Buddy Edelen

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Buddy Edelen
Personal information
Full nameLeonard Graves Edelen
BornSeptember 22, 1937 (1937-09-22)
Harrodsburg, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedFebruary 19, 1997(1997-02-19) (aged 59)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight141 lb (64 kg)
SportLong-distance running
College teamUniversity of Minnesota
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)Marathon: 2:14:28[1]
10000 meters: 29:53 [1]
5000 meters: 13:54.4 [1]
2 miles: 8:57.4i[1]

Leonard Graves "Buddy" Edelen (September 22, 1937 – February 19, 1997) 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 June 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 2:13:55 at the 1964 Polytechnic Marathon (which was held on June 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.

In 2016, he was elected into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.[2]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1962 Fukuoka Marathon Fukuoka, Japan 4th Marathon 2:18:57 (AR)
1963 Polytechnic Marathon Windsor, England 1st Marathon 2:14:28 (WR)
1963 Košice Peace Marathon Košice, Czechoslovakia 1st Marathon 2:15:09
1964 Tokyo Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan 6th Marathon 2:18:12


  1. ^ a b c d Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Buddy Edelen". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
  2. ^ http://www.usatf.org/Athlete-Bios/Hall-of-Fame/2016-Hall-of-Fame-Bios/Buddy-Edelen.aspx

Further reading[edit]

  • Murphy, Frank. A Cold Clear Day. ISBN 0-7351-0399-2. (An "athletic biography" of Edelen.)
Preceded by
Japan Toru Terasawa
Men's Marathon World Record Holder
June 15, 1963 – June 13, 1964
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Basil Heatley