Last weekend I was in Utica, New York, for the Boilermaker 15K Road Race. How many of you knew that the "National Distance Running Hall of Fame", is located there? On Saturday, I attended the race expo where Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter were speaking at the "Runner's Forum". That is quite the collection of "Hall of Fame" distance runners in America.
As you can see from the photo, Kathrine Switzer was gracious enough to pose for a photo or two as well as sign an autograph and chat. The same was true for the others. I have not spent much time around athletes from other sports, but running "superstars" are the most accomodating people. I have had the opportunity to meet many others at expos and at work and they talk with you as just another runner.
In NYC last November, I got to meet Grete Waitz, the 9 time winner of the NYC marathon. Many people stood back and watched her from a distance, some approached for an autograph. Those of you who know me, I'm not shy! I started a conversation and it was like she wanted someone to talk too. She inquired about my running, was curious if I was running the NYC marathon the next day. I told her "no" as I had just completed the Marine Corps Marathon. She congratulated me, read that again, she Grete Waitz, congratulated me for running a marathon. When we finished chatting she took a hat she had under the table and autographed it for me. Needless to say that is a prized possession.
So to Deena Kastor, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Jim Ryun, Jeff Galloway, Brian Sell, Keith Brantley, Kathrine Switzer, Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, "Thank You" for being so gracious to me, "just another runner."