Running and Track & Field’s History in Columbus

Local runners, jumpers and throwers have been settings records and winning Olympic medals for more than a century. Columbus has a rich track & field history, led by Ohio State’s Jesse Owens, whose life and legacy on and off the track continue to inspire millions around the world.


Fast Facts | Notable People | Timeline | Blogs

Major Events Hosted

The Ohio State 4-Miler

The largest four-mile running & walking event in the country with one of the coolest finish lines around – the 50-yard line at Ohio…

Jesse Owens Track Classic

Held every April at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, this meet has featured great athletes over the years, including: Edwin Moses…

Fast Facts

  • At the 1935 Big 10 championship meet, Ohio State’s Jesse Owens sets three world records and tied another in the span of 45 minutes: 100-yard dash (tied the record of 9.4 seconds); long jump (26-8 ¼); 220-yard low hurdles (22.6 seconds); and 220-yard dash (20.3 seconds). 
  • Five Buckeyes competed in track & field at the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021 in Tokyo): Adelaide Aquilla (United States – shot put), Anavia Battle (United States – 200 meters), Christina Clemons (United States – 100-meter hurdles), Maggie Barrie (Sierra Leone – 100 meters) and Eric Harrison (Trinidad and Tobago – 400-meter relay).
  • Columbus North High School won the first boys state track and field team championship in 1908.
  • The Ohio State men and women each won Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field team titles in 2022, the first school to win both since the University of Wisconsin in 1997.

Notable People

Jesse Owens

Arguably the track & field GOAT, Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin and set numerous world records.

Mal Whitfield

At the 1948 Olympics, Marvelous Marv won gold in the 800M and 1600M relay and took bronze in the 400M.

Stephanie Hightower

She won every 100M hurdles at OSU, winning B1G, NCAA & national titles. Hightower would have been a gold-medal favorite at the 1980…

Butch Reynolds

The Buckeye blazer set the 400M WR in 1987 at 43.29, and won silver in the 400M and gold in the 1600M relay at the 1988 Olympics

Glenn Davis

The Ohio State great won the 400M hurdles in the 1956 & 1960 Olympics and was a member of the gold-medal winning 1600M relay team in…

Abbie Steiner

The Dublin Coffman grad won NCAA titles in the 200M and 1600M and took home the Bowerman Award in 2022 for the University of Kentucky.



The first boys high school track and field state championship meet is held at Denison University.


A cinder track is added to Ohio Stadium. The Shoe would remain the team’s home field until 2001.

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