This year’s Aspire 10 Kilometer Run on April 7 marks the 30th anniversary of the record setting performance of Pat Petersen in the 1988 edition of the Aspire Run.
Pat cruised through the course in 30 minutes, 28 seconds, and every April since then we have been trying to give away $500 to anyone who can beat that record. Obviously nobody has done so. I had thought that Nick Filippzzo might come close last year, but his winning time of 31:22, while certainly not at all shabby, didn’t really threaten Pat’s record.
The 1988 Aspire 10K included a bevy of amazing performances. Pat’s 30:28 headed a field where the top eight finishers bested 33 minutes and the top twenty-eight runners finished under 35 minutes. In contrast, in the 2017 Aspire 10K, only Sean Mahon, Michael Petrina and William Herbert joined Filipazzo in breaking 35 minutes, and in the 2017 LI Marathon 10K only overall winner Narcisco Mejia scored in under 35 minutes. The talent is still here on Long Island, but the depth of talent is nowhere near what it was thirty years ago.
Pat was an amazing runner, notwithstanding his unusual running style, rocking side to side, all elbows and knees. His style and, of course, the fact that here on Long Island he would invariably have been at the front of the pack, made him easy to pick out for spectators at a race. Pat scored his marathon PR of 2:10 in the 1989 London Marathon, and had three New York finishes placing in the top four. He had a half marathon PR of 1:03:56 and a 10 Mile PR of 48:46.
He competed with the Grumman Running team for many years when I was at Grumman also, and he was a proud member of what was then the Plainview-Old Bethpage Road Runners Club. When he ran his 30:28 time in the 1988 Aspire Run, it was not a surprise that he and his Grumman Running Team teammates Ed Von Bevern, Mike Timmons and Lance Hugelmeyer were easy winners in the Corporate Team Division.
Pat left us at the far, far too young age of 55 in May of 2015, having finished second best to pancreatic cancer.