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The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, or so Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, once said. American Track & Field magazine began in 1994, on the shoulders of American Athletics magazine, founded by my former partner, Christine Johnson, and me in 1989. In 2014, as some of you know, I was in the midst of purchasing the Running Network, and we did two issues of ATF.
Behind every great athlete is a team. At the elite level, the team includes a coach, trainer, agent, manager, and perhaps other specialists. The athletes who make it to the elite pro level in our sport number in the few thousands.
Welcome to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials–Marathon program. You will see history on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. Both the men’s and women’s Trials races are being held in Houston, the first me both Olympic events have been hosted in the same city. Kudos to the Houston Marathon Committee, their supporters and the volunteers who took on this important task nearly 4 years ago. Thanks to USA Track & Field, the United States Olympic Committee and the sponsors of both USATF and the USOC. Thanks to BP, BMW, VISA, and Nike, who supported this program and our sport.
What a great summer of track & field! As I write this, I am in Stockholm, having just enjoyed a tremendous night of track and field at the DN Galan Stockholm Diamond
League meeting. Being in one of the most hallowed stadiums in all of our sport was part of the excitement of my track vacation. The performances of Christian Cantwell, Andreas Thorkildsen, Valerie Adams, Carmelita Jeter, and Shalane Flanagan are always awe inspiring. Seeing how another nation supports track and field has been a revelation.
I’ve been traveling the country, speaking to coaches, athletes and fans about our sport. After nearly 30 years of publishing athletics publications, I’m still bullish on our sport. But at times we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot, from meets not starting on time to expecting fans to show up just because it is track & field. Road running is thriving. High school track & cross country are thriving. Yet, the truth is, much of the time, these groups do not seem to work well together. There are exceptions and promise, and that is what I am writing about today.
Winter is upon us. In southern Wisconsin where I live, the four seasons give us a good indication of where our years are going and what we must be doing. In early November, Dick Patrick, our “Starting Blocks” columnist in AT&F, won the first George Hirsch Award for Running Journalism. George was the former publisher of the Runner and Runner’s World (and had put up with me on his staff for two years). Hirsch was a man who knew (and still knows) that great magazines need great content, which means cultivating great journalists. Dick Patrick, who has written more than anyone about our sport, spoke thoughtfully and eloquently about his craft. His award is well deserved.