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Walter Gordon

Running ∙ Rochester

 

 

 

 

Walter Gordon was one of Western Pennsylvania’s pioneer track and field stars when the sport was new here at the start of the twentieth century. The retired druggist was small and slender as a youth but played on Rochester High’s early football teams, graduating in 1907. He also played a little football at the University of Pittsburgh, where he competed in track as a distance runner and pole vaulter. Walter’s interest in running began early: as an eighth grader, he beat top miler Bob Coleman of Pitt with a time of 4:32 at a time when tracks were primitive and distance men ran in tennis shoes. By 1909 Walter had set a world record in the five mile run of 26 minutes flat at Columbia Park, Pittsburgh. At the first annual Ohio Valley Track and Field Games, Walter won the five mile race and was second in the mile run. In March of 1909 he finished third among 51 runners in the Great Indoor Marathon Race at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh. On Labor Day of 1909, he won the United Labor League Mile Run at West View Park in 4:18. Walter also won the 1909 Pittsburgh Marathon at West View Park in 3 hours and 32 minutes, defeating over 100 runners. His favorite memory is of a 10 mile relay race at the old Beaver Falls Coliseum in which he and four other local boys defeated world middle distance champion Percy Smallwood.