Inducted November 7, 1981
‘Pat’ Kelly whose nine-year reign as long-distance running champion of Newfoundland has never been equalled was born at St. John’s. He received his education at St. Patrick’s Hall under the tutelage of the Irish Christian Brothers.
His career as a long-distance runner began in 1931 when he entered the Evening Telegram 10-mile road race of that year. He finished third behind the then-reigning champion Clifford Stone. In 1933, he led the field home in that same modified marathon to begin a string of victories in the Telegram road race from 1933 through to the onset of World War II in 1939. Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945 and the resumption of the Telegram road race, Kelly again won the event and was destined to repeat the following year. With his victory in the Telegram road race of 1946 Kelly brought off a truly phenomenal accomplishment and one unrivaled in the history of long distance running in Newfoundland. He was crowned long distance running champion for the ninth time.
Meanwhile, Pat Kelly was also making a name for himself as a middle-distance man specializing in the Mile event at local sports meets. In fact his athletic versatility would appear to have known no bounds. He participated in such a wide range of sports as the shot-put, hammer throw, mile walk, 10-mile walk, and the Marathon of 26 miles 385 yards; but the range of his athletic endeavours did not stop there. He was also a member of several winning crews at our Annual Regatta. His athletic versatility was helped immeasurably by a superbly conditioned physique. At the close of his athletic career he turned to cross country skiing and as with the other disciplines in which he participated his involvement was crowned with success.
Pat Kelly’s one disappointment was his failure in not bringing honor to Newfoundland in competition engaged in abroad. He twice represented Newfoundland away from home. In 1934, he was a member of the local team sent to represent this Colony at the British Empire Games held in London. Again in 1938, he journeyed to Boston to participate in the Marathon run there on Patriot’s day each year. In neither of the two ventures, both involving Marathon runs, was he successful.
Those two minor reverses are, however, far outweighed by his astounding and astonishing performances in a wide and varied range of other sports.