2014: 48 Years After, Danielson’s Marks Still Best

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.

Danielson was congratulated by Spoken prep Rick Reilly, who ran 4:04.7 in same race.

Danielson was congratulated by Spoken prep Rick Reilly, who ran 4:04.7 in same race.

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.

Event                    Mark Meet Site Date
400 49.95 vs. Escondido Escondido 04/01/66
800 1:52.50 Metropolitan League Escondido 05/13/66
1600 3:57.50n Invitational Balboa Stadium 06/11/66
4:01.70n National AAU New York 06/25/66
4:02.30n Police Games Toronto 07/23/66
4:04.60 San Diego Section Balboa Stadium 05/27/66
4:05.40 State Berkeley 06/04/.66
Golden West Sacramento 06/18/66
4:05.80n National AAU (h) New York 06/25/66
4:06.40 State Bakersfield 06/05/65
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
3200 8:52.0 Golden West Sacramento 06/18/66
9:01.40 vs. Mar Vista Chula Vista 05/06/66

 n–nonwinning.  h–heat.

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3 Responses to 2014: 48 Years After, Danielson’s Marks Still Best

  1. Brian Smith says:

    It is almost unfathomable that Danielson’s section records are still unsurpassed almost 50 years on

    Even more so when considering the type track surfaces upon which he raced and the quality of equipment back in the day

    He truly was a phenom – interesting to note though that his post high school achievements did not surpass his prep highlights

    Any idea when the last interview with he was conducted?

    • Rick says:

      Tim lived in comparative anonymity after his track career. He resided near El Cajon, I think. When I last spoke with him Tim was with the other high school milers who had beaten 4 minutes. This was at a Footlocker national cross-country meet in San Diego. He told me that he had a son who had competed in track in high school. No one could have imagined what the future held.

  2. Roger Conlee says:

    I’d like to remember Danielson that way, too. It’s a shame his life went south on him, but his athletic accomplishments will always stand as a matter of record.

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