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Patti Dillon

Patti Dillon


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Year Inducted



Patti Dillon was one of the most storied and accomplished runners of her era. Rising from complete obscurity to win the 1976 Ocean State Marathon, she quickly established herself as the best female runner in the Boston Area. By 1979, however, she was one of the most fearsome competitors in the United States. The next three years would see her finish runner up at the Boston Marathon three times in succession; finish behind Grete Waitz in the 1980 NYC Marathon becoming the first American woman to break 2:30; set multiple American and world records; and help to usher in professional running in the United States, often at great cost to herself.

Along the way, Patti was signed by Nike as their first sponsored female runner and was pivotal in pushing for and accepting prize money in road races. In one glorious stretch, Patti entered 48 road races and won 44 of them. She set world records in the 20k, half-marathon and 30k and a world record in the women’s only marathon. Patti also won the Honolulu Marathon 4 times, winning in course record times with each successive race.

After retiring in 1986, Patti married US Cross-country National Team standout Dan Dillon. They have two wonderful children, Aaron and Raven, and a growing pack of golden retrievers. Patti is now the Head Coach of the first professional Native American running team in US history with the intention of developing world class talent across Native Americans communities.

Patti held the World Record for 5 miles, 20k, 13.1 miles, 30K twice, and 26.2 miles.

American records included the 10k 6x, 15k 2x, and 10 miles. She broke the American Marathon record three times and held them all at the same time.

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