Lyndhurst’s Rono named Observer Male Athlete of the Year

Photo by Jim Hague/Patrick Rono (third from right) receives the 2010-2011 Observer Male Athlete of the Year award from Observer General Manager Robert Pezzolla. From left are Lyndhurst athletic director Frank “Butch” Servideo, cross country coach Michael Picardo, track coach Tom Shoebridge, Pezzolla, Rono, Lyndhurst High School Principal Dr. Jean Gordon and Vice-Principal Frank Venezia.

Cross country, track star leaves legacy of greatness never before reached

By Jim Hague

Patrick Rono really never had a chance to even consider doing anything else but becoming a runner.
After all, it’s never easy when you’re the son of an Olympic gold medal winner. Try living in that shadow.
Patrick’s father, Peter, won the gold medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in the 1,500-meter run, competing for his native Kenya.
Even Patrick’s mother, Mary, was a runner for the Kenyan national team.
Was there even an option?
“When I was little, I knew my dad did something great, but I never really understood the magnitude of it,” Patrick Rono said. “But I never let the pressure of being his son get to me. It didn’t bother me at all. I just wanted to be good.”
But when Rono moved with his family to Lyndhurst when he was 9 years old, track and field was not even a thought. He first played basketball, then soccer.
“I was really shy back then,” the soft-spoken Rono said. “I just wanted to do things that the other kids were doing. When I played soccer, I knew that I could run and not get tired. I knew I was pretty fast. I was a pretty good defender in soccer. That’s when I realized I could be a runner.”
However, Rono never competed in track and field until he enrolled at Lyndhurst High School a little more than three years ago and joined the cross country team.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

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