Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Known Local Running Hero: Buddy Edelen

If I haven't heard of a runner they are either pretty old or just plain not very good.  Buddy Edelen definitely falls in that first category.  Buddy attended high school in St. Louis Park, MN until his senior year when his family moved to Sioux Falls, SD.  Buddy established new records over the long distance events in his year as a South Dakota prep including running the mile under 4:30, a rarity in that day.  After high school, Buddy went on to the University of Minnesota where he excelled in the long distances.  He won a few Big 10 Championships in the 2-Mile on the track and in Cross Country and placed as high as 4th at the NCAA Cross Country Meet.  All this while running just 25 miles per week.  After graduating, Buddy began running under the tutelage of coach Fred Wilt.  Wilt had Buddy move, first to Finland, then to England to train.  Distance running was not a popular activity in America at the time and they felt it would be more beneficial to train overseas.  Buddy competed in the 1960 Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters but failed to make the team.  Later, Buddy would become the first American to break 30 minutes in that race.  He also became the first American to break 2:20 in the Marathon and he set the World record of 2:14:28 at the Polytechnic Marathon in London.  At the 1964 Olympic Marathon Trials, Buddy won the race by over 3.5 miles in temperatures of 90 plus degrees.  However, that race was the beginning of the end for Buddy whose career eventually was sidelined by Sciatica.  He battled through his injury and placed 6th at those Olympics in Tokyo and nearly set a new best of 2:14:34 the next year.  Eventually, Buddy retired from competitive running and moved to Alamosa, CO to pursue his graduate degree.  After completing his degree, Buddy continued to run and took a job on staff at Adams State University in Alamosa.  There, Buddy helped organize the 1968 Marathon Trials, held at altitude to prepare for the games in Mexico City.

Jack 15 - 1964

All information obtained from Buddy's Biography, "A Cold Clear Day, The Athletic Biography of Buddy Edelen" by Frank Murphy.  Photograph above is from the Prairie Striders Website.


Anonymous said...

Buddy Edelen was a good man

SimplyHoney said...

Thats my pops, all the recognition in death would make him proud in life.
Brent Edelen

Kyle Schmidt said...

Brent, It's an honor to have you finding my blog. Your father is a fascinating man. I would have loved to have met him.

Miriam said...

Hello, I found this blog when I was looking for some information about Leonard Edelen. I am from the Marathon Club Kosice, the orginizer of the Kosice Peace Marathon. This year we remember 50 years from the victory of Leonard Edelen in Kosice Peace Marathon in year 1963. We would be happy if we could make a contact with his son. Brent, if you read this comment, please contact us on

stevevieregg said...

I just came across this blog. I was Buddy's younger step brother, his father being married to my mother, during the time he was at the University of Minnesota until his time at Adams State. You can contact me at if you would like to know more.

Fogrunr said...

I learned about Buddy in the past 10 years, searching as I do for inspiring athletes to keep me motivated, and also to motivate those that I coach and mentor. In Buddy I found a great inspiration. After reading A Cold Clear Day, I have told many runners Buddy's story. Just today I posted some information about him on Facebook. He is an American hero, and I will not let him be forgotten.
James Anderson, masters runner, Annapolis, Maryland.