Monday, March 29, 2010


Gilbert Lothair Dodds you are our "Flying Parson" hero! In the 1940s, he held the American and World records for the mile run. On November 25, 1940, Dodds took his first national championship when he won the NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship in East Lansing, Michigan. Dodds was the AAU indoor mile champion in 1942, 1944, and 1947.Outdoors he set the American mile record of 4:06.5 in 1943 in Boston, finishing second to Sweden's Gundar Haegg.

On March 11, 1944, Dodds broke the world indoor record for the mile run at the annual Knights of Columbus track meet in Madison Square Garden, New York City. His time of 4:07.2 broke the old record by 0.1 second, which was jointly held by Glenn Cunningham, Charles Fenske and Leslie MacMitchell. One week later, Dodds lowered his own world indoor mile record to 4:06.4 at Chicago Stadium on March 18, 1944.

Known as "The Flying Parson", he graduated from seminary in 1945 and retired from running to be a full-time minister.

“Runner Gil Dodds was once preparing for a race. After a series of stretching exercises, Dodd ran several warm-up laps around the track. Just before the race began, he quickly changed into some other track shoes. One of the onlookers asked why he was changing shoes. Dodds tossed to the inquirer one of his warm-up shoes. Then one of his racing shoes. The man was still puzzled. There was no detectable difference in the two shoes. Both looked the same. Both seemed to weigh the same. Then Dodds explained. There indeed was a difference. The warm-up shoes were slightly heavier than his racing shoes. Though only a small difference, saving even that much weight for the race could spell the difference between victory and defeat.” Dodds was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States in 1943.

It is our hope that the next Wheaton stadium be named the LDS Stadium. (Lothair Dodds Stadium)

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