Passing of Pat Traynor, Villanova steepler
Never heard of him . But it seems, he was a humble , class act. Thanks for the link.
one of the first villanova runners i knew. as all who leave us should, RIP.
To give the man his due...
- 2nd NCAA steeple 1961
- 1st NCAA steeple 1962, MR 8:48.6
- 1963, fell, DNF... won by Vic Zwolak of Villanova (64 champ as well). (Quite a few notable 'Nova steeplers over time... Browning Ross was NCAA Champ in 1948, and an Olympian; Tom Donnelly succeeded Zwolak with 8th/4th/3rd place NCAA performances his so/jr/sr years. Amos Korir.)
As noted, Traynor also got under 4:00, was the most valuable athlete at Penn Relays in 1962, won two AAU national championships in the steeple, and one national AAU 10K XC championship.
That's a pretty good run.
Joined us a handful of times in the latter half of the 70's for long runs, I was pretty much in awe, his was a name from the very early days of my own interest in running, in the Philly area.
He helped out Donnelly at Haverford for a while when I was there; nicest, most unassuming guy you could meet.
Held the steeple AR at 8:32.4 in '68 until it was broken by George Young at the AAUs. They had a great race at the "sea level trials" with Young edging Pat out for the win in 8:34:xx. Then, as mentioned in the article, Pat completely crapped out at the "altitude trials" so he didn't make the team. Really bad luck for a a great guy.
I assume your name refers to Pat... "gentle giant". As noted in the article, he was tall (6'2"), and just a big guy. When he ran with us (from Haverford College), he must have gone 190 lbs. or so, I was surprised how well he ran for how much weight he was carrying. Obviously he had been away from hard training for some time at that point.
Those '68 trials at altitude were a disaster for another Villanovan... that was the year Dave Patrick, who had won the 1500 at sea level, was dropped from the team after being "pipped" for third at altitude. I can remember a friend telling me about Dave sitting on the curb, outside of Al's Pub in Narberth, PA, in tears, many days later. A superb talent who never got to the OG's.
Pat was one of the greats of his time and I am sad to hear this news. Pat was one of the subjects in my dissertation research (1968), and along with the other 25 runner/ subjects returned to have me test him again in 1993. He hadn't been training in 93, but still made the trip out for testing, went through the whole thing and had a great time with his old runner buddies (even went on a 1-hour run with some of them). For those of you who didn't know him, he was a good guy and will be missed by many.
Sat next to him in Eugene at the trials really nice man and clearly a major fan of the entire sport.
The first time I saw an IC4A Cross Country Championship at Van Cortlandt; Pat Traynor, Vic Zwolack, and Tom Sullivan were leading the consistently dominant Villanova squad. It was a very cloudy day. I remember the day like it was yesterday. The year was probably 1962 or 1963, and it's one of my fondest Van Cortlandt memories.
I knew and ran with Pat in both high school (Monsignor Bonner) and college. In the fall of his Senior year in high school he ran in a field day cross county race and beat all of the cross country team. He came out for cross country to get in shape for basketball. Won the Phila Catholic League and City cross country champs after only several months of training. We knew he was going to be a runner when he showed up for a city-wide race one early Saturday morning during the basketball season. Game that night, but still ran in a race that morning. He did not run indoor track, and after only several months of track ran about 4:25 for the mile. Very good in 1959.
We took different classes at Villanova, so most of our interaction was during practice and traveling for meets. He certainly was a very hard worker (training) and was very much into analyzing the training and trying to understand what Jumbo was having him do. If you look at his running career he was constantly getting better over time.
I always thought Pat was a unassuming person. Humble, yet confident. He certainly was friendly and a very helpful
person. He was religious. He seemed happy and family oriented.
He was a good man who will be missed.