JNEWS: Tobin, John [MC1961] measured the VCP starting line



Van Cortlandt’s magic number unites generations
Updated 9:31 AM; Posted 9:00 AM
By Denise Boccia/Special to the Advance

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For cross country runners throughout the Northeast, Van Cortlandt Park is a venerated place, so central to the sport that it has its own language, so demanding that it long ago inspired some college students to survey and measure the course to ensure fairness, and so daunting that it has a magic number: 13.

The 21/2-mile course unites the generations, providing them a shared experience and, for male high school runners, a common goal — breaking 13 minutes.

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“The starting line was straight across and parallel to the walkway that goes from Broadway to the mansion,” said John Tobin, Carroll’s coach at St. Peter’s, a 1956 St. Peter’s grad and an alum of Manhattan College, just across Broadway and up the hill from VCP.  “The finish line was never in a fixed position but generally in the same area as today but no ‘fixed’ concrete monument with flags as today.

“I know that while I was a sophomore at Manhattan College, some Manhattan engineering students — myself included — measured (with surveying instruments) a curved starting line with the center of the radius being the pole marking the then-entrance into the cowpath. This at least made the start fairer than when, if you were closest to the mansion, you were 25 yards closer to the cowpath.”

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Tobin, John [MC????]

# – # – # – # – #  2017-Dec-10 @ 13:15  

Dear John,

             I believe that John is a member oif the Class of 1961.


McEneney, Mike (MC1953)

[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.]

Tobin, John [MC1961]

# – # – # – # – # 2017-Dec-18 @ 13:42


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