Raymond Milton Conger (November 12, 1904 – October 23, 1994) was an American middle-distance runner. He held the world record for the 1,000 yards and the American record for the 1,500 metres.[1] In the U.S. national championships, Conger was a three-time winner in both the 1,000 yd and the mile run.[1] At the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, he won his qualifying heat for the 1,500 m but did not finish in the final.[1]

In 1929, Conger became the first and only athlete to defeat Paavo Nurmi in the mile, beating the "Flying Finn" to the win in the indoor Wanamaker Mile of the Millrose Games.[2][3][4] Although Conger was modest about his win, he would be known as "the man who beat Nurmi" for decades.[5] Conger also scored wins over Otto Peltzer and Edvin Wide, and went on to be undefeated in the mile for two seasons.[1] He retired from running in 1932.[1]

Conger ran track for Iowa State University in college, later obtained a master's degree in physiology, and then did further graduate work at Columbia University. From 1931 to 1936 he taught zoology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he also coached track.[1] He then joined the faculty at the Pennsylvania State University and was a long-time professor of professor of physical education preceding his retirement in 1970. In 1963, he was inducted into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.[1] He was born and raised in Riceville, Iowa.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g McGrane, Bert (June 24, 2005). "Ray Conger, Riceville, 1963". Des Moines Register. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Conger Beats Paavo Nurmi In Mile Run". The Day. February 11, 1929. p. 8. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "Ray Conger Named Coach; Noted Track Star to Direct the Teams at Penn State". The New York Times. December 24, 1942. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
  4. ^ Raevuori, Antero (1997). Paavo Nurmi, juoksijoiden kuningas (in Finnish) (2nd ed.). WSOY. p. 421. ISBN 978-9510218501.
  5. ^ "Nurmi Conqueror Prof At Penn State". Pittsburgh Press. February 13, 1966. p. 7. Retrieved September 28, 2012.