By Elliott Denman
Two-time USA Olympian (1976-80) Clark Todd Scully Jr. died tragically in a
trailer-truck accident in Big Island, Bedford County, Va. on Sept. 6th, 2021, a week shy of his 73rd birthday.
One of America's greatest stars in the racewalking discipline of track and field,
Todd Scully - as he was known to all in his sport - excelled at all distances from 1 mile to 50 kilometers (31.1 miles) but is often best recognized as "the Roger Bannister of racewalking,"for his historic feat of walking one mile in 5:55.8 at the 1979 Millrose Games at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Just as no runner had ever broken the "four-minute barrier" before Britain's Dr. Bannister ran 3:59.4 at Oxford in 1954, no racewalker had ever covered the mile in official circumstances under 6 minutes before Scully did it that epic night at
"the Garden." And he did this shod in his famed trademark "Hush Puppies," ultra-light street shoes.
Todd's greatest racewalking successes were at these "sprints" but he went on to place 29tth in the 20K walk at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games (after staying up with the lead pack much of the way) and then be named to the 20K team at the 1980 Trials but then sit out the Moscow Games in that boycott year.
Todd was born in Princeton, NJ, Sept. 13, 1948 and went on Somerville, NJ High School and Lynchburg College in Virginia. He joined the Shore Athletic Club of NJ in his high school days - first competing in the club's famed Lake Takanassee Summer Series - and remained a lotyal member of the club - which has produced an array of other Olympians - for the balance of his competitive career.
He also competed for the All-Army team and for Team USA in multiple international events. He earned National AAU individual gold medals eight times, at distances from 1 mile to 40 kilometers Twice a competitor in the Pan American Games, he placed fifth at the Mexico City 20K in 1975 and third at 20K at San Juan in 1979. Beyond all that, he represented his nation at five editions of racewalking's World Cup global team championship event.
After his competition days, Scully was a highly successful coach at Virginia Tech University. In his latter years, he worked the Big Island farm he'd acquired four decades earlier. For many years, too, Shore AC hosted the Reilly-Scully Day Road Races in Long Branch, NJ, honoring both Scully and Bill Reilly, the Long Branch High School alumnus and 1968 USA 3,000-meter steeplechase Olympian.
"To be certain, Todd was one of the greatest of Shore AC athletes, and we've had a lot of great ones, in all branches of
track and field," said Ray Funkhouser, the former Shore AC president and himself a national champion racewalker. "We've been totally saddened to hear of his passing,"
"Rest in peace, dear teammate Todd."