Tim Danielson was convicted last week in El Cajon Superior Court of murdering his ex-wife in 2011. His expected sentence of 50 years to life is pending.
I’d like to remember Danielson as the billiant runner who competed for coach Harry Taylor at Chula Vista High and set San Diego Section standards in 1965-66 that still are unequaled, 48 years later.
Danielson became the second high school runner (after Jim Ryun) to better 4 minutes in the mile in 1966 when he finished fourth in 3:59.4 behind Jim Grelle, Neil Duggan, and Dave Bailey in the San Diego Invitational of internationally-ranked runners in Balboa Stadium.
The 4-minute mile has been reached by high schoolers three times since, by New Jersey’s Martin Liquori, who ran 3:59.7 in 1967; by Virginian Alan Webb, who ran 3:53.43 in 2001, and by Illinois’ Lucas Verbickas, who ran 3:59.71 in 2011.
The mile, the most famous event in the sport’s history, is seldom run. Its currency faded when the United States went to the metric system 35 years ago.
Danielson competed in the era of yards and hand-timed races, but we’ve attempted to measure Danielson’s marks as if he were competing in meters and with electronic timing.
The table below shows Danielson’s best converted efforts in his final two years at Chula Vista, including dominance of California distance aces. He won back-to-back state championships, by 10 yards in Bakersfield in 1965 and by 12 yards in Berkeley in 1966.
Today’s runners, with several evolutionary advantages, would have to hustle to keep up with him.
|4:01.70n||National AAU||New York||06/25/66|
|4:04.60||San Diego Section||Balboa Stadium||05/27/66|
|4:05.80n||National AAU (h)||New York||06/25/66|
|4:06.60||San Diego Section (h)||Balboa Stadium||05/21/66|
|4:07.10||San Diego Section (h)||Balboa Stadium||05/22/65|
|4:08.30||San Diego Section||Balboa Stadium||05/28/65|
|9:01.40||vs. Mar Vista||Chula Vista||05/06/66|