Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
In July, 1967, some of the top distance runners in America competed to pick runners for the Pan American Games.
The race started at high noon with temperatures soaring above 101 degrees. 87 of the 125 elite, well-conditioned runners who started the race dropped out. The winner was Minnesotan, Ron Daws, who was not expected to finish within the top 15. Three years earlier, the tryouts for the United States Olympic marathon team was held in Yonkers, New York, under similar conditions. Ron Daws collapsed in that race and had to be hospitalized afterwards. He decided that he would never pass out again. He trained with many sweat suits, started out very slowly, drank dilutely salted water at the starting line and as often as it was offered along the course. When Daws saw the race favorite, Tom Laris, show up with a dark tan, he knew that he would win. Laris had trained only in his shorts and shoes.