Up on Mt. Olympus, that legendary Greek soldier of 490 B.C. who hoofed it from Marathon to Athens to bring news of victory over the Persians must be beaming: Before we know it there will be a marathon every week, 52 weeks a year.
Announced within the past 10 days were the first Observer Marathon in Charlottee, N.C., to be sponsored by the newspaper there Dec. 17 and, now, a Richmond Newspapers Marathon, the inaugural next Oct. 8 as part of the city's annual National Tobacco Festival, Puff, puff?
All this hard on the heels of the races through New York City, Washington, D.C. and Fukuoka, Japan. Plus one last month along the aterfront in Auckland, New Zealand that turned out not to be a genuine marathon.
For a while there, Australia's Dave Chettle though he had a world record with his 2-hour-2-minute 24-second clocking in Auckland (bettering the accepted mark of 2:08:04, by Derek Clayton of Australia in Antwerp, 1969). But so many times were so good in that race, that astounded organizers remeasured the course a week later.
Sure enough, it was 1 1/2 miles short; something about parked cars having been in the way of the vehicle that originally measured the course by calibrated instruments. Chettle's time was adjusted to a 2:10:10 estimate for a regulation 26 miles 385 yards.
But, heck, that mythical Greek was a piker by current standards. Marathon to Athens was only 22 miles 1,470 yards. Encyclopedia Britannica tells us the modern marathon became standardized at 26 miles plus in 1924 - the odd 385 yards stemming from the 1908 Olympics when the British organizers arranged to start the race from the royal residence at Windsor Castle and finish in front of the royal box in the stadium at London.
Beating the Heisman folks to the punch, United Press International is out with Earl Campbell of Texas as college football player of the year and Ross Browner of Notre Dame as lineman of the year a second straight time. Campbell drew 36 votes from a national panel of sportswriters to five for Terry Miller, Oklahoma State, and three for Ken MacAfee, Notre Dame. Tight end MacAfee was runner-up to teammate Browner in the lineman vote, 23-8 . . . The 1966 Maxwell Trophy winner as top collegiate defensive player, Notre Damer Jim Lynch, and the man who beat him out of the middle-linebacker spot on the Kansas City Chiefs after both were drafted on the second round in 1967, Morgan Stater Willie Lanier, jointly retired yesterday effective at season's end. Born seven days apart in August, they played together 11 years (Lynch moved to outside linebacker) high-lighted by victory in Super Bowl 4; they have been road roommates the past eight seasons. They'll be honored at Sunday's 1977 home finale in Arrowhead . . .
Jim Dickey, as defensive coordinator, probably receive much of the credit for North Carolina leading major colleges by yielding only 7.4 points a game this fall and ruling the Atlantic Coast Conference. Kansas State surely things so, for yesterday it declared Dickey - former U. of Houston player and assistant later on staffs at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas before three years under Bill Dooley at UNC - will take over as head coach of the Wildcats on a four-year contract; first-year salary $39,400. K-State didn't win a Big Eight game the last two years under Ellis last to years under Ellis Rainsberger . . . The new coach said in Manhattan, Kan., he will try to recruit a quarterback from back there in Chapel Hill - high school senior Darrell Dickey. "I consider my son an outstanding prospect, and get along well with his mother," said Jim Dickey . . .
The NCAA bounces back with a court victory. The Mississippi Supreme Court says the association was within its rights in declaring Mississipi State defensive lineman Larry Gillard ineligible because of for rules violation, viz., accepting clothing at discount from a booster. But Gillard played every game the past three seasons, since the NCAA ruling, under order by a lower state court. The supreme court, brushing aside motion to dismiss as moot, said it wanted to consider the constitutional question - and found that the athlete has no "property" right to engage in intercollegiate football . . .
Yawn Marvin Barnes' attorney says the forward who went from the Detroit Pistons to the Rhode Island reformatory to the Pistoons to the Buffalo Braves to the suspended list in an accelerating sequence "May very well become a free agent." Says he took that AWOL time lately because he still has some goodies coming from his old Spirits of St. Louis, American his NBA employers or ex-employers Basketball Association, a contract that haven't delivered. Braves owner John Y. Brown blames Barnes' several past agents for his troubles - "he may feel he's playing for nothing with all his creditors." Braves GM Bob Kauffman: "John Brown can afford to be without Marvin's services more than Marvin can afford to sit it out" . . .