Pat Boot

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Pat Boot
Vernon Boot 1936.jpg
Boot on the decks of Wanganella in 1936
Personal information
Birth nameVernon Patrick Boot
Born(1914-10-22)22 October 1914
Kaikoura, New Zealand
Died15 January 1947(1947-01-15) (aged 32)
Gisborne, New Zealand
Alma materCanterbury Agricultural College
Height179 cm (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Weight73 kg (161 lb)
Lorna Hinepare Kessell
(m. 1940; died 1943)
CountryNew Zealand
Achievements and titles
National finals880 yards champion (1936, 1938, 1939, 1940)
1 mile champion (1936)
Personal best(s)800 m – 1:50.5 (1938)
Mile – 4.12.6 (1938)[1][2]

Vernon Patrick Boot (22 October 1914 – 15 January 1947) was a New Zealand middle-distance runner who represented his country at the 1936 Summer Olympics and at the 1938 British Empire Games, winning gold and bronze medals at the latter.

Early life and family[edit]

Born in Kaikoura on 22 October 1914,[1] Boot was the son of Percy Vernon Boot and Estelle Marie Boot (formerly England, née Edge).[3] He was educated at Ashburton High School and Timaru Boys' High School, and went on to study at Canterbury Agricultural College from 1934 to 1935, where he trained for a diploma in agriculture.[4] In 1937, Boot joined the Department of Agriculture as an assistant fields instructor.[4]

On 23 March 1940, Boot married Lorna Hinepare Kessell at St Peter's Church, Wellington.[5][6] Lorna Boot died from meningitis on 15 September 1943 while her husband was serving overseas during World War II.[4][7]


As a schoolboy at Timaru Boys' High School, Boot ran the 880 yards in 2:00.0, and the 1 mile in 4:26.8.[4]

Boot competed at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin in the men's 800 metres, finishing last in his semi-final. Like his teammate, Cecil Matthews, he suffered tendon problems from running on the decks of the Wanganella en route to the games, and was below his best form. He withdrew from the fourth heat of the 1500 metres.[8]

At the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney, Boot won the gold medal in the men's 880 yards with a tremendous sprint 70 yards from the end.[8] His time of 1:51.2 was an Empire Games and Australian record.[9] In the 1 mile, he won the bronze medal, finishing six yards behind the winner, Jim Alford of Wales.[10]

Boot won five New Zealand national athletics titles: the 880 yards in 1936, 1938, 1939, and 1940; and the 1 mile in 1936.[11]

Military service[edit]

In World War II, Boot trained as an officer at the Army Training School at Trentham.[6] He went overseas with the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force not long after his marriage, and served in the Middle East and Italy.[4][7] Rising to the rank of captain, Boot suffered from jaundice while serving in Italy in 1944, and in 1945, after his return to New Zealand he was accidentally badly scalded.[4]


Boot was an instructor in agriculture at Gisborne when he died on 15 January 1947 when under anaesthesia for dental treatment.[4] He was buried at Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Pat Boot". Sports Reference. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  2. ^ Vernon-Patrick Boot.
  3. ^ "Birth search: registration number 1914/27327". Births, deaths & marriages online. Department of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "V.P. Boot". Lincoln University. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Engagements". Evening Post. 26 January 1940. p. 11. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Married today". Evening Post. 23 March 1940. p. 16. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Obituary: Mrs. Vernon "Pat" Boot". Evening Post. 16 September 1943. p. 8. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b McMillan, Neville (1993). New Zealand sporting legends: 27 pre-war sporting heroes. Auckland: Moa Beckett. pp. 14–20. ISBN 1-869580-14-1.
  9. ^ "Empire Games results". The Press. 8 February 1938. p. 11. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Further records". New Zealand Herald. 14 February 1938. p. 11. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  11. ^ Hollings, Stephen (January 2015). "National champions 1887–2014" (PDF). Athletics New Zealand. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Cemetery record search". Gisborne District Council. Retrieved 31 July 2018.

External links[edit]