Like anyone who will visit this message board thread, I'm heartbroken today over the loss of Vince. Maybe we can all post a happy memory of how we met him and how he impacted our lives? There's probably a million stories and we can all take comfort in the memories during the hard days/weeks to come. :heart:
We all owe thanks to Vince. Before 1975 there were no local races, running clubs and few people were involved in running. Vince planted a small seed that grew to where we are currently and we have come a long way. You need to keep in mind we had no electronic clocks, chip timing or the modern means available. We used stop watches and had to manually record the results. Mike was around in the old days and he brought the running community to the Net, Vince had so much respect for this site. We also owe a Thanks to Mike as well. Do not take Mike for granted either. Next time you lace up the shoes for a training run, race or whatever reason, Thank Vince. Vince will be missed by all us and more so for some. Next time you log onto the site, Thank Mike.
In 2015 I presented the following remarks regarding Vince, he was a family man as well. I had the privilege of befriending Judy as well. I can take comfort that they are together again.
1st I have to say, part of the Striders success goes to Judy, without her support for so many years with the responsibility of the four children, the WVS might have failed to succeed. The first memory I have of Judy was at the end of the 1977 20 K. Vince had her sitting on a lawn chair in the blazing sun on a hot July day on the track at Kirby Park, writing the numbers of the finishers and marking the time. She would give a glass with the Winged Foot logo to all those that finished the 20 K. Her support was instrumental in the success of the WVS.
After the July 1980 20 K, while at a post-race party, pasta and salad left over from the previous days Runners Clinic was served. We learned that Vince has a dark side. He was mean to his children. When my mother asked the children why they did not want any of the pasta and salad the truth was told. They said there father was mean, he would not permit them to frequent McDonald’s or Burger King. But on the race weekend as long as they were good and helped at the registration and race, they could go to McDonalds and order whatever they wanted. So they were waiting to go to McDonald's, they can get pasta anytime.
Without a doubt Vince has the best idea perhaps in all of Pennsylvania when he organized the Cliff Robbins Memorial. It started as small race the included a five mile open after the high school kids competed. Currently participation is limited to high school runners and it is known as the premier cross country race. Because of the idea Vince provided thousands of Junior and Senior High school runners to participate in a multi-district event, not like some sports, in Cross Country all runners participate. He deserves a lot of credit for that idea.
Without a doubt Vince’s family is his greatest achievement. The WVS grew because of their support and assistance and we can owe a big Thanks. Keep Vince and the family in your prayers we owe them that much.
When I would run Berwick at the top of the hill how wonderful to be greeted by Vince's smiling face and words of encouragement, God bless dear friend.
you will always be at the half way point thanks Vince "run for the diamonds" and many more, thanks so much for everything you gave us, God bless your family and friends. WVS
Any local runner knows the name Vince Wojnar. His contributions to our sport will be deeply missed. I always looked forward to seeing him at the half clock in Steamtown, just his acknowledgement with a wave would encourage me. Its the small things in life that you remember. We will all miss you Vince. Doug A
I've known Vince since the mid 70's. I live close by and played basketball with his kids growing up. Vince was my first training partner. I would hook up and we ran all over the mountain. I've gone on many running trips with him and other striders. We went to Boston, Wash. Cherry blossom, many Utica boilermakers as well as tons of other New York races. A memory that stands out is one of him working the finish line of the first Forty Fort 5 miler. It was the first local race I won and as I crossed the line he smiled and said I finally brought one home and we both laughed. Another memory is of the 77 Boston marathon. About six of us check into the Park plaza. Well Vince, always looking for a bargain asked about getting the family discount because we were all his kids. Well one of the runners was Francis Awanya of Uganda and we all laughed about how Vince tried to pass us off as family to get that discount. He will be missed and certainly no one has done more for the running community.
Just like so many others - really looked forward to see Vince's smiling face at the halfway points of Diamonds and Steamtown. It wasn't just coincidence that he was there - I believe he knew how important it was to the runners at that point and his wide smile and positive attitude were huge factors in so many of us getting our second wind and continuing on. We will miss him very much.