Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Mini-Tribute to Dolfin Racing Stripe Shorts

Red and white candy-striped Dolfin shorts used to be considered cool by some runners and "clown pants" by others. Here is Frank Shorter wearing them and leading the AAU Cross-Country Championships in 1973. He beat Doug Brown by 3 seconds despite an injury earlier in the year that caused him to miss a great deal of training. Not only does he wear the striped Dolfin shorts, but he is also donning the iconic Florida Track Club shirt.

Shorter winning his third Fukouka Marathon in Japan. 
Shorter and Pre in 1974
The shorts didn't keep Shorter ahead of Pre in the end.
Pre, Shorter, and Don Kardong all broke 13 min. in this 3 miler.

20k mark of the 1977 Fukuoka Marathon, Bill Rodgers leading Sakamoto of Japan and Moseyev of Russia who would go on to finish 5th in Moscow Olympic marathon in 1980
Vintage ad from the late 1970s
Kirk Pfeffer winning the 1977Mission Bay Marathon.
Kirk is a 2:10 marathoner and ran 2:17 as a 17 year old.
Rhode Island's Bobby Doyle finished the 1978  Boston Marathon
in 12th place wearing the non-traditional Dolfin blue striped short. 
Even the women wore this "manly" short.
Here is the 1977 Women's National AAU  Marathon.
The winner Leal-Ann Reinhart is peeking over the shoulder of
Jenny Tuthill (center) winner of the 1st 1973 and 3rd 1975
editions of the Falmouth Road Race.

Gayle Barron wearing a different version of the Dolfin Shorts at the 1978
Women's International Marathon. Later that year Gayle would win the
Boston Marathon in similar shorts!
Tom Fleming running to a 4th place finish at the 1979 Boston Marathon
Wheaton College teammate Danny Henderson went home for Christmas in 1978 and won the Altanta  Marathon
in 2:25:28 (9 minutes ahead of 2nd place).  The race was in 30 degree weather with driving rain.
It must have been the shorts.
I even sported a pair at the 1980 or 1981 Fox Valley Marathon in Aurora, Illinois

...and then this happened and no one wanted to run in Doflin striped shorts again!

In this comprehensive Gary Cohen interview with Jeff Galloway we learn a bit about the origins of the Dolfin shorts. Teammate Danny Henderson (pictured above) worked at least one summer a Jeff Galloway's Phidippides running store in the Atlanta area, so it is no surprise that he was wearing the shorts in his marathon victory.

GCR:I remember there being word-of-mouth information about your Phidippides store as Olympic Trials marathon runner, Lee Fidler, brought striped shorts from your store to Boone, North Carolina when I was running for Appalachian State in the late 1970s and he would sell them at good prices to the distance runners.

That is a good memory as those were the Dolphin shorts and we were one of the few dealers in the country who carried those shorts. They were originally a swimsuit company and used some of their striped swimsuit material to make running shorts for a few local track teams, we heard about it, ordered them and runners loved the shorts.

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