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A race & a legacy

| Friday, July 11, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

On Aug. 4, 1936, South Connellsville native John Woodruff earned the title of Olympic champion in the Berlin Olympics.

In 1 minute, 52.9 seconds, Mr. Woodruff outdistanced some of the best runners in the world. And he brought home a gold medal.

This week the Connellsville area honored this outstanding Olympian during the annual 5K run/walk named in his honor. On Wednesday, hundreds flocked to Falcon Stadium to participate in the event.

It is our duty to remember what a precious treasure our area has in one of its most famous native sons. The annual Woodruff race deserves residents' support — either by walking or running or by lining the streets to support the participants.

After the Olympics, Woodruff came home to a hero's welcome in Connellsville. He was honored with a parade through town.

Each time he returned for the annual race (which was almost yearly until his health prevented him), he was welcomed with open arms.

Woodruff passed away several years ago. But his name is one that will always be familiar locally. And even though he moved away from the area, his heart belonged to Connellsville.

Most of us today didn't feel the pride firsthand of having Woodruff return home victorious. But that pride from more than 70 years ago can still be experienced in the Connellsville area today.

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