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Don Kardong

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Don Kardong
Personal information
Full nameDonald Franklin Kardong
Nationality United States
Born (1948-12-22) December 22, 1948 (age 75)
SportLong-distance running
Event(s)Marathon, 5,000 meters
College teamStanford
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals1976 Marathon (4th)

Donald Franklin Kardong (born December 22, 1948) is a noted runner and author from the United States. He finished fourth in the 1976 Olympic marathon in Montreal.


Kardong graduated from Seattle Prep in 1967. He then went on to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University in 1971. While at Stanford, Kardong ran primarily the 5000 meters (3.1 miles).[1] He finished third at the 1970 NCAA University Division cross country championships.[2]

In 1974, Kardong earned another bachelor's degree in English and a teaching certificate from the University of Washington in Seattle. That same year, Kardong finished third in the 5000 meter race at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a time of 13:35.6.[3] Afterwards, he taught at Spokane's Loma Vista Elementary from 1974 to 1977.

In 1976, the 6' 3" Kardong finished 3rd in the United States Olympic Trials held in Eugene, Oregon with a time of 2:13:54.[4] That summer, in Montreal, Kardong finished a close fourth in the men's marathon at the 1976 Summer Olympics with a time of 2:11:15, just three seconds behind the bronze medal winner.[5][6] In 1998, controversy arose concerning steroid use by East German athletes at the 1976 Summer Olympics, including Gold medalist Waldemar Cierpinski. If medals were re-assigned only to drug-free athletes, American Frank Shorter would take the Gold; followed by silver medalist Karel Lismont of Belgian and bronze medalist Don Kardong for Team USA. [7]

Don Kardong Bridge in 2018

From 1977 to 1986, Kardong owned and operated a retail running store in Spokane; he founded the Lilac Bloomsday Run (12 km (7.5 mi)) in 1977.[8][9][10]

As a journalist and author, Kardong was a contributing editor for Running magazine from 1980 to 1983, and a contributing editor (1983–1985) and senior writer (1985–1987) for The Runner magazine. Since 1987, Kardong has been a contributing writer for Runner's World magazine.

Kardong was president of the Road Runners Club of America from 1996 to 2000. He served as executive director of the Children's Museum of Spokane from 2002 to 2004, and as race director of the Bloomsday run since then. Kardong started the Bloomsday race in Spokane - the community and a The Spokesman-Review newspaper article prompted the start of the race.[11]

Spokane's Don Kardong Bridge was renamed for him.[12]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1972 West Valley Marathon San Mateo, CA 1st Marathon 2:18:06
1976 United States Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 3rd Marathon 2:13:54
1976 Peachtree Road Race Atlanta, Georgia 1st 10K    29:14
1976 Olympic Games Montréal, Canada 4th Marathon 2:11:15
1977 New York City Marathon New York City, New York 10th Marathon 2:17:04
1978 Honolulu Marathon Honolulu, Hawaii 1st Marathon 2:17:05


  • Thirty Phone Booths to Boston: Tales of a Wayward Runner (Macmillan Co., New York, 1985, selected an editor's choice of the American Library Association)
  • Bloomsday: A City in Motion (Cowles Publishing, Spokane, WA, 1989)
  • Hills, Hawgs and Ho Chi Minh (Keokee Co. Publishing, Sandpoint, ID, 1996)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kardong, Don (2003). "Shorter, Rodgers, and Who?". In Kislevitz, Gail Waesche (ed.). The Spirit of the Marathon: What to Expect in Your First Marathon and How to Run Them the Rest of Your Life. Halcottsville, New York: Breakaway Books. pp. 197–203. ISBN 978-1-891369-36-0.
  2. ^ "1970 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships". MileSplit.com. Mile Split US. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "USA National Championship, Westwood, CA 1974 - Men: 1974". Retrieved June 22, 2024.
  4. ^ Pileggi, Sarah (May 31, 1976). "It Took Shorter a Little Longer". Sports Illustrated.
  5. ^ "Olympics: Saturday's results". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). August 1, 1976. p. 4B.
  6. ^ Payne, Bob (August 1, 1976). "Kardong: tired, happy, and close creation". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1.
  7. ^ "Joyce: Marathon fraud - ESPN Page 2". www.espn.com. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  8. ^ Payne, Bob (March 15, 1977). "Lilac Bloomsday Run - Kardong creation". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 17.
  9. ^ Payne, Bob (May 1, 1977). "It's 'Bloomsday' – and Spokane's ready to run". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. D1.
  10. ^ Payne, Bob (May 2, 1977). "Horde of runners captures Spokane". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 1.
  11. ^ The Just Athletics Podcast Episode 59 - Don Kardong The Just Athletics Podcast. March 18, 2021
  12. ^ Mueller, Marge; Mueller, Ted (2004). Washington State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide. Mountaineers Books. p. 270. ISBN 9780898868937.