Pat Porter

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Pat Porter
Personal information
Nationality American
Born (1959-05-31)May 31, 1959
Wadena, Minnesota
Died July 26, 2012(2012-07-26) (aged 53)
Sedona, Arizona
Sport Track, Long-distance running
Event(s) 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters
College team Adams State
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 3,000 meters: 7:51.0[1]
5,000 meters: 13:33.91[1]
10,000 meters: 27:46.80[1]

Patrick ("Pat") Ralph Porter (May 31, 1959 – July 26, 2012) was an American distance runner. Born in Wadena, Minnesota, he graduated from Adams State in 1982 with a degree in marketing, after which he became one of the most dominant U.S. distance runners of the 1980s. Porter was a two time U.S. Olympian, running the 10000 meters at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. In 1983 he set the World Record for a road 10K at 27:31.8. He won the silver medal at the 1985 IAAF World Cup in Canberra, Australia, getting nipped at the tape by Ethiopia's Wodajo Bulti by six hundredths of a second.

Running career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Porter had a personal record of 4:29 in the mile while running for Evergreen High School in Evergreen, Colorado. He was not heavily recruited to run in college. He is a 1982 alumnus Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, and flourished under the training of coach Joe Vigil.[2] At Adams State, Porter won 6 RMAC championships, and 3 national NAIA championships.

Post collegiate[edit]

Porter was best known for his cross country running accomplishments. He won a record eight consecutive USA Cross Country Championships from 1982 to 1989.[3] Porter also represented the United States at the World Cross Country Championships each of these years. His best finish at the World Championships was 4th in 1984, followed by 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th-place finishes throughout his career.

Porter finished 15th in 28:34.59 at the Athletics at the 1984 Summer Olympics - 10000 metres.[4]

Porter did not advance to the Athletics at the 1988 Summer Olympics - 10000 metres final after finishing 11th in 28:45.04[5] in the 1st round, ranking him 23rd in the Olympics that year, but only 20 qualified to the final. His time would have ranked 17th as several runners ran slower in the final, still almost 1:25 (almost a lap and a half) behind the winner.

In 1998 Porter played Finnish distance runner Lasse Virén in Without Limits, a biographical film about American distance legend Steve Prefontaine.[6] He was married to fellow U.S. 1988 Olympic Team member high jumper Trish King.[7]


Porter was inducted in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987.[8] Porter was inducted in the RMAC Hall of Fame in July 2012.[9] Only days before his death, on July 20, Porter had been inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs and was also inducted into the Adams State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 in Alamosa, Colorado.


On July 26, 2012, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Porter was killed in an airplane crash along with his 15-year-old son Connor and his son's friend, 14-year-old Connor Mantsch. Porter, an avid pilot, hit a boundary fence at the south end of the Sedona Airport runway just outside Sedona, Arizona, then went down a steep mesa and burst into flames upon impact at the bottom of the hill. He was 53 years old.[10]

Competition record[edit]

Cross country[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1982 World Cross Country Championships Rome, Italy 64th 12 km 35:23
1983 World Cross Country Championships Gateshead, England 9th 12 km 37:12
1984 World Cross Country Championships New York City, United States 4th 11.8 km 33:34
1985 World Cross Country Championships Lisbon, Portugal 12th 12 km 34:02
1986 World Cross Country Championships Neuchatel, Switzerland 6th 12 km 35:48
1987 World Cross Country Championships Warsaw, Poland 7th 12 km 37:04
1988 World Cross Country Championships Auckland, New Zealand 28th 12 km 36:26
1989 World Cross Country Championships Stavanger, Norway 31st 12 km 41:31

Track and field[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing the  United States
1982 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Knoxville, Tennessee 6th 10,000 m 28:48.8
1983 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Indianapolis, Indiana 5th 10,000 m 28:35.92
1984 US Olympic Trials Los Angeles, California 3rd 10,000 m 28:03.86
Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 15th 10,000 m 28:34.59
1985 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Indianapolis, Indiana 3rd 10,000 m 28:12.9
World Cup Canberra, Australia 2nd 10,000 m 29:23.02
1987 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships San Jose, California 4th 10,000 m 28:29.7
1988 US Olympic Trials Indianapolis, Indiana 3rd 10,000 m 29:09.92
Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea heats 10,000 m 28:45.04
1989 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Houston, Texas 1st 10,000 m 28:45.78
1990 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Norwalk, California 7th 10,000 m 28:38.99
1991 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships New York, New York 5th 10,000 m 28:26.49
1992 US Olympic Trials New Orleans, Louisiana 6th 10,000 m 28:54.6
1994 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Knoxville, Tennessee 6th 10,000 m 29:24.05


External links[edit]