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Updated October 2, 2018

Yesterday was October 1, 2018. It would have been the 65th birthday of Grete Waitz. Grete died April 19, 2011 after a long and epic fight with cancer. She lives on through AKTIV against Cancer. She also lives on in our memories. For me, besides the 9 time NYC Marathon champ, we was one of the finest women's cross country runners and European athletic runners ever.

I am reminded of her finish with Fred Lebow, at the NYC Marathon. There is a picture of Grete and Fred after the finish. Grete is teared up and Fred is happy that he finished. It is how I remember the 1984 Olympic silver medalist at the marathon. This piece that follows is a wonderful piece by Toni Reavis on the Queen of The Five Boroughs Marathon. We miss her.

Original post was May 12, 2011

Toni Reavis, TV commentator and keen observer of our sport, sent this to me yesterday. I wanted to post it for you to read. There are many reasons for doing this: to recognize Grete Waitz, and notice through the elegant style of Mr. Reavis, the observations he noted about Grete & Jack, Grete's brothers, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Grete's many friends. A life well lived, a life well loved, and a life with few compromises. Please keep Jack, Grete's brothers and her many friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Please consider her on your next run or walk....

Benoit-Waitz-NYC05.JPGJoan Benoit Samuelson & Grete Waitz, 2005 ING NYCM,
photo by

Reposted May 16, 2018, This is the 47th anniversary of the 1971 Dream Mile. Reread this fantastic story by Jeff Benjamin on the historic race!


SI Cover courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Updated May 16, 2017. This is the 46th anniversary of the Dream Mile, that amazing race between Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori! We hope you enjoy rereading this fun piece by Jeff Benjamin.

The story of this article is another example of the potential with our sport. Jeff Benjamin, an early adaptor if there ever was one, began writing for American Athletics back in 1991, I believe. Jeff then did articles on Jim Spivey, the Dream Mile and Abel Kiviat. Jeff loves the sport, and has suggested articles and ideas for the past two decades. I always enjoy his notes.

What does a running geek with two daughters (Amanda & Brianna) do? Encourage them both to run, of course. Well, Amanda, his oldest, has joined her father at Millrose for the past several years. Amanda Benjamin wants to write about sports, and she is now a second generation in the Benjamin family to write for our publications and website.

1952 Olympic steeple final, Horace Ashenfelter,

courtesy of Ashenfelter Classic 8k

Originally posted August 22, 2012
Reposted January 7, 2018
Horace Ashenfelter died on January 6, 2018, at the wonderful age of 94. Horace Ashenfelter won the Olympic steeplechase in 1952, the first and last American male to do such an thing. In his honor, we are reposting several pieces on this wonderful man, classmate of our late editor, James Dunaway, and former FBI agent, Penn State grad, and winner of 18 AAU national titles, from cross country to 10k.

Horace Ashenfelter's name should be said with reverence. The only American to win the Olympic gold medal in the steeplechase, Ashenfelter broke the Olympic record in the heats and then by six seconds, broke the world record in the final, taking the gold medal.

In a 1996 article in American Track & Field, James Dunaway, long time editor of AT&F, and college chum of Horace, wrote, what in my mind, may still be Dunaways' best feature ever. He told how Horace would train for an hour each night, after work, jumping over park benches, doing 880 repeats, but finding way to be world class, be a husband and father and keep his career in the FBI. No mean feat in those days.
Now 89, Horace Ashenfelter was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame this past month. Runblogrun writer and American Track & Field long time correspondent Jeff Benjamin was there and here is his piece.
Our friend Jeff was injured in a recent bike crash, so keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
Jeff Benjamin (the writer), Horace Ashenfelter (1952 Olympic gold), Tom Fleming (two time NYC Marathon winner),
"When I was kid and I heard there was an Olympic Champion living in New Jersey not too far away, I went over there to meet him. We've been friends ever since!" was how Tom Fleming first met Horace Ashenfelter.
Jeff Benjamin concluded with this note: "My sincere thanks for being invited to this ceremony by Tom Fleming and Mary MacEnroe of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, and for the wonderful atmosphere provided by Paul Brewster, the owner of Fitzgerald's 1928 in Glenn Ridge, which hosted this great event!!!"

Hall-Cheruiyot-Korir-Tadese-Feleke-Frankfurt17.JPGChristoph Kopp and Jo Scheindler with Sara Hall, Vivian Cheruiyot, Mark Korir, Feyese Tadesse and Getu Feleke, photo by

The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris is amazing. I was fortunate to view it in 2014, when Kenenisa Bekele debuted at the marathon distance. The course is through the streets of Paris, and 40,000 runners a year can attest to the beauty of the race and the excitement of racing in Paris.

The column below is part of our A View from Kenya series, by Justin Lagat. Justin wrote this piece about the Paris and Rotterdam marathons.

Christian Taylor, 2011 WC gold medal, Triple Jump. photo by
Updated December 27, 2016: Found this piece in our archives, and thought it might make some sense for the coaches who are working with their jumpers for indoor season. Roy Stevenson wrote this series for our in 2012, and it makes huge sense for young jumpers. Proper warm up and cooldown is great way to prevent injuries.

The U.S.A. has a long tradition in the jumps: Long Jump, Triple Jump and High Jump. Christian Taylor and Will Claye have been ripping it up, indoors and outdoors in the Triple Jump for men. On the Women's Long Jump side, Brittney Reese is a long jump goddess, and Janay DeLoach just took silver at the world Indoor Champs. And how can we forget about Dwight Phillips, four time gold medalist (five time medalist). Can you spell RESPECT?

Jesse Williams took gold outdoors at the 2011 World Champs, and Chaunte Howard Lowe surprised, most of all, herself, with her win indoors in the high jump.

The jumps are technical events. A proper warm up is key to your success, as is the cool down. Ask any of the above, and they will tell you that, in the end, the jumps are won by those who are focused, ready and can compete on the big day. Are you ready?

Roy Stevenson wrote this piece for American Track & Field on warming up an cooling down for the jumps. We think you will find it educational.
Sarah Baxter wins 2011 NXN, photo courtesy of Kevin Ullman/
Updated December 2, 2016. Archive from 2011!

Sarah Baxter, a sophomore, dominated the 8th NXN girls championship race in a style that showed the poise and experience of an athlete of much more experience. Running 17:38.5 for the rolling 5,000 meter course, Baxter put four seconds on Haley Pierce of the third place Wimington XC Club and (17:42), and seven seconds on Nike Border Clash Champ Katie Knight, who ran 17:45.

Sarah Baxter told RBR afterwards that she just focused on staying with the top athletes and that the pace was "what I expected." When asked if this race was tougher than her Mt. SAC victory, where she broke Jordan Hasay's course record, Sarah noted that this course was more to her liking. A pleasant surprise today, as many prep experts are noting, not only is Sarah Baxter the real thing, she should be breaking records for some years to come!

Katie Knight, the third placer in the race told RBR that the Nike Border Clash was a good race to prepare for the NXN. As a junior Katie will be back next year, and one could see her mind working, figuring out how she could challenge Sarah Baxter.

SANY0096_full.jpgat the starting line, Katie Sischo, Manlius, photo courtesy of Kevin Ullman,

On the team side, Manlius showed, once again, for the fifth year in a row, that they are the number one club in all of the United States. Scoring a phenomenal 60 points (# 3, Jillian Fanning, 17:50, # 9, Katie Sischo, 18:26, #12 96 Katie Brislin, 18:30, #16 Alana Pearl, 18:35, #20, Hanna Smith, 18:39, #21,Jenna Farrell ,18:40, #43,Annika Avery, 19:06). The Kinetic team was second, for the third year in a row, making the top two teams in the US from the state of New York!

The women's race continues to be a tighter and tigher battle each year as the NXN becomes more and more the focus for these teams not just for the fall, but for the entire year. The NXN has become the team championship for cross country across the land. With the top teams and better and better individuals each year, the NXN is the race to watch and run in to see the best teams in girls' cross country across the land!
Helle Aanesen founded AKTIV with the late Grete Waitz. The goal of AKTIV is to show the relation between fitness and cancer. The belief is that fitness should be part of the prescription in battling cancer. In Norway, AKTIV has funded 15 fitness centers to help cancer patients, tied in with hospitals. AKTIV is funding three more in Norway. In Ethiopia, AKTIV is helping train an entire new generation of oncologists, as there were only three for 100 million people. In the U.S., AKTIV USA became a non-profit in 2014. This legacy foundation, supported by adidas, is the life work of Helle Aanesen. We met with Helle, the night before she ran the 2016 TCS NYC Marathon to speak about AKTIV, its past, present and future. We thank Helle Aanesen for her vision, vigor and enthusiasm for AKTIV. Special thanks to The Shoe Addicts who managed the shoot, production and management of the video projects for RunBlogRun.
Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 8.21.07 AM.png
Helle Aanesen, co-founder, AKTIV Against Cancer, photo by The Shoe Addicts

This story has been reposted on May 27, 2016. I wanted people to remember one of the prime reasons that the Pre Classic is around was because of my late friend, Geoff Hollister. A man of much complexity, Geoff Hollister loved his family, friends and his brand, Nike. The Friday Night at Hayward is here in honor of this guy, who fought every day of his nearly 40 years at Nike for the importance of his brand's core, or as Mark Parker, CEO of Nike calls it, "Nike's DNA is running."

The Pre Classic and Friday night at Hayward Field are the yearly affirmations of Nike's beginnings and Nike's DNA: athletics. Helping people run, jump and throw with some form and function. For much of that, we need to take a moment and think of Geoff Hollister, reminding me that Bill Bowerman did not like the word 'Coach', among other things.

I miss our friend.

Goeff Hollisterw-uIx.jpg

Geoff Hollister, courtesy of

Geoff Hollister, one of the original Nike employees, and a University of Oregon track team member from the Golden age, has died, after a long and heroic fight against cancer. Geoff was sixty-six (he celebrated his birthday this past Friday).

Hollister, who took his degree in art from the University of Oregon, was, along with his friend, Nelson Ferris, the keeper of history of the company with the swoosh. Much of that history, Hollister was involved with personally.

Starting in 1967, Hollister sold running shoes out of the back of his car at track and cross country meets. Hollister's interview with Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike (with Bill Bowerman), is that of legend. Knight offered Hollister a job, commission only, over lunch at the Dairy Queen then on U of Oregon campus. Hollister had run the steeple while at Oregon, Knight, a decade older than Hollister, had run the mile. Only one issue, Knight had forgotten his wallet, so Geoff paid for lunch.

In 1968, Geoff founded the BRS West store, in Eugene, Oregon. He then served three years in the US Navy, on the USS Guadalupe, as a navigator. Goeff returned in 1971 to BRS, when it was at a crisis point.

Phil Knight & Bill Bowerman were in a epic struggle with Onitsuka Tiger, and the little BRS was faced with the challenge that many small companies have-financing. Knight was able to develop a financing arrangement with Nissho Iwaii, which allowed Knight the capital to develop their own product and break away from Onitsuka Tiger. (There was a lawsuit between the two, which Knight & Bowerman won).

Hollister was one of the people who got Bill Bowerman. He understood, that beneath the curmudgeoness, was a brilliant educator, who, with all of his foibles, was a hell of a track coach, and businessman. "Never, ever call Bill Bowerman a coach, he hated that word, " Geoff once told me. Hollister was the keeper of the flame.

Geoff Hollister was the Nike promotions department for the 1972 Olympic Trials, held in Eugene, Oregon. He gave out many of the Nike shoes to young American athletes, especially about three dozen members of the Olympic Trials marathon participants.

Hollister worked closely with the late Steve Prefontaine, and developed a strong friendship. It was coming home from a party at Geoff's home, after a Hayward Field Restoration meet, that Steve Prefontaine, who had been the promo guy for Nike, died. Hollister then took over Prefontaine's job of sending notes in boxes of Nike running shoes, to athletes across the world, asking them to try the new shoe brand.

Prefontaine's death in 1975 was tough for Hollister. Most had thought that Steve would be Nike's first Olympic medalist in 1976. It was not to be.

By 1976, Nike was established, but the brands such as adidas, PUMA and Onitsuka did not give Nike an easy time. Hollister did prepare running shoes for Frank Shorter, who had legendarily difficult feet, and while Geoff did prepare shoes for Shorter, it is a matter of some conjecture, to this day, whether Shorter actually wore those shoes.

Between 1976-1980, Geoff Hollister developed his promo team, and helped develop Athletics West, a club that provided not only running gear, massages, sports psychology and nutrition, but helped get the athletes ready to race in Europe so that they could be prepared for 1980. No one could have known that President Jimmy Carter, in reacting to Russia's involvement in Afghanistan, would boycott those Olympics.

It was in 1980, that Nike had its first Olympic medalists, none other than Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe. Geoff Hollister had brought Sebastian Coe and Bill Bowerman together in Eugene, during his build up to the Moscow Olympics.

Hollister had become the man who knew Nike's history, the man who protected the soul of Nike, the man who remembered what Steve Prefontaine was really like. Geoff took those roles seriously, and his love
for Nike was immense.

1984 was a watershed year for Nike. They were a global sports power by then, and the LA Olympics were tremendous, both good and rough. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women's Olympic gold medal. Sebastian Coe became the only man to defend 1,500m titles and also win consecutive silvers in the 800 meters. They also had the tragedy of Mary Slaney falling down in the 3,000m and not finishing. Nike had gone big time, and there was a bit of a let down after the 1984 Olympics.

From 1984 to 1996, Geoff Hollister was really the man behind the scenes, using his relationships to help athletes compete, get into better coaching relationships, and continued to show off the Nike brand. He always saw himself as a runner. And he looked at the world through the tinted glasses of an athlete. It was one of his best qualities.

Geoff Hollister & Nelson Ferris became the guys who protected Nike's legacy, probably in the 1990s. Geoff knew that Bill Bowerman was not getting any younger, and did a video with Arthur Lydiard and Bowerman,
which is said to be a classic.

As Nike became a bigger and bigger sports power, there were people who just did not get that Nike was founded by runners, and as basketball, soccer, baseball eclipsed some of the early track & field days, Geoff spung back into action, fighting to keep grass roots promotions going in the late 1990s. It was no mean task at the then $10 billion company.

Some of Geoff's longest lasting influences will be on grass roots promotions, his documentary film, " Fire on the Track" and his work on the film, "Prefontaine" kept the story of Steve Prefontaine alive. It also allowed there to be a recognition, perhaps a rekindling of concern for where running was to live in the Nike culture.

Hollister supported the development of several generations of grass roots promotion guys, some still at Nike, some in other companies, who realize, that it is still about getting a kid who just broke five minutes for the mile to see the newest shoe and dreaming about running a 4:55 mile, or long jumping twenty feet, or throwing the shot forty-five feet.

Geoff Hollister kept the soul of Nike alive. He was a complicated man, who was quick to tell us a story, and to talk about his family, and also quick to make sure that the legacy of Nike was remembered. He was not in it for the bucks. He loved his sport and the people involved.

While Geoff retired in 2002, he consulted for Nike for several years after that. His friends were lucky to have updates from his wife, Wendy, who cared for him with love and concern. Geoff had three children, his son Tracy, daughter Kaili and step daughter, Abi .

Over the weekend, Galen Rupp, AR holder in the 10,000m, a man coached by Alberto Salazar, who was signed to Nike by Geoff Hollister, told the media at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, that Mo Farah , Galen and Ciaran O'Lionaird (winner of the mile), would be wearing GHAC gear in honor of Geoff. Geoff would have liked that....

Please keep Geoff, his wife Wendy, and their family in your thoughts and prayers.

And, what would make Geoff most happy? Go, take a walk or run, and consider how lucky you are, on this small planet.

Here is an article on Geoff Hollister, from

We asked Tim Jeffries to compile some of his favorite comments from the U.S. Olympic Trials press conference, held this afternoon. Here are some of his favorites from Galen Rupp, Amy Cragg, Meb Keflezighi, Jared Ward and Desi Linden!

Shalane Flanagan was getting an IV during the presser. She has since recovered and we will catch up with her with an interview.

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