Several news releases yesterday indicated that Pat Porter, former US cross country great and two time Olympian died in a plane crash in Sedona, AZ. This has indeed been a tragic week in the loss of Jack Davis, US Olympic silver medalist in 1952 and 1956, as well as a recent death of US hurdler Willie May (Rome 1960 110 HH silver medallist). Below is a story from LetsRun.com on Pat Porter. ed.
Eight-Time US Cross-Country Champion Pat Porter Dies In Plane Crash
Porter Dies Tragically At Age 53
July 26, 2012
Porter was only a 4:29 miler in high school, but after transferring to Adams State he flourished under the guidance of Joe Vigil. Porter was at his best in cross-country, where he won the US title from 1982 to 1989. During that time frame, he finished in the top 10 in the world at least four times with a high finish of fourth in 1984. Porter, who had a 10,000 personal best of 27:46.80, was also a two-time 10,000 Olympian (1984 and 1988).
Don't know much about Porter? We highly recommend Kenny Moore's feature on Porter which appeared in Sports Illustrated in 1986: Running On A Rocky Mountain High? Colorado's Pat Porter, U.S. cross-country champ since 1982, is an athlete truly in his element.
If one reads that piece, they'll quickly understand that Porter was the ultimate blue-collar runner. Moore's piece gave details of Porter's training regimen, which included 120-mile weeks at the 7,540 feet of altitude found in Alamosa, CO, and a bruising 10-day cycle of workouts which were very taxing according to Moore:
- Every day calls for considerable labor, from six one-mile runs (for which Porter recently averaged 4:19) to two hours through the sage to 16 400-meter intervals (Porter averaged 59.0 with a minute's rest between) to 10 miles at a five-minute-mile pace. Easy days are 12 miles, which Porter runs at a 5:40 pace.
"If it's 40 below, it's too cold for the wind to blow. You throw on a layer of polypropylene, some sweats and a windbreaker, and go on out."
The altitude didn't stop Porter from running fast in practice (even if the 'mile' in Alamosa was actually a bit short):
- "Did a 4:01 mile up here (in Alamosa), once I saw God, too, right at the end. Everything got foggy, and there were bright sparkles."