Encouragement from a former high school teammate helped Doug Herron set an enduring state record that made him one of the first Alaskans to gain national prominence on the track.
Just days before the 1985 state championships, Herron, a senior at Anchorage’s Bartlett High, went on a training run with Marcus Dunbar, who was on semester break from the University of Oregon. “We talked about me just going for it,” Herron said.
Come race day, Herron went for it — and made history with an 800-meter state record that has lasted more than 30 years.
His time of 1 minute, 49.2 seconds was the fastest high school time in the country that season, bringing national attention to Herron and Alaska track.
The feat came during preliminaries, and it marked an improvement of more than five seconds over Herron’s previous best.
“I don’t remember a whole lot. I was almost running unconscious,’’ Herron said.
Herron went on to run for the University of Arizona, where he won the Pacific-10 conference title in the 800 in 1987 and earned All-America honors in 1987 and 1988.
– Danny Martin