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Carlos Kevin Tan

 Carlos Kevin Tan
A cinder track prior to the 1956 meeting which ran in lanes. The runners would use a mass start.

The Mystery of Quarter Miler Carlos Kevin Tan

Our newest inductee to the hall of fame is a name shrouded in mystery.

Early Fil-Heritage sprinter Kevin Carlos Tan. Tan name was listed on the world charts as Filipino even though he never represented the Philippines or ran at the National Championships. It was noted he was, in fact, a dual citizen. According to several reports a Filipino citizen studying in the United States.

Tan was born 6 January 1938.

1956, June 2 California State Meet Results (440 Yard)

1    Jerry White              Corcoran                 C   # 46.7       440Y    1956
2    Henry Dorsey             Berkeley                 NC    47.5       440Y    1956
3    Jack Yerman              Woodland                 SJ    47.6       440Y    1956
4    Carlos Tan               St Ignatius              CC    47.8       440Y    1956
5    J.C. Phillips            Bakersfield              C     48.2       440Y    1956
6    Ron Rott                 Lodi                     SJ    48.2       440Y    1956

[Conning: This was the first time that the entire race was run in lanes. The race was contested around one turn.]


Note: On the linked web page, Conning’s statement is incorrect. The 1956 race was run around one turn, but not entirely in lanes. Contestants were told that they could break for the inside after the turn. Carlos Tan shared the inside lane at the start with the eventual winner, Jerry White, and stayed there throughout. White’s time of 46.7 for 440 Yards was a California state meet record. For this performance, White was the 1956 Track and Field News High school athlete of the year in boys.
This rare footage with an on the right. Tan (left) Sharing lane 1 with Jerry White.
The quoted time for his 440 at the AAA meet, run into wind for the first 220 yards, is correct.
There were about 20 people in this race. Tan did his best to follow Jerry White who pulled away and extended his lead at around 120m to go. Tan chased him but was caught by Dorsey and Yerman as he started to tie up the last 80m.
Carlos Kevin Tan
Kevin in White in lane 1 the whole way around the track. Jerry White easy winner at the front.


47.8 converts down to 47.5 (as a general rule of thumb subtract -.3 for the 440Y this was a good time considering back then he was running on cinders. No Filipino male broke this time until Isidro Del Prado in the 1980s.

Consider the fact the 1954 Asian Games were won in 48.5 1 Full second slower. He would have placed second in 1958 which was won in 47.0 by the ‘Flying Milkman’ Milka Singh of India. Back then the record was held by Pablo Somblingo in 48.5 who came second in the 1958 Asian Games.

Carlos Tan time from 1956 is the only event he seems to have appeared in he ran 47.8 seemingly out of nowhere in 1956 which was a very good performance in the 1950s. And then disappeared we have to know performances prior and after in regards to this. However, we did find a video was his 440 Yards appears so he did exist.

According to the Asian Athletics Federation

According to Asian Athletics Federation Statistician Heinrich Hubbeling, after checking the older publications of 1963, 1967, and 1971 his mark is recognized by the international athletics community as an official Philippine National Record.

These books were published by the legendary and most famous athletics experts of early athletics statistics, ATFS founder LUIGI MENGONI, and his database was used later on as official NR-database by the IAAF. So it is the most reputable source.

However, he does not appear in 1988 All-Time Rankings of the late Filipino Statistician Col. Romulo Constantino.

Carlos Kevin Tan


Upon Further Research digging deep I found Tan had run 50.0 (440 yards) converts to 49.7 in 1956 to win the San Fransico AAA Final.  This was achieved on 19th May 1956 a month before he ran the 47.8.

All in all Carlos K. Tan only ran two races that are on record and that’s digging deep. He then disappeared from Track and Field Results.  He never represented the Philippines at an international meet.

Special Thank you to US Statistician, Tom Casacky who is the Historian/Statistician for the California State Meet.

It appears with further research Tan was a 2:00 half-miler (880 Yards) back then and more a 440/880 guy not a short sprinter 220-yard guy.

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By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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