Dr. Meriwether didn't realize how fast he was until he entered local meets last summer. He had no way of knowing, because he discontinued using a stopwatch after he and a friend ran a 440 against the clock. "I thought we were really burning," Dr. Meriwether explained. "We were both puffing and putting everything into it and I thought that I must be setting an unofficial record. Then I looked at the watch. The time had to be the slowest 440 in history."
From then on he trained by instinct—and he has never had a coach. Dressed in a baggy pair of trunks held up by suspenders, he worked out until his legs felt strong and fast. Representing the Baltimore Olympic Club, he ran a 9.6 hundred in the South Atlantic AAU meet, a 9.5 in the Baltimore Municipal Games and a 9.4 at the All-Eastern. A short article was written about him in The New York Times and he was a FACES IN THE CROWD selection (SI, Aug. 17).
"I looked around for meets in the fall and discovered there weren't any," he said, "so I had to convince meet officials that I could run indoors this winter." To this end, he sent his clippings to the director of every meet on the indoor schedule.
Last Monday he received the list of 60-yard-dash entries for the National Invitational meet in College Park. "I expected to see a lot of local names." he said, "but instead I saw Greene, Pender. Crockett—about nine world-class sprinters in all. I was startled." On Wednesday he definitely decided to run and on Friday he beat them all in 6.0, wearing his hospital shirt because it had been mentioned in the Times story and the suspenders because "women who go to track meets might be entertained by a fashion show."
After his victory Dr. Meriwether was approached by Charlie Greene . "Meriwether," he said speculatively. "I'll remember that name next time and I'll be seeing you later."