2 World Cross Country titles

Pushpin marks Lebanon, IL

 

August 3, 1969

One day after his 14th birthday, Craig Virgin shows up for his first day of cross country practice. Virgin was wearing his junior high gym suit with his name in the block on the front and Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star basketball shoes. Practice met behind the school where there was a big field that was a third of a mile around. The team was instructed to run five-miles, 15 laps around the one-third mile dirt path. Craig broke away from the team and lapped them all. Virgin did this for five days and then was so sore that he could hardly walk so he quit the cross country team and went out for baseball. He saw he couldn’t beat out the starting second baseman so he went back to the cross country coach and said he’d like to run just this one season and give it a try. The rest is history...

 

1969/70 - Freshman Year

Cross Country
* Craig Virgin wins his first cross country race against rival Mascoutah High School. (Mascoutah's top runner stopped during the second mile to go to the bathroom. Craig learns to always take care of that before the race).

Virgin's strategy was to go out slow and pass people.

* Sectionals- The narrow, wooded course, where brush slaps some runner's faces, can trap an inexperienced runner.
Virgin got stuck behind runners early in the race and didn't have a sprint.
Craig placed outside the first 7 -not qualifying for the state meet.
Sophomore Craig Virgin

 

Track
* District - Freshman, Craig Virgin races to a 9:45 breaking the age-14 record of 9:51.0 by Manny Mahon (Homestead HS, CA 64).
* Dave Merrick (New Lennox Lincoln Way High) the top distance junior & third best nationally) wins IL state meet 2M in 8:59.0, in 7th is Craig Virgin with a 9:32.0 lowering Mahon's age-14 record now 19 full seconds.

 

 

1970/71 - Sophomore Year

Cross Country
* Virgin changes his tactics: to going out strong and trying to burn out the competitors. That developed his front running style that he used for the rest of his career.

* Virgin was undefeated going into the State cross country meet and faced Dave Merrick who, at the time, was the finest distance runner to come out of the prep ranks since Steve Prefontaine. Craig went out with him and faded to 6th in the final mile.Virgin and Merrick

 

Track
* State - Merrick turns in great double, 4:07.4, 8:49.0!
The 2M came first - Merrick was pushed through a 4:24 mile by Virgin. After five laps Merrick broke away, Virgin is 2nd -did not fade.

* Craig finished in 8:57.4 becoming the first sophomore & 15-year old to crack 9:00.
* Virgin is nine seconds faster than any other soph (old record: 9:06.2 Kasto Lopez, Sanger, Ca 69).
* And 16 seconds faster than any other 15-year old (old record: 9:13.2 Ralph Gamez, Berkeley, CA 63).

* A week later, The Midwest Classic, Craig followed a 2M victory with a personal best of 4:21.3 to win the mile!

 

 

1971/72 - Junior Year

Cross Country
*Lebanon's running sensation, Craig Virgin, wins the state meet, by 30 seconds, with a 13:59.3 at Detweiller Park, Peoria. Virgin chops 50 seconds off the Detweiller course record!! Later, at the awards presentation Virgin received a three-minute standing ovation.
The win for Craig marked the 23rd time this season that the Greyhound distance phenomenon bettered an existing course record!!!

Track
* State Meet, Virgin wins a tough state meet double (4:09.2, 8:51.9); his mile was third best in the nation, his 2M second best and a world record for 16-year-olds, breaking the 8:56.6 set by Dave Merrick (New Lennox Lincoln Way High).

Craig wins the triple crown for state individual titles: cross country, Track, the distance double: 1 & 2-mile.

* 7/8 St. Louis, MO, Ozark AAU Meet at Florissant Valley Community College, Craig sets world record for 16-year-olds- 14:12.3 - - - 2M split 9:11, 3M 13:46, last mile 4:29.8 (old 5k 16-year record: 15:15.2 Mike Gilleran, Seaholm, MI 70 & Junior class record).

* 7/11 Central AAU Championships, 3M, Craig sets world record for 16-year-olds- 13:49.2 (14:20.0 Mike Butynes, Sterling NJ 70)

* 7/24 Lakewood, CO, U. S. National AAU Junior Champs - 3-mile- 1) Anthony Sandoval, Stanford 14:08.4, 2) Virgin 14:10.8.

* 7/29 USA vs USSR Junior Dual (Below) ...................................................... 13:44.6 and 14:14.6m!

Craig Virgin leads the Soviets Craig Virgin pushes the pace
Virgin is outkicked by the soviets

July 29, '72 -Sacramento, USA-USSR Junior Dual meet -5,000 meter race.

16 year-old HS Junior Craig Virgin set a fast pace in the 90° + conditions, 4:35.7 (Mile) & 9:19.2 (2M). Teammate Anthony Sandoval (18yrs old) dropped off pace just after 2M. Virgin, spiced up the pace with occasional bursts of speed. No matter what, the older soviet pair stayed on his heels. Craig led until the last lap: when he was passed in the last 200 meters -then was boxed in during the homestretch... demonstrating a hard lesson in team tactics.

In the end, the red-clad, 19-year-old, Soviets swept past the youngster to win.

1) Vladimir Zatonsky ... 14:13.6
2) Andrei Ipatov ... 14:13.8
3) Virgin ........... 14:14.6
4) Sandoval ... 15:01.2

 

 

1972/73 - Senior Year

Cross Country
Virgin is in command early
*Nov. 4, Virgin wins his second individual title, and lowering his own state meet course record at Detweiller Park...
to a blistering 13:50.6!! 13:50.6!! Splits: 4:19, 9:19 -last mile 4:31.


Chicago, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 25 - AAU Nationals in cross-country, in the cold & sleet. * Virgin took 13th Clocking 31:13 for 6 miles to finish 31 seconds behind winner and recently crowned Olympic Marathon champion Frank Shorter.
Craig Virgin AAU XC Nats

Craig Virgin developes a bad case of tendinitis and doesn't run in January.

 

1973 - Indoors. After the four week layoff, Craig runs his first competitive effort:

2/11 .... 4:12.5 & 8:51.0 double on the University of Illinois 260y indoor track!!

2/23 .... 13:50.0 3M ... NY, NY, AAU Indoor Nat's, Virgin places 10th (LINK) - 3rd best by a prep, passed 2M at 9:03.4!!

3/3 ...... 8:45.6 & Less than an hour later a 4:08 ... Open AAU meet at Champaign (oversized track).

3/16 .... 4:24.0 - Anchors winning Distance Medley ... Sumner Indoor Invite Relays.
Craig at the AAU Indoor Nat's High schooler Craig Virgin had international experience.

Craig Virgin's sensational - 1973 - Outdoor Campaign

"Pure running where you just go out every race and do your best," CV.

3/31 ... 4:15.5 (2nd) ... (1) Bill Fritz Glenbard West - 4:13.4 .. Oak Park Relays

4/7 .... 8:50.4 & 4:17 relay leg ......... Alton Relays

4/14 ... DNC ....... Mineral Area Relays *Infected Tooth

4/? .... 4:14.5 & 1:56.8 ........................ Triangular

4/24 ... 8:55.6 & 4:16.6 ...... St Clair County meet

4/28 ... 8:59.0 ......................... Granite City Invite

5/02 ... 9:24.2 ... O'Fallon Relays **(30 mile per hour winds)

5/03 ... 4:27.9 & 2:02.1 ............ Cahokia Conference

5/05 ... 8:46.6 & 4:11.8 relay ............ Orphan Relays

5/15 ... 8:54.0 .................................... Cahokia Invite

5/18 ... 8:53.6 & 4:10.9 ................................ District

5/21 ... 8:48.6 & 4:08.5 .............. Meet of Champions

5/25 ... 4:10.0 ................................... State meet heat

5/26 ... 8:42.6 & 4:12.2 (2nd) .... (1) Bill Fritz - 4:11.4 ... State finals (88°)

6/01 ... 4:05.5 ......................................... Top 10 meet

6/09 ... 8:40.9 (HSR) ........... International Prep Invite (94°)

6/16 .. DNC .... Golden West Invite *Feet too blistered up couldn’t go.

6/23 ...13:36.8 (3M) ................................. Ntl Jr AAU

7/04 .. 4:06.1 (5th) ................................. Freedom Mile

7/14 .. 8:10.2 (3rd) 3000 ... vs West German Jrs (Won by Hans Jurgen-Orthmann)

7/20 .. 8:16.0 3000 ................................. vs Poland Jrs

7/28 ..13:58.2 5000 ................................. vs USSR Jrs

June 9, 1973 Mt. Prospect, IL - 2nd Annual - International Prep Inv. Craig Virgin (Lebanon) races 8:40.9 HSR!!
2M Start
8:40.9 HSR!!
2Milers on victory stand
The 2M starts...
8:40.9 later!! (last lap 63 sec).
Werner Cederberg, president of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Chicago, congratulates Craig Virgin.
Virgin leads the way...

 

COLLEGE

Illini Frosh Craig Virgin Doug Brown leads frosh Craig Virgin   Virgin hangs on to Rose

Craig Virgin (Illinois) Freshman.

Cross Country

Nov. 19, '73, NCAA CC Championships Hangman Valley, Spokane, WA.

6M, 38° -clear and sunny.

Virgin (#51) placed 10th in 28:47.8.
Doug Brown (205, Tennessee) was 7th in 28:40.4.

Pre won over Nick Rose (28:14.8 to 28:20).

Nov 26, '74, NCAA CC Championships, Bloomington, Indiana.

19yr-3mth-old Sophomore, Virgin (#137) was with Nick Rose (# 425, 22yr-11mth-old Jr) early but faded to 12th in 30:15.84.
Rose (# 425) went on to win in 29:22.0.

Video (LINK)

Nov. 24, '75, NCAA Cross Country Championships @ Penn State, Blue Golf Course. Six Miles.
L-R, John Ngeno, Craig Virgin & Nick Rose Virgin wins the NCAA Cross Country title
Craig Virgin (20yr-3mth-old Jr) & Nick Rose (Wn Ky, 23yr-11mth-old Sr) broke away from the field.

Craig Virgin, the junior at Illinios, won the NCAA cross country title (by 15 sec.) over defending champion Nick Rose (Wn Ky) & John Ngeno (WSU, 21yrs-11mths).

1) Virgin ........................ 28:23.3
2) Rose ......................... 28:38.8
3) Ngeno ....................... 28:52.4
4) Terry Williams (OR) .. 28:57.9

 

Nov. 22, '76, NCAA Cross Country Championships @ North Texas State University. 10,000 meters.
Rono and his fellow Kenyans/WSU set a scalding pace! Rono and his fellow Kenyans/WSU set a scalding pace! Rono's scalding pace continues...
24yr-old frosh, Henry Rono and fellow Kenyans Kimombwa and Kimeto hammer the field and defending NCAA champ, 21yr-old senior, Craig Virgin.

24yr-9mth-old, Rono's scalding pace breaks, 21yr-3mth-old, Virgin.

Rono, a freshman, sets an NCAA record, since it's the first metric (10k) distance. Rono's 28:06 is 16 seconds faster than Vigin's victorious six-mile time at Penn State last year.

1) Rono .. 28:06.60, 2) Kimombwa .. 28:16.78, 3) Virgin .. 28:26.53,
4) Herb Lindsay (Mich State) .. 28:30.69, 5) John Treacy (Providence) .. 28:34.84.

 

Saturday, Jan 15, 1977 - 17th Sunkist Invitational Track Meet, Attendance 12,004.

LOS ANGELES, The two-mile was one of the featured events of the nationally televised meet. Stanford Alumni, Duncan MacDonald out sprinted Craig Virgin for the win.

1) Duncan MacDonald .... 8:35.4
2) Craig Virgin ................ 8:35.6
3) Paul Geis .................... 8:35.7

Duncan MacDonald kicks to win.

 

Craig Virgin and John Ngeno
Virgin vs Ngeno

 


 

Salazar, Rose & Virgin

Nov 26, 1977, Houston, TX, AAU Cross Country Championships
- 6.21 miles, Temp. 75° / Wind 15mph

-L & R -Final mile: Craig Virgin, Nick Rose & Alberto Salazar...
Results
1) Rose ............... 30:14
2) Virgin .............. 30:23
3) Greg Meyer ..... 30:34.4
4) Thom Hunt ...... 30:51.9
......
10) Salazar ........... 31:07

Salazar, Virgin & Rose

 

* * * * * * *

 

 

March 26, 1978 (Sunday), IAAF World Cross Country Championships, Glasgow Bellahouston Park, 12.0km CC Men.

World Cross Country 1978 Craig Virgin over the barrier
A keen eye can spot eventual winner John Treacy (#52, IRL- Link Treacy Winning) & top Americans Craig Virgin & Guy Arbogast.
Arbogast led the Americans in 5th with 39:52. Virgin was two tics back in 6th.
Craig Virgin goes over the barrier.

 

May 31,1978, - Prefontaine Classic @ Eugene - 5,000 meters

1) Marty Liquori (AA) ... 13:37.7
2) Craig Virgin (AW) ... 13:40.7

Virgin, Liquori and George Malley
Liquori gets ready to pass Liquori kicks to an easy win Virgin is an easy second

 

 

June 10, 1978

AAU Championships

@ Westwood, CA

Craig Virgin enroute to National Senior Title Craig Virgin 78 Craig Virgin 78
Craig Virgin enroute to National Senior Title

A drop-out in this race last year, Craig Virgin wins his first AAU championship title with a 28:15.0. The ex-Illini broke away big with about 7½ laps left and steadily pulled away running a 4:32 and 4:35 final miles.

(R) Mary Liquori was 5th 29:08.9. He won the 500 meters the day before (6/9), racing away to win with a 56.8 last 440 to clock a 13:40.2 (last 880 was 1:59.7!!).

Marty Liquori 5k winner

 

 


 

Jan. 14, 1979, 15th Annual Mission Bay Marathon

San Diego, CA, Craig Virgin ran his first marathon. He ran 4th though 12 miles and took the lead at 20. Craig easily bested the field of 2200 in a course record of 2:14:40. Craig's last 5 miles were his fastest, sub 5 minute pace (slight uphill grade) culminating with a final mile in 4:47, at that time the fastest-ever marathon debut for an American.

Craig Virgin at Mission Bay Marathon

 

 

AAU Championships 6/17/79 in Walnut -Mt. Sac - Craig Virgin became the fastest 10k runner in American History.
Craig Virgin races 65.1 opener Craig Virgin sets a fast pace
Virgin (the '76 Olympian and defending champ) charges into the lead by clicking off a 65.1 opening circuit.
Virgin passes 800 in 2:09.5 Craig Virgin is solo by 3200 Craig Virgin passed 5k in 13:44.9
At 2 laps (2:09.5), only Paul Gies and Bill Donakowski dared to try and keep pace with Virgin. By 3200 meters, Virgin was pushing solo, battling the clock and a strong backstretch wind (right from the gun). Virgin passed 5k in 13:44.9.
Craig Virgin finishes new AR Craig Virgin celebrates new AR
Virgin gutted out a 61.3 closer to break Prefontaine's 27:43.6 and dip under 27:40 (his announced goal) with a 27:39.4 new AR. At the time it was the No. 12 performance in world history.

 

Craig Virgin wins Peachtree Road Race '79

July 4, 1979

Peachtree Road Race 10k -10th edition.

Atlanta, GA, Craig Virgin perfects his jubilant leap across the finish line as he bests over 20,000 runners, winning in 28:30.5 (Course Record).

 


 

 

January 19, 1980, Saturday, Eugene, Ore.

Craig Virgin won the U.S. Men's international cross country trials with a time of 36:43.7 over the 12,000 meter course. Dan Dillon was second in the 46 man-field.

Virgin enroute to U.S. XC trials win

 

 

March 9, 1980 - IAAF World Cross Country Championships @ Paris, France (Longchamp Racecourse on the outskirts of Paris)

In the 77-year history no American had ever won this, widely considered to be the most difficult of races.

Courtesy of Warren Morgan

Nick Rose surges past Dan Dillon

(L) Nick Rose surges past Dan Dillon.

Nick Rose leads...
The leaders, eight abreast, dashed the first uphill 800 meters in 2:02. After the runners swung into the stretch of the first of the race's five laps Dan Dillon (US) led, before Nick Rose (England) surged to the front. Climbing the backstretch hill on the second lap, Rose opened up powerfully, and quickly gained 30 meters on defending champion John Treacy in second.
While Virgin, after a bad start, had worked up to 25th!
Virgin & Orthman chase after Rose

On the third lap, Virgin made it to the front pack.

(R) On the fourth lap, Virgin cut Rose's lead from 40 meters to 20...

Craig chases Nick Rose 20 meters ahead...

 

Virgin overtakes Orthmann Virgin sprints past Orthmann

At the top of the long stretch Hans-Jürgen Orthmann (Germany) was in second and gaining. He passed Rose with 350 meters to go.  Virgin was still 10 meters back.
Virgin got past Rose 150 meters out, and about that time Orthmann began to stiffen.

(Above) Sprinting freely, Virgin seized the lead for the first time, over the 12,580m/7.98M course, with 70 meters to run and crossed the line with a rejoicing bound; winning by a mere second, 37:02 to 37:03.

Craig Virgin wins International World Cross Country race The kids surround the happy winner Craig flashes a victory sign

Craig Virgin, the 24-year-old from Lebanon, Ill., is the first American to win the senior mens cross country title.(Link: Thrilling Finish!!)

Teams:
1. England 100
2. United States 163 (Virgin-1, Dan Dillon-12th, Ken Martin-23rd, Steve Plasencia-36th, Don Clary-43rd, & Mark Anderson-48th)

 

 

1980 U.S. Olympic Trials @ Eugene - 10,000 meter final (6/24/80). Told in pictures, courtesy of Joe Volk.
Craig Virgin (451) moves up and into the lead. Herb Lindsay (256) follows and keys on Virgin.

 

Soon, it's Lindsay vs Virgin.................................................................... Salazar (382) runs his own race.

 

Virgin keeps the pressure on and Lindsay is determined to beat Virgin.................... Tactical maneuvers go on behind.

 

The race for third and in the race for first, Lindsay is laboring to keep up.

 

Tony Sandoval (385) makes a bid. ...........................................Virgin has broken away with a 4:26.5 fourth mile.

 

Lindsay struggles to maintain contact. ................................................Salazar presses on.

 

Virgin remains strong, while Lindsay continues to lose ground.

 

Lindsay's bid to win is costly. He falls further back and out of contention (9th place), as Virgin maintains a solo run.

 

Virgin finishes with a 27:45.61 to win (13:43.61/14:02.0).

2. Greg Fredericks...28:03.14

3. Alberto Salazar....28:10.42

4. Jeff Wells.............28:12.82

 

Craig Virgin nears the finish

July 4,1980.

Peachtree

Craig Virgin wins Peachtree 1980
Craig Virgin nears the finish to win Peachtree ('80) / 80° + 90% humidity & 25,000 runners.

Craig Virgin defends his title in

28:39.01

 

Europe

Saturday, July12, Stuttgart, Germany, Internationales Euro-Meeting des VfB

5,000 meters
1) Kip Rono (Ken) .................... 13:19.24
2) Craig Virgin (USA) .............. 13:19.62
3) Bill McChesney (Or) ............. 13:24.05
4) Fernando Mamede (Por) ....... 13:28.77

Tuesday, July15, Oslo, Norway, Oslo Games

5,000 meters
1) Nat Nuir (GB) ........................ 13:17.9
2) Filbert Bayi (Tan) ................... 13:18.2
3) Sulieman Nyambui (Tan) ........ 13:18.6
4) Bill McChesney (Or) .............. 13:18.6
5) Craig Virgin (USA) ............... 13:19.1
6) Henry Rono (Ken) ................. 13:19.8

After setting two PR's @ 5000m 13:19.62 & 13:19.1, Craig was set for a 10,000m...

Thursday, July 17, 1980, Paris, France, Charléty Stadium.

10,000 Meters
1) Craig Virgin ................................ 27:29.16, American Record (13:46.2, 13:43.0)
2) Fernando Mamede ..................... 29:37.88 NR
3) Bill McChesney .......................... 27:58.50 (6th all-time U.S., 5th all-time Collegiate)

*Only Henry Rono's 27:22.4 World Record is faster. (Rono's "80's best: 27:31.68).

Craig Virgin

 

* * * * * * *

 

March 28, 1981 - IAAF World Cross Country Championships @ Madrid, Spain -La Zarzuela circuit before 20,000 fans.

Craig Virgin comes from behind, in a thrilling sprint over the final 100 yards, to defend his world cross country title.
His winning time is 35:05 for the 7.45-mile (12 kilometer) race. Thom Hunt finishes 8th in 35:23!

A record entry of 39 countries competed, including two who made an immediate and exciting impact on the championships: Ethiopia and Kenya.

"80 win

 

Virgin finishes the Boston Marathon...

BOSTON, April 20, 1981, point-to-point course, downhill. Craig Virgins' second marathon.

Winner Toshihiko Seko... negative split 1:04:01 to top Bill Rodgers' course record by one second!

1) Seko (Japan) .... 2:09:26 (CR, #5 all-time)
2) Virgin (FRTC) .... 2:10:26 (6 all-time U.S.)
3) Rodgers (GBTC) .... 2:10:34
.....
11) Greg Meyer (GBTC) ... 2:13:07
18) Ralph Serna (Unat) ...... 2:14:16

 

 

Virgin wins third Peachtree

July 4,1981

Peachtree Road Race

Craig Virgin bolted ahead of 25,000 runners at the 4½ mile mark & went on to win his third straight Peachtree.

His winning time: 28:03 (10,000 meters) was a course record... breaking his old CR from 1979 (28:30.5)!!

Virgin breaks his own CR

 

* * * * * * *

June 20, 1982, Knoxville, TN., U.S. National Outdoor Championships 10,000m

1) Craig Virgin ... 28:33.02
2) Steve Ortiz .... 28:33.58

Virgin wins his third U.S. 10k title.

 

Photo courtesy/available at: runmoremiles.com

Virgin wins third US 10k title

 

 

* * * * * * *

Virgin leads field Virgin leads field Virgin leads field Virgin leads field
Virgin running the 1984 Olympic Trials @ Los Angeles

 

June 19, 1984 Olympic Trials @ Los Angeles - 10,000m - FINALS
Nearing last lap

(R) The finish

1) Paul Cummings (Conv) ..... 27:59.08
2) Craig Virgin (FRTC) ........ 28:02.27
3) Pat Porter (AW) .............. 28:03.86
4) Garry Bjorklund (NB) ...... 28:05.83
5) Mark Curp (NB) ............. 28:06.80

Virgin finishes

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