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Instead, Porter had the field reeling. "I don't come back," he explained later, with some satisfaction. With 3,000 meters to go he had a 25-second lead and as he roared by Vigil, who was watching from an archery field, Porter gave him the thumbs-up sign.
"Ed and I were doing quite a bit of talking, trying to encourage each other," said Bickford, the reigning TAC 10,000-meter champion. "But Pat was just too strong. Finally, I just said to Ed, 'How the hell does the guy do it?' "
Well, there was always the chance he would fall, which he did with only 800 meters to go.
"My face went right in the mud—squish" a laughing Porter said after the race as he scraped caked mud off himself with paper towels. "But I had so much adrenaline, I just popped right up. I still couldn't see anybody."
Porter finished in 30:33.1. Bickford was 120 meters and 21.3 seconds back. Eyestone was third, and Hacker, in a bid for the first men's national cross-country double in 25 years, finished fourth.
In the women's race, Jennings and Welch, the 1982 NCAA and TAC champion, separated themselves from the field early. The two are friends, Jennings having recently written a feature story about Welch for Boston Running News.
Friendship or not, Jennings broke away to a 20-meter lead over Welch at the 2,000-meter mark and finished more than 140 meters ahead in 17:27.9. Christine McMiken was third, and 1983 champion Betty Springs fourth.
"The footing was atrocious—I loved it," said Jennings, who is also good friends with Porter. While they traveled together on the European summer circuit, Jennings promised to knit Porter a sweater of Icelandic wool if he won in Raleigh. "I learned a lot about keeping cool from Pat," said Jennings. "He's been a great help, so now all he has to do is pick out his colors."
Had Porter's influence included imparting his philosophy of running? "No, Lynn's just gutsy," he said. "I think she knew that she was the standard of the field here. When that's what you are, everybody is waiting for you to make your move. She did, and that was it."
That was it for you, too, Pat.