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Peter Dickson Pfitzinger (born August 29, 1957, in Camden, New Jersey) is an American former distance runner, who later became an author, exercise physiologist and sports administrator.

He is best known for his accomplishments in the marathon, an event in which he represented the United States as its top finisher in two Summer Olympic Games: the Los Angeles Olympics (where Pfitzinger finished 11th) [1] and the 1988 Seoul Olympics (where he placed 14th). [2]

Marathon career

In the 1984 Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Buffalo, New York, Pfitzinger became immediately known among American marathoners by taking the lead halfway through the race, relinquishing it in the final mile, then storming past the heavily favored Alberto Salazar in the final fifty yards to win the race, in a time of 2:11:43.[3] In the 1988 Olympic Marathon Team Trials, held in Jersey City, New Jersey, Pfitzinger finished 3rd in a time of 2:13:09, to qualify for his second Olympic Games.[4]

In other marathons apart from the Olympic Trials and Olympic Games, Pfitzinger won the National Sports Festival (Syracuse, New York) marathon in 1981,[5] the Winstones (New Zealand) marathon in 1983, and the San Francisco Marathon in 1983[6] and 1986.[7] He was 2nd at the Montreal (Canada) marathon in 1983.[8] He was 3rd at the Nike OTC Marathon in 1981[9] and at the New York City Marathon in 1987.[10]

He was a consistent performer: All but his first 3 career marathons were run in times between 2:11:43 - 2:15:21 (2 in 2:11, 4 in 2:12, 3 in 2:13, 3 in 2:14, and 1 in 2:15).[11] He won 8 of his 16 marathons, and finished 2nd or 3rd in 4 others. Apart from the Olympic Games marathons, his only other finishes outside the top 3 were at the New York City Marathon in 1986 (9th) and at the 1985 Marathon World Cup (Hiroshima, Japan), where he finished 18th.[12]

Pfitzinger was awarded the DeCelle Award in 1984 by USA Track & Field as America's best male long distance runner. In 1984, he was ranked #1 U.S. Marathoner by Track & Field News and was named the Road Runners’ Club of America Male Runner of the Year. Pfitzinger was also inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame and Cornell University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Here is a record of Pfitzinger's many road racing achievements.[13]

Personal life

Growing up, Pfitzinger lived in Haddonfield, NJ, Glenmont, NY, Westport, CT and Pittsford, NY. His running career started in high school in Pittsford, running 9:18.4 for two miles. Pfitzinger is a 1979 graduate of Cornell University. During college, he was the Heptagonal 10,000m Champion in 1977 and the Heptagonal Indoor 3 Mile Champion in 1978 and set the course record for the Cornell cross country course.

He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and a Master of Science in exercise science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.[14]

Pfitzinger is the co-author of two highly popular training books for distance runners - Advanced Marathoning (with Scott Douglas)[15] and Faster Road Racing (with Philip Latter). He was formerly also a senior writer for Running Times Magazine.[16]

Pfitzinger's wife, Christine Pfitzinger, is also a former world-class runner. The Pfitzingers have lived in New Zealand[17] - Chrissey's country of origin[18] - since 1997.


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
July 1981 U.S. National Sports Festival Syracuse, New York 1st Marathon 2:15:20
Sept 1981 Nike Oregon Marathon Eugene, Oregon 3rd Marathon 2:12:41
July 1983 San Francisco Marathon San Francisco, California 1st Marathon 2:14:45
Sept 1983 Montreal Marathon Quebec, Canada 2nd Marathon 2:12:33
Nov 1983 Winstones Marathon Auckland, New Zealand 1st Marathon 2:12:19
May 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials Buffalo, New York 1st Marathon 2:11:43
Aug 1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, California 11th Marathon 2:13.53
April 1985 World Cup Marathon Hiroshima, Japan 18th Marathon 2:12:28
July 1986 San Francisco Marathon San Francisco, California 1st Marathon 2:13:29
Nov 1986 New York City Marathon New, York, NY 9th Marathon 2:14:09
Nov 1987 New York City Marathon New, York, NY 3rd Marathon 2:11:54
April 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials Jersey City, NJ 3rd Marathon 2:13:09
Oct 1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 14th Marathon 2:14.44


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "PFITZINGER WINS MARATHON TRIAL". The New York Times. 1984-05-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  4. ^ "Conover Is Winner of U.S. Trial". The New York Times. 1988-04-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  5. ^ "PFITZINGER CAPTURES MARATHON AT NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL". The New York Times. 1981-07-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  6. ^ "Pfitzinger Wins Coast Marathon". The New York Times. 1983-07-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  7. ^ "San Francisco Marathon". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Balcha of Ethiopia Takes Marathon". The New York Times. 1983-09-26. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  9. ^ "Durden Accepts $20,000 for Run". The New York Times. 1981-09-14. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  10. ^ Alfano, Peter (1987-11-02). "KENYAN AND BRITON WIN THE MARATHON". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-01-11.
  11. ^ "ARRS - Peter Pfitzinger".
  12. ^ "Marathon Results of Peter Pfitzinger". Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  13. ^ "ARRS - Peter Pfitzinger".
  14. ^ "Peter Dickson PFITZINGER". Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  15. ^ "Advanced Marathoning". Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  16. ^ "Pete Pfitzinger". Olympedia. Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  17. ^ "Peter Pfitzinger". LinkedIn. Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  18. ^ "Christine PFITZINGER". Retrieved 29 April 2023.