ASBURY PARK, N.J. — On a hot and sunny day in southern New Jersey, youngsters, their parents, meet officials, track and field aficionados, high school and college coaches, as well as sports journalist Elliott Denman (Asbury Park Press Record) and John Morton joined to honor a local Asbury Park High School track and field legend, Frank Budd. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was the “Fastest Man in the World,” winning countless national AAU sprint events and setting a then-record 9.2 in the 100-meter in 1961. Local high school coach Ronald Lashley was on him like glue. So were all the others.

“He was something else,” said an admiring Denman.

A former national AAU champ and a member of the 1956 USA Olympic team, Budd was a world-renowned sprinter and did a tour of duty with the Philadelphia Eagles, who were starry-eyed when they watched him blaze around the field. Through it all, Budd sat and smiled as he sat in his assisted chair.

The heart and soul of the ninth annual Frank Budd Track and Field Meet, Budd had his hand in everything. He was the guy who tied it all together, contacting athletes, sending out press releases and doing everything that was needed to make a track meet successful.

The happy feet of the children were everywhere, and so were countless parents. It was a day and event that warmed one’s heart as the children couldn’t stop running. And every time our Bill Moore pointed his camera, everyone rushed to get in the picture with Budd, a pioneer, a legend and a man who has never forgotten where it all began.