Doug Schmenk


Class of 1968


I didnít have any great achievement in High School.  I started running as a junior when the Class C football coach suggested I try another sport.  At that time I was only 5í 2íí and about 120 pounds (but thatís more than I weigh now). My best mile in high school was 4:37 my senior year.  Our cross country team did win the Junior Varsity race my junior year and the Varsity race at the Sunset League Championships in 1967.  I was fifth man on the team in the league championship and 10th place overall. The team finished in 8th place at the CIF Finals. It was a good beginning.  I had a great coach, hardworking teammates, who were my best friends, and a lot of inspirational athletes to look up to.


After High School I attended Golden West College and ran Cross Country and Track.  My sophomore year I placed 6th in the Southern California JC mile championships running 4:16.8.  I was also team captain and most inspirational on the Cross Country team in 1969. You can see I am gradually improving.


From Golden West I got a partial scholarship (tuition and books promised only if I made the team) at CSU Fullerton. I did make the team. Our team did well, placing second in the NCAA college division Cross Country championships in 1970 and them winning it in 1971.  My best times at CSUF were 28:52 for six and 13:42 for three miles. I qualified to run the six mile at the NCAA College Championships at CSU Sacramento in 1971 and I also qualified to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters and Marathon in 1972.†† I also ran a 2:17:45 marathon while at CSUF making me the fastest American collegian ever to run the marathon and it was also a US age group record at that time. 


It was during my second year at CSUF that someone told me Dave Bedford sometimes trained 200 miles/week.  When I heard that I was determined to match it.  During Christmas vacation that year I ran 219 miles the first week and then 222 the next. Two weeks later I ran a 2:17 marathon at Mission Bay San Diego which made me the fastest collegian at that time.  I also ran my fastest six and three milers in February of that year while running 170 mile weeks.  Unfortunately, just after those races, I developed a stress fracture in my foot and pretty much lost my senior year of Track at CSUF. For three years I maintained a better than 20 mile/day average, running 7,286 miles in 1971, 7,288 in 1972 and 8060 in 1973.  My biggest month was December, 1973 were I ran 884 miles. I believe most of the mileage was run at 6 min/mile or better.  I especially remember one training run of 32 miles with Dave White and other CSUF runners.  We passed the 26 mile mark in 2:27 (measured by Daveís VW).


After college my greatest accomplishment was winning the 1973 AAU (now USATF) National Marathon Championship race with a time of 2:15:48.  That time made me the 7th fastest American ever to run a marathon up to that time, and it was the second fastest marathon time in 1973 (only Frank Shorter had a faster time that year).  I won many marathons during and after college between 1972 and 1974, Mission Bay (now San Diego) three times in a row, LA two times in a row, Santa Barbara, and the Mardi Gras marathon.  I was also sent by the AAU to run the Greece marathon twice. The first year, 1973, I placed fourth beating Ron Hill who place 6th in the 1972 Olympic Marathon.  All three runners ahead of me ran in the 1972 Olympics. 


I donít race very much now, but in 2012, I placed second in the Masterís 5K USATF Championship race in the 60-64 age group.  I still train regularly running about 40 miles/week.



Doug running in Mission Bay/San Diego marathon against the Mexican National Champion.

Doug beat him in the last 800 yards.


Doug running the Athens Marathon:

Doug was sent by the AAU to run the Athens marathon in Greece in 1973 where he placed 4th.Behind is Ron Hill (at left), once the second fastest marathoner in the world who placed 6th at the 1972 Olympic Marathon in Munich.All three runners ahead of Doug also ran in the 1972 Olympics.