PattiSue Plumer

PattiSue Plumer
Personal information
Born (1962-04-27) April 27, 1962
Covina, California
College team Stanford Cardinal
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 1500 m: 4:03.42 (1992)
Mile: 4:24.90 (1991)
2000 m: 5:42.82
3000 m: 8:40.98 (1992)
5000 m:15:00.00 (1989)

Patricia Susan "PattiSue" Plumer (born April 27, 1962) is an American former Middle-distance and Long-distance runner. She is a two-time Olympian, finishing 13th in the 3000 meters final in 1988 in Seoul, before going on to finish 10th in the 1500 meters final and 5th in the 3000 meters final in 1992 in Barcelona.[1] She won the 3000 meters title at the 1990 Goodwill Games. Her 5000 meters best of 15:00.00 in 1989 is a former American record.

Early life

Plumer was born in Covina, California. After spending her youth in Newport Beach, California she moved with her father to Ridgway, Colorado during junior high school. Her senior year, she took third place in both the mile (5:10A) and the 2 mile (11:20A) at the Colorado State Meet while running for Montrose High School.[2] Next she went to Stanford University, where she won the 1984 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship at 5000 meters in 15:39.38, and the NCAA Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships at two-miles in 1983. She is a nine-time NCAA All-American at Stanford University.[3]


Plumer first came to international attention when she won the bronze medal in the 3000 meters at the 1985 IAAF World Indoor Games. In 1986, she won the inaugural Carlsbad 5000.[4]

Plumer competed in the 3000 meters at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, finishing 13th in the final. On July 3, 1989, Plumer broke the American record in the 5000 meters, with 15:00.00 minutes at the DN Galan in Stockholm, Sweden, the first woman to break one of Mary Decker's sweep of all distance running American records during the 1980s. In the 3000 meters at the 1989 IAAF World Cup, she fell, but got up to finish third. She won the 1990 Fifth Avenue Mile, setting a course record that still stands.[5] She won the 3000 meters at the 1990 Goodwill Games, and won the 5000 meters at the 1990 IAAF Grand Prix Final. In 1991, she finished 12th in the 1500 meters final at the World Championships. At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, she finished fifth in the final of the 3000 meters, before going on to finish 10th in the 1500 meters final.

Plumer's successes were interspersed with injuries and setbacks, including a broken leg after being hit by a taxi in Yokohama, Japan, several bouts with pneumonia, food poisoning at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and a dog bite at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.

USA National Championships

She has won multiple USATF national titles at 3000 meters (1989, 1992 Olympic Trials)[6] and 5000 meters (1990, 1991),[7] and was a three-time runner-up in the 1500 meters..[8]

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
1985 World Indoor Games Paris, France 3rd 3000 m 9:12.12
1986 Goodwill Games Moscow, Soviet Union 5th 3000 m 8:46.24
1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea 13th 3000 m 8:59.17
1989 Grand Prix Final Fontvieille, Monaco 3rd 3000 m 9:04.00
World Cup Barcelona, Spain 3rd 3000 m 8:54.33
1990 Goodwill Games Indianapolis, United States 3rd 1500 m 4:10.72
1st 3000 m 8:51.59
Grand Prix Final Athens, Greece 1st 5000 m 15:14.36
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 12th 1500 m 4:06.80
Grand Prix Final Barcelona, Spain 4th 3000 m
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 10th 1500 m 4:03.42
5th 3000 m 8:48.29

Post running career

She received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Stanford Law School and worked as a lawyer for several years. She now coaches cross-country and track at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California.[9][10]

Mt SAC Hall of Fame

Plumer competed for many years at Mt. SAC and captured five titles, winning the 3000 meter event in 1983, 1986 and 1992 and the 5000 meters in 1986 and 1991.

Plumer had a remarkable career which spanned almost 20 years. In the 1500 meters, she ran her lifetime best of 4:03.42 in 1992 and finished 2nd in the Olympic Trials. She went on to take the final in the Olympic Games in Barcelona and finished 10th. She was ranked in the top three in the US at that distance four times, including #1 in 1992. In the 3000 meter event, she captured four #1 US rankings in a row from 1989–1992 and competed in two Olympics at this distance, finishing 13th in 1988 in Seol and 5th in 1992. She was ranked in the top eight in the US nine times at this distance. And then, in the 5000, she was ranked in the top 10 nationally a total of eight times and captured an NCAA title while at Stanford and two US national titles. She established the American record of 15:00.00 back in 1989. PattiSue is truly one of the greatest American distance runners ever and she is a most deserving and welcome addition to the Mt. SAC Relays Hall of Fame.

Personal life

Her younger sister Polly Plumer, who remained in California, set the still standing national high school record in the mile at 4:35.24 in 1982 while running for University High School (Irvine, California).


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