June 12, 2017
We’re not sure if one can become a legend as a 22-year-old, but Clayton Murphy is going to test the waters by running the 800m and 1500m at this year’s USATF Outdoor Championships, attempting to become the first man to win both in the same year since Glenn Cunningham in 1933.
Murphy, the 2016 Olympic 800m bronze medallist as a 21-year-old, sent out a tweet today linking to an exclusive story by Dave Hunter on RunBlogRun where Murphy said he will attempt to pull off the double that is unprecedented since the professional era of track and field began in the United States.
Cunningham’s double came when the U.S. championships were organized by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). Rick Wohlhuter won both the 800 and 1500 at the 1976 Olympic Trials, but at the time, the Olympic Trials was a separate meet from the U.S. championships. The Trials also had a longer week long schedule more conducive to doubling.
Murphy told Hunter that he and coach Lee Labadie have been contemplating the double for a while. “I kind of made the decision about the possibility to double toward the end of the indoor season…I didn’t race after April as much as we could have. We’ve more or less been in a training block since the April racing. We kind of wanted to just train and build strength to push this double.”
The schedule is conducive to a double attempt with Murphy only having to run twice on day 1.
Thursday, June 22:
4:00 pm 800 – 1st round
7:44 pm 1500 – 1st round/semis
Friday, June 23:
8:11 pm 800 – semis
Saturday, June 24:
2:41 pm 1500m – Final
Sunday, June 25:
1:20 pm 800m – Final
If Murphy is going to win the double, he will have to beat some stiff competition including Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz. Most track fans thought they would have to settle for either Murphy vs. Centrowitz in the 1500 or Murphy vs. Donavan Brazier in the 800. Now they get both matchups at USAs.
It is fitting Murphy will have to go through Centrowitz if he is going to pull off the double because at the 1976 Olympic Trials, Wohlhuter completed the double by beating Matt Centrowitz — Matthew’s father — in the 1500.
At the Trials in 1976, the 800s and 1500s did not overlap. The 800 concluded on June 21 and the 1500 did not begin until June 26. Here are the results of the finals.
Wohlhuter went on to earn bronze in the 800 and finish sixth in the 1500 at the 1976 Olympics in Munich. He remains the last American man to contest both events at an Olympics. No U.S. man has ever run both at Worlds in the same year. David Krummenacker did run both events at Worlds, but never in the same year — he contested the 1500 in 1999 and the 800 in 2001, 2003, 2005.
It also is fitting Murphy is trying to emulate Wohlhuter, as last night at the Portland Track Festival, Murphy came up short in breaking Wohluter’s 1000m American record, the oldest American record on the books.
Wohlhuter was on hand for the attempt and held the finish-line tape. Afterwards, he and Murphy met for the first time which you can see in the video below.
Murphy then told the assembled media he had not made up his mind on what he was going to do in terms of the 800 or 1500m at USAs.
Murphy was just being a bit coy so he could let a fellow Ohioian break the story.
RunBlogRun Article: Clayton’s Self-Imposed Challenge: Murphy to race 800m/1500m Double at USATF Championships
Discuss Murphy’s legendary attempt here: Clayton Murphy to run 800 and 1500 at USAs