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Newland gave careful instructions, even mentioning that it was hoped the race would proceed in a counterclockwise direction. Then the men went to the line. Henderson, not running because of illness, readied his video camera.
The gun refused to fire.
"Good, now we can all go home," shouted Jimmy Jaqua. "I knew there was going to be some kind of trick ending."
They were organized afresh and sent off with a whistle. O'Donnell was away fastest, the gun finally sounding as he led Simpson and Meinert down the back-stretch. The three completed the first lap in 71.5, with the pack already stretching far behind. Simpson led at the 880 in 2:26, and Sally encouraged him by running along the outside of the track shouting, "Who the hell is Terri Rackley?"
Simpson and Meinert were pulling away from O'Donnell at the three-quarter in 3:39. A stretch duel appeared likely.
A man named Tom Sturak, a fine California masters runner, out for a jaunt, had stumbled on the scene. "This event has more life than the Olympic Trials," he said with wonder. "What is it?"
"Just Eugene's version of the old pyramid scam," said Jimmy Jaqua.
Simpson sprinted hard with 300 yards to go, but couldn't shake Meinert, who drew even as the homestretch opened before them. He drove on by and, as he neared the tape, emitted a horrific scream of victory.
"Simpson shot him," said Henderson.
Meinert had run the last lap in 57.6 to win in 4:36.6. Simpson ran 4:41, O'Donnell 4:52.4, and Chuck Jaqua, short of training after his stress fracture, still made it to fourth in 5:01. Roseta was fifth in 5:05. Charity demands that the list of times stop there, though it was clear that all had run hard, if not rapidly. Chuck Jaqua was down on his knees, sick, when Henderson waved his camera and announced, "Oh, too bad. I didn't get it. They'll have to do it again."