How I manipulated the news

I once was involved in a scheme to provide false information that I hoped would appear in a large daily newspaper. I was successful, and I was never caught.S-R

This may seem like a serious issue. As well, you may think I concocted this to realize a benefit for myself, which is true. However, I have no regrets at all.

When I was in high school, there was an all-comers track meet put on by the Spokane Parks Department every Wednesday evening during the summer. My best friends, Dave and Mike Dixon, often entered with me.

The field of runners was small, and we usually had no trouble winning the races we entered. After the race, a guy recorded the times and names of the winners. The next day, the results were printed in the sports section of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Being a little mischievous, we saw an opportunity to have some fun with this.

One week I took first in the mile and said my name was Marty Miler. A fellow competitor, amused about this, commented on how apropos my name was. However, the next day, an editor must have thought it was a misspelling because the name was changed to Marty Miller.

The Dixons and I continued our weekly mischief, and we were delighted whenever the goofy, made-up names got into the newspaper.

One week the three of us and another friend formed a mile-relay team. Around this time, the world mile record, held by Jim Ryun of the U.S., was broken by Filbert Bayi of Tanzania. Not long after, John Walker of New Zealand broke it again. Another top runner, Marty Liquori of the U.S., was also running great times.

Only the last names of the winning relay team were printed in the paper. We won the mile relay, but to avoid being obvious, we changed the first names of the milers I just mentioned. Anyone following track and field would have caught on, even with the changed first names, but apparently the result-taker was not a track and field guy.

The next day, the Spokesman-Review reported that the team of Ryun, Liquori, Bayi and Walker won the mile relay.

It’s the only time in Spokane history that four of the fastest milers in the world came to town to make stars of themselves at the parks department all-comers meet.

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