The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Bruce Kidd

Track & Field

1961


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Video of Bruce Kidd - 3:35 min




I was a pioneer in teenage distance running.
Through the combination of these unheard -of teenage performances and the publicity around my training it became the example of what teenagers could do.
I had a very very efficient leg action, but I was, my upper body was awkward and I had a kind of a nervous twitch with my right hand that drove people crazy.
Interestingly, lots of high school and other athletes tried to imitate it, while I was trying to get rid of it.

The Boston Race was an amazing experience because I went down there as part of a Harvard recruiting trip.
Nobody thought I should be in the two miles they were worried about my health.
People my age never ran that far and so first of all I had to get Harvard to lean on the meet director to let me run in the meet, and then in the two miles.
The favourites for the race were probably ten or twelve years older than me, because distance runners at that time were much older.
And I was nervous, it was my first big meet, it was a packed house but I stayed with them for a mile and a half...
and then I threw in my early burst, took them completely by surprise and then hung on and the place went nuts.
I was within two or three seconds of the world record, nobody had ever seen a seventeen year old run that fast.

Bill Crothers and I probably ran ten indoor meets in the United States, Canada and the U.K. every winter.
We would run ten or twelve major outdoor, meets, they would be, in many cases, standing room only, large crowds wherever we went, we were headliners.
You know, true story, we would get in a cab at the airport, whether it was New York or London, and someone would say:
“Hey are you the guy from Canada that runs like this?"
I mean it was that kind of time, hard to believe, I mean people see me as this aging white bureaucrat today...
and doubt that I ever had anything to do with active sport but in those days we were headliners, we were household words.

It was a great year for me, because I was moving into a more international milieu, I was running against, very successful runners,
and I was very honoured when the Lou Marsh foundation, uh, gave that award to me.
I’m sure I didn’t value it as much at the time, I was honoured by it but I was just a little kid, it didn’t mean a lot to me.
Now, as a historian, knowing who Lou Marsh was, seeing all the other people who’ve been honoured with this award,
you know, chills race up and down my spine to think that I’m in this company, it was a great cap on the year in 1961.