Yale Dedicating Banked Track to Frank Shorter

Feb. 4, 2005

Yale's new banked track will be named after one of the greatest names in American track & field history.

The dedication of the Frank Shorter '69 Track at the William Clay Ford '48 Track and Field Center inside Coxe Memorial Cage will take place during the men's and women's track & field meet featuring the Bulldogs, Harvard and Princeton on Feb. 12.

The meet begins with field events at 10:30 a.m., while the dedication ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m.

The Frank Shorter '69 Track, built through the generosity of Donald M. Roberts '57, honors the former Yale cross country captain, NCAA champion, and two-time Olympic medalist. At the 1972 Munich Games, Shorter became the first American to win the marathon in 64 years and later received the Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete. He also won silver in the marathon at the 1976 Montreal Games.

"We are grateful for the generosity of Don Roberts, who has enabled us to have a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance the experience for our student-athletes as well as all the other athletes who compete at the facility," said Tom Beckett, Yale's Director of Athletics. "This is a tremendous addition to Yale's impressive list of athletic venues."

Roberts, a New York native who has completed 29 Boston Marathons and five New York Marathons, is former vice chairman of the United States Trust Company of New York and ex-chair of the New York Roadrunners Club. He ran his first marathon in 1973, motivated by Shorter's performance at Munich the year before.

"Yale does a great deal of community outreach with the Cage, and I hope this will enhance the effort," said Roberts, whose son, John A. Roberts, was a varsity runner at Harvard and graduated in 2002. "Frank Shorter is one of Yale's great athletic heroes and this is a great way to honor him."

This will be the second naming of an athletics facility in the Roberts family. Don's father-in-law is the namesake for Harvard's Albert H. Gordon Indoor Track and Tennis Center. The 103-year-old Gordon, who plans to attend the Feb. 12 event, will host the annual Al Gordon 15K race in Central Park the next day. He may even serve as the starter for a race that could include his daughter, Mary Roberts, Shorter and both Don and John Roberts.

"It is a wonderful gesture by Don Roberts to institutionalize the achievements of America's most accomplished long distance runner," said Mark Young '68, Yale's Director of Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track & Field and one of Shorter's former teammates. "Frank [Shorter] revolutionized running in America. I'm excited and delighted he is being honored in this way."

Yale is only the second Ivy League school to install a permanent banked track. The 200-meter Mondo oval and infield includes eight lanes for both sprints and hurdles, increasing the facility's ability to host championship events.

report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Assistant AD and Sports Publicity Director