Archie San Romani,

Kansas has been home to some of America's greatest distance runners and Archie San Romani, Sr. of Frontenac is one of the best. Archie was born September 17, 1912 in Frontenac, Kansas and died November 7, 1994 in Fresno, California. He graduated from Frontenac High School in 1933 and Emporia State Teachers College in 1937.


San Romani was a world record holder, an AAU champion, an NCAA champion and fourth-place finisher in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. While a student at Emporia State Teachers College, San Romani competed against and consistently beat the great Glenn Cunningham, but never received the publicity the KU legend did.

Just like Cunningham, San Romani suffered a crippling injury as a child when his right leg was crushed when he was 8 years old and wasn't expected to ever walk again. But, like Cunningham, he not only ran, but ran faster than any man had ever run before. He ran against Cunningham 28 times and won half (14) of the races. As a runner at Emporia State, he set the NCAA record for the mile in 1935 with a time of 4:19.1.

In 1936, he set an NCAA record at 1,500 meters with a time of 3:53.0 and placed fourth in the Olympic Games. He later helped Emporia State set a world record in the distance medley and had the best time in the world in the mile run. In 1937, he set a world record at 2,000 meters and was the runner-up in the voting for the Sullivan Award, which recognizes the nation's top amateur athlete. In 1981, San Romani and his son, Archie Jr., became the only father-son duo to hold world records.

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