Since the winter of 1955 Ireland's Ron Delany has sailed undefeated through one indoor race after another, though his rivals never stop trying. Last week in the New York AC's Halpin half mile, pictured in lap-by-lap sequence on the right, Delany was challenged by a potent field that had a grand opportunity to demonstrate, finally, how to go about beating this fellow.
All the ingredients were at hand. After an exhausting mile victory in Philadelphia the night before (his 33rd straight indoor win), Delany was dropping down to a relatively unfamiliar distance. Waiting there to face him was a talented group of runners that included the powerful and well-rested Tom Murphy, already a winner of two of the winter's cup races at the middle distances.
Murphy, who had planned to roar to the front and set such a fast early pace that the sting would be drawn from Delany's great finishing sprint, was boxed in at first by the crowded field. He finally got the lead and forced a driving pace, but Delany caught him on the last turn and edged past him to win the winter's most exciting race.
This remarkable picture sequence is a collector's item for real track fans, the sharp-eyed buffs who follow the strategy step by step. But there were other highlights, too. In Philadelphia Don Bragg raised the world pole vault record to 15-9½ (see page 20) and in New York young John Thomas, whose recent world high jump record of 7 feet was in jeopardy because AAU officials had neglected to recheck the bar, made it stick this time with another 7-foot leap.
February 23, 1959
BURSTING OUT OF FIRST TURN OF 5½-LAP RACE (1) DELANY LEADS, BUT ONE LAP LATER (2) JOE SOPRANO IS IN FRONT AND DELANY THIRD. THEN, WITH JUST OVER THREE LAPS LEFT IN RACE (3), MURPHY TAKES OVER
MURPHY LEADS ARNIE SOWELL (4) WITH JUST OVER TWO LAPS REMAINING IN RACE, BUT A LAP LATER (5) DELANY MOVES OUT TO CHALLENGE FOR FIRST, AND 25 YARDS FROM FINISH LINE (6) DRAWS UP ON MURPHY
SPRINTING HARD TOWARD FINISH LINE MURPHY STRAINS MIGHTILY TO HOLD OFF IRISHMAN'S BID (7), BUT DELANY INCHES AHEAD (8, 9), GOES ON TO DEFEAT MUSCULAR RIVAL BY FOOT IN BRISK TIME OF 1:52.2