People Who Kick Buts: Jim Ryun
I learned, one, you shouldn’t ever quit; and I learned, two, you’ll never be able to explain it to anybody.
- Born April 29, 1947
- In the 2006 election, Ryun was defeated by Democratic challenger Nancy Boyda. In the Kansas Republican primary on August 5, 2008, he was defeated by Kansas State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins.
- Years prior to his political career, Ryun had an athletic career that saw him become a world-class runner and the last American to hold the world record in the mile run.
- His career was highlighted by many world record times and a silver medal in the 1500 m at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
- In 1964 Ryun became the first high school runner to break four minutes for the mile, running 3:59.0 as a junior at East High School in Wichita, Kansas.
- In 1966, at age nineteen, Ryun set world records in the mile and the half-mile runs, and received Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsman of the Year” award, as well as the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete, the ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year, and was voted Track & Field News’ Athlete of the Year as the world’s best track & field athlete.
- Ryun and his wife, Anne, whom he married in 1969, have four children and seven grandchildren. He and his sons, Ned Ryun and Drew, have co-authored three books: Heroes Among Us, The Courage to Run, and In Quest of Gold- The Jim Ryun Story.