Albert Lea grad sets 3-mile cross country record 51 years ago
Aug. 30 marked the 51-year anniversary of the date Clay Cameron set the Albert Lea High School record of 14:52 in the 3-mile run.
Set at the St. Olaf Invitational, Cameron was Albert Lea’s No. 1 runner and was running against 21 other teams and their No. 1 runners. The format pitted the No. 1 runners from each team in their own race, followed by the No. 2 runners, then the No. 3 runners, continuing all the way down to the No. 7 runners.
The cross country and track and field coach at the time, Jerry Kaphers, recalled the meet, and Cameron came into the first meet of the season after running 250 miles over the summer.
“Once the race started, Clay moved up with the top-five runners, he was a fierce competitor,” Kaphers said. “I met him a couple times along the 3-mile course and he was really gutting it out on the long steep hill climbs.”
Cameron finished the 3-mile race in under 15 minutes and came in fourth place overall. His record of 14:52 still stands as Albert Lea’s record.
High school teammate and co-captain, Paul Wendorff, also said he remembers Cameron leaving everything on the course. Wendorff trained with Cameron that summer and said he knew the amount of work Cameron put in the the shape he was in.
“He was a dedicated athlete and proud of Albert Lea High School,” Wendorff said. “He wore his letter jacket everywhere, true to his school and the sport of distance running.”
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