Al Lawrence Legacy

Al Lawrence was born in Australia, on July 30, 1930. As an Australian Olympian, he won the bronze medal in the 10,000-meter race in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and competed in the 1960 Rome Olympics.

In 1958 he enrolled at the University of Houston, where he won the NCAA cross-country national championships in 1959 and 1960, and the 1959 and 1960 AAU cross-country national championships, as well. In 1960 he set a world record in the indoor two-mile; six days later he won the AAU indoor three-mile race in another world record time. He was “All-American” 10 times.

“Al was one of the pillars of the University of Houston Track and Field Program. He was an NCAA champion, our first Olympic medalist, and he broke several collegiate, national and world records. This program would not be where it is today had Al Lawrence not been a Cougar," said Leroy Burrell, current University of Houston Track and Field head coach.

In 1963 he graduated from the University of Houston and went back to Australia briefly before returning to Houston in 1965. He became Assistant Track Coach under Johnny Morriss for three years while beginning a career in educational media. In 1977 he returned to running, quickly became a national champion masters runner, and took up private coaching as a profession. In 1978 he was elected to the University of Houston Sports Hall of Fame. In 2016 he received the Houston Area Road Runners Association Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into The Houston Marathon Hall of Fame.

He is the co-author of three popular running books, The Self Coached Runner, The Self Coached Runner II, Running and Racing after 35, and the author of an autobiography, Olympus and Beyond.

Through the years, Coach Al coached Olympians, national class athletes, elites, age group winners, and anyone who wanted not only to improve their running but their quality of life. Al Lawrence was more than a coach, he was a friend and mentor. He as extremely patient and very encouraging, bringing out the best in everyone he trained and spent time with.

If you did not have the opportunity to meet Al Lawrence and would like to know more, just google his name. Better yet, ask someone who did and watch their eyes light up.