Former Illini Craig Virgin was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Nov. 5, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS - Former University of Illinois men's track and field distance standout Craig Virgin was elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, USA Track & Field announced on Thursday. At his request, Virgin has deferred his induction into the Hall of Fame until 2011, when the ceremony will be held in St. Louis, near his current home. The USATF also announced five other inductees for the Class of 2010, including all-time track and field greats Jearl Miles Clark, Dyrol Burleson, Roy Cochran, Ralph Craig and journalist James Dunaway.
"Induction into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame is the greatest tribute anyone involved with our sport may achieve, and each member of the Class of 2010 richly deserves this honor," said USATF President and Chairman of the Board Stephanie Hightower in a press release. "Each of these remarkable individuals have made indelible and unique contributions to our sport, and we all look forward to honoring them as they take their rightful place in the Hall of Fame."
Virgin did not start competitive running until his freshman year at Lebanon High School. He won five Illinois state high school championships in cross country as well as the 2-mile and 1-mile track events in the old single class school classification. He still holds the Illinois state championships meet records in both the 3-mile cross country (13:50.6) and 2-mile track (8:42.6) events. He won his final 48 high school cross country races; setting course records in 47 of the 48 events. In June of 1973 Virgin broke the late Steve Prefontaine's national high school 2-mile record with a clocking of 8:40.9, a time that still ranks as the second-fastest time ever turned in by a prep in an all-high school competition.
At the University of Illinois, Virgin was the 1975 NCAA cross country champion, a 10-time All-American between track and cross country, a nine-time Big Ten champion and the first man to win four consecutive Big Ten cross country titles. Virgin, who is the only U.S. male athlete ever to win an individual World Cross Country Championships title (1980 & 1981), made three Olympic teams at 10,000m and set seven U.S. national records in road and track events.
Virgin, a native of Lebanon, Ill., is founder and President of Front Runner Inc., a sports marketing and promotions company. He also does freelance broadcasting of running and fitness events and is a noted motivational public speaker.
The Class of 2010 will be inducted Saturday evening, December 4, at the Jesse Owens Awards and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held in conjunction with USATF's 2010 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, Va.