How They Train - Herb Wills
Gary Griffin, September 2016
Running for Leon High School, Herb Wills won the state 4A cross country title in a time of 14:16 (on a three mile course). His high school best included a 2M time of 9:00.0; a 3M best of 14:12; and a 2:30.26 marathon.
In 1977 and 1978 Herb won the National AAU Junior Olympics two-mile, the AAU Junior National Cross Country Championship and, in 1979 the AAU Junior National 10,000m Track Championship. In his freshman year at Florida State University in 1978 he won four individual Metro Conference Championships in one of the most dominating performances in Metro track history. He would go on to set school records in the 5000m and 10000m outdoors and the 3000m, 5000m and 2M indoors. He placed fourth in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA National Championships in 1980 and followed that with a 16th place individual finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1981.
Herb went on to be a four-time All American at FSU and was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame in 2006. Herb won a silver medal at the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania in 1981 and in 1983 at the Houston Marathon he set the American single age (22) record for the marathon record running 2:13:18.
At the age of 28, Herb was the first American finisher (10th overall) in the 1989 Boston Marathon.