I claim few heroes but I lost one yesterday with the passing of Allan Steinfeld. He was a friend and mentor. I was privileged to work with him and his New York City Marathon, honored to make the trip to Rio with him in 2008.
Appropriate that I spent the day with two of Nebraska’s most recognizable icons. Ronn Baker and Ron Olsen. In my search for excellence in the annals of Nebraska distance running, these two men occupy upper rungs. The Greatest Nebraska runners of the 70s and 80s, B.G. (before guru).
Ron Olsen. Has run every single Lincoln Marathon. He’ll be 70 for the 2017 edition. With no plans of retiring his Run Guru Elite kit. Decades of consistent top age group finishes, solid lifetime personal bests from 1500 meters to the marathon.
Ronn “BIX” Baker. No Nebraskan (other?) has etched their name so indelibly on the streets of Davenport, Iowa. Holds multiple single age and age group records in one of the largest and deepest fields of any race in the United States.
It wasn’t their accomplishments they wanted to talk about though. Preferring to talk of their own heroes. Omahan’s Rinn and Dooling and Carlberg and Hall and Julin. The Greatest Nebraska runners of the 70s and 80s. B.G. (before guru). Runners that came to Omaha and inspired them. Athletes they raced. Names like Marty Liquori and Jim Ryun and Bill Rodgers and Mark Curp and Jon Sinclair. Olympians. National Champions. American and World Record Holders. Names that today’s generation likely have never heard of and more’s the shame.
Each generation needs their heroes. Those shining the light brightest to show the way. Ron and Ronn, thank you for your deeds that have inspired me and countless others.