Gerry Lindgren

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Gerry Lindgren
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1946-03-09) March 9, 1946 (age 68)
Spokane, Washington
Sport Track
Event(s) 3000 meters, 5000 meters, 10,000 meters
College team Washington State
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5000 meters: 13:33.8[1]
10,000 meters: 28:40.2[1]

Gerald ("Gerry") Paul Lindgren (born March 9, 1946 in Spokane, Washington) is an American track and field runner who is widely recognized as having been the best high school long distance runner in the United States at the time.

Running career[edit]

High school[edit]

In 1964, in his senior year at Rogers High School, Lindgren ran 5000 meters in 13 minutes and 44 seconds, setting a U.S. high school record for the distance that would remain unbroken for 40 years, until Galen Rupp ran 13:37.91 on July 30, 2004. Among his other records he established that year was his time of 8:40.0 in an indoor 2-mile (3.2 km) race that shattered the previous U.S. national high school mark; it was the fastest high school 2-mile (3.2 km) time ever run indoors until February 16, 2013 when Edward Cheserek ran 8:39.15 at the Millrose Games, but is still the American-born high school record.

On July 25, 1964, Lindgren outran two seasoned Russian runners, Leonid Ivanov and Anatoly Dutov to win the 10,000 meter event in the US-USSR Track Meet in Los Angeles.

1964 Summer Olympics[edit]

In the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, he finished ninth in the 10,000 meters behind gold medalist Billy Mills after having sprained an ankle during training. Lindgren had previously beaten Mills in the Olympic Trials that year. Mills later said that a healthy Lindgren would have won gold. Four years later, Lindgren tried to make the 1968 Olympic team but finished 5th in the 10,000 meters and 4th in the 5,000 meters in the Olympic Trials at Echo Summit, just missing the team at both distances.

Lindgren also competed against Mills in the 1965 AAU Nationals meet, where they raced the 6-mile (9.7 km). Mills won with a diving lean, while both were timed in 27:11.6, a new World Record shared by Mills and Lindgren.

Lindgren was coached by Tracy Walters. In his training, he averaged 240 miles per week for one year, including running a 380 mile week.[2]

Collegiate and retirement[edit]

Lindgren attended Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, where he majored in political science and minored in Russian language. While at Washington State, Lindgren won 11 NCAA Championships. (His only loss at an NCAA championship was to Jim Ryun in the 1968 indoor 2-mile (3.2 km) race.) He was one of only two people to ever defeat Steve Prefontaine in an NCAA Championship. (Lindgren won the 1969 NCAA Cross Country Championship in which 1968 NCAA champion Mike Ryan finished second and Prefontaine third.) He competed sporadically after graduating from college but without any notable success. Since 1980, when he curiously left a note in his home kitchen saying 'get a divorce, sell the business' and abandoned his wife and children (with whom he continues to have no contact), Lindgren has lived in Honolulu, Hawaii.[3] He continues to run regularly, active in the Hawaii running community. He coached the University of Hawaii's women's track and field team 2005-2007.

High school personal records[edit]

  • 1500 meters - 3:44.6 (1964)
  • 1-mile (1.6 km) - 4:01.5 (1964) (2nd fastest in history in 1964; #8 all time among American high schoolers as of 2011)
  • 3000 meters - 8:06.3i (1964) High School Record (4th best of all time as of 2011)
  • 2-mile (3.2 km) - 8:40.0i (1964) High School Record (now 2nd all-time indoors)
  • 3 miles (4.8 km) - 13:17.0 (1964)
  • 5000 meters - 13:44.0 (1964) High School Record (2nd All-time American High School time as of 2011)
  • 10000 meters - 29:17.6 (1964) High School Record (5th best all time as of 2011)

College personal records[edit]

  • 3 miles (4.8 km) - 12:53.0 (1966) Collegiate Record
  • 6 miles (9.7 km) - 27:11.6 (1965) Collegiate and World Record
  • 3000 meters - 7:58 (1965) Collegiate Record
  • 5000 meters - 13:33.8 (1968) Collegiate Record
  • 10000 meters - 28:40.2 (1967) Collegiate Record

NCAA Championships[edit]

  • Cross Country - 1966 (29:01.4), 1967 (30:45.6), 1969 (28:59.2)
  • 3 miles (4.8 km) outdoor track - 1966 (13:33.7), 1967 (13:47.8)
  • 5000 m - 1968 (13:47.2)
  • 6-mile (9.7 km) outdoor track - 1966 (28:07.0), 1967 (28:44.0)
  • 10000 m - 1968 (29:41.0)
  • 2 miles (3.2 km) indoor track - 1966 (8:41.3), 1967 (8:34.7)


Lindgren has reiterated his belief is "Karma" as a large factor in his running success. He claims that "Karma comes from serving other people instead of serving yourself. I found that if I could serve others people without them knowing about it I could grow Karma faster," and that this would lead to success on the track.[citation needed]


External links[edit]