Published: July 31, 1994

In Russia, a pair of Soviet cosmonauts landed safely after a record 63-day orbit.

In Helsinki. President Gerald Ford arrived to begin a summit with Soviet leader Leonid Breshnev and 33 other world leaders.

In Chicago, Bill Madlock went 6-for-6 as the Cubs lost to the Mets.

In Durant, Mike Boddicker of NorwayEnglish Valleys pitched a perfect game to topple the locals in a high school district championship game.

And in Davenport, 84 hardy souls hoofed through a hill-filled seven-mile course in stifling heat and humidity.

It was July 25, 1975. It was the beginning of something big.

Now, 19 years later, 63 days is a faily routine space mission. Bill Madlock has long since retired, winning four batting titles. Boddicker has ended a successful major league career.

And the sn2Quad-City Times Bix 7 road race has evolved into one of the nation's elite running events. The field has grown to amazing proportions with 20,000 runners expected to compete in this year's 20th Anniversay race.

A recap of the race: 1975: A very modest beginning

The first Bix 7 race marked the largest gathering of runners to date in the Quad-Cities - 84. It was also the first time they were allowed to run on city streets.

The Bix 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, now 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.

1976: An all-Augie battle for first

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.

1977: McDonald grills the field

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 toptwo finishes as he fol-lowed 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.

1978: The field grows to 500

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.

1979: Newell finally wins one

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.

1980: The Bix 7 goes big time

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.

1981: Rodgers repeats as champ

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.

1982: De Castella finds a shortcut

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.

1983: Joseph, Joanie beat the heat

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.

1984: A frantic fight to the finish

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.

1985: Curp claims his first Bix crown

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.

1986: It's no sweat for Smith

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 humid-ity.

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.

1987: Nzau tops a record field

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.

1988: Curp finds a place in history

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 which 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.

1989: Nenow, Baker smash race records

A new downhill finish, the incentive of prize money, and near-perfect weather conditions 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 which 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 fast-est 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.

1990: Kogo makes a name for himself

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.

1991: Martin wins with final sprint

Ken Martin pulled away from defending champion Steve Kogo and Alejandro Cruz in the final 500 yards to claim a surprising victory in the third closest race 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.

1992: Cruz wins in wettest race

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.

1993: Kenyan keeps on rolling

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 left instead of right at the bottom of the final hill.

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