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Carl Hatfield — February, 2023
Carl Hatfield is regarded as the greatest all-around distance runner from West Virginia. His major marathon successes include 1972 Boston (12th), 1974 Boston (10th), 1976 New York (7th) and 1977 Boston (11th). Carl led the West Virginia Track Club to the 1974 Boston Marathon Team Championship. He finished twelfth at the 1976 Olympic Trials Marathon. Carl won the 1978 Skylon Marathon, which was the AAU Championship, in a personal best of 2:17:21. Other marathon victories include 1971 Amoco Canton (OH), 1973 and 1974 Athens (OH) and 1976 Huntington, West Virginia. His dozens of road race victories include the 1975 and 1976 Cherry Blossom 10-Mile, 1976 Newark Distance Run 12-Mile and 1981 and 1982 Snowshoe Mountain 10k Climb. Carl placed second in the 1976 London, England Half Marathon in a PR 1:0:34. He won six races six times each - the Grafton, West Virginia 5 Miler, the Wellsburg, West Virginia, July 4th 5k, JFK 5k Cross Country in Pittsburgh, Judge Brodsky 10k Cross Country in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh, the Milk and Honey 10K in Canaan Valley, West Virginia and the Christmas 10k Road Race from Lexington to Buena Vista, Virginia. Carl was third man as his Florida Track Club team, including Frank Shorter, Jack Batchelor, Jeff Galloway, Barry Brown, Ken Misner and John Parker, won the 1970 AAU Cross Country Championship. He is a 1970 graduate of West Virginia University where he was a two-time NCAA Cross Country All-American, finishing 20th in 1968 and 10th in 1969 after winning the District qualifying meets both years. He won Southern Conference Championships in the indoor two-mile (1967 and 1968) and outdoor three-mile (1967). He graduated from Matewan (WV) High School in 1965 where he started running his senior year and, in only five meets, improved to a District Championship in 4:41 and Class AA West Virginia State Meet Bronze Medal in 4:37. His personal best times include: Mile – 4:07; 2-Mile – 8:46; 3-Mile - 13:49.4; 10,000m – 29:09; 10 miles – 49:09; Half Marathon - 1:03:34; and Marathon - 2:17:21. Carl was inducted into the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He is retired and resides in Bridgeport, West Virginia. Carl went over the top for this interview spending four and a half hours on the phone over two days.
GCR: THE BIG PICTURE As a distance runner you have been involved in the sport of running for your entire life since your early teenage years as an athlete, fan, race director and coach. Could you have imagined in your teens a future such as this and how has running contributed to and shaped your life over the past fifty-seven years?
CH Running has truly shaped my life. I was sixteen or seventeen years old and trying to decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I came to a path in my life where I had to decide if I was going to go left or right or down the middle. Running controlled the choices I made a long time ago. I believe I made a lot of good choices, though I made a few bad choices in my life. Of course, none of us are perfect. I was able to choose very good women to marry. I chose a few good occupations to pursue in addition to my athletic and running pathway. But I would have to say that running has, for the most part, guided my life.
GCR: As you look back on your running career and the solid years of strong training and racing, what was it that drove you to aim to reach your potential rather than just participate and how exciting was it to be putting in the hard training to push yourself to try to reach your ultimate best in terms of times and competition?
CH In my better years of running after college, I was self-coached. I coached myself, controlled my training and decided how much sleep I got and what I ate, though I married two very good cooks. It was exciting but, as I look back on it now as I’m seventy-five years old, I could have used more guidance. I think I would have been more successful if I had tried to look at the bigger picture instead of the inclusive world where I lived.
GCR: I’m about ten years younger than you, to give you a time perspective, and from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, was part of the running boom in the United States when road racing was developing and there was a tremendous depth of runners. How exciting was it to be a bit ahead of the running boom and then right in the middle of this amazing group of talented runners?
CH At that time, I didn’t realize there was a running boom taking place and that I had a chance to be a part of that running boom. I didn’t understand how much a chance I had to be successful until the 1972 Olympic year when I went to my first Boston Marathon. Back then a runner could send an entry in as late as March the fifteenth and still get in the Boston Marathon. That was the first year that there were over one thousand finishers. It was also the first year that they allowed women to officially run. There were only about five official female finishers. When I went up to Boston that year, I didn’t know how I would rank in the list of entered runners. When we lined up on the side street in Hopkinton where the runners used to line up, I lined myself up on the second row. About ten minutes before the starting gun, the race director came up. He looked at my race number and asked my name. When I told him, he jerked me by the arm and pulled me into the front row. I ended up finishing twelfth that year and was the fourth American finisher in my first Boston Marathon.
GCR: In that 1972 Boston Marathon where you ran 2:22:07 for twelfth place, there were some great runners around you such as Bruce Mortenson in sixth place, Jeff Galloway in seventh, Domingo Tibaduiza in eleventh and John Vitale in fourteenth place. Not just in that race, but in so many races you had those great runners with you and other competitors around you like Ron Wayne, Tom Fleming, Bob Varsha, Gary Tuttle and Amby Burfoot. What does it say about the depth of top road racers and how challenging it was to finish in the top ten, on the podium or to emerge victorious?
CH It was difficult and I was totally naive about how to properly race a marathon. As I look back on my thirty-five or forty marathons, I always went out and ran the first ten miles too fast. Then toward the end of the races, except at Boston, I tended to lose positions. I would fade away. Part of the reason I folded at the end of marathons wasn’t because I lacked the speed or the training mileage but was because I lacked rest. I was a night owl and would stay awake until midnight or twelve thirty reading books or just not going to bed. Then I would get up every morning at seven o’clock and go out and run four to eight miles or more. I think I cut myself short on sleep, rest and recovery.
GCR: From my experience when I graduated from Appalachian State in 1979, similar to other runners, we were self-coached and in graduate school, and most of us seemed to continue with our 5k and 10k workouts while adding more mileage and extending our long runs. We were still doing the fast stuff while increasing our weekly mileage from 80 or 90 miles to one hundred plus miles and upping our long runs from 15 to 17 miles to 20 or 22 miles. Since you moved up in distance similarly to what I did ten years later, what do you think of our being marathoners, but training like track runners?
CH I was part of that same mindset. I can look back on my training and, during that time, I always had to have another job to support myself. I was never sponsored. I was kind of famous before there was prize money. I think I could have used a good coach.
GCR: After excelling at shorter distances on the track in high school and college, along with outstanding cross-country success, your increased post-collegiate distance training focus led to great performances at all distances from 10k to the marathon. What do you feel was your ‘bread and butter’ distance and do you feel that a runner may not find his or her best racing distance, but that distance finds the runner?
CH I believe that my ‘bread and butter’ races were five- and six-mile cross country races that were hilly. I ran on very fast and flat cross country courses at Ohio State, but I won two NCAA District meets the first two years the NCAA instituted qualifying races. The South District included all the schools from Louisiana, Alabama and Florida all the way as far north as West Virginia University. We were the farthest team from the north that ran in the South District. I won both of those. My sophomore year at West Virginia, we had the Southern Conference Championship meet. There wasn’t a regional qualifying meet. If your school felt that your cross-country team was good enough, they would send the team to the NCAAs.
GCR: Many runners of our generation, including me, watched the Olympics, were inspired to compete in track and field and had a dream of running in the Olympics. When did you think about possibly becoming an Olympian one day and, even though you didn’t make it, how exciting was it to pursue that goal and to race in the Olympic Trials Marathon?
CH I did not think that I could be an Olympian until 1972. When I was in college, my coach and I did not know enough about the Olympic structure and what it took to be an Olympian. I was running as a young collegiate runner when I first went to the Olympic Trials in 1968.
GCR: Over the years you have coached runners of varying ages and ability levels including your daughter, Stephanie, who had an outstanding collegiate running career. Also, your grandson is running and is a freshman at Titusville Astronaut High School on the Florida space coast. What are some of the similarities and differences in your training program amongst the athletes you worked with and how much more challenging is it to motivate others versus yourself?
CH Back in the 1970s, when I coached Kim Nutter, I worked with him similar to the way I was coached and the way I trained. He was able to handle the structure of running hard mileage. Nowadays, when I coach younger runners or try to give them advice, I have to talk to them about getting outside more. Many of the younger kids spend five or six hours a day looking at their iPhones or streaming movies or on other electronic devices. For the most part, there are much more knowledgeable coaches than there were years ago. Also, most of the runners have very nice track facilities where they can train. Runners have better equipment, more knowledge about diet and rest and recovery from hard training. Many younger runners don’t make the same mistakes that you and I made back when we first started.
GCR: Since you are a Hatfield and direct descendant of the Hatfield and McCoy feud of the late 1800s between the Hatfields of West Virginia and McCoys of Kentucky and Ohio that resulted in the death of more than ten Hatfield and McCoys, what were the tales that you heard when you were growing up and how heartwarming is it now to have events such as the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon and the Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days?
CH I researched and my part of the Hatfield family are the peaceful people. I do have some close relatives that don’t go back too far whose families were part of the outlaw groups who hunted down each other and killed members of the opposite family. When I went to West Virginia University, being descended from the Hatfields and McCoys helped me with publicity. My coach, Stan Romanowski, was very good at taking bits and pieces of my historical background and putting them on my persona. Of course, I wasn’t going to stand in his way because free publicity was free publicity. I am part of the reason that there is a Hatfield and McCoy Marathon and Hatfield and McCoy Festival in the middle of June each year. My younger cousin who is in his sixties, David Hatfield, was the guy who got the festival started. He is a bigger guy but fell in love with distance running. He’s the one who organized the first Hatfield and McCoy Marathon to start in Kentucky and finish in West Virginia. I helped him organize the races and get them certified. I helped him time the races the first two years. It isn’t an easy marathon to run but became very successful. One reason the marathon was so successful the first ten years is because marathon runners who want to be ‘Fifty Staters’ could run the Hatfield and McCoy Marathon and get credit for two states. They would start the race in Kentucky and finish in West Virginia and get credit for both states. Now that has changed in the fifty state database and they don’t allow that any more.
GCR: BEGINNING RUNNING, HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE EXPLOITS When you were a youngster, were you an active child, in which sports did you participate as a youth and how did you get started in track and field your senior year in high school?
CH I grew up in the southern part of West Virginia which was a group of small coal mining towns with small high schools. During my junior high and senior high school years, the only sports for boys were football and basketball. There were no sports activities for girls back then unless they wanted to be a cheerleader or majorette. My mother would not let me go out for football in junior high school. I did go out for basketball at the junior high level which back then was seventh, eighth and ninth graders. I was the smallest point guard in the county. I had a little bit of skill, but I wasn’t very tall. Then I sat on the bench on the junior varsity team at the high school level. My senior year I weighed a hundred and thirty-five pounds and my parents let me go out for football. Our high school was small, and I was slotted in as a second-string guard on offense and as an outside linebacker on defense. I liked that defensive position because I liked defense and hitting people. In our first scrimmage game before the season, I broke my toe and that ended my football season. My activity level up to that point was good. I had been in the Boy Scouts of America for five years and had become an Eagle Scout. I did a lot of hiking plus, in the summer, I did lots of work on my grandfather’s farm like hoeing corn, hoeing vegetables, milking cows and that kind of work. I was in decent shape when our high school decided to have a boys track and field team my senior year. The longest races in Virginia at that time were one mile. There wasn’t a two-mile race for boys in high school. I knew I wasn’t a sprinter. I knew I didn’t have any skills like long jumping or hurdling or pole vaulting. So, I went out for the half mile and the mile and had quite a bit of success.
GCR: Can you tell us about how James Melmige coached you and how you were training for the mile on a football field marked off with tires?
CH Coach Melmige was the high school basketball coach. He knew a little bit about track and field. He had been a basketball player at Marshall College, which is now called Marshall University. We didn’t have a track, so he went out to the football field and marked off a 440-yard circle with tires. He knew enough to tell us to warm up a half mile and then to do four 440 yard runs where he timed us. It was basic interval training.
GCR: Since you only had that one year to race in high school, can you take us through your first few track meets?
CH In my first track meet in Mingo County, I ran the mile in five minutes and twenty-four seconds and won by quite a large margin. At that time, Mingo County had 66,000 residents, most of them connected to coal mining, and we had seven high schools. Today Mingo County has shrunk to 22,000 residents and only has two high schools. My second track meet was two weeks later on the same old cinder track that was at Williamson High School, which was the county seat. I dropped my mile time down to 5:16. I also won the half mile and anchored the winning two-mile relay team. Our third track meet was across the river over in Kentucky. About twenty high schools showed up for that meet. It was an old cinder track that was marked off by tires. There was this one kid from Kentucky who had placed second the year before in the state of Kentucky. In the very crowded field of one-milers, I dropped my time down to 4:57 and this kid from Kentucky beat me by only one second.
GCR: After those first few meets where you got you feet wet as a miler, how did you fare as you tried to qualify for the West Virginia State meet?
CH Two weeks later we had our fourth track meet and went to the Region meet at Fairfield Stadium at Marshall College in Huntington. It was run on a very nice cinder track. I ran 4:41 and dropped my time down sixteen more seconds and broke the Region record. I qualified for the State track meet, and I also qualified in the two-mile relay. But the way the schedule was set up at the State track meet I would be running those two races back to back. So, I was replaced in the two-mile relay and only had to run the one mile. I was the only member of our high school team to qualify for the State meet in the mile which would be held at Charleston, West Virginia.
GCR: After only four races at the mile distance, you were the Region champ and had raced a 4:41 mile. How did the State meet go as far as your tactics and the outcome?
CH At the 1965 Class AA West Virginia State Meet at Charleston, I led the entire way until the last ten yards, when two guys passed me. Adkins of Pineville got me ten yards from the finish and Church from Beverly passed me right at the end. Adkins won in 4:36.2 and I was third in 4:37.0. Two other good runners, Bee of West Union and Jackson of Milton, were fourth and fifth.
GCR: How did you decide to keep running in college and to go to West Virginia University?
CH I realized I could be good at running if I continued training. I had decided to go to West Virginia University as a student. But I also decided to go out for the track team.
GCR: Did you do increased training over the summer to get ready to run in college?
CH I trained once a day anywhere from four miles to seven miles. Plus I had a summer job with the Mingo County Board of Education. I was part of their maintenance crew. We repainted some of the school rooms and cut all the grass. I would get home at four thirty in the afternoon and immediately go out and run. I’d be home afterward, and my mother would have dinner ready for me. I got into a routine where I was running thirty to forty miles a week that summer. My secret was that I ran fast. I didn’t run slow mileage. I had a German stopwatch that I bought. I carried it on every single run in the summer and I had timed myself on courses I measured off with a car on the roads that were one mile and two miles. They were country paved roads where I lived in Mingo County. I kind of knew that I was running fast, but I didn’t know how much God-given talent I had.
GCR: What was the reception at West Virginia University as I have read where you just showed up at the West Virginia University Field House in search of the ‘running coach’ and were a walk-on with the West Virginia University cross country team? Did Coach Stan Romanowski know of you from your performance in the mile at the State track meet or were you an unknown quantity?
CH I was a totally unknown runner to him. I went to class for the first week and, every day when I finished my classwork, I would go through this gate near this small Catholic high school and I would run around their football field as much as six or seven miles each day on my own. I finally decided I was going to tell the track coach that I would be coming out to run on the track team. I went to Coach Romanowski’s office on the downtown campus and knocked on his door. He told me to come in and asked me who I was. I told him I was Carl Hatfield from Matewan High School and I wanted to go out for the track team. He asked me what events I did, and I said, ‘I did the mile.’ He told me, ‘In college indoors we have the mile, half mile, two-mile and outdoors we have longer races – the three-mile and six-mile.’ And he said, ‘Right now, this fall, we have cross country.’ And I asked him, ‘What is cross country?’ He told me, ‘Since you are a freshman, you will be running on the freshman team and there are races from about two miles to about four miles. You run in city parks or on golf courses or sometimes out in the country where they measure a course. You’ll be running against other colleges like Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Maryland, Virginia Tech and VMI.’ I told him that sounded like fun and that I had been running like that all summer against myself. He said, ‘You can come out tomorrow to the football stadium where we have lockers and I will give you equipment and a new pair of Adidas training shoes. I have four other runners on the freshman team that are vey good runners. They are on scholarship and you can be our fifth man. You will have to finish every race so that we can score as a team.’ That sounded great to me.
GCR: How did your first training runs go with your new teammates?
CH I showed up and I was able to keep up with these guys. One was the State champion of West Virginia. Another was a half-miler from Pittsburgh. Another had been the prep school champion of Pennsylvania in cross country. I ran and stayed up with these guys.
GCR: Since you were a newbie to cross country racing, how did you adapt to your first race?
CH About two weeks later we had our first cross-country meet. Along with the varsity runners, we went to Pittsburgh to run against the University of Pittsburgh at Shenley Park. The race was around two-and-a-half miles long. Our coach told us what the course record was and I kind of had a general idea of where to run. It was a very hilly cross-country course. They had marked it on walking trails and across the golf course with chalk powder. But on Friday night before the race, it rained very hard. When we went out to Shenley Park the next day, Coach Romanowski was complaining a bit that our guys didn’t know the course like the Pittsburgh guys did and the chalk marks were washed away. Coach Banner from Pittsburgh said, ‘Well Stan, you don’t have to worry about it. Just tell your freshmen boys to follow my lead runner. He’s the very tall guy over there and is the Maryland State champion in cross-country. I recruited him and he will be running for me the next four years.’ We warmed up and lined up. The racecourse started up a hill. It was about three hundred yards of running up hill until we went around a flagpole that had an American flag on it. Then it dropped down onto the trails and the golf course. My strongest forte was running up hills. They fired the gun, and I was the leader at that flagpole and on into the trails. I could somewhat follow the trails to a certain extent because, to begin with, there weren’t that many trails. I was about one mile out into the racecourse and was leading by about twenty-five yards. We came to this point where part of what looked like a trail turned abruptly and went up this short, steep hill. Part of the main trail looked like it went straight ahead. I was out there running like a wild man and went straight through the intersection and started to go down a hill. I hear some yelling, ‘Carl, Carl - come back! You’re off course!’ I slowed up and went back. The Pitt guy from Maryland and a couple other guys were turning up the hill. So, I came back up the trail over the hill and onto the course. I found myself in seventh or eighth place. I eventually caught the Pitt lead runner as we were coming off the golf course. We were about six hundred yards from the finish line, but we had to go up Flagstaff Hill and back down the other side as the finish was at the start. I broke the freshman course record that day.
GCR: How did that change your coach’s perception of your ability and your position on the team since you were ahead of all the scholarship runners?
CH The following Monday, Coach Romanowski made me into a legend. The best thing he did was that he called me into his office on Monday because I had a Biology class down there where he had his office near the football stadium. He told me that he was going to put me on full scholarship. He called my mother and told her. My dad was a disabled coal miner, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. I truly didn’t have enough money to finish out the school year. I was that naive. My mother was that naive. Coach put me on full scholarship, and I won all five of our freshman cross-country meets.
GCR: Did you do anything special or different after cross country season to build on your great freshman year?
CH Later on after cross-country season, Coach Romanowski brought us to Lexington, Virginia in December. This was about a week before final exams and I ran my first ever road race. It was a 10,000 meter Lexington to Buena Vista road race. We started at VMI and we finished over in Buena Vista. The two court houses happened to be almost exactly 10,000 meters apart. I was running against some very good runners from William and Mary, Virginia Tech and the University of Richmond. As a freshman, I ran that 10,000 meters in something like thirty-two minutes and fifty-five seconds and finished seventh. What was interesting about that race was, over the next eight years, I came back and won that race six different times and retired the course record.
GCR: You had trained strong prior to your freshman year at West Virginia. Did you continue with the same training over the summer before your sophomore year or turn it up a notch?
CH The next year, when I was a sophomore, we had some good older runners including one guy from Canada. But I was one or two minutes faster than these guys were over a five-mile cross-country race because I had gone back home in the summer after my freshman year and trained very hard. I quit my summer job along about August the first and for the next three or four weeks was running a hundred miles a week over very mountainous terrain in Mingo County. Instead of running seven miles a day, I was running a nine-mile loop up Beech Creek Mountain and a fifteen mile loop that went up another mountain that we called Magic Mountain. I came into my sophomore year and I was much stronger than I realized.
GCR: How did you end up racing in the Southern Conference Championships that year since there was no Region meet to qualify for NCAAs in cross-country. Were you a top ten finisher?
CH For the Southern Conference meet my sophomore year, the cross-country team got to fly to a race for the first time. We flew in a whisper jet to Greenville, South Carolina and the meet was held at Furman University in November. It was early November, maybe the first week in November. The cross country course was fairly flat and run mainly on the golf course. The night before the race, there was a rainstorm. Part of the cross-country course was very soggy and there was heavy footing. William and Mary had the defending cross-country team and they had an All-American steeplechaser named Jimmy Johnson. I had raced very well during the season though I had been beaten by a Kent State runner named Sammy Bair who was a sub-four-minute miler. Kent State had two All-Americans, Sammy Bair and a distance runner named Pete Lorandeau who had made All-American in cross-country the year before when the NCAA race distance was four miles and was held at Michigan State. At the Southern Conference Meet, my coach gave me some good advice to stay as close as I could to Jimmy Johnson. He and I led the entire race. We passed three miles on this wet cross-country course that was mostly on the edges of the golf course. I knew that the last quarter of a mile was slightly down hill to the finish line, but I also knew that last part was soggy and wet. It was almost like running in a mud bog. I thought that might slow Jimmy up more than me. About three-and-a-half miles into the race, I threw in a sprint. I was going to make him beat me on strength. He caught me about ten yards from the finish yard and beat me by less than a second. On that four point one mile cross country course, he ran 20:16 and I ran 20:17. His team, William and Mary ended up winning the team title.
GCR: After that great finish at the Southern Conference meet, how did you fare against the strong competition at the IC4A Cross Country Championships in New York City?
CH A week later, Coach Romanowski entered me in the IC4A Cross Country Championships which was a five mile distance at Van Courtland Park in the Bronx in New York City. I ended up racing with this group of Villanova runners which included a couple guys from Ireland, Steve Stageburg from Georgetown and a good runner from Holy Cross. At different points in the race I was leading. I didn’t know the racecourse that well and the last part we came down a hill and out onto the flat soccer fields. About five guys outsprinted me and I ended up in sixth place.
GCR: You had progressed so far from your freshman year and were set for your first national championship race. What are highlights of the NCAA Cross Country Championships your sophomore year, especially since the distance was six miles rather than four or five miles?
CH Coach Romanowski sent my entry blank to the NCAA for the NCAA Cross Country Championships which was being held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas and I was accepted. Jim Ryun was going to be the featured runner. But at the Big Eight Championships Jim Ryun had stepped in a groundhog hole and twisted his ankle and he wasn’t able to race. There were around two hundred and twenty runners set to race six miles for the first time in NCAA cross country. I hadn’t raced six miles though I had raced four miles and five miles and done very well. Coach Romanowski and our West Virginia Athletic Director had been in some kind of argument over finances and so my coach didn’t get to go to the national meet with me. I was sent by myself to Kansas. I got the Naval Academy coach to pick up race number and race directions. I ended up giving the Navy coach my private room and I stayed in a double room with his top runner whom I had beaten back in September in our first dual meet of the year. The race started off and at the one mile I was in about eightieth place. At the two-mile, I had moved up to about fiftieth place. By three miles I had passed enough runners to be in about twenty-fifth place. The first big hill was in the next mile, and we were at the top of it by four miles. At the four-mile mark, I was in a pack of four guys who were in thirteenth to sixteenth place. Back then the top fifteen finishers were All-American. I was thinking, ‘Okay, I’m going to make All-American by myself.’ But when I went through five miles, I was starting to slow up and other guys who were close to me started to go past me. I was probably in about twentieth place at five miles. Most of the last mile was slightly down hill to the finish line and I ended up being outsprinted by Frank Murphy from Villanova and Ireland. I had beaten him at the IC4A meet. I ended up twenty-sixth and was around nine seconds behind fifteenth place which was All-American. But I did beat Jimmy Johnson, who had beat me by one second at the Southern Conference meet, by about a minute.
GCR: With the strength you gained from your summer distance build up and strong sophomore cross country season, how did this translate into the shorter distances during the indoor track season?
CH We ran the 1968 Southern Conference Indoor Championships at the old VMI track where one end of the track went under the bleachers. I won the two-mile but missed by one second of qualifying for the NCAA Indoor meet at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Jimmy Johnson beat me in the one mile.
GCR: Do any performances from the outdoor season prior to the conference meet stand out in your memory?
CH I had run under nine minutes for two miles at the Penn Relays and under fourteen minutes for three miles at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg. I defeated Steve Stageberg in the Colonial Relays 3-mile 13:56 to 13:58. Steve was from Eugene, Oregon, but accepted the scholarship back east at Georgetown.
GCR: After your performances at the indoor conference meet were you able to score double wins at the 1968 Southern Conference Outdoor Championships?
CH At the 1968 Southern Conference Outdoor Championships, I won the three mile in 14:10, but Jimmy Johnson and another William and Mary runner, Terry Donnelly, beat me in the mile as I ran 4:11 for third place. Terry was a taller runner and had more speed than me. Back then, if you had a fast three-mile, it gave you an automatic NCAA qualifier for the six-mile also.
GCR: You had qualified for the 1968 NCAA Track and Field Championships in two events but did not compete. What are the details behind that decision?
CH I was all set to go to the NCAA Track and Field Championships and was the only West Virginia runner who had qualified. The meet was going to be held at Brigham Young university in Provo, Utah which is at seven thousand feet of altitude. But Coach Romanowski had raced me in too many races, and I was worn outs. There were some meets where I would run as many as three races. In some of the big meets, he had me run the six-mile on Friday night and the three-mile on Saturday morning. By the time the end of May came around, Coach Romanowski had found me a part-time summer job at a factory in Morgantown. Then my mom called me and told me my dad, who I mentioned before was a disabled coal miner, had gotten seriously ill and it was getting worse. She asked me to come home and so I was excused from running the IC4A Championships and went home. My dad had almost died and my mother was crying a lot and wanted me to stay home. So I cancelled out of going to the NCAA meet. So, I lost out on that experience though I don’t think I would have run well that year. I would have finished both the three-mile and the six-mile races, but it was at seven thousand feet elevation. I probably wouldn’t have known what I was doing and started out fast with Gerry Lindgren, Glenn Ogden from Missouri, and a couple of Villanova runners and faded. I probably would have finished about tenth or twelfth.
GCR: Let’s go forward to your junior year cross country season and discuss three meets – the Southern Conference meet, the first ever NCAA District meet which was in Williamsburg, Virginia and the NCAA Championships that were held in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
CH My junior year, the Southern Conference cross country meet was held at the University of Richmond. It started in their football stadium and we ran a loop around their dusty track. Then we headed out toward what was essentially a park. We had to cross a couple wooded bridges that were over this big pond or lake. It was a five-mile race. I made a big mistake. That Saturday morning, I got up at the dorm we stayed in at the University of Richmond and we got to eat in their cafeteria. Normally about two hours before a race I would have a piece of toast with honey on it and drink some tea. That morning, for whatever reason, I stupidly was so hungry that I ate two or three pieces of bacon, a couple eggs, toast and honey, and tea. This was about two hours before the race. I was leading the race at about four miles, and I started spitting up. I had to stop and bend over, and I was holding my stomach. Three or four runners got ahead of me. I got back into the race and ended up finishing fifth.
GCR: You learned your lesson because you raced well to win the NCAA District Championships. Were you out front in that race and who gave you a challenge?
CH We ran in the NCAA Southern District in that first year and William and Mary was the meet host. It was six miles out on a golf course. I watched what I put in my stomach this tine around. The William and Mary coach had one of his assistants riding in a golf cart with a flag on it that was the pace vehicle. The course was marked and roped off. I immediately jumped into the lead and was building my lead the further we got into the race. In between three and four miles I went up this slight hill on the edge of the golf course and made a circle at the top. They didn’t have the circle marked off with rope and flags and I had to follow the pace golf cart. I went flying through there and ended up breaking the course record by about thirty seconds and beat the guys from William and Mary and the guys from Tennessee. East Tennessee State University was also strong as they were just starting to get runners from Ireland. I think my time was thirty minutes and twelve seconds. The William and Mary coach tried to get me disqualified. He said I cut the course short on that section at the four-mile mark. Coach Romanowski argued, ‘All Carl did was follow the golf cart.’ That is what I did and everybody else did the same thing. So, they didn’t take the title away from me.
GCR: At the NCAA Cross Country Championships, you won your first All-America honor by finishing 20th at altitude in wintry weather in Wyoming. What were the challenges getting to the meet with very poor weather conditions and did you get to check out the course prior to the race?
CH Here is the back story – my coach and the West Virginia Athletic Director did not get along. They played golf together and I think our cross-country coach was a better golfer. So, it was decided that Coach Romanowski would not travel with me to Laramie, Wyoming. I had to go on my own. I checked out the map and found that one of my favorite uncles, who lived in Denver, Colorado, was on the way to Wyoming. All the WVU students were out of school on Thanksgiving break. I talked the WVU administration into booking me a plane ticket from Pittsburgh to Denver and my uncle picked me up in Denver on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was able to get in a distance run at a park in Denver on Wednesday, on Thanksgiving and on Friday. I had a plane ticket on Saturday from Denver to Laramie, but a blizzard hit Wyoming just as our plane was flying into Laramie. We couldn’t land in Laramie because there was a white out. We landed in Cheyenne, Wyoming which isn’t too far away. We landed safely and there were some other runners who were going to the NCAA meet. They put us on a bus and we drove in the middle of a blizzard from Cheyenne to Laramie. Representatives from the University of Wyoming met us at the bus station and took us to our hotel rooms. Our hotel was across from the pasture land which held the course of six miles with no hills out on this flat blizzard place. I didn’t get to run on Saturday. After we managed to get our race numbers, Sammy Bair, the guy from the Naval Academy, and a couple of others went with me to a store that was like a Walmart because it was ten degrees below zero on that Sunday afternoon. We purchased women’s stockings because there were no athletic tights back then. We got dressed up for the cold weather so we could go for a run. I wore a Navy facemask and a big West Virginia jacket. We were going to go across the road and jog the racecourse. But there were officials stationed who would not let us out on the pastureland. The wind was blowing hard and there was at least six inches of snow on the ground. They were afraid to let us out there because they were fearful we could get lost and possibly die. So, we didn’t run that day.
GCR: After all that adversity, can you take us through that race and how it was at high altitude compared to low level?
CH By the next morning the blizzard had blown through, the wind had stopped, and the temperature was nineteen degrees. The meet officials had somehow cleaned much of the snow from the cross-country course and put up a lot of flags. One thing the University of Wyoming did that was a Godsend was that the race numbers were on a small vest that went over our shoulders and had a back so that was another layer of protection against the wind and the cold. Gerry Lindgren was going to be there to defend his title. There was also a top runner from Norway, Arjan Gelling, who went to school at North Dakota University. I tried to stay with Sammy Bair and a Villanova runner, Charley Messenger. They finished eighth and ninth. For most of the race, I was in fourteenth or fifteenth position. The last half mile of the race was straight into the wind, what little wind was left. But I had already run five-and-a-half miles at seven thousand feet of elevation and I faded from where I was to twentieth place. Gerry Lindgren beat the Norwegian by nineteen seconds. They had changed the qualification for All-American from the top fifteen to the top twenty-five, so I made All-American.
GCR: After that great cross-country season, you had another fine indoor track season and won another Southern conference title in the two-mile. Was that held again at VMI, and did you have any competition in that two-mile?
CH Yes, we ran again at VMI. They had the only indoor track in the Southern Conference. Virginia Tech, Furman, Davidson and East Carolina didn’t have indoor tracks. I was off the front and took it by myself. I was trying to get under nine minutes. I had run 9:01 at the University of Delaware on a flat track that wasn’t banked. I had also run an 8:59 at the Boston Indoor Games against George Young, Ambrose Burfoot, Art Dulong, a guy from England and a couple guys from Canada. So, I had already been under nine minutes. I wanted to get down to 8:50 or 8:52. I was well on my way until the last two laps. I was lapping everybody and, when I tried to go around one of the guys I was lapping on a curve, he elbowed me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me. Instead of running the last quarter mile, which was two laps with my kick in around sixty-two seconds, I ended up running seventy-six seconds and barely could finish.
GCR: After missing out on the NCAA outdoor meet the prior year, what is the even stranger story behind you not racing at the 1969 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships?
CH Coach Romanowski sent my entry to the NCAA and they accepted me to run at Cobo Hall in Detroit based on my time at the Boston Indoor Games at the Boston Garden. We went to Detroit and I picked up my race number while coach got my race packet. They instructed me that the two-mile was scheduled for nine o’clock on Friday night so I needed to be at Cobo Hall by seven o’clock to check in and start my warm up early. The next night we got there and the NCAA officials told Coach Romanowski and me that I was on standby. Jim Ryun had won the mile, half mile and two-mile at the Big Eight Conference indoor meet and his two-mile was four seconds faster than my time. They told me to put on my race number and to warm up and they would see if Jim Ryun showed up at the starting line. Kansas was trying to win the NCAA title with Jim Ryun and the top two shot putters in the nation. Jim Ryun ran the qualifying heat for the half mile at seven o’clock so he would make the final the next day. If I’m not mistaken, he also had to run a heat to qualify in the one mile at about eight o’clock. So here he was at nine o’clock showing up for his third race of the evening. Since he showed up, they wouldn’t let me run. And Jim Ryun ran about one lap or two laps and dropped out to save himself for the next day to run against Dave Patterson from Villanova in the half mile. Patterson won the half mile in a World Record time, but Jim won the one mile. The two shot putters took first and second place and Kansas won the NCAA team title. Carl got to watch the race from the sideline. The Detroit Cobo Hall track was a banked, eleven laps to the mile track, and I think I could have run about 8:54 or 8:53 because I was in good shape and I liked banked tracks with tight turns. But I didn’t get to run.
GCR: Did you continue with successful running during your junior year outdoor track season?
CH The outdoor season was the Olympic year. I’ll tell you first about the Penn Relays. Back then they didn’t have the Thursday night distance carnival where they have the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters. On Saturday morning, there was an A squad two-mile and a B squad two-mile. They put me in the A squad race. I led the entire way until roughly the last two hundred meters. Five guys went straight by me in the last two hundred meters and I ended up running 8:49. Sammy Bair ran around 8:46, Jerry Ritchie, the sub-four-minute miler from Pitt, ran right behind him in 8:47. Dick Buerkle ran 8:47, and a guy from the University of Michigan ran 8:48. I ran well at the IC4A meet. Steve Stageberg had beat me at the Colonial Relays 13:44.8 to 13:54.4 but I qualified for the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters for the NCAA. By the time I got to the end of May, I had run too long many races and too many races and hadn’t built enough of a base. I did go to the Houston, Texas Astrodome for the USTFF national meet. I ran the six-mile on a Friday night at nine o’clock and it was ninety degrees, dark and we ran under floodlights on a very hard paved track. I ran 29:46 to finish a very close third place to a guy – I think it was Dick Steinberg from Duke University. The next day I was supposed to run the 5,000 meters, but I had so many blisters from the night before that I decided not to run. On Sunday I flew to Berkeley in the San Francisco area for the NCAAs. I was entered in the six-mile and three-mile and those races were also the semifinals for the Olympic Trials. But I was toast. I ended up around ninth place, but there were two foreigners in front of me – a Canadian from Southern Illinois and an Australian from another school – so I was the seventh American and only the top six went to the first Olympic Trials where they would determine the top twelve guys in each event who would get to go to Echo Summit at Lake Tahoe later on in August. The U.S. Olympic Committee was bringing the top twelve in each event and paying all expenses to train at altitude for about three weeks. The plan was to race at altitude, and I just missed making the cutoff.
GCR: That fall your senior year in cross country was strong but didn’t include the Southern Conference Championships. Why wasn’t West Virginia at that meet?
CH We didn’t race the Southern Conference meet that year because West Virginia University had pulled out of the conference. West Virginia was an independent for the next eight or ten years mainly because of football and basketball.
GCR: You repeated your victory at the NCAA District Championships, this time in Atlanta, Georgia. Did you get off the front again and were you pushed by any of the competition?
CH The NCAA had set up the standards that the top three teams would qualify for the NCAA Championships. The top four teams coming into the meet were Tennessee, East Tennessee State, William and Mary, and Florida State. West Virginia University had me as the defending individual champion. We had another good runner from Pennsylvania who was a sophomore. The rest of our team were freshman who were talented. One of them, Mike Masur, ended up being the NCAA Indoor Champion at 1,000 yards and ran in the 1970s in the ITA Professional Track and Field league. Mike Masur took my West Virginia school record away from me in the mile and ran the ‘Dream Mile’ with Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori in Philadelphia in 1971. He had a lot more speed than me, though he never broke four minutes in the mile and couldn’t beat me in cross country. Anyway, the waterworks course in Atlanta, Georgia was five point five miles. The NCAA allowed us to run less than six miles at our District meet. The course record had been set by Jack Batchelor. He had made the Olympic team in the 5,000 meters in 1968 and run in the heat of Mexico City at altitude. In between the heats and finals in Mexico City, he drank some water that wasn’t bottled water the U.S. team brought, got diarrhea and couldn’t go to the starting line for the Olympic final. He came back to the United States as a graduate student at the University of Florida, recovered from his stomach ailment and came up to Atlanta from Gainesville and set the course record of around 26:18. That was very fast. I showed up and wasn’t intimidated by Howie Michaels from William and Mary who had run a sub-four-minute mile. The University of Tennessee had a couple of great steeplechase runners. Doug Brown may have been a freshman at that point. East Tennessee State had one or two runners from Ireland, but they were younger than me. I shot to the front immediately. The only splits we received were after each of the five loops that were one point one miles. I calculated my first split out as four minutes and thirty-four seconds for the mile. I had about a one-foot lead over about five guys that were right on my shoulder. The second mile I ran about 4:38 and my lead had swelled to about five yards. The next mile I ran at 4:42 and my lead had increased and there were now only one or two guys following me and they were fifteen or twenty yards behind me. I ran the next mile again at around 4:42 and my lead had grown even more. Then I ran my last mile back down to 4:40 and I had a half mile roughly left to go. I ended up breaking Jack Batchelor’s course record by something like twenty-four seconds and won the race by about that amount over Howie Michaels, the sub-four-minute miler. Our team, with my finishing first and Danny Payne, our second runner, finishing eleventh, was able to squeeze out third place by a couple of places over William and Mary. I would have been able to go as an individual because they were qualifying the top three individuals who weren’t on the top three teams.
GCR: After your team had such an outstanding finish at the NCAA District Championships, was there any thought by your coach to run IC4As before the NCAA Championships?
CH That year the District race was two weeks and two days before the NCAA Championships which were held on a Monday after Thanksgiving. After we finished third and we knew that we would be running the NCAAs at Van Cortland Park, Coach Romanowski said, ‘Boys, we are going to the IC4A Championships next weekend at Van Cortland Park. It’s a five-mile race and you guys will get to see the racecourse.’ Coach Romanowski had these grand ideas that we were going to finish third in the nation. The New York Times called me on the Wednesday before the IC4A meet and conducted an interview with me and got the WVU athletic department to send them a picture of me running on the track. They picked me as the favorite to win the IC4A Championships. We got ready to catch our plane on Friday and Coach Romanowski said, ‘Boys, the IC4A will not let us compete.’ We asked him why and he had to admit that he forgot to send in our entry forms. So, the rest of my teammates decided to meet on Saturday morning for an eight-mile run and to have a house party that night. Our number two runner, Danny Payne, drank a little too much beer. He was running through the house, tripped, and fell through a glass door and slit his arm from his wrist up to his elbow. The doctors put a cast on his arm. This was a week before the NCAAs, so we had to substitute one of our other freshmen to run as our seventh man. We didn’t have anyone other than Danny who ran even close to me. Steve Stageberg ended up winning the IC4A meet and beating Holy Cross’ top runner, Art Dulong in a race that was made for Carl Hatfield. I’m positive I would have won that race because it was run in a rainstorm and there was mud all over the place. Back then the IC4A cross-country course was rocky and hilly.
GCR: The NCAAs were different than your junior year as it was a closer trip to New York City and the weather was warmer. It was also very crowded with good runners as from sixth place to thirty-seventh place there were thirty-two runners within thirty seconds. Can you take us through your tenth-place finish at NCAAs at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx section of New York City where you were one second behind Sid Sink and eight seconds and nine places in front of Frank Shorter?
CH We got to New York the day before the NCAA meet and jogged the racecourse a bit. We lined up at the starting area. I’m the captain of our team, so ten or fifteen minutes before the race we took our sweats off and did our wind sprints. It was an excellent day to run – about fifty-two degrees, overcast and no wind. As we were getting ready to line up, Coach Romanowski came out and got in front of us and gave us our pep talk. And the gun goes off! We’re standing there as the rest of the runners started. For at least the first half mile we were running across flat soccer fields, and we had to run from behind. By the time we got to the one-mile mark, Carl was buried back in about thirtieth place. We were on a narrow trail. But by three miles I had worked my way up to where I was tied for second place. There is a picture of me running right next to Mike Ryan of the Air Force Academy. It looks like we were tied for first place, but the Track and Field News camera man had missed Art Dulong who was thirty yards in front of us at three miles. By the time we got around to five miles, I was in fourth place and I could almost reach out and touch the leader. When we were back in the hills there were snow fences along the curves. With about a half mile to go, I got elbowed by Art Coolidge who was a New England runner who ran for Kent State University. I got bumped into the snow fence and went down to one knee. By the time I got back up, I had lost five or six places. On the sprint into the finish, instead of being in fourth place, I was in tenth place. Guys like Jerry Ritchie, Art Coolidge, Art Dulong and Steve Stageberg, were right in front of me. If I hadn’t been bumped into that snow fence, I could have finished as high as third place, but most likely in fourth or fifth place.
GCR: Since you weren’t in the Southern Conference, how did your senior track season go at Penn Relays, IC4As and did you qualify for NCAAs?
CH In indoor track season, I ran under nine minutes for two miles and qualified for the NCAA meet, but I got a flu bug and didn’t get to go. Outdoors at the IC4A three-mile in May, I ran 14:01 and got fifth or sixth place. Frank Shorter beat me and that was the first time he finished ahead of me. Most of the races I had with him had been cross country races. Frank Shorter was more talented than me, he was faster than me, and he had a better coach. I qualified for NCAAs in the three-mile and six-mile which was hosted by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The week before, Coach Romanowski had entered me in Lexington, Kentucky in the USTFF Championships. This was a federation meet set up by the NCAA when they were feuding with the AAU. I ran against Gerry Lindgren, who didn’t have any more NCAA eligibility, in the 10,000-meter race on Friday night. There was a University of Arizona runner who beat Gerry. I thought I could finish in the top three, but my shoe came off at about four miles into the race and I dropped out. I came back the next day, ran the three-mile, and finished in sixth place. The following week we were in Knoxville and Frank Shorter won the NCAA race in very hot weather of around ninety degrees. He ran a very smart race. I dropped out at three miles because of the heat and blisters. The next day in the three-mile, Frank Shorter was outsprinted by Ole Olson from UCLA, and I ended up finishing n ninth place. That ended my collegiate career.
GCR: We have talked at length about your collegiate racing. How would you sum up the training that West Virginia Coach Stan Romanowski, who was two-time West Virginia Prep 880 champion over thirty years earlier in 1935 (2:04.1) and 1936 (2:03.2), advocated for you and your teammates?
CH My coach, Coach Romanowski, at West Virginia University was one of those old-time guys and all he knew was to throw intervals at us. Five days a week we would run intervals. On the weekend we would run a race. At the end of the season in 1968, when I was basically worn out from too many races and too many intervals and not enough mileage, he scheduled me for four weekends of running mostly 10,000 meters or six-mile races. I would run the Central Collegiate Championships at Notre Dame University and then the next weekend was the IC4A meet that was only three miles. The third weekend was the USTFF meet which was 10,000 meters and the following weekend was the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters at Berkeley. The 1968 NCAA Championships were a qualifying meet for the Olympic Trials. I had already qualified for both races but, to solidify my place to go to the training camp at Echo Summit at seven thousand feet of altitude that August to select the United States Olympic team, I had to place in the top six in the NCAAs. Like I mentioned earlier, I had run so many long races and it was at the tail end of a very long season for me. My coach at West Virginia didn’t know about the importance of the Olympic Trials to me. He was concerned about me running in the USTFF meet and the NCAA meet. By the end of the season, I was worn out.
GCR: POST-COLLEGIATE CROSS COUNTRY AND ROAD RACING What did you do to transition from running collegiately for West Virginia to a post-collegiate runner?
CH I had to do my student teaching, so that fall I was the Graduate Assistant Cross Country Coach and got to train with my guys at West Virginia. I directed the cross-country races. The team in 1969 did not qualify for the NCAA Championships. Mike Masur did, and it was at Van Cortland Park again where he placed around a hundred and twentieth. I ran in various cross-country races and road races. That December when I graduated from WVU after I did my student teaching, I got married and moved to Ft. Myers, Florida. I taught seventh grade science and seventh grade math at Edison Junior High School and was the track coach. I joined the Florida Track Club even though I was living in Ft. Myers and Frank Shorter, Jack Batchelor, Jeff Galloway, Barry Brown and other guys were in Gainesville.
GCR: Speaking of the Florida Track Club, if we go forward to the 1970 cross country season, you were part of their cross country team. What can you relate about racing with these iconic runners on the Florida Track Club team?
CH I ran two races with them. The first was at Penn State University Park and was the USTFF National Cross-Country Championship. I finished in tenth place in 29:46 for six miles and outsprinted Marty Liquori at the finish. He had raced the NCAA Championships two days earlier and was on tired legs. I was Florida Track Club’s third man. We had Frank Shorter first, Jack Batchelor second, I was third, Jeff Galloway was fourth, Barry Brown was our fifth guy, Ken Misner from Florida State was our sixth man and John Parker, who authored the book ‘Once a Runner,’ was our seventh guy. That race was on a Wednesday. Three days later we were in Chicago for the AAU National Cross Country Championship and I was again the Florida Track Club’s third runner. I was outsprinted at the finish on a muddy, icy, rain-filled Washington Park by this high school kid, Craig Virgin, who was the national record-setting two-miler from Illinois running on his home turf. Over the last hundred yards, which was run over an ice-filled pond that had about four inches of water with a layer of ice on the top because it had frozen the night before, he outsprinted me for twelfth place. I finished thirteenth in 31:46 for the 10,000-meter course. The Florida Track Club won the national championship over the Pacific Coast Club. I was running in West Virginia at that time. The mistake I made that fall is that about a month before that meet I ran my first marathon ever in Canton, Ohio. I ran 2:34 and finished second overall to a runner, Mike Kimball, who was a PhD chemical engineer from California and a good marathon runner. For me to do a marathon a month before a national championship cross-country race took away a little of my speed. That was the last time I remember running for the Florida Track Club.
GCR: A race that was about five years later that was one of your best efforts was the 1976 Newark Distance Run which was twelve miles over wet streets after a snow storm the night before and you beat Amby Burfoot, Dan Morris and Victor Elk by twenty to thirty seconds while averaging sub-five-minute miles. What were highlights of that effort?
CH I was well-ingrained to being a road runner by that point. The Race Director, Hugh Sweeney, was always around the fringes of the New York Road Runners Club. He was a lawyer for the City of Newark, and they hosted this twelve mile race which later became a twenty kilometer race. I showed up with my running group from West Virginia. Six of us jammed into my Ford station wagon and we drove to Newark. We got free lodging from Hugh, who owned a group of slum apartments. The night before the race, that area of New Jersey and New York City was hit with a six inch wet snow. The next morning, the City of Newark sent their snow plows out and they plowed the racecourse. The sun had also come out and melted some of the snow. We had nice cool weather of forty-six degrees and no wind. Plus, the course was very flat. We ran six miles out to a park, made a circle and came back to City Hall in downtown Newark. I didn’t realize who I was racing against. All of these New England runners had come down. I led from start to finish, and Ambrose Burfoot waited too long to try to catch me. I read his feelings about the race, and he said that he realized about the ten-mile mark he better pick up the pace otherwise he wasn’t going to catch me. There were two runners in front of him from the Marine Corps team, Victor Elk and Dan Morris. Burfoot caught the other two runners but couldn’t catch me because I had quite a bit of sprint left in the last half mile of the race. I ran four seconds faster than Bill Rodgers had the year before and set the course record. The following year Neil Cusack broke my course record by six seconds.
GCR: Another race I’d like to discuss that grew to huge popularity is the Cherry Blossom 10-mile race in Washington, D.C. where you won in 1975 and 1976, with a course record of 49:09 the second time, and were second in 1977 in 50:29. What are your memories of those races and were any of them close?
CH What is interesting is how close it was when I won in 1975. I outsprinted Bernie Allen from England by one second. That year there was very bad weather. The wind was so strong that it blew down some of the cherry trees during the race. Also, the way the racecourse was laid out in those years meant we made up and down loops on Haynes Point which is near the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial. For part of the racecourse, the wind was at me back and I could run 4:40 pace per mile. Then I would come back into the wind and it was all I could do to run a 5:10 mile. The first year that I won, Bernie Allen, another runner from American University or George Mason, and I ran together. The college guy was a four-minute miler. Phil Stewart, the race director, had told me before the race that the guy to beat was this miler. He stayed with Bernie and me for nine-and-a-half miles, but the wind killed him. Bernie and I pulled away from him when we ran into the wind to the finish line, and I outkicked Bernie for the win. I came back the next year and Dan Rincon was my competition. He was an All-American runner from the University of Maryland. I just ran away from everybody and ran 49:09 for the course record. Another guy, Jack Mahurin, also beat Dan Rincon. The next year when I got second place, I was still recovering from having the flu the month before the race. I didn’t tell anybody about it, but that affected me, and Dan Rincon beat me. The following year, Bill Rodgers started his four-year winning streak with times that were in the forty-eight minutes and then the forty-seven minutes.
GCR: There was an odd race in 1976, the Bonnie Bell 7.8 Mile race in Cleveland in October that was supposed to be an all-women’s race. Evidently, there weren’t enough entries so they brought in top men to increase interest. Can you provide some details of that race where Frank Shorter, Sam Bair and you finished as the top three within one second of each other?
CH I was in very good shape and I had a friend in Cleveland, John O’Neal, who was an older guy who had raced the Boston Marathon in the 1950s and he was the race director for the race. The Bonnie Bell cosmetics company was centered on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. The owners of the company were a married man and a woman. The woman was a road racer and loved road racing. So, she and her husband got John O’Neal to set up this road race for women only. They were flying in twenty or thirty top women, but were trying to get three, four, five hundred other women from northern Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Illinois to come over and run in this women only event. They couldn’t attract enough women so they decided to invite the Olympic champion, Frank Shorter. Then the decision was made to bring in some competition so they invited Sam Bair, who was from Pittsburgh, and me, since I had been winning road races in Cleveland. A week before the race, John O’Neal called me and said they would fly me from Clarksburg to Pittsburgh to Cleveland and I could stay at his house on Lake Erie in Cleveland. He said I would be running against Frank Shorter and Sam Bair and a few other runners from Cleveland, Akron and Canton, Ohio. That was great for me because the race was one week before the New York City Marathon, and I could use it as a hard, fast run to work on my speed. They started this race in the middle of a small shopping center and there was very little room for the runners. They fired the gun and Frank Shorter got knocked down at the start. About six women ran across his back. Sam Bair and I were the race leaders at the mile mark. Frank Shorter joined us after about two miles, and we were flying. We were running something like four minutes and forty-two seconds per mile. None of us had previewed the racecourse, but it came down this long main street and then we circled into the driveway that went into the Bonnie Bell corporate headquarters. Frank Shorter was one footstep in front of Sammy and me with about three hundred yards to go.. I thought Sammy would outsprint us. Near the entrance, Frank Shorter slowed up and Sam Bair and I bumped into him. I could see the finish line banner, but Shorter hadn’t seen it. When Shorter finally realized where the finish line was, he was making a sharp left turn into that driveway. For the last two hundred yards we ran in this circular driveway. It was just a drop-dead sprint. Shorter was able to hold off Sammy Bair and Sammy held off me. There wasn’t much more than a yard between the three of us. I knew then that I was going to do well in the New York City Marathon a week later.
GCR: Let’s discuss an unusual and challenging race. I’ve skied on Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia, and I remember running from the ski lodge down to the valley, running a few miles and then running back up the mountain. Can you tell us about the 10k race which you won two times in 1981 and 1982 that started in the valley and finished near the top with a thousand feet elevation change on that uphill mountain that seemed to go on forever?
CH I was a doctoral student and my running reputation in West Virginia was cemented in everybody’s mind. But, I was slightly on the downhill side of my best running. I was also the graduate assistant coach at West Virginia University. In order to get more people to come to Snowshoe in the summer when there wasn’t any snow, they decided to have bicycle races and foot races. I received an invitation which would provide my wife and me with free lodging and meals. They also said that, if I presented a clinic on Friday night and ran the ten kilometer race the next morning, they would also give me three hundred dollars to give the clinic. We went there and it is tough running ten thousand meters when the elevation change is slightly more than fourteen hundred feet. I basically overpowered the runners in the race. The first year it wasn’t too much of an effort because I could see who was behind me when I ran the many switchbacks. I only ran as hard as I had to. I set the course record in 39:39. The next year I came back and wasn’t in quite as good shape. The first place prize was great as it was a three-day ski package plus the lodging in the winter when it was snowing. This was an eight hundred dollar ski package back then. I was more than wiling to come back, present the clinic again and run the race. The second year I won but it wasn’t as fast because it was hot that year. When I got to the top and crossed over the finish line, I drank a couple little cups of Pepsi, because that is the drink they had instead of water at the finish line. I realized I needed a couple minutes by myself to recover after the race and I walked toward a construction area where they were building more lodges and I passed out from the altitude and the heat. I think I only passed out for a few seconds. When I came back to the finish line where my wife was and the officials were timing the other runners, I had this sweaty dirt all over me from when I had fallen and collapsed to the ground in the construction area. I was an assistant administrator at a hospital in West Virginia and I sold both the ski packages to my administrator. He was from Buffalo, New York and was a big time skier. He wanted those ski packages.
GCR: When I was first focusing on road races when I was in graduate school and early in my professional career, it was fun to go to races in neighboring towns and win their races year after year. You had similar local racing success as there are at least six races that you won six times – the Grafton, West Virginia 5 Miler, the Wellsburg, West Virginia, July 4th 5k, JFK 5k Cross Country in Pittsburgh, Judge Brodsky 10k Cross Country in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh the Milk and Honey 10K in Canaan Valley, West Virginia and the Christmas 10k Road Race from Lexington to Buena Vista, Virginia that you mentioned earlier. How much fun was it winning these races year after year and having them bring you back and introduce you as the defending champion and often featured you in the local newspapers as a local hero in these towns?
CH I enjoyed that and enjoyed the publicity. In fact, when I raced in high school for the first time, the local Williamson Daily News in Mingo County had a picture of my teammate and me and mentioned that we were going to go to the West Virginia High School Track and Field Championships. That was the first time I ever had my picture on the sports page. That’s the match that lit the flame. It was great to be introduced as the defending champ and be in their newspapers. I’m not the least bit humble. If you asked runners, even like Frank Shorter, ‘Why did you get into distance running?’ it was because the publicity and seeing your name and picture in the newspaper was great.
GCR: MARATHON RACING FOCUS Before we discuss your marathon racing, what was your training as far as average weekly mileage, long runs, tempo running, hill work and speed sessions?
CH I was running roughly four hundred miles a month or more. During my good running years from 1972 until 1980. I averaged from ninety to one hundred forty miles a week. For an entire year I would run at least four thousand, five hundred miles. I would run twenty races. I generally didn’t like to run more than two marathons in a year – one in the spring and one in the fall. If I wasn’t racing, my long runs were Sundays and Wednesdays. I would sometimes switch that and do a long run back-to-back on a Friday and Saturday. I was usually doing double workouts on five out of seven days. I would get up in the morning and run four to eight miles. This wasn’t slow jogging. Sometimes I would do eight miles in forty-eight minutes - so six minutes a mile. I would do interval work consistently every Tuesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon. My intervals on Tuesday would be eight or ten half mile intervals with a quarter mile recovery in between. My warmup would be a two-mile run in sixteen minutes and my cool down would be another two-mile run in sixteen minutes. I hit the 880s in 2:15 to 2:20. Sometimes when I was in very good shape, I could get eight half mile intervals in 2:10 with that quarter mile jog in between. I ran these intervals on a grass soccer field where I measured out a quarter mile oval with an engineering wheel I borrowed from a running friend who was an engineer. On some Mondays and Fridays, I would do fartlek. I had a seven-mile fartlek run where I would run very fast for twenty seconds and then slow for forty seconds. Then I would run twenty seconds again at top speed. Some of these seven-mile fartlek runs would be completed in thirty-five minutes flat. Before I started these seven-mile fartlek runs that were out in the country in Colby, West Virginia where I worked at Alderson-Broaddus College, I would do a two-mile warmup. I also did a two-mile cool down so I ended up with eleven miles on my afternoon run. When you add in the morning run of four to eight miles, I would log in fifteen to nearly twenty miles for that day.
GCR: We chatted earlier about your first marathon when you ran 2:33:24 for second place at the 1970 Amoco Marathon in Canton, Ohio and your first Boston Marathon in 1972 when you ran 2:22:07. What were highlights of your second Boston Marathon in 1974 when you dropped your time to 2:17:37 for tenth place with guys like Ron Wayne less than a minute in front of you and John Vitale and Bill Rodgers a minute or two behind you?
CH It didn’t help that I had run the course before because there was so much hoopla about the Boston Marathon and so many spectators that I basically look back on my Boston Marathon races as being zoned in to running how I felt. The first ten miles of the Boston Marathon are slightly down hill and I always ran that ten miles too fast. I was always with the front group. As far as Heartbreak Hill and the other three hills around eighteen, nineteen, twenty miles, I never felt them or worried about them. I was so zoned in that I ran the best that I could. I came into the race in good shape, and I knew it. Also, I had run four marathons before that one. The weather was good that year. We didn’t have a headwind. It was a tailwind. It was overcast and we didn’t have much sun. By the time I got to the twenty-mile mark, I was probably in sixteenth or seventeenth place. I picked off a bunch of runners in front of me. As best as I can remember, that was the first time I ran against a Kenyan in a marathon. I caught him at twenty-four miles. He had been running with the front group of runners and his legs cramped up and he never finished the race. He was about five, feet, four inches and weighed about a hundred and ten pounds. I finished in tenth place, and they awarded these big, black trophies to the top ten finishers.
GCR: In that 1974 Boston Marathon, how cool was it that you and your West Virginia Track Club teammates, Kim Nutter, who you had coached, and Roger Rouiller, won the team championship?
CH Roger is about eight years older than me and lives in Florida now on the east coast in a condominium above Ft. Lauderdale in Ft. Pierce. He never married and was a solitary type and all he wanted to do was to keep up with me and Kim Nutter. When I first met him in Parkersburg, he was an accountant for the local junior college, but he was an alcoholic. Roger truly ran a hundred and forty miles a week. He just didn’t have as much speed as Kim Nutter and me. We went to Boston that year not even thinking about the team championship. We all wanted to be Boston Marathon finishers. Kim Nutter, Roger Rouiller and I went to the awards ceremony because Kim and Roger finished in the top fifty runners and would receive the Boston Marathon Gold Medal. The Boston Marathon crew gave all the runners who finished beef stew at the Prudential Center, and they also gave out the awards at that time. We were standing around and had our beef stew. We all picked up our medals and I received my big, black trophy. I overheard these three Boston Marathon officials counting points for the team award. They were going to award the team championship to the Toronto Olympic Club out of Canada. Then one of the officials said they couldn’t count Jerome Drayton because he had left the team and didn’t want to represent them anymore. Then they thought that one of the local clubs, like the Boston Athletic Club, may have won their own team championship. I heard the official counting up the numbers and they came up with a total. I ran the total for our top three finishers in my head and our score was lower than their score. I went over and told the official to count up the West Virginia Track Club points because we were three official AAU club members. I pointed out our positions, they added them up, and we ended up winning the Boston Marathon team championship by three points. After all these years, I found in one of my garages a while back the Boston Marathon team champion plaque. It’s a giant, wooden and bronze plaque with the Boston Marathon logo in the center. I put it on my bathroom scale and it weighs eight pounds. I thought at one point in the early 1980s that I had lost it, but I’ve stored it in my garages for nearly fifty years.
GCR: If we step back a year, why weren’t you back at the Boston Marathon in 1973?
CH I was lucky to miss the 1973 Boston Marathon when Jon Anderson won and the temperatures were 96 degrees. I had been entered in the Boston Marathon for 1973, but Frank Shorter was invited to run a marathon in Italy and I was also invited. About April tenth, Frank Shorter told the race organizers in Italy he had a slight injury and didn’t want to run, so they cut off my plane ticket to Italy. So, I missed the Boston Marathon and didn’t get to run that marathon in Italy that was in one of the towns south of Rome.
GCR: A big race we should discuss is the 1976 Olympic Trials Marathon where you ran with the lead group, faded a bit toward the end, but still finished twelfth. How did that day go as far as your opportunity to be in the top five or even better and then how the final miles played out?
CH By 1976 I had somewhat learned how to pace myself in a marathon. I was in very good shape. There were many good runners. The race was in Eugene, Oregon and I remember it being held at an odd time of around three o’clock in the afternoon. That worked well for me because I got up that morning and made a breakfast of pancakes. I went back to the dorm there at the University of Oregon and took a two-hour nap. I got up, drank a bunch of water and got my racing jersey on with my race number. I didn’t have to go far because the race started and finished at Hayward Field. For the first eight miles, I stayed with this huge pack of runners. We were running approximately five minutes a mile, and nobody was willing to lead. At about eight miles, I was probably in twelfth or thirteenth place at the tail end of the front pack. From my position at the back up to the front with Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers was only about two seconds. We had crossed the Willamette River and were starting a two loop stretch near the University of Oregon football stadium. I knew our front pack was about thirty or forty seconds ahead of the second group of runners. For whatever reason, I decided I was going to run at the front of our group. In the space of about a hundred yards, I moved all the way up to the front where I was the leader. For three miles, I forced the pace down to four minutes and fifty-four seconds and four minutes and fifty-three seconds. I strung out the front group. That was a mistake. I didn’t realize that until about the twenty-two-mile mark. I have no memory of what was going on between twelve miles and nineteen miles. I can’t remember. I stayed up in the front pack and then Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers pulled away from everybody else. When we passed through twenty miles, an official said, ‘Hatfield, you’re in fourth place.’ But there were a bunch of runners who were only five or ten seconds behind me. I thought that if I pushed it in I might be able to make the top three. I ran hard for the next two miles. I thought that I must have still been in fourth place because nobody had passed me. I couldn’t see Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers anymore. They were too far in front of me. They were forty or fifty or sixty seconds ahead. After I finished, an official came up to me and told me that at twenty-two miles I was actually in third place. Barry Brown had dropped out in front of me and I didn’t know that. Right about twenty-two and twenty-three miles is when I started fading. In the last mile I must have dropped from about sixth or seventh place to twelfth place. The only runner I specifically remember passing me was Ambrose Burfoot. I was getting slightly punchy. I knew I was going to finish but I was getting slower and slower. That is one race I would like to have back.
GCR: Later that year you were very fit for the 1976 New York City Marathon after that Bonnie Belle race, we discussed. Can you tell us about that race where your 2:17:26 time for seventh place was a ten second personal best?
CH After I came home from the Olympic Trials Marathon in 1976, my wife at the time, Susan, and I had already had our son Brian in 1973. She had gotten pregnant in 1975 and had a miscarriage. She wanted to get pregnant again and wanted me to step back from running. On the one hand I wanted to and on the other hand I didn’t want to. I finally made the decision that I wasn’t going to quit running and I started running ninety, a hundred, a hundred ten miles a week and was winning a bunch of races in September and October. I got the invitation to the New York City Marathon, and they also paid for Susan to go. She thought that was nice as we stayed in a fine hotel near Central Park which was close to the finish line. Susan and I got to go to the Lincoln center to see a concert. The race started off on a cold day. The racecourse back then covered all five boroughs, but it was more difficult to run then than nowadays. It was probably two to three minutes slower. Around fifteen miles into the race we crossed over the Queensboro Bridge from Queens into Manhattan. Nowadays, the runners circle around to the right for three miles on First Avenue that is slightly downhill with thousands and thousands of spectators yelling. The leaders can run four minutes and forty-five second miles or faster. Back then in the first five-borough New York City Marathon in 1976, we came off the Queensboro Bridge and made a lefthand U-turn under the bridge, down half a block and up a concrete bicycle crossover that went partway over the river. Then we ran on a paved bike path along the river which was wide enough for only three runners. We ran right into the wind off the river for three miles. Then we crossed over and ran up a concrete bridge crossover that was uphill for about fifty yards and then across and down. That placed us at about nineteen miles which is when we ran into Harlem and back out before running into Central Park for the last three miles. I have a picture during the race of the first nine or ten runners where Tom Fleming was in the front, and I was in the back of the group. On the Queensboro Bridge, he was running in about twelfth place and I was I about fourteenth place. After nineteen or twenty miles, when we were running into Harlem, I had pulled up to ten or twelve seconds behind him. I had run against Tom in Puerto Rico, Youngstown and other places. I knew who he was and I told myself, ‘I’m going to attach myself to Tom Fleming and not let him break the rope of those ten seconds in front of me.’ We started picking off guys like Akio Usami and the Irish national champion Daniel McDaid. We caught many international runners who had placed high in the Montreal Olympic Marathon. We got into Central Park and Tom and I were still catching runners. He ended up sixth in 2:16:52 and I was seventh and the fourth American behind Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, and Tom Fleming.
GCR: You only ran faster than that 1976 New York City Marathon effort one time and that was two years later in October of 1978 when you won the Skylon International Marathon in 2:17:21, a personal best by five seconds. What was the lead up to that race?
CH Going into 1978, my wife and I were heading down different paths. She got pregnant for a third time and had her second miscarriage. I have to say that I wasn’t as supportive as I should have been. Susan and I had been married for nine years in 1978. My running was getting stronger, and I was putting way too much time into my running and not enough time into my marriage. We eventually divorced. At the time I was invited to run the Falmouth Road race. I also was asked to be a part of the Olympic Sports Festival East team and got to go to the Air Force Academy in Colorado for a week that August at altitude. Initially, Tom Fleming and I were chosen to be the two marathon runners on the East team. Early on, we found out that one of our 10,000-meter runners, Greg Fredericks, who had run for Penn State University, was not going to be able to run. One of the national television channels was going to film the track events. Our coach, who was the West Point coach, asked Tom and me which of us would rather run the 10,000 meters on the track at seven thousand feet of altitude. I had a faster time than Tom on the track, so I ran the 10,000 meter at altitude. A week later I ran the RRCA fifteen kilometer race in Colorado at five thousand feet altitude. At that point I came home and discovered that my wife had taken our son and some furniture and had left me. So, I continued to train hard that summer. Leading up to the marathon I had run three fast shorter races – a 29:09 at the Great Race 10k in Pittsburgh, a flat five-mile race in 23:34 where I got beat by Alex Kasich by five seconds and another 10k race in Dunbar, West Virginia where I ran 29:34. Those races were speed work for a marathon. Early in September I received an invitation to run the New York City Marathon for the third time with all expenses paid. But the West Virginia Track Club had decided to run the Skylon International Marathon in Buffalo, New York which was the AAU National Championship. I had raced the course once before with the flu, so I hadn’t had much success. They asked me to run with them and it was the day before the New York City Marathon. The invited speaker for the weekend was Dr. Roger Bannister from England, the first man to break the four-minute-mile. I got his autograph and my picture taken with him the day before the race. He is quite an imposing man and is tall for a runner.
GCR: Let’s get to the race details. Was there strong competition or did you get away and focus on yourself and your pace?
CH There were thirty-eight hundred runners there in Buffalo including many very good runners. The race started in Buffalo near the art museum, and we went over the Peace Bridge, made a circle and got on to the Niagara Parkway. We were in Canada at that point even though it was a United States championship race. We hit ten miles with a group of about twenty runners in just over fifty minutes by fifteen or twenty seconds. I did not want to be the leader, but we circled under the Peace Bridge toward Niagara Falls and from ten miles to about twenty-one miles we were running into a fifteen or twenty mile an hour headwind. The racecourse is very flat. I stayed in the middle of the pack. The farther we got into the race, there were less and less runners in that front pack. I ended up snapping into focus about nineteen miles and realized I was in fourth place with the second-place guy being Don Howieson, who was a Canadian. I knew if I finished in the top three I would probably earn a trip to a race in a foreign country. I was feeling good. Around twenty-one miles we were running south along the Niagara River before it reached Niagara Falls and I picked off the guy in third place. I caught Don Howieson about twenty-two or twenty-three miles. I was rolling along at five minutes and ten seconds a mile and we were no longer running into the wind. At twenty-three miles, I pulled up alongside Ron Wayne. I threw in a little surge and started pulling away from him. But he kept hanging on to me. When we got to the twenty-five miles, I realized I could win the national championship if I ran the last mile fast. So, I ran the last mile in four minutes and forty-seven seconds. Ron Wayne gave up the ghost and I beat him by about forty seconds. That is probably the best marathon I ever ran and paced. In that race and the 1976 New York City Marathon the days were both very windy. Without the wind that day, I could have run my 2:13 or 2:14 marathon. People can say, ‘You could have, you should have.’ But there were runners who ran 2:11 and 2:12 that I beat in other marathon races. After I won the national championship, I was hopeful that the AAU would send my to the Fukuoka Marathon in December which was the unofficial World Championship. At the awards ceremony I received my trophy and a USA uniform. They told me that I had two invitations. One was to a half marathon in London, England. The other was to the Sea of Galilee Marathon in Israel. Those races were both in December. I asked why I wasn’t going to Japan, and they said I didn’t run fast enough. Right after that marathon I made the mistake of running two twenty-five-kilometer races back-to-back starting the week after winning the marathon. I ran myself out of condition.
GCR: What were highlights of representing the USA at the half marathon in London and Sea of Galilee Marathon in Israel?
CH The half marathon race in London went very well and I took second place in 1:03:34. Then the airlines lost my luggage. Also, the airline ticket I had was odd and I ended up having to stay in Paris, France overnight instead of flying on to Israel. So, I arrived in Israel one day late. The Israeli athletic officials were not there to pick me up. Plus I had left my passport in my big athletic bag that was transported from England that was not unloaded for me in Paris. So, I was left with a carry-on satchel with my racing flats and a billfold, but I didn’t have my passport. In Israel, the Israeli airport officials pulled me aside and put me in what I call the airport jail. It took me six hours to somehow come up with a phone number so the Israeli athletic officials could come out and rescue me from the security police at the airport. To make it even worse, I didn’t get to sleep much before the marathon in Israel. My roommate was the West German national champion, Werner Dorrenbacher. He had won the Sea of Galilee marathon the year before. This year they brought in some runners from South Africa who were listed as Rhodesians because South Africans were banned from running in international races. There were thirteen nations represented in Israel. Ian Thompson was the runner favored to win. I didn’t get to run in my USA uniform because it didn’t arrive until the day after the race. There were four of us who broke away from the other runners and we went through the five-kilometer mark in about fifteen minutes. The pace kept getting even faster. Suddenly, this black Rhodesian runner shot into the lead, and I was the only one that took off following him. I continued following and following him. There were supposed to be water stops at every five kilometers because the race weather, even thought it was in December, was like running in Phoenix, Arizona with the dry heat. It was about eighty-five degrees. I continued to look for water stops, and they weren’t set up at 5k, 10k, 15k or at twenty kilometers. At twenty kilometers we entered this city called Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee and it had dusty roads. At about twenty-five kilometers, the leader dropped out of the race and I was now in the lead about a hundred yards in front of Ian Thompson and Werner, the West German. There were runners from Italy, Spain and Morocco back there. The pace car was in front of me and kicking up dust. I hadn’t done well with my carbohydrate-loading diet before the race and hadn’t slept very well and I was looking for water. Finally, at about thirty kilometers there was a little water stop but for me it was too late. I was already starting to suffer. From twenty miles to the finish line, I nearly passed out three times. I went from first place to fourteenth place. I went from running 2:15 marathon pace to finishing in 2:28. It was not a very good experience for me.
GCR: Let’s go forward a few months to the spring of 1979 as you were in great shape for the Boston Marathon and were running strongly past the halfway point when a dog tripped you. Can you describe how strong you were that day and how devastating was the mishap with the dog for that race and going forward with your running career?
CH Coming into 1979 I was still living by myself and working at Alderson-Broaddus College. My training had been going very well. I was consistently hitting anywhere from ninety to a hundred and twenty miles a week. My two races leading into Boston were the Grafton five-mile race in March that I ran in 23:20 to win and two weeks later the Cherry Blossom ten-mile race and, even though I finished in around sixth place, I still ran 49:09. I ran a very competitive race and knew I would be ready for the Boston Marathon two weeks later. The weather for the 1979 Boston Marathon was great for a fast time if a runner likes cooler, rainy weather with a tailwind. I went through ten miles faster than I had run at the Cherry Blossom ten-miler. With my 48:30 time, I was in the big second pack of runners. There must have been fifteen or twenty of us following Tom Fleming and Kevin Ryan from New Zealand. There were out in around 47:50 for the for the first ten miles. I was maintaining a high speed through fifteen miles in about 1:13:30. A group of spectators yelled at me that I was in sixth place. I could still see way up in front of me Bill Rodgers and Toshiheko Seko of Japan who were now leading the race. I was still feeling good. It was raining hard, but we had that tailwind. At about sixteen miles I went up a small hill and this large group of drunken spectators were yelling and screaming at the runners. Then a dog ran out in front of me. I was in such a rhythm that I thought I would be able to jump over the dog. But the dog was jumping up and braking at me. When I tried to go around it, he tripped me up and I went slamming into the pavement. A couple of the spectators picked me up and shoved me back into the race. When I look back on it, I think I had a concussion. I had blood running down from my head and no skin on my right elbow. My right hip was hurting. Luckily, the next couple of miles were mostly downhill, and I kept running. Other faster runners were catching me. I went from being in sixth place at a very fast pace at sixteen miles to about eighteen or nineteen miles where I stopped. I realized I would have to wait too long for the ‘meat wagon’ or the bus to pick me up and take me to the finish, so I walked and jogged from nineteen miles to the finish line, and I finished in two hours and thirty-four minutes and over four hundredth place. That was the day that there were around a hundred runners under 2:22 and three hundred runners under 2:30.
GCR: After you recovered, you were running strong again in the fall of 1979 with good race performances at the Great Race in Pittsburgh and a race in Morgantown. How tough was it at the 1979 NYC Marathon when you were out in 14:30 for three miles with the lead group before bad luck hit you again as you stepped in a pothole, twisted your ankle and slowed to 33rd place in 2:21:47?
CH It took me most of the summer to recover from my injuries at the Boston Marathon. I did get in some good mileage in August and September. At the New York City Marathon, I was in the front group and, at eight miles when we were running through Brooklyn, I stepped in a pot hole. I kept on going and, when we crossed over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, my ankle started bothering me. I knew I wanted to run under 2:20 because that would get me a paid invitation to the Olympic Trials the following spring. I also was sponsored by the adidas shoe company, and I wanted to impress them. I knew adidas would send me to the Olympic Trials if I got a qualifying time, which I did, but it was only by seven seconds. The last three miles in Central Park were tough. I recovered from that ankle injury, but I was never the same runner after the dog knocked me down at the Boston Marathon. On the good side, after going through the throes of the divorce, I met a lady named Georgia and we were married in July of 1980. I was married to Georgia for forty years before she passed.
GCR: WRAPUP AND FINAL THOUGHTS You were behind the initiation and founding of the Cecil Jarvis Greater Clarksburg 10k and have been Race Director for all 26 years of its existence as of 2022. How exciting has it been to be on the other side and direct a race after so many years as a competitor?
CH It’s a labor of love. In the early years we had a lot of sponsors. We also had help from the State of West Virginia’s Tourism Department. We had publicity from our regional newspapers, radio stations and television stations. Our local airport was also a sponsor. We were able to bring in quite a few foreign runners and there were nice monetary prize packages. Some runners we brought in were Khallid Khannouchi, James Kosgei and other Kenyans, Ethiopians and Moroccans. Our second year of the race, our first nineteen male finishers were African. Our racecourse is not an easy one and the course record is only 28:30. It’s a five kilometer loop that is run twice and it has hills. The race was originally held the last weekend in July or first weekend in August and in West Virginia that means humidity. That’s why we had all these great runners but we never had any of them run under twenty-eight minutes. Our racecourse was not the easiest. We lost a number of our sponsorships, particularly after the covid-19 pandemic. We had virtual races for two years. We are on our way back, but 2023 might be my last year as race director. I don’t get paid and, like I said, it’s a labor of love.
GCR: After your outstanding running career, you were recognized by the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and inducted in 1995. How exciting was that and did you share it with former teammates and your family?
CH That was a tremendous honor. I was inducted into the fifth class of athletes. This was before the West Virginia University Athletic department dropped the men’s cross country and track and field programs. I got to share the ceremony with both my children. My daughter was eleven years old. My son, Brian, had graduated from Virginia Tech and was a young officer in the Marine Corps at that point in time. Plus, I got to share the day with my mother who was still alive. So, it was quite an honor.
GCR: We spoke quite a bit about your racing at the New York City Marathon. Will you let us know the details of you escorting the legendary USA three-time Olympic Champion, Wilma Rudolph, to the United Nations Peace Awards Ceremony as you were a late fill-in for Frank Shorter?
CH Outside of my two wives, Wilma Rudolph was the coolest date I ever had! She was only about eight inches taller than me that day. I’m about five feet, eight inches. Wilma Rudolph was almost six feet tall plus she was wearing four-inch-high heels to go with her evening gown. She also wore a fur coat because it was in early November. Frank Shorter was supposed to be her host but he had injured himself and had a surgery earlier in the year. So, he cancelled his plan to race the New York City Marathon. I think the sole reason I was selected occurred when Fred Lebow, the New York City Marathon race Director asked me if I had my USA team uniform warmups. I told him that I had brought them with me. He said, ‘I want you to wear them and we will have a limousine pick up you and Wilma Rudolph to take you to the United Nations Peace Banquet at the United Nations building. So, I got to squire Wilma Rudolph even though she was a lot taller than me and much better dressed. I had sought out her to obtain her autograph in 1974 when she was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in Charleston, West Virginia, so we had met before. She remembered me. That was quite an honor. I still have the glass block they presented to me that is inscribed with the United Nations Peace Awards. It was intended for Frank Shorter, but it didn’t have his name or my name on it. I still have that in my trophy case.
GCR: Let’s talk about your health and current fitness. I know you have had surgeries for AFIB and other issues and are taking some medications. Are you doing well and able to get in walking, running and other activities?
CH I find it hard now to call myself a runner. I’m a fast walker. My biggest risk factor is my age. I get slower as I get older. Of course, everybody else does too. It’s probably due to my genetics, but since I was fifty-eight years old, I have had type two diabetes. Most diabetics are overweight, but I have never been overweight. I have three stents in my right coronary artery. I’ve had two heart attacks. One was in the middle of a 5k race on August 3, 2013, in Delaware. I didn’t realize I had the heart attack. I finished the race and the EMTs checked me out at the finish line and told me I was having a heart attack right then and there. They took me over to the small local hospital. The doctor on call on the weekend happened to be an Egyptian cardiologist. He let me watch the screen as he put a stent into my right coronary artery. Six weeks later, I was running the Great Race 10k in Pittsburgh, but very slowly. From that point on, my running fell off the charts. Instead of running two hundred miles a month, I went down to running one hundred miles a month. Plus I started having other health issues like arthritis in my knees and the whole litany of old man syndrome. So, I am not much of a runner anymore. This past year, I only ran two races. I ran a three kilometer race in January, 2022 at the Kennedy Space Center. In March, 2022, I completed the Grafton 5-mile run and finished in last place, but I did finish the five miles. For the Great Race 10k in Pittsburgh, I was entered in the race for the forty-fifth year in a row. I’m part of the perfect group of about eighteen of us that have run all forty-five annual races. They let me run the race virtually in a park. I timed myself and set up my own water stops. I sent my results in virtually instead of driving to Pittsburgh, staying overnight and running with the regular race runners. I received an e-mail recently from the sponsors of this year’s Grafton 5-mile race and am considering going there and walking the race to finish and keep my streak alive.
GCR: In the big picture, what are the major lessons you have learned during your life – whether it’s athletically, academically, the discipline of athletics, balancing the many components of life and recovering from injuries and divorce and adversity you have faced - that is summed up as the ‘Carl Hatfield Philosophy’ of being your best as an athlete and a person?
CH My stroke of good luck is that I truly believe that I won the genetic lottery when I was born. I had a solid father and a very great mother. She introduced me to going to church and believing in God and Jesus. When I went off to college, I was a bit of a wild hare, and it took me a number of years to realize the centerpiece of my life should be a belief in God. With that belief in God comes a very strong belief in oneself and the ability to accomplish many things. I view myself as a naive person who came from a small, coal-mining town in West Virginia and through running and athletics I was able to gain a grasp of what the world was like. I give all the credit to my mother for leading me into a belief of Jesus and God. Then because I found running and athletics, there was an area where I felt that I could have some success. With success comes confidence. With confidence there comes a pickup in your step.
  Inside Stuff
Hobbies/Interests I like to hike. My favorite hobby is reading books
Nicknames Early on when I was at West Virginia University, I was the Gomer Pyle kind of guy on the team because I was so naive to the ways of the world. So, my teammates used to call me ‘Mingo.’ That comes from Mingo County, the youngest county in West Virginia where I am from, that got its name from an Indian tribe. I was the Gomer Pyle – the goofy country guy who was always asking these questions and saying things like, ‘Golly, look how tall that skyscraper is’
Favorite movies I don’t like science fiction movies, but I like movies that are like one I saw recently starring Tom Hanks in ‘A Man Called Otto.’ It has a good storyline and isn’t a violent ‘shoot ‘em up’ type of movie. I like adventure movies that have to do with World War II or the Vietnam War. I enjoyed the one with Tom Cruise that was the sequel to ‘Top Gun.’ That was a very well-done movie without excessive violence, but a good story. I liked the cowboy movies of John Wayne and similar western movies
Favorite TV shows I’m old enough to remember Saturday morning television with ‘Howdy Doody’ and ‘Buffalo Bob.’ I liked cowboy shows and country shows. I still like ‘Andy Griffith.’ I like football, but only like to watch my favorite teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers. In baseball, I like the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who used to be the Brooklyn Dodgers. I played these sports, so I enjoy watching sports on TV
Favorite music I’ve always liked ‘Peter, Paul and Mary,’ ‘Simon and Garfunkel’ and Billy Joel. I used to be the promoter of concerts as one of my many responsibilities at Alderson Broaddus College. I scored a Billy Joel concert for our college in the 1970s when his album, ‘The Stranger,’ was the number one album in the country. I was able to book that concert when a show scheduled for Virginia Tech was cancelled. He was travelling with eight trailer tractors loads of sound equipment, lighting equipment, pianos and musical instruments. I also like Harry Chapin’s music. I saw him a few times and booked him at Alderson Broaddus College. The first concert I ever saw was ‘Peter, Paul and Mary’ at West Virginia University. Mary Travers was from Huntington, West Virginia
Favorite books Even though I was a naive guy, when I was in tenth grade, I found a book about how to be successful when you go to college. It had a reading list that started with the seventh-grade reading list through senior high school. During my last three years of high school, I followed that reading list. I’ve read all the famous classic books and I enjoyed many of them. The one book I didn’t enjoy was ‘War and Peace’ because it was seven or eight hundred pages long. As far as reading about running, I have read John Parker’s book, ‘Once a Runner,’ four or five times. I think it is a well-written book. I enjoy reading about track and field personalities. I have around fifteen books about runners like Carl Lewis and a short book written by Ron Hill, the marathon runner from England. I like athletic books and all sports
First car It was a little Ford Falcon. My parents had bought it as their second car. After my freshman year at West Virginia University, they deeded it over to me. It was a small, cheap car, but it got me around on campus
Recent cars Up until last May I had a Volvo S60. That was a fine car. It was a 2004 model and very well-made vehicle, but got too expensive to replace the parts. So, I traded it in and bought my present car, which is a cheap Ford Escort. I don’t drive much and it gets good gas mileage. I do plan on driving to Florida next year and bringing my daughter and son-in-law their trophies and pictures and wedding announcements and other stuff that is stored in my garage
First job During summers I worked on my grandfather’s farm hoeing corn and vegetables and milking cows
Family Both of my wives passed away. My first wife, Susan Weise, from Charleston, West Virginia, passed away back in the 1990s. She had remarried and didn’t have any children other than our son, Brian. I am very proud of my son for his military service. All my uncles on my dad’s side of the family – all five sons including my dad – served in World War II or the Korean War. So, my family has a proud military history. Another thing I’m proud of that I didn’t realize at the time was when I was able to be a Boy Scout for about four years and I became an Eagle Scout. I look back upon that and realize that was the one organization that taught me that through hard work you can achieve quite a few things. That transferred over to distance running very well
Pets Ever since I’ve been married, I’ve always had cats because dogs are a high maintenance pet. Going back to my childhood, I had cats and dogs. Up on my grandfather’s farm, we had cows, horses, chickens and geese. There was always a Collie or Shepherd dog that was around that was my favorite pet. Recently, Georgia and I had two Siamese kittens for a long time. The male cat, Simon, died at age seventeen. My female cat, Lily, was a sleek one who could run as fast as me when she was younger. Lily lived to be twenty-two years old. She died this past year
Favorite breakfast Pancakes and coffee
Favorite meal I like spaghetti and other types of pasta
Favorite beverages I’ve always liked beer, but not hard alcohol like whiskey. My favorite is Coors Light beer, because it is good when it is very cold with pasta. I like orange Gatorade. With my medical conditions and particularly diabetes, I drink a lot of water. I like ice water
First running memory It’s when I was the senior leader in our Boy Scout Troop. Every summer we would go to Camp Chief Logan for a week of swimming, canoeing and earning merit badges. The camp was about fifty miles away from where I lived in Mingo County. One summer when I was in the tenth grade, I was a senior leader and had got my swimming and lifesaving merit badges, but I wasn’t a big guy. That week we had competitions with other scout troops from the southern part of West Virginia. It came down to the final day of the competition and the scout troop that had the most points from the many events like canoeing, shooting rifles, bows and arrows, and swimming events would win. We ended up being tied with this other scout troop that was from near Charleston, West Virginia. The camp leaders decided that, in order to settle the tie in the competition, each scout troop would pick their top runner for a one mile race up this dirt road that led down to the main hard top road. It was a half mile down and we would turn around and run back to the camp dining hall that would be the finishing line. Of course, my guys chose me because I was the oldest. I found out that this other troop had as their runner a guy who had placed second in the state of West Virginia in the half mile. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to beat this guy.’ On the day of the competition, I ended up beating him in the last quarter mile. That was my first ever running experience and I beat a guy who had been a State high school track runner from the year before in a one mile road race
Running heroes My heroes early on were Ron Clarke and Billy Mills
Greatest running moments It’s easy for me to list the top three. The Skylon Marathon when I won the National AAU Championship was my greatest victory. Number two is the District Cross Country race in November, 1968 that I won in Atlanta, Georgia when I broke Jack Batchelor’s course record to win the District meet for the second year in a row. My third most enjoyable race was the second year that I won the Cherry Blossom Festival 10-Mile when I ran 49:09 and broke the course record. On that day, I ran well, ran smart, enjoyed the race and had a chance to enjoy it toward the end of the race
Most disappointing running moments Early on in my running career when I was a graduate student at WVU, I had qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters track events plus the marathon. But I had to finish my masters thesis right in the middle of the Olympic Trials. I had to choose amongst those three events which I would run. I chose the marathon and went to Eugene, Oregon. I dropped out at thirteen miles and found out I had mononucleosis. In 1972 I ran forty races and ran myself into staleness and picked up that virus somewhere along the way. When I went to Eugene, the newspapers in Morgantown and Charleston, West Virginia were writing the story up like I was going to be on the Olympic team. I didn’t even come close
Childhood dreams I wanted to be a professional baseball player and to be like Pee Wee Reese, the great shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was my hero. I was a very good Little League baseball player. In our league in southern West Virginia, I was the MVP player. Our team won the championship game and I was the main player of that winning game. I got my first trophy ever. It was a small baseball player on the trophy for being the MVP player of the game
Embarrassing moment I’m going to tell you a story that is embarrassing for me when I was a junior at West Virginia University. I was dating Susan Weise. Our fraternity was having a Christmas party the first weekend in December. I had qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Laramie, Wyoming and invited Susan to our formal Christmas party at our fraternity house which would be the next weekend. I was supposed to get Susan a Christmas gift. My fraternity brothers told ‘Naive Carl’ to get a gag gift. I came back from Laramie about four days before the Christmas party. I went down to High Street in Morgantown and there were a couple shops that sold WVU paraphernalia from hats to beer mugs. I was thinking in terms of a gag gift, so I bought this little gift and I will tell you what it was when we get to when my girlfriend opened it in front of forty people. The party came up and I have the gift wrapped up and it is under the Christmas tree in front of the fireplace in our big fraternity house. One of our big, overweight fraternity brothers dressed up as Santa Claus. The girls came up in their formal dresses after their name was called and the Santa Claus would help them open their gift in front of everybody else. All the gifts were items like a WVU scarf or WVU sweatshirt or WVU beer mug. I began to think, ‘Oh my gosh, my guys have pulled a joke on me.’ Since my girlfriend’s last name was Weise, she was one of the last ones to get called up. So, Santa Claus got her gift and handed it to Susan, and she tore off the wrapping. On the box it said, ‘Pussy Stretcher.’ When she opened it up, there was a small replica Army medical stretcher that was about a foot long and there was a cat painted on it all stretched out. Everybody in the room could see. What was bad and made me try to slink over in the corner as much as I could was that all my fraternity brothers yelled, screamed and laughed and thought it was hysterical. All the women were embarrassed. My girlfriend, Susan, her face was as red as red can be. What made it very, very bad was that our fraternity had a house mother, Mrs. Paxton. She was the nicest older lady you could want to be your house mother. She had her own private apartment and we paid her a monthly salary to be our house mother. For Sunday afternoon dinners we dressed up with suit and tie, had our own cook, and escorted Mrs. Paxton. She got up and left the Christmas party and would not come out of her room. The next day I had to go in and grovel and apologize to her and try to explain to her why I got such a gift for Susan. For about the next month, Susan wouldn’t date me. Yet we ended up getting married
Favorite places to travel In the United States, my favorite place is Eugene, Oregon. Overseas, the favorite place I’ve been is England. Outside of London, there is a small town called Hatfield, England. I’ve been there to an Elizabethan banquet at a castle. Running a close second is Oslo, Norway. It’s a beautiful place in the summer. The Norwegian people are great people, and it is a beautiful place to live. But I wouldn’t want to live there in the winter. Oslo, Norway has more running trails than any place I’ve been. The trails run all over the city and, in the winter, are cross country skiing trails. In the summer they are used for bicycling, running and walking