Earlier this morning, the longtime coach and Manhattan Invitational meet director Ed Bowes passed away at the age of 78.
Coach Bowes guided athletes at his alma mater Bishop Loughlin High School for 39 years before retiring in 2003. During his time there his powerhouse track teams won three Championship of America races at the Penn Relays, 12 CHSAA girls titles, and four boys titles. For 31 years he served as meet director of the Bishop Loughlin Games held each December first at the Armory and now at Ocean Breeze and which raises scholarship funds for needy athletes. In 1973 he organized the first of the modern Manhattan College Invitational cross country championships at Van Cortlandt Park that included 12 races and about 2000 athletes. Today it has grown to arguably the most famous cross country invite in the nation with more than 40 races and tens of thousands of athletes.
Bowes ran for Bishop Loughlin and then Manhattan College, and his running days were not over after he returned to his old high school as a teacher and coach. In the third New York City Marathon in 1972 when it was run entirely in Central Park, Bowes was leading the race through 23 miles before collapsing due to dehydration and then was evacuated in an ambulance. He is also known for the big role he played in helping Power Memorial star Matt Centrowitz, Sr., travel to the AAU Junior Nationals meet in 1973, where he won the mile in a time of 4:02.7 that is still a New York high school record, the oldest on the books.
Bowes was an old-style guy who liked to have all of the financial accounting and race lineup organizing for the Manhattan Invite noted down on paper rather than spending money on electronic systems. He wanted to keep the meet entries at a very reasonable cost and put as much revenue as possible to the medals and winner's trophies, whose size is legendary.