Monday, June 1, 2015

Pat Petersen: A New York running legend

Heard the stunning news of the way-too-soon passing of Long Island running legend Pat Petersen at age 55. Petersen was among the best marathoners in the United States during the Dark Ages of the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s, when American distance running lay dormant after the Shorter/Rodgers heyday of the late 1970s/early 1980s. Petersen briefly held the American record and was a top NYC Marathon finisher several times. He was one of the guys I idolized during my early/competitive marathon days, in part because he was among the best around and in part because he was known for his ungainly upper-body form.

He was also a great runner at Manhattan College, back when their cross country teams were legendary in their greatness. According to this article, Petersen ran sub-25:00 at Van Cortlandt Park a total of 10 times during his two years at Manhattan. It's remarkable enough that he raced at Vanny that frequently in two years, but to run that fast -- on a Vanny course that was not nearly as well groomed as it is now -- is truly noteworthy.  According to the article, Petersen had a very brief battle with cancer. Truly a bummer.

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