By Samuel Hawley
On the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics an unknown Vancouver runner named Percy Williams surprised the activities international by means of taking pictures the a hundred- and 200-metre gold medals. a few acknowledged the feat was once a fluke. It used to be now not. In 1929 Percy silenced naysayers via sweeping the USA indoor music circuit, then he went directly to set an international checklist within the a hundred meters that will stand till the arriving of Jesse Owens. And in among he waged a velocity duel with the fleetest males on this planet, a conflict for song supremacy and the name "World's quickest Human". according to large study that integrated entry to Percy's inner most letters, diary and scrapbooks, this can be the 1st full-length account of this activities legend, the most recognized Canadians of his day yet now mostly forgotten. It starts off because the Cinderella tale of a formative years who conquers a game ruled via American sprinters. Then it will get grittier, for achievement and repute had a depressing facet. "I simply Ran" follows Percy and his janitor-coach Bob Granger as they trip in the course of the global of elite working within the Twenties and 30s - an international that was once now not continually lovely underneath the veneer of amateurism.
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Additional resources for I Just Ran: Percy Williams, World's Fastest Human
As the runners rounded the first turn and hit the seventy-yard mark he was already twelve yards behind, trailed only by Laurie Cohen. Then, with a burst of speed that had Bob up out of his seat, Percy surged and started closing the gap, reeling himself up to Maybee in the lead and Coaffee and Leigh Miller as if he were joined to them by a string. But it didn’t last. It couldn’t. The lingering fatigue and stiffness from the train; the anxiety of the rushed journey; the exertion of the past four races — as Percy came into the stretch it all began to catch up.
It was a new record, shattering Paddock’s mark by a full second. 21 It didn’t count, of course. For a record to be considered, special application had to be made beforehand to the Amateur Athletic Union and a host of stringent conditions met at the meet. But it did stir up the crowd, which had been the point, and was a good lead-in to Bob’s appeal for funds to send this marvel, Vancouver’s own Gazelle, to the nationals to show those Easterners the sort of boys they raised in BC. With these words ringing in the air, Pinky Stewart and Bobby Gaul and Percy’s other friends stepped forward to pass the hat.
Bob Granger was eminently familiar with handicap racing from his own days as a swimmer, competing in the floating enclosure at English Bay. 17 For a race on a track, distance rather than time handicaps were employed, the runner considered fastest being positioned at the start line, or “scratch,” the others taking their marks at various distances in front. Percy was apprehensive when he showed up with his family at Brockton Point for that first Monday night meet, for he was about to run against seasoned athletes, the best in the whole province.