Jan Merrill

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Jan Merrill
Personal information
Born June 18, 1956

Janice ("Jan") Melbourne Merrill (born June 18, 1956 in New London, Connecticut) is a retired female middle distance runner from the United States. She was the dominant long distance runner of the middle 1970s, a notable front runner, her uniform with the large "M" on her chest would usually break away to an insurmountable lead in domestic meets. She was equally untouchable in self-promotion or dealing with the media, often deferring to her coach, Norm Higgins.[1] At various points in time she held the American record in the women's 1500 metres (4:02.61 set on July 29, 1976) during the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, the 3,000 metres and 5,000 metres.[2] She lost other record opportunities because the only times she could get a decent race in the United States was against men.[3]

She won the U.S. title at 1500 metres twice outdoors,[4] 3000 metres 4 times,[5] twice in the indoor mile,[6] twice in the indoor 2 mile[7] and twice in Cross Country.[8]

Merrill is now married hyphenating her name with Morin, and is an assistant coach at Rutgers University.[9]


Year Tournament Venue Result Extra
Representing the  United States
1976 Olympic Games Montreal, Canada 8th 1500 m
1978 World Cross Country Championships Glasgow, Scotland 7th Long Race Individual
2nd Long Race Team
1979 World Cross Country Championships Limerick, Ireland 7th Long Race Individual
1st Long Race Team
1980 World Cross Country Championships Paris, France 5th Long Race Individual
3rd Long Race Team
1981 World Cross Country Championships Madrid, Spain 2nd Long Race Individual
2nd Long Race Team
1983 World Cross Country Championships Gateshead, England 13th Long Race Individual
1st Long Race Team