The first Bix 7 race marked the largest gathering of runners to date in the Quad-Cities -84. It was also the first time runners were allowed to run on city streets.
The Bix 7 was founded by John Hudetz of Bettendorf, who wanted to bring to the Quad-Cities some of the excitement he felt when he ran his first Boston Marathon in 1974.
The race matched a pair of world-class runners -Steve Hoag of Minneapolis, who finished second behind Rodgers in the 1975 Boston Marathon, and Lucian Rosa of Sri Lanka. Rosa, who later became the track coach at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, won in a time of 34:33.8.
There were only three female entries, led by Parkside student Kim Merritt of Racine, Wis. Her winning time of 41:04 was 24 minutes better than her nearest pursuer.
The second Bix 7 road race drew 100 entries but ended up being a battle between two Augustana College runners — John O’Connor of Rock Island and Dan Copper of Mendota, Ill.
Copper beat O’Connor by just four seconds, finishing in 36:47, while Kim Merritt of Racine, Wis., won the women’s phase for the second consecutive year in 41:33.
It was the first Bix race for Copper, a track and cross country All-American at Augustana. He had been hampered by foot injuries before the race but said he felt strong after five miles.
Kevin McDonald captured the Bix 7, topping a field of 350 runners in what was without question the most under-publicized chapter in the race’s 17-year history.
The late Gregg Newell of Davenport recorded the first of three straight top-two finishes as he followed McDonald across the finish line 15 seconds later.
Lynn Schmidt won the women’s phase by a wide margin.
The only media coverage the race received was a four-paragraph story and some agate results on the sixth page of the Quad-City Times sports section.
The Bix 7 continued its steady growth, drawing a field of 500 runners. That prompted race director Tony Gott to make a somewhat shortsighted prediction.
“The race,” Gott reported, “has outgrown the city.”
John Lodwick of Cedar Rapids, who took eighth in the Boston Marathon that year, won the fourth annual Bix in a time of 34:56. Former Davenport Central and University of Iowa runner Gregg Newell was second for the second straight year.
Kathy Loper of Worthsmith, Minn., who later became a Quad-City resident, was the women’s winner in 45:38.
After two consecutive second-place finishes, Gregg Newell found the winner’s circle in the ‘79 Bix 7.
Newell, a former Davenport Central and University of Iowa runner, won in a time of 35:40, almost a minute ahead of Dave Kohrs of Lake Charles, La., Bettendorf’s John Wellerding, and ‘76 Bix champion Dan Copper. For Wellerding, it was the first of nine top-10 finishes at Bix.
Ilene Kimsey of Des Moines, a competitive runner for less than a year, won the women’s phase in 46:25. It was the slowest winning time in Bix annals.
A field of 800 runners turned out in torturous heat and humidity.
The United States’ boycott of the Olympics prevented Bill Rodgers from running in Moscow. Instead, he came to Davenport.
Rodgers, then ranked as the top distance runner in the world, cruised to the championship of the Bix 7 in a record time of 33:58 on a rainy, overcast day. It was the first of two Bix championships for Rodgers, who has run in the race every year since.
John Wellerding of Bettendorf was a distant second in 35:12. Paul Raether of Rochester, Minn., led for the first three miles but finished fourth.
Peggy Schott won the women’s title as a record 1,500 runners took part.
Bill Rodgers had some stronger competition but the Boston area native still won the Bix 7 for the second time.
Rodgers posted a record time of 33:26 to defeat longtime rival Frank Shorter by 24 seconds. Shorter, the 1976 Olympic marathon gold medalist, had beaten Rodgers by nine seconds in a race a few weeks before. Frank Richardson of Ames finished third.
Beverly Roland-Miller, a former Western Illinois University runner, won the women’s competition in a time of 41:26.
The race, sponsored for the first time by the Quad-City Times, drew 2,500 entrants in muggy, overcast conditions.
The ‘82 Quad-City Times Bix 7 will always be remembered for one reason — the shortcut.
Australian superman Rob de Castella won the race in the record time of 32:21 after cutting the course short by about 50 yards. He and the rest of the leaders followed the lead vehicle as it made a shortcut at the McClellan Boulevard turnaround and almost all of the 4,100 trailing runners did the same.
Since de Castella’s time was 33 seconds better than the previous Bix record, he certainly would have set the course record even without the shortcut.
Bill Rodgers, running his third Bix, finished second in 32:45 with Frank Shorter third in 33:35. Both had better times than when they finished 1-2 the previous year.
Ellen Hart beat the women’s record by more than two minutes, covering the course in 38:42.
Kenya’s Joseph Nzau continued the international dominance of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 with a victory in ‘83.
Nzau, a resident of Laramie, Wyo., sprinted past Paul Cummings at the halfway point and coasted to victory in a time of 33:10. Cummings faded to third while Bix veteran Bill Rodgers finished second.
The race, with a field of 5,620 runners, was run in oppressive heat and humidity but Nzau seemed unaffected.
So did Joan Benoit, who shattered the women’s course record. Benoit, a year away from an Olympic gold medal, covered the distance in 37:26.
South Africa’s Ashley Johnson turned it on down the stretch to win one of the most exciting Bix finishes ever.
Johnson, the third foreigner to win in as many years, made the final turn onto Fourth Street virtually side-by-side with ‘83 champion Joseph Nzau and Mark Curp of Lee Summit, Mo. Johnson won the closing sprint, however, finishing in 33:02. Nzau ran 33:04 and Curp 33:06.
Richard Kaitany, a Kenya native who attended Iowa State, was fourth with 19-year-old Paul Gompers fifth.
Kellie Cathey of Fort Collins, Colo., who finished second a year earlier, won the women’s race in 38:04.
The field continued to grow, reaching 6,750 runners.
In 1984, Bill Rodgers showed up for the Bix 7 weakened by the flu and in no condition to run seven miles. He ran anyway and finished 85th.
In 1985, he was ready to return to his place as a perennial Bix contender. The 37-year-old Rodgers ran his best non-shortcut Bix time ever (32:56) as he pushed younger, stronger Mark Curp all the way before finishing second for the third time in four years. Curp, whose time of 32:54 was then the best ever for the full course, won the race after taking third and fourth the previous two years.
A field of 7,174 turned out for the race, which also featured the triumphant return of Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. Samuelson finished more than a minute ahead of the second fastest female entry.
A new face was added to the array of world-class runners for the ‘86 Bix 7.
And Geoff Smith’s lack of familiarity with the rugged, up-and-down course didn’t hurt him a bit. Smith, a member of Great Britain’s Olympic team, raced to a three-second win over a more familiar face — defending champion Mark Curp — in intense heat and high humidity.
Smith’s winning time of 33:16 was a reflection of the weather conditions. It was the slowest winning time in five years.
Joan Benoit Samuelson again cruised to victory in the women’s phase as the race continued its phenomenal growth. A total of 9,325 runners competed.
Joseph Nzau became the champion of champions and the number of runners continued its incredible growth in the ‘87 Bix.
A total of 12,372 competitors ran the race, an increase of 3,000 over the previous year. It made the Bix one of the 10 largest races in the country for 1987.
Nzau, a native of Kenya, was the first of the throng to cross the finish line as he prevailed over a field loaded with world-class talent. Every Bix men’s champion of the 1980s was entered, including Bill Rodgers, Rob de Castella, Ashley Johnson, Mark Curp, Geoff Smith, and Nzau himself.
Francie Larrieu Smith was the women’s winner in a time of 38:10.
Mark Curp joined Bill Rodgers and Joseph Nzau as the only two-time winners and Joan Benoit Samuelson pulled a fast one on the experts in the ‘88 race.
Curp, finishing among the top four for the sixth straight year, rolled to a 42-second victory over Bill Reifsnyder, who was making his Bix debut. Nzau finished third while Rodgers won the masters division.
Samuelson, meanwhile, was supposed to be an also-ran in a women’s field that included defending champion Francie Larrieu Smith, Brenda Webb, Cyndie Welte, and Priscilla Welch. She surprised observers by beating second-place Webb by 46 seconds for her fourth Bix title in six years.
A total of 12,425 runners and walkers took part in the race.
A new downhill finish, the incentive of prize money, and near-perfect weather added up to the fastest Bix 7 ever.
Marc Nenow sprinted to victory in a record time of 32:17, outdistancing Brian Sheriff, Steve Spence and Bix veteran Joseph Nzau. Eight different runners cracked the 33-minute mark -a feat that had been done just four times in the first 14 years of the race.
Erin Baker, a veteran triathlete, notched the first distance running victory of her career by registering a women’s record time of 36:35. Judi St. Hilaire was second with Anne Audain third and Cathy O’Brien fourth. They recorded the four fastest women’s times in Bix history.
The race, which attracted 15,639 entries, was run in near-perfect conditions with temperatures in the mid-60s and unseasonably low humidity.
Steve Kogo showed up for the 1990 Bix 7 with no driver’s license and very little fanfare.
By the time the day was over, Kogo owned a new car, $5,000, and a place in Bix history. The Kenya native rolled through a field of more famous runners to win the 16th Bix 7 in a time of 32:47.
Jon Sinclair was second and Steve Spence third, both in sub-33-minute times. John Campbell, a 41-year-old New Zealander, lopped more than a minute off the men’s masters record and finished fifth overall.
On the women’s side, Maria Trujillo claimed the victory despite running only the 11th best time in Bix annals (37:58). Patty Murray, Ria Van Landeghem and Bix legend Joan Benoit Samuelson followed her across the finish line in quick succession while Laurie Binder won the women’s masters race.
A record field of 16,521 turned out for the race, which featured new start and finish lines.
Ken Martin pulled away from defending champion Steve Kogo and Alejandro Cruz in the final 500 yards to claim a surprising victory in one of the closest races in Bix history.
Kogo led through almost the entire race but Cruz and Martin were still on his heels as the three men turned off Kirkwood Boulevard and began their descent down Brady Street Hill. Martin took advantage of cool, dry conditions to match the second fastest Bix time ever, 32:21, beating Kogo by two seconds and Cruz by five.
Germany’s Uta Pippig easily won the women’s division, crossing the finish line 25 seconds ahead of Denmark’s Dorthe Rasmussen.
The race continued to grow for the 16th straight year, drawing 18,124 entries.
Pre-race predictions turned out to be all wet as Mexico’s Alejandro Cruz sloshed to victory in the wettest and wildest Bix ever.
Cruz, making his third Bix appearance, survived a rainstorm and managed to edge countryman Martin Pitayo by a single second. His winning time of 32:21 was four seconds off the course record.
Four runners from Kenya -Godfrey Kiprotich, Sammy Lelei, Kipyego Kororia and Sammy Nyangincha -finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Scott Fry was the top American with a seventh-place finish.
Great Britain’s Nick Rose was a surprise winner in the most competitive men’s masters field ever but the women’s race went about as expected with Olga Markova of the Commonwealth of Independent States winning the open division and Barb Filutze of Erie, Pa. winning the masters phase.
The weather did not follow form. For only the second time, rain fell during the race. The downpour began bombarding the record field of 18,246 runners at almost exactly 8 a.m. and continued throughout the race.
In a summer of record rainfall, Kenya’s Thomas Osano and Germany’s Uta Pippig made their own marks in the record books.
Osano claimed his third championship in less than a month, running a slightly altered Bix 7 course in the record time of 32 minutes, 10 seconds. Pippig won the women’s race in 36:27, beating Erin Baker’s 1989 record by eight seconds.
An overnight rain left behind cloudy skies for the field of 16,859 runners. The setting provided perfect conditions — temperatures in the upper 60s and 50-percent humidity.
Osano pulled away from fellow Kenyans Sammy Lelei and Jonah Koech with more than one mile left and was all alone as he rounded the final corner and coasted the final two blocks. Pippig won by five seconds over second-place Anne Marie Letko.
Record floods left parts of the normal Bix course under water but race officials changed the route by having runners turn right instead of left at the bottom of the final hill.
A former boxer and a postal worker, both from Kenya, delivered new records as the Bix 7 field topped the 20,000 mark for the first time.
Benson Masya became the first runner ever to run the Bix course in less than 32 minutes as he sliced 14 seconds off Thomas Osano’s record, finishing in 31:56. Lazarus Nyakeraka, Osano’s 18-year-old nephew, finished second, matching the time his uncle ran the previous year.
Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan postal worker, put her stamp on the women’s record books by running the course in 36:02, topping the previous mark by 25 seconds.
Kenyan runners again thoroughly dominated the race. Seven of the top 11 finishers were from Kenya. Former Clinton resident Jeff Jacobs was the top American, finishing 12th.
A total of 20,097 competed in the 20th annual race.
It was the year of the “H.” Heat. Humidity. Hanneck. Hare. Henry, Held. All of them came up winners in the 21st annual Bix 7.
Phillimon Hanneck, a relatively unheralded native of Zimbabwe, was the biggest winner of all as he put on a furious rush at the finish to defeat South Africa’s Simon Morolong in one of the closest finishes in Bix 7 history.
Morolong led the whole way before Hanneck caught and passed him just 200 meters from the finish line. Hanneck’s time of 32:08 was the second best ever.
Anne Hare won the women’s race. Olga Appell was on a record pace but could not cope with the 74-degree heat and 78-percent humidity. She was forced to withdraw from the race near the six-mile mark and was hospitalized for heat exhaustion.
Dan Held won the first-place American prize money — a new feature of the race — and Garry Henry was a stunning winner in the men’s masters competition. A field of 18,354 — second largest ever — competed in the race.
A pair of 27-year-old Kenyans, Peter Githuka and Hellen Kimaiyo, prevented a repeat of the previous year’s finish-line drama, cruising to victory in their first Bix 7 appearances.
Githuka won the men’s division in the second fastest time in Bix history — 32
minutes, 5 seconds — and Kimaiyo took the women’s title in 36:18.
Joseph Kimani, the pre-race favorite, led through almost the entire race but wilted under the combination of heat and hills, fading to fifth place. Daniel Kihara was second, Lazarus Nyakeraka third, and Phillimon Hanneck fourth. Hanneck was the only non-Kenyan in the top 10.
A total of 18,108 runners participated as the Bix topped the 18,000 mark for the fifth time in six years.
The 23rd Bix 7 was marked by extreme heat and extra prize money. It also was the coming-out party for a new star on the American road racing scene.
Morocco’s Khalid Khannouchi, a relative unknown, prevailed over a field loaded with elite runners to win a world championship and $25,000 prize money in the hottest Bix 7 ever.
The Bix 7 served as the world championship race for the two-year-old Professional Road Running Organization, which meant a significant increase in prize money and a stronger-than-ever international field.
Khannouchi ran a careful, tactical race and ended up beating Kenya’s Joseph Kimani by 15 seconds. His winning time of 32 minutes, 54 seconds, was the slowest winning time since 1988. Kimani had won seven of eight previous PRRO events and came in as the obvious favorite, but he wilted in the record-setting 83-degree heat.
Colleen De Reuck of South Africa also took home $25,000 as the winner of the women’s race, defeating defending champion Hellen Kimaiyo by 18 seconds.
All sorts of records tumbled in the 24th annual Bix 7.
The race drew the most entries ever — 22,143, including 5,000 who competed in the inaugural Jr. Bix 7 Friday night. It was run in the coolest race-time temperature ever — 62 degrees. It resulted in the fastest times ever as both John Korir and Mark Yatich of Kenya broke the four-year-old course record.
And it also produced the closest finish in history with Korir leaning at the tape to beat Yatich by a hundredth of a second.
Korir and Yatich, who didn’t enter the race until a few days before, ran just behind fellow Kenyan Ondoro Osoro most of the way but had left him far behind by the time they made the turn for a final 500-meter sprint to the finish line. Korir’s last-second lean earned him the $10,000 first prize. His time was listed as 31 minutes, 51.99 seconds. Yatich was credited with a time of 31:52.
Osoro finished third in 32:00. Mike Mykytok of Ramsey, N.J., became the first American male in five years to finish in the top 10, taking 10th place.
Colleen De Reuck repeated as the women’s champion although her time of 36:38 was far off the course record. She was followed across by Anne Marie Lauck, 1996 champion Hellen Kimaiyo-Kipkoskei and Libbie Hickman.
The silver anniversary of the Bix 7 brought a record crowd, a new facet to the race, and a bronze sculpture commemorating the event.
It also brought more wealth and a piece of history to John Korir. The 23-year-old Korir ran the Bix 7 course 68 seconds slower than he had the previous year, but he still managed to become only the second man ever to win the race in consecutive years.
Korir raced through a light rain to win in 32 minutes, 59 seconds, edging fellow Kenyan Lazarus Nyakeraka, who led for nearly six miles.
Rod DeHaven of Madison, Wis., came in eighth, the highest finish by a native-born American since 1992.
Kenya also provided the women’s champion as Catherine Ndereba prevented Colleen De Reuck from becoming the first runner of any gender to win the Bix 7 three years in a row.
The race featured a new addition -the Quick Bix, which afforded runners and walkers the option of going only two miles instead of the full seven. There were 20,117 entries for the main race, plus another 3,065 for the second annual kids’ race.
Part of the ceremonies commemorating the race’s 25th anniversary was the unveiling of a statue of Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson at the corner of Fourth Street and River Drive.
Mark Yatich found redemption and Colleen De Reuck edged a little closer to the record books in a race run in almost perfect weather conditions.
Yatich, who lost in the closest Bix 7 finish ever two years earlier, prevailed in another close duel. This time he pulled away from fellow Kenyans Lazarus Nyakeraka and Reuben Cheruiyot down the stretch to claim what he called the biggest victory of his career.
Yatich ran the course 39 seconds slower than he did in ‘98, when he lost to John Korir by one-hundredth of a second. Nyakeraka finished second for the third time, trailing Yatich across the finish line by only two seconds.
Nine of the top 10 finishers were from Kenya with fourth-place Deresse Deniboba of Ethiopia the only exception.
De Reuck won the women’s race for the third time, becoming the only runner other than Joan Samuelson to notch more than two Bix victories. She defeated Sylvia Mosqueda of Los Angeles by 30 seconds.
The race attracted 15,011 entries for the main race (a 12-year low) and another 3,512 for the third annual Jr. Bix 7.
Kenya’s John Korir made Bix 7 history by winning the race for the third time in four years, becoming the first male runner ever to win the event three times.
His time of 32 minutes, 24 seconds was only slightly better than that of fellow Kenyans James Koskei, Gilbert Okari and Reuben Cheriuyot, all of whom crossed the finish line within 11 seconds after Korir.
Foreign runners dominated again with the top 11 finishers all coming from the continent of Africa. David Morris of Albuquerque, N.M., was the top American finisher, in 12th place.
Catherine Ndereba of Kenya won the women’s race for the second time in three years with Esther Kiplagat and Faith Chemutai of Kenya not far behind. Sylvia Mosqueda of Los Angeles took seventh, becoming the only American to win prize money.
The number of entries was up slightly, to 18,958.
The event also included the inaugural Brady Street Sprint, a quarter-mile uphill dash that included weekly qualifying in conjunction with the Bix at 6 training runs. Steady rains in the hours leading up to the race caused the sprint to be held after the main race instead of before it.
Colleen De Reuck made history and Meb Keflezighi made some new friends in the 28th annual Bix 7.
De Reuck and Keflezighi both cruised to lopsided victories in a special USA Track and Field American national championship race.
Keflezighi won by the third-largest margin in the history of the men’s race — 52 seconds — and celebrated through the last few miles, slapping high-fives with runners going in the opposite direction and with spectators on the final downhill.
De Reuck won with less exuberance but similar ease. She was 41 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer, Katie McGregor. It was De Reuck’s fourth Bix 7 title in the past six years, tying the record held by Joan Samuelson, who claimed four titles in the 1980s.
Abdi Abdirahman was a distant second behind Keflezighi, followed by relative unknowns Kyle Baker, Brian Sell, Jeff Campbell and Ryan Kirkpatrick.
A field of 19,658 turned out for the Saturday morning race plus another 3,500 for the Jr. Bix 7 on Friday.
The Kenyans were back and winning as usual and the heat was on, also as usual.
The 29th running of the Bix 7 featured 19,852 runners and walkers, the fourth-highest total of participants in the history of the event. That included 3,500 entrants in the Alcoa Jr. Bix 7.
Kenyan veterans John Korir and Catherine Ndereba both came from behind to repeat the odd-numbered year championships they won in 1999 and 2001.
It was Korir’s fourth Bix 7 title, matching the record total of victories by female runners Joan Benoit Samuelson and Colleen De Reuck. Korir won by only two seconds over 20-year-old fellow Kenyan Linus Maiyo and by seven seconds over American Meb Keflezighi.
Ndereba’s four-second victory over Romanian Luminita Talpos was the closest women’s finish since 1995. Another Kenyan, Susan Chepkemei, was only three seconds behind Talpos.
This was one for the record books. In a lot of ways.
The 30th annual Bix 7 featured record low temperatures. Two woman runners bettered the fastest time ever run in the race. Kenya’s John Korir rolled to an unprecedented fifth victory. And chances are, there were unofficial records set for least amount of action in the medical tent, least amount of water consumed and fewest drops of perspiration shed by 16,627 people.
It was only 61 degrees when the runners took their first steps up Brady Street Hill, and that helped both women’s champion Susan Chepkemei and runner-up Constantina Tomescu-Dita break the 10-year-old course record for female runners.
Korir didn’t come close to breaking his own course record, but it wasn’t necessary. He won by 16 seconds over Linus Maiyo.
Korir also managed to pass Tim Delf of Blue Grass, Iowa, in the final 200 yards to keep Delf from winning the Rhythm City Casino Race for the Jackpot. Delf was given a 2.4-mile head start to see if he could beat the first-place finisher and win $3,000, but his gallant effort fell short.
John Korir and Catherine Ndereba came to town with eight Bix 7 championships between them, and left with the same number.
Korir and Ndereba took a backseat to less-famous runners as Gilbert Okari and Nuta Olaru cruised to lopsided victories in the 31st annual race. Each of them posted the second-largest winning margin in their divisions since the Bix 7 began offering prize money in 1989. Okari won by 25 seconds over Korir. Olaru won by 31 seconds over Sally Barsosio and Ndereba.
Arguably the biggest winner of the day was H.E.L.P. Legal Assistance, which received more than $17,000 in donations as a result of Janelle Swanberg’s victory in the second annual Rhythm City Casino Race for the Jackpot. Swanberg, the executive director of H.E.L.P., was given a 2.4-mile head start and crossed the finish line 43 seconds ahead of Okari to earn $3,100, which she donated to her organization. Local attorneys and the Riverboat Development Authority combined to pitch in another $14,000.
A total of 20,211 runners and walkers participated in the weekend races, the third-largest total in the history of the Bix 7.