Olympic steeplechase champion Horace Ashenfelter of Glen Ridge passed away Saturday, January 6, at the age of 94. Deemed a long shot in 1952, Ashenfelter’s win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Olympics in Helsinki was considered a surprise. Ashenfelter was the first American since James Lightbody in 1904 to win the Olympic steeplechase beating the favorite, Vladimir Kazantsev of the Soviet Union.
In August 2012, on the 60th anniversary of Ashenfelter’s win, The National Distance Running Hall of Fame inducted Ashenfelter as a member during a ceremony at Fitzgeralds 1928 in Glen Ridge. “Horace is truly worthy and is a representative of the highest achievements of American distance running,” said Hall of Fame director Mary G MacEnroe.
The Ashenfelter 8K, the annual Thanksgiving Day Run in Glen Ridge named for Horace Ashenfelter, continues to inspire runners of all ages.
Read a 2011 interview with Horace Ashenfelter. See the Ashenfelter’s 1952 win here:
We lost another legend with the passing of Horace Ashenfelter. His Olympic Gold in 1952 inspired generations and we're a source of pride for many. We were lucky to have dedicated the track in Watsessing Park, where he trained, in his honor. Our thoughts are with his family.
— Joe D (@Joe_D_EssexExec) January 6, 2018