Kenny Moore, photo courtesy of Constance Johnson
Kenny Moore, the 1968 and 1972 Oympic marathoner, made his legacy by writing on the personalities, events and themes of the global sport of running. As a runner at Oregon under Bill Bowerman, a two time Olympian and former American record holder in the marathon, Moore understood the sport. He also had a unique empathy for athletes and coaches.
Moore' first foray into sports journalism was quite successful: Gil Rogin, Sport's Illustrated's long time editor, asked him to write an essay on cross country, putting some sense to a series of cross country photos. His next piece was on Frank Shorter's victory at the Fukuoko Marathon in December 1971. For me, it was his piece on Lasse Viren in 1976. A collection of his stories, Best Efforts, published in 1980, has never been far from my bedside reading table.
Kenny Moore gave the reader insights into the character of those he wrote about. He found the glimpse that many had not considered, and built his essays around that unique view. For the twenty minutes of so I would take at the first read of a piece by Kenny Moore, the world stopped.
Joan Benoit Samuelson told me that " Kenny took the loneliness out of being a long distance runner with his writing,". Well said.
We asked Elliott Denman to tell us about Kenny Moore. Here is what he wrote: