Dick Buerkle

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Dick Buerkle
Dick Buerkle WR Indoor Mile 13 Jan 1978 © Philip G. Tardif 1978.jpg
Dick Buerkle setting world record for indoor mile (3:54.9) on Jan. 13, 1978, in College Park, Maryland
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1947-09-03) September 3, 1947 (age 69)
Rochester, New York
Sport Track
Event(s) 1500 meters, mile
College team Villanova
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) Indoor mile: 3:54.93[1]
3000 meters: 7:53.2[1]
2-mile: 8:21.76[1]
5000 meters: 13:23.20[1]
10,000 meters: 28:25.0[1]
Updated on September 26, 2015.

Richard "Dick" Thomas Buerkle (/ˈbɜːrkl/; born September 3, 1947 in Rochester, New York) is a former Olympic athlete and once held the world record for the indoor one-mile run. He is known as one of the most successful walk-ons in the history of American collegiate running, due to his athletic successes while at Villanova.

Running career[edit]

Buerkle graduated from Aquinas Institute high school in 1966 with a personal best of 4:28 for the one-mile run. He graduated from Villanova University in 1970 with a degree in Spanish studies.[2] At Villanova, he learned under the tutelage of head coach Jumbo Elliott and assistant coach Jim Tuppeny. He finally received a track scholarship in April of his junior year, after running a two-mile race in less than nine minutes, with a final time of 8:57. Two weeks later, Buerkle lowered Villanova's two-mile record to 8:46.2.[3]

Buerkle qualified for the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. The 1976 Montreal Games were a disappointment for Buerkle, who competed in the Olympic 5000 metre competition and finished 9th in what was, at that point, the fastest 5000-metre heat in history. He did not, however, compete in the 1980 Olympic Games, because U.S. President Jimmy Carter chose to boycott them.

He ran the mile in less than four minutes on six occasions in his career, with a personal best on Friday January 13, 1978, when he ran 3:54.9 to break the world indoor mile record. This world record, set at Cole Field House on the campus of the University of Maryland, in College Park, put his image on the covers of Sports Illustrated[4] and Track & Field News.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Buerkle eventually grew tired of the winter weather in his native Rochester, NY, and relocated his family to Atlanta, GA, soon thereafter. Buerkle continued to live and work in the Atlanta area after retiring from world-class competition in 1981. Buerkle said that the decision was not difficult. By that point, he and his wife, Jean, whom he met at Villanova, had a son, Gabriel, and two daughters, Lily and Tera.

Buerkle tried careers in sales and teaching in tandem with his running career. In 1992, he began teaching Spanish at Dunwoody High School, where he also coached track and field and cross-country running. He used to work at Henderson Middle School, training the track team and teaching Spanish, but retired in January 2014.


  1. ^ a b c d e All-Athletics. "Profile of Dick BUERKLE". 
  2. ^ "Blast from the Past: Dick Buerkle". 1999-01-19. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  3. ^ Reif, Michael (2008-01-26). "Greater Rochester Track Club Hall of Fame" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  4. ^ "Filbert Bayi, Track and Field, - 02.06.78 - SI Vault". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  5. ^ "Track and Field News: Archive: Past Issues: 1978". Retrieved 2010-08-22. 

See also[edit]