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Wes Santee Passes Away At 78

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Nov. 14, 2010

Former Kansas track star succumbs to cancer.

Wes Santee, the former world record in both the indoor and outdoor 1,500 meters in the mid-1950′s, passed away on Sunday morning after a battle with cancer. He was 78 years old.

A three-time NCAA champion while at the University of Kansas, Santee was the first man to publicly declare his desire to break the 4-minute mile–a feat he never accomplished. In 2004 he was inducted into the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and one year later he was elected into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.

“This past September, Wes and I had a very good visit at a Kansas football game,” said Santee’s fellow Kansas alum and legendary miler Jim Ryun, probably KU’s most legendary middle-distance runner. “I know he has had peace while fighting this battle with cancer. He was not a quitter by any stretch of the imagination.”

For More: Kansas City Star

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Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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