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Running legend Jim Ryun returns to Bakersfield

Set world record in outdoor mile at Memorial Stadium in 1967

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Olympic medalist and former U.S. Congressman Jim Ryun returned to Bakersfield Thursday night.

Ryun set a world record in the outdoor mile at Bakersfield College's Memorial Stadium on June 23, 1967 in the National Amateur Athletic Union Championships.

Running for the University of Kansas, Ryun crossed the finish line in 3:51.1.

"It was an unusual sensation because it was such an incredibly easy race that when I finished I was a little disappointed that it was over because I felt like I could have run faster or maybe further, but it was over," Ryun said. 

Dozens of people showed up at the Four Points by Sheraton off California Avenue for a meet and greet with the track star.

"It's fun to come back and see all these people and share memories with them, as they tell stories about what happen on June of 1967, where they were and just share those experiences," Ryun said.

Many, like Bob Covey remember the day Ryun made history. Covey was the assistant meet director for the 1967 AAU track meet.

"I remember everything about his winning and how he looked and what he did," Covey said. "He was so dominate. It was a marvelous race to watch, but Jim Ryun just kicked everybody. He just was so good."

Ryun will attend the California Community College Athletic Association's 2018 Track and Field State Championships this weekend at Memorial Stadium.


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