san romani archie
Archie San Romani

  • At Emporia State, San Romani set the NCAA record for the mile at 4:19.1
  • Helped Emporia State set a world record in the distance medley
  • In 1981, San Romani and his son, Archie Jr., became the only father-son duo to hold world records
San Romani, Archie
Inducted 2004

Born: September 17, 1912 – Frontenac, Kansas

Died November 7, 1994 – Fresno, California

Graduated Frontenac High School, 1933; Emporia State Teachers College, 1937

Overview

Kansas has been home to some of America’s greatest distance runners and Archie San Romani, Sr. of Frontenac is one of them.  San Romani, like his competitor and fellow Kansas Sports Hall of Famer Glenn Cunningham, suffered a crippling injury as a child when his right leg was crushed when he was 8 years old and wasn’t expected to ever walk again. But, like Cunningham, he not only ran, but ran faster than any man had ever run before.

College Career

While a student at Emporia State Teachers College, San Romani competed against and consistently beat the great Glenn Cunningham, but never received the publicity the KU legend did. He ran against Cunningham 28 times and won half (14) of the races. As a runner at Emporia State, he set the NCAA record for the mile in 1935 with a time of 4:19.1, set an NCAA record at 1,500 meters with a time of 3:53.0 and helped Emporia State set a world record in the distance medley

International Career

In 1936, he placed fourth in the Olympic Games in Berlin. In 1937, he set a world record at 2,000 meters and was the runner-up in the voting for the Sullivan Award, which recognizes the nation’s top amateur athlete. In 1981, San Romani and his son, Archie Jr., became the only father-son duo to hold world records.