Be Like Mike Long

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Mike Long, the long time elite athlete coordinator for the Elite Racing,
was found dead at his home on Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at the age
of 65. Mike, a former stockbroker, who discoved running an ran a
nice 2:54 marathon, loved the sport, loved the athletes-especially
his friends from East Africa, and made the sport a better place, In
the end, he was loved, and he will be missed.

Be Like Mike...

There is a song, "Buy for me the rain," by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
that goes something like this, " I can not buy you happiness, I can
not stop the pain, but I can buy for you a tombstone, to lay behind
your head, a tombstone's for the living dear, it is no use for the
dead." When I loose someone close, I have been thinking about that
song
alot this week.

I wanted to write for you all about a man I came to know, respect and
love. His name is Mike Long. MIke, an Irishman through and through,
was a fomer stockbrocker, who got into the sport of running ( he ran
2:54 for the marathon), and revolutionized elite athlete organizing.
Mike was the elite coordinator for Elite Racing Events, from Carlsbad,
to RNR Virginia Beach.

Mike used his jovial personality, and his sense of wonderment of the
world to bring the world's top athletes to events in North America. He
was especially fond of the Ethiopians and he knew all, as the picture
above attests. Mike loved to be at the center of the party with his
friends, and was a perfect host. Athletes from Irelands Jerry Kiernan
to Tom Bedford, the son of David Beford, who was staying with Mike to
learn how to be a great elite athlete coordinator, and found Mike, who
had died the night before in his sleep. Mike Long was 65.

I use this column, twice a year, to reach out to you, my 800,000
closest friends, to update you all on our sport, our community, and
the promise we have in our sport. Today, I am asking you to, as ING
New York City Marathon Director Mary Wittenberg recently said, be
like Mike.

Mike helped found the Entoto Foundation in 2006, and served on its
Board of Directors. The Foundation helps deliver medical assistance to
Ethiopians who do not have access to appropriate treatment or surgery.
The Foundation will serve as a fitting legacy to Mike's love of East
Africa and his compassionate nature in always thinking of others. I
ask that you give up a movie on night, and donate the proceedings to
Entoto Foundation at 5452 Oberlin Drive, San Diego, CA 92121.

I last saw Mike at the adidas Outdoor Track Classic, where we found
our way to a pub, had a beer, listened to some music and headed back
to the hotel, just chatting about the sport. I waved at him in New
York, a couple of weeks later, but I did not remember
chatting much.

Afterwards, or before, take your run, or walk, and consider how you
can use running to do good things. Be like Mike.

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