In 1955 Sándor Iharos had one of the greatest years of any distance runner. After joining the Hónved Club to train under Mihály Igloi, Iharos broke six individual world records in 1955, and added a relay world record as well. On 14 May in Budapest he ran 7:55.6 to break the 3,000 record. Then in London, on 30 May, he shattered the 2-mile world record by seven seconds, recording 8:33.4. In Budapest on 10 September, Iharos ran 5,000 metres in 13:50.8 to break that mark, and 13 days later he took another 10 seconds off it, recording 13:40.6, again in Budapest, also garnering a 3-mile world record of 13:14.2 en route. Iharos moved up to the 10K in 1956, breaking that record in Budapest in July with 28:42.8, also taking the 6-mile world record. In all he set 12 world records in his career, with four in relays.
But a few weeks after his 10K record, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary and he never made it to Melbourne for the Olympics he might have dominated. Born as Sándor Izrael, Iharos had no Soviet sympathies and never joined the Communist Party, which was unusual at the time. Although many Hungarian athletes went to Melbourne and defected, his family back in Hungary obviated this as an option. He continued to compete and ran at the 1960 Olympics but never approached his form of 1955-56. His coach, Igloi, had moved to the United States in response to the Soviet invasion, and that and the political situation surely contributed to his diminution in form.
Personal Bests: 1500 – 3:40.8 (1955); 5000 – 13:40.6 (1955); 10000 – 28:42.8 (1956).