84th Texas Relays To Commemorate Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones’ Famous Race

South by Southwest is over, but the thrills of spring in Austin continue as the Texas Relays approach.

This year, as the races are run for the 84th time, the event will honor the 35th anniversary of the great Johnny “Lam” Jones and his amazing race.

Jones is one of those athletes folks still talk about. The guy had won an Olympic gold before he ever became a Longhorn. And at UT, he became a lightning-fast running back under Coach Fred Akers, helping win conference championships and a Sun Bowl ring.

Still, it is the 1976 high school state championship track meet for which Jones is best remembered.

“More people ask me about our state meet than they do about the Olympics,” he told Texas Athletics recently. “People will say what was it like running Olympics, and then they look at me like I’m crazy when I say that is it is almost as exciting as the high school state meet in Texas.”

Jones’ nickname, “Lam,” was short for Lampasas, where he was a hometown hero. In ’76, the high school’s track team was in the unlikely position of contending for the 3A state championship.

“You sit around and watch your Rocky movies, or your other come-from-behind stories,” Jones said. “We had a chance to do that every single week. Nobody expected us to win.”

Jones had already run the 220 and the 400, and his last event in Texas Memorial Stadium that day was the mile relay.

Lampasas had to win it to be crowned state champs, but the team was second-to-last when anchor Jones was handed the baton.

Jones blasted off. Seconds later, the championship was theirs.

This year, Jones and his team will start the Texas Relays by running the first leg of the relay. They’ll also raise money for a young Lampasas athlete with bone cancer.

Read the full story here, and buy tickets for the Relays here.

Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment