For 35 years, nobody from Alaska has been able to touch Doug Herron in the 800 meters.
His high school and college records are among our most celebrated track and field benchmarks, achieving icon status among runners from the state.
In 1985, as a senior at Bartlett, he ran 1:49.2 to set an Alaska high school record.
In 1986, as a freshman at the University of Arizona, Herron clocked a 1:47 flat to break the school record.
That time made Herron No. 1 on Alaska’s all-time list, breaking the previous state record of 1:48.2 set in 1982 by Skagway’s Rick Hunz at the University of Portland.
Since then, two college stars from Anchorage – Hans Roelle (2016) and Michael Todd (2017) – have come closest and moved into Alaska’s top five, yet they still lagged a full second behind Hunz and two full seconds behind Herron.
There’s a new face in the chase and he’s a chip off the old block.
Camron Herron of Fairbanks this month became the fifth Alaskan to run a sub 1:50 in the 800.
The freshman at the University of Arizona popped a blistering 1:49.97 at the Antelope Invitational in Phoenix.
“I’m very excited for Cam,” said his father. “Beyond proud would be an understatement. More importantly, I am so happy for him.”
Alaska’s Fastest 800 PRs
1:47.00 Doug Herron (Anchorage) 1986 University of Arizona
1:48.20 Rick Hunz (Skagway) 1982 University of Portland
1:49.41 Hans Roelle (Anchorage) 2016 Eugene Running Club
1:49.56 Michael Todd (Anchorage) 2017 Liberty University
1:49.97 Camron Herron (Fairbanks) 2021 University of Arizona
This is Cam’s first outdoor college season after COVID wiped out everything last spring. His first race in more than a year was on March 19 at the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, where he ran 1:52.31.
Two weeks later, he posted his PR of 1:49.97 to break into Alaska’s all-time top five.
“He was excited to run the 1:49 in only his second race,” Doug said. “It’s really exciting to see him doing so well, and with such inexperience with collegiate racing.”
The name Herron is legendary in running circles because of what Doug did in high school and college.
In 1985, he posted the nation’s No. 1 time for high school runners. In 1986, he broke the Arizona school record. In 1987, he was the Pac-10 champion in the 800. In 1988, he was part of three Arizona relays, including the 4×800, that set school records that still stand today.
Cam grew up in his father’s shadow but success on the track didn’t run their relationship.
“My times aren’t something we focused on,” Doug said. “We talked about my time in high school, but it wasn’t really emphasized until he ran a 1:52 the summer of his junior year.
“It became a reality that maybe he could actually get it his senior year.”
In 2019, as a senior at West Valley, Cam ran 1:51.64 for the second-fastest 800 time ever by an Alaska high school runner and the 14th-fastest in the country that season.
Cam may have followed his father’s footsteps to Arizona, but they do not attack the 800 the same way.
“Cam is so different than I was as a runner,” Doug said. “He is way smoother, for starters. He is also very good at different strategies.
“I only learned to race from the front, which is not good, because things like pace, competitors and conditions can vary so much. He is able to race from off the pace very well. That will bode well as he continues to develop.”