RunBlogRun opines: Craig Virgin is one of the most iconic of America distance runners. He comes from the heartland of America, Illinois and his performances, in cross country, on the track and on the roads, are those of legends. Recently married on July 15, we congratulate one of our true icons of the sport. Craig was an entertainer as well as a sportsmen, his two World Cross Country wins were unprecedented by American males (Doris Brown Heritage on the US women’s side), and his 1980 Olympic Trials epic battle over 10,000m with Herb Lindsey has to be seen to be believed.
As a high schooler, I first read about Craig in Jack Shepard’s Yearly Lists books on American high schoolers in, I believe, the fall of 1974. I was at DeSmet Jesuit in Saint Louis, and driving to a cross country meet in a van. We were passing around a list of his performances earlier that year. We knew this guy was a total star. I also was transfixed, when he battled Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers in the 1976 Trials 10,000 meters.
I have always enjoyed my talks with Craig Virgin over the last three decades, and I think you will enjoy this photo essay and story on Craig’s visit to Staten Island, which is the real track capital of the world. Jeff Benjamin brings many of the sports’ finest and most colorful athletes to this fine borough.
Jeff Benjamin has written for American Athletics, American Track & Field, RunningNetwork and now RunBlogRun. This covers all the years since 1990. We call Jeff the senior writer for the planet of Staten Island. Some see Staten Island as a borough of NYC, and while we admit that is an authentic appreciation, we see Staten Island as a place where athletics is loved, and Jeff Benjamin and his patient wife, Roseanne, have lived for many years. We are greatful to both. And seriously, how do you not love a guy who sends you text reminders beginning with a picture of Gandolf?
Craig Virgin with super fan Siller McVey, photo by Jeff Benjamin, Staten Island
A Photo Essay–Olympic XC Legend Craig Virgin’s Adventures in the Northeast! – By Jeff Benjamin
Touchdown and success was truly achieved a few months ago!!
That powerfully driven positive force from the Midwest known as Craig Virgin arrived this past March in Villanova, beginning a 4-day journey which culminated in a maze at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
To say that one felt the effects of that force from the great 3 – time Olympian is most certainly an understatement. Sure, he was here to sell some posters and his new biography “Virgin Territory”, but that’s not what Craig Virgin is totally about.
“In my career I’ve been able to do three things,” said America’s only men’s World XC Champion in over more than a century (and he did it twice!). “One was to compete at my very best. The other was to travel around the world, and the third thing was to make new friends in life.”
Once again, the farm boy from southern Illinois has definitely succeeded in those things!
Enjoy the 15 photos from his sojourns throughout those eventful 4 days!
Here’s the original story of Craig Virgin’s visit, as it appeared in the Staten Island media: http://www.silive.com/sports/