THE success in England during the past summer of the American representatives, Messrs. Myers and Merrill, is so well known to all lovers of amateur racing that we shall attempt little more here than a mere mention of their various contests. Their first appearance was made on June 25, in London, at the games of the London Athletic Club, in which Myers easily won the 1/4-mile run in 49 4-5 sec. (beating the best previous English record by 3-5 of a second), Phillips, London Athletic Club, second, by eight yards; and Merrill won the 2-mile walk in 14 min. 35 3-5 sec.
Their second appearance was at a special meeting of the same club on July 2, when Myers won the 1/2-mile run in 1 min. 56 sec., beating all previous amateur records (the best English record previous to this being Elborough's, 1 min. 57 1/2 sec, and the best American record, 1 min. 56 1/8 sec., by himself); Merrill won the 3-mile walk in 22 min. 3-5 sec.
The Annual Sports of the Moseley Harriers at Birmingham, on July 9, was the occasion for their third joint appearance, and it was here that Merrill was hustled by a crowd of roughs who had bet against him, and who found that the only way to save their money, when the judges ruled out all of his opponents for unfair walking, was by preventing Merrill himself from finishing the distance and thus have all bets declared "off" on the ground of there being "no race." This blackguardism was the more unfortunate as at the time it happened Merrill bid fair to eclipse all previous amateur records at the distance, one mile. As it is, his own record, 6 min. 33 2-5 sec., made in New York before leaving for England, still stands as the fastest amateur record in the world at the distance. Myers at this meeting succeeded in making 49 sec. in the 1/4-mile, thus beating his best previous English record by 4-5 of a second, and his best American record by 1-5 of a second.
On July 13 Merrill walked a mile at the Lewes Athletic Club Games in 6 min. 39 sec., beating the best previous English record (Griffith's, 6 min. 48 sec.) by 9 seconds. Myers did not compete at this meeting.
Their next joint appearance was at the English Amateur Championship Games, on July 16, at Birmingham, and it was here that each received his first and only English defeat. Myers's defeat was in the 100-yards dash, in which he finished fourth in the trial heat, Cowie, Cleaver, and Malone finishing respectively first, second, and third; the winner's time being 10 1-5 sec. Myers claims that owing to the track being down hill he lost his balance and was thrown out of his stride, and that all through the race he was trying to run and keep from falling at the same time; but most of the English sporting papers think that he could not have won anyhow. He again lowered the record, however, in the 1/4-mile run, covering the distance in 48 3-5 sec., thus beating his record of the previous Saturday by 2-5 of a second. For some unknown reason he did not start in the 1/2-mile run, although entered. In the 7-mile walk, Merrill fainted on the fourth mile, leaving Raby, his only remaining competitor, to finish as he pleased, Whyatt having retired, and Webster, who holds the best amateur record at the distance, 52 min. 34 sec., having been disqualified for running. The time of the race was 54 min 48 sec.
This was Merrill's last contest in England; but Myers competed at the Widnes Athletic Club Sports, and easily won the 1/4-mile and 1/2-mile runs in the respective times of 53 3-5 sec. and 2 min. 5 sec.
Their first public appearance since their return was at the joint meeting of the New York and Manhattan Athletic Clubs, on September 17, at Mott Haven, when Myers ran 300 yards in 31 1/2 sec., beating the previous best record for the distance (held by R. S. Haley of San Francisco) by 1 1/8 sec. Merrill finished third in the 2-mile handicap walk, his time for the distance being 14 min. 6 5/8 sec.
At the Championship Games on September 24 Myers won the 100-yards in 10 1/4 sec., the 220-yards in 23 1/2 sec., and the 1/4-mile in 49 2-5 sec., all of them proving easy victories; and Merrill won the 1-mile and 3-mile walks in the respective times of 7 min. 2 3/4 sec. and 23 min. 55 4-5 sec.
On September 15, at the Polo Grounds, New York, Myers, in a handicap match with H. Hawes of the Olympic Athletic Club, San Francisco, covered the 220-yards in 22 1/2 sec., thus lowering the best previous American amateur record (his own) by 1/4 of a second.
On October 1 Myers easily won the championship of Canada at 1/4-mile and 1/2-mile runs in 56 1/4 sec. and 2 min. 1 sec. respectively.
Myers's next appearance was at the American Athletic Club Games at the Polo Grounds October 8, when he succeeded in lowering the best amateur 1,000-yards record (2 min. 18 sec., held by W. G. George of the Moseley Harriers, England) by five seconds. Special time-keepers at the 1/2-mile post announced that he also broke the 1/2-mile record by 2-5 of a second, covering the distance in 1 min. 55 3-5 sec.
It is rumored that Myers will permanently retire from racing at the close of the present season, his lungs having become affected by excessive long-distance running.
Myers's next appearance was at the games of the Olympic Athletic Club, at Philadelphia, on October 15, where he attempted to beat his own record of 48 3-5 sec., at the 1/4-mile run. He ran the distance in 48 3/4 sec.; a strong wind on the home-stretch impeding him somewhat for the last 120 yards; the first 350 yards were run in 36 4-5 sec.
Being dissatisfied with his performance he attempted the feat again last Saturday, October 22, at the Polo Grounds, New York. He again failed to lower the 1/4-mile record; but time-keepers stationed at intermediate distances announced that he broke the 300-yards record and 400-yards record; and he finished the whole distance in 48 4-5 sec., or just 1-5 of a second slower than his English record. His times for the intermediate distances were as follows: -
100 yards 11 1-2 seconds.
220 yards 23 seconds.
300 yards 31 2-5 seconds.
330 yards 34 5-8 seconds.
350 yards 37 1-5 seconds.
400 yards 43 3-4 seconds.
440 yards 48 4-5 seconds.