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Dan Dillon

Class of 2020

Chicopee, MA

    Dan Dillon is one of the greatest runners to come from Western Mass.


    As one of three sons (and two daughters) growing up under the loving care of a career US Air Force Sergeant and a devoted mother they moved around frequently. Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Wyoming, Alaska and Western Massachusetts all provided an abundance of outdoor activities for the family.


    Dan and his brothers discovered the competitive aspect of distance running while attending Chicopee Comprehensive High School in the mid-seventies. Alex Vyce was the coach at that time. Dan began to think of himself as a champion at Coach Vyce's insistence. Prior to that running for Coach Vyce, running was just one of several ways Dan enjoyed time spent outdoors.

    Dan was undefeated in cross country during his senior year in 1974-1975. That senior year season included a state XC championship race where he beat out the legendary runner Alberto Salazar for the state title. His high school outdoor track 2-mile time was 9:09.


    Dan then attended Providence College and made NCAA All American twice in Cross Country. At Providence, Dan won the New England Collegiate XC Championships, New England outdoor track championships in the 6 mile run, indoor championships for 2 mile, Big East Championships for 3000 meters, and the IC4A indoor 5000 meters Championship.


    While at Providence, he represented the Greater Boston Track Club from time to time in non-collegiate competitions. During this time, he enjoyed the coaching of Bill Squires and training with 4-time Boston and NYC Marathon winner Bill Rodgers as well as many other American distance running greats in the Boston club.


    In 1978, Dan won the US XC Trials race in Atlanta to earn what would be his first of several opportunities to represent the US National Team in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. He later represented the US team in the World Championships in 1979 Limerick, 1980 Paris (best finish at 12th place), 1981 Madrid, 1982 Rome, 1984 New York.


    After graduating college in May of 1980, he was recruited to join Nike's Athletics West team. Nike generously sponsored Dan in one way or another into the mid to late 80's. He qualified and competed in the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in 1980 Eugene 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters, 1984 Los Angeles 10,000 meters, and 1988 Indianapolis 10,000 meters.


    His fastest track times were 13:33 for 5000 Meters in 1980 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (Ranked 8th in US by Track and Field News at 5K that year) and 28:05 for 10,000 Meters at the 1982 Oregon Invitational also in Eugene (Ranked 8th at 10K in US by Track and Field News that year). While with Nike, Dan was coached by famed Nike coach Bob Sevene.


    Dan now lives in Windham Center, CT with his wife Patti.

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