Leonard Graves "Buddy" Edelen (born September 22, 1937 in Harrodsburg, Kentucky – died February 19, 1997 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) was an American marathoner. Based in England for most of his prime competitive years, in 1963 Edelen became the first man to run a marathon faster than 2 hours and 15 minutes when he set a world record of 2:14:28. Edelen also won the 1964 U.S. Olympic marathon trials and represented the U.S. in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Edelen's promise in the marathon was evident early in his career. In 1962, he finished 4th at the Fukuoka Marathon in an American Record time of 2:18:57, making him the first American to run under 2:20 for the marathon. He was also the first American under 30:00 for the 10,000 m run.
On July 15, 1963 Edelen ran 2:14:28 at the Polytechnic Marathon (run from Windsor to Chiswick, England) to establish a new World Record. That record stood just two days short of a year, as England's Basil Heatley ran 2:13:56 at the 1964 Polytechnic Marathon (which was held on July 13). Edelen was the first American to hold the world record since 1925, and (excepting Alberto Salazar's 2:08:13 at the 1981 New York City Marathon, which later proved to be short) the last until naturalized American Khalid Khannouchi (originally from Morocco) broke his own World Record at the London Marathon in 2002.
After his record run 1963, Edelen also won the Košice Peace Marathon in Slovakia in a course-record time of 2:15:09; that record would stand for fifteen years.
The following year, Edelen won the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon by nearly twenty minutes, and went on to finish 6th in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympic games.
While born in Kentucky, Edelen attended high school in St. Louis Park, MN before graduating from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD in 1955. He then attended the University of Minnesota.
|Representing the United States|
|1963||Košice Peace Marathon||Košice, Czechoslovakia||1st||Marathon||2:15:09|
|Men's Marathon World Record Holder
July 15, 1963 – July 13, 1964