Browning Ross

Browning Ross was the founder of the Road Runner Club of America. "Brownie" was a prominent figure in the building the road racing scene in the Mid-Atlantic and New Jersey, and Metropolitan area from New York to Philadelphia. He also started a road race statistical compilation of race times publication called the "Long Distance Log." Later on a magazine took over this area of expertise. (Runner's World)

Browning Ross was born and raised in Woodbury, New Jersey. He was an Olympian in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics in the 3000 meter steeplechase placing 4th in 1952 to Horace Ashenfelter from Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He was 1951 1500 meter Pan American Games Champion. He also won an NCAA title in the Steeplechase. Browning Ross won road races all over the country and traveled all around the world running races in a time when many runners retired after leaving college running. He ran @ Villanova University under the famous coach "Jumbo" Elliot. He was one of the most versatile distance runners of his or any time, being able to run a 50 second quarter mile on a relay team or a 30k race winner at the famous "Around the Bay Road Race" in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. (the oldest race in North America). He won the famous "Run for Diamonds" 9 mile race in Berwick Pennsylvania 8 times. He won National Championships at road races and at Cross Country Championships. He ran a 2:31 Marathon in the 1950's when he was in his prime after running the Steeplechase in previous seasons. He trained on minimal training of 35-45 miles per week most of his career and still performed at National Class level at all distances.

Browning was a great runner but maybe more famous for those he positively influenced with his love of the sport. He put on hundreds of races in his career. They might be cross country events, road races, track events, or trail races, but they were always fun and he would literally give one of his many many trophies away to the youngster or local area runner who would place in them. It is said that Browning might have had more trophies won in road running than any human being on earth. He would charge 50 cents or whatever for the race and sometimes have 23 runners in the early days and then give out merchandise worth 10x the cost of the entry fee. His bright smile and his friendly demeanor was so contagious that everyone wanted to show up at Browning's race if not to just say hi. He impeccably measured each and every course and always welcomed everyone to come and join in. He coached and influenced thousands of High School runners in his life. His sense of humor and his devotion to the sport spanned over 7 decades. If there were ever a hero of this sport, it was Harris Browning Ross, for his dedication to the sport of distance running in the United States at a time when running was not very popular, he literally made it popular. He was truly the Grass roots developer of Long Distance running and escorted the sport into the "Running Boom" of the 70's.

Peter Snell