Sport: Pony Express

When curly-haired, 29-year-old Taisto Maki landed in the U. S. two months ago, he was considered the world's distance-running nonpareil. Five times last summer, in his native Finland, he had broken world's records at distances ranging from two miles to 10,000 meters (a little over six miles)—"unbreakable" marks once held by his idol, coach and traveling companion, famed Paavo Nurmi.

Last week, when 14,000 foot-racing fans and Finnophiles surged into Manhattan's Madison Square Garden to watch Runner Maki compete against a hand-picked trio of U. S. distance runners, track experts were not so...

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